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Can anyone recommend a house cleaner at a reasonable price?

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by cuiw197, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. cuiw197

    cuiw197 New Member

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    Trying to find a house cleaner to come by once a month and clean through the house... does anyone have any recommendations?

    Thanks
    Will
     
  2. Sunny

    Sunny Chief Advisor

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    Bethy! 703-200-5006
     
  3. yajing

    yajing New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I am looking for one too.
     
  4. Kal

    Kal New Member

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    Miriam Diaz - 703-304-6240

    Kal
     
  5. esubscribe

    esubscribe Gadget Freak!

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    Ditto ... can't say enough great things about Bethy...!
     
  6. Pa2Va

    Pa2Va New Member

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    Maid in Virginia, 703-338-4606....Martha Looney who owns Maid in Virginia is wonderful. She speaks English and is very reasonable!! I've used many other cleaning services and will not use anyone else again.
     
  7. OSimpson

    OSimpson Certified Master Naturalist

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    Very nice people and got to know the company owners from working with them at Earth Day. Strongly recommend them.
    http://lightyearcleaning.com/
     
  8. jw25413

    jw25413 New Member

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    I use OLGA 703-861-8398
    I have a large TH she charges me 130.00 not only does she clean everything she cleans out the Frig taking everything out and cleans the shelves, she cleans the wood floors and they shine like no tomorrow, baseboards, cleans the windows ( indside bottom) and all doors that lead to outside that have glass I can't say enough abouth this woman and her team, give her a try
     
  9. redon1

    redon1 aka Aphioni

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    Hi Oya, can you tell me who you spoke with? I want to mention you as my referrer when i speak with them! thanks!
     
  10. Brassy

    Brassy Hiyah

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    We use Bethy, she charges for our whole house $140 Thats about 4200sq ft! That even includes scrubbing out our microwave!
     
  11. OSimpson

    OSimpson Certified Master Naturalist

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    Redon1 ask for Derek Archer when you call them. He is the owner.
     
  12. hero

    hero New Member

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    Took this forum's strong advice to use Bethy (found in many other threads too) and I have never regretted it. Great job, great value.
     
  13. Sunny

    Sunny Chief Advisor

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    Bethy's number is 703-200-5006 - I posted it wrong in this thread. She is so wonderful!!
    Admin, could you please edit the previous number for me in this thread? Thanks!!!
     
  14. guru

    guru New Member

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    I need someone that can come on Saturdays. I tried Bethy but she is only available on weekdays. Anyone have any suggestions?
     
  15. jerseyhokie

    jerseyhokie Member

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    Ocean Breezes, check out web site for contact information. the owner is wonderful and extremely professional, her name is theresa.
     
  16. wolf685cln

    wolf685cln New Member

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    +1 - we have used them for years. Awesome and reliable service.
     
  17. lauralynne

    lauralynne Member

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    Hi, I'm going to try to attach a Consumer's Checkbook article on hiring household cleaning services. The article provides price quotes for housecleaning services around the region and also discusses the homeowner's often-overlooked responsibilities regarding verification of an individual cleaner's work eligibility and payment of SSN/Medicare/Federal unemployment tax. It also discusses the benefits of general liability and worker's comp insurance.
     
  18. lauralynne

    lauralynne Member

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    Excerpt
    Introduction
    It seems like only yesterday that you vacuumed, wiped, scrubbed, and dusted to exhaustion. But now the house is a mess again, and it looks like you’ll spend a big chunk of your precious weekend doing it again.
    Or you can do what you would if your plumbing failed or your washing machine broke down: hire a professional.
    If you are considering housecleaning help, you have two choices: hire a company, or hire an individual. Hiring a company has one major advantage over hiring an individual—you do not have the responsibilities, such as paying various taxes, associated with being an employer. On the other hand, for this personal job, you may want an individual you can get to know and who will share with you a little pride and concern about the condition of your home. And it might be that a straight company cleanup job is not enough; you want someone who knows how to run a home.
    When workers arrive for a job based on a telephone estimate, confirm the description of the work and the price before they begin. (Given the discrepancies we sometimes found in telephone quotes from the same firm, you might even do well to call back for a confirmation before the workers arrive.)
    In-home estimates require you to put aside time for the estimator to come, but the time may be well spent. As you can see on Table 1, prices firms charge for the same job vary dramatically. Since we have found that a $30 per visit ($1,560 per year) firm-to-firm difference on weekly housecleaning services is common, it is probably worthwhile to get three or more in-home estimates for such regular service. Many firms will accommodate your schedule by coming in the evening.
    Table 1
    Low, Average, and High Prices Quoted by Firms for Illustrative Housecleaning Jobs
    Description of job
    Low price
    Average price
    High price
    Once-per-week cleaning Two-story house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms
    $70
    $97
    $140
    Every-other-week cleaning Two-story house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms
    $80
    $111
    $165
    Every-other-week cleaning Three-story house with four bedrooms and three-and-one-half bathrooms
    $90
    $132
    $180
    Once-per-week cleaning Condo with two bedrooms and two bathrooms
    $65
    $88
    $130

