Doesn’t someone else cleaning your house sound glorious? Elbow grease besides your own scrubbing and buffing until surfaces are gleaming? It sounded great to me until I actually went through with it!
House cleaning wasn’t something I had ever considered until this fall. I was moving into a new apartment 1,200 miles away, and I was doing so in a hurry.
My husband’s relocation gave us two weeks to find an apartment in a city neither one of us had ever stepped foot in and move our entire lives there.
The process started with frantic apartment hunting online in an attempt to secure housing from a distance. An unsuccessful week later I took a one way flight to New York City to rent an apartment and rent it quickly.
I wouldn’t leave until I had a lease with my name on it. Within a few days I found an apartment, signed on the dotted line, and booked a flight back with one day to pack belongings before hitting the road in a moving truck New York bound.
If you think that sounds crazy, it was. With all that craziness I knew that the last thing I’d want to do is scrub down my new apartment the moment I arrived. I decided the cost of hiring a cleaning service was worth my sanity.
In the one day I had to pack, I did some research and booked a cleaning service for the day before my arrival. I had a friend in the area let the two cleaners in.
On move in day we arrived to an empty apartment that wasn’t that much cleaner than when I’d seen it the first time. It wasn’t filthy or anything, but the walls left white powder on your palm when you touched them, the floors left the bottom of your socks grey, and the windows… oh the windows. It was $200 down the drain for a one bedroom apartment!
So, here’s my advice for hiring a professional cleaner from a cleaning service in your local area:
What to Consider
Consider why you want to hire a cleaner. Has work been so hectic lately that you’ve neglected your home and you have visitors staying from out-of-town next week? Some situations just call for extra help. If your time (or lack thereof) is worth more than the price of hiring someone, you may find the help of a cleaning service well worth the money.
If you’re preparing to move out and are counting on your picky landlord to return your sizeable deposit, hiring a cleaning service may be one way to get your rent deposit back. Only you can decide if the going rate for house cleaning in your area is worth the price tag.
If you’re among the tidiest people you know, know that your standards of clean may be hard to meet. It would be easy to set yourself up for dissatisfaction if you feel that most people don’t keep their homes as clean as you do.
If you decide to move forward with hiring a professional cleaner, give yourself time to find the right cleaning service company. Booking too last-minute can pigeon-hole you into using a company that might not have been your first choice.
You’ll probably want a cleaning service located nearby so travel costs aren’t added to your bill. I also noticed that cleaning companies often had individuals who were the rock stars of the company, so to speak.
Their names would come up repeatedly as the best cleaner at that business, which meant they were often requested for specific jobs. Planning ahead will increase your chances of hiring a great service and a great worker.
Where to Find a Cleaning Service
Had I known people in the area or been familiar with businesses around the city, I feel confident I could have found a cleaning service company with solid recommendations.
I also could have taken more time to research. My advice is to ask around. Ask family, friends, and coworkers if they’ve used a cleaning service or if they know anyone who does. If they give you some leads, great! Go further and ask if there’s a particular employee who does a great job.
The benefit of asking people you know for recommendations instead of consulting the Internet is that people have different standards and expectations of clean. Think about it. What you consider clean may not be what your mother considers clean. So if your cousin is particularly organized and can recommend a cleaning service, that company is likely pretty good.
If you don’t know anyone who can recommend a good cleaning service company, I’d head over to Yelp or a similar review based site. Yelp is where I found my cleaning service, so I’m not going to say it’s fool-proof.
I think time and money were against me in this case. Review sites can work out well if you have the time to explore your options and read enough reviews to get a sense of what to expect. I picked a company based on good ratings (not the best), price (I got a new customer discount) and last-minute availability.
Questions to Ask
As you look for a cleaning service to hire there are a few things you may want to clarify. How many cleaners will be coming to do the job? Is the job limited to a certain number of hours or is it task dependent? The combined answers to these questions will give you a good idea of the type of job to expect.
One cleaner working for a two-hour maximum will likely yield different results than two cleaners working until the job is completed. This should also give you a feel for the value of the cleaning.
If you have pets you may want to ask the cleaning company what their policy is. Do you need to be home to watch your pet while they work? Will pet friendly cleaning products be used in your home?
Do you need to provide the cleaning supplies for them to use or will they bring their own?
Can you make specific requests? For example, if you book a two bedroom apartment cleaning, can you specify complete kitchen and bathroom with bedroom floors and dusting in one bedroom? You probably have an idea of what jobs are at the top of your priority list, but if unspoken the cleaner may not prioritize the same tasks.
Would I Do It All Again?
Yes and no. It was a big expense at a time when we already had a lot of other large costs. I still would have hired someone to clean for me before moving in, but I would have been a lot more specific about what I wanted done.
Their website listed what comes standard with every cleaning, and I put too much trust in that. I was told the cleaners showed up with not many cleaning supplies, and there definitely weren’t any to be found in my empty apartment.
The moral of the story: ask a lot of questions and clearly communicate your specific needs and requests!
Have you ever hired a professional cleaning service company to clean your home? How was your experience? Do you have any tips?
Post Contributor: I’m Natalie of Budget and the Bees! I’m from Nevada, but I currently reside in New York. I love to eat, take pictures, and travel. Actually, I really love to travel, and I’ll follow my sense of adventure anywhere. I write, volunteer, pursue new passions, and take care of a med school student and a spunky cat.
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Photo credit: House Cleaning Service-Flickr