My husband scheduled the cleaning lady for 9 a.m. Saturday morning. I left a list of things to clean from most important (kitchen!) to least (windows). I was dreaming up stuff to add to the list because I didn’t really want much done, just the kitchen and guest bathroom made presentable. Then I took off for the day. I shopped for bargains and then saw a movie (“Atonement”). (The movie was good, but make me want to read the book because I have a feeling the book is better. The book is always better!)

My cell phone battery was dead, so I dug up four quarters and found a pay-phone so I could check in with my husband and let him know what time the movie would be over. (I had to see a later show than I had hoped.)

“So, did the cleaning lady come?” I asked him.

“Well, she did, but she thought we just need a routine cleaning, so she couldn’t do it.”

“She couldn’t do it?”

“No,” he said, “She looked at your list and looked at the areas and said there was no way she could do that in four hours. She offered to get a co-worker and come back. She said it would take two of them at least four hours working together.”

“And how much would that cost?”

“Two hundred and fifty dollars.”

“WHAT?! Are you kidding? That’s crazy!”

“I told her you probably wouldn’t go for that.”

A cleaning lady refused to clean my house! (So, it is true. You really do have to clean your house before the cleaning lady arrives.) I would have happily paid her $100 for four hours worth of work, but she rejected me and my money. Furthermore, she cost herself a customer because I will never again call her and offer her work.

I am mortified and mystified that my kitchen and bathroom were deemed too big of a job for one person to handle in four hours.

So, I cleaned them myself. (It did not take four hours.)
If ever there was a time for you to drop by, that time is now. Come one, come all! By tomorrow at 11 a.m., my house will be the cleanest it has been in years (but please, do not open the door to the Boy Cave because I simply did not have enough time to tackle that job. And the cleaning lady probably would have charged me a thousand bucks to deal with that.)

23 thoughts on “Rejection

  1. That’s nutty! I could clean my whole house in four hours if I really put my mind to it–BY MYSELF! Sheesh…sounds like you found a cleaning lady that’s SPOILED!


  2. I wonder what her house looks like – my aunt was a cleaning lady, and although her clients’ homes were spotless, hers has always been in a bit of chaos.

    (And yeah, my dad is a mechanic, but our cars were always the last to get fixed, too.)


  3. Oh man.

    Most of the cleaning people around here require this same “first time” fee. Our house was, quite literally, brand new when we hired a cleaning lady. It had been built just two weeks before we moved in. Still, nearly everyone we interviewed also wanted a first clean fee….If you have the time to look around, you can probably find someone who won’t charge it. We eventually did, though ours really, geuinely didn’t require it.


  4. I have heard that about cleaning people! I’d hate to hear what they would say about my house…(picture 105 year old midwest farm house and us who don’t clean nearly enough)


  5. One more thing. We got quotes from like 7 cleaning people before choosing. I get the distinct feeling that 99% of cleaning people have no interest in cleaning the home of regular people who actually live in their houses and would much prefer 6000 square feet of home, which is actually 1000 square feet of home that gets used and then another 5000 square feet of formal dining, formal living, office space, etc…


  6. you are too funny! and while i realize that children totally send our lives into disarray, i also know you…neat as a pin.

    i am so sure she couldn’t clean your kitchen and bathroom! ridiculous lady!


  7. I just hired a cleaning lady and your story was my worst fear. So, before she came by to give us an estimate, I felt like I had to CLEAN my house for the cleaning lady. How warped is that?

    Ours did charge us about $30 more for the first visit, where they do a deep clean. I can understand that though as things like my windows and blinds have rarely been cleaned and I won’t even go into my lighting fixtures. When you don’t have a maid there are just things you don’t find time to do (at least I don’t).

    It sounds like this maid might have been a little high-maintenance though. Maybe you can find another who isn’t so picky. When I walked around with my new one and told her I’d make sure the kids toys were picked up, she kind of chuckled like she was thinking that’s not necessary…so who knows what they expect really!

    Good luck with it!


