Earlier in the month of April, NPR reported police officers were dispatched to a home where a frantic call came from an individual who said there was a burglar locked in they’re bathroom. The situation became very tense as it sounded as if the burglar was getting louder and trying to escape the room. The officers called out to the person in the bathroom, stating they were sending in a dog, there was no response which is unusual as that usually elicits a surrender but eventually it was discovered that the would be intruder was a robot vacuum, a Roomba. The 9-1-1 caller felt awful but the police department has had good chuckle over it at the caller’s expense.
Back in 2010, Paula Deen’s housekeeper was charged with stealing $100,000 worth of jewelry from her home. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison. And recently there was an incident that sounds very familiar as was reported by Tim Cook, Security Director at the Landings, “A few loyal readers will recall that in May we mentioned a theft from a resident’s home that involved a painter. In August, another theft occurred at a residence on Pepper Bush Circle. The victim was tipped off by a missing check, which subsequently was cashed by his housekeeper. Upon reporting this forgery to CCPD, Detective Corporal T. Slayden was assigned to the case and successfully tracked several items that the housekeeper and her accomplice had pawned … approximately $100,000 in jewelry. When I interviewed the victim, he stated, “99% of the people working on the island are not criminals, and I never thought my housekeeper was one of the criminals.” Unfortunately, I hear similar statements all too often. Pursuant to public records, CCPD confirmed Bonnie Ann Tidwell and David Eugene Wiggins were charged with this crime. However, please keep in the forefront of your mind that persons charged with any crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The resident was extremely impressed with CCPD Officers who were able to retrieve about 90% of the stolen property. A background check might have prevented this crime, as the housekeeper had a police record for theft.”
All of these incidents have one thing in common, a whole lot of trouble, and all these victims had just wanted their homes to get cleaned. Whether you hire a robot or an individual housekeeper you are potentially putting you and your home in a dangerous situation. The reasons it’s dangerous to hire underground housekeepers is because of tax liability, insurance liability, and background liability.
As the CEO of my company I’ve handed over many of the day to day operations of my business to others but one place I’m very involved in is the hiring. At Hubbard’s Maid Service we comb through resumes looking for people that have long term work history. I then interview each potential applicant. If we proceed to hire they must provide their drivers license, social security number, and proof of vehicle insurance. We then make them take a drug test the very day they interview. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve met the most respectable, sweetest, presentable people that cannot pass a drug test. It has made me learn you cannot trust ANYBODY, just by looking at them or talking to them, even a church going homeschool Mom, that they are going to pass that drug test. If they don’t pass, we don’t hire. Next, we do a thorough criminal background check. The first week they train with our training manager one on one so the training manager can get a sense of what type of person this new hire is. After a week of training closely with our managers, they usually clean my home first. So by the time they get to any of our clients homes, we’ve done some thorough screenings of who these people are. No system is perfect but at least we have one and it’s a good one. Thinking you can save money by hiring your friend’s housecleaner who heard about that person from another friend could be a recipe for disaster.
Another reason not to hire a personal housekeeper is because that person will be considered your employee by the IRS. You are responsible for paying taxes for these cleaners. Now I’m not saying that this WILL happen but it did happen to Andrew Puzder, the man Trump had nominated for Secretary of Labor back in 2017. He ended up withdrawing his nomination, and he had employed an illegal immigrant as a housekeeper and ended up having to pay back taxes to the IRS and California state taxes too, as was reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Another reason not to hire an underground cleaner is that if they get injured in your home, you might be responsible financially. Homeowners insurance doesn’t necessarily cover domestic employees who are injured on your property. Hiring from an agency such as ours, Hubbard’s Maid Service, we have general liability insurance as well as Workman’s Comp. One insurance agent in Washington D.C., who sells Workmans Comp had a client who learned the hard way, according to the Washington Post, “He had watered the lawn one weekend and left the hose curled up by the trash cans,” (the insurance agent said). “His maid came that Monday, went to take out the trash, tripped over the hose and broke her wrist. She filed for permanent partial disability. . . . He has to pay her $150 a week for the rest of her life.”
This is a sobering incident and things do happen, that’s why we all pay for insurance in general. If you do have an individual housekeeper make sure that you are protected.
Hiring a professional cleaning company might initially appear like a luxury you can’t afford but most professional companies are more affordable than you think and you are paying for protection, protection from being a tax collector, protection from being responsible for catastrophic injuries, and protection from theft and damage to your home. In the end you just want to get your home cleaned, your not wanting to cause yourself more problems. Make sure you are protected and you know the people who are working in your home and if you want to give Hubbard’s Maid Service a try we’re licensed and insured, and we know how to clean, problems solved!