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5 Questions to Ask a Cleaning Service or Cleaner

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In this busy day and age, most of us could use a little help with keeping our homes or offices tidy. Or perhaps you're moving in or out of a place and want help making things look new again. In either respect, hiring a cleaning service or a single cleaner is a smart choice.

It may seem easy to hire a cleaner or cleaning service until you take into consideration the expanse of the job. You're trusting strangers to come into your home or office and be responsible with your items and valuables. You're allowing someone to come in and clean with little or no supervision--how do you know the job will be completed? And what happens if they become injured in your home, or if they break something valuable? These are important questions you should address to ensure your items are untouched, your office cleaned and everyone is safe.

Before you can ask questions of your cleaner, you need to decide what type of cleaning you want done. Is this a weekly job or a one-time deep cleaning job? Are there special chores you wish to have done during their cleaning time? Once you've decided what you want cleaned and how often, you can begin to look for a service.

Where to Look

Word of mouth is always a great way of finding a reliable cleaning service. Ask your friends, family or colleagues. If you're a business owner and you're looking for someone to clean your office or establishment, ask a few local businesses which service they use. If you can't find someone by word of mouth then try the phone book.

Keep in mind you'll pay a little more for a service instead of an individual, mainly because the service has more overhead, usually provides cleaning supplies, and may carry insurance that an individual won't. If you hire an individual, you'll want to consult your local laws to see what the rule is about covering taxes for the individual.

Once you've found a few prospective cleaners you'll want to give them a call and ask about services, prices and availability. Make sure if you have special chores you need done that you ask if the cleaner covers those jobs. For example, some cleaners won't do windows or laundry. If they seem eager to take your job on, set up an interview so you can ask them a few more questions.

The Top Five Questions

Getting to know your cleaner or cleaning service seems like a step you don't need, but how else will you know what to expect, and what your cleaner expects from you?

1) How long have you been in business? This is an important question, because a well-established company will have a long list of references. Someone who has been in the business longer should have more experience and ability to clean specialty items, such as antiques.

  • Ask for references and call at least three.
  • Ask about turnover rate with employees. House/office cleaning typically has a high turnover rate, so expect to hear they change employees every 3-5 months. Each change in personnel means trusting someone new in your home, so a higher turnover rate isn't as desirable.
  • Ask if their employees have been bonded and background checked for a criminal record.

2) What supplies do you use and what methods do you use? Some cleaning services offer the use of their stock cleaning supplies which they bring every week to your home for use. Sometimes this is a great benefit, other times this means the cleaner is equipped with a rag and a bottle of spray solution.

  • You'll want to know what products they use so you can tell them if you're allergic to a product.
  • If you have specialty items such as antiques that require special solutions or methods of cleaning you'll want to mention this to ensure your home is cared for properly.

3) Do you carry insurance? This is an important question to ask, especially of a cleaning service. These days, people are quick to sue if something happens. Insurance helps to protect both parties and keeps everyone involved happy.

  • If someone from the cleaning service is injured on your property, you may be liable for damages and hospital bills unless the company carries insurance.
  • Insurance works to cover your property if it is broken or damaged.
  • If you are interested in hiring a single cleaning professional that isn't insured, check with your insurance company to see what you'll need for coverage.
  • Ask if the service carries Worker's Compensation. Not only does this insurance provide protection to the employees, it can help you be sure the cleaner is paying its employees 'on the books' instead of 'under the table'.

4) How will it take to clean a house of my size and what methods do you use? These are very important questions. You don't want to be paying for two hours for a job that could be done in half the time and you want to make sure the work is done properly.

  • Ask questions about what will be cleaned, what method they'll use to accomplish the job, and how long it will take.
  • Ask if they have a check list to follow so they don't miss any duties.
  • Ask about communication methods. Some cleaners don't mind a detailed note left in the home to follow, while others might prefer a phone call.

5) Is your work guaranteed? If you're not pleased with the job done it's important to know what action you can take to have the problem corrected. A lot of cleaning companies will offer a 24 hour guarantee, meaning if you call within 24 hours after the job is completed with a complaint they will return to correct the problem.

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Window Cleaners
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