What you should know and consider before hiring someone to clean your home! Many people dream of coming home from a long day of work to a totally clean house. Hiring a professional cleaning service, specifically, the right cleaning service, can be a challenge. This list of tips for hiring a cleaning service will help you hire the perfect cleaners for the job.
I have had multiple cleaning services for well over 15 years now, at home in New York and at our other residences in Utah and Florida. I have learned a lot about the dos and don’ts of hiring a cleaning service, and what to expect once I have hired one. These are my tips on what you should know and consider before hiring someone to clean your home!
10 Tips For Hiring a House Cleaning Service
How do you find a professional house cleaner/professional service? Word of mouth is a great way to find a good maid service. Ask your friends and family members who they use to clean their home. You can also do an online search for an experienced cleaner. Make sure that you look for “best cleaning service in XX” or “great cleaning service in XX” or “negative reviews for cleaning services in XX.” You not only want to read the praise, but you want to know the criticism. No agency (or self-employed cleaners) is going to be perfect or a great fit for everyone, although those with a lot of good reviews and a good reputation for quality cleaning and terrific attitude might be a great place to start your list. By researching the good and the bad you can make a determination on what your tolerance/pain threshold is for such services.
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? Hiring the right person for the job can be a challenge. Here are 10 tips for hiring a house cleaning service that I have learned over the years:
● Interview more than one potential service.
Like any job, the first thing you do is interview prospective people/agencies for the position. If you are interviewing individuals, you need to be comfortable with that person (people). If you are hiring from a larger cleaning 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. You may want to also ask how long they have been in business, how many years of cleaning experience if they are full-time, part-time, hours of work, etc.
● Make certain the individual (independent cleaner) or agency (and their employees) are licensed and insured
(and the professional cleaning service agency has done background checks). If they break something, will it be replaced? Repaired? If someone is hurt in your home, who will pay the medical bills?
● Define the scope.
Are you looking for a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or one-time clean? The entire house? Or specific rooms? Make certain that everything you want to be done will be done, and get an estimate of how much time the professional cleaner thinks it will take to clean your home. This is especially important if you are paying by the hour versus a flat fee.
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? (And do they bring a vacuum cleaner? Or do you provide a vacuum cleaner per floor?) 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.
My current cleaning service has a variation between the regular clean (which is my normal clean) and deep cleaning (which I have them do quarterly). The extra time it takes to deep clean my house does result in an up-charge. Make a list of the most important tasks you would like done every time. The cleaning service and you might be on the same page, or might not be. It is better to ask than assume.
● Make sure pricing is explicit!
There might be a big difference between an hourly rate and a flat rate charge. If you are hiring a professional cleaning company (agency) make certain that there are no hidden fees. If you are hiring an individual cleaner, 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. Make certain you are comparing apples to apples and know the total cost of your scheduled cleaning.
● Don’t forget to inform the cleaning team 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 birdcage. 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 wood 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 use some/all of my products. The best cleaners want to leave you with a clean environment you will be happy with that will not damage your furniture, floors, or appliances.
Note: I prefer to supply my own cleaning supplies. That way, I know what chemicals are being used. Some cleaning companies bring their own or will give you a list of specific products they want you to provide. Ask, so there are no misunderstandings.
● Discuss with the service how many people will be coming to your home.
You have cleaned your house and know how long (or short) the amount of time it takes to clean. If it takes six (6) hours for you to clean, do not expect a cleaning service to be able to accomplish the same task in four (4) man-hours. I prefer one person in my house for every two (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? I have had one-person cleaners and cleaning crews or 4-5 people. I vastly prefer the crew. But, to each his own.
● Decide if you need to be home when the cleaning is conducted.
Most companies/individuals give an arrival time frame. Only the 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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