Get Quotes from Top Cleaning Services in Houston, TX
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Cleaner in the City of Houston
Over 865,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,000 deaths have been recorded in the City of Houston and across Harris County since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, properly cleaning and disinfecting your living and workspaces help slow down the spread of the virus, especially in situations where someone in these spaces has been confirmed COVID-19 positive. In addition to keeping your home and office healthy and safe, hiring a professional cleaning company to organize and clean your space also frees up your schedule and increases your productivity.
However, to make sure that the money you spend on hiring a professional cleaning company in Houston is properly utilized, you need to consider factors like licensing, insurance, and compliance with cleaning guidelines. To this end, you should always ask the following questions before contracting with any cleaners in the city:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Cleaning Service in the City of Houston?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Cleaning Services in the City of Houston?
- What Types of Cleaning Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Comply with the City of Houston's COVID-19 Regulations?
- Do You Provide Commercial Cleaning Services for Non-Residential Buildings in the City of Houston?
- Do You Engage Unionized Cleaners for Non-Residential Buildings in the City of Houston?
- Do You Offer Covid-19 Disinfecting Services in the City of Houston?
- What Cleaning Supplies Do You Use?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Cleaners in the City of Houston?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Cleaner in the City of Houston
The City of Houston does not issue any general or specific occupational or business licenses to cleaning contractors. Nonetheless, cleaning and janitorial companies that wish to legally operate in the city need to meet certain requirements before they can do so. These requirements include registering their business entities and filing a Doing Business As (DBA) Certificate locally, and obtaining a Texas Sales and Use Tax Permit from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Office.
Cleaning companies that are structured as sole proprietorships or general businesses are typically required to file a DBA certificate with the county clerk's office of each county where they maintain a business premise or conduct business. On the other hand, cleaning companies that are structured as corporations, limited partnerships, or limited liability companies are typically required to only file the DBA certificate in the county where they have their principal office. Note that cleaning companies that fall under this category may also be required to file a separate DBA certificate with the Texas Secretary of State. County clerk offices for the City of Houston can be contacted at the following locations:Harris County Clerk's Office
201 Caroline Street
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (713) 274-8600
Fort Bend County Clerk's Office
301 Jackson Street
Richmond, TX 77469
Phone: (281) 341-8685
Montgomery County Clerk's Office
210 West Davis Street
Conroe, TX 77301
Phone: (936) 539-7885
Likewise, applications for state-issued sales and use tax permits can be submitted to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Office online via its eSystems platform. First-time applicants will be required to create a user profile on this platform before they can commence the application process. You can direct queries concerning Texas sales and use tax permits to the state's Comptroller of Public Accounts Office at (800) 252-5555.
It should be noted that Houston cleaning contractors and companies may need to meet additional local, state, and federal business registration requirements before conducting business in the City of Houston. Queries concerning these business registration requirements can be directed to the city's Office of Business Opportunity Solutions Center (OBOSC) at:611 Walker Street
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (832) 393-0954
Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays
You can also contact the OBOSC via the information provided above to find out if your intended cleaning contractor has met all necessary regulatory requirements for operating in Houston. Queries concerning this subject can also be directed to the city's Office of Economic Development at (832) 393-0937 or (832) 393-0981.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that cleaners in the City of Houston earn an average wage of $28,130 annually. Nevertheless, the rates that cleaning contractors in the city will charge you for their services are largely dependent on some factors, such as:
- The type of cleaning service that you need
- The type of building or facility that needs cleaning
- The frequency of these cleaning services
- The size of the building or facility
- The current state of the building or facility
- The type and cost of cleaning supplies that will be used for the job
- The labor intensity of the cleaning job
To this end, it is always a good idea to get cost estimates from several cleaning contractors in the city before deciding on one to hire. Compare these estimates and select one that is best suited to your budget. However, note that you should not automatically select the contractor that provides the lowest estimate, especially if their quote is markedly different from those of the other contractors. In many cases, this is usually a sign of fraudulent behavior, as unscrupulous contractors typically provide low-cost estimates to get unsuspecting clients to retain their services, only to hike up prices once the job commences.
Building and grounds cleaning workers in Houston earn an average wage of $28,130 annually. A comparison of the average hourly wages of workers in Houston'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:
Finding out the exact nature of services that a cleaning company offers and making sure that these services fit your specific needs helps you avoid misunderstandings with your cleaning contractor down the road. Professional cleaning companies offer interested parties a wide variety of residential and commercial cleaning options, which include but are not limited to regular cleaning, deep cleaning, move-in and move-out cleaning, office cleaning, and apartment cleaning. Some of these companies also offer specialized services like enhanced disinfection, live-in housekeeper and maid services, special event cleaning, green cleaning, and after-death cleaning services. Therefore, before finalizing hiring arrangements with any cleaning contractor in the city, make sure that they confirm that they not only provide your required cleaning service but also have the right supplies and tools necessary to ensure satisfactory service delivery. Finally, make sure that you are given a clear idea of how much these services will cost you. Listed below are average cost ranges for some cleaning services that are frequently requested in the City of Houston:
As of February 2022, over seven million COVID-19 vaccination doses had been administered in the City of Houston and across Harris County and approximately 71.8 percent of residents of the area had received at least one dose. Positive COVID-19 cases in the Greater Houston Area have also continued to drop, with an average of 1,743 new cases reported in the week of February 14, 2022, compared to a seven-day average of 2,305 recorded the week before that. Nonetheless, it is essential to make sure that any cleaning company you contract within Houston still complies with relevant local guidance during the execution of their cleaning services, particularly the Harris County Public Health Department's Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Facilities. This guidance provides recommendations aimed at ensuring the proper cleaning and disinfecting of residential and commercial premises and ultimately curbing the spread of the coronavirus in the city. These recommendations include using soap and water to clean dirty surfaces before disinfecting them, waiting at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting buildings with a confirmed COVID-19 case, and ensuring that there is proper air circulation during cleaning and disinfection activities.
