10/6/22 Update: C3 is a fully insured & bonded professional office cleaning company. We ONLY clean professional office spaces. Breakage does occur from time-to-time by employees. It's human nature. We fully document and communicate any damage. If needed, C3's insurance policy will take the claim.
Original Article: In my article, "5 Tips for Selecting your Next Cleaner", I stress how critical it is to hire an insured cleaning service. You will have tremendous peace of mind knowing that you, your family, and your property are covered if any bodily harm or property damage occurs due to my cleaning. This sounds great when you see it written, but it's vague. I've been cleaning for 15 years. In this article, I will share a few short examples of how I broke or damaged property and how we dealt with it.
Knick-knacks - In my first year, I had a client with a LOT of knick-knacks, especially in the kitchen. I decided early on to be a full surface cleaner, so I would move everything in order to clean under it. This house made me change my policy. I had to move close to 100 items to clean the kitchen every 2 weeks. It's no surprise that I broke 3 of them. I would slide them or bump them and it would crack or break. I told the owner each time. After my second break, she held back $20 from my cleaning check and fired me on the third.
Coffee pot - What happens when you attempt to clean a thin glass coffee pot in a slippery wet hand over a hard granite kitchen counter? The answer is a broken coffee pot. I told the homeowner. He ordered a new one and I asked him to dock the amount from my next cleaning. It cost $25.
Microwave plate - Do you know how brittle these plates are? I was cleaning one about 10 years ago and it bumped the granite counter and chipped! I told the owner right away and offered to pay for it. It cost $75 for a new one. She told me not to worry about it, although I offered to replace it many times. By the way, I've cleaned thousands of these glass plates and only broke one.
Toaster oven tray - I was going the extra mile for a client and cleaned an entire toaster oven including the metal tray. Unfortunately, I used a cleaning product that was alkaline and damaged the surface finish of the tray. It was clean, but damaged. I told the homeowner right away and offered to pay for it. She wanted me to do the leg work. I found the part online, ordered it, and took it to her. Then I discovered I ordered the wrong part. The tray was too big. I re-ordered it and got to keep the first one. Oh well. Problem solved for $50.
Storm glass & window screens - I've done window cleaning for 15 years and have broken a few storm windows and screens. This usually happened when I was removing old parts to clean. This was an easy fix. I found a glass dealer & repair shop to partner. Then I'd tell the client that I need to take the broken part to the shop for repair. I'd drop it off, pay between $20 - $40 to repair, and re-install in the home. The client was always happy.
Blinds - I was wrapping up a post-construction cleaning for a client moving into their new home. My detail was exquisite down to vacuuming out ducts. Unfortunately, three blinds cracked or broke while I cleaned them. They were not high quality. I should have recognized that prior to cleaning them. I told the homeowner and we decided to handle this through a partial reimbursement of her online payment. I refunded her $60 and she took care of the rest.
End table - This is the only damage claim that was not small. I use a backpack vacuum cleaner. These machines have a large footprint and you must be spacially aware. I was at the same house that I broke the coffee pot. While vacuuming the dining room, I was pushing in the chairs and backing up. That's when I heard a crash. A heavy lamp fell over on the end table. The lamp was fine, but the table had a 2 inch scratch. I immediately told the owner. He was not happy. This end table was a Stickly Audi end table worth $2,000! I felt terrible because the process took several hours for the homeowner to deal with. My insurance policy had a $500 deductible. I've always paid damages out of pocket unless it was over $500. This was the first and only time in 15 years. I gave my insurance information to my client. He called and had an adjuster come to see the damage. They were trying to get the table resurfaced, but the manufacturer was not able to do this. Thus, the adjuster had to provide my client with a replacement table. They chose a really nice one. I paid the $500 deductible. For the rest of my decade of cleaning for this family, they had a beautiful new end table and the old scratched one in the same room.
It may seem like I've broken a lot of things. Think of it this way. Auto insurance carriers write insurance because accidents happen. They realize it doesn't happen often, so they price to keep their insurance product profitable. General liability policies are the same. Property damage happens. I've cleaned thousands of homes and offices over my 15 years, yet I've only broken or damaged items in the tens. I hope you found this helpful!