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Adapting for Special Needs Overseas - Call for Essays

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New Delhi



What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Household help is readily available, but good help is not. You have to try many before you find good and honest help. The moment you arrive, people will be knocking on your door. Most people have all-rounders (does all for you: cooking, cleaning, laundry), and others have separate cooks, laundry person, cleaning person, gardener, sweeper, driver. A contract is a must for all hired help. Most people have drivers as well as drivers in India are mostly without legal driving licenses and they do not follow traffic rules. You can get a local driving license if you opt for that. - Oct 22, 2017
Cheap and easy and widely available! Every expat has some sort of help, many have multiple employees. We had:

All-Arounder-- a woman who worked 7 hours/day 5/days a week doing any combination of cleaning, childcare and cooking that I needed. Also worked overtime to babysit as needed. Paid about $220/month, plus about $1.50/hr overtime. Wonderful lady who my daughter adored.

Driver--if you have a car, you will probably have a driver. A few people drive themselves (my husband included), but if you plan on needing to park anywhere other than an embassy, you'll want a driver. Parking is horrendous. Drivers also run errands for you, can pick up and drop off items, and pay bills. Ours worked 6 days a week and we paid $250/month.

Gardener--our part-time gardener watered plants, swept the driveway, and planted things. He came in two mornings a week for about 2-4 hours total weekly and we paid about $30/month

Other people had more staff--perhaps an "ayah" (nanny) and then a separate woman to cook and clean. Or a woman to do childcare and cook and a separate part-time one to clean. - Mar 15, 2017


Household help is plentiful and very inexpensive, of varying degrees of quality. Not unusual for people to have a cook, nanny, gardener and driver! - Feb 14, 2017
Help is plentiful and very affordable. Full-time housekeepers for about two to three hundred dollars per month. Most people employ a small army of help: housekeepers, nannies, someone to take the trash, gardeners, drivers, someone to sweep your steps etc... - Nov 8, 2016
Household help is plentiful, but the quality may vary, so give them a trial period before signing a contract. Those of us who have servants' quarters on their property can have a better choice of who they hire. Drivers and gardeners are also very helpful. Gardeners work a couple of hours a day and are very inexpensive. Having a driver is totally worth it if you buy or bring a car. - Jun 2, 2016
Domestic help is plentiful, though you may have to try two or three candidates for a while before settling on a good match. Cost is reasonable for a developing country. Check with the community liaison office for advice on wages and benefits. - Sep 6, 2014
See above, cheap and available but you need to do your homework and follow best practices that are recommended by the U.S. Embassy. - Sep 3, 2014
I'm told we pay at the high end of normal and I pay US$300 per month for a woman to work full time cleaning and cooking and running errands. She also takes care of my dog. Most Indians are afraid of dogs, so I'm glad we found someone who gets along well with mine and cares for him very well. - Aug 14, 2013
Good domestic help is available; higher quality costs more money. Labor is very segregated because of caste concerns, so your cook will likely not touch your bathroom or garbage. As a result, most Delhi upper-middle-class families seems to employ an army of part-time local help. - May 18, 2013
Rising but reasonable. - Oct 21, 2012
Decent price. Most people have a driver and housekeeper. Some have a nanny as well. It all depends on your budget and the size of your home. - Sep 16, 2012
Cheap (though wages are rising) and easily contracted. - Aug 12, 2011
once you find the right person for the job, which can sometimes be a frustrating period of trial and error, you'll never regret the (relative in-)expense. - Aug 7, 2011
No ease of entry for foreign nannies because of changing visa restrictions, but great domestic help is available. - Aug 4, 2011
Highly available, reliable, and inexpensive. Puts even the Filipinos to shame. - Jan 8, 2011
Plenty available - the Bangalore "mafia" has a lock on house keepers and cooks. Lots available, but overall too much trouble - asking for loans, getting in fights with the neighbors, sneaking in relatives to live in the quarters, domestic disputes and alcohol abuse. - Sep 18, 2010
It can be cheap but the quality is sometimes not exactly the best. - Aug 30, 2010
Very plentiful and inexpensive. - Aug 12, 2010
It is not that easy to find help. Because of the caste system, one will do only cooking and the other will do only cleaning. It is very difficult to find one person who can do all. - Aug 1, 2010
Very easy to find help, just ask other expats for good recommendations. You can't live here without getting someone and it's one of the few places in the world where it won't cost you too much. - Mar 11, 2008
Cheap and readily available. - Feb 4, 2008