Sheri Pepper
cleaning services

Have you ever daydreamed about hiring a cleaning service for your apartment?

Not that you can’t do a perfectly good job yourself, but many of us have good reason to hand over the job of keeping our living spaces neat, tidy and ick-free. Cleaning companies come in all shapes and sizes, and most offer flexible services, whether you need ongoing help or a one-time clean.

Once you start looking, you’ll find cleaning businesses are often owned and operated by a single person or a small team. Larger companies or franchise operations may service your neighborhood as well. Knowing which is right for you depends on your needs, budget and time frame.

Where to start when looking for cleaning services

One of the easiest ways to find cleaning services is to get recommendations from friends, family or co-workers. However, keep in mind that cleaners with great reputations are often very busy, so you may have to wait a while to get on the schedule. If you don’t have a recommendation, you can search online and read reviews before selecting a few to interview.

Even if a cleaner comes highly recommended, you should ask these five important questions before scheduling an appointment.

What are your rates and how do I pay?

Many services charge by the hour and rates differ from city to city. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $40 per hour. Some services set a flat fee, and this may be something you can negotiate for a one-time or move-out clean.

Also, find out if you need to pay by cash or check or if the service accepts credit cards or uses online payment services.

What services do you offer?

This question seems obvious, but it’s important to know what will be done in each room of your apartment. For example, in addition to wiping down surfaces and cleaning toilets and floors, will the service change beds, do laundry, empty the dishwasher or wash windows?

Take some time to think through what services are “must haves” and which fall in the category of “would be nice.” You might not need every service on every visit, so inquire if you can arrange for occasional services and what the charges will be.

Do you carry insurance, and are you bonded?

Bringing in a cleaning service means having someone working in your apartment, whether you are at home or not. If a service is bonded and insured, you reduce your risk if theft occurs or the cleaner is injured on the job.

If you carry renter’s insurance, check to see if it offers liability coverage, which may be sufficient for your needs. Many smaller cleaning services are not bonded and insured, so you need to be comfortable with the risk involved.

Do you do the cleaning yourself, or do you have a team?

You want to know who will be doing the work. You also want to know whom to talk to if the work doesn’t meet your expectations or you need to reschedule.

Ask what happens if the cleaner is sick or otherwise can’t make the appointed time. Larger cleaning services often offer backup staff if your regular cleaner isn’t available.

Who provides the cleaning products?

Find out if you need to have products on hand or if the service brings their own. And of course, if you prefer particular products, be sure to discuss that as well.

Finding a service you like may take a bit of time. But once you have the experience of walking into your shiny, clean apartment after a busy day, you’ll know the effort was well worth it.

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About The Author

Sheri Pepper

Sheri Pepper is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has extensive experience writing about real estate, healthcare, accounting and HR. She's lived in many places and has fond memories of a sunny garage apartment in Austin that had hardwood floors and a lovely maple tree just outside the bedroom window.

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