@Pomapoo: Several of my neighbors have maids, I do not but I have discussed this issue with them in great detail. Some use a big company (like Merry Maids), others don’t. My neighbors pay on average $100 – $150 per visit (I live in the Midwest) and the maids come twice a month, so about $200 – $300 per month. If they come weekly, they charge a bit less per week but you are still paying them to come more.
Most of my neighbors are home when the maid comes, because I live in an area where most moms stay home (I work). The ones that are not home give them a key; something I personally would not be comfortable doing, but I guess if it’s a big company is safer than if it’s someone that just works on their own.
The maids clean, but will not pick up, if you know what I mean. So if you DH leaves his dirty underwear on the floor, the cleaning ladies will clean around it. I find it comical when my neighbors are scrambling to clean before the cleaning ladies come!
What they actually clean depends on your agreement or contract. For example, you have to specify if want them to dust that they have to pick up items (vases, etc) and dust under them, not just around them. You may just want them to clean the “common” areas (kitchen, bathrooms) and not the bedrooms. They usually vacuum every visit. If you have wood floors, how are they cleaning those? Mop or on hands and knees? My one neighbor has her cleaning lady “deep clean” once a month, which involves cleaning all the baseboards, windexing windows, dusting the ceiling fans among other things, and she pays extra for that.
The nice thing is that your house is all clean at once. However, I think most people are mistaken that it means you don’t have to do anything until the next time they come, unless you have them coming weekly. The bathrooms especially don’t stay clean until their next visit for example.
I do have to warn you that I have had neighbors that had issues with their cleaning ladies stealing from them. One lady stole a checkbook and was writing checks to herself. They discovered it on their bank statement the following month but by then the woman was gone and there was nothing they could do. This is why personally I would prefer to use a large company. It doesn’t totally prevent that but I think it does make it harder.
Also, large companies have insurance. What would happen it someone gets injured at your house? If they do not have insurance then your homeowners insurance would cover their medical bills. You also need to find out the policy on if the cleaning lady breaks something of yours. Find out if they bring in their own equipment, or do they use yours (do you have to buy the cleaning supplies? This is what most companies do)
Hopefully that will give you some ideas of what’s involved. It’s more than you think. Good luck!