"Cleaning lady" conjures up a specific image in the minds of many people but old-fashioned stereotypes are far from being the reality today. The first point to remember is that modern cleaning staff are just as likely to be male as well as female – the maintenance of a clean, tidy and efficient home is no longer seen as an exclusively female preserve. It is often the case that cleaners today make a good living out of cleaning as a full-time job, rather than using it as a stop-gap to pay the bills, as it were. Today's cleaners are dedicated, highly-trained professionals who are capable of coping with even the most demanding cleaning jobs. Many will bring their own high-tech and top-of-the-range equipment for difficult or specialised tasks – some clients looking to hire specialist equipment, such as steam-cleaners or floor polishers, often find that it is easier, cheaper and more efficient to simply employ a cleaning services professional to carry out the task itself, bringing their own tools (and expertise) to the job.

No matter how big or how small your cleaning needs, it is not hard to find a cleaning company or self-employed home cleaning lady who will be able to help. Whether you run a large company with multiple locations and offices that need intensive daily cleaning, or whether you are simply looking for someone to "run a duster" over your one-bedroom flat once a week, the right cleaner for you will be out there somewhere! Search online directories and newspaper adverts, and ask around amongst local friends or businesses. Some cleaning services companies are much more suited to large-scale jobs than others, so do not make the mistake of employing a one-man-band, as it were, to cover an unrealistic number of locations full-time 5 days a week. A small company may be willing to take on a contract simply because they are reluctant to turn work down, but be realistic about the services that smaller cleaning companies can offer – they are far more suited to cleaning contracts such as private households, residential homes and small-scale holiday accommodation cleaning, for example.

Set up meetings with any prospective cleaning lady candidates and don't be afraid to ask questions about how they would clean specific areas or items, or to enquire as to what they would do in an emergency situation – you need to feel confident that this company can meet your standards and provide the service you deserve.

It is worth noting that a real advantage of employing a cleaning lady in your home and business can be that of having the most up-to-date and specialist cleaning techniques, tools and processes used in your home, without you ever having to master them yourself. Many people are perfectly capable of basic cleaning tasks such as vacuuming, dusting and laundry, but whether they are using the best available techniques and equipment is another matter. Having a cleaner or maid come in to perform such duties means that you are ensuring that the most appropriate and effective processes are being used within your home – you can even ask that your home cleaning lady adheres to such specific criteria such as eco-friendly products only or similar.