When you decide to hire a maid service to clean your home, you might be surprised at all of the different business options out there when it comes to maid services. How do you know which is the best maid service business type to choose? What exactly are these different types and why are they different? Does it really matter which type of business you choose? The answer to the last question is yes because you could end up losing money if you make the wrong decision, unfortunately. In today’s world, you have to be smart about hiring a professional maid service (or any service that enters your home), and we at Green Girl Maid Service would like to educate you on this topic by explaining the three different types of maid services out there.
- The first type of maid service business is the mom-and-pop operation. These businesses are becoming more and more numerous and popular as they are an easy business to get started, and many couples can do a maid service and work together. According to an article “10 Things Housekeepers Won’t Tell You” by Jonnelle Marte, posted in The Wall Street Journal Sunday edition on October 6, 2013, the majority of the mom and pop services work on a “cash-only” basis; they will work under the table and charge substantially less than an agency or company for several alarming reasons. They have no overhead – no background checks, hire inexperienced workers, don’t have medical insurance for their employees (which can really come back to haunt you if one of their workers gets hurt cleaning your home), nor will all of these operations bring their own cleaning supplies; they may expect you to provide all of the cleaning materials, equipment, and supplies, ultimately costing you more money. However, the most shocking reason has to do with taxes. Small-time mom and pop cleaning services make you foot the payroll tax bill when you pay in cash under the table with no record, so if you hire a housecleaner for $80 a week for four hours of work, you will owe the IRS $320 in payroll taxes because you are directly paying your housecleaner’s living wage in cash.
Another red flag when it comes to a mom-and-pop maid service operation is the fact that very few of these businesses get bonded and insured because they don’t want to spend the money on bond payments or insurance. The lack of insurance should stop you from hiring from this type of business immediately because according to one of the best insurance resources on the Internet, Insurance.com, insurance is necessary for liability reasons in case a housekeeper gets injured on the job in your home. Your homeowners insurance will step in and cover injuries suffered by the housekeeper and even protect you if you are sued; however, your liability may not cover a severe injury, and you will still have to pay your deductible. To be protected by a bond, the maid service makes payment to a surety company. Not only does a bond protect from theft or damage, but it also compensates you if a job is not completed on time or correctly. You just have to fill out a claim to receive compensation for the unfinished or poorly done work. Another relief with a bonded housecleaning service is all employees must have a background check, so you can breathe easy knowing your housekeeper in your home has a clean record if you go with a bonded housecleaning company.
However, do know that just because a company is bonded, it doesn’t necessarily mean the process of getting your money or stolen items back. The process is long, and there are several stages that have to happen before you can get your money back; it can take months, even a year, and even worse, you may never get your money or stolen property back. The employee must be arrested, tried, found guilty, and convicted before the bonding company will pay back the missing money and/or property because without this, it’s just the word of the homeowner against the housekeeper. From Jonnelle Marte’s article, the executive director of a trade group, the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International, Ernie Hertzog says, “Bonding situations don’t pay off unless there is a conviction.”
- The second type of maid service business is a housecleaning agency. If you want an experienced and skilled housekeeper but don’t know where to find one on your own, a housecleaning agency can be a place to go to find a great maid for your home. Agencies will usually have a list of services from which you can choose; these services are based on your needs, budget, and preferences, so this can be the best advantage of going with an agency. The agency representative will help you choose your housecleaner, set up a schedule of customized services for you, and, depending on the type of agency, take care of other things for you. The representative, in most every case, will act like a broker between you (the client) and the cleaner and take a percentage of the total cost of services.
One of the main problems of going with an agency, according to an article from NOLO: Law For All, “Hiring Workers in Your Home: Legal Requirements,” some agencies will find you a qualified worker, but you will be the employer, and the housekeeper will be an independent contractor. This means you are responsible for paying the worker, handling all the taxes, and paying for bonding, medical, and worker compensation insurance. This can be complicated, and can cost you a lot more money than you expected.
- The last type of maid service business is a housekeeping company, just like us at Green Girl Maid Service. When you hire a company, the company sends you qualified workers, pays these workers, takes care of all tax issues and medical insurance and worker’s compensation. Housekeeping companies are also bonded, which means all employees must go through a background check, and you are covered in the case of damage or theft. Running a business legitimately can be difficult to make money; however, the consequences can shut down a business. Prices are higher when you go with a maid service company over a mom-and-pop business, but the reason is companies have a much higher overhead because they are following the rules. The protection you will receive from a company far outweighs any extra costs! Companies will always provide their own cleaning supplies and equipment as well, so you won’t have to worry about that extra cost either. Most of these companies are locally-owned and have earned a good reputation, so you are guaranteed attentive, superior service as they do not want to risk their reputation. You will get professionalism, expertise, experience, and industrial-grade cleaning equipment used by intensively-trained house cleaners who will come up with a customized cleaning plan unique to your home and your needs. The best way to go when choosing a maid service, a company holds no surprises — just guaranteed professional service, and all you have to do is pay the company. The company does the rest of the work for you.
Now that you are aware of the different types of maid service businesses out there, you can see that despite the higher initial cost, a company is actually your best deal when you take into account all of the overhead, tax, and insurance issues.