- paid holidays
- sick pay
- to depend on
- to fit in
- to leave
A person may be classed as self-employed if:
- they bid or provide quotes to secure work
- they decide when and how to do work
- they are responsible for their own tax and National Insurance
- they do not receive holiday or sick pay when unavailable for work
- they provide the main tools, equipment or materials that are needed to complete a job.
- You are the boss
- You can work any number of hours - it's up to you
An interview with Laura - a self-employed cleaner
Listen to the first part of the interview and then answer the questions.
Click on the question to see an answer
- Laura comes from Ecuador
- Three years
You can double click on any word to see its definition.
T So hello and thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. So can I start by asking your name?
L Yeah, my name is Laura.
T Laura- and where are you from, Laura?
L I am from Ecuador.
T Ecuador - And how long have you been in the UK?
L I’ve been in this country nearly three years.
T Three years – and what do you do in the UK?
L I’m working as a cleaner.
T OK – and did you do the same job in your home country in Ecuador?
L No, I left my country 13 years ago – I was living in Spain. I did the same job in Spain.
T Ah, OK – and it’s the same language?
T So, that’s good. Mm, so you’re a self-employed cleaner?
L Yeah, I’m self-employed.
T So how long have you been self-employed?
L Two years.
T And why did you want to be self-employed?
L Um, I can own my hours and can share my time with my family, my kids, my husband.
T Ah, that’s good. So you can do your hours around your family?
T Yeah, that’s really good. So did you receive any advice or help before becoming selfemployed?
L Um, in this country no – but I received in Spain, I know how this working, and…
T Ah, OK. And where do you work? Obviously in London – but where do you work?
L I work in Hornsey and in West London, Bow
T Is that west London or East London?
L East… East, sorry, East London
T Yeah, East London. And is it houses that you clean?
L Yeah, I clean the houses.
T Ah, OK. And is it the same as it was in Spain? Cleaning houses in Spain and London – is it the same?
L Um, the job is the same but the people is different.
T Different in a good or a bad way, or…
L Er… I like more the people in London than in Spain
T Oh, why’s this… why?
L Because the people is more… um… They trust me.
T Oh, OK…
L You know, they give me the keys, and I can go the house and clean, just in my own way and do my own job and in Spain different. The people all the time they stay at home.
T Oh, so they watch you, supervise you?
L Yeah… What I do…
L Oh, yeah, so no. So you prefer to do on your own. I think I would prefer that also. So, who would you say are your main clients or customers?
L Um, a woman and a house of a group of people who they share the house
T Oh, yeah.
L So there are four in this house. I clean just the common areas in the house, this one.
Now listen to the second part of the interview and then answer the questions.
- She can choose her own hours.
- They leave her a note telling her what to do in the house.
You can double click on any word to see its definition.
So, Laura. Can you tell me what happens in a typical day of your life?
L Um, a typical day… wake up, prepare my sons to go to school. I left them in the school and I go to work. I read the notes in the house if they left me notes and I do my work.
T So, they leave you notes sometimes, do they…?
L Sometime, yeah.
T What do they say in the notes?
L Er, sometimes to do the windows and sometimes to do the patio and things.
T So, instructions?
L Instructions, yeah.
T OK. So when you finish your job, what do you do then?
L Um, depends on the day. Sometimes I go to look the shopping around, and I go home and cooking the lunch and dinner, and after pick up my kids from the school and help them do their homework and…
T So, that’s good… the work fits in with your family life?
L Yeah, yeah.
T That’s really good. So, what do you like most about your work?
L Um, be my own boss.
T That’s nice isn’t it?
L Yeah. And have the time for my family, to be with my…hours.
T So, Laura, is there anything you don’t like about the job?
L Um, there’s not much I don’t like. Sometimes I find hard, hard work but, it’s most, the things I like than dislike.
T That’s good. And is there a difficult part of the job? Is there something you’d say was the most difficult, or challenging part of the job?
L The difficult part is sometimes when they left me notes, I can’t understand properly. The reading part. But now I got the English class to improve my reading
T Right, yeah. I can understand that. So, I’m going to ask you about the future now. Um, I don’t know if you’ve thought about the future, but where do you want to be in five years?
L Ah, in five years, I wish to have my own business.
T Ah, will you employ other cleaners?
L Yeah, maybe, I can do that… to have my own company, of cleaning.
T That would be wonderful!
T Oh, best of luck with that. And if somebody else, one of our listeners is thinking, or perhaps they are doing cleaning now or they are thinking of cleaning, is there any advice you could give to them about being a self-employed cleaner?
L The advice I can give is, the best way to share the time with the family and you be your own boss and you can work easily? Easy?
T Easy. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
T So, Laura. Could you describe a typical client of yours to me?
L The people, typical client is… they are very friendly persons. They are people who understand me. Sometimes when I can’t do my job, just I can call them to said I can’t came and to do another day and they are – yeah – friendly and…
T So, if one of your children, for example, can’t go to school, if they’re sick, you phone your clients, and they’re OK?
T What do they say?
L Um, ….they say it’s OK. I can come another day, next day or next week… er or one…
T That’s nice. Yeah, good. And how do you get your clients?
L I get my clients… to advertise myself, and someones, the people recommend me.
T Absolutely. And, the last question! How do you know if your clients are happy with your service?
L I know because I talk to with them and I ask if everything’s OK. If they are happy with the job and I tell them if is something wrong, if is something missing, just they let me know and… I like to, to talk, and ask if they are happy or they are dislike myself.
T Oh, I don’t think anyone could dislike you! Well thank you ever so much for that, Laura. That’s brilliant and best of luck and I hope you have a thriving business in five years time.
L Oh, thank you.
T OK then. Thank you then.
L Thank you, too.
T Bye bye.