How To Find Ayis and Drivers
No matter where you are from you should always know the going rate for products and services in Shanghai. Here in China it's easy to pay too much or cause embarrassment by offering too much or too little. When it comes to household help ayis and drivers are the first two people that expats hire. And coming from the west this might be the first time you've ever considered hiring help. Below we've put together some helpful information before you start your search.
There are a number of ways to find an ayi. The first thing you need to decide is what you need her to do. Will it be just laundry and household chores; or will she need to cook and help with the kids as well? A good place to start is to ask friends and neighbors how and where they found their ayi. Another way to start your search is by checking classified ads. Here are a few good starting points:
Bumps n Babes
Once you get a few interviews scheduled you need to start thinking about salary. To hire an ayi for just a light cleaning the going rate is RMB500 - 1,000 per month based on hours. If you are looking for a full time ayi that will clean, cook and help with the kids the cost is usually between RMB1,500 and 2,500 per month (an English speaking ayi will cost almost double what her Chinese only speaking ayi does). For full-time childcare salaries can go up to and over RMB5,000 per month. If you have the space and were comfortable with the arrangements you might want to consider a live-in ayi. And because you are providing both room and board salaries are lower, between RMB2,000 and RMB5,000.
Another resource that is a fantastic reference is The Ayi Survival Guide. It's a great quick reference to help smooth communication issues that might crop up. And here is an article about managing Ayi relationships.
Here in Shanghai public transport is good, but can definitely be daunting for foreigners. So lots of families choose to hire a driver. Most companies will give a monthly budget for both the car and the driver. This can range from RMB10,000-12,000 per month. You can find both a driver and car through agencies such as:
You could also opt to buy a car and then hire a driver seperately. For a driver alone salaries range from RMB2,000 up to 6,000 per month depending age, experience and driving record. Finding a driver is a bit trickier; start with classified ads or ask around, including your ayi if you have one.