House Cleaning

Humiliating job for an educated immigrant or a “fake it until you make it” job for a desperate non-immigrant.

As we all know, rich American families have less free time than ever to tend to house cleaning chores, but it becomes an overwhelming task if you don’t keep up with it. Then, friends & family come over to see what? A pile of dirt in a family of a well known doctor or an attorney. Prestige is prestige and so we need a cleaning lady now. The doctors and attorneys don’t clean, nor they cut grass, nor they do anything themselves. Doing anything themselves would break the status quo, OK? And so let the search for the help begin..

The search would be divided into two categories: Craigslist (where the “StatusQuo-ers” may have a choice of not paying for the service, or in the best case scenarios, pay very little and demand a lot), and another category is an actual company (insured, bonded and everything).

In the first category, the “StatusQuo-ers” know that the cleaning lady is probably an immigrant (legal or illegal), doesn’t speak the language, doesn’t know the rules of engagement, doesn’t know the system. At the end it is “her word against theirs”. Guess who wins? They will play her like a fiddle. They will load her with enormous amount of work & at the end …hm… there is a question.. to pay or not to pay? “She did look at my husband weird, Damn you, she is also so skinny! Did she wash my dress properly? Let me check.. Aha! She washed it in a regular cycle! My dress is not “regular”! Does she know that it costs more than her day of cleaning here?! I’m not paying her.. Where is that dress? Ok, I’ll replace it with the actually damaged one to show her.. There it is! Go back to where you came from, dumb girl!”

In the second category, things are not so bad overall. The company will hire a cleaning lady, will pay her $7.50 per hour (minus taxes, of course) and so there it is- work lady, work!

My advice, and consider it to be a legal advice (although, I’m not an attorney and breaking the laws here to provide anyone with a legal advice, but I will take the chance), if you are a legal immigrant or a desperate non-immigrant trying to make ends meet, follow these steps:

1. Go to an insurance company and pay $30 a month for a business insurance,

2. Build a decent website (similar to those that big companies have),

3. Advertise on free sites, such as Yelp, Craigslist, Yahoo Local, Google map, etc..,

4. Sign an agreement with a potential client (through your site or in person), to show that you are legally here and can openly provide your name for them to do your background check and so on,

4. Charge $30-$50 per hour of your work, provide them with invoice or start taking payments on your IPhone or an Android (with free PalPal payments, for example) right after completion of your work,

5. Don’t forget to be diligent about your job. It is Ok, if you clean their toilets. At the end, you are making way way more than the Doctor’s/Attorney’s or any other “StatusQue-ers” home maker will even be able to.

Respect yourself. Wear gloves when you work. Smile and have your IPod music on while cleaning. Be professional.


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