Choose the Perfect Housecleaning Company
Experts reveal the 6 questions to ask when looking for a new housecleaning company.
Do you need a little help keeping your home clean? Are you thinking about hiring a housekeeper? You also may want to consider a housecleaning company. They can be a great solution for your situation. We spoke with Fayola Peters, writer for HouseCleaning-Tips.com, and Carolyn Stolov, Household Services Contributor at Care.com, for advice on how to choose the right company for your needs.
What Do I Need?
Your first questions should be directed toward you and your own family. It is important to know your needs and goals before even considering a cleaning company. Start by writing a list of things you need done around the house and how often. Then figure out what you can afford to pay.
Peters suggests noting "which rooms you want cleaned, what items or furniture you want cleaned, like laundry, floors, carpets, ceilings and dishes. You can even decide on whether you want the housecleaning service you hire to make the beds." Once you're all set with that list, consider what you need from your housecleaning company.
What Experience Does the Company Have?
Where is the company based? Do they have experience in large houses or small apartment buildings? Are they adept at cleaning all aspects of a home, from the toilets to the kids' play room? If the company has been in business for many years, they most likely have the necessary experience, but may not be up-to-date in newer, green cleaning.
What Customer Reviews Are Available?
If the company is listed online, are there customer reviews? What is being said about the company? Be wary of reviews however -- a dissatisfied customer may print a scathing review over something as simple as a missing sock. On the other hand, some companies have been known to boost their ratings by including reviews from people directly associated with the company. Don't let reviews be your deciding factor, but rather, give them a quick glance to get the general idea of what the company is about.
Stolov suggests calling references from local families and speaking with friends who may have had experience with the company you are pursuing. She also advises families to research their Better Business Bureau accreditation to be sure they are reliable and that there are no complaints. "If there are complaints, ask the company to explain them. Same with any negative reviews posted on Care.com or other review sites."
Is the Company Affiliated with Any Professional Organizations?
There are a few organizations that might indicate that the company takes its job seriously. "Belonging to a professional organization shows that the company is interested in improving its practices and that they want to be up-to-date on the best cleaning products and methods," says Stolov. ARCSI (the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International) is one of these organizations. And check to see that individual housekeepers are certified through a training institute.
What Kind of Packages Does the Company Offer?
Cost is a big issue for most families, and housecleaning companies often recognize that. Many companies offer special rates for various services. If you only need a few rooms cleaned, or only want cleaning done once a week, arrangements can often be made to reduce costs. And search online to see if they have any specials or discounts going on.
What Other Questions Do I Need to Consider?
Every cleaning company should have insurance, protecting you and them against damages or accidents. Ask to see the certificate of insurance before hiring a company. Other considerations you should examine include finding out what kind of background checks the company performs before hiring employees, and ensuring your keys will be kept in a safe place when not in use.
Once you've considered all of your options and weighed the pros and considerations of various companies, you can effectively choose a housecleaning company that you will be happy with.
Jennifer Eberhart is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found here.