Direct Hire vs Maid Agency: Key Differences & What You Need to Know

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There are several ways to hire domestic workers in Singapore. You could choose to direct hire or engage with a maid agency. While both options offer access to qualified candidates, they differ in process, fees, responsibilities, and benefits. Understanding these differences is crucial for individuals and families seeking to employ a domestic helper in Singapore.

Direct Hire or Maid Agency in Singapore?

In Singapore, most people are burdened with a fast-paced lifestyle that is packed with work and household commitments. Inevitably, many are turning to domestic helpers to manage their chores and ease their load. If you’re looking to hire a helper, you’re probably contemplating if you should opt for a direct hire or transfer maid in Singapore (or overseas), or engage a maid agency to scout for one. Before you make a random decision to choose either option, here are six differences between the two that you need to note:

1. Choice of candidates

Direct hiring a domestic helper in Singapore simply means hiring foreign domestic helpers through your personal network without engaging a maid agency in Singapore. You can hire a candidate from overseas or a maid who is already working in the country but wants to transfer to a new employer due to personal reasons.

Even though such a direct hiring method may shorten the process, the pool of candidates you can access is very limited. Working with a maid agency can offer more benefits when it comes to candidate selection compared to employing maids without an agency. If you work with a direct or transfer maid agency in Singapore, you tend to have a more comprehensive network of potential candidates to select from. This allows you to match your criteria with the agent’s list of candidates and shortlist the one who best meets your requirements.

2. Employment paperwork

Filing the required paperwork to the proper agencies and government offices is a standard part of employing foreign domestic helpers. Whether your final decision is to directly hire a domestic helper in Singapore or hire one through an agency, you can choose to process the employment paperwork via a maid agency. An agency can help you handle all the necessary legal processes, including managing different demands from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and letting you have a hassle-free transaction. If you want assistance, especially when it comes to navigating the paperwork involving work permit transfer to or from another employer in Singapore, engaging with a reliable maid agency is recommended. However, the maid agency usually charges a fee and that may pose a problem if you’re on a tight budget. If your priority is to reduce cost, it’ll be a lot more economical to handle the direct transfer of the maid in Singapore yourself.

3. Pre-employment training

Tapping on a maid agency for assistance goes beyond benefiting from a seamless employment process – you can also take advantage of its pre-employment training. This added service trains domestic helpers in essential housekeeping, infant care, elderly care and even disability care. They are given a combination of theoretical materials, hands-on practicum, and assessment tests to ensure each person is well-equipped to handle any tricky situations on the home front. The pre-employment training allows you to have peace of mind that the candidate that you are going to hire has the know-how and the skills necessary for their job. On the other hand, if you directly hire a transfer maid without engaging a transfer maid agency in Singapore, there is no way you’ll know if the person you hired is capable of fulfilling the role. You will have to rely solely on trust when you employ a maid without the help of an agency’s third-party opinion or expertise.

4. Replacement process

Employee turnover is one of the most common problems that employers face. When you’re hiring a domestic helper, you may also experience instances when your maid’s skills do not meet your requirements or they suddenly want to quit. One key reason why employers choose to tap on a direct hire or transfer maid agency in Singapore as opposed to hiring a maid without an agency is the quick replacement process should the employed help fail to meet their requirements. Contractually, the maid agency is liable to find a better replacement for you.

If you opt for a direct hire or transfer maid in Singapore or overseas without the assistance of a reputable agency, all you can do is send her back to her hometown or encourage her to look for a new employer before you can re-hire another. You’ll have to start the hiring process all over again and incur additional costs to process the paperwork, which could be a problem if you are tight on budget and time, or have urgent care needs to meet and fulfil in your household.

5. Costs

Directly hiring a domestic helper may seem like a more affordable option at first glance, but if you analyse the various factors mentioned earlier, it is actually a risky option. For example, employers in Singapore have to bear the risks of misfit skillset, replacement difficulty, as well as unfamiliarity with employment paperwork. Any misstep can point to repeating the hiring process and incur more time and money. The honest truth is that paying professional maid agencies to do the job has its advantages. It is a cost-effective solution that will offer greater peace of mind.

6. Reliability

Though employing a maid without the help of an agency may be faster and cheaper, there is no guarantee that you will employ a reliable and trustworthy candidate. There are still incidents when candidates would suddenly change their minds and would opt to discontinue their application with you. Other times they disappear once they receive the money employers send for their travel expenses. To avoid such instances, working with a direct hire and transfer maid agency in Singapore would be a big help in securing your candidate and finalising the hiring process.

Leave Everything to Us!

If you’re unsure about direct hiring a maid in Singapore, it’s best to turn to an agency for help. When it comes to finding the right transfer maid for your household, Homekeeper Maid Agency is a leading maid agency that provides hiring and maid transfer services for Singapore households. Our services have benefitted and served over 80,000 households since 1998. We endeavour to be a trusted partner that offers seamless maid employment services and transparent prices. Reach out to us by calling (65) 6468 5220, WhatsApp (65) 8515 5527, or email to find your ideal helper today.


About the Author

Linda Seh has over 20 years of experience in the Employment industry. She takes the time to thoroughly interview each family and helper to understand their requirements, personalities, and preferences. Her intuition and insight has helped her make placements that result in lasting, harmonious working relationships. Linda now leverages this expertise and experience to simplify your search and ensure you find the ideal and qualified helper to become a valued member of your family.