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Home Help Advice

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 26 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Home Help Advice Employing Contract Help

For many people these days, they are often so busy trying to juggle their busy lifestyles with work, family and other commitments, that they’ll often choose (or have to resort to) getting in some outside help. It may be to help with maintaining the garden, a window cleaner, a childminder or an au pair, for example.

Then in other instances, it may be that you have to hire in help to undertake a specific job you’re unable to tackle yourself – a builder or plumber would be good examples. And, whilst all of the external help you may require on either a regular or ad-hoc basis might perform entirely different roles as outlined above, the way you should go about hiring help will be quite similar whatever the role is. You’ll want to try to ensure that you get the most professional person for the job whose reputation and quality of workmanship goes unquestioned, as does their character in regards to issues such as trustworthiness, honesty and integrity.

Professional Bodies and Specialist Recruitment Agencies
Often, people will try to source a person to help out at home simply by placing an advert on a notice board, in a newspaper or on a website or they might consult their Yellow Pages or local Thomson’s directory. The problem is that with any of these methods can we really be sure that the person we are contacting or those who have made contact with us as a result of our advert are genuine, are who they say they are and do they have the proper credentials to do the job we are looking to hire them for?

A better way to ascertain all of those things is to contact the professional body or organisation to which they belong. If they don’t belong to any affiliated organisation, begin to start questioning why and to find out more about them, whether they have built up a solid reputation, what they have been involved with doing previously etc.

Alternatively, many jobs these days for self-employed people who carry out work around the home will have specialist recruitment agencies working to place them in such positions. And, although it may cost you a little extra, the agency will have done all of the vetting and background checks so you don’t have to, so you can usually rest assured that the shortlist of people they present you with will have been thoroughly checked out to ensure that they are suitable.

References
If the person does not belong to either of the above, ask them if they can provide you with references or testimonies as to their previous work. Don’t just trust them with names and phone numbers. Ask if you can go and visit a particular completed project – in the case of someone like a builder or gardener, for example and if they’re a nanny, au pair or childminder, ask if you can meet with a family they have worked for previously.

Qualifications
If the person you are hiring states that they hold the correct qualifications to do the job, ask to see those qualifications before you offer them the job and don’t just take their word that they are genuine. Contact the awarding body to verify that the qualification is genuine and make sure that you establish the identity of the person who is carrying out the job and that their identity and qualifications both match up.

Criminal Background Checks
Particularly in the case of people you are considering hiring who will be working or dealing with children or in a caring capacity for a mentally or physically disabled or elderly person, or if you are offering them a live in position, you need to ensure that you obtain a relevant criminal background check, often referred to as a ‘CRB check’ so that you don’t put vulnerable members of your household at undue risk.

Recommendations
Some of the best people you’ll get to provide you with some kind of home help will result from personal recommendations from your own friends and family. Before you hire anybody, think if there’s anybody you know who might have, at one time, used the same skill or service as you now need and ask them if they can recommend anybody for the job.

Agreeing a Contract
In some instances, people who work as gardeners or windows cleaners or who do the odd babysitting job have very informal working arrangements with those who are hiring them. However, where a substantial sum of money might be involved or if you’d just feel more secure by doing so, you should have a legally binding contract drawn up between you and the person(s) you are hiring which you both agree to and sign.

Most reputable people who work in some kind of capacity in another person’s home will fully understand your need to thoroughly check out their backgrounds and your'll need to verify their identity and qualifications and to also establish that they are the right person to hire and they won’t question your motives.

In fact, it’s by having a good reputation and potential customers’ or clients’ desires to weed out the ‘undesirables’ that makes them even more successful in carrying out their work professionally and in getting more offers of work. However, if you do come across a service provider who seems reluctant to divulge the information you’re seeking, you’d be better off saying ‘thanks but no thanks’ and finding someone who doesn’t have a problem with that. When it’s your own finances and personal safety which could be at stake, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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