With families becoming busier than ever with work schedules and family activities, hiring a house cleaner to help you out has become less of a luxury expense and more of a necessity.
When you are considering bringing in a local cleaning service to help around the house, your first step should be deciding whether or not you want to hire an independent contractor or a service company. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.
An individual cleaner may have lower rates to start with, but may have issues with availability as their schedule becomes busier. A service company will likely have higher rates but will be able to work within your schedule better as they have more staff to be able to accommodate your needs.
Regardless of your ultimate choice, there are certain questions that you should be asking of all your candidates. Once you have done your homework and looked at several options, it’s time to go through the interview process. Make sure that all of these important questions are addressed by each of your choices.
Are They Insured and Bonded?
This is a requirement that should not be ignored. Most companies will have liability coverage that protects you both if there is any damage to your personal items or if anything goes missing. For individual contractors, having this type of coverage is important in establishing trust and peace of mind with their customers.
How Do They Set Their Rates?
There are several different ways that rates are set by a cleaning service. They can charge an hourly rate, set a project rate per cleaning or set a price based on the amount and type of duties being done. If your company uses an hourly rate, make sure to set a limit on the number of hours per week that can be charged.
Do They Do Background Checks On All Their Employees?
Most larger service companies have a policy where all new employees have a background check and police clearance done. If you are dealing with an individual cleaner, it becomes your job to do a full background check yourself. Ask them to provide a recent police clearance with their application. It is important to make sure that anyone coming into your home poses no threat to you, your family or any of your possessions.
Do They Use Their Own Equipment and Supplies?
Most larger companies will come with all of their own equipment and cleaning supplies. If this is not the case, beware of careless use of your equipment or wasteful use of your cleaning solutions as it can add unwanted expenses to your bill. Many companies have also adopted using environmentally friendly cleaning products — you can ask about this if that is a concern for you.
Get It All In Writing
Once you have had an initial consultation and have laid out all of the responsibilities and tasks that you want taken care of, get it all down in a written contract. Companies will often take care of the contract themselves, but individuals may not have something set up. Even getting a list of the services provided, the agreed rates and the schedule down on paper and signed by both parties can be enough to protect you in the long run should anything happen.