Do you know that there are over 1,000 different species of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes present in house dust? Many of these microbes are brought into the home by external sources, such as pets and building occupants, and they can have disastrous effects on your health. The coronavirus alone is responsible for over 4,000 hospitalizations and 1,550 deaths in the Nashville-Davidson area. Hiring a professional cleaning service to implement a regular cleaning and disinfecting schedule can rid you of these dangerous microbes, leaving your home or workspace spotless and at the same time freeing up more time for you to pursue other activities.
With so many choices of cleaning services available in Nashville, you need to ask some key questions to ensure that you hire the right cleaners for your individual needs. These questions are:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Cleaning Service in the City of Nashville?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Cleaning Services in the City of Nashville?
- What Types of Cleaning Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Comply with the City of Nashville's COVID-19 Regulations?
- Do You Provide Commercial Cleaning Services for Non-Residential Buildings in the City of Nashville?
- Do You Engage Unionized Cleaners for Non-Residential Buildings in the City of Nashville?
- Do You Offer Covid-19 Disinfecting Services in the City of Nashville?
- What Cleaning Supplies Do You Use?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Cleaners in the City of Nashville?
Cleaning companies that operate in Nashville are typically required to possess either a standard business license or a minimal activity license issued by the Davidson County Clerk's Office. Minimal activity licenses are required for cleaning companies with annual gross receipts of more than $3,000 but less than $10,000, while standard business licenses are required for cleaning companies with annual gross receipts of $10,000 or more. These licenses can be obtained by completing and mailing an Application for Business Tax License or Minimal Activity License Form to:
- Davidson County Clerk
- Business Tax Services
- P.O. Box 196333
- Nashville, TN 37219-6333
The completed form can also be submitted in person at the county clerk's office located at:
- 700 2nd Avenue South
- Suite 101
- Nashville, TN 37210
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:20 p.m., Mondays to Fridays
Note that, in addition to obtaining a business tax license or a minimal activity license, cleaning companies that operate in Nashville may also need to meet other requirements. This includes registering their businesses with the Tennessee Department of Revenue for tax purposes. This registration can be carried out online via the department's TNTAP platform. Similarly, cleaning companies that wish to operate their businesses from residential homes will be required to obtain a home occupation permit from the Metro Nashville Department of Codes & Building Safety. Also, cleaning companies with up to five employees must obtain workers' compensation insurance, regardless of whether these employees are full-time or part-time.
You can get more information on the licensing and registration requirements for cleaning companies in Nashville by contacting the Davidson County Clerk's Office at (615) 862-6254. You can also contact this office via the aforementioned number to find out whether your intended cleaning company possesses a valid business tax or minimal activity license.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, building cleaning workers in the Nashville area earn approximately $15 per hour. However, the amount of money that you will be charged for cleaning services in the city is usually dependent on several factors, such as the nature of the service and the type and size of the room, building, or facility that needs cleaning. Other factors that may influence cleaning costs include the types of cleaning supplies that will be used for the job, the current state of the space that has to be cleaned, and the labor intensity of the job.
Note that cleaning companies utilize different fee structures when charging for their services, the most common of which are hourly and square footage fee structures. As such, you should always find out the specific type of fee structure that will be applied to your service. It is also a good idea to get cost estimates from different cleaning companies for the job and compare these estimates before making your decision on which cleaning company to hire. Doing this gives you an idea of the going rate for your required cleaning service and also helps you spot cleaning companies that overcharge clients for their services.
Building and grounds cleaning workers in Nashville earn an average wage of $31,230 annually. A comparison of the average hourly wages of workers in Nashville's building and grounds cleaning and maintenance industry against those of workers in the rest of Tennessee and five other major cities in the country is provided below:Nashville Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$15.01Tennessee Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$13.63Chicago Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$16.44Houston Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$13.53Los Angeles Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$18.32New York City Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$19.09Washington D.C. Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$17.29
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
An important factor to consider when searching for suitable cleaning companies in Nashville is finding out whether the company offers the specific types of cleaning services that you need. Cleaning companies in the city typically offer a wide range of services, which include one-time or recurring cleaning, deep house cleaning, enhanced disinfection services, standard cleaning, moving in/moving out cleaning, office cleaning, apartment cleaning, green cleaning, and housekeeping services.
Always confirm that the cleaning company you hire is equipped to provide the particular type of service you need at the moment. It is also a good idea to find out the types of cleaning products that will be used for the job and make sure that they have been duly registered by the EPA. Finally, make sure that the cleaning company provides you with an estimate of the cost of the job before they commence the cleaning. Listed below are cost estimates of some common cleaning services offered by cleaning companies in the City of Nashville:Cleaning a typical four-bedroom home$79.70 - $88.60 per visitCouch cleaning$60.20 - $63.80 (for an average-sized couch)Graffiti removal and protection$1.30 - $2.30 per square footIndustrial cleaning services$25 - $30 per man hourJanitorial services$0.10 - $0.17 per square footMaid services/home cleaning$15 - $45 per hour (for each person)Medical office & healthcare facility cleaning services$0.12 - $0.25 per square foot
Contracting a cleaning company with cleaners that do not adhere to relevant COVID-19 regulations when providing their services not only compromises your health but that of your loved ones and members of the general public as well. More than 205,770 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the Nashville-Davidson area since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, with approximately 1,555 of these cases resulting in deaths. According to data published by the Tennessee Department of Health, as of February 2020, less than 70 percent of Davidson County residents had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with about 62 percent of these residents being fully vaccinated.
