Please scroll down to see my September 2012 update. Though my original review was positively glowing, I have completely reversed my opinion.
It’s time to get jealous. I scored the best review opportunity ever. The EcoMaids came and cleaned my house! Oh sure, I’ve been envious of those bloggers who have gotten free dishwashers, refrigerators, and electronics equipment to review… but the EcoMaids came and cleaned my whole entire house. Eat your hearts out!
I met Jessica from EcoMaids at a Mommy Networking Night set up by Kelly from Albany Mommy at Tumbling Tykes. She told me that she was looking for bloggers to review their services, and wanted to know if I would be interested? Would I be interested? Heck yeah! Life got in the way for both of us for a while, and we played email tag and Twitter tag. The EcoMaids were booked up until Thanksgiving by the time we reconnected at another networking night, and then it was nearly Christmas when we got back in touch online. (It was truly a comedy of errors!) Thankfully, I did not have holiday company coming to our house, so I didn’t care whether or not the house was cleaned by Christmas. I asked Jessica to set up my cleaning for the following week.
D-Day in the Gleason Home
The EcoMaids arrived a few minutes before 9:00 am on Tuesday, December 29, 2009. (A day that will live in infamy! The mess was defeated!) We had a team of three eco-friendly housecleaners. Erin was the team leader, and she was accompanied by Jillian and Tara. (I hope I got everyone’s name right!) They were very friendly, and I’ll definitely be requesting Erin’s team the next time I need the EcoMaids to come in.
I have to tell you… My house was a messy place. Very messy. So messy that it was embarrassing. My mother-in-law always took the mess in stride when she came over, but my mom has a way of making me feel guilty about it. Whenever she comes over to babysit TJ, Tom and I do a speed cleaning to get everything look as put-together as we can manage… which is still not really “clean.” Dust was caked on our bathroom floor behind the toilet. Grease from cooking had dripped down our kitchen cabinets. I had a pile of clothes, papers, and other assorted items piled on my dresser. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and my anxiety manifests itself terribly when it comes to cleaning. (The OCD tendency to hate dirt means I don’t want to touch it, which is really counter-productive.) And my poor husband works hard enough to have to worry about keeping the house spotless as well. We’d come to accept the mess as the status quo, which is not really a good thing.
And then the EcoMaids arrived.
My house is CLEAN now. Like… really clean. We’re talking not just a clean kitchen counter and living room floor. We’re talking clean baseboards, no cobwebs on our amazingly high vaulted ceiling… They even cleaned the ash out of the insides of my candleholders! My house wasn’t even this clean when we bought it. (The previous owners left quite a mess.) You can check out their full residential cleaning checklist to see what else they did.
The EcoMaids were here for eight hours. That’s got to give you an idea of just how much work they did here. They were amazing. I gave them a free pass on two things: the oven and my desk. I failed to mention that we had company coming over around 5:00 and that I was making baked ziti for dinner, so cleaning the oven at 4:00 just was not an option. That wasn’t their fault; it was mine. And with a self-cleaning oven, I think we’re fine. My desk? Erin was practically twitching to get her hands on it, but they just ran out of time. And besides… the disaster that is my desk isn’t really something that someone else can take care of for me. It’s something I have to do by myself. Even my husband doesn’t know what’s safe to throw out and what isn’t. But Erin told me to ask for her specifically the next time we need service, and I won’t let her down. Next time, my desk will be ready for her!
Do you want to see my house? I’ll take you on a video tour. If you are prone to motion sickness, close your eyes when I get to the stairs.
How awesome was that? There are floors and surfaces we hadn’t seen for months. And what’s better? The EcoMaids use environmentally friendly cleaning products and have a green cleaning philosophy that most other cleaning services can’t even come close to.
I nearly had a heart attack when I asked Jessica how much this cleaning would have cost me if it wasn’t bartered for the review. The initial cleaning would have cost – are you ready for this? – $159 before tax. Are you kidding me? Subsequent monthly visits would cost me $129 each for the same type of service we got this time. The only way this seems plausible to me is if they make up the loss on clients like us (with super messy houses that take forever the first time around) on subsequent visits where they’re only here for two or three hours. In any case… yes please! Honestly, we were all guessing that this would have been a $400+ job.
I was literally giggling like a schoolgirl when I saw my freshly cleaned home. And I can have this every month for $129? I never thought I’d be able to afford a cleaning service, but I was pleasantly surprised! If I can get one more blogging client who needs at least two posts per month, that will pay for my housekeeping! EcoMaids, I think I love you. (Erin, my desk is waiting for you!)
