Hiring a Cleaning Company

In my 20 years of experience I have done over a lot of estimates for home owners looking to hire someone to clean their homes. I can tell you that many home owners do not have a clue as to what to ask of the prospective cleaner therefore rely on personality and price alone to determine who to hire. While this may work, for a relative few, it can also lead to miscommunication and undue stress for the majority.

While hiring may seem a daunting task, it need not be so if only a few things are considered before the interview process.

1) Always insist on a face to face interview in your home so that the scope of work can be discussed while touring your home. It is important to see the different surfaces that are in the home. What is stone to some is marble to others, and you want to make sure that they person or company that you are hiring knows the difference

2) Make sure to cover the important questions of License (business), bonding, liability insurance, workman’s comp insurance, etc are covered before allowing the interview/ estimate to happen. Then double check at the time of the interview by asking to see copies of proof of each. Do not allow persons or companies who do not have the above to come to your home! They are not protecting you or themselves and that is an invitation to trouble. Legitimate companies will have no problem with showing you these items and even providing for you copies if needed

3) Allow enough time for the interview/ estimate, rushing this process is the #1 reason why there are miscommunications.

4) Have prepared before the interview/ estimate a list of questions that you have for the cleaner/ company. This will help to assure that all of your questions are answered.

5) Ask for referrals, than check those referrals. Research with the local agencies the length of time that this person or Company has been in business. Look for someone who is established with a history of verifiable work.

6) Ask questions about how surfaces in your home are going to be cleaned, question the knowledge of the cleaner or company to verify that they are knowledgeable in the proper cleansers for each surface. Simple mistakes can often be very costly if the wrong chemicals are used on some common household surfaces.

7) Confirm that the Cleaner/ Company pays all labor related taxes and insurance. If they do not send them on their way, because that leaves you the homeowner having to cover the cleaner for their social security, workman’s comp, etc.

8 ) Determine who will be responsible for providing supplies and equipment. In some states if the home owner provides these items they are determined to be the employer therefore they are responsible for injuries to the cleaner if injured while using those supplies or equipment.

9) Does the cleaner/ company put into writing their policies and scope of work? They should. Make sure that you get a copy for your records. Do not however sign a contact. There are no reasons that you should have to agree to any long term of service.

10) Many companies will send out the owner or an estimator to the first meeting if this is the case and you are not meeting the actual person who will be cleaning ask to be able to meet the cleaner who will be servicing your home. Sometimes this may only work for both parties if you, the home owner; agrees to be home for the first cleaning, if that is the case do not skip this step! Look for chemistry or rapport between you the cleaner. Observe their level of professionalism. Courtesy, respect, punctuality and the ability to communicate as these are some of the most important attributes a contractor of any sort can have next to their basic competency. No matter how good someone is, if they don’t click with you on these points; don’t continue to work with them. Period.

11) Most important, Communication. Make sure that you have open lines with both the cleaner and the office. Fear not to dialog before and after each cleaning. Remember – positive communication is also a wonderful tool. If the cleaner did a great job, tell them that you noticed. A balance of positive and negative dialog tends to be heard much better than a steady diet of only negatives.

12) Last but not least (at least to the cleaner/ company) please, please, please respect and adhere to their policies regarding cancellations and payments. This is a job to them, and they work hard for their money. If you have to cancel at the last moment pay them. Period.

Theresa Peterson
Quality Cleaning, Maid to Order

This material is copy-written. You are free to use it as long as it remains un-edited and due credit is given to the author.

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