Choosing a House Cleaning Service: What is your risk exposure?

How do you choose a house cleaning service?  There are a lot of options out there, from one-person operations, to large independents, to the large franchise operations.  The Maids is one of the latter.

One way to look at the choice is through the lens of liability exposure that you take on when you let someone on your property or into your home. Stuff happens- people slip and fall on walkways and in homes; expensive items can be damaged.  And imagine a collision in your driveway where a service person’s vehicle backs into your car.  A $1,000 to $3,000 repair bill would not be unusual for a fender bender.  Can the service provider afford to pay you for the damage that he/she caused?   They could be a single person operation or an un-insured business without the financial ability to pay that bill.

At The Maids, we don’t take any shortcuts in our efforts to protect you and our employees.  We are licensed by Washington State Department of Revenue. We are bonded are insured.   Our employees are just that- not 1099 contractors or subcontractors.  Thus, we pay payroll taxes to comply with IRS rules; and we pay workmen’s compensation premiums through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. If an on-the-job injury happens to our employees, they are covered by our workmen’s compensation policy. And when we hire, we conduct criminal background checks. Finally, we provide company vehicles for our employees and the insurance that goes with it. And we pay our employees for the drive time from our office to your home, between homes, and back to the office in our company insured vehicles.

Simple steps such as the above protect our employees and our customers.  When choosing a house cleaning service, make sure that you get verified answers to the following questions from any service provider that you consider:

  1. Are you licensed to conduct business in the state of Washington?
  2. Are your workers actual company employees (and thus paid through W-2) or are they 1099 contractors?
  3. Do you pay workmen’s compensation premiums to the Department of Labor and Industries?
  4. Do you have business liability insurance? And if so, do you carry at least $1,000,000 of coverage?
  5. Do you perform criminal background checks on your new hires?

If you have any doubts- verify! Ask, for example, for their UBI number that the state issues to licensed businesses. Ask for a certificate of insurance, which lists their insurance carrier, the coverage period, and the amounts of coverage.

And once you feel confident that you are dealing with a professional company, then you can begin your due diligence on the quality of service that they provide.