I've always spurned the idea of using a cleaner for my home. I finally relented and decided to give Helpling, an online cleaner booking service, a go. Here's my verdict.
As a youngster living at home, my father disapproved of my lack of cleanliness and tidiness. He would come to my room, grimace and threaten to call in the cleaners if I don’t sort out my room. The idea of using cleaners has always made me uncomfortable. The thought of someone poking around my private domain and laying their hands on my trove of wonders (or junk, according to my old man) sent chills down my spine, so I would grudgingly clean up my mess.
Now as a fully grown adult living by myself, I still struggle to be a clean person. When my dad came over recently, curled his lips and declared that my apartment isn’t fit for living, I decided to get over my phobia of cleaners and hire some help.
Lifehacker had been approached by Helpling, an online cleaners booking service, to give it a test drive so I thought 'why not?'
I booked a cleaner through the Helpling app. It was simple enough. You key in your postcode to find a cleaner in the area followed by how long you require their service for. The app can calculate the timeframe for you when you input more details on the number of rooms and bathrooms at your home as well as any additional services, such as oven cleaning, you require.
After I placed my order, I received an email saying a cleaner had been found for me at my requested time. Sure enough, a cleaner showed up punctually at my doorstep.
His name is Michael and he was well-dressed for a man who was going to get down and dirty in my one bedroom apartment, in the most literal sense. He greeted me warmly, carried his cleaning supplies through the door and assessed the condition of my home. The tile floors were dirty, the stove top was rusted and the carpet hadn't been vacuumed for… well, I don't remember the last time I vacuumed.
Michael was unfazed.
"It's not the worst place I've been too," he said. I felt slightly vindicated and was ready to discard my title of 'Spandas the Indolent'. That was until he walked into my bathroom.
"Well. That's going to take a lot of work," he said quietly. The state of the bathroom can only be illustrated with actual pictures:
In my defence, the toilet doesn't work properly and the stains pre-dates my residence at the apartment, but the shower was totally my fault since I neglected to clean it at all.
Without prompting, Michael slipped on his black rubber gloves and got to work. We chatted as he started off with scrubbing my toxic shower. I found out he is the preferred cleaner of Helpling country manager Lutz Ackermann and is a fashion designer by trade. He was between gigs right now and said Helpling was a good way make some money in the meantime.
I asked him whether Helpling provided any formal training that would assist him with his cleaning work and he said no, but he did have experience working at retail outlets where he gathered some experience cleaning shops.
Does Helpling provide the cleaning supplies? No. Michael said he had to buy it all himself, including a nice vacuum cleaner even though there was no minimum requirements from Helpling as to what equipment and supplies he used.
Did he have to go into Helpling offices for an interview? He said no and that he rarely had to check into the office in person. The arrangement between Helpling and its cleaners is essentially contract work. Those who want to be cleaners register online which requires an ABN and public liability insurance. I noticed on the website that it did say Helpling runs police checks, ABN verifications and do personal interviews (possibly online) with potential cleaners so it would seem they do their due diligence in that sense.
But there's still the issue of skill. While cleaning isn't exactly rocket science, it does required a level of finesse at the professional level. Helpling doesn't guarantee that you'll get the top notch cleaner typically expected from a professional cleaning service, but if you're looking for someone to scrub up a few areas in your house then that won't be much of a problem.
Michael ended up doing a great job on my bathroom. Here's his handiwork:
The rest of the cleaning was a cinch for him. It was just about doing some vacuuming, mopping the floors and wiping up all the dust.
He finished on time as well. The whole apartment clean up took around 2.5 hours, which would normally set you back around $67.50. It was worth it, considering I would never willingly spend an hour of my life scrubbing away at every stain in my bathroom.
While it's unlikely I'll be employing the help of a cleaner on a regular basis, I'm now not against the idea of having a stranger enter my home and touch my things for the sake of cleaning up. I can definitely see if as a helpful service for people who are too busy to maintain their homes. Helpling cleaners charge roughly $27 per hour, which is quite affordable.
Having a cleaner come to your home is definitely a luxury and not a necessity, but if you can spare a small amount of money to shirk some unpleasant household chores, wouldn't you?
Do you have any experience with hiring a cleaner for your home? Let us know in the comments.