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Cleaning service vs. maids

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I'm starting a topic similar to one already going because, in the first place,  when I try to reply to the current discussion re Spring Clean, there's a glitch happening that quotes all the previous posts in that topic for some reason, but there's also some question about whether a cleaning service (in my case;Spring Clean) is or is not a preferable way to get a house cleaned and what's involved in making that choice..

When I lived in San Miguel Allende, I hired a maid, not knowing a thing about employer obligations.  My fault.  She came three mornings a week and did a good job.  That was probably more maid than I needed, but her wages were reasonable.  I paid her vacation.  As time went on, little loans were requested and family involvement happened to some extent. No real problems, but when we sold the house and terminated her, she went to the labor board and claimed that she'd been working there for a year before the house was built.  The claim was settled, but the experience was not one I wanted to repeat, so when we moved to lakeside and discovered Spring Clean, we knew this was more like what we wanted. No personal involvement with the ladies' families or their financial problems.  That's Letitia's department.  When I consider what is included with what we pay:  it's a screaming bargain, IMO.

I realize some people like being personally involved with their employees.  To each his/her own.  As a former business owner, I am very aware of the problems that can occur when the lines become blurred between "employee" and "friend".  That's what preferring a cleaning service to a personal employee is all about.  I suspect that having a cleaning service turns out to be less expensive in the long run.

 

 

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There are definite lines between me & my maid.  I don't consider her a friend and neither does she.  It's a business relationship only & she doesn't ask for loans or bring small children when she cleans and she loves my dogs.  After a couple of glitches with previous employees I found the right one.

There is no hard and fast rule about which is better.  It all depends on each person's situation.  I've also used Spring Clean for deep cleaning that my maid doesn't have the time to do weekly in 3 hours so I actually like both.

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Guest bennie2

expats create the bad situation IF they give loans or get involved personally. when gingals maid got personal, that was the time to let her go. pay the severence & move on. they would never cross that line w/a mexican employer. the cleaning service does sound like an option. i dont like them, they were here 2 times to clean fabric. awful job. last thing i want is different people nosing around inside on a regular basis. 

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12 minutes ago, bennie2 said:

expats create the bad situation IF they give loans or get involved personally. when gingals maid got personal, that was the time to let her go. pay the severence & move on. they would never cross that line w/a mexican employer. the cleaning service does sound like an option. i dont like them, they were here 2 times to clean fabric. awful job. last thing i want is different people nosing around inside on a regular basis. 

As I said: my ignorance; my fault.  However, there were no cleaning services in SMA at the time. If you don't want "different people nosing around inside" that leaves you with the choice of cleaning the house yourself, hiring a maid or just letting it go and moving when the mess gets waist high.;)

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My previous maid always wanted to borrow money and it became an issue. There were other problems that could no longer be ignored so I let her go and paid the severance. She's a nice lady but I couldn't handle the drama any longer. I have since learned my lesson to not befriend staff. 

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Have a maid who has been working for me for 4 years. We are not "friends", i.e. we don't see each other socially, but we do have some great conversations about tons of things. Sometimes I give her plants, or sometimes she brings me something. She has never, ever asked to borrow money. I do have friends whose gardeners or maids have asked to borrow money, which of course never gets paid back. One woman was asked by her maid's mother if she would loan her the $ to get some crucial dental work done. It was a sizable sum. My friend sat down with her and said that yes, she would loan her the money, but she needed to be perfectly clear that it was a loan, not a gift, that she (my friend) would need to be repaid when she returned in 6 months. The woman said she totally understood and not to worry. When my friend 6 months later asked for the repayment, the woman acted shocked. It was eventually repaid, but the maid, this woman's daughter, quit working for my friend.

IMO do not lend money to employees, unless you know for sure that they are in dire circumstances (they or an immediate family member just had an accident which requires medical care, for instance)  and want to help out, and then consider it a gift, not a loan. It is, generally speaking, a bad idea to get into a loaning money situation with employees. You are already giving them a job- it is disrespectful for them to ask you for loans, and reinforces the false idea that all gringos are rich and have plenty of cash to spare.

But as to the original post, I think it a matter of whatever you feel most comfortable with. After 4 years, my maid knows my place inside out and can whip through it once every 2 weeks for 4 hours and leave it sparkling. I can also see the appeal of a service, with no aguinaldo, vacation pay, or future severance pay to worry about.

