by Marcus Pickett
While you need to check references and professional credentials, often finding the best maid service is about matching your lifestyle and cleaning needs with service packages. Some companies like to focus on a smaller client base who want thorough and near daily service. Other companies choose to eschew mundane surface cleaning for more intensive single-service cleaning, including stain removal, window cleaning, etc. From preliminary considerations to possible price tags, here's what you need to know to find the maid service that's right for you.
You should have a lengthy conversation with any and all employees who will be working in your home. Few people cherish the prospect of strangers having wide access to their living spaces, no matter how much they're helping with the chores. Maid service companies understand this.
Talk to your maid service about the level of desired cleanliness. Do you need your home to look good or do you need comprehensive cleaning and disinfectant treatments? These preferences may translate into choosing individual companies, changing the exact cleaning protocol, and the overall cost of the service. This discussion should help you build rapport and trust, but it will also give you a chance to be clear upfront about what you expect. Examples of such specifications might be: "Don't touch the large cylinder on the mantel because it's holding Grandma's ashes" or "The latch on the dishwasher is tricky, so be careful when you're opening it". That said, you should limit your concerns to those things that are truly important. If you give your maid service a list of three-dozen items, it decreases the likelihood that each one will be met because even the best employees are far from infallible.
It's extremely difficult to give cost estimates because there are so many different ways to hire and schedule maid services. One-time service for an upcoming party, weekly or biweekly service for routine upkeep, and quarterly or annual maid service for thorough spring cleaning all have their own cost scales and variables. ServiceMagic, the leading online resource connecting homeowners and home improvement contractors, has one method of estimating the average maid service cost. By collecting data from homeowners who actually hire professional maid service, ServiceMagic calculated the average cost of $170. Better yet, this figure can be compared to the average maid service job time of five and a half hours. This doesn't mean you can assume your maid service will cost $30/hour because every project is different, but it does provide a baseline.
Not every house cleaning task is destined for maid service companies. Exterior house cleaning is often tackled by other home improvement contractors. These tasks are arguably more important than your weekly interior cleaning. While straightening up, vacuuming, and dusting are mandatory when guests are visiting and to maintain basic hygiene, exterior house cleaning helps ensure that your home remains in sound condition for the years ahead. Whether they're tackled separately or through a comprehensive housecleaning firm, here are the average costs and time estimates for the following house cleaning projects:
-- Marcus Pickett is a senior home improvement writer with ServiceMagic.com. He has written more than 1200 articles on managing your home and home improvement trends.