May 1, 2017

Cleaning lady in Munich (1/2)

Today I want to tell you about hiring a cleaning lady in Munich. Why? because to find the perfect one could be more painful than to find an affordable apartment in Munich. In this blog post I will tell you about my experience with some of the cleaning companies you will find online and I will also include some links to learn about the tax deduction you can claim if you hire cleaning services in Germany.



Let me start by saying that the cleaning ladies, maids, housekeepers, housecleaners... whatever you call them aren't expensive in Munich. The rates of some cleaning companies in Munich start at 16-18 EUR/ hr.


Back in 2015 I signed a contract with Karos Reinigung for a biweekly cleaning service of 3 hours. 

The previous tenant of my apartment used to work with them so when I moved in, I decided to try them. The rate was 16 EUR/ hr (plus VAT which in Germany is 19%). I provided all equipment and cleaning products.

Karos sent me a very young und unexperience lady who didn't speak any German or English, so we ended up communicating with Google images and finger pointing. She was cute and meant well but she had absolutely no idea how to clean a house. At the beginning I tried to helped her but 2 months into the job I complained. I complained again after 3 months and again after 4 months... Eventually after 6 months she started doing a good job and I was happy with her. But on January this year I ended the contract. Why? Simple: Karos has the worst customer service on the planet earth. 

They were usually rude and inefficient in processing requests or mistakes in the invoices. My experience (feeling) was that they deliberately ignored my emails and calls. They always responded with a month of delay. One day in January, when they were even ruder than usual I decided to end the contract.

After Karos my husband and I asked our friends and colleagues. Many have cleaning ladies. Many are very happy with them but of course: they are all fully booked and do not have time for another household.... That forced us to go to Google.


My second try while searching for the perfect cleaning lady took me to Deine Putzfee

This service is super simple and and super easy to book. Everything is online. You can sign up and book a cleaning lady & appointment within minutes. They make it so easy... the problem is that their online service is the only thing that is worth paying for. They sent me a lady whose only advantage was that could speak fluent German. This lady came in and started talking (mostly non-sense about how she emigrated to Germany 12 years ago)... and she talked non-stop for 10 mins. Then she took another 10 mins to put her hair up... on my lobby... while I was standing there listening to another 10 minutes of her story learning German when she first arrived in the country... So 20 mins into the appointment I finally got to show her the house and tell her what I wanted her to clean. 

Then she headed to the bathroom to start the cleaning and I went to the office hoping to do some work... 2 minutes later I heard her speaking again... she was speaking in her language to herself!! and even loud sometimes... I confess that at one point I was a little afraid and I wished I had checked her references before booking a completely stranger to come to my house online... She talked (loudly) in her language throughout the three hours of the cleaning appointment... after that she finally stopped and called me. She announced that the time was up (she only did 50% of what my previous cleaning lady used to do in the same time) and she handled me a tablet and point at the question: "happy with the cleaning?".

I was so unease and I wanted her to leave so much! that I clicked all good, forced a smile and quickly closed the door behind her. 

I will never ever hire anyone via this service again. I am unsure how they hire their employees but she was probably the worst (and most scary!) cleaning lady I've had in my life. I asked Deine Putzfee to even delete all my details from their database after paying the invoice. I never want to hear from them again. 

They charged me 81 EUR for three hours and I provided all equipment and cleaning products.



My third try will be with Happy Maids. This company has very good reviews online and I am very hopeful. The website is in German and English. They also have customer service in both languages. And my experience so far (booking the appointment) has been very good.

My first appointment will be in a couple of weeks so I will post my experience afterwards in Part 2 of "Cleaning Ladies in Munich".




In the meantime, let me also list a few companies that I have found and that I will try if Happy Maids doesn't work for me.




Then there is also HelplingMr. Cleaner and My Home Cleaner which are probably the most popular online and in Bavaria (or at least the ones that spend more on AdWords by Google). I don't know anyone using them, so if you have some opinion about them please comment below.



And last but not least here's a link to learn about the tax deduction that you can use if you hire cleaning services: 

http://www.finanztip.de/haushaltsnahe-dienstleistungen/ 

Unfortunately it is all in German. In English you can find some info in the following links:





Did you find this blog post useful? Then please comment below!