    When calling to arrange in-home estimates, stress that you want only an estimate. Otherwise you may be visited by a crew ready to begin work. When the estimator comes, describe what you want done much as you would over the phone. Some things may seem too obvious to mention, but you are better off being overly detailed than saying too little.
    Some firms use a printed checkoff list of tasks for estimates; others use a type of receipt blank. Whichever, be certain a description of the work you want done is spelled out and signed by the estimator. A piece of paper with a dollar amount scribbled alongside a vague work description leaves too much room for misunderstanding.
    Check Insurance Coverage
    Ask each firm about its insurance coverage. A housecleaning company should have general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Although some firms advertise bonding, this does not directly protect the homeowner. The type of bond available to housecleaning companies for their employees is a fidelity bond. It protects the company from theft by its employees, but you still have to collect from the company or the employee if you are victimized.
    Whatever insurance a company has, your best bet is to be careful. Before a firm comes to clean, take the time to put away cameras, jewelry, and other valuables in a safe place. Put out of harm’s way any heirlooms, china, or other fragile articles that are apt to be knocked over, spilled on, or otherwise damaged.
    Plan to Be Home for the First Few Visits
    During the first several visits, you’ll want to be home to oversee the work. Do not be afraid to supervise, but be sensible. Following a worker’s every move takes as much of your time as you would spend doing the work yourself. On a one-time cleaning job or when you have a new worker from a company that does regular cleanings for you, wait until a section or room is done, examine it, and bring up any problems you find before the worker goes on. Make a final inspection to be sure the work you asked for has been done.
    Hiring an Individual
    Hiring an individual to help with housecleaning differs substantially from hiring most other service providers. Your relationship with a household worker is inherently more personal and less structured than with, say, a plumber.
    The person who cleans your house will have charge of your home and belongings. Your household worker may come every two weeks, every week, or even more often. He or she will be an employee, not a contractor. You must negotiate pay and benefits. The tasks your employee performs will probably vary from visit to visit.
    You will want to be able to work comfortably with your employee on a regular basis. He or she must understand and meet your particular expectations as to what jobs are to be done and how well they are to be done.
    The personal nature of your relationship can at times be a problem. You may feel ill at ease giving orders or bringing up complaints about how a job is done. Your employee may feel awkward asking about a raise, asking for extra pay for special jobs you request, or requesting time off.
    To help you screen a household employee and define a satisfactory relationship, the remainder of this article contains several kinds of information: results of a survey of our subscribers who use housecleaning help; guidelines for household employment; and a summary of employer legal responsibilities.
    Our Survey of Employers
    We surveyed 227 of our subscribers who said they employ an individual. The frequency of visits ranged from daily to less often than once per month. Most have help either weekly or bi-weekly. Answers to some of the questions we asked these subscribers are reported below—
    · How did you find the person? Eighty-two percent of the household employers said they were steered to their employees by friends, relatives, neighbors, or coworkers. The next most frequent source was from advertisements.
    · How did you check out the person’s competence and honesty at the time of hiring? Of respondents who found their employees through sources other than referrals from friends, relatives, neighbors, or coworkers, only about 30 percent said they checked their employees’ references at the time of hiring.
    · How much do you pay the person? We asked about pay per visit, the number of rooms in the respondent’s home, and the number of hours spent in the home on a typical visit. We found big variation in pay rates. For example, some of the surveyed homeowners pay a rate that calculates out to less than $10 per hour while others pay more than $40 per hour.
    · What other types of payments or benefits do you provide? Table 2 shows percentages of respondents who provided several types of payments other than a straight salary.
    · How do you rate your employee? We asked the respondents to rate their employees on doing work properly, neatness of work, promptness/coming on time, and overall performance. Table 2 reports the combined results for all household workers in the 227 surveyed households. Compared to the average scores from consumers who rated housecleaning companies, the ratings of individuals were, on average, substantially higher.
    · What problems have you had with any household worker in the past? Sixty-six percent of our subscribers who employed an individual housecleaner mentioned problems. The most often-cited problem involved broken household items. Many employers had language-barrier problems with workers and with declining quality of work over time. Some mentioned theft, tardiness, not showing up, and not being thorough.
    · We asked employers whether they had explicit agreements covering transportation expenses, vacation pay, holiday pay, and other terms. About 25 percent said they had no agreement, and only a handful of respondents reported having a written agreement.
    Table 2
    Results from Our Survey of Subscribers Employing Individuals for Housecleaning Help
    Average Pay
    Per hour
    $30.11
    Per visit
    $96.96
    Per room (counting bathrooms)
    $10.05
    Percent of Employers Who Make Payments in Addition to Salary or Provide Other Benefits
    Transportation
    3%
    Meals
    6%
    Used clothing
    10%
    Employer’s share of Social Security
    13%
    Employee’s share of Social Security
    8%
    Unemployment tax
    8%
    Withhold income tax
    3%
    Paid vacation
    8%
    Paid holidays
    10%
    Paid sick leave
    3%
    Health insurance
    0%
    Average Ratings of Individuals vs. Companies
    Percent of surveyed customers rating individual/firm “superior” for...
    Employers of individuals
    Customers of companies
    Doing work properly
    60%
    43%
    Promptness
    66%
    60%
    Neatness
    66%
    47%
    Overall performance
    63%
    47%

