I am spoiled; I’ve had a cleaning service for the last several years. Upon moving down to Poulsbo, we used an online referral service to find a housecleaner and were matched up with a local business called Cathy’s Cleaning Crew.
Like many such services, they started out strong – high quality and reliable. Over the course of a couple of years, that changed.
In the last year, we struggled with both quality and reliability. One of my more important requirements is that the cleaner come on the day scheduled – not move it around in the week for their convenience. Last minute day changes began happening more and more often, and I instituted a policy of “come on your scheduled day – or don’t come at all.”
We also agreed at the start on a list of items to be cleaned every week, and others every month. The every week items slid to monthly, and the monthly were never done. I shouldn’t have to leave notes asking to have my dining room table dusted or my shower cleaned! When I was working at home, the quality was a little better; when I was traveling or over in the Seattle office it was abysmal.
In late December, the proprietress asked that we (along with all of her other customers) start prepaying for service monthly, on the first visit each month, to simplify accounting. I took exception to this because of the reliability problem; requiring them to come on their scheduled day to actually get paid is powerful leverage. Because searching for a new housekeeper is always a painful process, and this service was relatively inexpensive, I made the lazy decision to try the monthly payment.
It did not go well; unreliability continued to be an issue.
This month, they came the first week while I was in Anchorage, did the usual shoddy job and picked up their check. Last week, they called in sick. I was pretty cranky, told them not to come that day, and that I would no longer be prepaying. This week, they didn’t show and didn’t call.
We tried to contact them, and the number was disconnected – both home and cell. Email bounced. The online referral service told us that Cathy’s Cleaning Crew had stopped accepting new leads several months ago. The service is also attempting to track them down.
We are out the prepayment for 3 weeks of cleaning, and our provider appears to have left town.
Honestly – I have only my own stupidity to blame.
Note: usually I would not name names in a post like this. I’m making an exception here – if anyone ever googles Cathy’s Cleaning Crew, I want this post high among the results!