A Perspective on Professional Cleaners
From: Sharon Villines (sharonvillinesprodigy.net)
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 14:20:35 -0700 (MST)
(This is the calm version of my response to recent posts. The other 
one crashed my computer.)

I sense that many of us are talking about different animals here. I
though I would share some true examples of house-cleaners I hired in
New York City:

1. A well-educated WASP single mother who put her daughter though
private school cleaning apartments. She never missed a daughter's
school play or had to board her out on a school holiday or after
school. The daughter went with her mother or met her after school. She
made lunch and watched TV and did her homework.

2. A Russian woman who did not speak or care to speak English who put
her adored son through college, cleaning apartments. She cleaned for
one woman every morning for two hours and did one other apartment each

3. The Village Elves are dancers and actors who cleaned by day, doing
their exercises (physical and vocal) as they cleaned. They worked for
an agency so they could tour and someone else could cover for them.

4. A frustrated WASP interior designer who not only cleaned but
rearranged and decorated--with mixed results.

5. A Spanish-speaking second generation American man who cleaned
houses in the Bronx, driving from one house to another to transport
his professional quality equipment. He supported a family of 5. His
son was not quite old enough for college but was planning to go with
recommendations from several of his father's clients. His cleaning
schedule allowed him to coach his son's soccer team after school.

6. A designer and creator of handmade "architecturally correct"
dollhouses who started each day by cleaning one apartment and eating a
great lunch. Her clients gave her their keys, left the money on the
table, lunch in the fridge (great stuff she says), and loved coming
home to a spotless apartment.

$10 an hour is the standard rate with varying minimums usually $50 for
a studio apartment. A good person can earn $100 a day (usually off the
books) doing two studio apartments (basically two rooms) and gets two
weeks bonus at Christmas. They work as much or as little as they like
but can bring in $2,000 a month fairly easily with no clocks to punch.
If they don't like you, there is plenty of work elsewhere.

If I liked to clean, I wouldn't hesitate for a minute taking a
cleaning job. Particularly a common-house where I wouldn't have to be
so concerned with personal possessions. You meet great people who love
what you do for them and you make your own hours. And there are people
who adore dusting. I don't know why but they don't know why I like to
do research either.

Sharon Villines
MacGuffin Guide to Detective Fiction, http://www.macguffin.net
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC

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