Why Hire a Cleaning Company, Anyway?
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. We’re not going to trash talk people trying to earn an honest living by cleaning houses on their own. If anything, those hard-working individuals are just as much part of our target audience as anyone else, and we hope they find value in this article. What we will say, though, is that there are probably things you might not always consider when deciding to go either with a $15/hr individual versus a $90/hr cleaning company. We’re sure you can safely assume that an independent cleaner works just as hard as a company employee. We all do our best, we learn, we improve, we adapt; In that regard, it makes no difference if a cleaning professional is independent or works for a cleaning service. So why on earth would you spend 500% more to hire a company?
There’s reason number one! We’ll call that a bonus (the real list will come shortly). Using only the sticker price is like comparing apples and oranges. Hiring a company seems far more expensive, but that price is (usually) for 2 cleaners who each have different strengths. One might excel at kitchens and bathrooms while another does a superb job on walls, baseboards, and floors. When a team works well together, they can easily outpace a single cleaner by more than a factor of 2. We’re already approaching level ground.
With that in mind, let’s now take a look at the top 5 reasons to hire a cleaning company.
Insurance and Bonding
Tools of the Trade
As professional cleaners, we work exclusively on other people’s property. This opens up several areas of risk which need to be covered under a commercial insurance policy. Such a policy has protection for general liability, building / structural damage, lost keys, and personal injury. No one intends to break an expensive vase or to cause a client to slip on a freshly mopped floor, but if something like that ever happens it’s imperative that proper insurance is in place to cover damages and costs. Police background checks minimize the risk of employee theft, but there is a small chance it could still happen. Proof of a fidelity bond (also known as employee dishonesty bond) should be available upon request.
Did you know Janitorial / Cleaning Services is a WCB compulsory industry? This means that employers are required by law to have worker’s compensation coverage for their workers. A homeowner must register and pay WCB Alberta premiums for any proprietor who works in their home and who does not maintain their own WCB Alberta account. For clarification; A worker is anyone who works full-time, part-time, temporary/casual (including temporary foreign workers), even volunteers and unpaid workers (including family members). A cleaning business should be able to provide proof of their WCB account in good standing. Clearance letters are available on-demand from WCB Alberta for any such account holder.
Independent contractors and sole proprietors are accountable only to the client. A point worth mentioning here is that if a business uses independent contractors to clean houses, the contractor’s ‘client’ is that business, not the homeowner. Employees of a cleaning business are accountable to supervisors / managers and the owners of the business as well as the homeowner. Businesses develop policies and practices to ensure safety protocols are followed, adequate training is provided, and the client receives the highest quality service. These policies must be followed in order to maintain an employer-employee relationship. Having this relationship means customer satisfaction is ultimately the responsibility of the business. Employees are not expected to personally settle disputes or lose income due to the company’s fulfillment of service guarantees.
A cleaning service company like Specially Maid will supply all the tools and supplies needed to complete a job safely and effectively. This is an important point to consider, along with other factors that determine whether a worker is an employee or a contractor. In the eyes of the government, there is a stark difference between a ‘contract for service’ and a ‘contract of service’. If a homeowner provides tools or supplies -or- dictates how a job is to be done -or- sets the hours of work, then the worker may be considered an employee of the homeowner and must be given all the rights and privileges of an employee (stat holiday pay, overtime pay, vacation pay, severance pay). In addition, the homeowner may be responsible for withholding tax, deducting EI premiums, CPP contributions, etc). For more information on this and what it means to you, please see the Employee or Contractor? Know the Difference publication provided by the Alberta Governement.
A cleaning business wouldn’t be a business without a certain level of visibility and stability. Business owners work hard to develop their brand. They constantly evaluate client needs and tailor their services to meet those needs. They also strive to be easily accessible; Information about who they are, their defined service areas, how new clients can request services, payment options, and service policies are all out in the open. Businesses do most, if not all, the legwork for you. They research and find the best cleaning tools and supplies, and source their products responsibly. Great effort goes into attracting, vetting, training, and retaining the type of employee clients want to welcome into their homes. It’s nice to know that somebody cares enough about you and your home to go through all that trouble.
At the end of the day, people want a clean home. They want someone to come when they are expected, do the job as promised, be accountable for their actions, and invoice what was quoted. And whether they realize it or not, they do not want to be thrust into the role of an employer and all that it entails. Commercial insurance and worker’s compensation premiums (which are low compared to the potentially devastating costs of not having insurance), paying employee benefits in full or in part, health and safety regulations, employment standards, and supplying products and equipment. When you break it all down pound for pound, a well managed and organized company offers an attractive and affordable solution for getting your home professionally cleaned.
We hope you found this list informative. It’s a small list and there are many more reasons to hire a company over an individual, to be sure. At the beginning of this article, we made a point of not bashing sole proprietors and independent contractors. Some individuals do go above and beyond. To those people, you have our respect. We understand that being compliant and offering services as an individual in a responsible way isn’t easy, and certainly comes with added costs. Consider joining a team that shares your commitment to high standards. Be a part of an organization that provides steady work, a living wage, and employee benefits. Let someone else take care of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s for you so you can focus on what matters most to you – earning an honest living by providing quality workmanship.