The EcoMaids are headquartered in Albany, New York, but they’ve recently opened several franchises across the United States. You can find the EcoMaids in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Raleigh, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Marietta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; Sarasota, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; and they will be opening soon in Fairfield, New Jersey. If you live in any of these areas, and you need someone to come in and clean for you, the EcoMaids come highly recommended. From a real mom who is a really terrible housekeeper.
Update: September 2012
I’ve been agonizing over whether or not to update this review, but I feel it is my responsibility as a blogger to paint the rest of the picture. This review gets a lot of search traffic, and it would be irresponsible of me to leave this on a positive note.
The EcoMaids no longer clean our home.
Ultimately, the decision was made when management of the Albany EcoMaids location changed hands and nullified the barter agreement we had set up to exchange cleaning for blogging. But before that happened, Tom and I had been discussing whether or not we should pull the plug on the arrangement.
For over a year, we were very happy with the EcoMaids cleaning service. Then something changed, and things went downhill fast. One of the housekeepers broke our dishwasher. I still don’t know exactly what type of cheap plastic utensil it was, but something that was either “top rack only” or not dishwasher safe at all was placed on the bottom rack near the heating element. The plastic then melted and solidified over the entire drain. The dishwasher would run, but it wouldn’t drain afterward…and it didn’t take long to figure out that this meant we couldn’t use it at all. You can’t even imagine the smell.
Jessica said that they would take care of repairing the dishwasher for us, since they were the ones who broke it. But in the process of discovering that a repairman couldn’t fix it – the dishwasher would have to be replaced – Jessica ended up in jail after pleading guilty to grand larceny in a mortgage fraud scheme. My new contact concerning the dishwasher issue did not offer money to replace it, and we went several months without a working dishwasher because we did not have the money to replace it. We still didn’t have the money when we finally did get a new dishwasher, but we ended up financing it because we just couldn’t keep up with washing the dishes by hand. Without a working dishwasher, the EcoMaids had stopped washing dishes during our service visits – despite the fact that it was their fault it wasn’t working in the first place.
Cleaning service itself started to decline, and it felt like the EcoMaids didn’t care anymore. They forced a change in our barter arrangement because they said it was taking too long to clean our home, but it seemed to us that less of our house was getting cleaned even after I started doing more work on their blog.
But the real kicker was when one of their employees stole from us. I would use the word “allegedly,” but it is a fact. I did not bring the matter to the police, because I wanted it handled quietly, but I was probably 24 hours away from making a police report when the stolen item was miraculously returned to us.
It was TJ’s Nintendo DS. I know which employee took it, because she had been talking with TJ that day about how her kid likes Pokemon, too, and that was the game inside the device at the time it was stolen. The game system had been on the TV stand before the EcoMaids arrived. It was nowhere to be found when they left. I’d been out of the house when they first arrived, and we just didn’t notice the DS was missing until TJ tore the house apart looking for it later on.
It took me a few weeks before I was satisfied that it wasn’t hiding somewhere in the house. I informed the EcoMaids that it was missing before they came to do our next cleaning service. I’d thought this would give the thief an opportunity to return it inconspicuously without having to admit fault. This didn’t happen.
I was in communication with the EcoMaids after this, telling them what day the DS had disappeared, allowing them to know which two of their employees had been in their house. I was told to file a police report and that they would cooperate with the authorities. As I was still blogging for them and concerned about bad PR when it became a matter of public record, I replied that we just wanted to get his DS back, and I was willing to do this quietly if possible. If it couldn’t be returned, I wanted it replaced.
I didn’t hear back from them for weeks after describing the color and model, along with the exact game that was inside. With no satisfaction yet, I asked TJ if he would make a video for me. For his privacy, I will not share it here, but it was a tearful plea for the return of his game. HIS game, the one with his saved progress, all the Pokemon he’d captured, and all of the badges he’d earned. I wanted them to know that this wasn’t just a theft of property; something very important to my son – the focus of his Asperger’s-related obsession – had been taken from him. I know times are tough, but you don’t steal from other people’s children.
And then, some time later, I went out to my Kia Sedona and found TJ’s Nintendo DS tied to my driver side mirror in a nondescript plastic bag. As the EcoMaids were the only ones to see TJ’s plea for the return of his game system, this was proof enough to me that I was right about the identity of the thief – especially since they didn’t get in touch to let me know when their liability insurance would shell out the money for a replacement. So it was returned in the end, but the fact of the matter remains that one of their employees stole from us.
So the EcoMaids are the ones who terminated the arrangement we had, but it was a decision we were about to make anyways. I can no longer, in good conscience, recommend the EcoMaids to anyone – at least not the EcoMaids in Albany, New York.
Tags: cleaning, review