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How to Shop for a House Cleaning Service
to Avoid Disastrous Results

Having a house cleaner or maid service is a dream come true for many people. Unfortunately for some, hiring a good house cleaning service becomes a nightmare. Use this valuable information to avoid the pitfalls and find a quality house cleaning service that will keep your home sparkling clean and give you peace of mind.

Determine the frequency of service you want.
One time
On-Call Cleanings
Regular Service - Weekly, Bi-monthly, or Monthly
Know Your Special Needs
Do you have a time of day preference?
The days you have available for cleaning to be performed?
Do you want only certain portion(s) of the home cleaned or the entire home cleaned?
Does anyone have chemical sensitivities or have allergies?
Does the cleaning need to be performed within 72 hours?
Decide Which Type of House Cleaner To Hire
When it comes to hiring a house cleaner you have three options.
Hire a house cleaner directly. You become an employer.
Hire a company that has house cleaning sub-contractors. You are not an employer but your relationship with the house cleaning company is arms length.
Hire a professional house cleaning company with employees. This option provides you with the most service and support.
Learn more about each of these options to see which fits your needs best. Then use this handy checklist when you interview house cleaning companies.
What to Consider Before You Employ A House Cleaner
See IRS publication 926 Household Employer's Tax Guide, for proper instructions. You are now an employer! Be sure to complete w-2, w-3, I-9 forms, and make time to file employment taxes. You are responsible for hiring and firing housekeepers. Check with your insurance agent to ensure you have proper homeowners insurance.
Considering paying your house cleaner "under the table". Paying "under the table" brings risks for both you and your employee.
The person may be avoiding DSHS or child support payments.
If the person becomes disabled they will not be able to get support from the government.
If they get injured they will need money to live on so they will sue somebody to receive their lost wages.
If they chose to change professions they will not have unemployment income to help them during this period of time.
When you hire your own house cleaner, you are the one that provides the cleaning supplies and equipment. You have the responsibility of making sure you keep up with your cleaning supply inventory and with the maintenance of your vacuum and other cleaning equipment.
What to Know Before You Hire a
House Cleaning Company That Hires Sub-Contractor's
The person that comes out to your home has a business license. Find out if they have liability insurance. For ongoing service it's recommended that you require their insurance company to mail or fax a certificate of insurance to you. This ensures their coverage is current. If the business is not insured and damage happens you will either have to make a claim on your home owner's policy or pay for repairs out of your pocket.
Will you need to provide written cleaning instructions for each cleaning?
What happens if the person assigned to you gets sick, goes on vacation, has car problems or quits?
What is their policy if you are unhappy with the cleaning?
What is their policy if you want a different person to clean your home?
For your protection: Before the first cleaning go through the house with the house cleaner to find out what they plan to use on the various surfaces. Many inexperienced house cleaners use the wrong products or use the right products improperly. This can cause permanent damage or stains to your property.
Will the work be paid by the hour or by the job? A good housecleaner will try to complete all the work requested and adjust the quality accordingly. Avoid getting a house cleaner that spends four hours in only half of your home.
What to Expect From a Professional Housecleaning Service
with Employees
Hiring a professional housecleaning service with employees is the easiest and most relaxing way to get your home cleaned.
They hire, train, insure and exchange employees as needed.
The house cleaners are employees of the company you hire, they take care of all the government paperwork and taxes.
Most provide cleaning instructions for your home to the house cleaners ensuring they understand exactly what you want done.
Most provide cleaning supplies and cleaning equipment. This frees you from stocking an inventory of cleaning supplies and from maintaining cleaning equipment.
They have sufficient personnel to ensure your regularly scheduled cleaning happens even if your regular house cleaner is absent and they accommodate schedule change for a special occasion.
What to ask When You Interview
A House Cleaner or House Cleaning Company
Now that you understand your options better, here are some helpful questions to ask when you interview a house cleaner or house cleaning company.
Will they provide service as often as you want? (See your answer in Section 1).
Can you provide services to meet my special needs? (See your answers in Section 2).
Are employees covered by Labor & Industries if they get hurt in my home?
Does the company perform a background check on each employee?
What type of training do employees receive?
What takes place when something is broken or damaged in my home?
If I decide to use your service would you agree to have your insurance company send me a certificate of insurance coverage?
Do I need to leave a detailed cleaning instruction list at each cleaning?
Who's cleaning supplies and vacuum will be used?
What happens if the scheduled cleaning falls on a holiday?
What is the procedure if I am not happy with my cleaning?
Do you send the same employee(s) back on each visit?
What happens if my house cleaner is sick or on vacation?
What actions does the company take to ensure the cleanings are consistently good quality?
Why should you choose their company over their competitors?
How often are customer cleanings rescheduled due to lack of employees, broken vacuums, car problems, etc.?

You are now prepared to interview and choose the right type of service to best fit your needs. Use the printable version of this checklist when you're ready to interview house cleaners.

How to Protect Your Home from Un-Insured House Cleaners.

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