loading Loading, please wait...

Licensed Cleaning Services in Philadelphia, PA

How to Hire a Good Cleaning Services in Philadelphia

Maintaining proper hygiene and following the City of Philadelphia COVID-19 guidelines will go a long way in reducing the spread of the virus amongst residents. Also, hiring a professional and qualified cleaning contractor to clean and disinfect your homes and commercial spaces according to the CDC standards has proven to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Nonetheless, your intended cleaning contractor must follow all city and state regulations, guidance, and standards when carrying out any cleaning services. All applicable requirements will be explored in detail in this article:

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

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

    Cleaning contractors that wish to offer cleaning services to residents of Philadelphia are required to register their business and obtain a business license from the Philadelphia Department of Business and Self Employment.

    To obtain a business license, applicants must determine the type of business structure they desire. Once determined, the applicants will need to establish an identification number, either a Social Security Number or federally assigned Employer Identification Number (EIN), depending on the business structure through Internal Revenue Services. In addition, applicants must register for a city tax account number and other applicable business taxes. To apply for a tax account number, applicants can complete an online application via the city's eFile/ePay website, or they can submit a business tax account application form via mail to:

    • Philadelphia Department of Revenue
    • P.O. Box 1600
    • Philadelphia, PA 19105-1600

    Alternatively, the applicant can submit the completed application by visiting the physical location In person at:

    • Municipal Services Building,
    • Concourse Level
    • 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
    • Philadelphia, PA 19102

    Once the tax account has been set up, the applicants will be required to apply for a Commercial Activity License (CAL) from the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections. Applications can be online via eCLIPSE, and if the applicants require help filling the form online, they can schedule a virtual appointment. Alternatively, the applicants can book an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center in person at:

    • Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections
    • Permit and License Center
    • 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
    • MSB, Public Service Concourse
    • Philadelphia, PA 19102
    • Office hours: 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday

    Apart from meeting relevant city requirements, applicants are expected to meet certain state requirements. For instance, all businesses operating in the City of Philadelphia need to be registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations of the Pennsylvania Department of State. Applicants can use an online guide to business registration to complete all necessary steps on the P.A. Business One-Stop-Shop platform provided by the state's Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations.

    Once all steps are duly followed and all necessary taxes relevant to a business have been secured, the cleaning contractor's company will be registered and issued a license, making them eligible to offer cleaning services in the city. For any inquiries regarding business registration and licensing procedures in Philadelphia, you can contact the City's Department of Business and Self Employment and the City's Department of Licenses and Inspections by submitting an online request to 311 or call 311. If you are calling from outside Philadelphia, you can call (215) 686-8686. You can also confirm if your intended cleaning contractor's business has been registered by submitting a request to 311 or by calling 311.

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

    Several factors influence how much cleaning contractors charge for their cleaning services in Philadelphia. Some of the factors to be taken into account include:

    • The size of the home, facility, or specific area that needs cleaning
    • The nature and scope of the cleaning job, whether it involves a dwelling area or commercial area.
    • The current condition of your home or facility
    • The urgency of the required cleaning service
    • The type and cost of cleaning supplies that will be necessary to execute the cleaning job properly

    Cleaning contractors in the city earn an average hourly wage of $16. Some cleaning contractors charge an hourly rate for the cleaning services rendered, while some utilize a fixed charge method. This is why it is advisable to request multiple quotes from cleaning contractors to enable you to get a fair estimate suitable for your project budget. It also helps you pick out fraudulent cleaning contractors trying to charge above the average cost in the city.

    Cleaning contractors in Philadelphia earn an annual average wage of $34,070. A comparison of the average hourly wages of workers in Philadelphia's building and grounds cleaning and maintenance industry against those of workers in the rest of Pennsylvania and five other major cities in the country is provided below:

    Philadelphia Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $16.38
    Pennsylvania Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $15.27
    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
    Philadelphia Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage
    $15.26

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  3. What Type of Cleaning Cleaning Services Do You Offer?

    Ensuring your intended cleaning contractor specializes in the type of cleaning services required for your home or facility is essential in order to end up with satisfactory work. Cleaning contractors in the City of Philadelphia offer a wide range of services. This typically includes live-in maid services, enhanced disinfection services, green cleaning services, standard cleaning services, deep cleaning services, move-in and move-out cleaning, room or whole apartment cleanings, and commercial building cleanings.

    As such, you should always make sure you confirm if your intended cleaning company can execute the work satisfactorily by asking if they possess the right cleaning supplies, tools, and professional experience. Also, confirm how much the cleaning services will cost you.

