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10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Cleaning Service

Choosing a cleaning service means you will be entrusting someone else with your home, your possessions, and even access to your family, possibly for a very long time.

So don't rush to choose your service. Instead, invest the time wisely to ensure a long relationship -- and a sparkling clean home!

Here are 10 ways to find a top cleaning service.

1. Finding a reliable and competent cleaning service can take some detective work. Ask around and get a few recommendations from people you trust. When you find a service you are interested in, find out how long they have been in business, and ask for three references. Make sure you check out all the references -- not just one.

2. Does your cleaning service screen the individuals they hire? You want some assurance that the people you are giving access to your home and family have had background checks.

3. Make sure the cleaning service you choose can offer you a certificate of liability insurance. Do not accept a copy of their insurance policy -- there is a difference. Getting the certificate directly from their insurance company ensures that their policy is in force, and has not been canceled since the last renewal.

This protects you from any unforeseen issues, and assures you that if damages happen in your home, you'll covered. It also covers the cleaning crew themselves if they are injured while in your home -- if they don't have this coverage, it could open you up to a huge amount of liability.

4. Find out what type of cleaning products the crew will be using. Certain products may harm special or delicate surfaces in your home. Areas in particular to ask about include stone surfaces, wood flooring or induction cook tops, all which require special cleaning products.

5. Ask for a cleaning checklist to discover exactly what the cleaning crew will be doing in each area of your home. When you do hire a cleaning service, make sure you check their work, and be certain the tasks were all performed properly.

6. Be clear on the payment policy. How do they charge -- by the hour, or by the day? What is included, and what jobs are extra? Do they provide all cleaning supplies? Make sure you get a estimate in writing as well.

7. Ask if the company has a guarantee policy. You deserve a quality cleaning job in a fair amount of time for your money. If you have any issues with the cleaning services, call the manager or owner of the service immediately.

8. Make arrangements for pets to be out of the way when the cleaning service arrives, especially the first few visits. Pets can easily escape when a door is inadvertently left open, and some cleaning service employees may not be comfortable with pets. Protect yourself, your pets and the crew by keeping them in another room, or outdoors during cleaning.

9. Decide whether you plan to be home at the time of the cleaning. Many homeowners aren't comfortable leaving the cleaning crew alone in the home, while others quickly develop a trusting relationship. Go with your gut and do what feels right to you. At the very least, plan to be home during the first few cleanings. This allows you to gauge your trust in the crew, and supervise the cleaning process if necessary.

10. If you find a wonderful cleaning service, make sure you reward them by spreading the word among your friends, family, and coworkers. Not only will you be thanking your cleaning service with the additional business, you help your community by recommending a quality service run with integrity. And what could be "cleaner" than that?

Your Next Move:

Kathy Wilson is a home and garden writer, author and consultant and is the home decorating expert for LifetimeTV.com. Visit her for more home and garden ideas at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com and http://www.TheGardenGlove.com.

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