Inquiries related to Houston COVID-19 general public guidance and recommendations can be directed to the Houston Health Department at (832) 393-4220 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, and 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Queries can also be directed to the Harris County Public Health Department at (832) 927-7575 from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays, and the Fort Bend County Health and Human Services Department at (281) 633-7795 from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays.
While many professional cleaning companies in Houston typically offer both residential and commercial cleaning services to interested parties in the city, some of these companies may specialize in solely handling residential or commercial cleaning. Cleaning companies that focus on handling the cleaning of commercial facilities like offices, medical and healthcare facilities, and industrial facilities generally require specialized tools and cleaning supplies that are better suited to these types of spaces as opposed to residential dwellings. These commercial cleaning services typically cost an average of $10 - $20 per hour, per person. Note that these rates may be influenced by factors like the size of the facility and the type of cleaning service that will be required.
Also, there is no separate business licensing requirement for commercial cleaning contractors or companies in the City of Houston, and both residential and commercial cleaning contractors must undergo the same business registration process. However, per Title 5, Subtitle B of the Texas Health and Safety Code, commercial cleaning companies that are involved in the removal or disposal of medical, industrial, or hazardous waste may be required to obtain a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Information on these state-issued permits as well as the requirements for obtaining them can be gotten by contacting the Waste Permits Division of the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality at (512) 239-2335. Queries can also be directed to the Region 12 location of this office at:5425 Polk Street
Houston, TX 77023-1452
Phone: (713) 767-3500
Over 6,000 janitors and cleaners in the Greater Houston Area belong to SEIU Texas, which is a local union dedicated to securing better wages, benefits, and working conditions for these individuals. Many commercial building owners and facility managers in the City of Houston typically favor the hiring of union-affiliated cleaning services, as they usually have well-trained and adequately insured cleaners. Union-affiliated cleaning services also typically have a low turnover of employees, thereby ensuring that you have a steady supply of professional cleaners that are familiar with your facility's layout and can also expertly handle its cleaning needs. It should be noted that there are no local or state mandates that require you to hire a union-affiliated cleaning service in Houston. Nonetheless, unions typically exert a measure of influence on cleaners and other service workers in the area, and working with a non-union service can lead to pressure from these unions to get you to terminate the contract. Sometimes, this pressure may be exerted through picketing outside your office building and drawing negative attention to your facility.
Per the recommendations of the Harris County Public Health Department's Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Facilities, homes or facilities with a confirmed COVID-19 positive case or cases should be properly cleaned and disinfected to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. However, not every cleaning contractor in the City of Houston offers COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting services. Therefore, you should always inform any cleaning company of the specific reason for which you require their services and also confirm that they not only offer COVID-19 cleaning but also have the right tools and equipment for the job. In addition, make sure that the cleaners strictly adhere to the Harris County Public Health Department's cleaning guidance, and the CDC's cleaning and disinfection guidance as well, during the job. Key areas of this guidance that should strictly be adhered to are:
- Closing off areas that were used by the sick individual
- Cleaning dirty surfaces with soap and water or with detergent before disinfecting these surfaces
- Ensuring that high-touch surfaces, like tables, doorknobs, phones, toilets, sinks, and faucets, are properly cleaned and disinfected
- Using EPA-registered disinfectants that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2
- Opening doors and windows during the cleaning to increase air circulation
- Using face masks, gloves, and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the job
- Waiting until rooms or spaces are empty before vacuuming them
- Turning off fans and central HVAC systems during the cleaning job to ensure that particles do not circulate throughout the building or facility
- Following the label instructions for all cleaners and disinfectants that will be used for the job
- Placing all used face masks, gloves, and contaminated PPE in lined containers before disposing of them
You should never hire any cleaning contractor or company that downplays the importance of these local and federal cleaning and disinfecting guidances. It is also a good idea to find out the types of cleaners and disinfectants that will be used for the job before it commences, especially if you are prone to asthma attacks or allergic reactions.
