How to Hire a Good Cleaning Service in Austin
Austin has seen almost 200,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in 2020. In light of this, regular and thorough cleaning, as specified by the CDC requirements, has become something of a ground-rule. Hiring a registered professional cleaning firm would ensure that these requirements are followed to the letter and assure you that your home and workplace are safe and properly sanitized. In order to get your money's worth on the best home cleaning contractor near you, make sure your cleaner provides favourable answers to the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Cleaning Service in the City of Austin?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Cleaning Services in the City of Austin?
- What Types of Cleaning Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Comply with the City of Austin's COVID-19 Regulations?
- Do You Provide Commercial Cleaning Services for Non-Residential Buildings in the City of Austin?
- Do You Engage Unionized Cleaners for Non-Residential Buildings in the City of Austin?
- Do You Offer Covid-19 Disinfecting Services in the City of Austin?
- What Cleaning Supplies Do You Use?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Cleaners in the City of Austin?
It is critical to ensure that any cleaning contractor you choose complies with all relevant government regulations before you hire them. The City of Austin does not require a particular permit or license for a small-scale residential or commercial cleaning business. However, cleaning services still have to fulfill certain requirements as any business would. Such requirements include selecting a business structure, paying business filing costs, and appointing a registered agent. A registered agent is a legal contact person for the cleaning entity who can be served with any process, notice, or demand that is necessary or permitted by law. The registered agent must consent to act in that role and must be available during regular business hours in a Texas office.
After those are all taken care of, the cleaning contractor has to settle on a legal company name. This entails performing a Google search for the suggested business name to confirm that it is not already in use by another company. The cleaning company would also need to check with the Texas Secretary of State and the US Patent and Trademark Office's TESS - the Trademarks Electronic Search System. If the business name passes these, it can be registered and trademarked. Registration involves downloading the appropriate form and submitting it to the Texas Secretary of State SOSDirect portal. The Internal Revenue Service will also require an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the cleaning contractor for taxation purposes.
For more information on how to open a cleaning business in Austin, Texas, please contact the City of Austin Department of Economic Development at (512) 974-7800 or visit its office at:
- Department of Economic Development
- 5202 E. Ben White Boulevard,
- Suite 400
- Austin, TX 78741
It should be mentioned that the cost of cleaning and maintenance services in Austin is primarily determined by a number of factors. The size of the home or facility that needs cleaning, the type of cleaning required, and the existing state of the area that needs cleaning are all factors to consider. Similarly, some cleaning companies may charge hourly rates for their services, while others may charge a flat fee. As a result, before making any employment arrangements with your desired cleaning contractor, you should always seek clarification on their billing structure. You should also seek quotations from several cleaning contractors in Austin to get a good idea of what the going rate is for cleaning services in your area.
A cleaning contractor in Austin earns an average wage of $30,830, annually. A comparison of the average hourly wages of workers in Austin's building and grounds cleaning and maintenance industry against those of workers in the rest of Texas and five other major cities in the country is provided below:Austin Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$14.82Texas Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$13.77Los Angeles Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$18.32Chicago Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$16.44Houston Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$13.53Phoenix Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$15.26Washington D.C. Cleaning Contractors Average Hourly Wage$17.29
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The sort of cleaning service you require should determine which cleaning professional you employ. Deep house or spring cleanings, moving in/moving out cleanings, and regular room or complete apartment cleanings are just a few of the services that cleaning firms in Austin provide to the city's people. Enhanced disinfection services, live-in housekeeping and maid services, green cleaning services, and holiday cleaning services are all offered by some cleaning companies that focus on specialized services. As a result, it's critical to learn about the services that your desired cleaning provider offers and ensure that these services are compatible with your home's cleaning requirements.
Before agreeing to any cleaning service contract, find out what types of cleaning supplies will be used for the work and how much the cleaning contractor's services will cost you. The following are some typical Austin cleaning service cost estimates:Cleaning a typical four-bedroom home$25 to $50 per hourUpholstery cleaning$86.00 and $261.00Pillow cleaning$2.85 per itemGraffiti removal and protection$1.41 - $2.38 per square footCommercial cleaning services$140 - $300 flat rateJanitorial services$0.10 - $0.18 per square footMaid services$84.00 - $283.00 (for each person)Medical office & healthcare facility cleaning services$0.13 - $0.26 per square foot
The City of Austin has seen over 1300 deaths since the pandemic began in 2020. As of February 2022, Austin had an infection rate of 0.57, a positive test rate of 10.3 percent and a vaccination rate of 78 percent. While this vaccination rate has had a positive impact on the city's Community Transmission Rate, which is a combination of the number of total new cases and the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests in a county over a seven-day period, it is comparatively lower than some other US cities.
