Hiring House Cleaner from Craigslist

Updated on August 27, 2011
A.C. asks from Los Angeles, CA
14 answers

Hi! Have any of you hired a house cleaner from craigslist? I'm having some guests at our home for a few weeks and want to get a more thorough cleaning done. I clean weekly so my home is not bad, I just don't have time to get the details done. I found a lady on craigslist and I was wondering if I should take any precautions letting a stranger into my home. Does it sound weird to ask to make a copy of her driver's license? Am I supposed to supervise her to make sure she's actually cleaning and not wasting time as she charges by the hour? Also, how should I clarify expectations with her when she arrives? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

The lady who I found from craigslist did a decent job. I had a list of things I wanted done but she told me right away that she works slow and charges by the hour so she could only get a few necessary things done. I kept a close eye on her and ended up helping her with a lot. Next time, I'm going to go with a reputable company.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would go with a reputable company like Merry Maids. I found a mechanic on Craigs list and got royally screwed. It's not worth going with someone not with a major company. Especially if it's only a one time deal.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Why from craigslist? Too risky. In fact, dangerous IMO. If you've got money to hire, go through a regular cleaning service. Good ones have BBB backing and a reputation. If the business stinks, you'll have an easier time getting your complaint settled.

With craigslist it could be any looney tune, or someone looking for homes to case. In my area, there was someone who used an ad like that to get into homes and case them. They'd clean the houses, but they'd search the places for valuables and fix windows and doors so someone could come back later to rob the place. Because the person cleaning didn't commit the actual crime, they went a very long time hitting up houses before they got caught.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would not use craigslist for anything that gave a stranger any information about where I lived, who lived there, or even my phone number. The movie "The Craigs List Killer" is based on a woman from a town I have lived in. She listed a car for sale on it and a man came to do a test drive. He kidnapped her, killed her, and the car was found several states away.

It's not safe people! You are telling numerous strangers your personal information and you have no idea, none at all, if that person is a serial killer, a rapist, a pedophile, a murderer on the run, you have no idea. They all sound nice, they learn how to do that, that's how their victims let them in, they are pro's at it.

If you want a reputable person to clean call an agency that is bonded, if they break something it will be covered by their insurance.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I would not.

Then the person or her friends, would know where you live, what you have in the house etc.
Scoping out your home.
And, unless you watch her every single moment... it just takes a few seconds, to open up a file cabinet or desk drawer and look inside and take a few papers/bills etc.
Only a few, seconds.

I would not.
And how would you background check her????

She does NOT have to, allow you to make a copy of her driver's license.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

No way I'd ever do that.

Don't you have friends or neighbors with regular housekeepers who can refer someone.

You have to be SO careful with CL because of all the scammers.

I don't participate in yard sales, etc ANYTHING that involves a stranger coming to my home. You never know if they are there just you case out your place and figure out your habits.

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answers from Phoenix on

I like CL for purchasing goods, but when it comes to a home service, I just wouldn't do it. Ever. Pay more & use reputable company.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Ask for references and follow up by calling them. It can be done and it can work, it did for me and I found a great assistant. Talk on the phone with her or him for a long time, get to know them, follow your gut and be home when they are there, you don't have to hover, but don't leave anything easily slipped into a pocket obviously available.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

No, no, no!!! You don't want strangers to know where you live, where your kids sleep, what kind of doors and windows you have. I would be concern about theft and safety.

Referred cleaning people are the best by friends or family, or neighbors. Even if you find help on valid site, ask for business license and their Id. There are great sites like maids.com, do research and always, always ask for references.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I wouldn't do that at all. I bet if you ask some of your friends, they know someone who cleans houses. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

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answers from Chicago on

you should go over all of this when you meet her before hiring her. you should be able to have a clear cut amount of time she will be spending you should also get references from her of houses she cleans / people she works for. and I wouldn't under any circumstances leave her alone in your house the first time she cleans for you. But be clear and concise about what you expect up front. My cleaning lady likes to dust. If she has her choice she will spend 2 hours on the dusting and less on other stuff. I don't need everything out of every curio cabinet dusted each time she comes. I want the bathrooms done. So I have had to make sure each time she comes that she knows what my priority is for that week. so now we do deep cleaning dusting only every couple months but a swish/swipe type dusting each week. just know what you want and have reasonable expectations of how long it will really take.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I would never let a stranger into my home. Go to an agency. Check her name on the criminal website also.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you decide to go with the cleaner from Craigs list, you might want to make a checklist of cleaning jobs that you expect done in each room. Tell them that its a one time deep clean that you are after. Offer to pay a flat rate for the deep clean, regardless of the number of hours. It might take 4-6 depending on your expectations.

i.e. bathroom - scrub tub, sink toilet, wash walls, shine fixtures, remove trash, wash floors, change and wash towels, shine mirrors, wipe counters, baseboards, light switches, door knobs, dust on top of molding and pictures.

Make a similar checklist for each room, that way there is no ambiguity about expectations and jobs done.

For sample checklists, you might want to look at services like MaidPro.

I would be in or near the house, but not necessarily in the same room.

good luck


answers from Phoenix on

Write everything down of what you expect her to do. Get a background check on her (have her get a background check from the police), make a copy of her drivers license. Make sure you have it written down what she charges, what you expect her to complete in order to get paid, so that everything is crystal clear. Don't feel bad asking for a copy of her drivers license. You are allowing a stranger in your home, and this is a great precautionary step to take. Remove all jewelry, and valuables, and hide them somewhere, where she is not allowed to go. I would be there while she is cleaning. If you want to allow her to have music on, that's fine, but I wouldn't allow her to have the tv on. ( i had a housekeeper years ago that liked to have her soaps on while she was cleaning. Not a good idea there).


answers from Los Angeles on

I went though and fired two cleaning services who left post cards on my door. I have had success with two others by recommendations from friends. I have had good luck with craiglist in areas I didn't expect to: like finding babysitters. But you have to go the extra mile and get references, and yes I would ask for a copy of their drivers license.

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