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Licensed Cleaning Services in Chicago, IL

How to Hire a Good Cleaning Service in Chicago

Even though COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations in Chicago have been on a steady decline since January 2022, maintaining proper hygiene habits can help further reduce coronavirus case numbers in the city. Hiring a professional cleaning company to keep your home and office clean and disinfected re-energizes your living or working space and has also been proven to limit the spread of the coronavirus within your immediate vicinity. However, before you hire a cleaner in the city, ask the following questions to determine you are contracting the best hand for the job:

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Cleaner in the City of Chicago

  1. Are You Licensed to Practice as a Cleaning Service in the City of Chicago?

    Business activities in Chicago are regulated by the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP). Cleaning contractors that wish to operate in the city are typically required to obtain a business license from this department before doing so. These business licenses can either be obtained online via the Chicago Business Direct portal or in-person through a BACP Business Consultant. Appointments for in-person applications can be made by calling (312) 744-6249, and in-person applicants will also be required to complete and submit a Business Information Sheet during the scheduled appointment. Note that Chicago business license applicants are generally expected to have met relevant county, state, and federal requirements before applying for their licenses. These requirements include, but are not limited to, registering with the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois Department of Revenue, and obtaining a Federal Employer Identification Number.

    Online and in-person business license applicants will also be required to provide their business name and ownership information, business details, valid government-issued photo ID, and other requested information to the BACP. Once all requested information has been submitted, the BACP will conduct a zoning review to determine if the proposed business activity is permitted in the zoning designation of the business location. On-site inspections of the business may also be conducted before requested business licenses are issued.

    Queries concerning Chicago business license issuance procedures can be directed to the BACP at (312) 744- 6060. Inquiries can also be made by contacting the city's Small Business Center at:

    • City Hall
    • 121 North LaSalle Street
    • Room 800
    • Chicago, IL 60602
    • Phone: (312) 744-6249
    • Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Mondays to Fridays

    You confirm whether or not the cleaning contractor that you intend to hire possesses a valid business license online via the BACP's Business License Look-up portal.

  2. How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Cleaning Services in the City of Chicago?

    When considering the potential cost of hiring a cleaning contractor in the City of Chicago, several variables have to be taken into account. These include:

    • The current condition of your home or facility
    • The urgency of the required cleaning service
    • The exact nature of the cleaning service that is required
    • The size of the home, facility, or specific area that needs cleaning
    • The type of cleaning supplies that will be required to properly execute the cleaning job

    As such, even though cleaning contractors in the city are estimated to earn an average hourly wage of $16, you may receive higher or lower rates for your specific cleaning service. However, a good way to get a working estimate of the expected cost of your required cleaning service is by requesting quotes for the job from up to three cleaning companies in the city and comparing these quotes. Doing this also helps you spot possibly fraudulent cleaning contractors that unnecessarily hike up the costs of their services.

    Building and grounds cleaning workers in Chicago earn an average wage of $34,200 annually. A comparison of the average hourly wages of workers in Chicago's building and grounds cleaning and maintenance industry against those of workers in the rest of Illinois and five other major cities in the country is provided below:

    Chicago Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $16.44
    Illinois Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $16.06
    Detroit Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $15.06
    Houston Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $13.53
    Los Angeles Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $18.32
    New York City Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $19.09
    Phoenix Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $15.26

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  3. What Types of Cleaning Services Do You Offer?

    Confirming the types of cleaning services that a cleaning company is equipped to provide is a good way to ensure that you get proper value for your money. Cleaning companies in the City of Chicago typically offer a wide variety of services to interested parties, which may either be one-time services or recurring cleaning services. Examples include standard cleaning services, deep cleaning services, move-in and move-out cleaning, room or whole apartment cleanings, commercial building cleanings, live-in maid services, enhanced disinfection services, and green cleaning services.

    Always make sure that the cleaning company you plan to hire has the right cleaning tools for your required cleaning service and will also use the right types of cleaning supplies needed to get the job done satisfactorily. The average costs for some commonly requested cleaning services in the City of Chicago are listed below:

    Cleaning a typical four-bedroom home
    $105 - $135 per visit
    Couch cleaning
    $81 - $149
    Loveseat cleaning
    $89 - $99
    Graffiti removal and protection
    $1.7 - $2.9 per square foot
    Industrial cleaning services
    $17 - $44 per man hour
    Janitorial services
    $0.13 - $0.24 per square foot
    Maid services/home cleaning
    $21 - $29 per hour (for each person)
    Medical office & healthcare facility cleaning services
    $0.17 - $0.32 per square foot
  4. Do You Comply with the City of Chicago's COVID-19 Regulations?

