Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Too much to ask

Recently I mentioned that Spouse & I are looking for a housekeeper to come every other week. We don't want to spend our evenings and weekends cleaning, especially with all the house guests we have.

So I sent an email out to my local friends, asking if anyone could recommend a good, reliable, reasonably priced housekeeper. I'd rather use a recommended resource than calling one of those maid services that sends a different person every time. I got several recommendations from my friends, which made me happy.

Then I set about contacting the recommended people. To let them know how I got their name and number, I started each call or voice mail message like this:

"Hi, my name is Mark in DE and I got your name from Mutual Friend. I'm interested in getting a quote for housekeeping, every two weeks. Please give me a call at..."

Now, you may recall that I written several times about living in a small town with no real professional employment options. People who live here are either retired, work from home like me, work in a restaurant or retail store, or own their own business. I would think that housekeepers (and others) who own their own business would jump at calls like mine, especially in these 'challenging economic times'. Its harder for business owners to get new clients in small towns.

But do you think I've been overwhelmed by the responses to my calls and voice messages? Hardly!

One guy said he has enough work to keep him busy and really couldn't take on any new clients. Surprising, but fair enough.

One woman told me she didn't have enough clients to 'make it work' so she went back to work full-time doing something else. Understandable.

After listing the rooms for her, one woman told me my "house is too big". Really? Its not exactly Buckingham Palace or the White House.

Another guy seemed less than grateful at the prospect of having me as a possible new client. He said he would call me in 2-3 days and make an appointment to come over. That was a week ago.

Two others never returned the messages I left for them.

Today a guy came to give me an estimate. We walked through the house together and he explained what they would do in each room. I must admit that if they do everything he claims, it would be very thorough. But I nearly choked when he told me with a straight face that it would be $200. per cleaning. Yes, we have a dog and a cat but they sleep 22 out of 24 hours a day. Its not like we have any 4 dirty, smelly, grimy children running amok here.

I'm perplexed. Really, is it really too much to ask for a good, reliable, affordable housekeeper?

Is it too much to ask that someone returns my call?

Crush du Jour: Robert Sepulveda


Anonymous said...

Go to your local Home Depot - you'll be able to find people who want to work and will work hard. You'll have to be home when they clean. You can also ask the men if they have wives or sisters you could hire.

In DC, Arlington actually, by Sherlington you could get day workers at the resource center or just pic up the workers you needed. My ex and I did this all the time and were able to to get some regulars.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

Unless your house is considerably larger than mine (3 BR 2 BA) $200 is highway robbery! I pay my housekeeper $80 a week and she's glad to get it! She doesn't speak English, but the place looks like an OR when she's finished!

Mistress Maddie said...

If I lived closer I would clean your house! I love to clean. And I think Ginger is right. Thats pretty close to normal. Depending what they do. We had a college student for a year and a half that was 70 a week. She did a lovely job and was just glad to have the extra spending money. She has since gone back to Italy. I do the cleaning now. Is ther any colleges near you?

cb said...

From what I've seen of your house, I wouldn't want to clean that huge thing either! And if I had to, I think I would charge 25$ an hour at least.

That's a lot of house!

Michael said...

I am pretty sure the square footage of the Lewes house rivals that of the White House.