Cotonou - Post Report Question and Answers

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

Exceptional household help, especially child care. Most families employ at least 1 person, some have a nanny, cook/cleaner, driver, and gardener. A fair-to-high rate is 5,000 CFA per day -- right now that means our nanny gets about $250 USD a month for 50 hours a week. - Feb 2020

Full range of good, reliable household help is very affordable. Cooks, housekeepers, gardeners, nannies, drivers are often typically retained because of their availability and affordability. - Aug 2018

Relatively inexpensive. Housekeepers, cooks, nannies, and drivers are all available. - Jan 2017

Available and not expensive. - Oct 2015

Depending on the job - roughly US$200-300/month for full time employmet, more for drivers, less for housekeepers/gardeners. - Jun 2015

Available, cheap, and generally trustworthy. Competency can be an issue at times. I paid US$160/mo for someone to work for me 5 days a week, and he did everything (cook, clean, laundry, errands). - Aug 2014

Readily available and cheap. Make sure you sit down with help before hiring them, however. Set down expectations from the get-go. Explain the way you like things cleaned (and the way you DON'T like things cleaned). Go through even the elementary expectations (e.g. "I would like you to clean the toilets", "I don't want the clean rags mixed with the dirty rags", "Don't mix bleach with these products", etc.). We didn't and our housekeeper, though trustworthy, has proven to be a surfacey cleaner. - Jul 2013

Readily available and cheap; anywhere from about $120/month to $220/month for full-time work, depending on the service. Many expat families hire nannies, cooks, gardeners, housekeepers, drivers, etc. - May 2013

Very cheap. $150-180 per month for full-time help. - Mar 2013

Cheap and plentiful. I pay on the high end of the domestic help salary scale just so I can sleep at night, $180USD/month for four and a half days a week. Our housekeeper works from about 9:00 a.m. until about 6:00 p.m., and until about 3:30 on Friday. Most domestics are expected to work 12 hours M-F and a half day on Saturday, but I think that’s excessive by any measure. With the level of dust and pollution in Cotonou, a full-time housekeeper is an absolute necessity for keeping your house clean. It’s impossible to get a housekeeper to take a vacation (it would take me too long to go into all the whys, so just trust me on this), so it is customary to pay an extra month’s salary in December. There’s also local social security tax that we pay. If you have kids and both work, you’re going to need a nanny and a housekeeper. Some people have tried to have one domestic do double duty, but it never works. There’s just too much cleaning to be done. - Dec 2011

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