When you search for the right home cleaning service, it’s easy to get caught up in service details: What’s the best frequency? What rooms will and won’t be cleaned? Which parts of rooms will be cleaned? Who will be in my home? Will it always be the same person? When will it happen? What’s the price?
But, when you consider that,
• Your home is probably the single largest investment you will ever make,
• Between one and three quarters of your personal net worth is likely tied up in home equity and the possessions in your home, and
• Your home shelters your only truly invaluable assets (yourself, your family, pets),
It’s important to see yourself-not as a consumer shopping for a service-but, rather, as the CEO of a small business, searching for the right supplier or service provider.
When businesses evaluate potential suppliers or service providers, they look at the big picture: knowledge, experience, cultural traits, quality performance and reputation for innovation. They consider the short- and long-term risks of entering into a business relationship. They ask themselves questions like:
• Is this service provider reliable?
• Is there a process to address performance issues?
• What is our exit strategy if we’re not satisfied?
Businesses also consider total costs-not just prices or hourly rates-associated with working with a service provider. Are there hidden costs? Are there things we value that might make it worth paying a premium? What are the liability and tax implications of entering into this business relationship? And how much could a bad decision end up costing us?
What follows is a handy reference guide for evaluating potential home-cleaning service providers from the same perspective a savvy business executive would use:
What to ask:
• How do you ensure you are cleaning both effectively AND efficiently?
• Which cleaning chemicals, tools, and processes do you use for which jobs and why?
• Are you/your employees bonded?
• Do you have insurance?
• Do you have a federal employers’ ID number?
• Do you file and pay all required withholding and taxes at federal, state and local levels?
• How will you protect the security of my home?
• Your prices/rates are higher than some others I have seen. How do you account for this?
What you want to hear:
• Choose high-performance-not merely cheap-cleaning chemicals and tools
• Have proven benchmarks for times needed to deliver perfect cleans based on room size and complexity
• Care about improving and perfecting cleaning processes
• Have reasons for their choices and can articulate them; know what is safe and effective to use on which surfaces
• Demonstrate solid working knowledge of cleaning best practices
• Focus on protection and sanitization (in addition to aesthetics) qualities
• Use correct procedures and tools to avoid cross-contamination in your home
• Controlled access to keys
• Coding of keys to protect owners’ identities
• Locked/secure storage of keys and key locations
• Criminal background checks on all employees
• Better/safer cleaning products
• Better cleaning processes
• Environmentally protective/green cleaning products and processes
• Pay all required taxes
• Invest in employee training/quality control/safety
• You get the best clean for the least amount of time spent in your home
• You get the best clean for the least amount of potential risk to your family’s health and property
• You get the best long-term protection for your valuable assets
• You will be protected against theft
• You will be protected from personal financial liability for workman’s compensation should a cleaning service provider be injured while working in your home
• You will be protected from personal financial liability for federal, social security, unemployment and other taxes
• You will be protected from risks associated with hiring illegal workers in your home
• You will avoid mountains of paperwork (that could easily eat up the time you save not cleaning your own home)
• Goes without saying!
• You may find price premiums to be well justified and/or better attuned to your personal values and priorities