We at Doulas of Capitol Hill pride ourselves on building and maintaining a professional business, filled with amazing, competent, authentic, supportive doulas in Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia. We carry insurance, have a business license, seek professional relationships with colleagues and other professionals in the field, and learn to listen and speak to a client the way they want to be heard and spoken to. We do all of this so we can better support, you, the client! I have been reflecting on this over the last few weeks, after an unfortunate experience with a realtor.

We hired a realtor who was a coworker of my husband. We thought we should work with someone we kind of knew. He listed our house as we visited a couple of properties we were interested in seeing. He made his distaste known about the fixer uppers we were looking at. We eventually found one we wanted to put an offer on. We filled out the paperwork with my husband’s name spelled incorrectly, and then found out we couldn’t purchase this house because it had a no contingency rule; something our realtor didn’t tell us. We found another house that we fell in love with and this too suddenly was unavailable because our realtor didn’t vet the property. Our own house was listed before we were ready with inaccurate details and no marketing plan. We took our house off the market, overwhelmed and stressed about the process. Two days later, that realtor let us know the other person’s contract had fallen through and we had another chance at the house we loved. We felt like our coach had let us down and the game was over, but here he was calling us out onto the field again during unexpected overtime.

We knew we only had one chance at getting this home, and knew in our gut our realtor couldn’t help us. He texted things like ‘keep your fingers crossed!’ and ‘omg I am so nervous’- like he wasn’t the one fighting for us, but just waiting to see what happened. We made the hard decision and fired our realtor and hired someone new. Within 48 hours our offer was accepted for the home we loved and our house was under contract in one week. A home run! 

hobbyist or professional venn diagram

Red Flags and Pitfalls When Hiring for a Professional Service:

They work a different full time job or have other pressing obligations.

                They don’t have the time or energy to commit to you or the job full time. They may be a great realtor or doula or plumber, but unless they realize their reputation helps them succeed or fail and that they view their work as a sustainable career, you can’t assume more pressing things won’t arise.

They don’t have accountability to you and others in a professional setting.

                What is the job and what is the expectation for the job? Are there consequences to them if they don’t do it? What are the consequences for you? Do you have anyone to discuss potential issues with?

Others in the field don’t know who they are.

                This isn’t always the case, because everyone starts somewhere, but you should be cautious if no one has any experience working with this person as a colleague. When hiring for a professional service, do they have recommendations for other things you might need? Can they get you last minute appointments or make necessary phone calls? Are other professionals happy to see or hear from your service person? You want someone who recognizes that relationship building is helpful to any business.

Hiring someone because you know them on a personal level, not a professional one.

                Everyone should be vetted when you are inviting them into your home or your personal space to do an important job. Trust is vital here. Your sister in law, your neighbor, or your coworker could all do a great job, but if they don’t, you have just made the ‘break-up’ process a lot more difficult. If you do want to hire someone that you know, make sure it is treated as a professional service, which includes a contract, expectations, and payment all spelled out in writing.

Doulas of Capitol Hill strives to make the process of hiring a doula easy. We want everyone to feel safe and comfortable. We are reliable, responsible, and dedicated to the work. Though our doulas have various amounts of experience, there will never be a question of professionalism, and we would want to hear any feedback if you feel otherwise. Rest assured when we are on your team, it is not because we love wearing the jersey, but because we want to make a career being on the field.  

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