House cleaning can be back-breaking work for anyone. For a senior or an overwhelmed caregiver, it can be even more physically straining. When you need more than light housework done to maintain the cleanliness of your home and ensure a healthy environment, hiring a maid service can spare you the body aches and free up time to do more enjoyable activities.
Elderly loved ones are often resistant to getting help for reasons such as losing the feeling of independence and the fear of someone taking advantage of them. So when it comes to finding the right maid service, nothing is more important than finding one you can trust. Whether you’ll be home or not, it’s important to know not only that the person who’ll be cleaning your house won’t steal anything, but also that she won’t break a family heirloom or accidentally turn on the gas oven while cleaning it and not realize the gas is on.
Follow these tips to make sure you can trust the maid service you choose:
- Ask your friends and family what maid service they use. There’s nothing like a personal reference from someone you know and trust. If a friend has been using a maid service for several years and he or she is happy with their performance, chances are you will be too. Whether you get a personal referral or not, be sure to check out at least three different maid services before you make your decision.
- Always interview the prospective maid services face-to-face. Schedule an appointment at your home. This will be important not only for you, but for the maid service as well since they can see your home and understand exactly what services they should provide in their estimate. Pay special attention to the appearance of the company vehicle and the workers. The vehicle they show up in should clearly be intended for the business, and the workers should be wearing uniforms with name tags unless they introduce themselves as the owners of the company.
- Ask the maid service if their employees are bonded and insured. Liability insurance will protect you from being sued or from having to cover the cost of medical expenses if a maid is injured on your property. An employee bond will protect you from theft. Never sign a contract with any maid service whose employees are not insured and bonded. If the answer to this question is no, there’s no need to go any further with that service.
- Find out as much as you can about how they select their employees. Ask someone in charge at the maid service if they perform a criminal background check. If they do, ask if they run a fingerprint check on employees, which is usually the most reliable form of background check available. Ask the service how much experience their maids need before they’re hired. Ask them if they require their employees to be tested for drugs. This may not be a deal breaker to you if you know the service runs a thorough criminal background check, but it might provide added peace of mind if you find out the service tests for drug use as well as a background check. And ask them if they request professional references from their employees. If you were hiring an individual, you would most certainly ask for all these things of your own employee, so the maid service should be doing the same for their workers.
- Ask how long the service has been in business and if they can provide referrals from happy customers. Most reputable maid services will be happy to provide this type of information, assuming they’ve been in business long enough to earn the kudos.
- Ask for an estimate in writing, and make sure it includes all of the tasks you want performed in your home and how often you want to service to visit. Ask how much extra they charge for occasional services, such as carpet shampooing and window washing.
- Review each estimate carefully before making your decision, and compare one estimate against the others to be sure they all include the tasks you want done in your home and the frequency of visits.
Once you’ve selected a maid service, be sure to follow a few tips on a regular basis before each visit:
- Make sure all valuables are removed from the home or locked away in a safe place. Even if you’re comfortable with your chosen maid service, there’s no reason to tempt fate by leaving valuables out in plain sight.
- Tidy up as much as possible. Remember that the maid service will clean, but they won’t know where you keep things. If you expect them to put things away, expect that it will be a challenge to locate those items later on.
- If you have a pet, make sure the pet is secured in a safe place before the maid service arrives. Even if your pet is friendly, it’s important to keep him or her out of the way while the maids do their work.
If your elderly loved one is hesitant and nervous about having strangers in their home, you may want to be there during the first few cleanings. Being a mediator between your loved one and the maids can help ease any uncomfortable feelings. You can express preferences for how tasks are handled during the process and encourage friendly engagement between the two for the times you will not be around. It may be more time-consuming than picking a name out of a hat to find a maid service you trust, but the peace of mind you’ll gain from it will make it worth every minute!
Misty Matthews writes for Austin’s Maid Service, a house cleaning and business cleaning service in Austin TX, which provides a 100% Clean Guarantee by screened and trained maids. For more information, contact Austin’s Maid Service, 700 Lavaca #1400-2292, Austin, TX 78701, (512) 582-2340.