10 questions to find the best housecleaner
Hiring a house cleaner can help those with hectic schedules. (Photo by Elizabeth McQuern)
For many homeowners, hiring a house cleaning service is simply a matter of not having enough time between work, the kids and their personal life (or maybe you just despise cleaning bathrooms). Prices range from $50 to several hundred depending on the size of your home and what you want cleaned.
Before hiring a house cleaner, be sure to ask these questions:
1. Will the same cleaning person be sent each time? If this is important to you, and the service can’t ensure it you might want to keep looking.
2. Do you use your own supplies or do I need to provide them?
3. How will you gain access to my home? Options include leaving a key under the mat and asking the cleaner to leave it inside when they’re done; granting access via a keypad or choosing to be home during the cleaning.
4. 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.
5. How do you charge – by the hour, by the project, by the number of personnel? Does your estimate include a “not to exceed this price” clause?
6. What’s your policy if something in the house is broken or damaged?
7. Is the company insured? Do you maintain proper liability insurance? Are you bonded? Do you do background checks on employees?
8. What types of cleaning does a routine visit cover? If you’re alright taking 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 effect the cost.
9. How long has the cleaning service been in business? And, more importantly, how long has most of the staff been with the service? A brand new company (or an old company with all-new employees) might be something to consider avoiding.
10. Can I get this all in writing? Remember: you’re letting someone into your home. Getting as many of the fine details in writing can help you avoid disagreements down the line.
Tips from the pros:
- It’s usually easier for the cleaners if the homeowner is not at home.
- If you have an alarm, be sure to let the house cleaner know. If you don’t want to give the code out, disarm it before you leave that morning.
- Be specific. If you want your house cleaner to move beds to get the underlying dust, make that known so you’re not disappointed. And if you are disappointed in any part of the service, speak up.
- Give us the house rules. Some homeowners will allow house cleaners to grab a snack or a beverage, some don’t. Some homeowners don’t mind if house cleaners listen to the TV while they’re there, some do. Let your house cleaner know what you prefer before it becomes an issue.
- Let your house cleaner know from the get-go if you ever might need something extra done, and then give them a heads-up at least a week before you do need that extra. They have other clients and a schedule that you need to respect, and throwing things on them last-minute might leave you with sub-par results overall as they scramble to finish up in their allotted time.