10 Tips For Hiring a House Cleaning Service

10 Tips For Hiring a House Cleaning Service


10 Tips For Hiring a House Cleaning Service

What you should know and consider before hiring someone to clean your home!

Ever hire a home cleaning service? Have you been disappointed with the results? Or, would you like to get a little more out of the cleaning service that comes to your home? Here are 10 tips for hiring a house cleaning service that I have learned over the years:




Interview more than one potential service. If you are interviewing individuals, you need to be comfortable with that person (people). If you are hiring from a large company, ask if they will send the same person consistently, or if they rotate staff. There are pros and cons to both: the same person is familiar with your house, but I have noticed the longer the same person cleans for me, the more places that should be cleaned, are missed. The downside to a new crew weekly: there is a learning curve that I am paying for as they familiarize themselves with my home.

Make certain the individual or agency (and their employees) are licensed and insured. If they break something, will it be replaced? Repaired? If someone if hurt in your home, who will pay the medical bills?

Define the scope. Are you looking for a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or a one-time clean. Make certain that everything you want done, will be done. If the cleaning crew needs to use a stepladder to get to the top shelf and dust, are they willing to do so? Will your furniture and lampshades regularly be vacuumed? What about under cushions? Is cleaning out the refrigerator extra? Are baseboards regularly dusted? Door and window casements? Will the dog-snot be washed from the front door? Are nicknacks dusted? How much to clean a finished-basement? How is the kitchen floor washed? Mop or hands and knees? Ask about OSHA restrictions. I once had a cleaning service tell me it was against OSHA rules for them to use ammonia in my house.

Make sure pricing is explicit! If you are hiring an agency, make certain that there are no hidden fees. If you are hiring an individual, make certain they are paying their taxes and social security. Definitely consult an accountant to make certain you are not hiring that person as an employee, but as an independent contractor. The tax implications for you of one versus the other are great, so make certain your accountant fully explains the ramifications of hiring an individual to you.

Don’t forget to inform the agency/individual of any pets you may have for allergy and phobia considerations. You may think a white rat allowed to roam loose about the house is perfectly normal. The house cleaner may freak and beat Whitey with a broom. The cleaning service may also schedule more time for a dog that sheds copious amounts of fur, may not be willing to change the litter box or the lining of a bird cage. Or, those services may come with an additional cost.

Who supplies the cleaning products? I have steered away from the ultra green companies that will not use a swiffer on my furniture, but would rather spray everything down and wipe away the dust. Regardless of how gentle, I don’t want anything sprayed on my furnishings. And, while vinegar may be an excellent cleaner, it will destroy my marble floor. I have found very few products that don’t leave streaks on my stainless steel appliances, so I want to be certain that the cleaning company is happy to some/all of my products.

Discuss with the service how many people will be coming to your home. You have cleaned your house and know how long (or short) it takes to clean. If it takes 6 hours for you to clean, do not expect a cleaning service to be able to accomplish the same task in 4 man-hours. I prefer one person in my house for every 2 man-hours of labor. I truly do not want a cleaning service here all day, and cleaning is hard work! That means one person will take longer to clean your 6 man-hour house than 3 people at 2 hours each. Fatigue sets in and people slow down. Not only that, but do you really want one house cleaner in your home all day long?

Decide if you need to be home when the cleaning is conducted. Most companies/individuals give an arrival time-frame. Only first service of the day will be “on time”. If you expect a service “between 10 and 12”, and then they clean for the next 2 hours, you need to block out that time to be home. However, if you are willing to give a service a key to your house (or a code if you have coded locks and security system), you are not tied to the house during that time-frame.

Do not clean your house before the cleaning service arrives. Believe me, you will not be the messiest/dirtiest/most disgusting house a seasoned house cleaner has ever seen, especially if they do trash-outs.

Do pick-up and put away the clutter. The more surfaces that are clear of clutter the better the job in the shortest possible time the cleaners can perform. Moving clutter takes time, and some agencies will not do it. I cannot stress the importance of: put away your junk! Also, don’t forget to put away jewelry, prescription medications and cash. Yes, you have checked for licensing and bonding, but better safe than tempted. I have never had a cleaning person snoop or take anything. Ever. But, there is always a first time.

Do you have any tips for hiring a house cleaning service?


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Comments

  1. I was tired just reading those tips! OMG thats work. I say my best tip would be to have Ann hire someone for you lol! I love these tips and when I grow up I want someone else to clean for me because these children are terrible cleaners lol!

