Don't leave anything unanswered
Before you hire a cleaning service or professional housekeeper, you want to have faith that they can get the job done. And to have confidence in who you hire, you have to ask the right questions. Here are some go-to questions that will cover all the bases so you can have a house that sparkles.
1. Do You Work Alone or With a Company?
It’s important to know if you’re hiring one cleaner or a team of house cleaning professionals.
An independent housekeeper can mean lower rates for cleaning services. But hiring just one individual means there’s no backup cleaners to cover for your pro if they need a sick day right before your big dinner party. While a cleaning company’s rate might cost more than hiring just one cleaner, you don’t have to worry about backups. Scheduling can be much easier, too.
2. Where Can I Find Your References?
Hiring someone to come in and clean your home means inviting someone new inside your space. To that end, you want to make sure the housekeeper you hire can be trusted. Ask where you can find references from past customers. Some will have them on websites, others can be found on professional customer review websites.
3. When Can You Provide Me With an Estimate?
Once you’ve found a housekeeper or cleaning service you want to hire, take the time to call or email them and request an estimate. This won’t just give you their rates, it will also let you know just how responsive they are, and that matters when you’re hiring someone to clean your home.
4. How Do You Set Your Rates?
It’s important to know how much you’re going to be regularly spending for cleaning services. Most cleaning pros charge by the hour for the first visit, but some do charge by project or by the numbers of folks they send to get the job done. Make sure to ask for an estimate of how long it will take to get your home clean.
Once that’s been done, you might get the same flat rate for each visit—providing you keep the property in roughly the same shape! You can also save by asking if the housekeeper or cleaning service has a “not to exceed this price” clause to spare you a bigger bill than expected.
5. Do You Conduct Employee Background Checks?
If you are hiring a cleaning company, it is their job to run background checks on the people they employ. If you are hiring a private housekeeper, you’re the employer, and in that case, it’s your job to run the background check.
6. Are You Insured and Bonded?
If something gets broken or damaged in your home, you want the cleaners that you hired to be insured and bonded so that you can be fairly compensated. That said, if there’s something in your home you really value and it’s fragile, give them a heads up all the same. Plus, hiring a cleaning technician who is insured and bonded gives the homeowner peace of mind that the company takes their services and customers seriously.
7. Do You Provide Workers Compensation?
If something happens to the housekeeper or cleaning professional while they are on the job, you are held liable unless the company provides workers compensation. Make sure to ask about this for your own peace of mind.
8. Do You Bring Cleaning Equipment and Supplies?
The last thing you want to do is hire a cleaning company or housekeeper and then have them show up to clean with no cleaning products in sight and with none in your own cupboard. Some housekeeping companies provide their own products, while others will request that you provide them. If there is a special product you would like your cleaner to use, make sure you provide them with it at the start of cleaning along with instructions.
9. What Services Are Included?
People look for different things from their housekeepers. Some people want someone to come in and do the daily tidying, while others prefer to handle that themselves and reserve the housekeeper for bigger jobs like cleaning baseboards or deep cleaning bathrooms. Every housekeeper charges differently, make sure the services you want are actually included by asking them.
10. What Kind of Training Do You Give?
Cleaning companies train their employees differently. Make sure you ask how the employees are trained so you get a sense of if you can expect the same level of cleaning each time they visit. Hearing about their training also lets you know how committed a company is to its employees' success and thus, their clients’ overall satisfaction.
11. Is My Satisfaction Guaranteed?
It’s important that you understand from the beginning how your housekeeper or house cleaning company will communicate with you and react should you be dissatisfied with the job they’ve done. A good professional will be willing to work with you should you be unhappy.
12. Do You Work From a Checklist?
Your idea of how to clean a home may differ from the housekeeper’s idea of how to clean a home. Many professional cleaners work from a list, and asking to see it can help you isolate areas that you would like cleaned that may not be included already.
13. How Will You Get Into My Home?
Chances are, this cleaning professional will be gaining access to your home when you aren’t there. Find out if they prefer an access code, a hidden key, or other options for entering your home safely and securely in your absence.
14. What Should I Do With My Pets?
Even if your housekeeper prefers you isolate animals in one room or in a crate, you should still make sure they get a chance to meet each other so they have time to get used to each other.
15. How Long Have You Been Working as a House Cleaner?
It’s always a good idea to find out how long your home cleaning service has been in the business. If you find out that you’re hiring a newer company, be mindful that they may still be working out the kinks that come with getting a small business off the ground.
16. Can We Arrange a Trial Period?
If you’ve found someone perfect, but you aren’t quite ready to sign on the dotted line, see if they are up for a few trial sessions (at their full rate, naturally) before you hire them for indefinite cleanings.
17. Can I Get a Written Contract?
A housekeeper or cleaning company can promise you the moon on a silver spoon, and while that’s very nice in theory, make sure you get what they are promising you in writing. A contract is a smart way to protect you and to protect them.