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Gertie's Dirt: Thinking of hiring a cleaning service?

There are many reasons to hire someone to clean your home or business. The number one reason is to save your valuable time. Who wants to spend their day off doing dreaded housework? With life moving at such a fast pace, your time is better spent on something personal or with family. Do you think it may be too expensive? The answer: definitely not. A good cleaning with regularly scheduled services will not cost more than a nice dinner for two. If you think of the time and effort you save, that is a deal! 

Here are some important things you should consider when hiring a cleaning service.

• Cleaners should have adequate liability insurance, not a bond. Bonding is not a bad thing but would only help in extremely rare cases. If someone becomes injured while cleaning your home or business, a good service will cover employees with worker's compensation insurance. 

• Find out who will be doing the cleaning. Have they had background checks?

Are they independent contractors or employees?

An employee is a person who works for a business and is paid wages with taxes, social security, and unemployment insurance. If you choose to hire an individual to clean, and they do not take care of the taxes they owe, you may be held liable for those taxes. Cleaning services are taxable. The taxes contribute to state and local governments.  I think it is important to know if the service and its employees are local residents because their wages contribute to our local economy, too.

• Every professional cleaning service should offer a satisfaction guarantee. It is important to call within the first 24-hours if you are unhappy with something. The service should gladly send the crew back as soon as possible to correct the oversight. Even if it is something small, the owner or manager should welcome your comments. You will find out rather quickly if they are sincere in their efforts to ensure that you are a happy customer. Give it two or three visits to improve. If there is no improvement, get a new service.

You should feel comfortable with the cleaning plan. Do you have a clear understanding what work will be done? What is the policy about adding work to the order at the last minute? Does the service supply its own equipment and products? How will they protect your key? Is it within your budget? Are you happy with the appointment time? How will you be billed? 

• Cleaning companies can provide a wide range of services. All reputable services should provide a list that includes most or all surfaces in the kitchen, bathroom, living areas, bedrooms and floors. Some will not clean ovens. Others do not provide maid service such as dishes, laundry, ironing, shopping or organizing. Some will not do outside tasks, such as sweeping of sidewalks, porches, or decks. These would be included in the "Home Service" part of Gertie's services. Most services will ask you to pick up toys, dirty clothes and other items so that the floors and surfaces are cleared to be cleaned. Workers should not be asked to be responsible for the care of children. 

You may have heard about the owner of a cleaning service in Superior who was arrested for stealing social security cards, passports and credit cards. What a nightmare! This is where a background check can be important. It makes sense to put away your valuables whenever you have anyone in your home.

What can you do if you think something is missing? Remain calm. Retrace your steps. About 90 percent of the time the item has been misplaced. If you still cannot find it or it is obvious that the item has been taken, call the owner or manager of your cleaning service. Give him or her the opportunity to correct the situation. During the investigation, it would not be unreasonable to ask for a different cleaning team. With careful hiring and background checks a good service will rarely have real cases of theft.  

It is not difficult to find a good, reliable professional service that can meet your cleaning needs. Cleaning services are rapidly becoming a needed service, rather than a luxury. So make plans to enjoy your time off with friends and family and not doing the dreaded housework!

Donna Bellino is a nurse and owner of Gertie's Cleaning and Home Service. I care for you, your health and your home. Gertie's: Naturally Clean!