How to Guard Against Theft by Your Maid Service or Cleaning Company
There is no worse feeling of betrayal than to find that someone you have invited into your home and trusted with your possessions has stolen from you. That’s what it’s like when you realize your cleaning service has violated your faith in them by stealing.
How do you guard against theft? There are several things you can do. The first is to understand that most theft is opportunistic, so don’t leave valuables or money where it is easily accessible – good advice anytime you have people coming into your home to perform any type of work. To paraphrase Ronald Regan, trust, but be smart about it. As a cleaning company owner who has been in the business for over 20 years, I say this to every potential maid service client who interviews us before we clean their home. A nice lady once told me that it wasn’t worth hiring a maid service if she had to hide her jewelry every time they were scheduled to come, and I agreed with her – if she didn’t want to safeguard her valuables, then maybe she shouldn’t hire a cleaning service. Better safe than sorry.
The second thing you can do is to interview your cleaning service with very targeted questions about their hiring and training practices. How do they vet not only their applicants but also their current employees? What types of interview questions do they ask to guard against hiring someone who is likely to steal? What background checks are performed before hiring? Do they call former employers and ask about the applicant’s employment record? How do they keep up with current employees? Do they drug test? Do they do spot checks for criminal records on current employees? Does the company set standards to let employees know that theft will not be tolerated? Do the employees wear identifying uniforms and name badges? Does the cleaning company forbid the employees from bringing handbags, coats and other personal possessions into your house? If the company has processes to discourage theft, the employees will be more likely to take it seriously, too.
The third thing you can do is to ask what kind of insurance the cleaning company has. Many maid services will say they are, “licensed, bonded and insured,” and leave it at that, but you should dig deeper.
Many maid services will say they are, “licensed, bonded and insured,” and leave it at that, but you should dig deeper.
Licensed means the company is registered and pays taxes in the areas in which it does business.
Bonded means a maid service company purchased coverage from an insurer to provide restitution for theft. However, most bonds require that the guilty employee is arrested and convicted in a court of law before the accuser receives restitution. Bonding is not good enough. A company that truly cares about you and takes responsibility for their employees and their work does more. You want to make sure the company carries Employee Dishonesty insurance, General Liability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
Employee Dishonesty Insurance provides coverage for theft linked through evidence to their employees.
General Liability Insurance covers damage in or to your home because of the negligent actions of one of the cleaning company staff.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance covers employees who are injured while working in your home. Their medical expenses will be covered by the cleaning company. You will not be responsible for their injury and your homeowners’ insurance will not have to pay.
You can take the company’s word they have these types of insurance, or you can ask for a Certificate of Insurance for each type. The certificate provides verification of the insurance and usually contains information on types and limits of coverage, insurance company name, policy number, the name of the insured, and the policies’ effective periods. If you ask the cleaning company for a Certificate of Insurance, the cleaning company will request one for you from their insurance company and the insurance company will mail, fax or email it to you usually within a day or so of receiving the request. Don’t accept a certificate of insurance from the cleaning company – it should come directly from the insurance company.
Most cleaning company owners are horrified to discover a trusted employee has stolen from their client and will work with you to remedy the situation. A trustworthy cleaning company will not hesitate to work with the police or to contact their insurance company if necessary.
Caveat emptor is the principle that the buyer is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods or services before a purchase is made. You should always ask questions and investigate the maid services or cleaning companies you are interested in hiring, but a trustworthy company should be forthright and make it easy for you to check.
About Castle Keepers House Cleaning
Castle Keepers House Cleaning has been at the forefront of innovation and leadership among house cleaning professionals for years. The company pioneered environmentally friendly and sustainable cleaning methods in residential cleaning. Castle Keepers is independently owned, not a franchise, with branches in Atlanta, GA, Charleston,, SC, Greenville, SC, Portland, OR, and Dayton, OH. To find out more about us, click here.