What to Ask When Hiring Help — Part II

These days, people are so busy working and taking care of family responsibilities that it has become customary to hire help to get things done in and around the house. Hiring someone to come into your home is a big decision. So take your time and ask these questions before deciding on a company you can trust.


When you've chosen to leave your lawn care to the professionals, you first need to ask if the business is licensed and insured. Licensing is really important when it comes to professional fertilizer application, but you want the peace of mind knowing that if any damage or injury occurs on your property, insurance will cover any damages. Ask how long the lawn service has been in business to give you valuable insight as to their expertise, work ethic, and customer service. Before agreeing to their services, find out what their service schedule would be for your home and whether their price estimate fits your budget. 


Hiring a housekeeper or cleaning service can be such a relief in your daily responsibilities, but only if you hire a trustworthy company that fits your individual needs. Do you need help with clutter? If so, you may be better suited to a personal organizer. Do you need help a few times a year, like for spring cleaning? Then you may just need a deep cleaning service sporadically. If you want weekly cleaning, a housekeeper or cleaning service may be exactly what you need. Do you want an individual or a company? If you need the cleaning done quickly and issues like insurance and taxes to be taken care of, you may want to hire a cleaning service. If you prefer one person who you can establish a working relationship with and change their duties as needed, you may want to hire a housekeeper. Once you have decided the direction you'd like to go in, ask for references, fees, and referrals. It's always a good idea to make a list of the chores to be completed each visit as well as boundaries regarding what is and is not allowed in your home. 


The most significant help you will ever hire in your home is for child care. You can never be too careful when it comes to bringing a nanny or a babysitter into your home to care for your kids. You want to hire someone who has taken care of children before and knows what he or she is doing. Ask how many years experience they have and how old the children were that they cared for. Ask about any formal childcare training including CPR and first aid. It's not a bad idea to request a background check on any candidate to ensure your child's safety. Ask about the sitter's child-rearing philosophy, how discipline is handled and whether he or she enjoys spending time with kids. Give each candidate an opportunity to interact with your children to make sure he or she seems comfortable and pleasant in their company. Lastly, talk logistics at length to make sure you each understand what is expected of the sitter, the salary or hourly range, and any chores he or she would be expected to do in your absence. 


If you are taking a long vacation this year and want to hire a house sitter, you can go with someone you know, or hire a professional house sitter. Ask questions to gauge the sense of responsibility of the candidate. Ask if they plan to have visitors, whether they smoke or drink, and inform him or her of any house rules so he or she knows what is allowed in your home. Ask for character references and previous house sitting experience, if any. Provide a list of emergency contact information and of any chores that need to be completed while you are gone. 


Pets are often part of the family these days, and owners want to make sure they are left in good hands. When hiring a pet sitter or dog walker, interview each candidate with the same care you would give to hiring a babysitter. Ask them why they like working with pets and what sort of training they possess. Find out about their previous experience and ask for referrals. Be specific about the services you require and provide a checklist to the candidates to establish upfront boundaries. If they present you with a contract, read thoroughly before signing so you feel comfortable with the terms.  

Before bringing someone new into your home, make sure you have the proper insurance policies to cover your home and the work they will be doing for you. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have so that you have peace of mind and confidence with anyone you hire. Give us a call at 1-866-315-1252 or visit us online to find out more.  

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