As part of measures to contain the coronavirus, a set of guidelines for businesses are in place to protect consumers and employees, preserve adequate workforce capacity, help residents understand the stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide recommendations on what they should do to keep safe in business spaces. As such, it is extremely important that you ensure your cleaning contractor is conversant with Austin's COVID-19 regulations. To get more information about COVID-19 and vaccination in Austin, contact Austin Public Health via email or visit their administrative office at:
- 6800 Burleson Road
- Building 310, Suite 295
- Austin, TX 78744
- Phone: (512) 972-5000
Unlike residential cleaning contractors, who primarily handle the cleaning and disinfection of houses and domestic dwellings, commercial cleaning contractors typically specialize in the cleaning and disinfection of offices, workspaces, fitness and daycare centers, industrial and medical facilities, and whatnot. Cleaning contractors who want to offer exclusively commercial cleaning services in Austin do not currently need an occupation-specific license. Businesses in Austin that collect, remove, or transport waste, recycling, or organic compost from commercial premises, on the other hand, must get a Private Hauler License from the Austin Code Department.
You should always ensure that your prospective contractor meets these requirements before employing them. For enquiries about the licensing requirements for commercial cleaning contractors, you can reach the City of Austin Development Services at (512) 974-2747 or (512) 974-2380 or by visiting the department's office at:
- City of Austin Development Services
- One Texas Center
- 505 Barton Springs Road
- Austin, Tx 78704
Queries related specifically to the city's Private Hauler License can be directed to the Austin Code Department at 311 or (512) 974-2633.
When cleaning a commercial building in Austin, it is crucial to find out if your cleaning company uses union members. This is particularly helpful in avoiding disruption of your project by such unions or losing money on non-unionized janitors who wouldn't be allowed to work. Other benefits of employing a union cleaning service include regular training and certifications of members and proper insurance coverage for workers.
While there are currently no unions in Austin specifically for cleaning workers and janitors, the Texas AFL-CIO is a state labor federation made up of 235,000 connected union members that speak up in support of working families in Texas. They work in the legislative and political spheres to ensure that all workers, union and non-union, have a fair opportunity. They also assist unions in recruiting new members and manage community service, volunteer, and educational activities.
To prevent the coronavirus from spreading further, you must clean and disinfect your home properly and professionally as soon as a COVID-19 infection is confirmed among residents or regular visitors of your home. As not all Austin cleaning providers offer COVID-19-related cleaning and disinfecting services, it is your obligation to ensure that your desired contractor does so in accordance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. These prerequisites for properly cleaning a COVID-19 home are as follows:
- Follow the rules set forth by the CDC, Texas, and Austin Public Health.
- Clean surfaces with soap and water on a regular basis.
- Use EPA-registered disinfectants as directed on the label.
- Use caution when fogging, fumigating, or spraying electrostatically large areas.
Always confirm that your cleaning contractor is not only aware of these regulations, but actually follows them when cleaning and sanitizing your house or business. You should also pay close attention to the disinfectants that will be used for the task, and double-check that they are on the list of disinfectants permitted by the EPA.
Cleaning supplies vary depending on the technique of cleaning, as well as the item, surroundings, and surface to be cleaned. While an acid-based cleaning solution is required in an industrial setting, residential buildings demand a nontoxic, dissolvable, easy-to-use, and odorless cleaning solution. In general, there are four types of cleaning chemicals that are frequently used:
Abrasives are substances or chemicals that clear debris from hard surfaces by rubbing or scrubbing. Acid cleansers are the most potent cleaning agents and should be handled with caution as they can be extremely dangerous and corrosive if not properly diluted. Degreasers, also known as solvent cleaners, are used to remove grease from surfaces. In the past, methylated spirits were routinely employed, but non-toxic, non-fuming degreasers are now utilized to avoid chemical contamination. Detergents are the most popular form of cleaning agent and are used to break up dirt or soil, making it easier to wash away.
