What to do to prepare for arrival of maid?

My first maid will be here soon but I am clueless as to what I should do to prepare for her arrival.

Can I have some pointers on what I need to do to prepare for her arrival? Anything that comes to your mind. Like hide the house keys at night or whatever. Do I have to open a bank account for her to bank in her salary? What about her passport? I’m told that we should keep it safe for her so that she does not run away. Where to keep? In the house or in the bank?

Someone suggested that the health checks done by the agency is not good enough and we must take her for another medical check on our own. Does everyone do this?

Does the maid eat with you or after you? I wouldn’t mind eating together with the maid at the same table and at the same time but I must ensure that there is proper etiquette in the sense that we all take the food with a serving spoon to our plates rather than everyone digging into the dish with their own spoons etc. Is this ok etiquette?

What about her clothing? We wash our whole family clothing all thrown in together in the washing machine? What about her own clothing. When is she required to wash them and how.

These are some of the things that cross my mind.

I am so lost as this is my first time getting a maid. I would appreciate if you could tell me what I need to do to prepare for her arrival. I mentioned the above because these are some of the things I was told by the agent or others but please feel free to add anything else that comes to your mind. Thanks.

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22 thoughts on “What to do to prepare for arrival of maid?

  1. Ha, you caught me in good time cos I was tidying up my folders and I found a checklist + ground rules I gave my maid when she first joined us.

    First things first, give her ground rules. I wrote down things like be clean, be safe, no private phone calls, no eating in the room, etc.

    Then for the checklists, I wrote down things she has to do on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis.

    For meals, it’s up to your comfort level. But I would say you need to establish a level of authority so that she doesn’t take for granted. For my family, if we do eat our meals on the table as a family, she doesn’t join us. But on a daily basis, depending on the schedules, I will ask her to eat first so that she can do the rest of her work on time. I think we should also take care of their interests. Their stomaches ought to be full so that they have energy to work.

    For clothes, I have a schedule as well. She washes all her clothes on a day so that’s no problem for us. Don’t wash hers and your family’s together lah.

    Medical checkup…I just relied on the agency’s. I don’t know about the situation in M’sia to say for sure if this is good enough.

    Keep her passport and her employment pass. You should keep them at home in case you need to access them quickly. As for her salary, it’s up to you. I didn’t open one for mine.

    Well, think through the whole works and write it down. It’ll probably help you. Give her some slack since she’s new and she needs to familiarize herself. But watch out for your belongings and stuff until you can trust her.

    Oh, I’m really glad I caught you at a good time. Thanks for starting the ball rolling with such good suggestions based on your own experience. 🙂

  2. Like what sesame said, you need to give her a checklist on what to do. Go through your house rules with her the very first day.

    We don’t eat together with the maid. I guess we need to established the authority. We have our meal at the dining area, she in the kitchen. She can eat anytime during the day, but come to dinner, it’s usually after our meal. When we dine out, she would carry baby when I eat.

    My maid hand wash her cloth daily. Never mix with our cloths. She even hang it far away from ours , though I didn’t request that.

    I also just relied on the agent on medical check up.

    As for her passport, we used to keep it in the bank safe, but found it too troublesome when opening bank account and renewing visa as our bank is in KL and we stay Sban. So we hid it somewhere at home now, but even that, one of my maid ran away without the passport and not even a single cent with her.

    I only open a bank account for her after 6 months when she get her first pay (after all the deduction) and I keep the bank book too. Basically don’t let her hold any cash.

    Thanks Elaine, knew I could count on you for feedback. 🙂

  3. Keep an eye on who she is friendly to, once she has settled down. Esp. if she loves to chat up strangers like garbageman, gas-deliveryman or grasscutters. Also, she should handwash her own clothes daily, for hygiene purpose. My sister’s maid has been dumping her soiled undergarments together with the family’s clothes in the washing machine for more than a year before they realized it, despite being instructed not to do so when she first came in.

    I hope you have a good-hearted maid because they are worth their weight in gold. Bear in mind though that they are from a culturally different society and their logic and perception of things may not be what we expect.

