Admit it – you need help. Between work and kids and relationship the floor hasn’t been mopped in months. It’s okay. House cleaners—once the sole domain of the Downton Abbey set—are now accessible to working folks everywhere. House cleaners are efficient, awesome, and—10 out of 10 relationship counselors agree—good for your marriage.* (*Yeah, we made that up, but it’s probably true.) Here are 11 questions to ask to find the right fit for you.
Be a savvy consumer. Scope online reviews and request references. More than other services, it’s good to be diligent about this part of the process. These are people who will be coming into your home on a regular basis, often when you’re not around. Make sure the odds start off in your favor.
Individual vs. company
Is the company you’re interested in a private individual, or a large house cleaning service with scores of employees? The former is usually more affordable, while the latter generally has a more structured business model (meaning protocol, insurance, and standardized systems). If it is a company, ask if you can have the same workers each time. It’s nice when they come to know your little quirks and how to work around them. It also establishes a sense of trust.
Do they charge per visit, per room, per hour? There’s nothing wrong with any of it, just be sure you know how it works before you begin doing business. Request an emailed agreement with the cost and other details outlined. It’s key to have things in writing. Word to the wise, often a walk-through is needed to determine length of time, services requested, and agreed upon tasks.
Length of time in business
This will fall in line with the reviews. If they are brand-spanking new, request references from their previous employers (and call them!) and ensure they have all their paperwork, such as insurance already in place.
Bonded and insured
Being bonded means that if a housecleaner happens to walk off with your diamond earrings, the theft is covered by the company. Liability insurance covers broken household goods or damage done while the workers are cleaning. It’s not a requirement, but be sure to ask if this is important to you.
This one’s a doozy. Especially if you employ an individual (making you their de facto employer). If your house cleaner falls off a chair while dusting your ceiling fan and breaks his back, you can be held responsible for the subsequent ER visit, surgery, physical rehabilitation, etc. The whole thing sounds painful just thinking about it. To be financially protected, confirm workers comp.
Many companies require background checks as a prerequisite to employment. When hiring an individual, no need to apologize about asking them to complete a background check. It’s your home, it’s wise to be safe in regards to who you allow access to it.
What cleaning services are and are not covered?
Request a write-up of what will be covered when you do the initial walk-through. Want the blinds dusted each week? Clarify from the get-go that it’s a requirement. It’s better not to have confusion later on down the road if they have a strict “zero tolerance for blinds” policy.
What’s the cancellation policy?
Your whole family is home sick and there’s no way you want the house cleaner coming that day. Seems like you should have an emergency cancellation policy? Or what’s the agreement if you’re going to Miami for two weeks but forgot to let them know in advance? How far out do they need to know if the service won’t be needed? Is there a fee for cancelling last minute?
Do I provide the cleaning products and tools or do you?
There are opinions in both camps about which is preferred. Honestly, it doesn’t matter as long as you and the housecleaners agree on it ahead of time. If the company doesn’t bring their own tools (which is totally normal), make sure you acquire everything they need to clean your house how you want it.
Is there a quality guarantee?
If you don’t like the results after you paid to have it cleaned, what can be done? Be clear before you begin, just to be safe.
Now kick back, relax, and enjoy your sparkling home.