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Deciding Between a Cleaning Company and a Housekeeper

Corey Kagan Whelan
Feb. 24, 2017

6 things to consider when finding housecleaning help.

Is there anything more soothing than walking into an immaculate, freshly cleaned home that has been efficiently scrubbed from top to bottom? If you don't have time to do it yourself, hiring outside help is a great option for turning your messy home into a squeaky clean palace.

When you post a job on Care.com, both individual housekeepers and cleaning companies will respond. But which should you choose?

There are benefits to each option. You have to find what works for you. Here are six things to consider:

1) Needs

Before you hire anyone, figure out what you want done in your house. Create a list of the things you need cleaned and how often. (Use this cleaning checklist to get you started.) Then make sure whichever option you go with can fulfill those needs. Is the housekeeper capable of washing windows? Will the cleaning service fold your laundry?

2) Money

How much you pay for a cleaning depends on a lot of different factors: where you live, the size of your home, how often you need it cleaned, how much it needs to be cleaned, etc.

"While it might be counter-intuitive, I have found that cleaning services often offer lower across-the-board costs than long-term housekeepers might," says Beth Alcazar, a mom and cleaning enthusiast, who blogs at the Neat Get Neater. But every situation is different.

3) Time

If you have a tight schedule and need your house cleaned quickly, a company might be more efficient. They often provide a team of cleaners who come in at once to scrub your home all at once.

4) Training

Some housekeepers have been in business for years, but if someone is just starting out, they may not know all the cleaning tricks. When you work with a company, cleaners are usually trained to assure a high standard of efficiency and professionalism. Whoever you work with, make sure you're happy with the quality of the work. If not, speak up. You're allowed to ask for something to be re-cleaned.

5) Relationships

Do you prefer someone you can talk to and develop a bond with, or just someone who cleans and leaves? Look for a housekeeper or service that will provide the interaction you want.

"Hiring a private housekeeper gives you the chance to build a relationship," says Alcazar. "Housekeepers tend to be more flexible and supply the personal touch."

Working with a large cleaning service can feel less personal, but it always depends on the people involved. Some housekeepers are naturally more standoffish, while some companies pride themselves on building great relationships with clients.

6) Safety

Whether you decide to work with an agency or a private housecleaner, safety should always be your biggest consideration. You want to feel comfortable about the person coming to your home on a regular basis.

"Look for a housecleaning company that is licensed, bonded and insured," suggests Becky, who blogs at Clean Mama. "I'd recommend working with a housecleaning company that is accredited through the Better Business Bureau, has great ratings and service reviews."

If you're hiring an independent housekeeper, make sure you verify their background check (available through Care.com) and contact at least three references.

Check out the Care.com Safety Center for more advice on making safe hiring decisions.

While everyone loves a comfortable, clean and tidy home, not everyone has the same requirements. Look for the option that best fits your family's needs and do your homework when deciding between a housekeeper and cleaning company. Then sit back and relax while you enjoy a clean house.

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found here.

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