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How to give feedback to your cleaner

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If you have a cleaner, you know that from time to time things aren’t done how you’d like. So if you’re not happy with your cleaning service, it’s time to learn how to give feedback to your cleaner.

Don’t fret. Many people dread having awkward conversations. But think of it as business. It’s simply about calmly and clearly specifying what you do and don’t like.

When you know how to give feedback to your cleaner, you both get a better outcome. You get the improvement you need and the cleaner gets the clarity on how to make you happy.

So, really, it’s a win-win situation.

Start by clarifying expectations of your cleaner

Is it possible that the cleaner doesn’t know exactly what is required? Often problems arise because the communication between you and the cleaner are not clear.

So the first step is always to clarify exactly what you expect to be done during your cleaner’s appointment. It’s also helpful to get feedback from the cleaner at this stage. Is there anything the cleaner needs to share? Perhaps a task takes longer than expected so they are cutting corners to get everything done on time. Or perhaps they aren’t sure what the priorities are.

What if I don’t see the cleaner?

As most people who hire professional cleaners are busy working, it’s often the case that you don’t see the cleaner. But you can always arrange a time to have a phone call to discuss your requirements. Give the cleaner advance notice that you’d like to chat about their service.

It’s particularly difficult when you aren’t there to know exactly what your cleaner has done during the visit. There is an element of trust.

If you’re not home, you can leave written instructions and a priority list for the cleaner to focus on during the allocated cleaning time.

When the cleaner is letting you down

Once you’ve taken steps to clarify your expectations of your cleaner, you will hopefully find standards improving. But if you’re still not happy, it’s time to take on giving your cleaner feedback.

We suggest following this approach:

  • Organise a time to chat to the cleaner, either face to face or via the phone. The benefit of a face-to-face discussion is that you can show the cleaner directly what you are not happy with – such as corners being cut in the mopping, or missing important duties.
  • Remember people are human and make mistakes from time to time, so be firm but kind in your feedback.
  • Stay calm, don’t get angry or nasty – the cleaner is entitled to feel safe in their workplace.
  • Clearly and calmly outline what improvements you expect. For example, arriving on time, cleaning in hard to reach corners, etc.
  • Invite the cleaner to respond to your comments and explain their point of view.
  • If you wish, you can also suggest having a chat after your next clean to see if the changes have worked and if you are both happy to continue the current arrangement.
  • If your complaint is serious, explain that if the poor standards continue you will be forced to terminate their services and find someone else.
  • Follow up in writing with the cleaner, taking a note of the discussion, the outcomes agreed and what you expect to happen next.

If you use an agency like us, you can contact a team manager to resolve the issue on your behalf. You can also request a different cleaner if you don’t believe you and your cleaner are a good match. Sometimes it’s as simple as trying someone different to find what you are looking for in the service.

It all sounds rather formal, but the key is clarity. Simple instructions help the cleaner understand that you are not happy and exactly what needs to change to turn things around. When this happens, you have a much better chance of getting the outcome you want.

Understand that the cleaner may take things personally

Hopefully, they will be professional about it and take it constructively as a chance to improve. But we are all human, and no one likes getting bad feedback. They may be shocked to hear your complaints, or just offended to be criticised. They might have an explanation, or feel that your criticism is unfair. So it’s useful to give them a chance to respond, to see if they agree with your feedback, or feel that it is unreasonable. If they do feel you are being unfair, then have a discussion about why so you can understand their point of view better.

Some common mistakes when giving feedback to your cleaner

  • talking too much : let the cleaner join the conversation and respond to your concerns.
  • avoiding a face-to-face discussion : it really is better to go through this in person at your home, so you can show the cleaner examples of what you’re not happy with.
  • not asking for recommendations : ask the cleaner what they think would be a good solution to the problem.
  • being too aggressive : it is a two-way relationship and neither party wants to feel intimidated or devalued
  • not using ‘I’ statements : using ‘you’ statements like ‘you never clean the sink properly’ is accusatory. Instead, Mindtools suggest focusing on your perspective of the situation, by saying ‘I notice that you skip cleaning the sink’.
  • making unfair assumptions or not knowing the facts: an unfair accusation will seriously damage the relationship and you could find yourself without a fantastic cleaner. So get your facts straight before you provide feedback.
  • not following up : always take a record of your conversation and share it with your cleaner so you can refer back to it later if necessary. It also helps make your feedback super clear, giving the cleaner the best possible chance to turn things around.

When you hire a cleaner through an agency

This makes life a bit easier. When you use a house cleaning service like Absolute Domestics, you can simply contact your coordinators. However, we still recommend giving your cleaner a chance to improve first. But if you’d rather skip that awkward step and just change cleaners, it only takes a phone call to make it happen.

Preventing recurrence: focus on building a better relationship with your cleaner

We all like appreciation. Sure, your cleaner is getting paid to clean, and should be happy with that. Everyone likes praise for a job well done, because it feels pretty good! You can show your appreciation in little ways, from time to time:

  • send a text thanking them
  • offer them little tokens of your appreciation, like flowers, wine or chocolate
  • make an effort to get to know them as a person, and show interest in their life

Of course, you don’t need to send flowers and chocolates each week and chat about life during every visit. Keep your gestures of thanks reasonable and fair, so you are not adding more jobs to your mental load.

Investing in the relationship with your cleaner pays off, because you enjoy more loyalty and better customer service from your cleaner. Plus, it’s a nice thing to do as a good human!

To recap, how to give your cleaner feedback:

  1. Clarify your expectations with them first
  2. If you are still not happy, have a face-to-face chat
  3. Clearly and calmly explain your complaint
  4. State your expectations – what you want to see happening from now on
  5. Invite the cleaner to respond with any feedback for you
  6. Follow up the conversation with a written record of your conversation
  7. Treat it like a simple, calm and brief business discussion – because it is!
  8. Don’t put it off because you feel awkward
  9. Be kind, don’t get nasty
  10. Work on improving your relationship with your cleaner, which makes it easier to give feedback in future

If you’re unhappy with your cleaner, give us a try

Get a quote in sixty seconds with our easy cleaning quote calculator. Simply tell us where you live and the type of cleaning you need and we’ll do the rest. You could be welcoming a new cleaner to your home as early as next week!


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About the author

Madisson Dillon

Madisson is a Communications Writer at Absolute Domestics – Australia’s Largest Agency for Domestic Cleaners, and an authority in the home services industry for over three decades.

Madisson plays a pivotal role in writing content for comprehensive contractor training programs and facilitating successful contractor referrals to a diverse clientele.

Her deep understanding of the domestic cleaning industry's dynamics, coupled with a commitment to excellence in service delivery, positions Madisson as an expert in the field.

Read more from Madisson Dillon