  2. I hired one cleaning service ONCE. it was a disaster. I was very clear that there were a lot of things I cant do because of a problem with my back (which one day I shall have fixed). They were angry about what needed to be done despite my explicitness. SO I will never ever hire one again. It’s more about the state of my heart than the state of my house as my best friend says. Friends are the best!

    • Sue it sounds like you needed a different service. I would never have one back that didn’t do as I asked after agreeing to explicit instructions. Since your need is health based, I’d keep looking and I would especially explain how leery you are due to your last experience. They will realize they are on probation, and not pull anything like your last crew.

      Ann

      • Yes, you should have tried another. But, all of the specifics need to be explained and agreed to BEFORE the first time cleaning. A cleaning person does not appreciate a homeowner following her around as she is working pointing out additional jobs, or leaving notes with new jobs, after the deal has been made. Even if you offer extra pay for the extra jobs, remember they will take extra time which may conflict with her schedule. (A cleaning friend of mine was left notes every time she showed up to clean, with all sorts of new jobs such as taking down pictures from the walls and dusting behind, and taking down curtains and washing. Um, no.)

  3. Cleaning service? Hahahaaaaaa you jest! The “cleaning service” has always been me. 🙂

    Awesome tips though, if at any time I win like the lottery or anything and be able to afford one!!

  4. Thanks for the tips! I have a cleaning lady, but this is still very helpful!

  5. I don’t smoke. I would not hire a smoker. They smell.

  6. Thanks for the very useful tips! I have had a variety of cleaning people over many years and
    often feel like I could easily manage them! All in all, I have found the individual person to be more responsive to my cleaning needs. A great many cleaning services start by providing a list of what they won’t do! Most will not turn on any appliances (e.g. dishwasher, washing machine, etc.) Also they usually clean around things rather than move them. (e.g. lamps, kitchen appliances on counters,etc) The learning curve (should I say cleaning curve?) is significant when different crews are sent rather than the same one each time.

    • linda gitschlag says:

      I am a professional. I would not hire such a company if their crew won’t pick things up and clean under them, or do the laundry, or strip/make the beds, water/feed the pets, get under furniture/clean their bases, etc. In other words, be thorough and do a good job. I guess they don’t care to keep their customers HAPPY!

      • Bernadette says:

        I agree, with Linda, there are 10 bad to one good, but the good cleaning people are out there. Lets be realistic, there are as many bad homes as there are good. I also clean sold a company for a hefty profit up north moved south widowed and have had to return to cleaning. 1. I clean as if I am being video taped. 2. If my customer ever rearranged their furniture and found dirt or dust then I would be mortified. 3. If they dropped something rolled under some furniture and had to fish for it they had better come up with only that item and it better be clean! If you think your home is going to be clean and you only clean it once a month think again! Dust up in the air is called paratroopers, and when it falls it multiplies into dust bunnies, so you had better clean fans, blinds, drapes light fixtures every cleaning. If your cleaning person can’t handle constructive and that is the key word, criticism then get rid of them. I am human, I’m not a machine, I shock myself at times. If your cleaning person gets done thirty minutes faster when you are not there it is because of talking. If it is one hour then there is a problem….. It should take aprox., the same amount of time each time. You should hardly ever see their work slack. The way I look at it is, each and every one of my customers pay me hourly, I will do what ever they ask except for windows when it is 90 degrees outside. It doesn’t matter if I am at one house 8 hours or two houses 4 hours. If you want to make sure something is done right watch them, they should not mind. And there are a million that are not honest, and there are also hundreds and thousands that are honest to a fault! Don’t pin one problem on every cleaning person.

        • Bernadette says:
          August 18, 2015 at 6:43 pm

          “I agree, with Linda, there are 10 bad to one good, but the good cleaning people are out there. ”

          I say, as a cleaning person; “there are 10 Bad customers to one good one”. You can be very reliable but dont count on the same respect”; especially as a private individual. When I give a bid, and people complain about their previous cleaning person, I try very diplomatically to find out why. After 25yrs. of this; very suspicious as to who was the problem and for good reasons.

          • I could write book on the ways I have been taken advantage of by customers. Last minute notice to cancel (due to compan) and see you the next time; with no regard as to how much more work it will be for me. Oh and did I mention, I get no extra money. Oh, I could go on and on about the hours of aggravation trying to please (long time customers) who could care less about my loss of income. As if it’s just a hoppy for me. You try to give a firm bid as to what you do and then their always the ones who like to leave you a list of extras every time you go. Im getting tired talking about it. Check their references and if you dont trust them; keep looking. I will go above and beyond for people who trust me and give a key and let me do my job. It is a pain to clean for people who are at home. You have plain to get the job done and guaranteed they will intervene. Im good at what I do but as soon as i can, I am done with this business. Rarely feel appreciated.

