Inviting someone into your home is a big deal, and you wouldn’t let just anyone cross the threshold. When you’re shopping around for the best cleaning service, here are several questions you should ask up front to make sure you are comfortable with the person or company you are hiring.

  • How much do you charge and what does that cover?

    This is an obvious one, so let’s get it out of the way first. When you call around for a cleaning quote, the cleaning company should be able to give you a price quote over the phone based on the size of your home and how often you want the service. Normally this is a flat fee per cleaning, or it might be an hourly rate. Cleaning companies use work hours or “man hours” when they quote jobs. If your house will take four hours to clean and the cleaning company is sending two cleaners, you will get a total of four hours of cleaning, not four hours from each cleaner.

    Be sure you understand exactly what the quote covers—the rooms, the tasks, and the level of detail. For example, most quotes include all of the living areas like the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and family room, but they don’t include sweeping the front porch or the garage. Deep cleanings usually include hand washing baseboards, light switches, and door frames but general maintenance cleanings do not. You should also understand if the cleaning company provides any specialty services like carpet cleaning or window washing and how these services are quoted and paid for.

    Are you bonded and insured?

    A cleaning company or solo cleaner should carry both liability and worker’s compensation insurance at a minimum. And don’t just take their word for it, ask for proof. Your homeowner’s insurance policy is not a backup; some policies do not cover people working in your home.

    If something is broken or if there’s an accident or mishap during the cleaning, you will be covered by your cleaning company’s insurance and worker’s compensation coverage.

    Do you provide the cleaning supplies? If so, what types of products do you use? What if I need to use specialty products on my marble counters or hardwood floors to protect my warranty? What if eco/green products are important to me?

    A proper cleaning company is going to bring their own cleaning supplies. When the professional cleaners bring their own products, they know exactly how to use them safely and effectively. Be sure you know exactly what they are going to bring and what you are expected to provide, if anything. For example, do they bring their own vacuum, cleaning solutions, and cleaning cloths?

    If you have specialty products for cleaning your marble countertops or hardwood floors be sure to mention these and verify that the cleaners will use your products; your product warranties may depend on only using certain products and a professional cleaning company will be happy to use what’s required. This is also a great time to ask about green cleaning solutions; not only are these non-toxic cleaners healthier for their staff to use, but safer for your children and pets.

    How many years have you been in business?

    Ideally you will work with a cleaning company or individual who has been doing this for several years. Experience has a huge impact on the quality of work that the cleaners provide.

    Can you provide 3 references?

    Businesses should have no problem providing references from current or former clients. And when you get the list, be sure to call and check them. You can also look for online reviews of their service. Don’t ever hire a professional service that you feel uncomfortable working with. They should have a solid reputation and remain friendly during your calls with them.

    How do you screen your staff?

    Cleaning companies should provide local and federal background checks at a minimum. If you’re hiring an independent cleaner, you can Google them and ask them to provide their own background check. Professional cleaning companies like Buckets & Bows Maid Service take your security and safety seriously and do rigorous screening of their employees.

    What kind of training do your employees receive?

    Once your professional cleaning company has hired the right staff, they need to train them to provide high quality, consistent, and efficient cleaning. Ask this question to get an insight into their training mindset. If they try to brush this question off, move on to the next company or cleaner on your list. Training is essential to getting a high quality cleaning in less time.

    What kind of quality control do you have in place?

    Ask the cleaning company how they check the quality of their work. They might have team leaders on the job who are responsible for checking the work of all of the cleaners before they leave or they might have managers do regular random house inspections. They might contact you and ask you to rate how they did after each visit. It’s important to know how the cleaning company measures its quality and whether they take your satisfaction seriously.

    Do you have a satisfaction guarantee?

    If so, ask for details about how it works and what it includes. Do you need to complain within a certain time frame in order to meet the guarantee? Whatever the specifics of the guarantee, it’s best to get this in writing, and should be presented in the paperwork the cleaning company gives to you, along with all the other details you discussed.

    Do I have to be here when you clean?

    Most maid services don’t require you to be at home when they show up to clean. You’ll need to arrange for them to gain entry into your home ahead of time, such as providing a key or an access code. Usually it’s no problem for you to be around while the cleaners are there, provided you don’t get in their way.

    How can I contact you to reschedule, provide feedback, or report problems?

    What is the easiest way to contact them? Many times cleaning companies are eager for your business but become less friendly and responsive once you’re on their schedule. If this happens to you early on in the relationship, fire them and move on to a better service. You need proactive communication from your cleaning company, such as cleaning reminders and follow-ups by phone or email. This type of open communication lets you quickly address any problems which might crop up, providing you with better service to match your expectations.

    Do you have availability on the day that’s best for my schedule?

    Finally, if you have a particular day in mind, be sure it’s one that is open on their end as well.