Related posts:
7 tips in how to search for an apartment in Munich
8 things I wished I knew before moving to Munich

September 28, 2016

Quality of Life Ranking (by Internations) - Germany

As many of you know: Internations.org is the largest Expat Network worldwide and the best help for all of us leaving our homes, traveling to the unknown and relocating to a new place.

I became an expat a week after leaving the Uni and since then, I have done five international relocations. I've lived and worked in four countries

Below you can see the official Internations Quality of Life Index 2016, where my country (Spain) ranked 4th place and my second home (Germany) ranked 9th.

For more information and details:

The full report in which Germany was positioned here:

I hope this information is useful. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or suggestions about the blog: myadventuresinmunich AT gmail DOT com.

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July 24, 2015

Summer in Munich: pools, Isar and 3 lakes



The German weather has very bad press worldwide. Most people think that is all rain, cold and gray clouds but these are just stereotypes. (Read here about other German misconceptions).

Munich doesn’t fit the stereotype; it is sunny and hot like any other city in the south of Europe. This year we’ve already reached temperatures over 35° Celsius (96° Fahrenheit) and we haven’t even started August yet! And yes, it rains sometimes but those summer showers are mostly a blessing because in Munich there is no air conditioning…

So what do locals do? They fight the hot summer with water!

Swimming pools in Munich


There are 8 outdoor pools in Munich. They open between 9.30am to 20pm and the entrance fee is around 4-5EUR. Sounds like a good plan? 

It is a great plan... for a family with kids but if you are looking for a quiet, relaxing day by the pool, sunbathing and taking occasional dips, then the outdoor pools in Munich are not a good choice for you.

The reason? They are overcrowded and conquered by kids. Firstly you wait 15 to 20 mins in line to access the facilities, then the real struggle begins: finding a free spot for your towel… if you’re lucky and find one, it is probably surrounded by a group of teenagers or a family with seven kids… and when you want to cool down and take a dip… then you’re risking your life because those teenagers have taken over the springboard and pool toboggan and they are splashing and dive bombing everywhere!

This is a photo of an empty pool in Munich. You will never see one.
This only happens before the school holidays, on a cloudy weekday at 9.30am...
the rest of the time all pools are overcrowded!

The Isar River


The riverbanks of the Isar are a great option to enjoy the summer in Munich. There are areas taken by the student community; popular spots for sunbathing, taking a dip or even barbecue and of course a few places where everyone is naked. Some are green areas, some have sand but there are beaches with small stones so plan accordingly.

The Flaucher and the Eisbach sidebanks are my favorites. This is an official video taken by the city Munich about what's going on in the Flaucher area.




Jump into the Eisbach, be swept along downstream, then take the tram back...
Did you think surfing in the river was crazy? This year I've learn that there is something crazier but also typical of Munich: jumping into the river and get swept along downstream until certain point, then get out, take the tram back and do it all over again! 

I don't think many people know about it because firstly it is not allowed (and therefore it's not openly promoted) and secondly it is sort of dangerous.

People jump into the Eisbach, well.. mostly teenagers, right after the surfing spot where the water adventure begins and goes for one kilometer until Tivoli Straße where they get out (somehow) and take the tram back. Here you can read more about it (in German sorry!)

Just remember if you decide to try it, it will be at your own risk, as the German sign alerts: “Baden verboten, Lebensgefahr” (Leben means life and Gefahr means danger, you get it, right?). 

Lakes around Munich


There are a number of lakes around Munich but the following three you can reach by train or car in less or just an hour. My favorites are:

Ammersee is the third largest lake in Bavaria. It’s located around 40 kilometers south west to Munich and it’s very easy to reach with the S-Bahn: line S8. The stop is called Herrsching which is the last one.

Activities:

Screen shot of the official site for the Ammersee region



Tegernsee is probably the most popular lake amongst the expat community in Munich. Why? Because of its amazing sandy beach. Tegernsee is located 50 kilometers south to Munich and is easy to reach by train with BOB (yes, BOB is the name of the train line that takes you to Tegernsee).
  
Activities:


Screen shot of the official site for Tegernsee


Starnberger See is the second largest lake in Bavaria and the closest one to Munich. Very easy to reach with the S-Bahn, line S6. There are three main S-Bahn stops along the lake where you can get off: Starnberg, Possenhofen or Tutzing.

Activities:
Screen shot of the official site for the Starnberger See

Which other lakes do you know around Munich? 


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