Cleaning alone may not be enough to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and fungi from your home or office. Sanitizing, using bleach, iodine or quaternary ammonium compounds (quats or QAC), after deep cleaning is advised to help avoid cross-contamination, bug infestations, and allergic reactions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, building cleaning and maintenance employees in the United States suffered 307 fatal occupational injuries and 64,790 nonfatal occupational injuries in the year 2020 alone. While your cleaning project is ongoing, there is a possibility that the contractor you engage, or a third party, will be hurt. As a result, it's critical to ensure that the cleaning service you are considering is fully insured. Similarly, no matter how professional and attentive these contractors are, there is always the danger of damage being done to your property during the job.
If any of the work-related incidents mentioned above occur during the cleaning of your house or facility, it will be to your benefit if the cleaning contractor you employ is properly insured, as this will cut down on the number of unbudgeted charges you will have to pay. Working with properly insured cleaning experts also provides you with a sense of assurance about their professionalism.
While cleaning services in Austin are not required to carry insurance, it is a great idea to make sure yours does, whether it is Commercial General Liability or Workers' Compensation. You should request a copy of your landscaper's insurance certificate to ensure that the professional is completely insured for any injuries or unintentional property damage that may occur during the project. These documents should also be confirmed with the appropriate insurance carrier. Call the Texas Department of Insurance's customer service line at (800) 252-3439 for more information on insurance policies for cleaning services.
In February 2022, CBS Austin published a report detailing the experience of a Texan residing just outside of Austin who was charged ten times the average amount for chimney cleaning. San Marcus Chimney Sweep, a shady cleaning company, had pocketed $1000 from this unsuspecting man for a task that had cost him only $140 two years before. Scams of such nature are not uncommon, especially amongst older homeowners.
When choosing a cleaning service in Austin, you need to take some precautions to avoid being a victim of a home cleaning scam or other fraudulent activity. Here are some things to consider before hiring a cleaning service:
- Take your time to ensure that the professional you choose to work on your property has a physical address, that's not a storage facility or someplace in the middle of nowhere. If difficulties emerge, make sure you can locate the cleaning service who worked on your home.
- For your project, get at least three bids and compare them carefully. The cheapest bid isn't necessarily the best deal. Getting multiple estimates allows you to ask more questions about your project and set a price ballpark. If you explore several companies and ask questions, you'll be better prepared to make an informed decision. It is wise to walk away if a firm or contractor puts pressure on you to choose them. A trustworthy company will stand behind the work it has done and the reputation it has built. They will never make a client do their work for them.
- Request and verify references, and obtain lists and images of similar projects to yours. Verify that you were recommended to this cleaning contractor by a credible source. Check to find whether anyone you know has really used them or if you've merely heard about them in passing. Getting a referral from someone who has worked with them and had a pleasant experience is more reliable than hearing about a company or relying on marketing and promotions.
- For information on your cleaning contractor, use a reliable Internet platform like the Better Business Bureau. Check to discover whether the cleaning company you are thinking about hiring has any bad reviews, complaints, or unresolved issues. If a complaint has been filed, confirm that it has been resolved satisfactorily before choosing that cleaning service.
According to the Texas Attorney General's Office, if you experience the following with any cleaning contractor, you are likely being scammed:
- If they contacted you, be cautious. You can only really know who is on the other end of the line when you call a company. When someone contacts you first, though, you have no way of knowing if they are who they say they are, as it is possible to forge email addresses and caller ID information.
- If they present you with a contract that has blank spaces in it. Do not sign a contract unless you have thoroughly read and comprehended all of the terms. If the blanks are eventually filled in, the new conditions are likely to be unfavorable to you.
- If they try to pressure you into signing a contract, be very suspicious. The agent should be willing to leave the contract with you so that you can thoroughly evaluate it at your leisure. If someone rushes you or attempts to force you to sign on the spot without leaving you a copy to read, you should be wary of that person and the contract.
- If their pricing is significantly lower than those of their competitors. Inquire about the quality of the materials to be used and the work to be performed. A low bidder may not plan to cover all of the precise jobs you want or may utilize very inexperienced workers or inferior materials. The majority of genuine bids should be within a reasonable range.
You can contact the Texas Attorney General's Office to report cleaning contractor scams or register complaints by calling (800) 621-0508, using the office's online consumer complaint platform, or sending a hardcopy complaint form to the office's mailing address at:
- Office of the Texas Consumer Protection Division
- 300 W. 15th Street
- PO Box 12548
- Austin, TX 78711-2548
You can also report such scams to the Austin Police Department by calling (512) 974-5000 or going to their office at:
- Austin Police Department
- 715 E. Eighth Street.
- Austin, TX 78701