    The average costs for some commonly requested cleaning services in the City of Philadelphia are listed below:

    Maid services
    $121 - $234 per visit for a typical 4 bedroom home
    Maid services
    $25 - $50 per person
    Loveseat cleaning -
    $60 - $120
    Recliner cleaning -
    $60 - $80
    Armchair cleaning -
    $40 - $80
    Medical office & healthcare facility cleaning services
    $25 - $50 per hour
    Graffiti removal & protection
    $1.78 - $3.01 per square foot for graffiti removal
    Industrial cleaning services -
    $39 - $120 per man hour
    Janitorial services
    $23 - $47 per hour (per person)
  4. Do You Comply with the City of Philadelphia's COVID-19 Regulations?

    Hiring a cleaning contractor who is conversant with the city's COVID-19 regulations and complies with the regulations when carrying out cleaning services in your home or facility is essential in ensuring a healthy and safe space for you and other people. According to the COVID-19 vaccine data published by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, about 23.4 percent of Philadelphia residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, the city's daily coronavirus case rate is 18.6 per 100,000 residents.

    Compliance with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's COVID-19 Guidance Documents, which provides different resources to be used in homes, businesses, restaurants, and other organizations operating in the city, can help mitigate the spread of this virus. The guidance generally provides for safety checklists like wearing masks and using appropriate protective personal equipment when conducting cleaning services and cleaning standards like routine cleaning, ventilation, suitable cleaning supplies, and disinfectants to be used.

    If you have any queries regarding the COVID-19 guidance and its implementation, you can contact the Philadelphia Department of Public Health by submitting an online request to 311 or call 311. If you are calling from outside Philadelphia, you can call (215) 686-8686.

  5. Do You Provide Commercial Cleaning Service for Non-Residential Locations in the City of Philadelphia?.

    Unlike residential cleaning contractors who clean dwellings and residential homes, commercial cleaning contractors in Philadelphia offer only cleaning services in commercial buildings like offices, workspaces, medical facilities, schools, and industrial facilities. What differentiates these contractors is the type of service offered. For instance, commercial cleaning contractors cannot provide cleaning services in residential homes because the cleaning supplies defer.

    Nonetheless, the city does not require a separate business licensing requirement or trade licensing for cleaning contractors that provide commercial cleaning services. However, commercial cleaning businesses involved in the transport and disposal of hazardous waste in the city are required to obtain a hazardous materials license from the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspection. To apply for a license, the commercial cleaning business can complete an application online using eCLIPSE, or they book an appointment to visit the Permit and License Center in person at:

    • Permit and License Center
    • 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
    • MSB, Public Service Concourse
    • Philadelphia, PA 19102
    • Office hours: 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday

    For more information regarding the license requirements and procedures, you can contact the city's Department of Licenses and Inspection by submitting an online request to 311 or call 311. If you are calling from outside Philadelphia, you can call (215) 686-8686.

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

    When you hire a union cleaning service to carry out your intended cleaning job in your commercial building or facility in Philadelphia, it guarantees you that the hired cleaners will have up-to-date certification and will be properly insured. The Service Employees International Union Local 668 (SEIU Local 668) of Pennsylvania represents about 20,000 workers in all cities, including Chapter 12 covering the City of Philadelphia. The SEIU Local 668 unites workers and maintains contracts that protect the wages and benefits, assuring job security and good working conditions for workers under the union.

    However, it is essential to note that these contracts give the union some control over commercial activities in the city, including cleaning services. So even though hiring cleaning contractors who do not belong to the union may seem cheaper, you may face some pressure from the SEIU Local 668 to discontinue their service and may also cause disruption of your normal day-to-day business activities. Nonetheless, hiring from a union cleaning service ensures you keep working with cleaners who are familiar with the terrain of your building because most union cleaning services usually have a low turnover of employees.

  7. Do You Offer COVID-19 Disinfecting Services in the City of Philadelphia?

    Cleaning and disinfecting your home after a COVID-19 confirmed case is the most important step to take to reduce the spread of the virus further. The cleaning and disinfecting process requires technical know-how, and not all cleaning companies in Philadelphia have the expertise and equipment to carry this out. As such, before you hire a cleaning contractor to disinfect your home, you must confirm if they have the equipment and expertise to handle such cleaning services. Most importantly, you should inquire if the cleaning contractor is familiar with the COVID-19 Guidance Documents provided by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and other guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some key recommendations include:

    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas
    • Using EPA List N disinfectant products that can destroy coronavirus.
    • Disinfect the surface with a 70% or more alcohol solution.
    • If there is no disinfectant, hot, soapy water and scrub will also destroy the virus.
    • Using protective gears like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves, goggles, and face masks
    • Cleaning visibly dirty surfaces before disinfecting them
    • Always make sure the areas to be disinfected are properly ventilated.

