Need a clean home? How to save time and money this spring

WASHINGTON— It’s spring cleaning time. Washington area residents interested in hiring a housecleaning service will be well served by doing a little homework first.

Washington Consumers’ Checkbook recommends getting multiple estimates because price quotes from different companies for the same work can vary significantly.

A review of more than 60 area housecleaning services finds the average cost is $100 per visit.

“Don’t be surprised if a cleaning company, the first time they come visit, charges you more than when they’re coming every other week,” says Executive Editor Kevin Brasler.

“It may take them a little bit extra time to bring complete squalor under control. Then once they have, it’ll take them less time once they come on a regular basis,” Brasler says.

When receiving price quotes from multiple companies, get a checklist or other written record of exactly what work will be done for the agreed upon price.

“The most complained about issue is that they didn’t do what (the homeowner) thought they were going to do. They didn’t clean this thing that (the homeowner) thought they were going to clean,” Brasler says.

Get certificates of insurance that cover liability and workers’ compensation from any company you’re considering. Those insurances protect property owners and their homes if the cleaning company starts a fire or if a worker were to get hurt.

“It protects you from being responsible from any medical claims they may make,” Brasler says.

“A lot of house cleaning companies advertise that they’re bonded. Well, the types of bonds the companies get don’t really protect you as a homeowner.”

The consumer group suggests you ask friends and neighbors for recommendations as a good way to begin a housecleaning service search. lists local cleaning services along with customer reviews, the number of complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau plus other details about the services offered by the listed companies.

Washington Consumers’ Checkbook is providing readers a look at the full ratings and more advice for a limited time. .

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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