Chances are those services aren't part of the standard package that includes a good cleaning of the kitchen, bathrooms, floors and furniture. Some services might agree to do your special jobs for an extra fee, and some might not offer them at all. So the more specific you are about what you want before you choose a maid, the better the chance that you'll get what you want.
Next, search for reputable, trustworthy service that has been in business a while and that comes highly recommended by friends, family or neighbors. If you go with the company, choose one that does background checks on its employees, has insurance, bonds its housekeepers and has a valid local business license. Ask what the company's insurance covers: theft; accidental damage to your possessions; rekeying in case the maid loses her house keys; flooding caused by a housekeeper who forgets to turn off a faucet; on-the-job accidents?
Third, talk about price. Ask neighbors with same size homes how much they pay so you'll have a benchmark. But don't be surprised if your price fluctuates with the frequency of your service (you'll probably pay less per visit for weekly service than if you have someone come just once a month) or because your family is larger than your neighbors or because you have pets.
Then, ask for and check references. Start with the Better Business Bureau to learn if any homeowners have filed complaints about the services you are considering. Call customers to ask if they have any complaints, if the maids are reliable and thorough and if they would recommend the service to others. Once you've narrowed down your selection to a couple, dig a little deeper. Some questions to ask:
- Will the maids bring their own vacuum cleaners, dusters and cleaning products, or use yours?
- Does the service use echo friendly cleaning supplies, or harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia? Are the products safe for children and pets?
- What is the procedure if you have a complaint? How does the company resolve problems between homeowners and housekeepers?
- How will the company ensure you're getting high quality service? Will the manager inspect your home after it is been cleaned?
- Will the service honor your request to send the same maids every time-or to stop sending someone you don't like? If you're not comfortable with someone who comes to your home, you should have the right to ask for someone else.
Once you settle on a service or an individual, arranged to spend most of your housekeeper's first visit talking instead of cleaning. Explain your expectations, show them maid around, set ground rules about off-limits rooms, point out which fragile items she should handle with care. Make it clear whether it's okay for her to talk on the phone, turn on the TV or stereo, or bring a helper or even her children to your house during her shift. Talk often. If you're not happy with something your housekeeper does, say so. And allow her to approach you with suggestions or questions.
Many homeowners employ their housekeeper for years. Hire thoughtfully and treat your employees fairly and with respect, and you may never have to repeat the process-because you will be working with a keeper.
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*Article written by Rosie Romero for The Arizona Republic