Cleaning SolutionHiring a cleaning service to clean your home can enable you to use your valuable time doing other more important things. A cleaning service can typically get a house more deeply cleaned and in less time than homeowners, since they have a system and specific order in which they clean. If you've never hired a cleaning service before, you may be uncomfortable giving a stranger access to your home and your possessions. If this is the case, and you are still seriously thinking about hiring someone to help clean your home, request that they visit your home personally to give you a quote so that you can get a sense for the person and to make a decision on whether or not you would be comfortable with them in your house.

Decide whether you would prefer to have a company with a cleaning crew or an independent cleaning person clean your home. You may not know the answer to this until you have spoken with several people and/or companies to determine which you prefer.

Make a list of questions regarding things that are important to you. Here are some examples:

· Do you wash windows?

· Do you clean inside large appliances? If not regularly, then on an occasional basis?

· Do you bring your own cleaning tools and supplies or do you use what is available in my home?

· Can I request that you use my vacuum? Do you empty the vacuum's canister or replace the bag?

· Can I request eco-friendly cleaning products?

· Do you take out the garbage?

· What is your policy regarding damaged or broken items?

· Do you require toys to be picked up and dishes done, for example? (Some cleaning services prefer to spend their time cleaning and not putting away the homeowners' belongings. You get more value for the money you're spending if you have everything put away and the cleaning service can do the deep cleaning they were hired to do.)

· Do you charge more if there are pets inside the home?

· Do you include infrequent cleaning tasks periodically such as cleaning light fixtures, baseboards and window tracks, for example?

Research websites for house cleaning companies in your area and make a note of their contact information.

Jot down several days that are good options for you to have someone in your house to clean. The cleaning service will likely want to choose a day and stick to it in order to make it easier to plan their work schedules.

Submit a request for quote through a company's website. You will have to specify some details about your home, such as the square footage, number of rooms and type of cleaning (spring, moving, ongoing, etc). Some companies may respond with a quote via email and others may call you to ask questions. Others yet may not provide a quote until they visit your home and determine the amount of time that will be required to clean based on your requirements. One word of caution: it may seem convenient to receive a quote via email, but be aware that when the cleaning person arrives at your house for the first time, they may increase the amount of money they will charge based on some criteria that they didn't know about, such as dusting a large collection of collectible and fragile figurines, or scrubbing a floor that is very dirty, etc.

Determine the preparations that will be required to give the cleaning service person(s) access to your home. You will probably need to make a copy of your house key and if you have an alarm system, you will need to set up a code they can use. Most alarm systems allow you to create multiple codes so that you don't give out the master code that you use, but instead can give the cleaning service a secondary code that they specify to make it easier for them to remember and you can revise it or delete it as necessary.

Make arrangements for any pets that need to be in a crate, in the garage or put outside while the cleaning service is working in your home.

All of the tasks during the first cleaning appointment may not get completed since the cleaning person needs to get familiar with the layout of your home and the time it will take for each room and task.

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