From cleaning, cooking to childcare, ayis are here to help

Having an ayi (domestic helper) makes life a lot easier in Shanghai.

They generally offer a range of services from cleaning, cooking and childcare, and can work part-time, full-time or live-in.

Rates tend to differ according to different situations. The range you can expect to pay for a part-time ayi could be from 40 yuan (US$5.51) to 60 yuan per hour, while a full-time ayi for an expat family starts from around 8,000 yuan to 12,000 yuan, based on experience and language skills.

Often, the more expensive rates come from ayis with more experience working with expat families, or having special training with certificates from infant care to cooking.

Some expats find ayi through referrals, while others go through agencies. Most ayis who have worked for expat families before will have letters of reference or certificates related to housekeeping skills.

If you decide to find an ayi through an agency, it's important to discuss your expectations upfront. The agency will go through their data and pre-screen ayis to meet your requirements. Once you find an ideal ayi and sign a one-year contract, the agency usually charges a one-time fee.

An agency fee could be as much as one month of the ayi's salary, 50 percent of their monthly salary, or more. It's recommended to get details from different agencies and compare their services according to your needs. The agencies will also provide either free insurance packages or send you links to purchase one for the ayi service.

Below are some agencies which have experience providing expat families with quality home service staff.

Xinmu Domestic Service

Tel: 182-2178-7923

Ayi Matchmakers

Tel: 187-2155-7841

CC Shanghai

Tel: 5268-2952