When choosing a house cleaning service, you certainly should not just choose the first one that you find in google or in the yellow pages or what have you. There are nearly an unlimited amount of home cleaning services to choose from - there are probably hundreds of them in your local area, or at least that are willing to serve your local area. So how do you choose a good service?
Well, there are a number of things you want to check for. While there are countless home cleaning services out there, only very few of them should be worthy of your attention. Not all house cleaning services were created equally, and most should probably not even be in business.
Here are the basic things you want to ask any cleaning service whom you intend to have clean your home:
1.) Do you have liability insurance? Liability insurance policies are relatively cheap and any respectable cleaning service will have this policy. If they accidentally bleach your brand new $5,000 wool rug or back into that $7000 antique vase and knock it over, you want to know that they will be able to replace it or pay for the damages. Things like this do occur - and quite frequently in this industry.
2.) Do you have workman's comp. insurance for your employees? If the worker's get seriously injured while working in your home - and it does happen - you want to have the peace of mind knowing that their medical bills will be covered by this policy, and that your responsibility will be reduced or eliminated.
3.) Are you bonded? Cleaning companies should carry a bond which promises to pay back the client in the event of theft. Again, bonds are relatively cheap to come by and a good cleaning company will carry a bond if they have employees.
In all cases, you should ALWAYS ask for certificates of coverage for all insurance policies as well as a copy of the bond. Many companies will say they have these coverages, even though it isn't true - there are many unethical companies out there unfortunately.
Now that you've gotten answers to these basic questions, you want to find out more information about their cleaning methods and products. Here's a few more questions you need to ask to find out more about company XYZ.
4.) Do you use your own cleaning products? Not all companies do use their own products. Some may just use whatever you happen to have under your kitchen sink. In general, it is best to go with a company that uses their own products - this way you don't even have to worry about supplying them things and potentially running out of cleaners down the road. You're paying for this service not to worry about cleaning after all aren't you? Of course if you really prefer they use your products, that is certainly up to you.
4.) What type of cleaning products do you use? With so much evidence about the detrimental health effects of harsh cleaners, it's probably best to go with a company that utilizes more natural or organic cleaners in general. You want to know they aren't going to be smearing bleach all over your counter tops or leaving sticky chemical residue all over the place. There is a time and place for harsh cleaners, but their use should be limited. Let the company representative describe their products, rather than simply asking if they are "green", as they may just answer yes regardless.
5.) What will you clean in my home? It's a good idea to find out exactly what they will be cleaning in your home, so you are on the same page. Almost every company will vary in what's cleaned on the first clean and subsequent ongoing visits, and you want to know this company will meet your expectations. As for what happens in reality, well that's a different matter, but at least you want to start by asking this. A good company will be able to customize a cleaning plan that meets your needs.
Another essential thing you should know is about WHO is coming to your home. Will it be the owners themselves? Will it be employees? These are important questions to ask. If they will have employees come to your home, you'll need to ask one more question.
6.) Are your employees background checked? Personally, if I were to have someone cleaning in my home while I'm at work, I want to know that they can be trusted with my home and personal possessions. Sadly, many house cleaning services do not even bother with this simple and relatively inexpensive step during the hiring process, which can lead to a lot of grief later on.
Lastly, you should ALWAYS ask for at least two references from this company that you can call. They may just give you their friend's phone numbers, but at least that means that someone is willing to vouch for them! Of course if they can't provide any references at all, that's a big red flag indicating that you should probably move on. Even internet references (such as reviews on review sites) can be fabricated and unless there are a lot of reviews (dozens at least), should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
So, if you get a bad feeling whenever the company is answering any of these questions - you should probably move on. Dodging the question, long periods of silence, or answering no to any of the questions above are all signs you should probably to contact another company. Remember, you are trusting this company with your home and personal possessions - that's no small thing! Make sure to do it right so you can avoid a horror story like so many thousands of other people who have hired house cleaning services have gone through.