By Rod Davis, CEO, BBB Serving Southeast Florida and the Caribbean
After the holidays, I always try to do something good for myself. One of the best decisions I made a few years ago was to hire a cleaning company for my home. Finding the right cleaning business for you will take a little time, but by following these steps, you will succeed.
- Do Your Research. It’s a good practice to interview at least three companies to get an estimate before selecting one to hire. Check out the businesses through bbb.org/sefl to read reviews/complaints on them. Beware of businesses with poor reviews and multiple complaints, more importantly see how they address them. Always look for the BBB Accredited Business Seal to know these companies are screened, approved, and monitored. Some cleaning companies will provide the cleaning products while others will ask you to do so. You may also want to ask about the type of products used (e.g. organic or natural) and include your preference to identify potential businesses to interview.
- Interview Candidates. Interview multiple candidates to determine if you would rather hire a large cleaning business or an individual cleaning person. During the interview you should be able to meet with someone from the cleaning business, as well as with the person who will actually be cleaning your home. During the interview process, find someone you feel comfortable with since they will be working in your home. A large business can more readily provide service even if your cleaner/cleaning crew are sick or otherwise not available, but a smaller business or individual permits you to know the people coming into your home.
3. Check Credentials & References. Any individual or business you hire should be registered,* bonded, and insured to work in your home. This will protect you in the event something is broken, stolen, or if someone gets injured on the job. Some businesses will provide background checks on the individuals coming into your home. You should ask about this with any hire and you may want to conduct a background check on the individuals selected for your home to give yourself peace of mind. As part of your interview, you may also want to ask for references you can call to ask about the work of a potential hire.
- Discuss Cost. Determine whether you will need to hire a cleaning service for a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly visit and ask about their pricing. Find out exactly what is included in their services and make sure it encompasses everything you wish to have cleaned. If you want something specific, communicate that up front so the cleaning company is prepared to accommodate your request. Since I hated cleaning windows, finding a service that makes windows shine was a top priority for me.
The business should walk through your home before giving you an estimate. Be sure to find out if the cleaning business provides their own cleaning supplies, if not the cost of the services should be less expensive.
- Get Everything in Writing. When you decide on the company to hire, make sure you have a written agreement that spells out clearly what the cleaners in your home will be doing. It should also set a reasonable time limit for the tasks to be done each day the cleaners come to work.
- Prepare for the Services. Before the cleaning business arrives at your home, it’s important to put away any clutter, but this does not mean you need to clean before they arrive. Put away jewelry and other valuables and warn the cleaning business about pets living in your home.
- Include a Post Cleaning Review. After the first cleaning is done, conduct a review and share that information with the head person for the company you selected. Let them know you will be doing this when you hire them so they know to expect it. Many businesses will include a survey to you after the first cleaning to make sure they are meeting your expectations.
Get a copy of the company’s bond and obtain the name of its insurance agent, then call to verify that the cleaning service’s bond and policies are in effect. Note the dollar values and coverage limits. Is the dollar value on the bond or policy high enough to cover your house? Also check to see that the company has its own workers compensation insurance policy. If they do not, and a cleaner is injured while working in your home, they could sue you and your homeowner’s insurance policy.
*Note: “Bonded and insured” are absolutely crucial words when you hire a cleaning service. Do not take anyone’s word for it. Verify each one. A bond is a form of insurance that protects you from any dishonest or criminal acts by the people who will come into your home to clean it. Insurance protects you if the cleaning people cause an accident, such as forgetting to shut off a faucet or losing a key.