A lot of people ask about what happens if something goes missing in your home or is damaged. The short answer is that Slate will stand behind claims of theft or damage that are unequivocally the result of your Keepers actions and only those. Here's the long answer.
Let's stat with what happens when something is damaged.
The most common case is when your Keeper accidentally damages something. Obviously, we train all of our Keepers in how to properly handle delicate items and share with the team what the most common things that get damaged and how to prevent it, but we all make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes end up in pieces on the floor.
In this case, she will notify us and we'll notify you. We can decide how to deal with it depending on what it is; we can replace it or we can give you a credit. If the replacement/credit value is over five hundred dollars, we'll have our insurance company cover it. So, if we break it, we pay for it. This is how nine out of ten cases of damaged stuff gets resolved. We resolve this type of claim lighting fast because they are so rare and so easy.
The less common case is when you find something broken at home but were not notified. Unless there is a camera or other unequivocal proof that the damage was caused by your Keeper, Slate is not responsible for this damage. I'll explain why below.
Cases of missing things are both rarer and more difficult to solve.
As a guide, about three hundred of our Keepers have cleaned over 100,000 homes in a few years and we can count with one hand the times when things went missing. Two of those instances were clearly the result of our Keeper and were immediately resolved by returning the missing items and the few others were claims of things disappearing without proof that they either existed in the first place, or were the disappearance was the result of dishonesty by the Keeper.
The limit of our liability with regards to damaged or missing things when it is clear that your Keeper committed theft or damage is more than generous, as covered by our insurance policy. If it's clear we damaged your Picasso our insurance will cover it's replacement cost (up to the limits of the insurance coverage). That's exactly why you want to deal with a company that carries insurance. If your Keeper is caught on video removing that Picasso from the wall and walking out the door with it, our insurance will cover it.
When it's not absolutely clear, Slate is not liable. So, if you come home and notice that your Picasso is gone or damaged but don't have a camera that shows that our Keeper took it or damaged it, Slate is not responsible.
Slate is not assuming a liability that would not exist if you were in a direct relationship with a cleaner. On the flip side, we will cover any claim of theft or damage that is clearly done by your Keeper; a benefit that you most likely not get with a cleaner you hire and manage directly.
Here's why: we guarantee a process, not an outcome. We guarantee that we will do all the things you would when hiring someone, and then more. We'll hire from a pool of trusted referrals, we'll screen applicants by checking their references and their backgrounds, we'll meet them face to face to see if we get that warm and fuzzy feeling, and we'll monitor their performance throughout their employment. That process generally results in working with a Keeper that is honest and hard working.
However, no process will guarantee an outcome because we are dealing with people. If anyone tries to sell you on the outcome, be wary of it.
When our friends ask us what we recommend to keep their homes safe from incidents of theft or damage by cleaners, whether it's a Slate Keeper, another cleaning company or a friends cleaner that they hired directly, this is what we recommend:
- vet the company's vetting process
where do they hire from? for example, it's much better if they source from trusted referrals rather than posting on craigslist. do they call previous employers to get a character check? do they meet face-to-face?
- ask for a hire sheet
when a company hires a new cleaner they should have all the information they found during the vetting process. if you want to know who will be in your home you should know what the companies knows.
- put your valuables away
seems obvious but so many people overlook this. for example, put away your diamond earrings.
- install a camera
Opening the door to a stranger (and despite all the vetting, we are all still strangers, just less strange) in your home is something we take incredibly seriously at Slate. The fact that you are trusting us with the keys to your door is the single most important asset we have, as valuable as our Keepers.