- New York’s Little Elves
The battalion of professional Felix Ungars at New York’s Little Elves understand how to clean, for real. “We prefer,” notes owner Barbara Roche Fierman, “if our people have not worked for another cleaning service, so we can instruct them in our way of doing things.” (“Our way” calls for a cheery persona and an obsessive checklist method that ensures no missed smudges or broken Limoges. And commitment: Many of her staff members have stayed for decades.) Fierman charges a four-hour minimum, with an hourly rate of $34.50 per person; if three or more are needed for a huge job, then a crew captain runs an extra $42 per hour. (Conscience-saving note: Her staff is covered for workmen’s comp.) Fierman’s crews can use your supplies—“Everyone needs a good vacuum,” she cautions—or bring their own for an extra fee of $125 or so. The best part? She can often get you someone the same day you call.