Questions about Costs - Comparisons - Contracts - Coupons
Why should I hire a cleaning service?
People hire cleaning professionals for many different reasons. The number one reason is to save valuable time. You can save countless hours on dreaded housework (including the time you spend thinking about not wanting to do it). So, how do you value your time? Here is a great article on this topic from Money Magazine. For most of us, our time is worth much more than we may think, especially when psychological aspects are considered. It seems that life just keeps moving a faster pace. It is easy for valuable personal or family time to get shortened. Hiring a good home cleaning service can give you back some free time. In most homes, cleaning services are rapidly becoming a needed service rather than a luxury. While it is not difficult to find a cleaning service, it is not easy to find a service that consistently provides the level of service you deserve.
Isn't it expensive and only for the "wealthy"?
It's probably less expensive than you think! On average, house cleaning chores require 35 hours per week (according to a 1999 Whirlpool Foundation study). So, to answer this question, you need to develop an estimate of what your time is actually worth, and how much your cleaning time would be reduced with a cleaning service. It is not likely to drop to zero unless you hire a live-in maid. The previous question/answer provides information on how to determine the value of your free-time.
Using some round numbers for folks in southeast Texas, the value of free-time for a single-income family earning $40,000 per year is around $30 per hour. For a $50,000 income family, it's $55 per hour and it is $67 per hour for a single income family earning $60,000 per year. These values were obtained using the MSN Time Value Calculator. Now, not only is our average hourly cost significantly less than these figures, we also know we can clean a house better than most homeowners and in about 50% to 75% less time. Why? We are professionally trained and equipped to do so. This means that you would likely save 1.2 to 1.5 hours of housework for every hour you paid a professional cleaning service.
What makes you any different from all the other services out there?
Let us count the ways!
Our Mission and Vision - It starts with our mission and vision. We are here to be profitable enough to give back to those in the community who need our services at low or no cost. We aspire to be known as an enabler of stronger families as we give our Customers more time to spend on the really important things in life.
Selection of Employees/Associates - Then there is our extremely careful selection of employees - we call them Associates. We hire people who love to clean! Click here to get an overview of our screening process.
Training - Our state-of-the art training - we take about three weeks to train a new Associate - and we don't train on your time! We provide classroom lecture, book reading and video coupled with multiple testing along the way. This is followed by field training in a controlled environment - not your home!
The Best People on Our Team - The end result of the previous two items is the absolute best housecleaning professionals - period!
Our Compensation Process - Since we've hired the best, we also treat them in like-fashion. We use hourly compensation and not a "pay-by-the-house" plan. We believe paying our Associates by the hour coupled with a profit sharing plan second to none. Our compensation plan, corporate culture and management experience sustains our Associates' motivation to do what's right - right for the Customer and our business.
Quality Management - Our quality management program is second to none. Having more than a decade of experience on our team with corporate quality activities - we know quality and how to make it real. We have modeled our program using the criteria of the Baldrige National Quality Award (click here for more information).
Our Cleaning Products and Equipment - Our products and equipment match the caliber of people we hire - they are the best money can buy. Our main vacuums are German-built and include multi-stage filtration. Our cleaning products are extremely effective and environmentally safe.
Our Highly Engineered Cleaning Process - We have spent significant time developing the most efficient and effective methods to clean a home. With our industrial engineering background, we know a little something about motion and time. We applied this knowledge and experience to our cleaning methods. The result is a highly effective process that actually eliminates many sources of errors (such as forgetting to do something).
Our Commitment to Our Customers - is second to none! Sure, we have a guarantee similar to others. We simply stand behind ours - 100% of the time. We also offer significant flexibility. Need something special, something extra, and something different? No problem! We can handle most anything. All we ask is a couple of days notice so that we can effectively schedule the work.
Professional Credentials – See our Partners Page for all our credentials.
What's the difference between a real "cleaning service" and a "maid" or “Trunk Slammer”?