            • Sorry for the grammatical errors. It’s late and happened on this site and felt like sharing. Im a a cleaning person but I do know how to spell. Should have proof read. If you ever want any tips on how to treat a good cleaning person; maybe I can help. A good job is just expected and thats fine; it should be. We dont get tips for a great job (rarely have I ever). Your hairdresser gives you a haircut that leaves you angry for 6 weeks but I’ll bet you tipped her and paid plenty for the bad cut. Dont be cheap with your cleaning person. We give a price on a regular cleaning and probably accomplish more than you could in less time. Its what we do for a living. There is a difference between regular maintenance and Spring Cleaning. Wow, I could go on and on. Im sure there are alot of bad cleaning people out there; yet I get so weary of hearing complaints; “Its just soooo hard to find a good cleaning lady, blah, blah, blah” Could you be expecting too much? Depending on the frequency; it may require you to actually do some cleaning yourself; in between visits. Hmmm!

  7. Cindy Fields says:

    We are insured, bonded and we will use your products if you wish. My company has been around since 1997 so we know clean. Our workers comp does have a stipulation regarding climbing on ladders , so we cannot because it just isn’t safe. We rarely run into any issues with this. We are very affordable AND we offer 100% satisfaction guarantee . That means, if you’re not happy, we will return the next business day to re clean. We have inspectors who inspect the work being done, provide all insurance, supplies and guarantee. It is always best to be certain you have the proper insurance on any worker in your home. Check out our website for a complete list of all we provide. We are nationwide and we have many affordable plans. What’s great is each office is individually owned , so your supporting small business in your community !

    • Margaret Drexel says:

      Don’t know the name of the company you speak of but I can tell you this I have been cleaning homes for over 20 years. I have never heard of any of these big companies doing the level work I provide. They come in as someone else stated with a list of what they won’t do. Charge top dollar without doing things like shower’s baseboards, finger prints etc. When I clean a house I give it the same care and thoroughness I give my own house. I would rather have one person I know come in my home for a longer period of time and get the job done right than have two or three come in for two hours leaving me wonder what the heck I paid them for.
      I had thought about going to work for one of these companies because good help is hard to find once you get more business they want to pay minimum wage. Greedy people. What kind of help do you expect when you don’t want to pay people a fair wage? Cleaning is hard work. However It’s work I love. I wish I could find help I could count on I would pay them what they are worth. There is a lot of money to be made if only I could cut myself in four pieces.

      • Oh Margaret, if only you lived in my area…

        Ann

      • Bernadette says:

        Margaret hit the nail on the head. She is so exact in what she said, the worse of the matter is we can’t find our clone, and the hardest part of cleaning is the scheduling….. That puts more stress on us than anything else.

  8. Very helpful article. I might clarify that in Pennsylvania liability insurance covers accidental damage to the property Bonding covers theft (up to amount of bond) and workers compensation covers injury. If cleaning company has cleaners as employee status they must have workers’ comp. If cleaners independent contractors probably do not have workers comp. Also, although the owner of company has right to waive workers comp insurance if not working in field that does not mean the home owner is protected if owner injured in your home. This information is not meant as legal advice but to clarify: the greatest risk to the homeowner is usually cleaner injury and that is NOT covered by liability insurance and bonding. It is covered by workers’ comp.

    • Bonding is for theft, but you only will get reimbursed if that person is found guilty in court, so you need proof that he or she did it. I work alone and do not carry bonding because I am honest and never had a problem.

  9. I’ve been dreaming of hiring a service for years now. If I could get the same person who came once a month I’d be delighted. We live in an apartment and my husband is a slob. I can’t keep up with his madness.
    I’m debating between a service and an individual.
    I’ve heard you get better value and a better clean by hiring a person.

  10. Is this housecleaner doing right? After she does her cleaning, she leaves all the soiled clotbs she used for cleaning behind! Is she expecting us to wash it for her? What should I do? Please help…

    • Ceem, unless you had an up front agreement with her to wash the soiled cloths and/or you wanted to provide the cloths, no she isn’t “doing-right” by you. Unless they are your cloths and you agreed to clean them after each service, tell her to take them with her and she should be responsible for each cleaning.

      Ann

    • linda gitschlag says:

      If they are your cloths then yes. If they are her property then no, she should take them with her. It’s just common sense.

