How to Choose the Best Cleaning Service for your Needs

How to Choose the Best Cleaning Service for your Needs

Should I hire an individual house cleaner or a company to clean my home? Many individual house cleaners do a great job of cleaning homes at low costs, and some of them even employ small teams of people who work alongside them. But, what is the true cost of hiring that lower priced cleaning service?

Professional cleaning companies are usually licensed, bonded and insured. Many people list this on their business cards, but it is a good idea to check with your secretary of State’s office to verify that they are truly registered to do business. This is easily accomplished with a simple web search. You can verify The Cleaning People RI here. Professional cleaning organizations also typically carry higher limits of liability insurance to protect you if there is ever any damage to your home or property. We will happily provide a copy of our certificate of insurance upon request.

Another important, but often overlooked factor is workers compensation insurance. If a worker was to become injured while cleaning your home, you could be held liable for their injuries, having to pay hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Many people mistakenly think that their home owners or renters insurance policies cover these liabilities, but these policies normally do not cover workers for hire. The Cleaning People RI maintains proper workers compensation insurance at all times.

When you are considering prospective house cleaners or cleaning companies, make sure the one you choose conducts criminal background checks for all employees. When you are trusting someone in your home, this is critically important. Legitimate cleaning companies adhere to strict background check procedures. At The Cleaning People RI, we conduct background checks on all of our prospective employees to ensure only high quality, trustworthy, properly vetted candidates are allowed into our clients homes.

In order to ensure that your home is consistently cleaned to a high standard, cleaning companies often put their employees through rigorous training programs. A good company will most likely have both 3rd party certification programs, as well as in-house training programs, which include their signature touches. We provide paid 3rd party certification training in addition to our in house training program.

What about payroll taxes? Employers are required to withhold 15.3% of cash wages and remit this to the IRS. Most households are not aware of the IRS household employer rules, which may subject you to unforeseen tax liabilities. In addition, each State has a number of additional payroll tax requirements, including city, school district, disability and/or unemployment taxes. 

You are considered a household employer if you hire a person to work in or around your home who is not working as an employee or sub-contractor of a registered company, or who has not established and registered his or her own company with its own employer’s identification number. You are required to pay employment taxes if you pay your household employer $2,100 or more for the year 2019, or if you pay $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter. If you are caught paying a household employer and not remitting taxes, you may be liable for the back taxes, plus penalty and interest. More information can be found here on the IRS Website. Here at The Cleaning People RI, we hire all of our workers as company employees and we pay a third party payroll service to issue employee paychecks and take care of the related payroll taxes on our behalf.

Do you know if your house cleaner is able to legally work in this country? If you hire a household employer you are also required to obtain a completed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form,  I-9 by their first day of work. Legitimate businesses comply with all of these payroll and legality requirements, so you don’t have to. The Cleaning People RI requires all employees to complete an I-9, W-4 and any other related employment information as part of our onboarding process.

Another great question to ask when evaluating cleaning service providers, is “how much do you pay your employees?” While no business will disclose wages paid due to privacy rules, many cleaning businesses pay house cleaning technicians minimum wages. While this affords them the opportunity to charge lower prices, they often have high rates of turnover, since most workers want to better themselves and seek out jobs with higher wages and good working conditions. Sadly, many cleaning companies still charge a premium for their services, while paying their workers the lowest wages possible. While some of these companies are simply greedy, others are subject to a number of expensive franchise fees, lowering their ability to pay higher wages and still earn a profit. Minimum wage workers also often have to work two jobs to make ends meet. They can be exhausted and may not do as thorough of a job when cleaning your home. This also puts them at greater risk for injury inside of your home. In addition, working two jobs leaves them with little time for their own family and friends. We are proud to say that we pay our cleaners living wages here at The Cleaning People RI and incent them with employee bonuses and other perks.

It is a good idea to ask prospective cleaning organizations whether they classify their workers as employees or independent contractors. If they hire independent contractors, they are not subject to the same employer payroll taxes or workers compensation insurance costs. However, in order for a business to legally treat someone as an independent contractor, they cannot dictate when or how the independent contractor’s work will be performed. This can lead to quality and consistency issues, if they cannot train them properly or book them according to customers desired schedules. In addition, if the independent contractor does not have the right liability or workers compensation insurance of their own, these liabilities may shift back to the homeowner. We hope you found this information helpful as you make your decision in hiring the right cleaning service provider to look after your families home.