1) Is you business licensed to do business within your city/ county? (* see below for more information)
2) Are you working under your own name or under a Business name (DBA –Doing Business As)
3) If working under a DBA (Doing Business As) who is the owner of the business?
4) What is the physical address of the business? (No P.O. Boxes, this is for your protection in case something happens and you need to reach the company)
5) How long have you been in business?
6) Are you insured?
7) What insurances do you carry? (Liability is for damage to property, Bonding is for theft, Workman’s comp is for injury to the worker (** see below for more information)
8) Can you provide verification of coverage’s?
9) Have you made any claims to your insurance within the last 6 months? Last Year? If so how many claims have you made & for what?
10) Do you provide a written agreement of what services you will provide? Do you also provide a written copy of your policies?
11) Do I have to sign a contract? Does this contract bind me to your services for any length of time?
12) What happens if I am not happy with the service?
13) How do you determine your pricing?
14) What is your hourly rate or average?
15) What happens if my job takes more or less time on average? Will I be charged more or my rate lowered?
16) Who provides the equipment and supplies? (*** see below for more information)
17) What products do you use to clean with? Do they carry an MSDS sheet for each product? Do they even know that they are by law required to carry one?
18) Does the cleaner know that a disinfectant is useless unless it has proper dwell time to be allowed to fully work? (usually at least 10 minutes)
19) I have special surfaces such as (hardwood floors/ laminate flooring/ Stone/ etc) What will you be using on those surfaces (**** see below for more information)
20) What products are acid/ alkali/ caustic? And what can you use or not use them on to avoid damaging my home? (**** see below for more information)
21) What type of training do you have or do you do with your personnel/ staff? Is this training ongoing or just when they first start? Is the training hands on or just by reading materials or watching a short video?
22) Do you background check your employees/ helpers/ partners? If so how?
23) Do you routinely drug test your employees/ helpers/ partners? If so how?
24) What is your policy if a trusted employee does test positive at any point in time?
25) How long has your average employee been working for you?
26) Do you sub-contract work out or use Independent contractors? If so are those people licensed and fully insured? Who is responsible if there is a problem if the job is subbed out or an I.C. is used? Can the Sub or I.C. provide answers to all of these same questions?
27) Can you provide references of several existing customers who can verify your professionalism?
28) How many years of “Professional” ****** cleaning experience do you have? (***** Professional experience is much different than cleaning experience gained by just cleaning your own home.)
29) How is the above number arrived at? Some Persons/Companies will use a combination of several persons combined experience in order to appear more knowledgeable than they really are. Others will count the time they have spent cleaning their own homes and that is not to be considered as “professional” cleaning experience
• *Unlike other contractors such as General contractors, plumbers, roofers, etc., there is no official licensing bureau that governs, tests or regulates the cleaning industry (to date) when licensing is mentioned it is in reference to having a business license which is a required in many cities and states. (Check your local government requirements as not all states require persons or businesses that do cleaning to have a business license. The state of California does, therefore it is illegal to operate a cleaning business without proper business licensing)
• ** Bonding insurance is only for employees (not for owner/ operators) and will only pay out if there is a conviction for the crime and the item(s) are not recovered. Workman’s comp insurance requirements can vary from state to state and often will not cover a owner/ operator due to the possibility of fraud
• *** Customers who provide the equipment and supplies are generally considered the employer thus make themselves liable for all employer related payroll costs and considerations (i.e. – withholding taxes and matching social security payments) as well as any disability or workman’s comp issues
• **** Many of today’s newer surfaces require the use of PH neutral products only to avoid damage to surfaces
Checklist: If you hire an individual cleaning person on your own as opposed to a cleaning company
If you deceide to hire an individual cleaning person on your own (Without the benefit of a cleaning company as their employer) here is a list of forms and tasks that you will have to complete in order to comply with State and Federal laws –
• Get an employer identification number from the IRS using Form SS-4 (.pdf file).
• Fill out the immigration service’s Form I-9 (.pdf) and keep it in your files.
• Ask for the worker’s Social Security or taxpayer identification number.
• Find out what state taxes you or your worker may owe; you can find a link here.
• Withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes if you’ll pay more than $1,600 in 2008 ($1,500 in 2007).
• Withhold federal and state income taxes if the worker requests it; have her fill out a Form W-4 (.pdf).
• Make periodic state tax deposits as required by law.
• Provide your worker with a W-2 form (.pdf) by Jan. 31 of the next year.
• File a copy of the W-2 with the Social Security Administration by Feb. 28.
• File a Schedule H with your personal tax return by April 15 and pay any household employment taxes owed.