Hiring Maid Easy: How to Find a Good House Cleaner
Check their references
Member Marian Smith of King, North Carolina, says she’s hired several cleaning companies over the years, but always reads reviews on Angie’s List first. “I check to see if any complaints have been lodged, and I always ask if the company is bonded and insured,” she says.
Ask about rates and how they’ll clean your house
If it’s important to you that the cleaners only use environmentally friendly products, find out if that’s an option and if it costs more.
Set a schedule
Professional cleaners typically offer flexible schedules, including weekly, biweekly, monthly or even one-time cleanings, which can be handy when moving or before a big party. “We also do every three weeks if that suits the client’s needs best,” says Kim Condon, vice president of Godsend Cleaning in Lynchburg, Virginia. “We also offer evening and weekend cleanings to accommodate all of our client schedules.”
How to Hire a House Cleaning Service
Decide what you want cleaned. You may only choose to have the service tackle particularly tough spots in your home, such as the kitchen and main bathroom. Some families will want the house cleaned from top to bottom. You’ll also need to decide whether you expect services that may go beyond standard cleanings, such as wiping down the baseboards or washing the windows.
Estimate how long it will take to clean your house. Most cleaning services will ask you how big your house is, how many bedrooms and bathrooms it contains, and what kind of routine cleaning you usually do. One bedroom and one bathroom usually takes about two and a half hours to clean, and kitchens take another 1-2 hours. If you haven’t cleaned in a while, these numbers may go up. Preparing this information for the service will help you both decide what you can afford.
Decide how often you want your service to clean. Depending on your family’s needs, you may only need the service to come once or twice a month. If you have a bigger budget and a busier schedule, you might opt for more frequent visits. You can also create an alternating weekly schedule that directs the cleaners to clean different rooms every other time they visit.
Buy your own cleaning supplies if you have a preference. Because they’re more expensive, most cleaners will not clean with natural cleaning solutions. If you don’t want chemical cleaners used in your home, or if you have special cleaners you prefer, you’ll likely need to provide these to the service.
Define your budget. Before you start calling potential cleaning services, examine your finances. Make sure you know exactly how much you’re able and willing to pay companies. This will help you say no to companies that are out of your price range while also allowing you to make informed decisions about which services you can afford.
Need a house cleaner? Here are hiring tips to ensure your home is both tidy and secure.
Decide what kind of cleaning service you want. Do you want a professional cleaning service? Or will you be happier with an individual? A professional cleaning company ensures someone always shows up to clean your home. You aren’t responsible for screening employees, handling paperwork or carrying insurance. On the other hand, turnover tends to be high, so you may not get the same crew every time.
Get recommendations. Your best resources are family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Personal recommendations are really the best way to get a sense of a potential employee’s work ethic, level of responsibility and trustworthiness. Put social media to work by posting on Facebook or Nextdoor. I found my latest housekeeper by asking members of my Pilates class for referrals. One classmate had gone through the same hunt about six months before and found a reliable cleaner who was willing to take on another client.
Make a list of needs in advance. Even if you’ve had a house cleaner before, now’s the time to evaluate or reevaluate your needs. Perhaps your situation has changed, and you require more or fewer cleanings per month. Perhaps certain rooms need only a quick dusting instead of a full-blown cleaning during each visit. Children and pets might have arrived or departed. Was there something your previous cleaner didn’t do to your liking but didn’t seem worth mentioning? Write it down so you don’t forget to bring it up.
Schedule a meet-and-greet. Whether you’re hiring an individual or a service, you need to meet with the provider for a frank conversation. Ask them to describe what services they do and don’t provide. Spell out your expectations and explain any problems or issues with previous housekeepers. Do a complete room-by-room walk-through. Point out any problem areas. It’s vital that you detail what you are picky about. If you want every knickknack picked up, dusted and put back in place, say so. Ask for references and contact those employers.
Stick around for the first few cleanings. “You don’t have to follow them around the house, but this gives cleaners the chance to say, ‘This is more than I expected,’ and you the opportunity to make sure they understand what’s important, especially if you have any items you deem precious,” Brasler said.
Maid For You: How to Choose the Right Maid Service
Start with referrals.
Hiring a good cleaning service is easy if one comes recommended by friends, neighbors, or coworkers. While every home, family, and budget is different, starting the selection list with referrals is a great way to begin the process.
Ask the right questions.
Most reputable cleaning services will offer a free estimate of services over the phone or in person. Before you get to this point, use the initial phone call to ask them the questions that are important to you. Things like the number of people on the cleaning team, the length of time required per housecleaning, the type of products used, their license and insurance information—all of this information is important not only in making sure you are comfortable with the company, but also to outline your expectations for the services provided.
Stick with the professionals.
We don’t just say this because we’re the professionals. Using a cleaning company that is bonded, insured, dedicated to quality service, and held to those standards is beneficial for a number of reasons, including a personalized cleaning plan, an always-available team, consistent quality standards, thorough yet efficient cleaning, and a trusted reputation.
Be honest about what you need.
When doing the initial walk through, many people make the mistake of cleaning their homes before The Maids gets there. Commit to your “normal” so that the cleaning team knows exactly what to expect every time they walk in, and they can budget their time and staffs accordingly. (This also lets you get the full-service treatment you want in a cleaning service. You don’t want to have to get into the habit of always cleaning before they come because that kind of defeats the purpose).
Go with your gut.
In the end, your instincts will guide you to how comfortable you are with a cleaning service. Keep asking questions until you are satisfied. Be honest in your assessment and concerns. The purpose of hiring a maids service is to give you back your time, energy, and peace of mind. Do not hire a cleaning service if one of these aspects is out of place.
Tips For Hiring a House Cleaning Service
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.