Chennai - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Pretty good and cheap. Most have housekeepers, nannies, cooks, drivers. We had a 3 person house staff. 300-400 a month, 40-50 hours for each. Most were fine with the help, though it's mostly the same people just rotating between families, leading to quickly escalating prices. - Jan 2024

Cheap but not worth the work they do and the stress they caused. In my experience, the housekeepers consulate staff employed were not hard workers, had juvenile cleaning sense, and came up with bad excuses all the time for why something was not done or why they could not work but wanted to get paid. People got screwed because they trusted household staff too much and were shocked when suddenly they had to fire someone for cause. It seemed that housekeepers mostly gossiped behind everyones' backs and tried to get jobs for their relatives by getting someone else fired. - May 2023

Household help is available, however generally of poor quality. Clean in India is not clean by other standards. Drivers Cooks Nannies In my opinion, more hassle than they are worth! - Apr 2023

Household help is available but poorly trained and unreliable on so many levels. In general, low cleaning standards means you need to go back and reclean and redo their work. There's a gaggle of folks who have been working for the community for some years and seem to want to be taken care of, but dont want to do the work. Expect frequent absences for random reasons that never quite make sense and you can never really verify. If you're willing to clean, you can survive without and your house will probably be cleaner for it. If you do hire, don't be surprised if you find out they're lying to you about something eventually or one day they just stop showing up for no reason and then want their job back two weeks later. It was one of the most unreliable places to hire staff. - Apr 2023

Over-inflated; in my opinion, household help is overpaid and work is often subpar in my opinion. I had a housekeeper for several months before letting her go. The quality of her work declined and she expected us to take care of her and her family. That seems to be pretty much the MO of the employable-helper pool. - Aug 2021

Most families employ some sort of domestic help. There is a large list of recommended employees that the Community Liaison Office (CLO) maintains. Many people have drivers, nannies, housekeepers, and cooks. The cost is generally inexpensive and people seem satisfied for the most part with the services provided. Most of the domestic staff in the consulate pool will expect a yearly bonus equivalent to one month's salary as well as yearly raises and severance pay. - Apr 2021

Very reasonable. Depending on your situation any type of help is available: gardener, driver, cook, nanny, housekeeper, etc. - May 2019

Inexpensive and about $300 a month for a full-time employee. I had hired a maid, but had problems with theft and absenteeism and have been managing on my own since with a part-time maid only. I prefer to drive myself or use Uber. Some folks manage on their own and other expats I know (particularly families) are running "Downton Abbey" at their residence with nannies, gardeners, drivers and maids at some significant expense. Don't be surprised if hired help asks you for large loans as you are the wealthy expat. Any hired help will likely require some hands-on training. - Aug 2018

Household help is available and affordable (200-400 USD/month for full-time work, depending on the job, hours, etc.) but not the same quality you are probably used to at previous posts. Expect to spend quite a bit of time and energy setting expectations and giving direction, and expect for that to be only 50% effective. Many expats employ a driver and housekeeper and/or nanny full time, and a gardener part-time. Part-time housekeepers are also available. - May 2018

Widely available and cheap. They will come to you and ask to be hired. - May 2016

Very inexpensive. People generally hire a housekeeper/cook, driver, and nanny if they have children. I generously pay a part-time housekeeper/cook approximately US$225 per month. Domestic help often appreciate overtime pay. - May 2016

Cheap and reliable. - May 2015

We paid US$200/month each for a full-time nanny and driver. It is not easy to hire a honest worker though. - Mar 2015

Household help is inexpensive. Many people had a housekeeper and/or nanny, and a driver. Salaries were increasing but when we were there it was about US$200 for a full-time nanny or driver. CLO keeps a list of people that have worked for consulate families in the past, and many employees hire help based on these references. - Oct 2014

Very inexpensive. - Oct 2014

This was another challenge, readily available but extraordinarily specialized. We had a gardener, driver, nanny/cook and housekeeper. Oh the drama, be careful who you hire, say good-bye to your personal space and boundaries and buckle up for an adventure. Depending on the size of your family you will need some staff to help you navigate the daily grind of living in India. My advice, find good people, pay them well (find out the average wage and pay more), pay OT and listen to them, they have seen countless foreigners flounder in India and they have good advice if you take the time to listen, many people don't. Also expect drama, fights among the staff, requests for loans and all kinds of other things, it's all part of the package. - Jun 2014

Lots of domestic help available - drivers, gardeners, cooks, nannies, cleaners... and all very affordable. - May 2014

Household help is easy to find and inexpensive. You can hire a nanny or housekeeper or driver for about US$200-250 a month. We were lucky enough to find employees we were happy with from the very beginning. However, some people take a while before finding the right fit. - Aug 2013

Domestic help is both available and inexpensive but don't expect the same type of service that you would get in the western world. That being said, we have really enjoyed having household help. Salaries are rising rapidly. - Jul 2012

It is easy to find domestic help. They're typically not as reliable as some other nationalities we've worked with. - Aug 2011

Domestic help is plentiful and inexpensive. Under $200 a month for a full time maid/cook. A little more for a full time driver. - Jun 2010

Plentiful -- approx $150/mo for a housekeeper. $200 for a driver. - Sep 2009

Full time cook/maid/housekeeper - INR 5000/month = US$125/month. - Mar 2009

Most expats hire a gardener (US$50-$90 depending on the size of the yard), a driver (US$120-$200), and a maid/housekeeper (US$100-$150). - Aug 2008

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