To this end, compliance with community guidance provided by the state's department of health is important to prevent infection and also avoid a resurgence of cases in the area. This guidance adopts federal guidelines and recommendations for the cleaning and disinfection of homes, workplaces, community buildings, and other facilities that are designed to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in the Nashville-Davidson area. These recommendations include the use of approved cleaning products and proper personal protective equipment as well as the procedure for carrying out cleaning and disinfecting activities and the frequency of these activities.
You can contact the Tennessee Department of Health at (877) 857-2945 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays to get information on COVID-19 guidance and regulations, and other coronavirus-related matters. Queries can also be directed to the Metro Public Health Department at:
- Lentz Public Health Center
- 2500 Charlotte Avenue
- Nashville, TN 37209
- Phone: (615) 340-5616
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Mondays to Fridays
While cleaning companies in the City of Nashville typically offer a wide variety of services, some of these companies may decide to focus on either residential or commercial services. Cleaning companies that focus on residential services typically specialize in the cleaning and disinfection of homes and residential buildings, and this type of cleaning does not usually require specialized tools or training. On the other hand, commercial cleaning companies typically focus on the cleaning and disinfection of commercial spaces and facilities like offices, schools, and apartment complexes, as well as medical and industrial facilities like hospitals, laboratories, and factories. Cleaners that provide these commercial cleaning services generally use specialized supplies and equipment suited to the specific nature of the facility that is being cleaned and also undergo work-related training on how to properly handle this equipment.
The City of Nashville does not require commercial cleaning companies to obtain any special licenses before offering their services to interested parties. However, per local laws, if these companies also offer services that involve collecting or transporting construction, demolition, or industrial waste by means of a vehicle, then they will be required to obtain a city-issued private collection permit. This permit can be obtained by completing and submitting a Private Collection Permit Application Form to:
- Metro Waste Services - Business and Finance
- Private Collection Permits
- 1600 2nd Avenue N
- Nashville, TN 37208
Queries concerning the private collection permitting process can be directed to (615) 862-2410 or (615) 862-4600. Note that cleaning companies may also have to obtain additional state-issued permits from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). These permits are usually required for businesses that are involved in the handling and disposal of environmentally-significant materials, such as sludge, medical wastes, hazardous wastes, pesticides wastes, industrial wastes, and friable asbestos wastes. Queries concerning state-issued environmental permits and the requirements for obtaining these permits can be directed to the TDEC either online or by calling (888) 891-8332.
Many owners and facility managers of commercial properties in Nashville have recently begun to lean towards hiring union cleaning services due to the advantages that come with contracting with these services. These advantages include having access to a steady stream of cleaners that have up-to-date training certifications and are also adequately insured and bonded. These unions, which include the SEIU Local 205, also afford cleaners several benefits, such as better working conditions, fairer wages, and access to scholarship programs, all of which translate to happier cleaners, and in turn better cleaning services.
As such, even though contracting a union cleaning service may cost you more than hiring non-union cleaners, the advantages of these union cleaning services typically make up for this cost difference. In addition, you may face pressure from unions and other external sources to discontinue any arrangements that you have with non-union cleaning services if you hire non-union cleaners, which can lead to an interruption of your business activities, and ultimately result in financial losses.
It is important to make sure that your home or workspace is properly cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected after a COVID-19 infection has been confirmed within its space. This cleaning and disinfection should ideally be done before people are allowed to re-enter the contaminated space. Note that it is your responsibility to let any cleaning company you contact know the specific reason for reaching out to them and get confirmation that they offer enhanced disinfection services designed to effectively rid contaminated areas of the coronavirus. You should also ensure that the cleaning company you hire follows the recommendations of the Tennessee Department of Health's community guidance to ensure the proper cleaning and disinfection of your home or workspace after a COVID-19 outbreak. These recommendations include:
- Using only EPA List N Disinfectants for the job. These are disinfectant products that have been determined to be effective against all strains and variants of the coronavirus SARs-CoV-2
- Following the label directions on all cleaning products used
- Wearing faces masks, disposable gloves, and other appropriate personal protective equipment during the cleaning, sanitization, and disinfection activities
- Ensuring that the cleaning and disinfection focuses on areas that were occupied by the individual diagnosed with COVID-19. Special attention should also be given to high-touch surfaces in the home or workspace. These include, but are not limited to, doorknobs and handles, sinks, toilets, faucets, light switches, phones, keyboards, and tables
- Cleaning visibly dirty surfaces with detergents before sanitizing and disinfecting these surfaces
- Making sure that the area is properly ventilated when disinfectants are being used, especially if any of the occupants are prone to asthma attacks
- Making sure that gloves are worn when any trash is being handled and disposed
Using appropriate cleaning supplies and equipment is necessary for effective cleaning and disinfection. The types of supplies that will be suitable for a cleaning job generally depend on factors like the item or surface to be cleaned, the method of cleaning, and the environment of the area being cleaned. For example, acid-based cleaning solutions are typically best suited for cleaning industrial facilities, while medical facilities will usually require nontoxic, odorless, and easy-to-use cleaning agents. Generally, four types of cleaning agents are used in the City of Nashville, and these are:
Abrasives typically come in powder or liquid form and they are chemicals that are used to scratch off stains from hard surfaces like floors and toilets. Acids are the most potent types of cleaning agents and they are typically used for descaling or the removal of mineral and hard water deposits on surfaces. Acid cleaning agents have to be diluted correctly before use and they can be dangerous if they are not handled carefully. Degreasers are solvents that are used to remove grease and organic stains from different types of surfaces and they are commonly used for the cleaning of commercial kitchens. Finally, detergents are water-soluble cleaning agents that have a wide range of residential and commercial applications. Detergents are the most commonly used type of cleaning agent and they typically come in powder, gel, liquid, or crystal form.
