How to Choose and Hire a Cleaning Service

By Sheila O’Hearn, Zoocasa

Your time is valuable! After a long week of work, some overtime, and everything else that keeps you busy, your chores around the house are the last thing you want to think about. Whether you work hard or play hard, why not choose to leave the cleaning to the experts?

Who hires a cleaner?

Seniors, busy families, on-the-go couples, property managers and real estate agents, people selling or moving into a home, and many others are among those who employ cleaners on a regular basis. You may hire a cleaner just to have your floors washed or to have your most lived-in room, like a kitchen or bathroom, cleaned and sanitized. Whatever’s on your wish list, the first item of order is to sit down and have a detailed discussion about your customized cleaning plan, keeping your budget at the forefront.

Navigating the world of housecleaners

The decision that you need and want a housecleaner is phase one. Now you have to decide whether to go with a professional company or an individual who might have advertised their services in a local paper or website list. Word-of-mouth from a neighbour and your own eyes on their work are also pretty good indicators of what you can expect for your own domestic clean dreams.

If you don’t have a clue how to hire a cleaner, you’ll want the heads-up on the thousands of cleaning services that dot the globe and the many companies, big and small, that likely exist in your own backyard. In short, the task of getting the right person or company that’s right for your personality, lifestyle, and budget can be a tricky one.

Some cleaners won’t take the job if you smoke, for instance; others are reluctant if your house is extremely cluttered. Do you have pets? Let the company or individual know. Ask if your cleaner has allergies and be mindful of them.

Be aware of the environment you’re asking your prospective cleaner to enter. When hiring services, you have to be fair. (You might even need to tidy up a bit before the cleaner arrives!) You can’t demand a superior job if the cleaner can’t get the mop out from under a sea of toys, or remove dust on a desk strewn with messy paperwork and orange peels, or perform an adequate exorcism on your shelves steeped in hundreds of knick-knacks. Long story short: If you want a thorough clean, make it possible for the clean to happen in the first place.

Interview Questions for Your Prospective Cleaner

It’s important to ask some basic questions of your cleaner before you let them into your home. Here are a few examples:

  • Is the company or individual bonded and insured? If so, ask for proof.
  • Do homeowners or the cleaners supply the cleaning products?
  • Does the cleaner insist on green products? If so, will the cost be impacted?
  • How do you screen your staff?
  • Has the company won any awards? If so, what for?
  • Do you have any certificates or licenses?
  • Ask for references and try to get some honest feedback.

But how much does it cost?

A trusted, reliable professional cleaning service at your door is probably more affordable than you think. The going hourly rate can fluctuate depending on the location of the business, generally between $25 and $35, and sometimes slightly lower. That said, most housecleaners worth their lemon and vinegar can customize to your needs and budget, including one-time, weekly, biweekly, or monthly cleanings.

Many professional companies offer special-rated cleaning packages, including routine and deep-clean options, and some may offer introductory promotional deals (that you can inquire about when you call), especially for first-time cleans. Many satisfied clients agree they’ve been freed up to attend to other priorities.

Cleaning experts offer different kinds of services, each with an accompanying price-tag. Deep or spring-cleaning, for instance, will be more expensive. Angie’s List, a site that reviews service providers, reports approximately $300 to $400 for a deep clean, depending on the size of your home.

Routine Cleaning Duties

While you can ask for specific tasks and areas to be focused on, there are some usual duties:

  • Thorough cleaning of kitchen and bathrooms
  • Vacuuming throughout the home
  • Making beds
  • Mopping and cleaning floors
  • Dusting all surfaces, including baseboards, window ledges, and light fixtures

Some clients prefer to check out of their homes while the cleaner is working, and some prefer to stick around. It’s your choice. Depending on the size of a home, some clients alternate sets of chores, such as dusting and vacuuming one week, and kitchen and bathroom cleaning on the next visit. It’s your customized to-do list; just ensure you are clear about your needs and the price during the initial consultations.

Zoocasa is a real estate brokerage based in Toronto.

Sheila O’Hearn is a freelance and creative writer, and has worn many hats throughout her career, from general staff reporter to magazine editor. She has a keen interest in business entrepreneurship and currently writes for several outlets. Check out her LinkedIn for more info.