5 Things You Must Know About Keeping an Ayi in Shanghai

5 Things You Must Know About Keeping an Ayi in Shanghai
By Andrea Scarlatelli , eChinacities.com

Having an ayi (housekeeper) is one of the perks of living in China. Chances are high that most Westerners could not afford to hire weekly or bi-weekly cleaning services back in their home country. Thanks to the relatively cheap cost of labor over here, however, everyone from CEO's to English teachers can hire one. But there are a few things you should keep in mind when hiring an ayi in Shanghai. Read on for some basic guidelines for a harmonious (and clean!) home.

1) How much to pay
Rates obviously differ from ayi to ayi, but there is usually a rough range you can expect to pay in Shanghai. The range differs depending on a number of factors, including the frequency with which you want the ayi to come clean the apartment or house, the duties you want performed (For example, will she just clean? Clean and cook? Clean, cook, and baby-sit your children?), and the experience level of the ayi. You can arrange with the ayi beforehand whether she would prefer to be paid by the hour or by the month. The hourly charge can range from 10 to 20 RMB, while the monthly rate is roughly equivalent to the hourly rate times how many hours per month she visits.

2) Safety first
While most ayis (and clients) prefer to exchange a key to the apartment or house, don't feel obligated to do it if you don't feel completely comfortable with the idea. Giving the ayi a key provides flexibility for both you and the ayi – you don't have to be home while she is there, and she doesn't have to wait around for you (wasting her time as well as yours) if you're running late. While it's true that ayi horror stories abound from ayis abusing their key privileges, those stories represent the vast minority of experiences. As a safety precaution, however, you may want to lock up your valuables on the days the ayi is expected to come, or at least put your valuables out of sight in a drawer or cabinet. And again, remember that if you truly don't feel comfortable giving unlimited access to your apartment or house – don't.

3) Communication is key
It is important that you (or someone in your household) can communicate with your ayi, either via verbal conversation or written instructions. This prevents many mix ups or frustrations when trying to sort out basic arrangements. Some of these arrangements should be worked out before your ayi starts working or, at the very least, at the beginning of your working relationship, including: 1. Who will buy the cleaning supplies? Some ayis prefer to buy their own cleaning equipment and simply submit receipts every week or month for reimbursement, while others prefer the client to buy and replenish them as needed. 2. How will you arrange sick days? If your ayi cannot come due to illness, some clients prefer her to come at a different time once she's feeling better and if her schedule allows, while others just wait until her next scheduled cleaning day. It's also a good idea to decide how many sick days, if any, you are willing to pay for. Communicating all these things upfront with your ayi will help prevent potential problems from developing in the future.

4) The advantage of advanced notice
It is always polite to give advanced notice when you know you and your family will be away for a period of time. Beyond that, you must also decide exactly what you want to happen when you leave for a holiday. Do you want your ayi coming even if you and your family will be gone? If not, find out how far in advance your ayi would like to be notified that her services won't be needed for a certain period of time. If you forget to notify her and she shows up as usual, it's usually a good idea to pay her for a couple hours work anyway, since she made the trek out to your apartment or house. On the reverse side of that, think about how you want to handle holidays for your ayi. Public holidays such as Chinese New Year and Golden Week are usually times when your ayi will not be available for work. However, some ayis wait until they get explicit permission from the client to take off, while others don't show up because they assume they have off. Also decide if you are willing to give your ayi some paid holidays or if all of them will be unpaid.

5) Home vs. office
When looking for an ayi in Shanghai, many people resort to hiring the ayi that cleans their office building. This makes sense on a lot of levels, as one probably lives relatively close to one's work and some level of familiarity is already present. However, over the years I've discovered – both through my own experiences and my friends' – that ayis working in office buildings often don't make very good personal apartment or house ayis. This may have to do with the fact that an office requires a different cleaning style and a different focus than does a house or apartment. It could also be because an ayi who cleans offices is already so slammed with work that they simply don't have much time to dedicate to off hour jobs. Regardless of the reason, you are probably better off finding an ayi through friends' recommendations or word of mouth than through your office.

For a list of housekeeping companies in Shanghai click here.

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Keywords: finding an ayi in Shanghai how to hire ayi Shanghai housekeeper in Shanghai finding a cleaning lady in Shanghai


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Looking for a job? Email inez1270@gmail.com ????

Dec 30, 2020 09:02 Report Abuse



LoL! The normal rate for an ayi in downtown Shanghai is 20 RMB/h. So your ayi in Nanjing must über satisfied!

Nov 15, 2012 23:40 Report Abuse