There are several important qualities that we're looking for in a cleaner. One of the most important is finding someone that can communicate clearly and in a timely fashion. It's important to remember that a cleaner is often doing 3 houses in 1 day, and that it's not easy for them to stop and call in between doing all that work. We've found texting (SMS) to be invaluable. It's quicker than a call and has really improved our ability to communicate with our cleaners.
The best kind of cleaner is a combination of cleaner and friendly helpful neighbor. You need them to be your watchdog, paying attention to details. You also want someone that will be flexible, and be able to help out if a guest locks themselves out, or there is some other kind of emergency. In addition to cleaning they will be checking for supplies, and resupplying the property where necessary. You may need them to wait in the property for a repair service. Just remember that all these extra visits will generally come with a fee.
We've developed a list of Interview Questions for a Vacation Rental Cleaner that we use to find a suitable cleaner. They help us determine suitability, and define clearly what our expectations are. We also request and follow-up on all references. Whatever happens, try and keep track of other available cleaners in the area, and avoid burning bridges. You never know when you'll need a backup.