Young mum using a vacuum cleaner while her two twin daughters are on the couch

The Ultimate Australian Guide to Domestic Cleaning Services in 2019

So you want a house cleaning service but don't know where to start?

I may be biased, but I believe getting a regular house cleaning service is a lifesaver. With what should be a seamless booking process, they come over and take care of the most annoying chores around the house and you come home to what now feels like a palace. The kitchen is clean, the bathrooms are scrubbed, the bins are taken out and if you’re lucky they may even change the bed linen.

Yes in Australia house cleaning is an absolute luxury and quality house cleaners aren’t the cheapest thing around, but apart from directly saving you time and effort, there are also benefits not immediately apparent such as a more hygenic household, everyone stops fighting over whose turn it is to do chores and honestly it’s just super relaxing knowing it’s all done for you.

But navigating the vast landscape of the house cleaning arena can be daunting. You may be asking yourself some of the following:

  • What should you look out for?
  • Do I have to supply all the equipment and products?
  • Go through an agency or hire someone off Gumtree / Airtasker?
  • How much should they charge?
  • What’s typically included?
  • What happens if they break something?
  • Can you trust them? 
  • Do you have to be home?

We’ll answer all this and more!

Why get a house cleaning service in australia?

1. Saves you time

This one is easy enough to explain. A house cleaner may visit your home once a fortnight for 3 hours to stay on top of it all. That is 3 hours that – let’s be honest you may or may not have got around to, but IF you did, it’s 3 hours less work that you have to do on your weekends or after a long day of work.

2. You'll have a more hygienic home

While many of us think of cleaning the house as a purely aesthetic activity and end result, the fact is that a good dust, scrub and vacuum (especially in the kitchen and bathroom areas) will result in a cleaner, more hygienic house. This is especially important after someone has been sick or flu season is approaching. 

3. Get rid of pet hair and dirt brought in to the house

Love them or hate them, pet hair is a pain in the backside. 
Wearing black clothes out? Think again. 
Having guests over? Better clean the couch
Oh you washed the floors? Let me just bring all this mud in the home
AAAAARGH!

Many vacuums these days come with pet hair motorized heads and we love them. They’re great for keeping on top of it on a daily basis but sometimes you need a more intensive cleaning regime to pick all of it up.

4. No more arguing or stressing over chores

You can now maybe put away the magnetic chore schedule on the fridge. Domestic chores is a huge area of confrontation in the household whether it is a family home or a share house of university students. Now you don’t have to argue over who scrubbed the toilet last, whose turn it is to take out the bin this week.

Things to ask yourself when deciding on your house cleaning service

Now that you know just some of the benefits that come with a professional house cleaning service, you have to also know or at least be aware of the differences between different options. We will break down the major questions you may be asking yourself while hunting around for quotes.

1. are they insured and police checked?

In our eyes this is absolutely non-negotiable. You want to know that not only is your cleaning professional insured for any potential damage that may arise (rare and unlikely, but you always to be better safe than sorry!) and that they have a clean record. They will be coming in your home and you may not be present, you will want to take absolutely no chances when it comes to the sanctuary of your home.

Common insurance amount is for $5,000,000 for domestic cleaners while professionals who also perform commercial activity will be insured for $10,000,000. If you don’t go through an agency make sure you request these details prior to them starting work.

2. Do they work off a Cleaning checklist?

House cleaning, while it may sound obvious initially is actually a fairly vague activity. Clean what? For how long? What are your expectations?

Many house cleaning professionals and agencies try to provide clarity on the tasks they perform by supplying a detailed checklist. This works in everyone’s favour as the customer now knows what to expect, and the cleaner knows what to do. This isn’t an absolute necessity but it will serve as a great starting point and help manage everyone’s expectations.

3. Do they guarantee their cleaning service?

As mentioned above, working off a checklist will help manage everyone’s expectations. But, knowing what tasks they have to perform, do they promise you (usually with a written policy) that they will perform to your expectations? The last thing you want is to book a cleaner, they come over and you’re SO EXCITED to come home to your sparkling home only to find out they performed well below your expecatations. A cleaner or house cleaning agency that has a guarantee should bend over backwards to make sure you’re satisfied. 

Common guarantees to look out for are:

1. If you’re not satisfied then the cleaner will come back, free of charge to fix the areas of concern
2. Offer a whole or partial refund proportional to the areas underperformed.

Make sure you inspect your home after the job and contact the cleaner as soon as possible. Or better yet, do a walkthrough with the cleaner if you’re home at the same time. Waiting longer than 24hrs may (rightfully so) void your possibility of the guarantee.

4. Will it be the same cleaner every time?

Look, if you won’t ever be home during your cleaning service and the agency is reputable then this might not matter. However, we strongly believe it is important for you to get familiar with who is coming in to your house and for them to adjust to your particular needs. This is only possible if you receive the same cleaning team. 

In the event of the cleaner being sick, it is possible that an agency may opt to send a different team in that particular instance.

5. Will you be supplying the vacuum, rags, mops and products?

There is a massive price difference between different cleaning services around Australia, but perhaps the one which impacts price the most if they provide their own equipment and products.

While a higher price will help the cleaning professional to replace their products, it also goes towards their transportation costs as cleaners often don’t use public transport when carting around a vacuum, mop and their essential cleaning solutions.

If you are supplying your own vacuums, mops, rags, towels and products then ensure they are always available, easily accessible and clean prior to the cleaner arriving.

6. Are the cleaners being paid fairly?

As mentioned, having your house cleaned is seen as a luxury in Australia and the truth is that being a professional house cleaner may not be everyone’s idea of a dream job. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated with respect and be compensated fairly for their hard work. 

If you are hiring directly through Gumtree or Airtasker, then you can get away with paying them slightly less but without all the advantages that come with an agency.

If you are hiring through an agency then expect to pay slightly higher but feel free to inquire how much of that goes in the pockets of their cleaning teams. You are also free to tip cleaners if you want to compensate them directly.

Typical take home pay (before paying for insurance, products, transport etc) for a solo cleaning professional is $25/hr to $40/hr
Typical take home pay for cleaning contractors working for an agency is $25/hr to $35/hr 

Should you use a cleaning agency or a solo cleaner?

Early on in your research you’ll realize quickly that you have basically two options.
1. Hire a solo cleaner through a classifieds like Gumtree or Airtasker
2. Go through a cleaning agency

If you are considering hiring a solo cleaner then the reason is almost certainly because it’s cheaper. While that is the case, it’s important to note the advantages and disadvantages of hiring through an agency.

So why pay more for a cleaning agency? The answer is simple – quality control and convenience. You may get lucky and find that golden unicorn solo cleaner, but you’re much more likely to receive a great cleaning service through an agency.

The Pros and Cons of hiring through a cleaning agency

House cleaning Agency

  • Often only good performers stay registered
  • Usually have a thorough vetting process
  • Company ensure insurance and police checks are valid
  • Their presence online makes them more accountable for their performance
  • Back up options in case of cleaner being sick or moving away
  • Usually have a support line so no awkwardness when dealing with issues
  • Might have an online booking platform to make rescheduling, cancellation and rebooking easier
  • Usually payment can be cashless
  • Often more expensive

Solo Cleaner

  • Often cheaper
  • All pay goes to them
  • Easy to build a sense of trust and loyalty
  • Underperformance might not be brought up in case of awkwardness
  • Usually cash is the only accepted payment
  • Rescheduling can require a lot of back and forth

How much does a house clean cost?

A typical house cleaning service will cost between $25/hr – $50/hr but this depends on many factors such as the type of service being performed, whether you hire a solo cleaner or go through an agency and your location within Australia. 

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