    Making sure that your cleaning contractor is conversant with the city's COVID-19 regulations and also complies with them whilst cleaning your home or workspace is important in protecting the health and safety of you and your loved ones. As of February 2022, 76.3 percent of Chicago residents had received at least one vaccination dose and the city's daily coronavirus case rate was at an all-time low of 12.9 per 100,000 residents. Compliance with the city's COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses and Critical Infrastructure, which provide resources aimed at mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, can help reduce these daily rates even further. Some cleaning and sanitation standards provided by this guidance include cleaning frequencies as well as the types of cleaning materials and disinfectants to be used. Other provisions include hazard prevention procedures, appropriate PPE and face coverings for use during cleanings, and appropriate ventilation techniques.

    Additional information on the Chicago COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses and Critical Infrastructure and other local coronavirus-related guidance and regulations can be gotten by contacting the city's Department of Public Health at:

    • 333 S. State Street
    • Room 200
    • Chicago, IL 60604
    • Phone: (312) 747-9884

    Queries can also be directed to the city's Coronavirus Response Center at (312) 746-4835 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays, and 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Sundays.

  5. Do You Provide Commercial Cleaning Services for Non-Residential Buildings in the City of Chicago?

    Some cleaning contractors in the City of Chicago specialize in providing cleaning services that are primarily focused on commercial buildings and premises like offices and workspaces, medical and healthcare facilities, schools, and industrial facilities. The key difference between these types of cleaning contractors and residential cleaning contractors is that they do not provide services that involve cleaning residential homes and dwellings, nor do they have the right supplies for these types of jobs. Regardless of this, there is no separate business licensing requirement for commercial cleaning companies in the city.

    Cleaning contractors that solely provide commercial or business cleaning services are also not required to obtain any types of trade licenses in Chicago. However, under Title 35, Subtitle G of the Illinois Administrative Code, this category of cleaning companies and contractors are typically required to obtain a hazardous waste management permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency if their services involve the disposal of hazardous waste. Inquiries related to requirements and procedures for obtaining these permits can be directed to the aforementioned agency at (217) 782-3397.

  6. Do You Engage Unionized Cleaners for Non-Residential Buildings in the City of Chicago?

    Hiring a union cleaning service to handle the cleaning of your commercial building or facility in Chicago is a good way to ensure continued service and also safeguard equality in your workspace. The SEIU Local 1, which is a chapter of the Service Employees International Union, represents over 50,000 residence maintenance workers across the Midwest and holds contracts with several trade associations in Chicago. These contracts guarantee fair wages and working conditions for member cleaning contractors, which in turn grants the union a measure of influence over commercial cleaning activities in the city. As such, even though it may seem like a cheaper option to hire a non-union cleaning service, you may be faced with pressure from the SEIU Local 1to discontinue this service. In some cases, this pressure may even lead to a disruption of your business activities as well unwanted media attention for your facility.

    On the flip side, there are several advantages to hiring a union cleaning service in Chicago, and these include working with cleaners that have up-to-date training and certifications, and proper insurance coverage. In addition, union cleaning services typically have a very low turnover of employees, thereby ensuring that you keep working with cleaners that are familiar with your building.

  7. Do You Offer Covid-19 Disinfecting Services in the City of Chicago?

    Cleaning and disinfecting your home after a confirmed COVID-19 case in the building is of utmost importance in curtailing the spread of the virus and should be done before people are allowed to re-enter the house. However, not all cleaning companies in Chicago offer enhanced disinfection cleaning services for COVID-19 and so you should always get confirmation on this from the cleaning company that wish to contract with. Make sure that you inform them of the situation and find out if they have the resources to expertly deal with it. You should also find out if the cleaning company is familiar with, and will carry out the cleaning and disinfection of your home per guidance provided by the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some key recommendations of these guidances include:

    • Using EPA List N disinfectant products, which have been determined to be effective against the coronavirus
    • Reading and following the instructions on any cleaners and disinfectants used during the job
    • Using proper Personal Protective Equipment, such as gloves, goggles, and face masks
    • Cleaning visibly dirty surfaces before disinfecting them
    • Properly cleaning and disinfecting any areas in the home that may have stool, blood, or any other bodily fluids on them
    • Ensuring that any areas that are being disinfected also have proper ventilation

    Note that certain types of cleaning agents may trigger asthma attacks or allergic reactions in certain people. As such, you should always find out the types of cleaners and disinfectants that the cleaning company you contract with intends to use for the job before they begin any work. Also, make sure that the cleaning company uses only EPA-registered disinfectants.

