Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cleaning Services Analyzed

A newspaper in Minnesota recently published an article on area housecleaning companies. The article's intent was to inform its readers on what to expect from local cleaning companies if they needed to hire a cleaning service for the upcoming holidays. Click here for the full article.

The paper concludes that its better to hire an individual rather than a large company. The paper concludes this by hiring three local outfits. Here's a few snippets from their experiences with the three companies....

The First Company-The first company selected was Mary's Maids, which quoted her $26 an hour and estimated four hours based on her description of the home. She was told to provide cleaning supplies. A team of two arrived at 10:45 a.m. and started cleaning upstairs. She left the house and returned at 12:15 p.m. to find them both still working upstairs. They said they had to leave by 1 p.m. and wouldn't be able to get to her first floor, which they guessed would require another five hours to clean. To top it off, the upstairs didn't appear to have been cleaned. 'I could see the dust on the shutters over the bathtub,' Ratzloff says. Same with the top of a dresser and the hallway chandelier. The team said they spent 90 minutes on her shower, and Ratzloff couldn't tell.

The Second Company-Randle went to the company's Web site to request a service quote and then spent two days playing phone tag with an agent. The first available opening was nine days out. Randle explained she had $100 to work with and the living room, dining room and kitchen were her priorities. That's about all she could get, since the company charges $70 an hour (average time to clean a whole house: three hours). Randle requested a call 20 to 30 minutes before the team arrived, but they showed up unannounced. The two cleaners vacuumed and cleaned glass tables, a dining table, TV and computer very well, she says. The kitchen countertops and outside of the refrigerator were also sparkling. But an entire side of her entertainment center and baseboards were left dusty. In the kitchen, they missed mopping around the stand-alone stove. When the company followed up the next day, Randle expressed her concerns. 'I was told I couldn't expect much with the money limitation I gave them'.

The Third Company-Patterson called to schedule an appointment and was quoted a price of $99 (the company bases charges on size of home and type of flooring rather than by the hour). Patterson was told the service would include high dusting, wiping down kitchen cabinets and appliances, hand-washing floors, wiping windowsills and vacuuming under everything. One cleaning person arrived on time and cleaned the house in about 2½ hours. Patterson's first impression: The house looked and smelled great. The inside of the microwave sparkled. But upon further inspection, she discovered the kitchen cabinets and hood above the stove had not been wiped.

Several conclusions can be gathered from this informal study. But the article's conclusion that smaller companies are better than larger companies is not one of them. Here's my view of the "study".

1. To make a conclusion that smaller companies are better, shouldn't you have to at least hire one small company?

2. Your budget determines the quality of your cleaning. Two Maids & A Mop would not have even cleaned these three homes. Our one time cleaning jobs are straightforward. You either get a deep cleaning (hourly rate with no constraints) or you get a one time cleaning (two hour maximum for two maids). Our one time cleaning doesn't promise the world. It only promises time. You get what you pay for.

3. Customer service stinks in the housecleaning industry. Poor communication will almost always create a bad customer experience. All three of these companies performed awful in that respect.

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