House Cleaning Gone WildA bad economy often results in the creation of home businesses running under the radar. Occasionally we come across house cleaning businesses operating under the table, leaving home owners struggling.

Here’s what typically happens.

Bob and Mary lost their jobs. They are receiving a bit of unemployment money but they need more to pay their rent or their mortgage. If they go back to a legitimate—above board—job, they will lose their unemployment benefits, so they decide to start their own business, “under the table.”

Under the Table

“Under the table” refers to any business or job that exists on a cash basis only. When you work “under the table,” you don’t pay taxes or contribute to Social Security.

Bob and Mary figured it had to be easy to open a house cleaning business. After all, anyone can clean a house—right? So they gather up some rags, a mop, and a few bottles of cleaning products from the local dollar store, and they start gathering customers via word of mouth.

Let’s look at a few scenarios that are all too familiar with a business like Bob and Mary’s.

  1. They accidentally bump into a sculpture after finishing with house cleaningBob and Mary are actually pretty good at cleaning house—provided the homeowner doesn’t mind the unhealthy chemicals they are spraying all around their home. But Mary has a penchant for procuring things that aren’t hers. Yes, she steals from her customers.
  2. Bob and Mary don’t do a very good job cleaning. The floors are sticky when they leave, and the carpet doesn’t look like it was vacuumed.
  3. Bob and Mary do an okay job, but on the way out the door they accidentally bump into a sculpture that cost over $5,000.

These are just a sample of things that can go wrong when homeowners allow these “under the table” house cleaning businesses into their homes. These are common problems within the subject of house cleaning gone wild.

What can Bob and Mary’s customers do in their efforts to solve the three aforementioned problems?

Not much.

Sure, they can call the police and file a complaint against Bob and Mary for the stolen and damaged property. Unless Mary is caught with the stolen property, or it turns up later at a pawn shop and someone identifies Mary as the seller, there’s no way the stolen item will ever be returned to the homeowner, and there’s little chance Mary will pay for her crime.

Unless the homeowners have insurance that covers the valuables in their home—and one with a very low deductible—it’s likely they will have to replace the expensive sculpture from their own pockets. There is nothing they can do to hold Bob and Mary liable, because on paper, their business doesn’t exist.

Reputable House Cleaning Companies

Make sure when you hire a house cleaning company to ask whether they are part of a franchiseSo what should homeowners take into consideration when hiring a house cleaning company? It’s plain to see they shouldn’t hire “under the table” companies like the one run by Bob and Mary.

In this world of house cleaning gone wild, there are still some excellent options for hiring a reputable cleaning company.

Check out this scenario that is so very different from Bob and Mary’s.

Marco and Ana lost their jobs when the economy tanked. They picked up minimum wage jobs near their home because that was all that was available at the time. They cut back on everything they didn’t need to be spending money on, and they tucked away every dollar they could possibly save.

Marco and Ana decided they wanted to start a house cleaning company. Even though they lost their jobs, they maintained their good credit and had a bit of money saved. They researched buying a franchise through which to run a small house cleaning business.

That franchise provided Marco and Ana with everything they needed to run a legal, above board house cleaning business. The franchise protected them against some of the perils Bob and Mary ran up against.

First off, the franchise ran background checks on all the employees Marco and Ana hired. They also bonded those employees and insured the company, so that any mishap that occurred in client’s home was covered in full.

The franchise provided many additional benefits to Marco and Ana as they worked hard to make their house cleaning business succeed. They received ongoing training and marketing from the franchise. They saw their online presence grow from the website, social media presence, and blogs the franchise created on their behalf.

Before long, Marco and Ana realized they were running the small business of their dreams, and they knew they had a very secure feature to look forward to.

Bob and Mary or Marco and Ana

Who would you hire to clean your house? Would you want Bob and Mary’s house cleaning company coming into your home? Or would you prefer the security of a franchise house cleaning company like Marco and Ana’s?

The answer is a no-brainer, right?

Make sure when you hire a house cleaning company to ask whether they are part of a franchise. Are they insured? Are their employees bonded?

If the answer to these questions is no, find another house cleaning company.

The creation of house cleaning companies may have gone wild since the economy tanked a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean they need to go wild inside your home.

Take a moment to read this publication from the Small Business Administration about starting and managing a home-based business.