As people feel the freedom to leave their homes once again to rejoin the outside world, so too they are allowing others, such as home cleaners and artisans, to come into their homes once more. The recent fears of Covid entering our homes have been replaced by the usual worries of safety and security when letting strangers into our houses.
Nigeria’s high levels of petty and violent crime have created a general feeling of mistrust among the public about allowing people you don’t know into your home. Such concerns aren’t unwarranted. Statista states that Nigeria has recently been included among the countries with the least peace in the world, according to the Global Peace Index, with Lagos the most affected state in terms of the number of crimes. Crimes against property are among the highest types of offences reported to the police, with most property offence cases related to theft and stealing in general, cheating and fraud, as well as false pretences.
Keeping your family and property safe when hiring service professionals to fix broken appliances and domestic workers to do home cleaning is therefore important. Here are valuable guidelines in doing so:
Use companies you trust
Personal recommendations work well, but there are times when no-one you know can, for example, vouch for a repairman to fix your fridge. Do some research online to find suitable companies and look at any reviews so that you can establish their legitimacy and quality of service. If need be, you can ask the company for references.
Don’t be afraid to ask the company questions about any areas of concern that you may have – you need to feel comfortable letting them in your house. Find out who will be arriving to do the work, and what processes they follow during their work process. Arrange a time that will suit you, and make sure that all costs are clearly outlined upfront.
Vet people coming into your home
It makes sense to use companies who verify the trustworthiness of their workers as running criminal checks is not something most of us feel comfortable doing, or even know how to do. Recognising that this is a particular challenge for people wanting to hire a domestic worker, a new company called SweepSouth has launched a service that offers trustworthy, pre-vetted home cleaners.
“Trust, safety, and security is at the forefront of every decision we make,” says Awazi Angbalaga, Country Manager for SweepSouth. “We understand that trust and peace of mind are imperative to clients, which is why we take every precaution possible to ensure that SweepStars (the cleaners on their platform) are honest and trustworthy.”
It’s vital for SweepSouth that anyone using their service feels safe and comfortable doing so, so their vetting protocol includes criminal and reference checks, as well as getting constant feedback from clients, says Angbalaga.
“We thoroughly vet the people who apply to work via our platform through a reliable verification partner, who provides us with an indepth status report for each applicant confirming that the information provided to us is accurate and in fact traceable to a person. In addition, All potential SweepStars are required to have working experience and references, whom we contact,” she adds
Be responsible about precious belongings
Be sure to keep valuable belongings in a safe place if someone is coming into your home to do repairs. Money, jewellery, electronics and expensive medications can all be placed out of sight, and taken out again after the repair work has been done. If you don’t have a detailed inventory of precious items or important documents like passports, at least be aware of where you are storing them.
Have your own safety protocols
It may feel uncomfortable thinking about crime taking place in your own home, but do have a talk to your family members about safety and security protocols, so that everyone knows exactly what to do in case of an emergency, and have the numbers of your local police services on display.
Your safety, and that of your family, begins with you having your own situational awareness. Making an effort to cut down on potential risk factors, and using companies that you trust, will go a long way to ensuring that you have peace of mind.