Should You Hire a Cleaning Company or an Individual Cleaner?

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated November 8, 2021
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Hiring a house cleaner can ease your stress while making your home shine. But hiring someone to clean your house can be a bit daunting, especially when it comes to deciding whether to hire a local cleaning company or an individual house cleaner.

Cleaning Company Pros and Cons ​

Cleaning companies employ a team of professionals who clean residential and commercial properties, offering services like mopping, dusting, and deep cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Some companies charge per service or offer an hourly cleaning service. The company may send a few housekeepers at once to get the job done faster.

Pros

  • Standard procedures and training: Cleaning companies often have well-defined procedures and processes. They also train their employees to be thorough and consistent.

  • Quick: Because cleaning companies often send more than one person, they'll be in and out of your home faster than an individual.

  • Reliable: If a cleaner is sick or on vacation, a commercial cleaning company usually fills in the spot with a replacement.

  • Liability and insurance coverage: A house cleaning company should be licensed and have liability insurance and a bond to cover any theft or damage. If a cleaner gets hurt in your home, the medical bills are usually paid by the company. Verify this before hiring any house cleaner for your home.

  • Vetted staff: You won’t need to interview any house cleaners, as the company puts employees through a formal process.

Cons

  • Lack of personal touch: Some companies send a different house cleaner to your home every time, so the cleaner may not be as engaged with you or your home. Some homeowners have found that companies are “tougher” on their home than individual cleaners, who are more gentle and conscientious.

  • Not as flexible: A company might not offer extra add-ons or be able to change the time of your cleaning, as they have a larger operation and schedule at hand.

  • More expensive: Due to more overhead costs, cleaning companies tend to be more expensive than individual cleaners.

Individual House Cleaner Pros and Cons​

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Some individual house cleaners run their own business, while others operate without a formal business structure. Independent house cleaners offer the same services as a commercial cleaning company but tend to be less expensive. Individual cleaners also offer flexibility and personalized services, but be aware of tax and insurance liabilities.

Pros

  • Less expensive: Individual house cleaners are almost always less expensive than cleaning companies because they don’t have as many overhead expenses.

  • Flexible: They might be open to scheduling their cleaning at a different time or adding on services like cleaning out your fridge.

  • Invested in you: Most individual cleaners take pride in their services and want to do a good job. They get to know your home and your preferences, which can lead to a better experience.

Cons

  • Lack of coverage: If your housecleaner takes a vacation or gets sick, they usually don't have someone to fill their shoes.

  • Tax payments: Depending on how often you have the housekeeper come, the number of other houses they clean, and how much you pay them annually, they could be considered your employee instead of an independent contractor. Be sure to follow IRS guidelines about domestic help to ensure your taxes are in order.

  • Liabilities: An individual house cleaner might not be bonded and insured. If something breaks, they might not be on the hook to pay for it unless it’s in your agreement. And if they get injured while at your home, you may have to pay the medical bills. Get an agreement in writing to mitigate any risk.

Cleaning Company vs. Individual House Cleaner

Decide whether a cleaning company near you or an individual house cleaner is best by comparing cost and other important factors.

Final Cleanliness

In most cases, both cleaning companies and individual house cleaners do a thorough job. Individual housekeepers are invested in gaining repeat business, while cleaning companies have more standard procedures and training.

Cleanest: It’s a draw–both independent cleaners and companies will leave your home sparkly clean.

Options and Customizations​​

Cleaning companies offer services and add-ons but they usually need to be ordered in advance. Extra services might not always be available, either, due to bookings with other clients.

Individual cleaners can usually customize your cleaning and provide add-on services more quickly, as they're in full control of their schedule. They might fold laundry, take out the trash, or clean a requested area like your carpet or window treatments.

Most customizable: Independent cleaner

Price​

Most individual house cleaners charge between $25 and $50 an hour, while a cleaning service might cost up to $90 an hour, according to HomeAdvisor.

The cost of cleaning services varies widely based on your location, the size and condition of your home, and what services you want. Weekly cleanings usually cost anywhere from $75 to $250, while one-time cleanings usually are in the $100 to $400 range.

Most affordable: Independent cleaner

Ease of Working Together

Cleaning companies may offer online scheduling and auto-notifications when they’re on their way or leave your home. Individual contractors usually don't have as many standard systems in place. You can often communicate with an individual housekeeper via text or phone call.

Some homeowners enjoy being able to talk directly with their house cleaner, while others appreciate the professionalism and consistency of a company.

Easiest to work with: It’s a tie—both are usually easy to communicate with and schedule

Consistency

While a cleaning company has standard procedures and processes, you might have a different person come to your house each time. A company employee might have a different approach or focus area than another. An independent cleaner comes each time, though, so you can rely on exactly how they clean your place.

Highest consistency: Individual cleaner

Level of Risk

Independent house cleaners aren’t often bonded and insured. If something breaks when they’re in your home, they likely won’t cover the cost. If they get hurt while in your home, you may be on the hook to pay their medical bills. Cleaning companies are almost always bonded and insured, so you don’t have these risks when cleaners are in your home.

No matter which you decide on, make sure to discuss important liability and insurance details before hiring a house cleaner.

Less risk: Cleaning company

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