    • Mrs. Sorvi says:

      Hello! I am cleaner and this is a good question. I leave the dirty rags in the laundry room, usually with the home owner’s knowledge. I had one client that had a bucket in the laundry room just for dirty rags and once it was filled up they would wash them all together. I really liked that idea. A pet peeve I have is when the clients don’t leave me any clean rags and I wind up using a whole roll of paper towels. But, it’s their money, I just feel bad for being wasteful to their pocket and the environment.

  11. When hiring expert cleaners, I always look at their online reputations from the local listing sites like Yelp, Foursquare, etc. From there, I can view good reviews and testimonials from their customers that will somehow help me in deciding. I believe, all cleaning services are expert, yet, the cleaning tools and materials, as well as the cleaning solutions they used matters the most. Select cleaners who used organic cleaning solutions and environment ffriendly.

  12. Try Zep Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish, available at Home Depot or Menards in the Midwest. Spray it on a cotton cloth and apply and polish with a dry clean cloth, no streaks guaranteed. If there is anything sticky on the surface, wipe that off with a damp rag and let it dry before applying the polish.

  13. Good tips! In my personal experience, having more of an individual cleaning is much better than the big corporate types with teams. My company is just me and sometimes me and my partner. This has allowed us to really get to know the place and we treat it like our own. Instead of slipping up as you suggested might happen, we actually get more detailed. I feel like the more time I spend somewhere the more I do, plus I get quicker so am able to add on extras like windows or special projects for the same price. We can also anticipate client’s needs. We typically are there while the customer is at work so the fact that we might take longer doesn’t matter. Check out my website for more info!

  14. sarah caroline says:

    Oh my stars, I think I feel more confused! 🙂 I definitely don’t have an Entitled Life, so I need to be sure whoever i pay really does an excellent job. I moved into my parents’ home after my Dad had a heart attack – they are pretty active now, but this house is too big for them (or me, i am seriously allergic to dust, having an allergy migraine right now) to really care for. Why they don’t sell it and move to a nice 2BD condo is beyond me!

    For any of you who have had help come in or clean houses yourself, my question is more about “What is the etiquette?”. What clutter needs to be picked up before the house can be cleaned? I know I can save them time if they aren’t having to pick junk up off the floor, but does it need to be all “picked up” before it is “cleaned up”? My Mom is one of those who is *panicked* all the time how she looks to other people and is horrified that if i bring someone in, the whole town will call her a slob. I don’t care what anyone thinks, I am just tired of the dust-induced migraines. But i don’t want to be impolite.

    Help?! Thanks in advance.

    • sarah caroline says:

      Oops, I just read again and found my answer! Sorry about that.

      • Glad you found the answer, Sarah. It is true though, the more clutter you put away, the more surfaces that can be cleaned and the faster the cleaners get their work done. One of the big reasons we originally hired a cleaning service was to force Hubby to put away his junk. He’d have clutter everywhere if not for the cleaning service!

        But remember, you do NOT clean yourself: just put your stuff away where it belongs before the cleaners arrive.

        Ann

  15. Sherry Elston says:

    Hello out there….I am a “one woman cleaning service”. Of course you can clean your home better than anyone. However, when you clean your own home, you probably do more things than you would hire a cleaning service to do. I basically do what I call ” maintenance cleaning”. Everyone I clean for, I’ve worked a very long time for, and they are ALL different. Some people, especially animal homes are less concerned. Some people don’t care that every surface is cleaned, and if they did, there is no way I could get it all done, other people want different things done. But there are a couple of things I insist on with all my clients, what the charge will be, and if you want something extra done, I have to know IN ADVANCE. If you are having guest, and want the guest bed and bath made up, that is extra time, extra $$. I also will use my own products, unless you want something special, then you provide it. I use linen, re useable cloths, not many paper towels. And you have to like the person you are working for, and they like me. I have had women younger than me speak to me as if I were a “maid in waiting” and I simply refuse to work for someone who thinks of working people that way. If you are wealthy, and live in an “estate” you will have a “maid” probably already working for your family. That is not me. And lastly, I always ask that anything they do not want lost, please put away. You have to pick up your own clutter, money, meds, etc. Some people just trust me, and I move it aside.
    I’ve been accused of stealing from people, more than once. Then again, I’ve been doing this kind of work since I was 20. I’m 49 now. You’re going to have people who just want someone they can boss around. I had one guy, divorced, who after I’d worked for him for about 6 months, that he wanted me to work there 4 hours…..yeah, he said, 4 hours sounds good to me. I said “good luck looking for someone” and said goodbye. He called me back, and asked what had I just told him…..it wasn’t clear to him. He understood when I said “I quit”. I have raised other’s children and ran their homes for them, doing everything from taking kids to school, laundry, shopping, planning and cooking meals. I know how to clean a house.
    You have to trust the person you hire, and they have to want to work for you. They want to be respected, not treated like a slave. It’s all in how you treat others. Then again, some cleaning people are lazy, don’t speak English, etc. I could go on all day. And I have seen it ALL. Some of the most beautiful homes can be the most filthy places you’ve ever seen. Even the most humble of homes can be clean. It doesn’t take much to keep a place in order, you have to do some things daily. Good luck to all of you hiring someone. Its not easy.
    sherryels

