Urban Company woman cleaning glass

As a new working mom, I have finally decided to seek extra help to relieve some of the chores around the house. The first cleaning company that I decided to try out is none other than Urban Company after successfully getting influenced by social media advertisements. 

It was my first time engaging with a part-time cleaning company, and I did not know what to expect, except I know I wanted to keep to a budget of under $100 per month.

I also did not want to commit to any advanced payment schemes, since I am not fully convinced that I cannot manage simple housework with just a small family of 3. 

urban company app screenshot of the cleaning services

Urban Company House Cleaning Cost ($27)

For the Part-time Maids & Cleaning service on the Urban Company app, you get to select if you would like to “book by hour” or “book by room”, with a list of specific tasks such as ceiling fan cleaning and kitchen cabinet organisation under “other chores”, more on that later. 

Cleaning rate: $27 per hour

The regular hourly clean rate is at $27 per hour.

The hour clean option starts at a minimum of 2.5 hours for homes around 400 to 550 sq ft, which is about the size of a 2-room HDB.

For my house, a 4-room HDB at around 1,000 sq ft, it was recommended on the app to go with 4 hours of cleaning. However, we decided 3 hours will suffice since I prefer to do some of the tasks like baby or clothes-related chores on my own.

Urban Company Cleaning Promo Code

If you were to select the last time slot at 6pm, it will be at a discount of $6 off total charges, regardless of the number of hours selected.

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Asian woman cleaning the floor in the living room

Urban Company Cleaning Subscription Plan

I started on the subscription to a 3-hour cleaning session that will happen every 4 weeks last month, so this will be the 2nd session with the same assigned cleaner.

If you book recurring clean, you will also save $8 per session.

What I like about the subscription plan is that I do not have to pay a lump sum in advance, as it is paid per session, and I get to also edit each booking according to my needs, such as adding on the different chores if required.

You can also select the recurring clean to happen once every week, or once every 2 weeks too.

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A bucket with cleaning equipment stands

Urban Company Cleaning: Book by room

You have the option to build your own package based on the “book by room” option to select the number of bedroom and bathroom you need help with cleaning, with addition of other chores as well.

A simple selection of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 living room, and 1 kitchen cleaning would total up to $116, which costs more than a 4-hour cleaning at $108. 

For Urban Company services list on “room cleaning scope”, it tells you what will be included in the cleaning, and what will be not included, with an estimated amount of time it would take to complete each room.

If you add all of the time required to clean a whole 4-room HDB, with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 living room, and 1 kitchen, it will amount to 240 minutes, which is 4 hours.

Hence I find that it is totally not worth it to book by room.

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close-up shot of baker cleaning workplace from flour with brush at baking manufacture

Urban Company Cleaning: Book by chores

When I book by hour, I get to also instruct the helper to do tasks that are excluded from the “room cleaning scope”, such as cleaning the ceiling fan and window cleaning, since those tasks are my priority.

I will then skip other tasks like dusting high surfaces, as I dust and wipe down on a regular basis anyway.

I would be keen to try out the kitchen cabinet organisation task that starts at $27 per hour, note that this price point is also the same as the hourly clean rate.

What I like about the Urban Company app is that I can find all the information I need about the process of the task. 

For example, what I can expect for the kitchen cabinet organisation process is for all of the items to be removed from cabinets and drawers, with the interior wiped and clean to be free from stains and grease, before the items are returned back into place.

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urban company helper cleaning ceiling fan in a HDB

Urban Company Cleaning: Punctual

I think it’s really down to the individual helper that you get assigned – but my helper from Urban Company was definitely punctual.

She was almost half an hour earlier than expected, so no complaints about this. Additionally, my helper also texted me on the same day to confirm the booking with me.

When it is near the time of booking, I could track my helper just like how you would track the location of your transport.

This is a great feature to have since I can be prepared in advance based on the estimated time of arrival, which is also included and reflected on the app in minutes.

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urban company cleaning tools in a suitcase

Urban Company Cleaning Tools

On the Urban Company app, it states that the cleaning tools provided will be 4 types of cleaning solutions, 4 sets of cleaning cloth, a vacuum cleaner, a squeegee, an extendable feather duster, as well as sponges.

The 4 types of cleaning solutions are non-toxic and bio-degradable, both child and pet friendly. They include all-purpose solutions, heavy-duty degreaser, and toilet bowl cleaners.

However, you could also get the helper to use your set of cleaning tools instead.

Can provide your own cleaning tools

After my first experience with the cleaning service, I realised that the glass partition in my toilet was still covered in soap scum. I made a note to my helper to let her know that I will provide the proper cleaning solution for her the next time.

So on the second cleaning service, I handed her a trusty bottle of vinegar cleaner (1:1 vinegar with water ratio) and told her to use it for the glass, the faucets, as well as the mirror too. The result was great!

