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

Very available, cost runs the spectrum. Other missions laugh at the Americans because we pay so much. Often, we pay US$400 for mediocre work and they'll pay $150 for an awesome maid who can do crepes and change diapers six days a week. - Aug 2019

Almost everyone at the Embassy employs household help of one sort or another. Household staff are very affordable and generally good. I paid $25/day for a housekeeper who came once a week to clean and do laundry, and also gave a little cash on the side to my landlord-provided gardener to wash the car and do odd jobs. Other employ gardeners, nannies, cooks, drivers, etc. If I were to go back, I'd probably get a part time driver. Shopping in Kinshasa is not obvious if you aren't a local and can be extremely time consuming, making it difficult if you work full time. Having a person who knows where to go to get things and has the time to deal with Congolese inefficiency and/or bureaucracy is worth its weight in gold and will make your life a lot easier. - Apr 2019

Cheap and readily available. Most people have cooks/cleaners, drivers and/or nannies. Seek out recommendations before getting to post, most pass on their household help to others. It's a huge perk to have such wonderful support at home. - Dec 2017

Most household help is $20.00 dollars per day with $5.00 dollars extra for their transportation. All in cash without taxes removed as this is a cash-only society. - Dec 2017

We pay our gardener $50 per week and our housekeeper/nanny $100 per week. - Mar 2017

The going rate is about $15-$20/day and you can find a variety of help. Many people have drivers, cooks, housekeepers, gardeners, and nannies. It's also very easy to hire someone to do a combination of these roles. - Jan 2017

Tons available, but of varying quality and cost. You get what you pay for. One thing about Kinois is that they are all on the make, all the time. I don't mean that harshly -- eking out a living there is no joke. Everyone money grubs, from Ministers on down to street sweepers. It's the famous 'systeme D' (for debrouillage, or making do) of Mobutu. It's hard not to take personally, but laying things out in a contract became pretty essential. - Sep 2016

Very available and quite cheap. We pay our housekeeper/nanny US$20/day, and our driver and gardener about US$15/day. The average wage for Congolese is US$2-$3/day, so it is a good wage for them. - Apr 2016

Very available and quite cheap. You can easily find yourself hiring a full staff of cook, housekeeper, driver, gardner, nanny etc and then the problems are mostly personnel issues rather than financial. Contracts and clear rules are recommended to ensure staff and employers agree on duties, responsibilities, vacations, and any additional costs that may arise such as transportation fees, food allowance, school fees, medical care, etc. - Jan 2014

It is extremely easy to find help, but the quality varies dramatically. English-speaking domestic employees are very hard to come by, as English proficiency is rare and highly sought after in the employment market. The basic wage is $10/day, but some people pay less and some more. You can also expect to be regularly asked to subsidize education, health care, and other expenses for a wide array of relatives. - Nov 2012

Available for US$200-400 a month. - May 2012

Readily available and inexpensive. - Feb 2012

$15.00 a day if you can find a good one. - Nov 2011

Very available, and very affordable. Reliability can be an issue - Aug 2011

There is very high unemployment here. Everyone has relatives looking for work. Get recommendations, set expectations, keep valuables out of sight. - Jan 2011

Plentiful. $150-$300 per month depending on how it works out. On top of salary, you normally provide something extra for transportation and lunch. Plus you pay an end-of-year bonus equal to one month. They call it, "la gratification". - Oct 2010

US$10 per day for a maid, gardener or driver; you'll pay more for an experienced cook. - Jan 2009

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