  8. What Cleaning Supplies Do You Use?

    A key step to take in ensuring optimal service from the cleaning company that you contract with is making sure that this company has the necessary cleaning supplies and equipment for the job. There are several types of cleaning agents available for use, and the appropriate one for the job is typically dependent on factors like the type of surface being cleaned, the method of cleaning, and the environment. However, these cleaning agents can be collectively classified under four groups, namely:

    • Detergents
    • Degreasers
    • Abrasives
    • Acids

    Detergents are the most commonly used types of cleaning agents for both residential and commercial buildings, and they are typically water-soluble or liquid organic preparations. Degreasers are typically used to remove fats, oils, and other organic stains from surfaces, and they are primarily used in kitchens, while abrasives are chemical or mineral compounds that are mostly used to remove stains from hard surfaces. Finally, acids are generally used to break down and remove difficult stains like mineral deposits and rust. Note that acids are highly potent cleaning agents and should be diluted correctly before use and also handled properly and safely during use.

    In addition to cleaning agents, cleaning contractors typically use several other types of cleaning tools and equipment for the job. These include mops, brushes, vacuum cleaners, disposable rags, and cleaning cloths. Also, in some cases, the cleaning job may require disinfectants or sanitizers, such as chlorine, bleach, and iodine, to properly rid the area of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, or to prevent pest infestation and cross-contamination. To this end, you should always find out the types of cleaning supplies that your cleaning contractor will use for the job and make sure that they are suitable for the surfaces or areas that require cleaning.

  9. Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Cleaners in the City of Chicago?

    Hiring insured cleaning contractors gives you a measure of assurance that your job will be handled professionally and protects you from out-of-pocket expenses in the event of work-related accidents or property damage. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 159 work-related fatalities were recorded in Illinois in 2019. Likewise, building cleaning and maintenance workers across the country recorded over 64,700 nonfatal work-related injuries in 2020. Working with uninsured cleaning contractors makes you liable for any of these injuries that occur during your cleaning job, exposing you to extra expenses and possible legal repercussions.

    To this end, you should always request proof of insurance from any cleaning contractor that you intend to hire and validate this proof with the appropriate insurer. It should be noted that, per state law, all cleaning companies in the City of Chicago are required to maintain workers' compensation insurance for their employees. Cleaning companies that fail to comply with this insurance requirement can penalties of $500 for each day of noncompliance. In addition to state-mandated workers' compensation insurance coverage, you should also ensure that the cleaning company has adequate liability insurance to cover any damage to your property and janitorial bonds to cover any losses caused by dishonesty or theft by their employees.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Cleaner in the City of Chicago

In February 2021, CBS Chicago reported the arrest of two local contractors that were involved in a fraud scheme that had resulted in several homeowners in the city losing thousands of dollars. According to this report, the contractors had used different business names to collect money for home improvement work and then disappeared after barely doing any work. Home improvement-related scams are common in Chicago, and home and property owners seeking cleaning services are not spared from the activities of these scammers. In many cases, these scammers target homeowners that require post-disaster cleaning services. To this end, the Illinois Attorney General's Office regularly releases alerts reminding homeowners to remain vigilant when searching for contractors in the aftermath of floods and other natural or manmade disasters. Taking certain precautions can help you ensure that you end up with a legitimate cleaning contractor when searching for professional cleaning companies in the City of Chicago. These include:

  • Be wary of cleaning contractors that go door-to-door offering their services
  • Get recommendations to professional cleaning companies from friends, family, and online via reputable referral websites like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review. These websites also provide third-party reviews and testimonials on cleaning companies
  • Get quotes for your cleaning job from at least three different cleaning companies
  • Make sure that the cleaning company you wish to contract for the job has a valid business license. You can do this online through the Business License Look-up portal provided and maintained by the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) for this purpose
  • Make sure that the cleaning company is not listed on the BACP's List of Businesses/Individuals Found Liable for Consumer Fraud in Past Three Years
  • Be wary of any cleaning company that cannot provide you with at least three local and verifiable references. This is usually an indication of incompetence and shoddy service delivery
  • Make sure that any cleaners that will be involved in your cleaning job have been vetted by the cleaning company and are also adequately insured
  • Make sure that you are given a written contract for the job. This contract should be clear, well-detail and should not contain any blank spaces or ambiguous terms and clauses
  • Avoid cash transactions
  • Never pay the total cost of the job upfront. Limit advance payments to a fraction of the job's total value and do not make the final payment until the job has been satisfactorily completed

You can report unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices carried out by cleaning contractors in the City of Chicago to the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection by calling 311. Complaints can also be filed with this department online via the city's CHI311 portal, however, complainants will be required to register a user account on the portal to do this.

Consumer complaints can also be filed with the Illinois Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division online or by submitting a completed pdf consumer complaint form to:

  • Office of the Illinois Attorney General
  • Consumer Protection Division
  • 500 South Second Street
  • Springfield, IL 62701

Finally, you can take private legal action against fraudulent cleaning companies and cleaning contractors in Chicago by filing a lawsuit against them at the Circuit Court of Cook County. Note that you should always get legal advice from a licensed attorney before doing this. You can get referrals to licensed attorneys in Chicago by contacting the Chicago Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service via phone number (312) 554-2001 or online.