Should I hire a Professional Cleaning Service or an Individual Home Cleaner for my Home?

When hiring a new house cleaner, there are several important factors that you need to consider.  The most important begins with whether you should hire an individual or go through a professional cleaning service.  These two paths differ in regards to price, experience, insurance, as well as legality.

Price: When pricing cleaning services against individuals, there is a clear winner.  Individuals are, for the most part, much cheaper than going through a cleaning service.  One can expect to save anywhere from a few dollars to up to half off of the price of a professional service. Before you start checking the want-ads, you should know that this cheaper price can quite literally come at a cost.

Training: Professional cleaning services hire individuals and, through a company-wide training process, they become professional cleaners.  Using a company means that you can be confident that the person that you have invited into your home has been trained, not only to clean thoroughly and efficiently, but also to handle your valuables in a professional manner.  If someone is not properly trained on what products or chemicals can and cannot be used on different surfaces in your home, expensive and/or irreparable damage can be done.

Insurance and Bonding: If something is broken or damaged in your home when being cleaned by an individual, it is much less likely that this person has any bonding or insurance to cover this.  Hiring a service that is bonded and insured also comes with the added security that the company more than likely does pre-employment background checks on all of their employees to keep from being susceptible to unnecessary claims. If you do choose to hire an individual cleaner, you need to make sure you check that your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure that you have high enough liability coverage to your belongings and any damage that may be accidentally incurred.

Legality: Perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing whether to hire an individual or a professional cleaning service is the legality. You should be aware that if you pay more than $1700 per year to an independent cleaner, you technically become their employer.  If this is the case:

    • You  must contact the IRS to apply for an Employer ID Number.
    • You are legally required to pay Social Security, Medicare, and Federal Unemployment Tax on your employee’s earnings.
    • You must verify that the person that you are hiring is legally allowed to work in the United States.  You do this by having them fill out an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form.  (This form can be acquired through the IRS website.)

Once these forms are completed, you can legally hire an individual cleaner.

So, when the important decision arises, you should have the tools to arm you so that you can make an informed decision.