By Linda Merrill, Networx
There are many important decisions that go into hiring a house cleaner or cleaning service. In addition to assessing the cleaner's quality of work, you must assess other factors, too. Remember, you will be inviting a relative stranger into your home who will often be working unattended.
Consider the Following:
• Type of Service: Do you need cleaning-only service, or do you require maid service that might include picking up after your family or running light errands?
• Frequency of Service: Do you need weekly
cleaning or will every other week do? Perhaps you only require a quarterly deep cleaning?
- Supplies and Equipment: Will you provide all the cleaning supplies and equipment, or would you prefer that your service handle it all?
- Products Used: Do you want all-natural organic cleaning products, or do you feel that it's not clean unless it's "Lysol clean"?
- The White Glove Test: Make a list of your expectations and share them with your cleaner so that there are no misunderstandings. Do they do windows?
- Contracts: Does your cleaning service provide a standard service agreement? Does it offer return service if you are not satisfied with the work?
Protections from Loss or Damage
- Hiring Practices: Does the agency or cleaning company do background checks on its employees for criminal records and immigration status?
- Insurance: Any agency or company should provide proof of liability insurance. Things happen. The cleaner could be vacuuming when the cord inadvertently pulls over an expensive table, or the maid could accidentally spill cleaning solution on the carpet. Does the company's insurance provide coverage for your loss? If the maid falls down the stairs or off a stepladder, does the firm hold worker's compensation insurance? Making sure that the hiring firm has the appropriate insurances, based on local law, will give you peace of mind. If you are hiring a private cleaner, he is less likely to hold this level of insurance and you will need to decide if you can accept any potential losses that occur in your home.
- Bonding: A bonded company has secured funds, controlled by the state, to cover potential losses due to theft. A bonded employee is someone who has undergone an in-depth background check and is deemed by the bonding company to be worth insuring. If that person does end up stealing from you, you will be compensated by that state-controlled fund.
- Who is it today? If you are going through an agency, the cleaners it sends may rotate and you may not get the same person each week. If consistency is important to you, then you will want to make sure to address that in the hiring process.
- Licensing: Requirements vary from state to state and you should check with the appropriate local government agency to find out what's required in your own state.
Whether you are hiring a private, independent cleaner or someone through an agency or service company, being clear about your expectations and needs is vitally important to establishing a productive working relationship. Asking the important questions about background checks and insurance will protect you and your home from accidents and neglect.