Finding a maid


Find a reliable maid in Thailand

One of the great things about Thailand is that you can have someone clean the house, go shopping, take care of the bills, cook, do the washing and ironing, take out the garbage, and no end of other energy-sapping stuff without complaint (to you at least).

This someone is called a maid.

The best ones can speak some English, cook Thai food and a few western dishes, pay the bills, look after the kids and/or dog, do the shopping and all household duties without supervision. This type of maid will cost you between Bt6,000 and Bt9,000 a month.

The next level are ones with poor or no English, who can cook a number of Thai dishes, but generally need a few weeks initial training and supervision when it comes to household chores. They will cost you around Bt5,000 to Bt6,000 a month.

There are also part-time maids, who mostly work on a day rate, say three to five times a week for four or five hours. Their rates are between Bt200 and Bt400 a day.

Remember, besides wages, full-time maids will also be supplied with food to cook their own meals.

Other benefits should include one day off per week, as well as most public holidays, and a year�s-end bonus of a month's pay, although these are not mandatory.

So where do you find a maid who's not going to walk off with the silverware after two days on the job?

The real estate company, or building or condo management may have already lined up a maid when you move into your new house, apartment or condo. Be wary in these circumstances – sometimes these women have to pay a commission to the management and are, therefore, less motivated to work.

If the apartment comes with a maid left over from the last tenant, make sure you get a written agreement in Thai from the landlord or estate agent that says that her employment started on a certain date and that you are not liable to pay any severance pay should you find her not suitable. In some severance pay disputes, the maid and/or management has tacked on the number of years the maid has been handed down from one tenant to the other in the same apartment, leaving the new tenant with a hefty compensation bill.

Another source is your neighbours or friends. Their maid will just about always have a friend or relation willing to take on the job. Be sure to get some idea of her experience before you hire her, although this is no guarantee she will be suitable.

A third choice is an agency. There are number of agencies in Bangkok that find experienced maids for customers. The maid will generally cost a bit more, but if the agency is reputable if will offer guarantees and backup. Some even train maids to be in sync with the strange ways of foreigners.

Wherever you get the maid from, for security reasons take a few precautions. Take a photograph of her when she first starts work. A few maids arrive with a shy smiling demeanour and leave a few hours later with wristwatches, jeweleryand various household appliances. If one does decide to take off a few hours or days later, you have a right to search her belongings.

Get a good-quality photocopy made of the maid�s ID Card and make sure it�s her in the photograph. Get into the habit of putting your wallet in a locked draw. Don�t leave money and other valuables around to tempt fate.

If you finally find a maid who is reliable, honest and a hard worker, don�t be over-demanding, treat her with respect, and make her feel welcome by providing her with a pleasant room and a reasonable amount of freedom. Otherwise, she�ll likely bolt, and you�ll have go through it all over again.