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  • Writer's pictureDameon Nelson

10 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring a House Cleaner

Hiring a house cleaner can significantly ease the burden of maintaining a clean and organized home, particularly during busy times like spring cleaning. However, to ensure that you invite a trustworthy and competent professional into your home, it's important to be aware of certain red flags. This article will guide you through 10 warning signs to look out for when hiring a house cleaner, helping you make an informed decision and avoid potential pitfalls.

Key Takeaways

  • Verify the cleaner's references to ensure credibility and a track record of satisfied clients.

  • Ensure the house cleaner has adequate insurance to protect against potential damages or accidents.

  • Assess the cleaner's communication skills to guarantee clear and consistent interactions.

  • Check online reviews and ratings to gain insights into the cleaner's reputation and service quality.

  • Confirm that a thorough background check has been conducted for security and peace of mind.

1. Lack of References

When considering a house cleaner, references are a crucial indicator of reliability and quality. A reputable cleaner should be able to provide a list of satisfied clients. Without this, you have no verifiable way to gauge their work history or the satisfaction of past clients.

  • Ask for at least three references from recent jobs.

  • Inquire about the cleaner's punctuality, attention to detail, and professionalism.

  • Consider it a red flag if the cleaner hesitates or is unable to provide references.

2. Inadequate Insurance

When hiring a house cleaner, it's crucial to ensure they have adequate insurance coverage. Insurance is a safety net for both the homeowner and the cleaner in case of accidents or damage. General liability insurance, for example, covers common risks such as customer injury, customer property damage, and advertising injury.

A house cleaner without proper insurance puts you at risk of being liable for any accidents that occur during the cleaning process. To avoid this, always ask for proof of insurance and verify its validity. Here's what a good insurance policy should include:

  • General Liability Insurance

  • Workers' Compensation

  • Bonding

3. Poor Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial when hiring a house cleaner. Clear expectations and mutual understanding are the foundation of a successful working relationship. If a cleaner is not responsive or shows difficulty in understanding your requirements, it could lead to unsatisfactory results.

  • Ask about their communication preferences: phone, email, or text.

  • Inquire how they handle special requests or issues that may arise.

  • Ensure they provide a clear channel for feedback and concerns.

Poor communication can also be a sign of disorganization or lack of professionalism. It's important to feel confident that your cleaner will inform you about scheduling changes, cleaning challenges, or any other relevant updates in a timely manner.

4. Negative Reviews

When considering a house cleaner, pay close attention to their online reviews. A pattern of negative feedback can be a significant red flag. While every business may have a few less-than-perfect reviews, a consistent trend of complaints should raise concerns.

Consider the following points when evaluating reviews:

  • The frequency of negative reviews over time.

  • The nature of the complaints (e.g., punctuality, quality of cleaning, attitude).

  • Responses from the cleaning service to negative reviews, if any.

Remember, reviews are a valuable source of information that can help you gauge the reliability and quality of the service provided.

5. No Background Check

When hiring a house cleaner, it's crucial to ensure they have a clean background. A lack of a thorough background check can expose your home and family to unnecessary risks. Trust is fundamental in this line of work, and a background check is a basic step in establishing that trust.

  • It verifies the cleaner's identity.

  • It uncovers any criminal history.

  • It checks for a history of theft or fraud.

If a cleaning service hesitates to provide background check information, consider it a red flag. The absence of this precautionary measure can lead to potential security issues and liability concerns. Always ask for and confirm the background check before making a hiring decision.

6. Unclear Pricing

When hiring a house cleaner, clear and upfront pricing is crucial. Unclear pricing can lead to unexpected costs and disputes down the line. It's important to ask for a detailed quote that breaks down the costs of services offered. For example, some cleaners may charge by the hour, while others have a flat rate depending on the size of your home or the type of cleaning required.

Here's a general idea of what you might expect to pay, based on industry averages:

  • Hourly rate: $45-$50 per cleaner

  • Average job cost: $180

Remember, these are just averages and the actual cost can vary depending on the complexity of the job and the region you live in.

Always confirm whether there are any additional fees for services such as deep cleaning, window washing, or if there are travel fees for locations outside of their standard service area. A reputable cleaner should be transparent about their pricing and willing to answer any questions you may have.

7. Limited Services

When hiring a house cleaner, it's important to consider the range of services they offer. Limited services can be a significant red flag, indicating that the cleaner may not be equipped to handle various cleaning tasks or special requests. For instance, if you require deep cleaning, move-out cleaning, or cleaning of specific areas like basements or attics, ensure the cleaner provides these options.

