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The Growing Career Opportunities in the Maid and Housekeeping Industry

Aug 17, 2007
Way back, it was traditionally a woman's role to clean the home, but as more and more women have joined the work force, the time pressure on families with children has grown immeasurably, so paying someone to do the cleaning makes sense to time-pressured couples where both work, and are making a reasonable income.

Maids and housecleaners are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the establishment in which they work. The duties of maids/housecleaners range from light cleaning chores such as dusting to chores such as vacuuming, washing bathrooms, making beds, doing laundry and ironing sheets or clothes. Depending on the employer, additional duties may be required, such as sterilization of supplies and equipment in a hospital. Housecleaners work in establishments ranging from privately owned houses to large commercial buildings such as hotels or hospitals. In some countries, maids take on the role of a nurse in taking care of the elderly and people with disabilities. Maids are often expected to work at least fifteen hours per day. Many maids are required by their employers to wear a uniform.

Wages for a house clean help depend on the size of the residence, the number of people in the family, the hours required and experience.

A maid is generally a female employed in domestic service. Once part of an elaborate hierarchy in great houses, today the maid may be the only domestic worker that upper and even middle-income households can afford.

In hierarchical order, the types of maids in a large household are: head house-maid (or head housemaid), housemaids, chambermaids (also known as housemaids), nursery maids, kitchen maids, also between maid (hall girl in the US), scullery maids and lady's maid.

Outside of the normal hierarchy, the lady's maid was a senior servant who reported directly to the lady of the house, rather than to the housekeeper or butler.

A lady's maid is a female personal attendant who waits on the lady of the house. The position is somewhat analogous to a gentleman's valet, but not as high-ranking as a lady's companion, who is a retainer rather than a servant. The position is rare today and the few women who still perform this role often use the term dresser instead.

Traditionally, a lady's maid was expected to maintain her lady's wardrobe and accessories and be an expert needlewoman and hairdresser as well.

A chambermaid is a maid who cleans and cares for bedrooms.

Scullery maids are assistants to kitchen maids. Duties included the most physical and demanding tasks in the kitchen, such as cleaning of the floor, stoves, sinks, pots and dishes. Scullery maids would rarely have handled fine china, stemware, crystal or plate silver; these are cleaned by housemaids and footmen. The scullery maid reported (through the kitchen maid) to the cook or chef.

A kitchen maid is a junior female servant in a great house ranking below a cook and above a scullery maid. An experienced kitchen maid is an assistant cook; the position may be compared to that of a line cook in a professional kitchen. The kitchen maid reports to the head cook.

Nursery maids report to the nanny. Their duties include tidying and maintaining the nursery and other supportive chores.

A nanny is defined as "a child's nurse". The traditional nanny reported directly to the lady of the house. This role currently stands firmly as a sector of early childhood education.

Today, although many families employ part-time babysitters, fulltime nannies in the classic sense can only be afforded by upper-middle to upper class families. A nanny may perform tasks such as: providing childcare during the hours agreed upon with the employing family, Supporting the physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual development of children, protecting children from harm and ensuring that they have a safe environment, preparing appetizing and nutritionally-balanced meals and snacks, maintaining good communication with the parents, informing them of each child's development and concerns, maintaining the cleanliness and neatness of the house as affected by the children.

Male nannies do exist, though they often use a different name (child minder for example, or more recently manny).

A maid service is a relatively easy sort of business to start, because one needs little more than a phone and one or two workers to get started. However, to make the business really successful, one must plan appropriately and have sufficient capital for start-up costs and marketing, and be prepared to go through some relatively lean times at first, while you build up a clientele.

A maid service, also known as a residential cleaning service or home cleaning service is a business which provides cleaning services as a convenience to homeowners who do not have (or do not wish to spend) the time to clean their own homes. Maid services have become more common over the last 20 years or so, partly because of the rise in two-income families.

Although a maid service may be more expensive than simply hiring a part-time maid, it offers a number of advantages. First, a service will provide not only someone to do the cleaning, but also all of the necessary supplies. Second, in the United States, if you hire a maid directly, you are responsible for withholding social security taxes. Third, a maid service is, or should be, insured, and can be held accountable if something is stolen, whereas a private individual may be difficult to track down.

There are several large maid service franchises in the United States, such as MaidPro, Molly Maid and Merry Maids. There are also thousands of independent operators around the country. They are also becoming more prevalent in England, Australia, South Africa and elsewhere. There are also numerous companies supplying useful services to maid service companies - like training, marketing help and supplying management software.

There are now thousands of residential cleaning businesses throughout the United States and Canada. More spring up every year. Maid services are becoming more popular in other countries, too - perhaps a sign of a relatively well-off population or perhaps these businesses have sprung up just as the two-earner household has become the norm.
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Freelance writer for over eleven years.

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