If you know you weren't born to clean, then a professional cleaner or cleaning company is a must. And whether you are seeking help at home or the office, you're sure to avoid a real mess if you follow these tips.
Do not fall for this scam: the new reference-free cleaner seems nice, so you give her more and more responsibility until the day you go on holiday, leaving her the keys, only to return to an empty house. Consumer spots on daytime TV warn Spaniards against such tricks.
But hiring a cleaner doesn't have to be hazardous to your home. The first - and often most difficult step, as a foreigner - is finding someone with good references. Start with your next door neighbours and then try the owners of the local chemist, bakery and bar. These business people tend to be well-established in the community and their networks are far reaching. Often they will be able to recommend the trusted employee that cleans their establishment and who is either looking for more hours, or has a close friend or relative seeking work. In any case, the more connections your cleaner has to the local community, the better.
Cleaners in Andalucía cost about 8 euros per hour in small towns and rural areas and 8 to 10 euros an hour in most cosmopolitan zones. Some cleaners prefer to work for a set rate per month, and if you agree to this, they will expect to receive that amount regardless of whether a month has 4 weeks or 5, and whether or not their work days fall on bank holidays. This set amount will usually average out to a lower price per hour and is usually implemented when a large number of hours are involved. If you are considering 30 to 40 hours per week, ask locals in order to determine the going rate - it might be much lower than you expect. Officially, employers are required to contract and pay social security for household workers, but the vast majority of cleaners work on the black market.
Cleaning CompaniesIn some cities cleaning agencies do offer general house cleaning services. However, most cleaning companies in Andalucía are geared either to the industrial or office markets, or they offer specific services for your home such as floor polishing and carpet care.
It is essential when hiring a professional cleaning company that you check credentials to ensure the business is legal and carries proper insurance. This way, if anything should go wrong - an employee accidentally incurring damages to your home, for instance - the company will be held liable and its insurance provider will compensate you.
It is also important to obtain a written estimate and put all changes to your order in writing. This not only helps to avoid potential misunderstandings, but also protects you should there be a discrepancy in the final bill. Finally, consumer organisations recommend that for any household services performed, we obtain a Factura 'invoice', complete with the company's name, C.I.F. (identification numbers), contact and address and I.V.A. (VAT tax) detailed in full.