charankanya on January 30th, 2011

In the last 6 months I don’t think I’ve been able to have a single conversation with my friends without discussing my “maid problem”.   By now I’m sure all of them must be thinking that something must be wrong with me, since how can a single person have maid problems for such a long time.  Sometimes, I wonder that too.

I have tried all types of incentives that I can think off….increasing pay after few months; bonuses for staying on for 1 month, 3 months; school fees for their kids…but nothing seems to work.  I have also been offering almost Rs. 1000 more than the going rate.  I know for a fact that I have brought down my standards of cleanliness a LOT!  But nothing seems to work.  I am still without a maid.

In my experience, higher pay only attracts all the lazy maids.  Once they accept the job, they don’t want to show up on time, want to work fewer hours, or want the amount of work reduced.  Or if they happen to be the hard working type – their work is just plain shoddy, and they don’t like to be told so.  It’s been more than 6 months, and I have yet to find a maid who used to work like the one I had previously.

So if you have a good maid….pay her more and hang on to her.   And please share what kind of “extra” things you do, that makes your maid loyal to you.  If you know of any reputable agencies for  maids, or professional cleaning servies for home….do tell.



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5 Responses to “Maids: Does higher pay = better work?”

  1. Thank god I’m not the only one. My husband thinks I’m nuts because nowadays most of our conversations revolve around the maid since that’s all I seem to talk about! But seriously the maids here are driving me up the wall. To be honest I’m so sick of the whole thing that I’m just doing more stuff on my own and trying to reduce my dependence on them, which, as my daughter grows older, seems to be working better than trying to find a good maid.

  2. Ask me! I was at home for a while pondering over whether to quit my job and put up my feet at home. A few encounters with my maids (2 new recruits to be precise) sent me scrambling back gratefully to the corporate world. The first new recruit was hired to report to work at 7.15 a.m. The salary was negotiated for 1 1/2 hrs of work. Now two months later, she waltzs in at 8 a.m. and I am forced to hire my old trusted maid who retired on health grounds just to supervise this new maid. If you get very familiar with them they will open their woes and on quite a few occasions, I have come perilously close to being awfully late to work. One should listen to their woes, no issues about it, but what about the nervous breakdowns one suffers when the clock shows 8.05 and the bell announcing the maid has not yet rung? I have taken two wise steps. One – taken a hefty medical insurance. Two – reconciled to maids taking leave once a week.
    This may be useful to some of you… in the course of a rare conversation with one of my new recruits, she enlightened me that maids preferred doing one or two extra chores but they dread the ‘khit-phit’ dished out to them by some.

  3. Give your maids the same rights/holidays that you expect at your workplace and then expect the same that is expected from you at your workplace. Professionalism should be shown by employer as well. Now, unlike you, your maids generally did not get a degree or education on how to be a maid-servant…they learn their tactics from other maids. So you have to educate and inculcate the habits. Yeah it is hard work but you (that who can afford to employ a maid(s)) needs to acts as an agent-of-change for India of future.

  4. If you are going to hire a full time maid, local is not the best. The only people I’ve found who are happy with their “maids” are those who bring a “baddur” from Nepal. These are night watchmen who have shown themselves to be honest and hard working. You have to train them, and give them room and board. They are much better than locals. A baddur lives with you in India and sends most of their money back to their families. They leave for a month or two per year. Get more than one and stagger their leave time.

    I may be spelling the word baddur wrong, but that is how it is pronounced. You have to get them on reference. Nice houses with servants’ quarters tend to have them. They cost around 5000 rupee per month in salary, and then there is the room and board, but they do a much better job and are available any time. They are also far less likely to steal. Think of it as the difference between a butler and a simple maid service in the West.

    If you don’t have the space for servant’s quarters, but have friends who do, you might be able to work something out where you can get one for a few hours a day or something. You can also set up something where the baddur trains your maids, which is what I did.

    Paying extra only works if you know them already. My maids are better than most, but that’s because I hired two wives of trusted warehouse workers. I pay them 50% more than the standard rate. Part of that is to cover travel from their village to my condo, while the rest is incentive to stay. They do a good job because I’m paying around 80% of their family’s income. I use my mid-managers, and those in friends’ companies, to tell me what the real cost of living increases are so I can increase their salaries accordingly. Every now and then I give them an old pot/pan, extra produce or a toy for their children.

  5. Maids in the small town where I live in India are giving me headaches and I have stopped hiring any at all. I had issues with both coming in late and not cleaning or being what I call dust&grime-blind.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am no cleanliness maniac but where I am from clean is clean is clean and ayahs or maids know how to do their job, not that they have been trained to do it, but they like to keep their job place as clean as their home. A home a maid cleans where I come from smells nice and fresh. And one need not explain to them what to do, or they even feel almost offended.

    They do have woes too and if you are a good employer one treats them almost as family (taking medical expenses, etc, as a responsibility).

    Oh if I could bring one of the maids I have had in other countries to India… I would do it without hesitating.

    Maid woes sound like we are spoiled women but are we? We have often made the choice of earning less than in the West to come to India because our heart tells us to. Personally, I wish to contribute to employing someone in India and having a good relationship with my employee. I am just asking for cleaners to clean and for them to be as on time as I am to my own job.

    I struggle to understand why this cannot be so.

    Thanks for posting on this and all the advice you give. I finally feel I am not alone venting about a “maid problem”. 🙂 Keep posting, please.

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