There was no more nasty soap scum and she also commented that the cleaner was effective too.

When it comes to cleaning the kitchen countertop, she would ask me for 2 kitchen clothes, which I appreciate very much, since I would not want any random cloth to be used for food-handling safety.

I got her to help with ironing the clothes, and yes I provided her with the ironing board and iron.

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urban company cleaner helping out

Urban Company Cleaning Experience

Be specific with your instructions & expectations!

In my first experience with the Urban Company cleaning service with the assigned helper, I gave very general and brief instructions at the start, such as cleaning the surfaces and floor for all of the areas.

I also told her to help with changing bedsheets only for the master bedroom and provided her with the bedding set. Both bathrooms were also included in the cleaning too.

The result was subpar, as I did not bother micromanaging along the way and was occupied with work.

When she was in my line of vision, I noticed how she was cleaning around the items, without bothering to move or lift items up. I made a mental note and would then give clearer instructions the next time.

top view of clipboard with checklist letters near laptop, plant and cup of coffee on table, e-commerce concept

Give helper a checklist

Things are a bit better for my second experience, as I created a checklist of tasks in specific.

Instead of briefing her about the whole checklist of tasks all at once, I instructed her on a room-by-room basis, so that there is no way for her to conveniently forget about it.

I also included specific areas that are often overlooked such as cleaning the wardrobe drawer tracks and night lamp, so that I could clearly tell the cleaning efficiency with a before and after.

There are still some spots that she missed, such as the bidet spray and showerhead, which were still covered in water stains.

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bed with urban company's cleaning help

Urban Company Cleaning Service: Verdict

Here is a breakdown of how I would rate the assigned helper as a whole, based on both experiences in these specific categories:

Punctuality: 5/5

When the booking time is at 6 pm, the helper was at the door by about 5.40 pm, as I was tracking her location via the Urban Company app. She stood outside waiting for me, as I was caught up with the heavy traffic and trying to get back as fast as I could.

Efficiency: 4/5

With more detailed instructions given, the helper was able to follow through and be up to the task. She would also ask me to check after she was done with a room when I happen to be nearby.

However, she would stick closely to the set amount of time that is required for each task, instead of being flexible. For example, she would take about 45 minutes to clean each bathroom, based on the recommended duration set by Urban Company.

However, my family of 3 uses the master bathroom more, and the common bathroom does not require as much work in terms of cleaning, since it is less used.

Perhaps, I could point it out so that she can focus more cleaning efforts in the master bathroom next time.

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cleaning close up before and after details of a fluted lampshade

Attention to detail: 3/5

When specific tasks are highlighted to the helper, she would put in more effort to clean those areas. There are some spots that she would miss out on, since I would only briefly check right before she leaves, only to realise that some water stains are still there when I am using the toilet. She would also selectively move certain items to clean, maybe she is worried about damaging them.

Taking initiative: 3/5

I am still on the fence about including this category of “taking initiative”, as taking initiative can be both good and bad, depending on what your priorities may be. 

The helper took the initiative to put my baby’s toys back in place before my baby was back at home since my baby has the habit of throwing them out from the playpen in the living room.

When my baby threw out more toys, she also initiated picking them up while she was in the middle of cleaning the other room, which I appreciate very much.

In our home office, we have 2 very different study tables, I mentioned to her to get her help in cleaning the regularly used study table, instead of cleaning both of them.

However, I happened to see her cleaning the study table that was used as storage, which is clearly not what I intended for her to do, as that would mean the whole process of taking down all of the random items before wiping the table, and it was just a waste of time to me.

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Privacy: 5/5

Helper is generally polite and friendly, she will usually ask and clarify before proceeding with the cleaning of any room.

There was an incident where I realised that there was a red packet that was left in the master bedroom with $80 cash still intact when the helper left.

I did not feel much of an intrusion of space, since it was the helper was only for 3 hours, which is pretty much bearable. It helps to plan the cleaning time around your family’s schedule, to ensure that it is not intrusive nor disruptive. 

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screenshot of urban company app with reviews of helper

Urban Company Cleaning: Reviews-centric

Rated 4.85 out of 5 with over 54 bookings and 36 reviews (as of 27 July 2023), some of the reviews revealed that the assigned helper is new to the job and may be quite careless in leaving things behind or missing out on some spots.

However, the majority of the reviews centered around the helper’s friendliness and willing to learn nature.

At the end of both cleaning sessions, the helper requested for a 5-star rating, similar to how you will experience at the end of a Grab taxi ride.

The rating metrics are in increments of 0.5, so even when I wanted to give a 4.88 rating (to help boost my helper’s ratings, without giving a maximum rating), I unable to do so.

I would give up 6 times of trials with the same assigned helper, hoping that each experience gets better. On the Urban Company app, I am able to also select on “Best available helper” if my assigned helper gets overbooked.