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

Plentiful. - Jul 2020


Domestic staff are well-protected by the government here. Maids have employer paid insurance, pension, and "prima" which is a 13th and 14th month paid every six months. They will sue you if they are unhappy. Most folks use a legal representative to set up contracts and fire employees if necessary. I think nannies and maids are most common, but some folks have drivers, car washers, etc. - Feb 2020


Most individuals have at least a part-time housekeeper, while families with children often have full-time employees. A smaller percentage of the embassy company has live-in employees, either hired locally or who accompanied them from a previous assignment. Some employees are only nannies, while others will do both cleaning and childcare. Household help is generally affordable, and even paying a slightly inflated embassy rate, I pay about $500/month for a full-time employee. Colombia has strict laws on overtime, uniforms, insurance, bonuses, and severance. There are companies that will do the paperwork for you, and in restrospect, I wish I had used one to make 100% sure my payments were all correct. Most household employees do not speak English. - Nov 2018


Lots of families hire empleadas. Some cook and clean. Some just clean. Some watch kids. I believe families pay around COP $50k-$60k per day (US$17-$20). There are a lot of legalities around it too, as far as bonuses, time off, uniforms, etc. and I've heard that if you mess up with any of it, you'll get sued. I've also heard about petty theft.

We don't have help, so all of this is hearsay. A friend used a home cleaning service called Casa Express and it seemed like even with the fee, she was paying about the same daily rate as people who hired their empleadas directly, but then she didn't have to worry about any of the benefits. If I were to have help, it's the route I would take. Others have liked having an empleada who has worked for other embassy families. - Sep 2018


Lots of very qualified empleadas (housekeepers) and nannies (nineras), and some people employ drivers. Cost is around US$20/day for a housekeeper, but it totally depends on whether they are live in/out, their experience, their schedule, etc. - Aug 2018


Very inexpensive. Minimum wage here is $1 US dollar per hour - May 2018


Widely available and reasonable cost (about US$600-$900/month including the required benefits) . - Apr 2016


Cost is okay. We pay our nanny/housekeeper about US$500/month for M-F. - Aug 2015


Domestic help is affordable, although it is extremely unusual to find anyone who speaks English. I had someone who was wonderful and dependable, although many people have a different experience and complained small items went missing from their homes. - Aug 2014


Resonable as noted above for nannies. You can also hire maids on a daily basis for around US$15-$25/day. Have a good contract with your domestic help and follow the Embassy's liturature on local staff labor laws. - Jun 2014


Help is very available and cheap - $20/day - but it varies up or down. However, Colombian labor laws are tricky and require large severance payouts at the end. It's very hard to fire anyone you hire, so choose carefully---especially if they are taking care of your kids. Research the logistics before you jump in. Many of our friends have had headaches related to empleadas. - May 2013


$15-25/day - Oct 2012


Plentiful and less than $20 a day (or more if you hire full-time and are required to pay benefits). - Jul 2012


US$20/day. - Apr 2012


I pay nearly $20/day for my maid. - Dec 2011


Everyone here has a nanny (or two) and a driver, and often a body guard! We had mixed luck with nannies, but even paying them very well, it is about half the cost of a part-time nanny in DC. Most also cook and clean in addition to watching kids, walking the dog, managing the household, etc. A true luxury when you find the right person! - Jul 2011


About 450 USD per month. It is easy to get one from the embassy, but they are divas. - Nov 2010


It is easy to get good domestic help, and a very decent price. - Sep 2010


Cheap and plentiful. I pay about 60 USD per week for halftime help and about 90 USD additional per month for her social security. - Aug 2010


Plentiful and relatively cheap. - Aug 2010


Day-time maids cost between $15 and $30 a day. Full-time maids cost about $300-$400 a month. You should be careful to have them screened and approved by the embassy if you can. - Aug 2010


About 350 USD per month plus pensiones and heath insurance. You pay between 400 to 500 per month. You have to be very careful and make a contract and make them sign their monthly receipts. Lawsuits are very popular here. There are lots of maids available who want to work for embassy people because they pay more and treat them better than the locals. But in our experience, the ones who work for embassy people for a long time become lazy. I've here about maids who take things like ipods, money, cellphones, kids' toys, etc... It is better if you ask your "portero" for someone, then you send her for a security check at the embassy. People who do that have better experiences. - Jun 2010


We pay around $700 per month for our child's nanny. I think we pay more than some people do, but hell - it's an important job. - Jan 2010


Excellent help is available, either live-in or daily. The cost for a daily housekeeper is about $350-$400 if you pay benefits (social security). - Sep 2009


Available, but quality varies. With the mandatory health, social security, and transport costs, domestic help is somewhat pricey here (around US$370/month). - Dec 2008


Available, but many are not reliable, honest or efficient. Most people that I know have been through at least 2-3 maids in one year. - Dec 2008


Many, and I think about US$300 a month. - Nov 2008


Available and reasonable. - Nov 2008


We have a full time live in maid and a part time maid who comes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We pay our full time maid roughly US$$350 month and the other maid US$$75 month. We also have a child in preschool for a little over US$$350 as well. As the dollar drops, it gets increasingly more expensive. . fast! - May 2008


Maids and Nannies cost about US$250-300 a month for a live-out, 5 day a week, 8 hour a day schedule. You pay more for weekends, holidays and overtime. Make sure they have good references. - Apr 2008


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More