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Professional House Cleaning Suggestions
Whether it’s just you and a hectic schedule, or a house full of kids, keeping up with household chores can sometimes seem like a battle not worth fighting — but we’ve got a solution.
Turning to a third party to clean up your place just might be the answer, and finding the right person or group to take on the task is easier today than it’s ever been. Knowing the right details about the company or people you’ll be hiring can make all the difference when it comes to hiring a cleaning service. We’ve highlighted some key tips to consider when you’re thinking about bringing on extra help to take on the mess.
House Cleaning Basics
Going with a service to manage household chores is increasing in popularity because it is so convenient. For instance, many services have their own app for enrolling, scheduling and payment. And companies like Handy and TaskRabbit offer home cleaning services, furniture assembly, and flat screen TV installation among a slew of other personal assistance options. Other companies, like Merry Maids and Tidy, strictly specialize in home cleaning, but all of them work basically the same way.
Whether you’re looking to privately hire an individual to clean your home or you’re aiming at a service to get the job done, there’s a lot to consider:
Be sure they’re bonded. Whether you decide to go with an individual or a group to clean your home, make sure that they’re bonded and insured. These measures simply mean that the group has secured a bond from the state in the event something should happen and you need to be reimbursed. It can also mean that, on an individual employee level, a background check has been performed, and the bonding company has found that the individual is a “good risk,” or trustworthy.
Discuss cleaning supplies and equipment. Most online cleaning services will post supply details on their website. Consider sourcing some of the supplies yourself to save a few dollars. This option can also be great if certain allergies or chemical sensitivities affect anyone in your home. Some groups offer green-friendly supplies too, so don’t forget to ask about those.
The problem with shared vacuums. If you have your own vacuum, you would be wise to have the service only use yours. When a vacuum is shared between different homes, things like dust mites, bed bugs and other unpleasant creatures collected at other locations can be brought into your home when the dust canister is emptied.
A few words about pricing. Once you’ve decided on a group or individual to clean up, contact them and request a walk-through of your home. You’ll get a much more accurate estimate from them and they’ll be able to identify the amount of pre-cleaning you should do. Keep in mind that if your place hasn’t been “deep cleaned” in a while, the initial cleaning cost will be higher to get your home into a state where it can be cleaned well on a regular basis.
Review the entry and lock up process. If you’re not going to be home when the service arrives, review an entry and exit process. Install a lock box on your front door and get them the code to be sure that they can get in and lock up afterwards without a problem.
Before they arrive. It’s recommended (and sometimes required by the cleaner) that you prepare your home for being “deep cleaned.” This way, not only will your home be ready for the cleaner(s) to do their job, but you can save money, too. Get laundry off the floor and into a hamper. Clean up trash that may have missed the bathroom garbage can, and generally make it easier for them to do their job. If they have to spend another hour getting your home ready for cleaning, that’s more money out of your pocket.
Considerations for Hiring a Corporate House Cleaning Group
Keep these pointers in mind when you’ve decided to hire a professional group to clean up:
Another factor to take into consideration are the terms around cancellations. How much advanced notice do you need to give in order to ensure you won’t be charged a fee? Will you be charged the full amount if you cancel too late? Get those details on the walk through, and compare these terms and conditions against other service providers.
Get the guarantee. Many cleaning services offer a guarantee that you’re happy with their work, frequently offering to return and clean until you’re satisfied. Be sure to look at the Terms and Conditions of the group’s website to understand how they’ll enforce the guarantee. Compare these particulars between groups you’re considering, and reference this information when making your decision.
Criminal background checks on all employees is a must. Don’t settle for sales pitches that claim the group’s staff are subjected to a background check. If they’re not running a criminal background check, look elsewhere.
Download the app. Larger groups require that a credit card is on file to become a customer, and if you know you’ll be paying in cash, some groups need advanced notice. And taking a page from Uber, app-based cleaning services are now “surge pricing” in times of high demand. So be sure to ask if your rate will be subject to surge pricing before you agree.
Hiring an Individual (Non-Professional) House Cleaner
By now, it should be clear that there’s a lot of overlap between hiring a professional company and an individual to clean your home. Professional cleaners have a convenience factor, but there are benefits to hiring an individual to clean your house as well. Here are a few things to keep in mind when bringing on board an independent housekeeper.
Fixed prices are more common. Non-professional house cleaners may be able to better accommodate a fixed price for cleaning your home, which can be nice when you’ve got a limited budget to spend on these services. Unlike larger groups, individuals are more likely to settle on a flat rate if the service is to be performed on a regular basis.
Taxes are in play. Unlike hiring an independent contractor, the hiring of a non-professional person to regularly clean up your home requires you to pay nanny taxes. If you make a check out to Jane Doe, instead of Jane Doe’s Cleaning Services, you’re going to have to pay Social Security, Medicare, and state and federal unemployment taxes (where required) after paying out a certain amount of money.
If the idea of managing the bookkeeping for your employee feels uncomfortable, consider using a cleaning service, where taxes are the responsibility of the company. You may lose control over who’s cleaning your home each week, but you won’t have to worry about FICA and all the other tax issues.
You get to run the background check. One of the biggest advantages of having a single person clean your home is that they’re likely to be well-referenced. But you still should run a criminal background check on anyone that can potentially be in your home alone. Request a resume and references, and discuss whether the cleaner will bring on a substitute in the event that they can’t make the appointment. If your housekeeper does offer up another name, you’ll need to run a background check on the new individual.
Get on their calendar ASAP. Once you’ve found a suitable house cleaner, it’s a great idea to book them quickly, especially in circumstances where you’re going to need their help sooner than later. If they’re highly recommended, odds are that they’ll be in high demand. Because you’re a new client, this person may be willing to work a little harder to earn your repeated business, and squeeze your job in between existing appointments.
Consider the Benefits
Outsourcing the cleaning of your home can really free up your time. And hiring a third party to clean could well be considered an important form of self-care, specifically if the idea of cleaning up on your own frequently brings about feelings of being overwhelmed.
Studies suggest that clean homes boost morale, and fight feelings of fatigue and depression. The reason is simple, too. When a home is cluttered, the mind has a more difficult time focusing — especially when cleaning up isn’t happening on a regular basis. But clean, organized homes have the opposite effect, sometimes boosting productivity and even improving relationships. And get this: kids are more likely to respond positively in a clean home. That’s a win right there.
As you look at ways to decrease the mess and reduce the stress, now’s a great time to review your home insurance liability policy to make sure you’re protecting everything you’ve worked so hard for. At American Family Insurance, our agents are experts at building a policy that matches your individual needs — connect with yours today.