If you’ve never hired a professional cleaning service before, you might be nervous about what to expect from your first phone call with them. Never fear, we’re here to help you understand some of the questions that you’ll need to have answers for. There are no trick questions here, but you might want to prepare your information ahead of time in case you’re not sure of any of these.

How big is your house?

The cleaning service is going to want to know an estimate of how large your house is. That’s because it will take them a lot less time to clean a small house than a McMansion. Things you should be able to tell them about your house that are helpful: how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, and overall square footage.

What type of cleaning are you looking for?

Are you looking for a top-to-bottom, deep cleaning in which most items in your home are hand-wiped or hand-washed, like pictures, knick knacks and baseboards? In most top-to-bottom cleanings, even your refrigerator and oven are cleaned. Top-to-bottom cleanings are great once or twice a year such as in a Spring Cleaning, move-in or move-out cleaning, or in preparation for the holidays. If you have had a cleaning service in the past and your home is relatively clean, you may just need a general or maintenance cleaning instead of a complete top-to-bottom clean. General or maintenance cleanings are less detailed but still thorough and are usually scheduled on a regular (weekly or bi-weekly) basis to keep your home clean.

How often do you want the cleaning service to come?

Right now, you might not be sure about this but know that you can change your schedule at a later time if necessary. We recommend starting with a top-to-bottom cleaning so that your next cleanings can be less time and money. Then we recommend at least a bi-weekly service to help keep your home in tip-top shape all year long. If you’ve got a busy household with kids and pets and you think you’ll need more frequent service, let the cleaning service know you’ll need weekly cleaning.

Do you have any pets?

We love pets and our cleaners look forward to seeing our clients’ pets every week! Be sure to ask the cleaning service you’re interviewing how they work with pets. Generally, a cleaning service will want to know what kind of pets and how many pets you have. Some services may even want to schedule some time to come by your home and get familiar with your pets and vice versa. You can expect for the cleaners to take more time cleaning if you have pets in order to do a great job removing pet hair. And of course you may want to keep your pets somewhere secure, out of the way of the cleaners on cleaning day, if your pets don’t like strangers or are likely to be stressed.

What day and time works best for your schedule?

In most cases, your cleaning company will accommodate your first preference for timing. A larger professional cleaning service will likely have more flexibility to slot you into their schedule on your preferred day because they have more staff to spread around than a small company or independent cleaner. Lots of customers want their homes cleaned on Thursdays or Fridays to get ready for the weekend, and those days tend to be busy for all cleaning services. But Monday is also a great day for a house cleaning. Cleaning services are less busy, your home gets cleaned after the busy weekend and you start the week off clean.

Will you be home when the company comes to clean?

If you’re not going to be home, how will the cleaners get in? You don’t have to be home and the cleaning may go faster without you there. But with more people working from home these days, cleaning services are used to having customers around. If you’re not going to be home, give your service a spare key or a garage access code to get in. Be sure to ask how the service secures your key or access information. You want to know that the cleaners are well-vetted with full background checks and that keys are always handed back to the main office and secured in a safe.

How will you pay for the cleaning service?

Most cleaning companies today require that you provide a credit card up front, and they charge your card after your cleaning. Smaller companies or independent cleaners may allow you to pay for each cleaning with cash or a check sent to the office or left for the cleaner on the day of the cleaning. The cleaning company will let you know their preferred method of payment, but if they give you an option, figure out what works best for you. Be sure to ask about the company’s cancellation policy. In case you need to cancel a cleaning, you’ll want to know about any charges that you may incur.