The Housekeeping Guide: Housekeeping Options

Find the right type of housekeeper for you

As homeowners (or renters), parents, professionals, and pet owners, we all have plenty to do, without having to clean house. The addition of a housekeeping service that's reliable and consistent may be exactly what you need to relieve the stress associated with keeping your home functioning, organized, and running smoothly. Whether you hire a single housekeeper or a team of people from a housekeeping agency, hiring housekeeping help should improve your quality of life, and give you more time and energy to spend with your family.

Ready to Find Help? Here Are Your Options:

  • Private Housekeeper. A personal housekeeper can be virtually anyone who publishes an ad offering a housecleaning service. Some are excellent and trustworthy; some aren't. You will be responsible for evaluating these qualities yourself. The most crucial evaluating technique is to check their references. Ask for three and call them. Ask their previous or current employers to comment on the quality of their work, their reliability, flexibility, and why they do or do not currently employ the housekeeper. If the relationship ended, ask why. There might be a very good reason that has nothing to do with the quality of work, such as scheduling or a move. If you feel the explanation is negative, you are free not to hire the housekeeper.  You should also run a background check on the housekeeper as well.  Read Care.com Safety Tips for more information of how to request a background check. 
  • A private housekeeper can be a cost-effective and mutually beneficial solution for both you and your housecleaner; however, be cautious when hiring. Technically, as the employer you can be held liable for injury claims, worker's compensation insurance and unemployment insurance. It's important to review your home liability insurance to make sure it covers service people in case of injury, and to notify your insurer of the relationship. Keep in mind that a housekeeper hired under the table can be a serious financial risk if they don't pay employment taxes -- in which case you as the employer can be held liable for the taxes due to the IRS.

  • Agency. An agency is a local company or even a national franchise that employs housecleaners or teams of people to go to your home. The benefit of using an agency or professional cleaning service is that the team assigned to your household reports directly to a higher boss/owner of the company, whom you deal with and pay directly. Although this is not true of every cleaning agency, if you hire a reputable company, they are typically insured and bonded for your protection. This is a major benefit. If your belongings are damaged, you will have compensation recourse and bonding protects you if an employee is guilty of theft.
  • Other benefits of an agency may include the fact that:

    • Their maids are screened, trained, and supervised at all times. They pay all federal, state, and social security taxes.
    • They offer tiered cleaning packages and add-on services.
    • They provide cleaning solutions and state of the art equipment.
    • They inspect and guarantee their housecleaners' work (and often leave a Quality Card for comments after every cleaning.)
    • Many offer coupons and cleaning specials.
    • Many now offer Green Cleaning, using effective cleaning products, equipment and procedures that don't endanger you, your children, your pets or the environment with harsh chemicals.
    • Some promptly re-clean, whenever a customer is not satisfied.
  • Franchise Agency. Franchise cleaning companies have many of the above benefits with the added bonus of national recognition, such as Merry Maids or The Maids. They often advertise cleaning specials and have the infrastructure to facilitate and maintain customer satisfaction.
  • Commercial Company. If you own a business, you are more likely to use a local, commercial housekeeping service that can come in after hours. They have the capability to use industrial strength cleaners and vacuum large areas.

The Bottom Line

Choose the option that fits your needs best. Check references -- always.

Next: Housekeeper Cost »
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Comments (11)
Photo of Christal L.
Christal L.
I really really love care.com I'm a full-service residential housekeeper and half my jobs I've found on here. People are great!
Posted: December 18, 2013 at 1:23 PM
Gayle R.
Hello! I have found some good people for part-time that are currently working for my son cleaning his apt. I have been fortunate also finding great people for projects. But it has been difficult finding a 9am-5pm/mon-fri full charge house keeper-for my husband and myself only.
Posted: October 07, 2013 at 11:02 AM
Photo of Brenda S.
Brenda S.
I love Care.Com!

I have been very fortunaye on finding work.
My problem is trying to decide who I work for.There are so many fabulous people here needing help.
Posted: May 16, 2013 at 8:42 AM
Photo of Yionary R.
Yionary R.
Hello!my name is Yionary Reynaga, I am a housekeeping and I am very satisfied with care.com that gave me a lot of opportunities for in against someone with a human quality and with which I am very happy today worked ... thank care.com ...
Posted: April 27, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Susan T.
Finding a suitable - reliable - trustworthy housekeeper is not easy in today's world. Thanks to Care.com I have been able to run background checks and line up interviews for the ones that fit my life and my budget.
Posted: January 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM
Photo of Evelyn R.
Evelyn R.
I couldn't find anyone to help me with my light cleaning chores until I went on Care. Com. The fee was well worth it to me because in a week I had found just the right person for my job. Evelyn E.
Posted: January 08, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Zinda P.
Just want to make a quick comment re@ the complaints of having to "pay for a subscription" " double dipping", etc. Answer: THIS IS A BUSINESS. They provide a service. If you want to use their service then pay. If you don't, move on. Not everything is free, excuse me, maybe a lot of things are free these days.
Posted: November 20, 2012 at 5:40 PM
Member Care C.
Hi Ladies,
The cost associated with a premium membership allows us to maintain the safety and integrity of the site, giving access to background checks, references, and all of our other premium features. It is only required of one party to have contact on the site. Premium Seekers have unlimited access to Caregivers and Premium Caregivers have unlimited access to families and seekers. Also, the fee is only required while you are searching for a caregiver or a job. Once you find what you are looking for, you can downgrade your membership to prevent further billing. I hope this answers some of your questions and good luck with your search!
Posted: October 24, 2012 at 5:52 PM
Sheila J.
I found the same issue... Could yo please explain the reason for the subscription to your company. It seems a bit odd to charge both parties for the connection to each other...kind of like double dipping. I don't understand that, could you please explain?
Posted: October 23, 2012 at 6:02 PM
Donna T.
please explain reason for subscription to your co..I just wanted to find a quality housekeeper.I registered and didn't find info till end.IT may work ok for one who needs multiple services...e mail me please.....
Posted: April 01, 2012 at 9:15 PM
Margaretaggie S.
hello iam aggieStamp i wish to be able to find A housekeep as far as my self i can take of me i just need a housekeep maybe just for a few days A week I am on S/S so i don't have a large aoumt of money if there is some one that is intereted let me know thank you so much I think just need a little help Aggie Stamp
Posted: February 28, 2012 at 2:47 PM
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