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Handy: A Total Waste of Time and Money

A toddler with a broom could do a better job

By Chelsea DelaneyPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
Handy: A Total Waste of Time and Money
Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

This article is for two types of people. The first, like me, are severely challenged in the housekeeping department. It still boggles my mind that after I dust, I have to dust again a week later. Why? I already did it. These folks will be desperate enough at one point to see the introductory rate for the first cleaning as it scrolls by them on social media and think, "Sure, why not."The second type are those who don't read the fine print before signing. We just click 'I agree' and hope for the best. Most of the time, we get lucky, other times we sign up for Handy.

No matter which group you're in, let me save you the time, money, and life energy: don't do it! It's not handy, not even a little bit. However, I respect you as a thinking being, so don't take my word for it. Consider my experiences of the last six months and judge for yourself.

Independent Contractors

In a gig economy, we've all heard that phrase before. However, we don't really expect it to mean independent of common sense. While the folks that came to clean--very rarely the same person--were nice enough humans, I'm pretty sure most of them had never cleaned a house before. Their oversights went from simple head scratchers to complete WTF moments.

I've had piles of dust left on the floor by the dust pan, like the rapture happened moments before they were about to finish sweeping. I've had dirty dishes put away in the cupboard, screens removed from windows and the windows left open, and stove racks left soaking in the kitchen sink. The worst was when one of their "professionals" left the closet door closed where my cat's litter box was. I came home to puddles of cat pee spreading across the bathroom floor.

Their response? A 'we're sorry' email and a 10$ credit on my next cleaning. I don't know about you, but minimum wage is 14$ an hour in California. If it takes me an hour and twenty minutes to clean cat pee off my floor at the end of the work day, I think I deserve at least 20$ for my trouble. Apparently though, that's not included in the Handy "Happiness Guarantee."


To their credit, they are pretty quick to respond to most emails. I would much prefer to talk to a person on the phone, but you can't do that unless you request it by email, there's simply no phone number to call them at. My millenial friends tell me to get over this, but I just can't. The emails they aren't quick at are the ones where you ask someone to call you to explain yet another cleaner error or dumb policy. I've waited up to two days to receive a phone call, and by this time so many service reps have responded to my email thread that I have no idea which human name to use when I pick up the phone. No one likes to talk to upset people, but a little tip for any Handy execs reading this: they are less upset the quicker you get to them.

Minimums but no Oversight

Handy has a three hour minimum rule per visit. While this is an expensive and unnecessary amount of time for my tiny, studio apartment, I figured it would be fine since I was only having someone come once a month. They would have plenty of time to really get in there and clean down to the bones. Wrong, wrong, everything with Handy, I realized I was wrong.

It was the third cleaning in my six month commitment when I just happened to be home one day during my service. Two hours in, the housekeeper came out to where I was working on the porch and said, "You wanna come give it a look?" Not sure why she wanted me to check on her progress, I came in and poked around. I made a suggestion or two and went back out to the porch. Ten minutes later she came out, fully packed up, and said, "Alright, all done. See you again next month hopefully."

I stammered weird goodbyes at her and went to email customer service. Did I get a refund for this third hour? Of course not, silly Chelsea, you are in the newest circle of hell, the one Dante didn't mention. At my next cleaning, I had a list of "extra" cleaning duties typed out. The lady who arrived this time was fine with accommodating me, but she confirmed that, yes, cleaners are allowed to leave before the three hours are up, if they are done. Which basically means I'd been throwing free money at the Handy platform for three straight months.

Cancellation Fee

They put it in the medium-sized print that you will incur a 99$ fee for cancelling before six months. I wasn't crazy about this before signing up, but it is a fairly easy promise to make when you haven't yet been a victim of their ineptitude. There were countless times I wanted to cancel, but I just kept holding on till that six month mark was done.

After my sixth monthly cleaning, I went to cancel, almost giddy with my soon-to-be relief. No deal. Wait, what? Why did they say I still owed another month before I could cancel without penalty? You lawyers out there guessed it--six calendar months, not six months worth of service. Thus, because of where I signed up on the calendar, I will need to have seven months of cleanings before my six month contract is officially up. I'm a huge fan of wordplay in non-consumer interactions, but the rage induced by this manipulative twist, makes my teeth hurt.

Buy Paper Plates

Thus, I'm about to go throw these folks another 99$. It is money I can scarcely afford after losing one of my many jobs, but at this point it is easier than having to deal with one more botched cleaning. After that, I think I'll give all my plates away and replace them with paper ones. Maybe I'll also cover my floors with Saran wrap and start showering at my next door neighbors. I can't get suckered in by a cleaning service if there's nothing at my place that needs cleaning, right? Here's hoping you fare better, but I wouldn't count on it.

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About the Creator

Chelsea Delaney

Life is weird, write about it, paint about it, dance about it, and sing about it too. Use every language in your arsenal to sculpt the world you want to live in. Writer, educator, artist, and creative midwife--this is what I do.

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