  8. I clean houses for a living. I do not charge extra the first time I go. It is easier and I get it done faster if people just pick up any clutter that may be around. Since I don’t live there, i would not know where it goes to put it away. That is the only thing I like people to do before I clean, otherwise they are doing my job, and what is the point? I usually clean 2 bathrooms, kitchen, family room, dining room, bedrooms in three or four hours. Three hours, I charge 50.00, 4 hours is 70.00. I do extra stuff all the time, like windows, blinds, I have cleaned basements, moved furniture, power washed outside patios, you name it. LOL I have loyal customers, and I am good to them back.


  9. People are LAZY. They want something for nothing. I used to clean houses for a living. I enjoyed it most of the time. $100 for cleaning a kitchen, dining room and what did you say, a bathroom? I can’t remember. I could have cleaned your whole home for $100 and four hours, give or take a few minutes. People really are lazy I tell you.

    And whoever said that her aunt cleaned houses and hers was a wreck – I knew a girl like that. She was a sloppy cleaner too. I on the other hand had a neat and tidy home until I had baby number 3. And it goes downhill from there on many a day now.


  10. That seems like a mighty high hourly rate for a cleaning lady. Mine charges $13/hour. Two of them come and clean my large house with 4 bathrooms in 2 1/2 hours. $65 for clean house. Best investment ever made.


  11. I’m with Judy…I love clutter too much, too, tho it drives me crazy. I once was a cleaning lady, when my kids were little and in school. I cleaned the houses of several people in my church whenever I was needed…part-time and not every week, but the extra $50 came in handy when it was time to buy shoes for the kids or whatever. Boy, even without ‘snooping’, it’s amazing what you learn about other people’s lives. But one thing I was was discreet and I never talked about anything I saw or learned in anyone’s home. People trusted me, and word-of-mouth kept me busy. I cleaned houses without a speck of dust in them…I cleaned absolute MESSES! All in a day’s work. Back then, we ladies charged $10 per hour…I can’t imagine what the going rate is now.


  12. A cleaning lady who wouldn’t clean? she’s in the wrong business! I have a great cleaning lady, she comes every 3 weeks. She’s reasonable, she’s good and trustworthy. The good ones ARE out there.
    I’m Lisa, btw, I found my way over from Kellans.


  13. The problem with picking up the clutter is, how would I know where it all goes? The person who owns the house would have to do it with me. That would be more of an organizational job, not a cleaning job. I consider cleaning to be discinfecting toilets, mopping floors, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning up cobwebs, sweeping, etc. BTW I live an hour south of Chicago, a bit of a drive for Oklahoma City. LOL


  14. Keep looking- not all cleaning ladies are this way. My mom cleans houses and has a very loyal customer base, they actually do what they can just to keep her. She is purely word of mouth and has more people calling than she can keep up with. She will do a first time walk through and discuss what they want done, what she can get done in that time and a set amount and what day works. She requires them to declutter and be out of the house when she comes- people get in the way and slow her down. Most people like this because it helps keep them organized and not fall behind week to week. She is efficient, picky and knows her stuff. She will tell people what kind of cleaning supplies work best, they purchase that kind. She has even been asked to pick out someones new vacuum- she likes that because she’s used so many different ones that she knows which work best and which have no suction…..anyways, hope your search goes better.


  15. Karen, would you consider relocating to Nebraska? lol My house is a disaster. Between having a chronic illness and a full time job – my house is a disaster. I feel like I can’t afford a cleaning lady. Besides the clutter in place would choke a horse!


  16. LOL I have helped pick out one of my customers new vacuums as well. Somebody mentoned nobody would to clean their house because it was an older farm house, yesterday I cleaned a farm house that is close to 100 years old. They have three dogs running around. LOL They are good people and I love cleaning for them. Good cleaning help is hard to find, but we are out there! I have become friends with all of the people I clean for. Also Mel, I cannot imagine walking into somebody’s house and not even attempting to clean it. That is rude, and very unprofessional. She could have at least tried to do as much as she could in that time period. Sorry you had such a bad experience.


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