    Screening Workers
    When recruiting a new worker, always speak with past employers. Ask about any problems and describe what your job expectations are going to be. The former employer can fill you in on strengths and weaknesses.
    Before you interview a possible employee, have a job description written out. Indicate what jobs you want done and how often you want them done. Assess your own expectations honestly. If there are certain things you are very picky about, tell the candidate during the interview. If there are out-of-the-ordinary jobs you will occasionally need done, discuss those too.
    Get all terms of employment worked out and clearly spelled out. Pay, sick leave, vacations, holidays, hours, and all rules regarding meals or rest periods should be discussed and determined. Also, work out a probationary period with the individual you decide to hire. A probationary period gives you and the employee the opportunity to back out gracefully if there are problems.
    Use the probationary period to get acquainted. Be at home during the first visit or two and explain any peculiarities of your home. As work is completed, talk about any areas of dissatisfaction. Do not let complaints pile up and then bring them up after a month. Be straightforward and honest with criticism and directions.
     
  19. lauralynne

    lauralynne Member

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    Legal Requirements
    One of the disadvantages of employing an individual rather than a service for housecleaning help is that you’ll have added legal responsibilities associated with being an employer. Many families who employ household workers either are unaware of their legal obligations or choose to ignore them. Indeed, few of our surveyed subscribers who employ individuals for household work said they pay Social Security or unemployment taxes. The following is a summary of the legal requirements for employers of household workers.
    Verification of Citizenship or Work Eligibility
    When you hire an employee, you are required by law to complete with the employee an “Employment Eligibility Verification” (Form I-9) for the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form requires you to check the employee’s identification or other documents that prove either that he or she is a U.S. citizen or that he or she has the necessary documentation to work in the U.S. The verification form is not filed with USCIS, but you must keep the completed form on file for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment ends, whichever is later. You can download the form at www.uscis.gov.
    Federal Taxes
    Federal law requires that Social Security and Medicare taxes be paid for all adults (over 18 years of age) who are paid more than $1,600 per year for household work. In 2009, the rate is 6.2 percent for Social Security and 1.45 percent for Medicare.
    If you pay a household employee $1,000 or more during a calendar year, you must also pay federal unemployment taxes. The tax rate is 6.2 percent of the first $7,000 in wages, but the federal government gives a credit to offset state unemployment taxes (see below) of up to 5.4 percent, regardless of the actual state tax rate. This means that if you properly pay state unemployment taxes, the effective federal unemployment tax rate is 0.8 percent.
    Payments are made annually, and are made with your annual 1040 income tax return by completing a “Schedule H.” Failure to pay these taxes can result in penalties, as well as having to pay both the employer’s and the employee’s share of the taxes.
    You are not legally required to withhold federal income tax. You are required to file forms W-2 and W-3 with the Social Security Administration each year. The Social Security Administration records earnings and sends the information to the Internal Revenue Service.
    For more information, see the IRS’s “Publication 926: Household Employer’s Tax Guide.”
    State Taxes
    None of the local jurisdictions requires you to withhold income taxes for household workers. State income taxes are the employee’s responsibility.
    The District, Maryland, and Virginia do require that you pay unemployment insurance tax if you pay a household worker $1,000 or more in a calendar quarter. In the District and Maryland, the tax rate varies depending on the wages paid and unemployment claims against the employer during the previous year. For 2009, the unemployment tax rate for new employers in the District is 2.7 percent of the first $9,000 of wages paid; the rate for new employers in Maryland is 2.2 percent of the first $8,500 of wages paid. Virginia’s 2009 unemployment insurance tax rate is 2.5 percent of the first $8,000 of wages paid.
    For more information, contact the agency for your area:
    · District of Columbia Department of Employment Services
    202-724-7273 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202-724-7273 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    http://does.dc.gov
    · Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance
    800-492-5524 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 800-492-5524 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    www.dllr.state.md.us
