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HomeHomes
Published: Wednesday, 9/13/2006

Know the Facts Before You Hire Home Help

(NewsUSA) - As Americans work longer hours and live more active lives, more homeowners are turning to cleaning-service companies for help with housework.

Choosing a company can be daunting, as there are nearly 22,000 cleaning-service options in the United States, ranging from self-employed housekeepers to nationally franchised chains. And few homeowners are aware of the legal issues that come with hiring a home service worker.

For example, whether you're paying your neighbor's son to mow the lawn or an independent housekeeper to clean, you may be liable if they become injured on your property. While homeowners' policies may cover medical costs, claims may affect future renewals and premiums. Also, most homeowner policies do not cover lost wages or disability.

Larger providers such as Merry Maids may be more costly than independent home service workers, but they can offer peace of mind and prevent substantial costs in the future. The nation's larger home-cleaning service providers diminish the risk of injury by following cleaning procedures that are in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. These professionals also carry workers' compensation coverage, which protects homeowners in case of an injury on their property.

To protect yourself from a personal injury suit or other liability, you should:

* Hire vendors that carry workers' compensation insurance.

* Reduce the risk of injury on your property by hiring professional services that comply with OSHA standards.

* Be wary of referral agencies. They may be professional service companies, but they may not directly employ the individuals who clean your home. There is no guarantee of supervision, employee training, proper equipment or supplies, insurance coverage or compliance with immigration regulations or OSHA standards.



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