  16. A Cleaner says:

    I am a one-person cleaning service; have been doing it for almost ten years now. One thing I always explained to my new clients was the difference between a maid and a cleaner. A maid will see a dirty sock, pick it up, wash and dry it, fold it and put it away. A cleaner, on the other hand, will see a dirty sock, pick it up, clean the floor underneath it, and then put the sock back on the floor unless the hamper is handy. Therefore, it is very important for the client to know what they are looking for in a cleaning service, and for the cleaning service to have definite boundaries on what they will/will not do. I always provide my new clients with a brochure detailing what is included in their price, what can be included for extra (like oven cleaning), and what I will absolutely NOT do.
    Picking up the clutter before the service shows up is extremely important, but cleaning your house before the cleaners show up? That’s kind of like changing the oil in your car before taking it to the shop to have the oil changed…

  17. helen from london says:

    The only other tip I would add is:
    Make sure you have the correct tools for the job, including a working vacuum cleaner, a broom with a handle that is the right height and a mop and a mop bucket. I work self employed through an agency, but I am amazed at the amount of customers that expect you to use broken or hand held vacuum cleaners (that only have a charge for 10-20mins and are very heavy to hold), brooms that are the wrong height putting a strain on the users back and expecting you to mop a floor with out a bucket with a ringer on it. I am lucky in that as I am self employed, so I am allowed to turn down customers. When I first started I used to ask customers to get the correct tools, but I did find that you had to keep reminding them, excuses I have had is ‘oh I forgot’ or ‘I paid a lot of this vacuum cleaner’ so now I just don’t work for customers who can’t be bothered. Also another tip that keeps me working for my customers is ‘thank you’ notes, doesn’t sound like a lot but, thank you notes really make a difference.

  18. Tell the cleaning service what products you use on your floors. furniture and kitchen counter-tops…etc. It takes different cleaning applications for nature hard wood floor than the new laminate. Wood top tables take different application than laminate, Formica or stone aka marble or granite. New cleaning products come out all the time and if something new is used, read all labels for the correct application and only use it in a small spot to see the results before continuing.

  19. You know, hiring house cleaning services is nothing different than any other purchase you make. Usually when you want to hire/buy/rent something you make sure it’s worth it by researching on the web, asking friends etc. Basically what you need to do is check the prices of multiple companies, check their review pages, call them and ask about anything you want to know. Simple as that.

    As with pretty much any other purchase you make in your life – you want the highest quality at the lowest cost. It might take you some time to find the perfect domestic cleaning company but in the end it’ll be worth it 🙂

  20. I haven’t seen much on the equipment that the cleaning people use. To begin with, I know vacuums. You must make sure they use a clean bag when they get to your home. Otherwise, your house will smell like the people house the cleaning person came from. I like a bagged vacuum as they usually have less filters and less of a chance for smell. I also like a vacuum with a HEPA exhaust filter which is usually where the exhaust air from the motor goes through. If you have a bagless vacuum make sure you keep the filters clean. You can usually wash them in the sink but they MUST dry completely or you won’t want to be in the same house when you fire up the vacuum. Lets face it, dirt doesn’t smell but it is the bacteria that has the odor. If you need help with your vacuum just call me. I love vacuums.

    • Rich Murphy says:

      I had a Dyson and that happened to me, I washed the filter and didn’t let it dry completely and the next time I used it the smelled like my Uncle Bodie’s house. I read this article I ended up getting a new filter from you guys at monstervacuum.com. Thanks for all your help

  21. I tried using this house cleaning service because I live alone, but I did not like the first service that I got. They did not clean the house thoroughly. The only thing they did was wash the outside did a couple of vacuum and that’s it. So what I learned was to research the service you are getting, choose a service that has a good reputation, it does not matter if its far from your house, it is worth the extra money for the quality of service.

Trackbacks

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