Communicating with Your Cleaning Service

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Housekeeping Quiz
May 11, 2016

Communicating with Your Cleaning Service

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How to stay in touch with a housekeeping company and ensure your needs are met.

Jennifer Eberhart, Contributor

Housecleaning companies typically have systems in place for scrubbing a house. If you’re thinking of hiring a cleaning company — or have already hiring one — you should be able to communicate your own needs and housekeeping goals to the agency.
Here are expert tips about interacting with a company so you’re both on the same page and you get the quality of service you expert.

Outline What You Want

Discuss your needs with the cleaning company before hiring them. The company should be aware of exactly what you’re looking for. Each house is unique and your unique needs should be communicated.
“Sharing what drove a person to call a service is important,” says Amy Olson, director of marketing at The Maids International. Why do you need the help? Communicate how often you’ll need to utilize the cleaning service upfront. “For instance, is the consumer looking for a one-time clean to prepare for guests or a party, or hoping to schedule regular, ongoing cleaning service?,” suggests Olson.
“Everyone has their own definition of clean and has a particular way that they like things done,” says Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer at MaidPro. “Good companies understand that cleaning is personal and want you to share your preferences with them. So, communicate, communicate, communicate. If a company is not open to your suggestions, move on. A maid service should make your life easier and not harder.”

Talk about the Past

If you’ve had problems with other companies or individual housekeepers, share those details with your new provider. “This can help ensure the new service will better meet the needs of the consumer and the home,” says Olson.
Mention Special Needs

Every family has needs, but if yours has special considerations, alert the company. For example:

  • Do you or your kids have any allergies that could be exacerbated by certain cleaning supplies?
  • Do you prefer green cleaning supplies?
  • Do you have a several dogs that leave hair everywhere?
Create a Checklist

Make a list of what you’d like done in your home and check to ensure these are services the provider offers. Get inspiration from Your Cleaning Checklist »
As Olson says, “Most reputable cleaning services will offer a list of services routinely provided in the home. A consumer should make sure the list will satisfy his or her needs. For instance, if the consumer expects window cleaning throughout the home, or the inside of the oven cleaned during the visit, these might be additional services and come at an extra charge.”

Create and Review Your Contract

Carolyn Stolov, family life expert at Care.com, suggests putting everything down in writing. If your cleaning company doesn’t provide a contract, make a simple document that goes into: how much each cleaning will cost, how often it will take place and where it needs to be done. Then confirm it with your contact at the company.

Discuss Guarantees

What happens if things don’t go according to plan? Stolov suggests asking if the company “has any guarantees if you are not happy.” Knowing the company’s policies ahead of time will make any potential problems that much easier to solve.
“Ensure the company has a satisfaction guarantee, and what the terms are for using it,” says Olson. “Is there a time limit? If the consumer is unsatisfied, what action steps should he or she take? In return, what steps will the housecleaner or company take, in what time frame, and what is a reasonable resolution according to the company? Is it a money-back guarantee or return service at no cost? A written guarantee of quality service helps ensure any problems will quickly be taken care of.”
Establish a Point of Contact

“The vast majority of cleaners are honest and trustworthy people, but it only takes a few bad stories to make a lot of people nervous about letting a stranger into their homes,” says Homer. “By asking the right questions upfront, you can alleviate a lot of these fears.”
Work with the company to learn as much as you can about the person or people who will be cleaning your home. Have a name and contact information for someone at the company, so you know who you can speak to right away, no matter what happens.
“If an issue arises, broaching that issue with your cleaner can be awkward,” says Homer. “One of the benefits of using a professional company is that you should be able to speak with an owner or manager who works in the office. Most professionally staffed offices allow you to submit feedback either over the phone or online, so you can use whatever is most comfortable for you.”
In general, communication early and often is key. Be sure you have things written down and signed by the company and know what you’re entering into before agreeing to anything. Know who you can talk to should any issues arise — or even if you want to compliment the company!
Interacting with your housecleaning company should be simple and easy. If it isn’t, it may be time to change companies.