PostHeaderIcon “DIY” Maid? Finding a Maid on Your Own?

Since Uber and AirBnB, there are more and more disruptions in various industries. The maid industry isn’t spared as well.

I was told of certain websites helping employers find their own maids. I’ve my opinion on this and it is pretty UGLY!

I suppose it is a really good idea for employers to find their own maids - I will have less headache ;-) They can’t blame me if something goes wrong. They find their own maids, it has nothing to do with the agency! So, if anything goes wrong (which it will, according to Uncle Murphy), the employer has to solve her own problems. No agency will take on the case since the employer did not employ a helper through them in the first place.

But, let me back up a bit.

Employing a maid (I prefer the term “domestic helper” - as my respect for these great women who sacrifice for their families back home) is really not that simple. These websites really over-simplify things. And, in my opinion, over promise and under deliver. Most importantly, they will never tell you the potential problems you may have.

Firstly, any helper who are “unhappy” with their current employer can apply. It is just taking a selfie and uploading their personal details. To what extent does the website vet and check and interview the helper. None! So, how can the employers be sure the helpers are the real deal? Are they really that good in what they say they are?

Secondly, some of these websites tout themselves as “social enterprises” by saying that the helper does not have to pay any agency fee. So, they are doing social good. Think about it - if the helper did not pay any fee, do they have a vested interest to do well in their job? If it doesn’t work out, they lose nothing. Since they have nothing to lose, they may not be that committed. Think changing helpers again and again if you go this route.

Thirdly, the employers have to navigate and do the application by themselves. This is good if the employers are good with paperwork and are okay with all the hassle of it. They can save some money.

But, here is the part which makes them penny wise but pound foolish (in my opinion). When problems arise, no agency will help out in the case unless the employer is committed to getting a new helper through the agency. Think no more saving money!

Agencies are smart. They are in business for profits. Why would they take on a troublesome case for pennies? Worse, when it is not “their” helper. They would rather spend time on an “actual” customer. Not a “cheapo DIY” employer with a problematic helper. In all likelihood, in the agencies’ opinion, such an employer is really not worth the trouble. They will “happily” send such an employer her merry way to another agency ;-)

Of course, some readers may say I’m biased in my opinion. And, I am. However, if you really think through the few points that I’ve brought up - maybe you will reconsider your position.

Will “DIY” maid work out? Yes, it may. If the employer likes going through all the hassle of paperwork and finding the helper. And, the helper is genuine and sincere. Most importantly, the employer is “humane” as well. It’s been my experience that some employers expect the helper to take care of the baby, wash the clothes, cook, mop the floor, bring the older kid to school, “humour” Ah Ma, etc. I bet the Ma’am couldn’t do that either.

So, the starting may be good and well. But if the DIY employer is unreasonable in her demands, it is not going to work out ultimately. Doesn’t matter if it is DIY or not.

In my opinion, such disruptions in the maid industry is over-rated. There is really no real value created by such websites. Talk to the employers who have used such a site, and you’ll know the “real” pain they have faced.

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