With so many choices on the market, how do you select and hire a home cleaning service that is right for you? There are big corporate outfits, small-to-medium sized local services, and independent contractors. There are green services, services that specialize in office cleaning or rental properties, those that market to upscale clientele, and those who try to appeal to the average working customer.
Whether you rent or own your home, you don’t want to let just anyone into your private space. You want to hire a company with a proven track record for quality, professional work—a company you can trust to treat your home and belongings with the same care that you would, yourself. If you have pets, you want to make sure that whoever is cleaning your home is comfortable around them and that they won’t use toxic cleaning products that might make your pets sick. And, of course, the service should be priced fairly and within your budget. It’s no wonder that choosing a home cleaning service can sometimes seem like such a daunting task!
Thankfully, there are ways to ensure that the cleaning service you hire is a good fit for you. It’s a fairly simple matter of doing a small amount of homework before making your decision. Here’s a quick list of items to check up on for each company you consider.
- Find out how long the company has been in business. While a shorter length of time in business shouldn’t necessarily disqualify a home cleaning service (everyone has to start somewhere), it is important to determine how much experience the company has. You don’t want to be taken in by a fly-by-night company that will clean your home today and go out of business next week. If the company you’re considering has been around for less than a year or two, find out what experience the owner and employees had prior to the company’s opening.
- Check reviews and talk to your friends. It’s the age of information! If you can’t find reviews of a service company online, chances are they’re either brand-spanking new, or they are going to great lengths to keep reviews off the internet. Good companies LOVE reviews. Even if there’s an occasional nasty one, the good ones more than make up for it by bringing new business to their door. Free sites like Yelp! and paid membership sites like Angie’s List will show you reviews of all the relevant service providers in your area. But Googling the name of the company you’re researching is also an effective way to find reviews. You can also ask your friends, family, and coworkers for referrals to home cleaning services they have used.
- Learn what type of cleaning products they use. There are all types of cleaning products and equipment. You should be able to fairly easily determine what kind your prospective carpet cleaner uses by looking on their website. For instance, they may use a particular brand of cleaning products, or they may make their own green cleaning products. Some independent contractors will only use cleaning products that you provide. If they don’t have a website, that might be a warning sign, but not necessarily a disqualifier. If the information you’re looking for isn’t readily available on the website, the owner or representative should answer your question clearly when you ask, without hesitation.
- Learn the agency or individual’s policies. Discuss beforehand things like window washing, things that have to be cleaned from atop a step-ladder, extra pet-related duties, or anything else that may not be in the company’s regular job description. They may not be willing to do certain tasks, or they might charge an extra fee for doing it. Find out while you’re shopping around to avoid unpleasant surprises on that first cleaning!
- Find out if you have to be present when the cleaning takes place. Rather than giving you a specific appointment, many cleaning services will give you a time frame of when they will arrive at your home to clean. For instance, they may tell you they will arrive at your home between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Tuesdays. Make sure you find out prior to your first cleaning whether this is the case, and whether the company’s policies allow for the homeowner or resident to be absent during the cleaning. Most companies will leave it up to client preference as to whether cleaners are given a copy of the key or the code to the security system so that they can clean when you are not home, but often the client will be required to be present during the initial cleaning.
- Pricing considerations. There are a lot of things in life that you can skimp on, trying to get the absolute lowest price. Home cleaning is probably not one of them. An unbelievably low price usually means unbelievable incompetence, or perhaps untrustworthiness. On the other hand, if the price seems way too expensive, you would probably do well to keep shopping. Do the math. Does it seem reasonable that a company could stay in business charging the price that you were quoted, while still providing a high quality service?
- Further pricing considerations. Prior to your first cleaning, make sure that the pricing for the cleaning service is explicit and that there are no hidden fees.
- Make sure the company (and its employees) are bonded and insured. No matter how good a home cleaning service is, no one is immune to accidents. As with any service provider doing work in your home, make absolutely sure the company or individual you choose is bonded and insured…just in case.
- How well do they perform the initial clean? If you’re looking for a regular cleaning service, it doesn’t hurt to just have the prospective provider come out and do an initial cleaning on your home. As soon as possible after they are done, inspect their work to be sure it is up to your standards.
- How do the company representatives treat you? Even if a company passes all nine of the tests above, you want to make sure they’re going to treat you with respect and consideration. When you call or email the company, do they get back to you within a reasonable time frame? When a rep comes to your home to do the estimate, do they seem friendly and courteous? Do they answer your questions honestly? If the company passes this final test, you’ve probably found yourself a keeper.
We hope this list helps you through the sometimes frustrating task of choosing a home cleaning service. If you live in the Asheville, NC area, you are welcome to put us to the test! Peruse our blog and website, and feel free to call us at 828.505.7320 or contact us with any additional questions you might have.