What should you ask your cleaner?

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Home cleaning services are becoming more of a necessity than a luxury service for most homes within the U.K. With increasing demands in day-to-day life, any free time should be spent doing the things you enjoy and not worrying about catching up on your household chores.

“In general, 1 in 3 households within the UK now hire a housekeeper or a home cleaning service to assist with chores and keeping on top of general household cleaning duties.”

Daily Mail

Cleaning providers can vary from National franchises, local companies, self-employed and agency based. All will essentially carry out the same cleaning tasks, but you have to select a Company that works best with your expectations and how you wish them to conduct their business and standards.

The type of cleaning service you need?

Before comparing different cleaning service providers you should consider what type of cleaning or housekeeping service you are looking for and the relationship and standards you expect from a cleaning company.

Looking at the benefits that have a cleaner or housekeeper would around the house is a great way to start. What would you value most from the service? What chores do you not enjoy the most? How much time would this save you to do other projects or spend time with friends and family? Would you like to be home while they clean? Would you like a quick clean through or are the specific areas you need assistance with? These are all key questions to ask yourself so you can scope out the exact requirements you need from a cleaning company near you.

Once you have a clear idea in your head what this service would look like, write them down and be sure to communicate this to the service provider to ensure the exact job at hand is being quoted and scheduled.

Picking the right cleaning company?

With a clear vision in mind of what service you want to be provided, you can then look at what cleaning companies advertise the service you are looking for. There is a high chance that a website or Google business page may not provide all of this information on the first browse, but you will get a sense for what each company stands for and how they conduct their services.

Some companies could have the most informative and inviting online presence, but the true customer service and comparison starts with the initial consultation.

You should send an email or form enquiry in for the service you are looking for, most Companies will respond within the first 48-hours of the enquiry being sent. If you are looking for a quick turnaround then talking to them directly on the phone can provide a good sense of customer service, answer your questions in real-time and help build a shortlist in less time.

After narrowing down your options arrange some in-home meeting at your convenience. This will give you the opportunity to assess their responsiveness and professionalism.

Before the meeting, you should come up with the questions to ask during the consultation and also have your specification list to hand of what you require from the service

Knowing the right questions will help when gathering all the information you need to make a final decision. Here are 10 questions we have put together that you can ask any cleaning service company.

1. How long has the cleaning business been in service?

Knowing how long the business has been going for will outline straight away their level of experience in the cleaning service industry. You may also ask them how long the employees have been with the business as this could indicate if the cleaners are happy in their role and would also provide reassurance that your housekeeper may be with you for the duration of your service.

2. Are you insured?

Whether they are a professional cleaning company or self-employed they should carry liability insurance up to 5 million. This would cover any breakages, damages or a personal accident in your home.

This documentation with provide you with piece of mind during the cleaning service. During this time, you may want to point out any items or belongings which require special care and attention.

3. Do you conduct checks on your employees?

Inviting anyone into your home who you do not personally know can be a daunting experience. Any professional cleaning service would background check and vet their employees. If you are hiring an individual, you act as their employer therefore the responsibility lies on you to conduct your own background checks.

A background check, or commonly known as a DBS check in the U.K plays a vital role in safeguarding yourself and your home by allowing you to know the individual who will be carrying out the service.

If you are looking at an agency-based cleaning service, they will be able to advise who they have assigned to this contract and if there will be one individual or several individuals carrying out the service.

4. Do you have a quality guarantee?

Any professional company or individual will ask for feedback the first time the service is carried out. This is to ensure the clients expectations have been met while carrying out the home cleaning service.

Most companies will state there is a 24-hour period in which any feedback or suggestions should be communicated either by email or by phone. If the client is unsatisfied reporting this to the Company will allow them to address and resolve the issues before your next service date.

It is common for there to be minor feedback in the early stages as both parties are continually learning the property and the client’s exact needs while building a professional relationship.

5. Do you bring your own cleaning equipment?

We cannot speak for all cleaning professionals but generally the cleaning Company will provide their own cleaning products as an individual may request to use your own products. They may ask to use your own vacuum cleaner, mop and bucket as these items can be specific to the materials in the home as well as reducing the risk of cross-contamination between homes.

In the initial consultation they should outline what products and equipment they supply to ensure they are suitable for your home. You should ask if the products contain bleach? Environmentally friendly? Safe to use around pets? Suitable for specific materials in your home that need certain products to clean.

6. How do I gain access to my home?

There are many options to allow your cleaner easy access to your home. Depending on what you are comfortable with and if you decide to be home while the cleaning service is being carried out will determine what options you have.

The most common access options are for the cleaning Company to have a spare set of keys, for you to let them in or install a key safe outside your property. When installing a key safe you would provide the Company or individual the code to the safe.

Our preference would be the key safe as this provides an option to change the code if you change cleaners and if for any reason you decide to cancel your cleaning contract.

7. Do you wear PPE when cleaning?

There are several options of PPE for individuals to wear while carrying out a cleaning service. This should be a discussion between you and the cleaning company or individual to discover what you are comfortable with.

We recommend wearing a mask and shield when the cleaner is operating within the same room as you as well as the cleaner wearing a mask full time while carrying out the service.

You may want to supply hand sanitiser at the front door to allow them to sanitise hands fully before entering and when leaving your home.

8. Can I still have a cleaner if I am shielding or we are in lockdown?

Depending on the individual or Company that you are talking with, will determine if they have a permit to work during Government restrictions.

If you are vulnerable or are shielding, you can safely allow your cleaner to carry out their service in your home if they adhere to Government guidelines, social distancing and wear full PPE.

We would advise you position yourself in a separate room that the housekeeper is operating and ensure they sanitise their hands-on arrival and wipe down all handles, light switches and high use areas when they leave.

9. What do I do with my pet?

If you have a pet in the home, it is important to declare this to the cleaning Company or individual who is carrying out the cleaning service. Most cleaners are comfortable to carry out the clean around your pets and will ask for basic instructions how to interact with them.

If your pet is nervous or protective against strangers then it is your responsibility to remove your pet from the area that the cleaner is operating as to not distress either party.

If you are not home when the cleaner is entering the property you should provide instructions to where your pet will be and what they should do with your pet while carrying out the service.  

10. How do you set your pricing?

The majority of cleaning professionals will bill per hour of the service. Based on the initial consultation and/or a detailed description of the home layout and service required, they will scope out the time needed to carry out the clean.

This should be discussed and approved before the service starts. You should ask for a quote in writing detailing the agreed service and the price associated with this. Be careful if you are obtaining quotes in advance, prices are subject to change every 6-12 months. This should be outlined on the paperwork.

It is important to have a discussion about a “not exceed this price” clause. This can be in the quote or a conversation. Some instances the cleaner may require more time once the work is actively being carried out. This should be a discussion about whether you are comfortable to pay for the additional time or to restructure the service agreement to match the time slot agreed.

10. Can you provide this in writing or in a service agreement contract?

The majority of cleaning professionals will bill per hour of the service. Based on the initial consultation and/or a detailed description of the home layout and service required, they will scope out the time needed to carry out the clean.

This should be discussed and approved before the service starts. You should ask for a quote in writing detailing the agreed service and the price associated with this. Be careful if you are obtaining quotes in advance, prices are subject to change every 6-12 months. This should be outlined on the paperwork.

It is important to have a discussion about a “not exceed this price” clause. This can be in the quote or a conversation. Some instances the cleaner may require more time once the work is actively being carried out. This should be a discussion about whether you are comfortable to pay for the additional time or to restructure the service agreement to match the time slot agreed.