How to find the best house cleaner

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Expert advice from a house cleaning business owner

For most of us, life is incredibly busy and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.  We wake up and barely have enough time to scarf down some eggs and toast before shuffling off to work.  After clocking out, fighting through traffic and eventually arriving home, there’s barely sufficient time to cook dinner and wind down before bed.   Pressed for time and bombarded by responsibilities,  the dust and clutter build up to an overwhelming list of chores that can never be scratched off the list.  We all wish we can clone ourselves to be in two places at once but that’s still only in Sci-fi movies.  There are robotic cleaners and they are getting more sophisticated by the day but there are only vacuums at this point.  Alas, we are left with 3 choices: continue to live in our mess while tackling one chore at a time, sacrifice our precious weekends to clean or to hire house cleaners.  For those looking for the latter, let me offer some advice from nearly a decade of experience in the house cleaning business.  


Looking for a house cleaner or deciding which cleaning company to go with can be a challenge.  First, you need to understand what’s covered in the cleaning you’re booking. Then there’s shopping around for prices. Next you have to feel comfortable with the professional house cleaners being sent to you.  And finally you have to create a routine that works well with you and your family.  These are a lot of steps to ensure you found the best fit for your home and your wallet.  And as far as I know, you have 3 options to choose from when it comes choosing a maid service for any cleaning project you have in mind. Perhaps there’s less pressure on setting up a one-time deep cleaning or a move-out cleaning as compared to investing in a regular cleaning service.  Let’s explore these options:


Lots of work upfront. Potential big savings in the end


Hiring someone yourself.  This is probably the most daunting option mainly because of the amount of time it takes to find the right cleaner. You’re taking on the most responsibility with this option.  You will have to sift through various online profiles and applications, interview, ask them about their pricing, deal with language barriers and pay cash for the house cleaning service once it’s completed.  You can find a diamond in those Craiglist ads, but make sure to bring plenty of pickaxes and dynamite to get through the rough. There’s also a chance you can be considered the employer of the maid you hire and there are certain implications with that especially if someone gets injured on the job.  To be clear, the main benefit of hiring a cleaner directly is that it’s by far the cheapest option.  You’re not having to pay a company to take care of all the admin work and this cost savings gets transferred to you.  If all goes well and you navigate these rough seas skillfully, you may have a bargain house cleaner for years.  A picture-perfect scenario where you’re saving money, your cleaner almost becomes family and your house stays clean between cleanings.  This was a pretty viable option in the past but is less and less likely today..  What I’ve been hearing more and more from customer’s is that they need cleaning help because their cleaning lady has disappeared.  Why would the cleaning lady disappear? There are a few answers but the main reason is usually they’re getting paid more by someone else.  The work goes to the highest bidder. Instead of the house cleaner renegotiating the price with the customer and dealing with some awkwardness, they just leave and go where the grass is greener leaving the customer back at square one.   


Sensible option if you can handle the high fees


And once you’re back to step one, you may ask, well, what’s option 2?  Option 2 is what I like to refer to as the traditional route.  Here is where you hire a traditional house cleaning service company.  These large national franchise cleaning companies offer certain benefits that make them the most attractive if you’re able to stomach the high cleaning fees.  These companies hire employees that they train to clean the way they want them to. There’s also a management structure with supervisors to ensure that the work is completed per the booking details.  There are usually company cars, company provided cleaning materials and the staff members are insured and bonded.   This level of company organization, structure and various assurances will appeal to a large number of customers because it feels like the safest choice available.  But is there a downside to choosing what seems to be the best option aside from the high fees?  There can be.  After speaking to hundreds of cleaners that worked for some of the big name cleaning companies out there, I’ve heard similar stories. There’s usually high turnover at the due to the cleaners having little autonomy, the inability to choose their customers and their wages are low.  This could mean that customers can receive low-motivated house cleaners in a ever-changing cleaning crew.

The middle ground

The final option has really picked up speed lately and a lot more customers are starting to look towards house cleaning agencies to find a great house cleaner for their home. If you’re unfamiliar with this, a cleaning agency refers professional house cleaners to you.  Marching Maids cleaning agency will comb through hundreds of house cleaner applications and choose the best ones to refer work to.  These pros must have cleaning experience, their own cleaning equipment, a car, pass a background check and be reliable.  Once vetting is completed, an agency will refer work to the cleaner.  The customers then rate the cleaners based on a 1-5 Star rating system.  Only the best cleaners with an average of 4 to 5 star reviews continue to receive new cleaning job referrals.  The agency takes care of scheduling, customer service, house cleaner support, payment and many other essential business elements to make the process as smooth as possible for both the cleaners and the customers.  In return, the agency receives a percentage of the referral fee.  The benefits of this system is that the cleaners have a ton of autonomy, after all , they’re their own boss. They get to choose which jobs they accept, how much they get paid, which cleaning materials to use and so much more. This creates a highly motivated cleaning professional that is able to build a cleaning business without having to deal with business related work that they may not be so skilled at.   Once they build a solid customer base, they have consistent income and the customers get a consistent cleaning from someone that they trust and that knows their home well.   The professional cleaners are not insured and bonded and they’re independent contractors. This can be a deal breaker for some that need to feel 100% secure with the cleaners entering the home.  However, those looking for a good mixture or professional cleaning service, more moderate pricing and a smooth customer experience, this could be an option for you.  

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