Selecting a Housekeeper/Personal Assistant/Dog Walker

Aug 21, 2002
18,349
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#1
My wife and I have reached a point at which we are looking for help around the house. We're looking for someone to do some light cleaning, laundry/dry cleaning, dishes, let the dog outside and groom him or take him to the groomer, water plants/flowers, possibly meal prep, and potentially some clerical work (filing & digitizing documents) for my wife's bookkeeping/accounting/tax business from 1-5 days a week. We're both capable of doing all of this, but we're starting to sacrifice quality time with each other and sleep to keep up on these kind of chores given our work schedules.

We're also both quite private people and are nervous to let someone we don't know into our home. I've done some research online already and so far I've come to the following conclusions:
  • hiring a freelance worker is probably too cumbersome given I'd be on my own to do background checks and ensure the proper insurance is in place
  • a service provider like Molly Maid seems to be too commoditized, I want to be more selective about the individual(s) who will be in my home
  • a service provider like care.com seems like it gives us more control over selecting an individual, but might not work out if there are requirements for working hours - some weeks we might not need someone at all, other weeks we might need someone 5 days a week
Any suggestions for finding what we're looking for? Care to share your own good & bad experiences with this type of thing?
 
Nov 8, 2012
11,652
1,285
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#2
My wife and I have reached a point at which we are looking for help around the house. We're looking for someone to do some light cleaning, laundry/dry cleaning, dishes, let the dog outside and groom him or take him to the groomer, water plants/flowers, possibly meal prep, and potentially some clerical work (filing & digitizing documents) for my wife's bookkeeping/accounting/tax business from 1-5 days a week. We're both capable of doing all of this, but we're starting to sacrifice quality time with each other and sleep to keep up on these kind of chores given our work schedules.

We're also both quite private people and are nervous to let someone we don't know into our home. I've done some research online already and so far I've come to the following conclusions:
  • hiring a freelance worker is probably too cumbersome given I'd be on my own to do background checks and ensure the proper insurance is in place
  • a service provider like Molly Maid seems to be too commoditized, I want to be more selective about the individual(s) who will be in my home
  • a service provider like care.com seems like it gives us more control over selecting an individual, but might not work out if there are requirements for working hours - some weeks we might not need someone at all, other weeks we might need someone 5 days a week
Any suggestions for finding what we're looking for? Care to share your own good & bad experiences with this type of thing?
I've only ever done a maid for Care.com - she comes once every 2 weeks to do a full clean (not chores such as Laundry though). As far as screening, your best judgement is yourself. Judge the shit out of them. I mean hell, I'll make a determining factor based on if one did a myspace angle or not.

I take it you know the protocols for proper employment? https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc756

For someone that is full-time (or there multiple days a week) that you will likely need to setup witholding and everything.
 
Oct 10, 1999
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#3
Not sure, but maybe look in your area to see if any small companies are doing airbnb cleanups and the like. My uncle and 2 of his friends run a small cleanup business on the side and they clean half a dozen or so airbnb rentals during summer tourist season in addition to their full time jobs.

I suspect this is "in between" a freelance and megacompany .... but not sure how you find companies like that other than word of mouth or craigslist or classifieds.
 

Zeze

Diamond Member
Mar 4, 2011
9,883
44
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#4
I can speak from hiring / firing multiple nannies & dog walkers.

1. Gather a lists of duties what you want from them with your wife.
2. Interview people. Ask all the questions and be sure to be upfront about all the duties and get their buy-in.
3. Negotiate rate.
4. If possible give them a trial day or period (paid of course).
5. Adjust.

I was VERY skeptical about in-house help because of general concerns or how I like to clean really deeply. It ends up working out. Some people just won't work out with you (quality of work, personality, etc). You gotta be proactive and interview new folks behind the scenes and get a new one.
 

ctbaars

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2009
1,422
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#5
You need an "Elaine Benes"
If sometimes it's once a week and other times it's five times a week and you're not sure when is what, I think you are asking for a lot. A person to wait around for you to call?
 

