Before you call a cleaning agency for a quote, make sure to do a proper assessment of home, including any trouble spots that might require extra elbow-grease/scrubbing. For instance, area behind fridge, inside of the oven and/or shower/tub. Make a list of trouble spots, make sure you know the square footage and be aware of what your landlord will be looking for; my friend’s former landlord checked the inside of the fridge, the living room blinds, window tracks and made sure the toilets were clean.

If you have your rental agreement or lease, check to see if there are any specific stipulations to ensure you get your cleaning/damage deposit back.

Figure Out Your Moving Schedule

If you’re moving within the same city or your move won’t take you too far from your old place, it’s a good idea to arrange your move-out date so that you’ll have an extra day or two left on your old lease. It will allow you to move out of your home before the cleaners arrive. The cleaners can then have a vacant apartment/house to clean ensuring that no spots will be missed.

Clean thoroughly

One of the best ways you can ensure that you receive the damage deposit back is to clean the apartment/house thoroughly. I often plan to move a day before I’m supposed to move out to ensure I have one full day to clean the now-empty apartment. It’s hard to clean when you’re surrounded by moving boxes and when the movers often track in mud and dust and dirt. If you have time and are moving within the same city or town, plan ahead to take one day to clean. 

What to Ask Before You Hire Cleaners

First, tell each company what you need to be cleaned, the square footage and about any problem areas.

Ask them how many cleaners they can send at one time, how long the cleaning job will take and what time of day the cleaners would arrive. Some companies will charge extra to have more than one cleaner at a time. Also, ask if you’ll be charged a flat rate or per man-hour. Most cleaning companies will charge per man-hour. If you’re concerned about any young children or pets in the household, it’s a good idea to find out what kind of cleaner the company uses. Some companies will specialize in organic cleaning products that are safe for infants and pets, while others may use strong chemicals to make the job faster and easier for the workers.

Give Them a Tour Then Stay Out of the Way

When the cleaners arrive, give them a tour of your home and point out any trouble areas where they’ll need to scrub harder. If you have a list of cleaning jobs you need them to do, write them down so you can go over the areas afterward and the cleaners don’t need to remember what to do. Once you’ve given them the tour, get out of the way. Don’t make the cleaners clean around you.

Inspect the Job and Tip the Staff

When you return, make sure you inspect the cleaning job before you make your final payment.

If you’re not satisfied, talk to the staff or call the company directly. If you’re satisfied, make sure you tip the cleaners. Cleaning is not an easy job: a reasonable tip is 15 to 20 percent of the total bill. We tip our waiters and waitresses, hairdressers and movers, and cleaning staff deserves the same respect.