Before you hire a housekeeper or maid, review this checklist.
If you’ve never hired housekeeping services before, it can be a daunting task. After all, you’re inviting a complete stranger into the most intimate areas of your home.
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Make sure you have the inside track on what questions to ask before committing to a house cleaner.
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Check their references
Member Marian Smith of King, North Carolina, says she’s hired several cleaning companies over the years, but always reads reviews on Angie’s List first.
“I check to see if any complaints have been lodged, and I always ask if the company is bonded and insured,” she says.
Those inquiries, experts agree, provide a good start.
“Ask them how long they’ve been in business and whether their employees are covered by the company [insurance] policy or are they subcontractors,” adds Debbie Pickens, owner of Heavenly Touch Maids in Akron, Ohio.
In addition to references, Ray Smith, owner of Green Genius Cleaning Services in Clermont, Florida, suggests finding out if the company performs background checks on employees, which is a question our experts say most homeowners overlook. And be sure to ask if it will be the same crew cleaning your house every time.
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Ask about rates and how they’ll clean your house
If it’s important to you that the cleaners only use environmentally friendly products, find out if that’s an option and if it costs more.
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The cost to have your house cleaned varies, based on a number of factors such as the home’s size, whether you have pets or children, if you’re a smoker, type of flooring, and your home’s overall contents (just how many knickknacks do you have?).
Most cleaning companies offer free estimates. Expect to pay more for the initial, deep cleaning — which can average between $300 and $400 — and then between $100 and $150 to maintain biweekly cleanings.
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Set a schedule
Professional cleaners typically offer flexible schedules, including weekly, biweekly, monthly or even one-time cleanings, which can be handy when moving or before a big party.
“We also do every three weeks if that suits the client’s needs best,” says Kim Condon, vice president of Godsend Cleaning in Lynchburg, Virginia. “We also offer evening and weekend cleanings to accommodate all of our client schedules.”
Editor’s note: This is an updated version of an article that was originally posted on Feb. 28, 2014.