While many call themselves maid services and many more call themselves cleaning services, most are the same. There are several categories of differences - training, services provided, insurance/bonding, and legality. See some articles here for more information on individuals.
Training - Most services train their employees. Most maids or individuals have had no formal training for cleaning. This increases the chance that maids can damage items by using the wrong cleaning product or process. So, the Customer must provide the instruction. Our Associates go through more formal training than any service we know of in Beaumont.
Services - Most cleaning services perform basic home cleaning with a wide range in services. If your expectations include things like laundry, ironing, shopping, organizing, looking after the children or things beside basic house cleaning you will want to discuss this with the service you are interviewing. We provide these types of custom services through both our residential cleaning, concierge and home management services.
Insurance and Bonding - Be sure to inquire about items such as insurance and workers compensation. Most individuals do not carry this type of coverage. A simple service bond does not actually provide the Customer with very strong coverage, as service bonds usually require that someone is convicted of the crime before the bond will pay.
While most homeowner's insurance policies cover medical costs, should someone be injured in your home, they rarely provide coverage for lost wages or income. This is where the service provider's workers compensation coverage comes into play.
Of course, we are bonded, carry full liability coverage along with the non-mandatory workers' compensation (and we can tell you first hand that it is all expensive!).
Legality - Many individual maids work on a "cash" basis and most do not report their income. Hence, they are not paying income tax or social security. Rest assured however, that they will file for social security when they are eligible! Many are also illegal aliens who do not have the proper documentation to work in the U.S. but also obtain social services from our community. Sure these individual maids charge less for the service provided, but we feel strongly that people who employee these maids are supporting an underground economy that ultimately hurts all of us. Of course, we do not discriminate in our hiring process. We do, however, insist that all individuals have the legal right to work in our country. All of our Associates have I-9 documentation and we pay all legal taxes (federal and state taxes and social security).
Am I required to commit to a long-term contract?
No, absolutely not. We are confident enough in the quality and value of our service that it speaks for itself rather than using a contract to rope you into something! We do have an agreement we use that spells out all the details of our service. Here is a copy of our agreement.
Do you have or use coupons?
We do not include coupons in our mailers. The reason is simple - we don't want to insult you. Offering you an enticement of $25 or even $75 in coupons for a relationship that could be worth several thousand dollars just does not seem right. When was the last time you saw a 2% OFF coupon in any store? We think it's silly and would rather concentrate on offering you a reasonable price for service that delights you. Now, having said that, we do participate in the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce's "Bucks" gift certificates and offer gift certificates ourselves. However, we don't think gift certificates are the same as a paltry 2% off coupon.
Why can't you give me an estimate over the phone or via email?
Gosh, we sure wish we could - it would save us both time! We don't do it for one simple reason - we need to see your home to give you an exact price to clean it. Some call their homes "small", when in fact they are huge! The size of your home is not the only factor. There are multiple aspects we consider when developing your customer estimate - amount of woodwork, increase in cleaning from pets and children, amount of decorative items, type of appliances, etc. Now, having said that, we can assure you the last person we want in our own home is a pushy salesperson! We pledge to you that this will never occur. The estimating process takes about 10 to 15 minutes. We simply ask you to give us a quick tour of your home so that we can see what we need to clean. As we are walking through your home, we will ask you some questions about any issues/concerns/specialty items you may require. At the conclusion of the tour, we sit down with you, develop a written quotation and review our cleaning process. We ask if you have any questions, and whoosh - we're out of your hair! We can assure you that compared to the time you invest with us to develop an accurate estimate will be repaid hundreds of times over with the time you save each month!
Do you pay taxes? Workers' Compensation?
Yes! We pay federal income tax on our earnings, social security for our Associates, Federal Unemployment Tax, and State Unemployment Tax. There are absolutely no tax liabilities for you, other than the sales tax that is included on your invoice. While most people don't know it, our workers compensation insurance (which is very expensive) provides tremendous protection to you that even some homeowner insurance policies don't cover.