Part-Time Job: House Cleaner

A convenient part-time job is working as a house cleaner. All it takes is a little experience and a few supplies.

Students and others who are looking for a part-time source of income might be interested in cleaning houses or other buildings. This type of work doesn't require special training and you won't need fancy work clothes. All it takes is a bit of know-how and the right supplies.

1. First take an inventory of your housecleaning knowledge. Make a list of the things you can do and the things you won't. For example, you may be fine with washing dishes, scrubbing floors, and dusting furniture. But you may draw the line at cleaning toilets and washing windows. Decide up front what you can manage and don't attempt things for which you lack skill or experience.

2. Set a price for your services. You may want to charge by the hour or by the task. Some maid services bill at least a half-day of service, even if the worker performs just two or three hours of service. Put your price in print so you have a ready reference when someone asks and so you don't make up a fee on the spot and regret it later.

3. Purchase the needed supplies. Shop for commercial-brand non-toxic cleaning products. You could make your own, but some people may not feel comfortable with your use of home-made products. Read all instructions carefully to avoid problems and never mix two or more products, which can create nasty reactions in the way of noxious fumes, skin irritation, or breathing problems. Use clean cloths and sturdy brooms, along with a lightweight vacuum and attachments. Buckets and other equipment will round out your inventory. Then get boxes for packing things economically in your car, taking into account that they will be wet when you're ready to leave a client's home.

4. Promote your business. Make a flier and hang copies on the community bulletin board. Print a blurb in the neighborhood newspaper. Post signs at the grocery store. Have business cards made up with your name, the name of your business (if any), your contact information, and a short list of the types of work you will do. Something about cost would be helpful. Distribute them at every opportunity, such as to bank tellers, store clerks, or co-workers with whom you discuss your part-time housecleaning job.

5. Keep good records. Even part-time work needs to be based on accurate accounting for tax purposes. Additional benefits are that you will court your customers' good will and may be able to contact people later to ask about providing additional services. Maintain client files, invoice records, and payment ledgers, along with deposit slips for the account that represents your business.

6. Provide quality work. Start with people you know, and be wary of entering the homes of strangers. You may want to take an assistant like your spouse or a teenager to discourage threats or advances from animals or humans. Do a great job, making the home or office look neat and clean, and you may be asked to come back.

Part-time cleaning work can help you maintain an independent schedule while earning extra income. Give some thought to this opportunity.

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