Note that, in addition to the aforementioned cleaning agents, cleaning companies also commonly use tools and equipment like vacuum cleaners, mops, disposable rags, and brooms for their activities. Likewise, the use of supplies like sanitizers and disinfectants may also be required to properly rid your home or workspace of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microbes. It is a good idea to inform your cleaning company of any allergies that you may have so that they know to avoid using products that can trigger these allergies.
Per state requirements, any cleaning company that operates in the City of Nashville and has five or more employees must secure workers' compensation insurance coverage for these employees. However, in addition to this state-mandated insurance, it is advisable to ensure that the cleaning company you hire has additional liability insurance coverage to cover third-party accidents and injuries, theft, or property damage that may occur during your project. Failing to do this can make you liable for any detrimental work-related events that occur during your cleaning job, and this usually leads to unwanted out-of-pocket expenses as well as possible legal issues.
To this end, before hiring any cleaning company, always request a copy of their insurance certificate and make sure this insurance covers you and your property. The insurance plan should include general liability insurance to cover the cost of any injuries that happen on-site or damage to your property caused by the company's cleaners, and employee dishonesty insurance to cover theft and other dishonest employee acts. It is advisable to contact the insurance company that issued the insurance certificate to validate them and to also find out the extent of the cleaning company's coverage.
In September 2019, media station Action News 5 reported that a woman around the Nashville-Davidson area had been duped for hundreds of dollars by a cleaning company. According to the report, the cleaning company had initially charged for a simple cleaning job, before allegedly discovering mold and mildew growth in the attic, and proceeded to increase the cleaning bill to factor in the cost of the mold and mildew removal. The cleaning company had even shown pictures of the mold growth, which were later discovered to be stock photos downloaded from the internet. Similarly, in February 2021, WSMV News4 Nashville reported the arrest of a home improvement contractor in the area on fraud charges for failing to deliver services that had already been paid for by at least three different homeowners.
These stories serve to underscore the necessity of taking precautions when searching for cleaning companies in Nashville to ensure that you end up retaining the services of legit cleaners. These precautions include:
- Avoiding door-to-door cleaners. You should consider getting referrals from friends, relatives, or utilizing online platforms like the Better Business Bureau when searching for cleaning companies in Nashville
- Making sure that the cleaning company you intend to hire has met all necessary regulatory requirements for conducting business in the city. You can do this by contacting the Davidson County Clerk's Office at (615) 862-6254
- Getting estimates for the cleaning service from no less than three different cleaning companies and comparing these estimates. Look out for marked discrepancies and be wary of any cleaning company that cannot satisfactorily explain why their rates are significantly different from other companies in the area
- Requesting references from your preferred cleaning companies and contacting these references to get reviews and testimonials on the company. You can equally utilize third-party websites the Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp to look up reviews on the cleaning company
- Confirming the cleaning company's insurance status before finalizing any hiring agreements with them
- Requesting a written contract for the service and ensuring that it contains details like the cost of the job, the nature of the services to be provided, and the types of cleaning materials that will be used. Read and review this contract before signing it and make sure that the cleaning company does not deviate from its terms without prior approval from you. Note that any agreed-upon deviations should equally be documented
- Avoiding cash payments. You should also never pay the full cost of the cleaning service before it commences, and limit any down payments that you make to a maximum of 10 - 20 percent of the job's total value. Final payments should only be made after the service has been satisfactorily provided
According to the Tennessee Attorney General's Office Division of Consumer Affairs, more than 820 complaints concerning home improvements, shoddy service delivery, and failure to deliver already paid-for services were made by consumers across the state in 2020. You can file complaints concerning these types of matters that occur in Nashville with this division online or by submitting a completed Consumer Complaint Form, either via email or regular mail to:
- Division of Consumer Affairs
- Tennessee Attorney General's Office
- P.O. Box 20207
- Nashville, TN 37202-0207