    · Virginia Employment Commission
    703-813-1300 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 703-813-1300 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    www.vec.virginia.gov
    Workers’ Compensation Insurance
    Workers’ compensation insurance covers costs such as medical care and lost wages for workers who are injured or killed on the job. Legal requirements for employers of household workers vary depending on where you live—
    · The District requires employers of household workers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance only if they employ someone who works 240 hours or more during a calendar quarter.
    · Maryland requires all employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage for household workers who have been paid $750 or more during any three-month period.
    · Virginia does not require employers of household workers to purchase workers’ compensation coverage.
    Even if you’re not required by law to do so, you still may want to purchase coverage, since most homeowners insurance policies do not cover claims that would normally fall under a workers’ compensation policy. Without coverage, you could personally be liable for medical expenses, lost wages, and legal fees if someone is injured while working for you. You can buy a workers’ compensation policy from your homeowners insurance carrier or from an insurance agent.
    Guidelines for Dealing with Household Employees
    The National Committee on Household Employment (NCHE), before it closed its doors, developed a set of standards and a model contract for employers and their household employees. The standards and contract were formulated in hopes of making employer-employee relationships more businesslike.
    The contract and standards were intended to be of help to both the employer and the employee in developing a working relationship they both could live with.
    The guidelines below and the model contract are taken from NCHE’s Code of Standards for Household Employment, with certain modifications made to reflect current circumstances.
    Wages and Hours
    The hourly wage should be no lower than the minimum wage, but where the cost of living is higher than the average, wages should be raised accordingly. The District’s minimum wage is $7.55 per hour, and will increase to $8.25 per hour on July 24, 2009. The minimum wage in Maryland and Virginia is $6.55 per hour, and will increase to $7.25 per hour on July 24, 2009.
    Higher wages should be paid for jobs requiring previously acquired training or special skills.
    Wages and paydays should be discussed and agreed upon in advance.
    Gifts of clothing and/or food should not be considered part of payment.
    Any hours exceeding eight hours per day should be paid at 1 1/2 times the hourly rate. Any hours exceeding 40 hours per week should be paid at 1 1/2 times the hourly rate. Hours exceeding 48 hours per week should be paid at double the hourly rate.
    Benefits
    Social Security, income, and unemployment tax: Earnings should be reported and payments made in accordance with the laws for Social Security, unemployment insurance, and income taxes. See the text above for an explanation of legal requirements for employers.
    Sick Leave: Employees working one day a week in one home should receive a minimum of one day paid sick leave a year. Full-time employees should receive a minimum of six days paid sick leave a year.
    Vacations: Full-time day or live-in workers should receive two weeks paid vacation after one year of service.
    Employees working one day a week in one home should receive one day paid vacation for each six-month period worked.
    For longer service, there should be an agreed-upon increase in vacation time.
    Holidays: Live-in workers should receive at least eight paid legal holidays per year.
    Full-time live-out employees should receive six holidays with pay per year.
    A day worker working one day per week in one home should receive one paid legal holiday per year.
    Working Relationships
    A written agreement between employer and employee should clearly define the duties of the position, including specific tasks and frequency.
    Time schedules should be agreed upon in advance of employment.
    If an employer does not require the services of a day worker for the agreed-upon time, the employee should be notified at least a week in advance or else be compensated in full.
    The employee has the responsibility for notifying the employer as soon as possible if he or she is unable to report to work.
    Rest periods, meal times, phone privileges, and time out for private activities (such as church or recreation times for live-in employees) should be agreed upon in advance.
    Cleaning appliances should be efficient and safe, and should be used carefully.
    Work and work relationships should be discussed periodically with the intent to improve efficiency and understanding.
    A professional working relationship should be maintained by both parties.

     
  20. lauralynne

    lauralynne Member

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