11 Questions to Ask House Cleaning Services
In this day and age, getting help with house cleaning has become a necessity, not a luxury, and there are plenty of choices, from hiring an individual to hiring a cleaning company.
Some companies are franchises and some of them are local, family-owned-and-operated businesses.
Hiring a cleaning service should ensure that your home is maintained in the best possible way by experts in the field, giving you the gift of time.
Weigh the pros and cons
The first step is to decide whether to hire an individual or a company.
Each option has its own pros and cons. Hiring individuals is more cost effective and can be more customized to your needs. However, that individual person can be less responsive if he or she gets more business than they can handle. If, for whatever reason, your house cleaner does not show up, you’re on your own.
On the other hand, hiring a cleaning company such as a housekeeping or maid service can be more costly, but has other benefits. Cleaning services can offer flexible scheduling, offering a back-up team to cover anybody that may not show up.
House cleaning employee vacuuming rug (Photo by Photo by Brandon Smith)
Hiring a Cleaning Company vs. an Individual
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Do your homework
Finding the right individual or cleaning services can be a daunting task for many people, and many people don’t know where to begin.
People are often wary about having someone they don’t know in their home.
One of the best ways to hire a cleaning service is through the referrals of friends, family or neighbors, or by checking the reviews of highly-rated companies on Angie’s List.
After narrowing down your options, call or email cleaning service providers to schedule an in-home estimate at your convenience. This will give you the opportunity to assess their responsiveness.
Before the scheduled estimate, you should come up with questions to ask during that time and also write down your special instructions to customize your service.
housekeeper taking out the garbage
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Know the right questions to ask
Before hiring a houe cleaning company, be sure to ask these questions:
1. How do you set your rates?
Most cleaning services charge an hourly rate for the initial visit, but may also charge by the project, or by the number of employees they send.
Get the cleaning service to give you an estimate on how long it will take to clean your home. Cleaning services should give you a flat rate for each subsequent visit depending on the condition of your property, needs and how often you will need the service.
You should also be able to avoid unwanted costs by putting a cap on the number of hours the cleaners will be in your home. Find out if the cleaning service has a “not to exceed this price” clause.
2. Do you conduct a background check on employees?
Most reputable services perform background checks on all of their employees. When you hire an independent cleaner, you act as their employer; therefore making you responsible for doing any background screenings. A background check can ensure the safety of you and your home by allowing you to know who is entering your home.
A cleaning company should also be able to tell you whether the same house cleaner will be sent to your home each time.
3. Are you insured and bonded?
Professional cleaning services will carry liability insurance and bond and have a policy in place in case something gets broken, damaged or goes missing in your home.
This will provide you with security and peace of mind during the cleaning service. You may want to inform the cleaning service if you have any items that require special care.
4. Do you carry worker’s compensation?
Companies that hire employees versus contractors that are on their payroll and pay federal, state and social security taxes will provide their employees with worker’s compensation in the event that an employee gets injured — so you as the homeowner won’t be liable.
5. Do you bring equipment and cleaning supplies?
Some companies bring their own equipment and supplies, while others may only bring the equipment, and you may be responsible for providing cleaning supplies. In the event that you are unhappy with the provided cleaning supplies, you should be able to substitute your own.
These days, companies can use both conventional and environmentally friendly products. Therefore, make sure to know the distinction beforehand.
6. Do you have a satisfaction guarantee?
Companies should be open to your suggestions and feedback. They should also be able to provide you with a satisfaction guarantee in the event that you are unhappy with a particular service.
You should be able to openly communicate with them by email or phone to ensure your cleaning needs are being met.
7. How will you gain access to my home?
Options include leaving a key under the mat and asking the house cleaner to leave it inside when they’re done, granting access via a keypad or choosing to be home during the cleaning. Make sure both you and your house cleaner are comfortable with the option you choose.
8. What should I do with my pet?
If possible, introduce your pet to the house cleaner before their first visit, especially if you won’t be home during the appointment. Depending on the introduction, you may want to crate the animal or ask the cleaner to leave the animal in a safe spot outside and then let them back in before leaving.
You should also ask if there’s an additional fee for cleaning a household with pets.
9. What services are included?
Ask what cleaning services are included in a route visit.
If you’d prefer to take care of the basic day-to-day chores and you really want a housecleaner to take responsibility for dusting, window-washing, base board cleaning and floor scrubbing, make sure you let them know as it may affect the cost.
10. How long has the cleaning service been in business?
Find out how long the company has been around, and how long the employees have been with the business. A brand-new company (or an old company with all-new employees) may not be the best choice.
11. Can I get all this in writing?
Remember: you’re letting someone into your home. Getting as many of the details in writing can help you avoid disagreements down the line.