    Note that certain cleaning products and disinfectants contain allergens that may pose a health risk to your or your household if you react to these products. As such, you should always confirm the cleaning products and disinfectants to be used by your intended cleaning contractor for your home. You should also ensure the cleaning company uses only EPA-registered disinfectants.

  8. What Cleaning Supplies Do You Use?

    Before hiring a cleaning contractor for any cleaning service in either your home or commercial building, it is best to make sure that your intended cleaning services will be carried out with the appropriate cleaning supplies and equipment. Typically, four major cleaning agents are used for an effective cleaning service depending on the scope and nature of the cleaning job. These cleaning agents include:

    • Detergents
    • Degreasers
    • Abrasives
    • Acids

    The most commonly used cleaning agents in commercial and residential buildings are detergents, principally liquid organic preparations. Then the degreasers are used to easily remove lipids, fats, oils, and other organic stains from surfaces, which can be found in the kitchen. Acid is a lot harsher, and it is used to remove difficult stains like rust or mineral deposits. It is important to note that due to the high potency rate of acids, they should always be diluted and handled with extreme care.

    In addition to confirming the cleaning agent, you should also confirm the cleaning contractor possesses all the equipment needed for the job. Generally, cleaning tools and equipment required for a cleaning service include vacuum cleaners, disposable rags, mops, brushes, and cleaning cloths. Lastly, always find out if your cleaning job requires sanitizers or disinfectants to stop further contamination from viruses, bacteria, and fungi. To ensure your work will not be carried out shoddily, you should always find out the types of cleaning supplies that your cleaning contractor intends to use for the cleaning and confirm if they will be effective for the planned work.

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

    According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 64,700 nonfatal work-related injuries were recorded among building cleaning and maintenance workers across the country in 2020. Hiring an insured cleaning contractor protects you from incurring any financial or legal liability resulting from an unexpected work-related event that caused bodily injury or property damage. If you hire an uninsured cleaning contractor, you will be responsible for paying out of pocket to take care of any of these liabilities.

    As such, before hiring a cleaning contractor, you should request a copy of their insurance certificate. You should also make sure you authenticate the validity of such a certificate by contacting the relevant insurance provider. Note that cleaning contractors as business owners must purchase workers' compensation insurance for their employees per Section 301 of the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act. If you need more information regarding workers' compensation insurance coverage, you can contact the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry at (717) 787-5279.

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

In July 2020, a contractor company was sued by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office after receiving more than 60 complaints against the contractor company. According to these complaints, the company received stolen property, collected advance payments for services, failed to execute it or abandon it midway, delivered shoddy work, and theft by deception and conspiracy.

Home improvement-related scams are commonly carried out by deceptive individuals, including those posing as qualified cleaning contractors. Most of these cleaners prey on residents of the city after a disaster that requires serious cleaning services. This is why the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office always makes sure to issue a consumer alert so that homeowners do not fall victim to this type of scam. For instance, in the wake of Hurricane Ida, the Attorney General's Office released a consumer alert to warn of scams.

When you are planning to hire cleaning contractors, you should take the following precautionary steps to make sure you do not end up with a fraudulent cleaning company or a cleaning contractor in Philadelphia. These include:

  • Get referrals of qualified and professional cleaning companies from friends, family, and other home improvement contractors. Also, you can rely on reputable online referral websites like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review, which gives you access to third-party reviews and testimonials on different cleaning companies.
  • Be wary of cleaning contractors that do door-to-door solicitation.
  • Get quotes from multiple cleaning companies for your intended cleaning job.
  • Ensure that your intended cleaning company or contractor holds a valid Philadelphia business license. You can verify by contacting the city's Department of Business and Self Employment by submitting an online request to 311 or calling 311. If you are calling from outside Philadelphia, you can call (215) 686-8686.
  • Request for references from past clients and ensure you contact these references to inquire about their professionalism and work. Be wary of any cleaning company that refuses to provide you with verifiable references, which is usually an indication of shoddy service delivery.
  • Make sure that you execute a written contract for the job. This contract should contain clear terms stating the start date, cleaning supplies to use, and the expected completion date.
  • Never pay the cost of service upfront. Limit advance payments to 10%of the total value of the job. Also, only complete payment when you have certified the work carried out as satisfactory.

You can make a report regarding a deceptive cleaning contractor or fraudulent cleaning company in the City of Philadelphia to the Consumer Protection Bureau of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. You can complete an online complaint form or submit a completed printable complaint form to the address indicated on the top of the form.

Also, you can file a civil claim against the fraudulent cleaning company or contractor at the Philadelphia Municipal Court. Note that you should get legal advice before filing any court claim, and you can use the lawyer referral services provided by the Philadelphia Bar Association to find active lawyers near you.