Interviewing House Cleaning Services?


Suggested questions to ask when interviewing house cleaning services

1) Is you business licensed to do business within your city/ county? (* see below for more information)   Quality Cleaning Maid to Order is properly licensed to do business in Alameda county, CA

2) Are you working under your own name or under a Business name (DBA –Doing Business As)  – Yes- both “Quality Cleaning Maid to Order” and “Maid to Order” are DBA’s used by Owner Theresa Peterson   If you want to know who owns a business or if a business name is really registered (ie- legal) go to  and do an online search for a business name to see if they are properly registered to do business.

3) If working under a DBA (Doing Business As) who is the owner of the business?  – Theresa Peterson

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)  – 42151 Blacow road Unit E, Fremont CA 94538

5) How long have you been in business? – We were established in April of 1986

6) Are you insured? Yes! We are fully insured with all forms of business liability insurances as well as Workman’s comp insurance for our employees

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)  – We carry all of the above

8) Can you provide verification of coverage’s? – yes and we can have our agents provide you a copy of our certificates as well if desired

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? – to date we have not filed any claims

10) Do you provide a written agreement of what services you will provide?  Do you also provide a written copy of your policies? – This will alleviate many problems before they start

11) Do I have to sign a contract? Does this contract bind me to your services for any length of time?  – While we provide you with a service agreement we do not have any contracts you are free to leave at any time if we fail to satisfy your needs.

12) What happens if I am not happy with the service? – please by all means contact us and let us know so that we can work with you to resolve your issues

13) How do you determine your pricing? – We base our pricing on our operating costs to run a legitimate business.  While you can readily find others who charge less that is because they are not paying the full costs of running a business properly.

14) What is your hourly rate or average? –   Our rates vary from $35 -$45 per hour based upon the frequency of cleaning and type of services that you require.  We reward our long term clients by not increasing their rates over the years to full market values as well.

15) What happens if my job takes more or less time on average? Will I be charged more or my rate lowered? – We charge by the hour for one time cleanings for the exact time that we work, however for recurring services we do fix the costs for your benefit and budgeting

16) Who provides the equipment and supplies? (*** see below for more information) We provide everything needed to do our jobs properly

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? – We use professional Janitorial quality products to clean with that are Green Seal certified, we do carry MSDS Sheet for each with us

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) – all of our cleaning staff are expertly trained in the proper use of all cleaning products and materials that we use.

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) _ We have researched and tested all of the products that we use for special surfaces and guarantee their results

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) all of our cleaning staff are expertly trained in the proper use of all cleaning products and materials that we use

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?  We use several methods of training that are ongoing, including hands on, written, videos and online courses.  You can rest assured that our staff are knowledgeable in their trade

22) Do you background check your employees/ helpers/ partners? If so how? – We use several methods of background checks to certify that we are proactively hiring the best employees

23) Do you routinely drug test your employees/ helpers/ partners? If so how? – We do routinely and randomly test our employees for drugs

24) What is your policy if a trusted employee does test positive at any point in time? – we have a zero tolerance policy for drug use

25) How long has your average employee been working for you? – our “average” employee is with us for 1.5 yrs +  when the national average is a 300% turn around for each cleaning position (in other words most companies have 3 people cycling in and out of their company for every position that they have in a years time) plus we have family members who also work in the field with our staff and they have 15 – 26 years of in field experience.

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? – We do not use independent contractors at all, we do sub out our carpet cleaning to another professionally run company who is legitimate in all their operations, we do this because of the education and knowledge that they bring to the table.

27) Can you provide references of several existing customers who can verify your professionalism? – Gladly!

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.) Can you document this experience with licensing or DBA’s? – We were established in April of 1986 as professional cleaners and we can document that with ease.

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  – We use our actual time in business not a combination of years by the persons working the business, if we did that we would easily have over 45 + yrs of experience with just 2 of our employees

  • 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 requirement in most 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 decide 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.   ** Be prepared to have to pay  an additional 12.4% for Social security taxes, 2.9% for Medicare taxes and a minimum of 5.4% for FUTA taxes