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I have had the same lady through Spring clean for 3 1/2 years.  she has a routine and anything you want her to do extra, she will do on request, like clean the oven of fridge.  They even supply the cleaning rags so I don't have to wash them with my soap, water and electricity.  Works well for me.

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Guest bennie2

once a worker gets personal, the conversation should be over. dont call them back. no one ever asked me for a loan or has mentioned thier personal life. what is the big deal around here about having a house cleaned?

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If I had it to do over, I would go with a cleaning service. When I hired my present housekeeper, over ten years ago, I had no idea of the increasing financial obligations I would be taking on each year as her employer. I think that is true of many newbies who hire domestic employees. I also was unaware of any cleaning services here. By the time I became aware of all of those obligations, some of which increase annually, I just did not have the heart to terminate her. So, here I am, not anticipating ever terminating her, but wondering that if it is ever necessary, how will I be able to afford to do so on my budget and income? I try not to think about it. 

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Guest bennie2

i would have hired my maids kind of like i did w/gardeners. i rotated yard men & some others w/machines. there was no obligation. either i called them or they were working on the block that day. they could make some extra money raking leaves. for maids, i could have had several who wanted to work for me occassionally no strings attached. i did have 2 maids quit, they did not comeback for severence. i fired someone who worked for me almost fulltime (not cleaning) after 1 &1/2 years. she too never returned for severence. as for the maid i have now, she will want to be paid. i heard there was a law after 12 years they can quit & collect. 

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55 minutes ago, Al Berca said:

If I had it to do over, I would go with a cleaning service. When I hired my present housekeeper, over ten years ago, I had no idea of the increasing financial obligations I would be taking on each year as her employer. I think that is true of many newbies who hire domestic employees. I also was unaware of any cleaning services here. By the time I became aware of all of those obligations, some of which increase annually, I just did not have the heart to terminate her. So, here I am, not anticipating ever terminating her, but wondering that if it is ever necessary, how will I be able to afford to do so on my budget and income? I try not to think about it. 

You make some compelling points, and something to think about for both new people,  and others who may be considering hiring help as they get older. Depending on budget and income, it may well be financially impossible to terminate.  Then what?  I'd rather do my own cleaning, as I don't like having strangers in my house....can lead to problems...but if I had to, it would be a service. 

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3 minutes ago, bennie2 said:

i would have hired my maids kind of like i did w/gardeners. i rotated yard men & some others w/machines. there was no obligation. either i called them or they were working on the block that day. they could make some extra money raking leaves. for maids, i could have had several who wanted to work for me occassionally no strings attached. i did have 2 maids quit, they did not comeback for severence. i fired someone who worked for me almost fulltime (not cleaning) after 1 &1/2 years. she too never returned for severence. as for the maid i have now, she will want to be paid. i heard there was a law after 12 years they can quit & collect. 

I have heard that some people fire and rehire annually,  employees they are happy with. Another thing a lot of new people don't realise is that the employees come with the house. If the previous owner didn't terminate and pay all severance, the new owners could be in for a big surprise, especially if the employees had been there for years. Big expense! 

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3 hours ago, Saturn said:

I have heard that some people fire and rehire annually,  employees they are happy with. Another thing a lot of new people don't realise is that the employees come with the house. If the previous owner didn't terminate and pay all severance, the new owners could be in for a big surprise, especially if the employees had been there for years. Big expense! 

Your RE agent should have made sure all severance is paid at time of closing. The new owners are under no obligation to hire the previous employees. Nor to pay severance for someone who was not their employee.

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1 hour ago, pappysmarket said:

Your RE agent should have made sure all severance is paid at time of closing. The new owners are under no obligation to hire the previous employees. Nor to pay severance for someone who was not their employee.

And yes, the RE agent should tell the buyers, but that doesn't always happen. The new owners are not under any obligation to hire the employees of the seller. But if the seller didn't close off the employees, and pay them out, then yes, the buyer has to terminate and pay out. A good real estate agent will explain the ramifications to both parties. And then, of course, some people do a private sale.

