Should you hire a house cleaning company or an individual house cleaner?
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Troyer of Seattle Green Cleaner
There are several good reasons to choose a cleaning service over an individual cleaner. Are you ready to be an employer? Does the cleaning company you’ve hired have employees or contractors? Is your property insured against theft or damage? What if someone is out sick, will your house still get cleaned?
Here is a handy guide for choosing the right house cleaner to fit your needs.
It sounds great - you hire an individual who will charge less than a cleaning company and all you have to do is provide the cleaning products and supplies for him/her to use, right? Well, maybe. The IRS may require you to supply Publication 926 for Household Employees and Employment Verification Form I-9.
If they determine that you are the cleaner's employer, you may be required to withhold and pay their Federal Income, Social Security and Medicare taxes. (See IRS for more information). Beyond the potential tax headaches, consider what happens if something is broken or stolen? Are you covered? What if he/she is sick on your cleaning day or goes on vacation? Will your house still get cleaned?
It's a good idea to hire a professional cleaning service. After all, they have the tools necessary to do a great job, and they know what they're doing. But before you hire a cleaning service, ask if their cleaners are employees or contractors. If they are contractors, the cleaning service you hire doesn’t need to provide liability insurance (in case something is broken or stolen at your house), and in most cases, they can’t even ensure how the job is done – only the end result.
If the cleaner is a contractor (1099 worker), they must provide their own business license, cleaning supplies and products, and hopefully, they are also licensed and bonded. Do you have the time to verify their credentials? What if something happens?
If you hire a professional house cleaning company with W-2 employees, you're more likely to have a set cleaning schedule (even if a cleaner is out sick), and the company provides all the necessary cleaning supplies instead of you or the person cleaning your home.
The company should be licensed and have liability insurance and a bond to cover any theft or damage. The cleaners are W-2 employees, which gives them benefits (protection if they are hurt on the job, safe working standards, unemployment benefits, Federal Income, Social Security & Medicare taxes withheld, etc.), and the company has done all the leg work of background checks, eligibility to work, training and so on. This option provides the most protection for you and your home as well as the cleaners who are servicing your home.
Hiring a cleaning service should make your life easier. By knowing what to look for when choosing a cleaning company, you're already on the right path.
Jennifer Troyer is the founder of Seattle Green Cleaner; an environmentally and socially responsible professional house cleaning company. Established in 2007, Troyer takes pride in her environmental stewardship while being a socially responsible employer. Her cleaners are all W-2 employees who enjoy paid time off, top pay for a job well done, have everything they need provided for them and they are protected. Seattle Green Cleaner is a fully licensed, bonded and insured, residential cleaning company serving Greater Seattle and they've earned the Angie's List Super Service Award three years in a row.
As of March 28, 2012, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.