Have you ever wondered if it was really worth it to pay for a cleaning service? In today’s post I answer that question plus give you some pointers on how to find a great cleaning service.
Wow! You all blew me away with your comments and encouragement on my post last week on Why We Hired a House Cleaner.
Many of you asked if I could write a followup post on how to find a good cleaning service. So, in this post, I wanted to answer some of your questions about that and share some things we considered when adding this expense to our budget…
How Much It Costs
Cleaning services vary depending upon the size of your house, how often you have them come, and how long it takes them to clean. Some services charge by the hour while some services charge a flat fee.
I’d say that a going rate is somewhere around $20-$25 per hour, based upon what I’ve heard from people in different parts of the country. But of course, that can depend upon many factors.
We have had cleaners both at our home in Kansas and at our home in Tennessee. In Kansas, we paid $125 per week and we went with a cleaning company (The Maids) that has franchises all over the U.S. They brought in a team of 4-5 people and cleaned our home in 1.5 to 2 hours.
In Tennessee, we are using a really small local-owned company that only has 2-3 teams and they usually send 3-4 people to our home each week and clean it in about 1.5 to 2 hours, sometimes a little longer. We pay $100 per week.
In both cases, they deep clean the bathrooms, vacuum/mop all the floors, dust all surfaces (tables, light fixtures, ceiling fans, etc.), clean all of the mirrors & glass, vacuum and clean the furniture, clean all the kitchen countertops and kitchen table and chairs, clean the stovetop, clean out the microwave, collect & take out the trash, strip the beds and re-make them, and probably other things I’m not thinking of right now!
Basically, for $100 per week, our entire house gets a thorough cleaning by a team of professionals who do a really detailed job!
Where to Find Good Cleaners
Not all cleaning companies are created alike, sadly. I can say with certainty that we are spoiled with really, really good cleaning companies — and we had to search to find them!
When we were first considering hiring on regular cleaners, we interviewed a few different companies and told them what was important to us. Then, we’d have them do a test cleaning.
Unfortunately, some of the companies were not thorough at all. Or, it would be hit and miss. One week, they’d do a great job. The next week, it’d be a different team of people and they’d do a really lackluster job.
I say all of this to be upfront and honest with you that finding a great cleaning company is going to take some effort. But don’t give up after one try! Some suggestions on where to find cleaners:
Ask your friends. If you have friends who use a cleaning service, ask them details about their service. Are they detailed and thorough? Are your friends happy with the job they do? This is how we found our cleaning service in TN! And we’ve since referred them to multiple friends!
Ask on a local board/site. If you are a part of any local sites — such as Facebook Groups or Mom’s Groups — ask on there for recommendations.
Look online. If you don’t know anyone who uses a cleaning service you’re interested in, go search online for reviews. Check their social media to see what people are saying about them, look on Yelp, etc.
Check Groupon. We’ve had mixed results from buying Groupons for cleaning services, but it’s an inexpensive way to test it out and see what you think of having cleaners and what you think of a particular service.
Hire a detail-oriented friend who loves to clean. Have a friend who loves cleaning, is really thorough, and is someone who is looking for some extra work? Consider hiring her! I’d start out with asking her to just help for a short time period to see if it’s a good fit for both of you before you make it a long-term thing.
How to Vet Potential Cleaners
Once you’ve found some possible cleaning companies, then it’s time to vet them to see if they are a good fit. Here’s what I would suggest:
1. Call & Do An Initial “Interview”. Call the company and talk to them. See how professional they are on the phone, how quickly they return phone calls, and how thorough they are in the answers they give you about their services. If they are unprofessional from the get-go, there’s a good chance they will not be a company you want to work with.
Some companies will come out and meet with you, explain their services, let you know details on what they offer, and talk to you more about your cleaning needs. If the company offers this, jump on it as it’s a great way to get a better feel for the company and their level of professionalism and attention to detail.
2. Have Them Do a Test-Cleaning. If you are impressed with your initial interaction with a company, book them to do a one-time cleaning. Ask if they have any new customer specials they are running or see if you can get a discount for being a first-time customer. It never hurts to ask!
3. Stay Home While They Clean. For the first few times, do not have them come and clean while you are gone! I repeat, do not have them come clean while you are gone! This is not only smart because you know nothing about this company or who is in your home, plus it’s helpful to get a feel for who will be cleaning your home, should you decide to hire them to regularly clean.
4. Inspect Everything When They Leave. As soon as they leave, go through and inspect every single room. Look to see if there’s anything they missed, anything they left out, or anything that was left undone. This will give you a good idea whether they are a company you are interested in having come in regularly or whether you need to vet another company.
We’re super picky, so it’s taken us time in both houses (KS and TN) to find a crew that was incredibly dependable, reliable, fast, and really thorough. But both times, we found one after 3-5 tries. And it’s the best. Thing. Ever. Seriously.
Having a clean house is really important to me but I just can’t do it all! So it’s one of many areas where I delegate so that I have a life and sanity!
Should You Hire Cleaners?
First off, my advice is to ask yourself, “Why am I wanting to hire cleaners?” Start off with the why.
For us, it started out because I was working full-time hours, Jesse had his law firm, we had three young kids, and I wanted to have a clean house and my sanity. I knew that something had to give.
Jesse and I did the math and realized that in less than one hours’ time, I could easily make what it would cost to pay for cleaners every week. And they would save me at least 5 hours’ time. So for less than the cost of one hour of me working, I could save five hours each week!
When you consider it in light of that, it was a really good return in our investment! I am always looking for ways to maximize both our time and money — and this really made sense for our family. And it has continued to make sense for us.
However, if our situation changed and our income was drastically reduced, we know that having cleaners would be one of the very first things to go. They allow me more breathing room in our week and help me have more joy in my life because our home stays cleaner. They are a luxury, not a need. I try to always remember this and never get too attached to having them!
Your family is very different than our family and your situation is very different than our situation, so I can’t say what would work for you. But I can suggest some questions for you to ask yourself:
Can you afford cleaners in your current budget? If not, can you tweak some things around so that you could have them come occasionally? If not, then I’d say that you shouldn’t even consider it right now.
If you can afford cleaners, would hiring them relieve a lot off your plate or would it stress you out more? For some women, having people come in and clean their house is actually more stressful than stress-relieving. You know yourself and what works for you. If you’re not sure, try it for a week or two and see how it feels. Does it work and bless your family or is it just stress-inducing?
Is a clean house the most pressing thing in your life right now? For some women, having a house that isn’t really clean isn’t stress-inducing. Instead, it’s the food prep that’s causing stress or the laundry or the kids’ activities or a growing business. Maybe you need to look at streamlining your outside activities or hiring a mother’s helper to help with laundry or food prep or hiring a virtual assistant to help with your business.
What could you outsource so you could be more present for what matters most and pour your time into what brings you the most life? If you’re in a season where you have more wiggle room in your budget, are there things you can outsource instead of cleaning that would give you a better return on your investment?
Do you have too much on your plate and you just need to say “no” more? If you don’t have the wiggle room in your budget to hire a cleaning service, perhaps you need to “buy” yourself more wiggle room in your schedule by just saying “no” to some of the commitments and activities that are sucking your time and your life.
Ultimately, it comes down to deciding what is right for your family and your budget in your season of life! Remember this: there are always options. Your schedule is not the boss of you. Your calendar commitments are not the boss of you. And you don’t have to feel any bit of guilt if you can’t “do it all!”
Choose what is best for you and your family — even if it looks very different than what other families are choosing!
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