Unless you have experience with hiring maid services to clean your home or apartment, you probably think that maids aren’t in your budget. And even if they were, you doubt that you’d know the difference between a good cleanup and a mediocre one.

Of course, the definition of a clean house is subjective. Some people may not even notice inch-thick dust along the baseboards or fingerprints on the refrigerator, but if the dust and fingerprints are still there after the maid leaves, you probably didn’t get your money’s worth.

We called several area maid services and asked them what they charge to clean an average-size home-which turned out to be a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a living room, family room and standard kitchen. The prices quoted didn’t vary substantially, but the descriptions on the type of cleanup to expect did. The higher the price, the more detailed the cleanup (that basically means not having to ask them to wipe appliances, scour the bathroom or change the bed linens). Nearly all the services we consulted promised to provide cleaning equipment and supplies-except for floor wax, since most customers have a definite preference in brands of floor wax.

Most services charge by the hour and or have set fees for special cleanup jobs such as an attic, a garage or a post-party disaster area. We also learned that it is essential that the maid service be bonded and insured. Bonding protects you from theft or property damage by the maid, and insurance protects you from having to pay medical fees if a maid is injured in your home. In addition, the overall price of a one-time cleanup decreases about 10 percent with weekly or monthly service contracts. The following chart should give you an idea of what to expect. Each service has a clean record with the Better Business Bureau.


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