What to ask when interviewing a professional organizer?
- What are your areas of expertise? (Some possible answers may include: clients with ADHD, time management, wardrobes and closets, financial matters, computer-related challenges, speaking, coaching, writing, home staging, relocation, etc.)
- Are you certified? (both nsgcd.org and napo.net offer two [different] types of certification).
- Are you insured?
- Do you attend conferences or tele-classes and stay abreast of current trends and techniques?
- Do you have local references? (You will want to know if your potential organizer has repeat clients who hire her again and again and have a history of working together with her.)
- 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 another way to check her out among other business-minded individuals.)
- How long have you been in business?
- 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.)
- Do you bring the necessary supplies, or do I purchase them separately?
- If you purchase supplies or materials at a discount, do you charge an "up charge" or an hourly shopping fee?
- Do you make arrangements to take away any donations, consignments, and trash? If so, do you charge a fee for this service?
- Do you work alone or do you have a team of employees or subcontractors, if necessary?
- 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.)
- Do you take photographs on my property (or, at my business)? (Again, if privacy is a concern, a professional organizer who takes photographs may not be the one for you.)
- What is your fee & how do you charge? (Of course, I don't need to tell you to inquire about fees! Many options may be available, including hourly, by-the-project, or bulk rates. Don't forget to ask about cancellation fees, whether a minimum number of hours is required per booking, consultation fees, etc.)
What to look for in a professional organizer
Be sure to look for someone who is diplomatic, empathetic, willing to listen, non-judgmental, creative, patient, and trustworthy. Also, look for a truly professional organizer who is involved in NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers in the USA or, for our northern neighbors, Professional Organizers in Canada. In addition, many states have their own chapter(s).
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."
Finally, please remember that 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 professional organizer.
Best of luck finding the professional organizer who best suits your needs!