How Do I Hire a Quality Maid Service (Without a Personal Referral)?

Ready to throw in the towel and hire a maid service? Learn how to find one that will really clean up.

Are you fed up with spending all your free time cleaning your home? If you've decided to throw in the towel and hire a maid, this article will help you sort through the clutter of housekeeping options and find a reliable, competent cleaning company or person.

There are two main types of maid services:

Individual Maid/Housekeeper

Some people prefer to hire a house cleaner that a friend or neighbor recommends. In fact, a referral may even provide the impetus for hiring housekeeping help in the first place. If you are chained to your house every weekend scrubbing floors and dusting bookshelves and spy your neighbor nestled into a chaise lounge with a good book, you may be tempted to find the secret to her relatively leisurely existence.

The cost per hour or per job may be lower than hiring a professional maid service, but the initial cost savings may evaporate when you factor in the time and money it will take to fulfill your employer obligations. By hiring an individual, you are considered an employer and therefore responsible for verifying an employee's legal status, doing background checks and paying taxes.

The Internal Revenue Service requires you to file paperwork and pay social security and Medicare taxes if you pay a household employee $1,700 or more (www.IRS.gov). If you fall into this category, you must get an employee identification number, investigate your state's tax requirements, withhold the proper amount from each paycheck, and file forms with the IRS and the Social Security Administration.

United States law requires that all employers complete the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Form I-9 to verify employees' eligibility to work in the U.S. Failure to do so can lead to stiff fines and with illegal immigration a hot topic in the U.S., there could be increased efforts to seek out and punish those employers not in compliance with the law.

You may also need to increase your homeowners or renter insurance if your employee does not have her own insurance and bonding.

Professional House Cleaning Company

Hiring a professional house cleaning company eliminates many of the burdens inherent in hiring an individual. Professional house cleaning services should complete background checks on employees, verify legal status, file and withhold taxes, and cover insurance and bonding. While the costs of hiring a maid service may be higher than hiring an individual, handing over all the legal and tax responsibilities to someone else may well be worth the time you'll save. After all — having more free time was probably one of the main reasons you decided to hire a cleaning service!

Another advantage of hiring a professional house cleaning company is that you will not be left high and dry if your housekeeper is not available for any reason. The cleaning company can shift staff schedules to cover any absences or respond to special requests you may have. To find a professional maid service in your city, please see our list of house cleaning services.

Costs

The costs of hiring an individual or professional cleaning service vary widely depending on the size of your home, location, specific cleaning requirements and frequency of service. In very general terms, individuals may charge anywhere from $15 - $40 per hour, and professional maid services charge between $60 - $80 per hour.

Interviewing/Hiring

Once you determine which type of maid service is best for you, the next step is to start interviewing. To find an individual or service that will be a good fit and will provide the services you need, make sure to outline your expectations clearly. Some topics to discuss are:

  • How often do you want your home cleaned?
  • Do you have a particular day or time that works best with your schedule?
  • What services would you like performed? Be specific — some people want light housekeeping such as dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning bathrooms and the kitchen, while others need help organizing storage areas such as closets, garages, and basements.
  • Is anyone in the household allergic to any cleaning chemicals?

Before making a hiring decision, you'll need the service to answer the following questions:

  • Do you have insurance? Ask for a copy of their insurance policy.
  • Are your employees bonded?
  • Do you run criminal background checks on all employees?
  • What will they do to remedy the situation if you are unhappy with the cleaning?
  • If you are unhappy or uncomfortable with the person cleaning your home can you request a different person?
  • Do they guarantee a replacement if your regular cleaner is unavailable for any reason?
  • Will the worker be paid by the hour or by the job?
  • Do you provide your own cleaning supplies?

One final note — make sure to check references before you allow anyone in your home.


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