by NE Pro-Maids

There are many things to consider when hiring someone to clean your home. Price is usually the top consideration but there are other more important factors besides price.   

A legit service will have expenses such as office overhead, insurance and taxes to pay which is why the cost of hiring a legit service will be higher than hiring a cleaning lady off Craigslist.  Hiring a cleaning lady off Craigslist, or hiring a service who misclassifies its staff, may be cheaper in the short term but can have consequences down the road.  Be an informed consumer and do your homework.   We've compiled a list of questions you should ask before making your final hiring decision.  Remember...if the price seems so low it's too good to be true...there is a reason why.

We are not trying to scare you into hiring us.  That is not our intent.  We provide this information so that you can make a educated hiring decision regardless of who you decide to hire in the end. 

Thinking of hiring a cleaning lady off Thumbtack or Craigslist?  Make sure your homeowners policy covers you if they were to get hurt in your home and be sure to check out the laws concerning payroll taxes on your new employee.  

Does the cleaning service carry Workers Comp. insurance?

Are you sure? Have you checked with the RI Dept. of Labor to see if the company or individual carries workers comp. insurance on the workers they have working for them and if the policy is current?  You can check for yourself by using the RI Dept. of Labor Workers Comp. Fraud Database available online by clicking here and then clicking the box that says "Employer's Worker's Compensation Insurance Coverage Verification"

Rhode Island law states that any employer with 1 or more employees must have a valid Workers Comp. insurance policy in place.

Still not convinced insurance is important?  We often hear potential clients tell us that their homes are safe and there is nothing a cleaner can injure themselves on in their home so our advice doesn't apply to them. Consider the cases below. These are actual cases where a house cleaner was injured in someone's home. 

 - Maid slips and falls in client's driveway while walking into the home to clean.  Awarded $25,000

 - Maid slips and falls walking up client's steps to get into house to clean.  Awarded $32,000

 - Maid slips and falls while cleaning inside of tub enclosure. Awarded $1,500

 - Maid accidentally drops a bucket of water on wood stairs inside home, doesn't clean it up well and then subsequently slips on the water and falls.  Awarded $4,000

In all four cases the injury could have been prevented by the maid had she taken proper care.  In all four cases the maid won their lawsuit anyway.  As you can see, your home can be perfectly safe and accidents can still happen. 

Does the company do background checks on new hires?

You should only hire a company who provides background checked employees to provide services within your home. Don't be afraid to ask the company for proof.

Is the company legit? Or are they a "trunkslammer"?

If the answer is "no, they are not legit", it is not recommended that you hire this company or individual. You may be putting yourself at risk! If the answer is "yes", can they prove it by having the insurance company provide you with an insurance certificate?

A "trunkslammer" is any fly-by-night cleaning company or individual who cleans homes without carrying the proper insurances and who often gets paid "under the table" or fails to report their income to the IRS. Hiring a "trunkslammer" may be cheaper than hiring a legit service, but if you have problems with the quality of the cleaning, or if something in your home is damaged, you will often have no recourse.

Does the cleaning service misclassify its staff?

Beware of cleaning services who present their staff as their employees but actually have them classified as independent contractors.  Does the company use company cars? Provide company supplied cleaning chemicals and equipment?  Does the company direct the work of the cleaner? If so chances are their staff are actually employees but they have misclassified them as independent contractors to avoid paying payroll taxes and workers comp. insurance premiums. Always ASK if a company's workers are employees of the company and then ask for proof of their workers comp. policy.  Companies who do this are able to undercut the prices of legit services because they are not playing by the rules.