You've decided you want to hire a cleaning service. Maybe you're juggling working full time with raising a family, you can't move around like you used to, or you simply hate to clean. Hiring a cleaning service may seem like a solution to your housecleaning problems, but it also opens you up to some new issues and questions.
How to Select a Cleaner or Cleaning Service
Recommendations from a friend or relative are the best route, but if you were that fortunate, you probably wouldn't be reading this. First, select a cleaner from a recommendation, a web search or a flyer. Call them up to find out:
- What they clean. Verify that they're not only a post-fire or post-move cleaning company.
- Whether or not they clean in your neighborhood.
- How long they've been in business.
They should be able to provide a reference. Checking the Better Business Bureau is also an excellent idea.
If you're in search of routine housecleaning, the service should arrange to visit your home for an estimate.
Scheduling and Cancellations
One of the biggest problems people complain about regarding cleaning services is that they don't show up on their scheduled day. If that's a real problem for you, you should ask your cleaner about it. If they say they're reliable, will they give you any guarantee? According to Jeff Campbell, author of the book Speed Cleaning and the owner of a cleaning service, some companies might offer a free cleaning day if they fail to show up as scheduled.
The flip side of this coin is when you need to cancel your cleaning service. The cleaner may be depending on the earnings from this work and when you cancel it can start to sour the relationship. If you have to cancel due to an emergency, try to reschedule the cleaning within the next few days.
When Things Break
The most frequent thing that goes wrong with cleaners, according to Campbell, is accidental breakage of items during cleaning -- not theft, as is a common concern. Ask the cleaning service who pays if something gets broken. Many have a policy in place to cover up to a certain dollar amount.
If You Don't Like the Job They've Done
The cleaning service should handle your complaints just like any other good business would. They should offer to make things right. It's best to express your complaint right away and not wait until the mistake has been repeated again and again.
To Tip or Not to Tip?
House cleaners are conducting a personal service like a hairdresser or cab driver, so tipping is appropriate. You don't need to tip during every visit, but most customers leave a tip after a special project has been completed or at the holidays.