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The notario, not the real estate agent, prepares the finiquito for all domestic employees when a home is sold. The employees are paid in full according to the law and sign documents indicating that. The new owners may hire any or all of those former employees, who then have a 30 day trial period during which they may be terminated by new owner without cause and no termination pay is due. If the 30 day trial period is completed and employees continue, they begin to accrue all rights from new owner as any new employee would.

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47 minutes ago, Al Berca said:

The notario, not the real estate agent, prepares the finiquito for all domestic employees when a home is sold. The employees are paid in full according to the law and sign documents indicating that. The new owners may hire any or all of those former employees, who then have a 30 day trial period during which they may be terminated by new owner without cause and no termination pay is due. If the 30 day trial period is completed and employees continue, they begin to accrue all rights from new owner as any new employee would.

Spot on Al. If the Notario fails to make sure this is done they will have to pay it, not the buyers. The RE agent for the buyer should be making sure it is done, not actually doing it themselves.

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Real estate agents work for the seller who listed the house and will pay the commissions.  The agent‘s loyalty is to the seller and there are few required disclosures in Mexico.  A buyer may occasionally hire someone as a buyer‘s agent to search for a property, but that is rather rare.

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Guest bennie2

saturn, i did not "fire & rehire"- my garden/yard help was "occassionalmente". when my neighbor had her leaves raked, i asked the man to do mine after. i also had someone who worked for floresta who would come over when he was done working his regular job. (call him on his cell). he started raking leaves, later he would borrowed a machine to cut grass. he also would help w/repairs. what was great about this was that he liked to come on holidays, late afternoons, even sunday evenings. he also did my roof. except for the roof, he never had a set price. whatever i gave him was fine. he worked for me for several years. it could be 2-4 xs in a month & then i couldnt reach him. he didnt work for expats. he also would drive me to superlake after the garden & he made extra $. i would have used his wife & 2 other older ladies to clean IF i knew better. 1)

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1 hour ago, RVGRINGO said:

Real estate agents work for the seller who listed the house and will pay the commissions.  The agent‘s loyalty is to the seller and there are few required disclosures in Mexico.  A buyer may occasionally hire someone as a buyer‘s agent to search for a property, but that is rather rare.

In my experience, whether it's a "buyer's agent" or a "seller's agent", as soon as a halfway reasonable offer is made, THEY'RE ALL working to get the deal done.

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Guest bennie2

saturn, the problem w/elderly expats is that many mexican workers take advantage. they would bring them to court even if they were there 2 days. there are lawyers here who specialize in this. they have many maids together as clients. they go to court & take 60% of the $ paid. dont know if this is still going on, but it was 10 years back. my mex friends father was a lawyer. 2)

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23 minutes ago, bennie2 said:

saturn, i did not "fire & rehire"- my garden/yard help was "occassionalmente". when my neighbor had her leaves raked, i asked the man to do mine after. i also had someone who worked for floresta who would come over when he was done working his regular job. (call him on his cell). he started raking leaves, later he would borrowed a machine to cut grass. he also would help w/repairs. what was great about this was that he liked to come on holidays, late afternoons, even sunday evenings. he also did my roof. except for the roof, he never had a set price. whatever i gave him was fine. he worked for me for several years. it could be 2-4 xs in a month & then i couldnt reach him. he didnt work for expats. he also would drive me to superlake after the garden & he made extra $. i would have used his wife & 2 other older ladies to clean IF i knew better. 1)

He worked for you & you're an elderly expat like most of the rest of us.  How do you know?

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Guest bennie2

how do i know what???? that was several years ago, hello!! i have run into him many times since then. he has taken me shopping untill one year ago. now he cant because he has a job where he works all night. i see him when he walks his dogs. im the only expat he has worked for ever. dont know the reason. maybe no one asked him.

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6 hours ago, RVGRINGO said:

Real estate agents work for the seller who listed the house and will pay the commissions.  The agent‘s loyalty is to the seller and there are few required disclosures in Mexico.  A buyer may occasionally hire someone as a buyer‘s agent to search for a property, but that is rather rare.

Very true but many if not most buyers have their own agent who should also be at the closing. If not using your own agent I would strongly suggest having your attorney there to help you stay out of trouble. We made 5 purchaes and 5 sales and our attorney was always at the closings. Good thing on one of them when buyer and seller had same last names! They had everything screwed up.

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