  • Basic cleaning (dusting, vacuuming, mopping)

  • Deep cleaning (intensive cleaning of all areas)

  • Move-out/move-in cleaning

  • Specialized cleaning (windows, carpets, upholstery)

A house cleaner with a comprehensive service list can save you time and ensure that all your cleaning needs are met. On the other hand, a cleaner with a narrow scope of services might not be suitable for homeowners looking for a one-stop solution for their cleaning requirements.

8. Unprofessional Appearance

When hiring a house cleaner, first impressions matter. An unprofessional appearance can be a red flag indicating a lack of professionalism and attention to detail. It's important to consider how a cleaner presents themselves, as it often reflects their work ethic and the quality of service you can expect.

  • Dress: Cleaners should wear appropriate attire that is clean and functional.

  • Equipment: Their tools and supplies should be organized and well-maintained.

  • Demeanor: A professional demeanor is as important as the physical appearance.

9. Inflexible Scheduling

When hiring a house cleaner, flexibility in scheduling is crucial for accommodating your busy lifestyle. Inflexible scheduling can be a significant inconvenience, potentially disrupting your daily routine or causing unnecessary stress. A cleaner who cannot adapt to your time requirements may not be the best fit for your needs.

  • Look for cleaners who offer a range of available times, including weekends or evenings if necessary.

  • Ensure they can commit to a regular schedule if you prefer routine cleanings.

  • Ask about their policy for rescheduling or canceling appointments, as life can be unpredictable.

Remember, a house cleaner who is rigid in their scheduling might not only cause logistical issues but could also indicate a lack of customer service focus. Flexibility often reflects a service provider's dedication to client satisfaction and their ability to handle the dynamic nature of home maintenance.

10. Lack of Experience

When hiring a house cleaner, experience matters. A lack of experience can lead to mistakes, inefficiencies, and a misunderstanding of proper cleaning techniques. It's important to inquire about the cleaner's history in the industry and the types of homes or spaces they've worked in.

  • Ask about the duration of their cleaning career.

  • Inquire about the variety of environments they've cleaned.

  • Request information on any specialized training they may have undergone.

Experience also translates to a better understanding of customer needs and expectations. A seasoned cleaner will likely have a well-established routine and a keen eye for detail that only comes with time. On the other hand, a novice may overlook areas that need attention or be unfamiliar with the best products and methods for different surfaces.

Lastly, consider the potential for growth and improvement. While everyone starts somewhere, a cleaner with a desire to learn and improve can be a valuable asset. However, if they lack the foundational experience, it could be a red flag that they're not yet ready to meet the standards you expect for your home.


In conclusion, hiring a house cleaner can significantly ease the burden of maintaining a clean and organized home. However, it's crucial to be vigilant during the hiring process to ensure you invite a trustworthy and competent professional into your space. By being aware of the red flags discussed in this article, you can better protect yourself from potential issues such as lack of experience, poor communication, and questionable references. Remember, a good house cleaner should not only meet your cleaning standards but also respect your home and privacy. Take your time to ask the right questions, verify credentials, and listen to your instincts. Doing so will help you find a reliable house cleaner who can contribute to a pleasant and tidy living environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I consider when checking a house cleaner's references?

When checking a house cleaner's references, consider the timeliness, quality of work, reliability, and trustworthiness that previous clients report. Ask about their satisfaction with the services provided and if they would hire the cleaner again.

Why is it important for a house cleaner to have insurance?

Insurance is crucial for a house cleaner to cover any potential damages or accidents that may occur while cleaning your home. This protects both you and the cleaner from incurring unexpected costs.

How can poor communication skills impact the house cleaning service?

Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings about cleaning expectations, scheduling, and any special requests, potentially resulting in unsatisfactory service or conflicts.

What should I do if I find negative reviews about a house cleaner?

If you find negative reviews, assess the severity and frequency of the complaints. Consider reaching out to the cleaner for their side of the story and decide if it's a risk you're willing to take.

Is a background check necessary for hiring a house cleaner?

Yes, a background check can provide peace of mind by ensuring the cleaner has no history of criminal activity, especially since they will be working in your private space.

How does lack of experience affect a house cleaner's ability to do their job?

Lack of experience may mean the cleaner is unfamiliar with best practices, effective cleaning techniques, and handling different types of surfaces or materials, potentially leading to subpar cleaning or damage.

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