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Many homeowners have growing families. Days are filled with getting the kids off to school, shuttling them around to extracurricular activities, to doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, cooking, cleaning . . . wait! You’ve been letting dust bunnies take up residence under the beds. The dust mites hiding in them are allergens no good for you or your family’s health. It seems housecleaning runs dead last on your priority list. You need a house cleaner like yesterday; it’s getting so out of control. But how do you hire a house cleaner, who is dependable, responsible, and trustworthy? To get you to the first step on how to hire a house cleaner, below are some guidelines to follow.

Be Informed

Google online housecleaning review websites to see what consumers have had to say about their experience with any particular house cleaner you’re considering hiring, whether a company or an individual. And always, but always, ask for references (and check them!). Because the house cleaner will be in your home frequently, and sometimes they’ll be there when you’re not at home. You want to be able to trust you’ll find nothing out of order when you return.

How to Decide on a Solopreneur or Company

Do you see a company (with dozens of workers), or individual you think you might like to hire? If an individual you’ll find their rates are typically easier on your pocketbook. A housecleaning company is overall an ordered system: the way tasks are done according to a standard, insurance coverage, and workers who are bonded.

If you want to hire a house cleaning company, inquire if the same house cleaner or house cleaners can be sent out each time. Knowing how you like things done, they can establish a routine not to disturb what’s important to you, odd as it may seem to them.

Fee Structure

What is their fee policy? By visit, room, or an hourly rate? It’s good to know upfront about how they charge, so there are no surprises once they begin coming to your home. It’s crucial to have the terms spelled out in writing, so there are no misunderstandings. Some words of wisdom: have the house cleaner do a walk-through with you to decide how much time is needed for the work, what you want to be done, and agreement on tasks.

How Long in Business?

You’ll find out how long they’ve been in business by reading reviews. If the house cleaning company is new, ask for references from prior employers (and follow-through by calling them). Be sure things like bonded workers and insurance coverage are already established.

What are Bonded and Insured All About?

A bond company insures your valuables in case a house cleaner steals an item. Liability insurance coverage takes care of breakage, and other forms of damage should an accident occur during the course of cleaning. It’s not necessary for house cleaning companies to carry liability insurance. Yet if you want such protection, inquire into it.

Workers Compensation Insurance

Workers comp insurance is your fail-safe protection against accidents a house cleaner might suffer while on your premises. Suppose the house cleaner enters a tiled area recently mopped by another worker, who has negligently forgotten to put up a caution! Sign. A slip on the slick floor could sustain a broken ankle or other body parts. You can be held liable for all their medical bills. Verify the company or individual carries workers comp.

Background Checks

Background checks are part and parcel to vetting an applicant for employment. Most companies perform them. As part of hiring a house cleaner don’t be afraid to ask the house cleaner about submitting to a background check. It’s a wise precaution to take as you are letting a stranger into your home. You want the assurance they have a clean background.

Cleaning Service Policies

Get documentation on what cleaning services the house cleaners cover as you do the first walk-through find out what tasks they will perform. If you have a job you want to be done, like washing the windows regularly, speak up. You don’t want to encounter resistance later on only to discover they don’t do windows.

Do They Have a Cancellation Policy?

Everyone in the family is down with the flu and can’t abide the thought the house cleaner is scheduled to come out that day. What do you do? You handle emergencies like this by finding out before you hire a house cleaner company if they have a cancellation policy, and what are the terms and extra fees, if any, for cancelling at the last moment.

Whose Responsibility for Cleaning Products, Materials, and Tools?

If you’re hiring an individual to clean your house, it depends. Maybe they, as a matter of course, bring their equipment. As for companies, it’s a fairly standard practice they will bring their equipment. But if they don’t work that way, it’s up to you to provide everything necessary for them to clean your home as you have agreed it should be done.

Satisfaction Guaranteed?

Are you disappointed with the quality of the house cleaning service you have already paid for? How can it be resolved? Discuss beforehand how it will be handled. Perhaps a final walk-through before they leave? Put it all on the table, so everyone is on the same page. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be sure to hire a house cleaner that will restore your home to an immaculate state.