The decision to hire a maid or cleaning service is often one based on cost versus time. Once you have decided it is worth it, the next big step is to decide which housekeeper or cleaning service to choose.
Cleaning service employees are usually bonded and insured through the service they work for, and the cleaning companies usually handle the paperwork of Social Security and tax forms. Don’t automatically take the word of the cleaning company, however. To protect your possessions and yourself from liability, ask for written documentation of bonding and a certificate of insurance.
Whether you hire an individual style=”color: #269db8;” or a cleaning service, ask if help can be tailored to meet your needs, lifestyle or budget. Keep a notebook or file of monthly or occasional chores, such as cleaning the refrigerator, dusting and cleaning blinds, or changing shelf paper. You may find that ironing and mending clothes are important or running errands and grocery shopping is the priority. Perhaps your money is best spent finding someone to do childcare and light housework. Before you hire a housekeeper or cleaning service, discuss how to handle such chores. This may determine if you should look for an individual or a cleaning service to serve your household needs.
If you plan to schedule extra services, particularly before major holidays, schedule the services at least two months in advance. Likewise, if you need extra help for a limited time, such as a new baby in the household, schedule well in advance.
Before hiring a professional housekeeper, make a list of specific household tasks that need to be accomplished. Housekeepers and cleaning services generally expect the homeowners to tidy and declutter the home prior to their arrival, so be sure to know what they expect. Never assume the housekeeper can take on extra tasks – it’s unfair to expect a housekeeper to watch children and so housework while you run errands unless you have made arrangements in advance. Likewise, never ask a housekeeper to care for pets or do the heavy lifting. For special jobs, such as walking dogs or washing the outside of windows, hire a service or a neighborhood teenager. If you hire a professional cleaning service, they may have set fees for services.
Finding the Help You Need
The most effective way to locate and hire a reliable housekeeper or cleaning service is through recommendations from family, friends, co-workers or neighbors. Even with good references, keep in mind that what you want and need from a cleaning company may be different from what your friends want. Check newspaper classified advertisements under “Services – Housekeeping.” Look for phrases such as “excellent references” or “longtime experience,” which suggests five years or more in the same household.
Key phrases to use in your classified advertisement are “excellent references required,” ‘reliable,” and “experienced.” Define the position as clearly as possible. For example, “Professional couple, no children, two cats, seek experienced, a detail-oriented housekeeper with impeccable references. Weekly.” Or “Busy household of two adults, two teens seeks experienced housekeeper twice a month for housekeeping. Excellent references required.”
When checking references, ask what the housekeeper’s responsibilities were in the previous position. For example, was heavy cleaning involved or light cleaning plus child care? If a housekeeper with heavy-duty cleaning skills is required, someone who is experienced in doing light cleaning plus household errands would not be a good match. Before hiring a housekeeper, check with your insurance agent to see what liability coverage you have if someone is injured in your home.
Another alternative is to contact a franchise or local cleaning service. These housekeepers generally work in teams of two to four. With the team approach, if one person is sick or has an emergency, the rest of the crew can still get the job done. Although companies are set up to take care of paperwork associated with housekeeping, make sure the cleaning service provides workers who are bonded and insured and that the service assumes the responsibility for taxes and withholding.
About Castle Keepers House Cleaning
Castle Keepers House Cleaning has been at the forefront of innovation and leadership among house cleaning professionals for years. Our company pioneered environmentally friendly and sustainable cleaning methods in residential cleaning. Castle Keepers House Cleaning is independently owned, not a franchise, with branches in Atlanta, GA, Charleston, SC, Greenville, SC, Portland, OR, Dayton, OH, and Phoenix, AZ. To find out more about us, click here.