Monday, July 30, 2012

Our Maid agency

source: Google images

I received a few enquiries through the Blog comments and also from Facebook asking me maid-related questions, eg. which Agency I got my maid from, how much did we pay etc etc. so I decided to do a blog post on the Agency we chose, so as to minimise the inconvenience of readers having to email or private-message me on FB.

Before I go on, I would like to clarify that this post is not about advocating or lobbying for/against SAHMs/ FTWMs with helpers etc.

It was by chance and lots of Googling that I came across:
A. Pratama Employment Agency
Who to look for: Demond / Susan

Tel: 6297 6913
Office: Bukit Timah Shopping Centre (next to Beauty World) #02-45, 170 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 588179.
they open by appointment only as they are a husband-and-wife team, so please call to fix an appointment before you head down.
They do not advertise and prefer referrals by word-of-mouth so you may say Veron recommended you.

Our review:
Before we approached Desmond & Susan, I had called up several Big-name Maid agencies.
Most of them charged atrocious agency fees, and their maids came with loans of 6-8 months.

If you do the math, for eg. Agency fee $488 (cheapest I was quoted) + $400 (fresh maid w/o experience, 1 with experience could fetch $450) x 6 months upfront loan (the shortest loan quoted) = $2888 cash upfront to the Agency.
This is considering the cheapest possible option. Of course there are agencies who charged higher agent fees and/or longer maid loans. The longer the maid loan, the longer the maid has to work for you without a salary. Imagine working 8 months without getting paid.
And the amount above is only the Agency fee + maid loan.

Other costs incurred:
- Online Employer Orientation Program: a short course with quiz which is mandatory for all new first-time employers. $30.
- Maid insurance: Depending on the Insurance provider and the coverage, ranging from $280 - $310.

Total: easily $3300.

For us, we couldn't afford to pay the agency few thousands of dollars cash upfront before the maid even arrived in Singapore. Well we could, but we didn't want to. It just sounded like a big risky business and the agencies gave us the impression they were only interested in getting our $$.
Just think about it - What if we need to terminate her employment while still having an outstanding loan?!
So after finding out about Desmond & Susan, I called them and told them our situation - we have a 3 yr old and expecting another child soon, we need a helper to do mostly household chores & some babysitting when required.
Susan told us they deal mostly with Indonesian Transfer maids (who are mostly abused/ ran away from home/ worked for more than 1 household and found out by authorities/ rejected for whatever reasons) and asked me our requirements, which I stated as follows:
- Need to like working with children
- Responsible and mature, preferably already married with kid(s)
- Be able to speak both Bahasa & English (my MIL is Indonesian-Chinese but I can speak no Bahasa)
- Help with mainly housework and some babysitting
- We have a big dog who doesn't bite and she doesn't need to look after the dog

I called them on a Wednesday evening and our appointment was made that coming Saturday noon.
By Friday evening, Susan already SMSed me saying she has selected a few suitable candidates for us to interview when we go down. We were very impressed with her fast & prompt service.

When we went down, Desmond spent close to 2 hours explaining to us page-by-page the MOM requirements and the necessary 'admin' because Andy & I were first-timers and very blur. But they never lost their patience with us and made sure we understood what was expected.
In fact, we went down twice, a seperate time with my Mom and Adam to make sure they were both Ok with our shortlisted candidate. On both occasions, Desmond & Susan were very accomodating and Desmond even repeated all the T&C to my Mom.

Bottomline: Because our helper was a transfer maid with only 1-mth loan (out of goodwill to Desmond & Susan for helping her find re-employment), we only spent less than $1.5k in total for the Agency fee, Dwi's loan, Insurance etc, ie. Everything done under $1.5k and we got ourselves an experienced maid already available in Singapore ready to work for us and were provided excellent responsible service.

A further search revealed some reviews as follows:
source: KiasuParents forum


** Disclaimer: I will not hesitate to recommend Desmond & Susan to friends , relatives or anyone who asked me, but Maid agencies are like match-making companies. They help you find your "partner" but whether the "marriage" lasts is totally up to good faith and lots of luck.
Therefore, I wish you Best of luck if you're considering hiring help!


  1. Hi sana here...we are in need for a maid but cost is something we have to dad is going for a major heart operation. .plus I need someone to pick up from playground everyday since it was my dad who always picked him we are really at our ends and stressed over this.

    1. Hi Sana,
      So sorry to hear about this. When parents have some health problems, it's a real heartache.
      Hope that things will work out for you & your family soon.


  2. Hi - thanks for sharing your experience. Can you help me understand why your maid only paid one month loan but your posted review above said 4-5 months loan?

    1. Hi Susannie! My first helper Dwi paid 1 mth loan becos shes a transfer maid .. But my current maid (2nd one also from Susan & Desmond) she started a new contract wih me so her loan was about 4 mths


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