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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 3, 2007 / 17 Tamuz, 5767

Hire a cleaner who won't clean you out

By Vicki Lee Parker


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Since moving into a new and roomier home, I have received several fliers from companies offering to clean my house.

According to the Home Cleaning Centers of America, a national franchise business, residential house cleaning has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. It is approaching $20 billion in annual revenue, with a projected annual growth rate of 20 percent.

I disregarded the first two ads. But about the time the third flier arrived on my front porch, I realized that my many family and work obligations were quickly taking priority over dusting and vacuuming.

Apparently, I'm not alone.

This year, the local Better Business Bureau has received 4,831 inquiries about cleaning companies.

During the past 12 months, there have been only six complaints, said Beverly Baskin, president of the Eastern North Carolina bureau.

But she cautioned consumers not to read too much into the low number.

"People should always check with us first, because any single company might have a problem," she said.

To get some advice on finding a good cleaning company, I checked with Angie Hicks, founder of online-rating service Angie's List, and Bruce and Sarah Vance of North Carolina, who have run a cleaning business for 16 years.

Their advice:

  • Get quotes from at least three companies. You will get a wide range of prices based on the size of the home, number of bathrooms, type of decor, amount of clutter, number of pets and number of people living in the home. At the Vance's business, a 3,000-square-foot home would cost $85 to $115 for service every other week. But don't just compare fees; compare the services that are included in the price.

  • Avoid taking an estimate over the phone. Under most circumstances, a cleaner will need to walk through your home to give you a realistic estimate.

  • Ask for a business address, not a P.O. box. If problems arise, authorities will need a physical address to contact the company. Don't fall for the excuse that the company doesn't want to give an actual address because cleaners work out of a home. Remember, the cleaning company knows where you live.

  • Ask to see a copy of the company's certificate of insurance. If the company declines, you should move on to the next one. The certificate should show proof that the company is bonded and has workers' compensation and insurance coverage. The workers' compensation coverage will ensure that you are not responsible if the worker has a work-related accident in your home. A lot of people forget to ask about that, the Vances said.

  • Ask if the cleaners subcontract the work or use temporary employees and make sure they perform background checks on employees.

  • Request references. Make sure the reference is a repeat or longtime customer.

  • Ask whether the company has its own cleaning supplies or if you should provide them. If you provide the supplies, the price should reflect that.

  • Communicate with the company. Tell the cleaners what you expect and find out exactly what the fees cover. Ask what is considered basic coverage and what is extra. Get an agreement in writing.

  • Try to be there the first time your home is cleaned to offer feedback and make sure things are going as expected.

So how do you find the right cleaning service?

First, decide whether you prefer an individual cleaner or a chain or franchise.

An individual is often cheaper and will do customized work. If you hire an individual, it's important to do your own criminal background check. Make sure you are not obligated to withhold taxes or make Social Security payments. It could come back to haunt you.

You might consider a large company if you want to have a regular cleaning time: The service company can send a substitute if the regular cleaner is out. Service companies also might know more about cleaning products. They also tend to have more insurance coverage. However, they often cost more because of their overhead expenses.

A few more tips:

  • Ask friends and neighbors for references.

  • Contact a national cleaning service franchise. Larger ones include Merry Maids (www.merrymaids.com), Molly Maid (www.mollymaid.com), Maid Brigade (www.maidbrigade.com), Home Cleaning Centers of America (www.homecleaningcenters.com) and The Maids (www.maids.com).

  • Check Web sites that rate service companies, such as Angie's List (www.angieslist.com/AngiesList/) and Service Magic (www.servicemagic.com). Note that there is a nominal fee to get access to Angie's list; Service Magic is free.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Vicki Lee Parker is a columnist for The News & Observer. Comment by clicking here.

Previously:

Teach children smart money tips that will keep them busy all summer long
Warning: Don't trust the ATM
Reasons to beware of ‘We Buy Homes’
Too wise to fall for a scam
Untethering cell phone from carrier
Re-check your credit card rewards
Treasure might be buried in medical bills
Tax-time saving tip: Free filing is available
College money is waiting; don't procrastinate
Extended warranties rarely worthwhile
Too busy for tax planning? It'll cost you


© 2007, The News & Observer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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