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Maid to Last: Tips for Hiring Home-Cleaning Help from the Pros

If you’re coming to the conclusion that life is too short to have to clean your own home, you might be ready to hire a helping hand that can get the job done for you. However, before you hand over your house key to any house-cleaning service, it is critical that you first “do your homework” in order to find a cleaning expert who not only knows how to clean your home thoroughly and efficiently, but who also has a proven track record of integrity, reliability and accountability – someone you can trust to clean your home in your absence.

Here are some tips from the pros at Merry Maids – including questions to ask and things to consider – that will help you to find the perfect house-cleaning professional who is “maid to last”:

1. Ask if the company performs background checks and other pre-screening on employees, such as drug testing, authorization to work in the United States and if they company pays social security taxes and pays income taxes for its workers. If one company’s price is substantially lower than another’s, it could signify that they are not paying the appropriate taxes and insurance.

2. Ask for written proof of liability insurance and check the expiration date of the certificate. Liability insurance protects homeowners from losses due to accidents and negligence. Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies do not cover theft, damage and personal injury caused by cleaning personnel.

3. Require written proof of bonding or general liability insurance. The absence of bonding leaves homeowners little or no recourse if money or valuable are missing after their home is cleaned.

4. Insist on workers’ compensation insurance. Save yourself the worry about your potential liability should a person be injured while cleaning your home. Insist your cleaning service provide workers’ compensation protection. Your homeowners’ insurance policy most likely does not insure you against household employees’ injuries.

5. Find out what cleaning products and equipment the service will use to clean your home. Some individuals require their customers furnish cleaning supplies and equipment. Others use bleach and only dry dust furniture. Merry Maids provides its own equipment and cleaning supplies relieving customers of the added expense and inconvenience. According to the Commerce Department, the average homeowner spends about $365 annually on cleaning supplies and equipment.

6. Request three references, background information and an in-home estimate. Always request an in-home interview to ensure the cleaning service can handle the job. Prepare a checklist. Find out exactly what the service will and will not clean. And, request a firm price quote for the cleaning. Ask for three references to verify customer satisfaction. Ask how long the cleaning service has been in business.

Specific Questions:
Where do you find a licensed person to clean your house?

Most cleaning people are not licensed, but when choosing someone to help around the house, you want to ensure that it is someone or an organization that you trust. Factors such as those mentioned in No. 1-4 are very important for protecting your home, and building trust in a company.

What kinds of references should you ask for?
You should request three references from current or previous customers of the service. (See No. 6)

How should you conduct the interview – what questions should you ask?
Merry Maids typically schedules a free in-home cleaning consultation. This is important to getting to know the customer’s needs, but also so the customer get a feeling for the company and have the opportunity to ask any questions. (See No. 6)

How much should you expect to pay for homes of different sizes?
That is another benefit of the in-home cleaning consultation. Prices are customized to the size and style of each home as well as the cleaning needs of the people who reside there. It is difficult to offer a ballpark figure, because prices are dependent on a number of factors, such as type of flooring, level and frequency of cleaning and geographic area.

What kind of schedule should you work out with the cleaner?
You typically prefer for the same person to come the same day, so that you can expect a routine around your home. Typically Merry Maids customers choose either service weekly or every other week to maintain a level of cleanliness in the home.

What tools and cleaners should you stock your house with for the house cleaner?
A professional service, like Merry Maids, should provide all cleaning supplies and equipment. (See No. 5.)

For more cleaning tips and information on Merry Maids, please follow us on facebook at www.facebook.com/merrymaids.  

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