Using the right cleaning supplies and equipment goes a long way in ensuring the proper cleaning and disinfection of your residence or commercial facility. However, the right cleaning supply for a job is usually dependent on the type of surface being cleaned. Factors like the environment and the method of cleaning also affect the efficacy of these cleaning supplies. As such, while it may be okay to simply use soap and water to clean surfaces in a home, an industrial kitchen may require stronger agents like abrasives and degreasers. Likewise, healthcare facilities will typically require cleaning agents that are not only easy to use and non-toxic, but also easily soluble, odorless, and environmentally friendly. There are several types of cleaning agents that are available for use in the City of Houston, and these cleaning agents can be grouped into four categories:
- Detergents: these are the most common types of cleaning agents. They come in liquid, powder, gel, or crystal form, are good in removing soil and dirt and are suitable for a wide variety of surfaces in both residential and commercial buildings and facilities.
- Degreasers: degreasers are typically used in residential and industrial kitchens to remove stubborn grease stains that cannot be properly cleaned by detergents
- Abrasives: abrasives are cleaning agents that utilize scouring action to remove dirt and stains. These types of cleaning agents are typically only used on hard surfaces like floors, porcelain sinks, and toilets, as they tend to leave scratches on much softer surfaces
- Acids: acids are very powerful cleaning agents that are mostly used to remove mineral deposits from stubborn places. These types of cleaning agents are rarely used for regular cleaning due to their corrosive and harmful nature, and they must be properly diluted before use
Always find out the types of cleaning agents that your intended cleaning company plan to use when executing your cleaning job and make sure that they are appropriate for the situation at hand. Note that in addition to these cleaning agents, other supplies like vacuum cleaners, cleaning rags, mops, and scrubbing brushes will very likely be used for the job. Also, depending on the nature of the job, cleaning products like stain removers, disinfectants, and sanitizers may be required to ensure optimal service delivery. Make sure that you find out the types of sanitizers and disinfectants that will be used and confirm that they have been approved by the EPA and that they do not contain any components that you may be allergic to.
There are no mandatory local or state insurance requirements for cleaning contractors in the City of Houston. However, considering that more than 20 work-related fatalities were recorded amongst building cleaning workers across Texas in 2020 alone, working with duly insured cleaners is a prudent decision to make. This is because, hiring an uninsured cleaning contractor leaves you open to lawsuits if cleaners get injured on the job, as well as out-of-pocket expenses to cover any property damage that may be caused by these cleaners. Therefore, always confirm that your intended cleaning contractor has adequate insurance coverage before retaining their services. You can do this by requesting copies of their insurance certificates and contacting the organization that issued the certificates to authenticate them. Make sure that the cleaning contractor's coverage includes commercial general liability and workers' compensation insurance to cover the cost of third-party injuries and property damage, as well as legal claims that may be filed against you. It is also a good idea to hire a cleaning contractor that maintains janitorial bonds, which cover the cost of employee theft during cleaning jobs.
In 2018, local news house KPRC-TV reported that a carpet cleaner had been arrested and charged with stealing a wedding ring valued at $22,000 from a home in west Houston. Similarly, in February 2020, the Harris County District Attorney announced that a contractor that had taken advantage of over two dozen consumers that required cleaning and repair services in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey had been sentenced to 10 years in prison. According to the announcement, the contractor had stolen over $180,000 from residents and small businesses in the area. These stories serve to underscore the importance of keeping an eye out for fraudulent contractors and con artists when searching for cleaning companies in Houston. According to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America, home improvement-related complaints were the second most-reported type of consumer complaint made across the country in 2020. A large number of these complaints were reports of contractors failing to complete jobs that they had been paid for or not getting the job done properly. You can narrow down your search for professional and legit cleaning companies in Houston by taking the following steps:
- Get referrals to cleaning companies from trusted sources like family and friends. You can also utilize online resources like the Better Business Bureau and Google Review to search for cleaning companies in the city
- Do not hire cleaning contractors that show up at your home or office unsolicited. Sometimes these contractors may offer relatively cheap rates to get you to contract with them
- Always get cost estimates from no less than two to three cleaning contractors before making your hiring decision. Note that this decision should not be based solely on the estimated cost of the cleaning service
- Always request and check references from any cleaning company that you intend to hire
- Contact the Houston Office of Business Opportunity Solutions Center or the Houston Office of Economic Development at (832) 393-0954 and (832) 393-0937 respectively to find out if the cleaning company has satisfied all relevant business registration requirements
- Make sure that the cleaning company properly vets all its employees and that these cleaners are also adequately insured
- Avoid cash payments and do not make full payments upfront. Be wary of any cleaning contractor that asks for either of these
- Make sure that you are provided a written contract for the cleaning job. This contract should describe the cleaning service that is required, the type of cleaning supplies that will be used, and the cost of the job. Take the time to properly review the contract before appending your signature to it
- Inspect any cleaned and disinfected areas and make sure that the job was done properly and per the terms of your contract before making the final payment to the cleaning contractor or company
You can file reports on cleaning scams, home improvement scams, and other consumer-related matters that occur in Houston with the Consumer Fraud Section of the Harris County District Attorney's Office by calling (713) 274-5555. Consumer complaints can also be filed with the Texas Attorney General's Office, either by calling its consumer protection hotline at (800) 621-0508, by completing an online consumer complaint form, or by submitting a pdf complaint form via mail-in to:Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548