charankanya on October 23rd, 2008

The previous posts dealt with how to interview your prospective maid.  This one deals with how much to pay her and how to negotiate the salary.  Also, feel free to share your opinions and experiences on how you went about hiring your domestic staff.

MYTH: Paying higher than market rate will get you loyalty.

FACT: Do not overpay. It does not buy loyalty. 

Your maid quit some other job because you were willing to pay more.  She will do the same to you, the minute the next expat/NRI family moves into the neighbourhood.  Paying more does not benefit you or the locals living in your building.  If your maid quits, you will still have the headache of training the next one you hire. STICK TO THE GOING RATE.

How to negotiate salary:

1.  Determing the going rate in your society/building from either the building manager or the locals in the building. (Not other expats/nri’s).  The going rate will either be by the job or by the number of hours. Example of the current rates in one of the high-end society’s in Pune are:

Rs. 500 per job per month – typically for cleaning jobs.  This translates into Rs. 2000 per month for a maid who would do the sweeping, mopping, dusting & cleaning bathrooms.  This would include cleaning windows, fans and cupboards occassionally.   If she has to do the dishes as well, then it would be Rs. 2500 per month. 

Rs. 400 per hour per month for unmarried girls or Rs. 500 per hour per month for married ones.  This is the typical rate for maids that help out in the kitchen, with the clothes and other odd jobs around the house.  The way to calculate this would be if your maid worked from 9am – 3 pm per day, it would mean 6 hours per day. So her salary would be Rs 2400 (6 x 400) or Rs. 3000 (6 x 500) per month.

2. Once you’ve settled on the timings and the job, ask her what salary she expects.  She will invariably ask you for how much you are willing to pay.  No matter what you say, she will bargain for more.  I always find it easier to tell them the following:

  • You will not be willing to work for me if I tell you that I will pay you Rs.100 per month.
  • You tell me how much salary you want.
  • I am not interested in bargaining.
  • If I can afford your rate, I will hire you. If I cannot afford I won’t hire you.

Insist on her telling her rate first.  Those that are exorbitantly high over the going rate, just tell them that you will think about it and get back to her.  Typically avoid hiring those, since they will probably work for you for a few weeks, saddle you with some untrained “cousin” of hers, and move on to the next higher paying job (and extract a commission from her “cousin” for getting her a job).

If her rate is just a little higher than the going rate, then tell her that you know what the going rate in the building is (tell her the amount), and that is what you are willing to pay.  You can inform her about any “perks” about working with you (paid days off if you will be travelling a lot, any included meals, any furniture/utensils/clothes/linens you won’t be taking back with you when you move back, etc).  Stick to the rate, despite any sob-stories you get.  For them, getting a job with you is a foot-in-the-door into the society/building you live in.  Typically, the buildings where most expats/nri’s live have a higher “going” rate than the building next to it.

If her rate is lower than the going rate, accept it.  Tell her that you will increase her pay after she is fully trained to your style of doing things (typically 1 -2 months) and you no longer have to spend a lot of time supervising her.  Explicitly tell her the amount by which you would increase it, so she doesn’t quit and go next door.

If you have any experiences or stories, do share them.  Even if you just want to vent out your frustrations about your maid…..

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