Questions to Ask When Hiring a Professional Organizer
There are many things to consider when hiring a Professional Organizer. First and foremost, you want to make sure that they are a good fit for you. Geralin Thomas CPO-CD a Professional Organizer and owner of Metropolitan Organizing in North Carolina explains some questions you may want to ask when hiring an organizer...
Look for someone who is diplomatic, empathetic, willing to listen, non-judgmental, creative, patient, and trustworthy. Also, look for a professional organizer who is involved a professional organization like the National Association of Professional Organizers in the USA (www.napo.net/referral) the Professional Organizers in Canada (http://www.organizersincanada.com) or the Australian Association of Professional Organizers in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong (www.aapo.org.au/.) Note that in Australia, the word “Organise” is spelled with s, not z.
In addition, many states have their own local chapter(s). For example, in my home state of North Carolina, the local chapter website is: www.naponc.org. Google, “professional organizer + your state” to see if there is a chapter near you.
Below is a menu of questions to chose from when hiring an organizer:
1. What are your areas of expertise? (Some possible answers may include: garages, clients with ADHD, time management, wardrobes and closets, financial matters, computer-related challenges, speaking, coaching, writing, estates, downsizing for seniors, home staging, relocation, etc.)
2. Are you certified? Insured? (Certification is optional and not required. NAPO has many well-qualified organizers that are not certified for a variety of reasons.)
3. Do you attend conferences or tele-classes and stay abreast of current trends and techniques?
4. Do you have local references?
5. Do you belong to any professional organizations? (I would not hire a professional organizer who is not involved in some type of professional group or organization. To me, a professional affiliation demonstrates not only a commitment to her field but an additional way to check her/him out among other business-minded individuals.)
6. How long have you been in business? How many clients / hours have you worked?
7. What hours do you work? What days of the week are you available? (Make sure that this person’s availability is a good match for your availability.)
8. Do you bring the necessary supplies, or do I purchase them separately?
9. If you purchase supplies or materials at a discount, do you charge an “up charge” or an hourly shopping fee?
10. Do you make arrangements to take away donations, consignments, and trash? If so, do you charge a fee for this service?
11. Do you work alone or do you have a team of employees or subcontractors, if necessary?
12. Do you have advertising on your car? (Ask this only if you do not want co-workers or neighbors to know you are hiring a professional organizer.)
13. Do you take photographs? Will they be on your website?
14. What is your cancellation policy?
15. How do you charge? Of course, I don’t need to tell you to inquire about fees but there are many options available, including hourly, by the project, or bulk rates. There may be a minimum number of hours required per booking too so ask about that.
Note: Professional Organizers are not housekeepers, therapists, decorators, or nurses unless they specifically tell you that their credentials include these jobs in addition to being a PO. According to NAPO, a professional organizer:
. . . enhances the lives of clients by designing systems and processes using organizing principles and through transferring organizing skills. A professional organizer also educates the public on organizing solutions and the resulting benefits. Professional organizers help individuals and businesses take control of their surroundings, their time, their paper, and their systems for life.
If you have ADHD or any other type of chronic organizing challenge the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization is the place to find a qualified organizer: http://www.nsgcd.org/certification/graduates.php
Written by Geralin Thomas CPO-CD who is experienced in both residential and home office organizing. Geralin works with homeowners, designers, builders, architects, and businesses creating organized environments and enhancing client's lives. Her business Metropolitan Organizing is located in Cary, NC and can be found at: http://www.MetropolitanOrganizing.com.