Zeze

Diamond Member
Mar 4, 2011
9,883
44
126
#6
These are all easy except filing and digitizing docs. That's out of scope for many in-house, unskilled help. I'm surprised you even kept this bullet.
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
3,251
367
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#7
I'll do it. How much are you paying?
 
Aug 21, 2002
18,349
2
81
#8
You need an "Elaine Benes"
If sometimes it's once a week and other times it's five times a week and you're not sure when is what, I think you are asking for a lot. A person to wait around for you to call?
More like, if I end up working from home one day, we can cancel the visit and it won't be a big deal.
 
Aug 21, 2002
18,349
2
81
#9
These are all easy except filing and digitizing docs. That's out of scope for many in-house, unskilled help. I'm surprised you even kept this bullet.
It's not a hard requirement, but it would be nice. My wife will probably be hiring another employee strictly for her business anyway so it's not something that would make it into an actual posting or list of responsibilities.
 

Zeze

Diamond Member
Mar 4, 2011
9,883
44
126
#10
More like, if I end up working from home one day, we can cancel the visit and it won't be a big deal.
That doesn't quite work like that when people depend on the job for money just like you depend on your job for steady income. It's either part time or full time. Not 1-5 days.
 
Jul 20, 2003
11,210
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#11
Maybe Rosie the robot maid is available?
 

ctbaars

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2009
1,422
68
106
#12
More like, if I end up working from home one day, we can cancel the visit and it won't be a big deal.
Wow. How an incredibly rude thing to do and so obnoxious of you say it's no big deal.
Unless of course you are paying them anyway. Then you are a saint.
 
Jun 9, 2007
10,705
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#13
I here Shorty is available.
 

herm0016

Diamond Member
Feb 26, 2005
6,559
50
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#14
we have a cleaning "company". see? i don't need to deal with their taxes and stuff....

anyway.... i interviewed 3 companies, came to an agreement with one and its been great. I think you are asking for a lot of tasks. Our service will do some dishes if they are in the sink and swap the sheets if we put clean ones out, other than that they just clean. It's going to be hard to get someone to be on call for you. i would pick what you want done and have them come one day a week to do those things. if you have extra for them to do, ask and don't expect them to be on call when ever you want. Keep them at that one day a week or whatever you decide as a minimum so they can actually know what there income will be for the week and can schedule other jobs.

i think they may be working under the table, but how would someone hiring them know if they don't tell you and they have a company name and yelp page
 
Oct 18, 1999
20,775
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#15
Thats what kids are for. You should of had kids early in your marriage.
 

PowerEngineer

Platinum Member
Oct 22, 2001
2,951
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#17
As others have already suggested, you seem to be looking for a pretty wide range of services from a single person (and on an ad hoc basis). You might be better off starting with services such a home cleaning service and maybe a meal delivery service to see if their help is enough to ease your workloads. I do not see why the filing and scanning cannot be made a responsibility of your wife's new employee.
 

snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
3,251
367
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#18
Yeah, services can easily take care of everything the OP wants, even on an irregular basis.

Cleaning/laundry - hire someone from a housekeeping service to come in once every two weeks to clean. Or have them come in once a week to clean and do laundry, or...
Laundry - drop/pick up clothes at the dry cleaner or laundry place on the way to/from work once a week
Dishes - get a dishwasher
Dog - Send it to a doggy day care on weekdays, or hire a dog walker
Water plants/flowers - if inside, do it yourself. It shouldn't take more than ten minutes every couple of days. If outside, get a sprinkler system.
Meal prep - Meal delivery, order take out.

All of these come at a cost. It's how much you value your time vs. money. There won't be a one size fits all - if you want someone to clean your house, take the dog for a walk, do laundry, water your plants, and cook your meals, then you'll need to pay a lot of money for a butler. I think if you can knock down a few of these - cleaning/laundry and dog - you'll find it's easier to keep up with the other things yourself.
 

DietDrThunder

Platinum Member
Apr 6, 2001
2,257
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#19
You can probably get a really cheap live in person if you are willing to pick them up at the US Southern border. ;)
 

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