How to Choose a Cleaning Service That Works for You

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

There are many different cleaning services available across the United States. Some people choose to hire a national company, others choose a local company, and still others simply hire a college student or someone else who cleans on the side. Because there are so many different cleaning services, it can be difficult to narrow down your search, but there are some clear steps that will help you decide.

People disagree about whether or not paying for a cleaning service is a waste of money. Cleaning is certainly something you can do yourself, but if you are extremely busy, or you are going through a stressful time, getting help with cleaning can be extremely beneficial. A cleaning service is also ideal if you have the money to pay for it regularly and you just prefer to have someone else do your cleaning. Here are four considerations to keep in mind as you search for a cleaning service.

1. Determine exactly what you want cleaned

There are housekeepers (sometimes also called maids), as well as cleaning services. You shouldn’t assume that a housekeeper will do particular jobs, or that a bigger cleaning company won’t offer those services. Although there are different terms, the terms are often used interchangeably, so it’s best to ask. Before you call anyone or ask for an in-home estimate, first you should make a list of what you want done in each room. It helps to have all the specific tasks you want completed written down.

While most companies will adjust their services somewhat to fit your needs, some companies truly work by the room (and may have their own way of doing it, including dusting, washing, doing the floors, etc.) whereas other places will charge you by the hour or by the specific tasks you want. Knowing what you want ahead of time will help you choose the right company or person and also prevent you from ordering more than you need.

2. Ask for recommendations

Because most areas have multiple people and companies offering cleaning services, it can help to ask for recommendations from friends and family. Once you have a few names to start with, you can make your calls. Otherwise you will simply be picking from the phone book or an online search engine. Also, if you ask around and you hear positive remarks about the same company or person over and over again, this can help you avoid hiring someone who may not do a good job. You also can find out more about cleaners who are ideal for your stage of life: some cleaning places really focus on deep cleaning, whereas others focus more on maintenance, and some companies charge more if you have pets or children.

Asking for recommendations can also help you narrow down your list to places you can afford, and if you are hoping to hire a college student or someone who just cleans part-time, often recommendations are the way to go. If you do choose a more professional business, according to MoneyTalksNews, some maids and maid services offer a referral discount. In this case, you or the person who recommended them to you, could get a discount.

3. Read reviews

Reviews are the next best thing to personal recommendations. Sometimes they are even better, if you prefer to just read about what strangers have to say. Either way, it’s easy to find reviews online. You can simply use a search engine to find reviews of cleaning services in your area. Yelp is a good place to start. There are several different websites that offer reviews as well. Reading reviews can help you to narrow down your search, and may even give you an idea of considerations that you hadn’t thought of before. Even if you don’t actually read the reviews, most websites give different service providers stars (or mark them in a different way), so you can quickly see how a specific business is doing.

In addition to reading reviews online, once you have your list narrowed down, going to a company’s website can also help you narrow your search. You may immediately a feeling about the company just from reading their website, and you also might be able to see which services they offer without calling them.

4. Get the details

Once you have a list of four or five (or less if you prefer) different businesses that you want to call, it’s time to get an estimate. Most companies prefer to send someone to your house to give an estimate, as the estimate can depend on many factors. Some companies will give you an estimate over the phone based on the size of your house, as well as other factors.

If you do have someone come to your house, the visit is a great time to ask about other details that are important to you. You can ask about the types of chemicals they use; you should also ask if the company is bonded and insured; find out how many people will be in your house and for how long (and how they get in and out if you are not there); also, you should ask what their policies and charges are for one-time cleaning versus regular cleaning. If you choose to hire an individual rather than a company, they may not have the same policies, but you might receive more personal attention; it just depends on the individuals and the companies you consider.

Once you have spoken on the phone, or met an employee in person, hopefully you will be able to decide which service provider you feel the most comfortable with. Remember to factor in cost, but also all the other details that are important to you. According to EnglightenMe, there are many good reasons to hire a maid service, including the fact that it can be great for a busy schedule, will allow you to focus on other things, you can come home to a clean home, and you can customize your own cleaning plan. Because a cleaning service or housekeeper can be very expensive, it’s definitely worth taking the necessary steps to make sure you make the right choice.

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