I saw this story on a friends Facebook news feed and cringed. I always cringe when I see stories about home cleaners gone bad. It reflects poorly on the industry that I have chosen and, yes, I take it personally. My issue I guess.
Whenever our kids would do something unwise growing up after we wiped the tears away and the kids were over whatever hurt them, we would ask them, “Did you learn anything?”. I would like to ask this homeowner the same thing. Not to be mean or insensitive. I am sure that when he hired the woman he had no idea she would use the key he gave her to get into his home and steal checks. Still there are things that you can do to protect yourself.
Of course the most obvious answer is to hire a reputable cleaning service. Large National chains such as Merry Maids and The Cleaning Authority have a reputation and systems in place to weed out those with criminal backgrounds that may pose a threat to your security. The downside to hiring a franchise business like the ones I named above is that you may have to sacrifice price and a personal touch to get that security. These companies tend to be slightly more expensive and you may or may not get the same cleaners in your home each time, something that contributes to trust.
Likewise, smaller local, even family owned cleaning services who are professional and insured will also have those systems in place and you may be able to get a better price. They may be more flexible with regards to putting the same cleaners in your home each time and accommodating your needs with regards to scheduling. The key is in making sure they are professional.
We recently signed up a client that we had given a bid to nearly a year ago. Initially this client went with a Mother and Daughter team because they were less expensive. She called us back and signed up after they cancelled her cleanings three time in a row due to personal issues.
Finally, if you just want the lowest possible price and think that a single cleaner can give you a little more personal service, insist on doing a background check on them. Any cleaning person worth their salt, even if they don’t have insurance, would be willing to submit to this. You have every right in the world to know who is in your home and whether they have a criminal history.
The events described in the story at the beginning of this blog had a happy outcome because the woman was caught. Hopefully some type of insurance (we’re pretty sure it’s not hers) will kick in to cover this gentleman. But the fact is that a little checking on this person could have saved this man a lot of trouble in the long run.