House Cleaning

Choosing a House Cleaning Service
by Gabby Hyman

There's no point in contracting with a house cleaning service if you have to pick up after them. Homeowners should do a little research, evaluating several cleaning service companies and gathering estimates before inviting strangers into their homes. Most house cleaning services will write up a free estimate for their services. Be wary of those that won't.

Since you are going to invite someone over to clean house, make sure the company you engage has insurance. A reputable cleaning service will be happy to have their insurer send you a Certificate of Liability Insurance. You may also ask your prospective company to show proof of a liability service bond, which protects you against breakage or physical damage to you or a member of your family as a result of the house cleaning service.

Looking It All Over

Ask for references. You'll know you have a quality cleaning company when it willingly provides a partial client list and allows you to look into their services. High-quality house cleaning services also provide workers comp insurance and collect payroll taxes from employees. And you'll want to examine their written list of comprehensive services.

All-inclusive estimates stipulate the cleaning tasks for every room in the house, how often service is provided, and the costs for extra cleaning services beyond the customary contract (washing dishes, changing bedding, folding laundry, etc.). Your estimate will probably be based on square footage.

Don't be afraid to ask about the kinds of cleaning products they use. If you're concerned about the ecology, or if a family member has allergies, will the service provide alternatives? If their chemicals damage carpet, surfaces, or furniture, how are they prepared to respond?

Examine your prospective company's small print. Is the contract based on the total job, or limited to hours in service? Any high quality cleaning-service company should ensure that all the items on your checklist are completed in the at-house time stipulated in your agreement. Does the cleaning service offer a guarantee? What kinds of payments (checks, automatic deposit, credit cards) do they accept? How often are the payments expected? What are the cancellation terms?

Have several cleaning companies visit your home to make estimates. You can get a sense of the company's attitude and personality from the level of commitment to detail in the inspection as well as the itemization of services.

Personal Cleaning Net

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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