    Dumping her soiled undergarments to wash together with the families is probably not as bad as trying out the employer’s undergarments. Thats what my sis caught her maid doing with her undergarments.

  4. Here are some tips:

    Take time off (if you’re working) for the first three days upon her arrival at your home so you can teach her in detail what you want.

    First day: Tell her what needs to be cleaned, how often does she need to clean it and what do you consider as “clean” (which may be different from the maid’s understanding of cleanliness).

    Second day: Do the chores together. Seriously. She can observe you (because different people have different styles of cleaning) and you can observe her and instruct her if she does something wrong.

    Third day: Let her do the chores herself while you observe.

    Most employers don’t do this and they get mad when their maids are “not up to standard”. That’s why I recommend the three day test above. Where is your maid from? Wherever she may be from, what she thinks as clean may not be what we call clean. So, detailed instruction is a must. Doesn’t matter if she came from an agency. She’s not living with the agent. She’s gonna live with YOU.

    I agree with Sesame. Passport must be kept at home for easy access. Just keep somewhere safe in your room.

    Salary: Pay cash to her. No need bank account.

    Medical checkup: I recommend you take her to the clinic yourself for another checkup. Sure, the agency said all their maids are healthy but they’re running a business. Of course they would say that. What if she has TB or Hepatitis B? These are infectious diseases. If she has high blood pressure, that’s okay because that’s not infectious 🙂

    Meals: After the family has eaten, she can eat and cleanup the kitchen as well.

    IMPORTANT: Please remember that your maid is a human being and not an animal. So treat her with respect and not like a slave.

    I don’t intend to let her go out and mix around because thats usually where the problem starts, outside influences, but of course I will take her out with us so that she doesn’t get cooped up in the house. I don’t have to do the 3 day thing because I’m a SAHM so that makes it a lot easier. However, 3 days seems too little time though but sometimes you have no choice.

  5. sorry i dont have a maid so i can’t comment much on this topic.
    we only have temporarily maids…cleaning up the hse once in 2 weeks for 4 hours.
    i thk live-in maids dont gv us much privacy at home and may create problems if she is hooked with the gardener/security guard/postman/garbageman etc

    Yes, bye bye privacy.

  6. Oops, forgot. Are you planning to give her time off when she can go out unsupervised? I do not recommend it. Either go out with the family or stay at home (which is why I recommended paying her salary in cash since she can’t go out alone anyway).

    Chances are she has relatives here. Don’t give them permission to come to your home. Take her to them instead.

    I totally agree with you on the going out unsupervised bit. But having no time off unsupervised doesn’t mean we will work her like a slave either.

  7. 1. check all her belongings and record what she had (usually the agent will give you a checklist). watever you do not want her to keep, tell her that u gg to safe keep until she finishes her contract.

    2. keep her work permit card and passport in a safe.

    3. she should wash her clothes separately by hand and as for the time, maybe you can tell her early in the morning or before she sleeps.

    4. must set the rules and tell her to follow stricly and said it firmly and sternly. like, schedule of her housework, and also how many times you want her to bath. some maids only bath once in a day. yucks.

    5. for mealtime, at home, usually we have ours first and then she will have it last. it is a MUST to have a common serving spoon.

    hope all these will help.

    Oh dear, I bathe just once a day. Is that so bad? Haha.

  8. Sesame has given u good pointers.

    If she request for ur tel.no to be given to her relatives in cases of emergency, don’t do it. U’ll have ‘relatives’ calling every month.

    I only want to stress one point. Never trust ur maid. Never! No matter how good she is, good hearted, caring, loving, gives u hugs in the morning, constantly tells u she loves u, etc. Never trust ur maid!

    I also dun agree with Khairul on paying her salary in cash. Dun think opening a bank account is that much of a hassle. We have an account for the maid under my wife’s name. Every month when the salary is deposited, we pass her the bank in slip, we keep a copy.

    Errrr must I lock up the phone too?

  9. i would suggest u open a bank account for her. dun give her cash. if she has cash in hand, she can run anytime.

    if she wants to send money home, dun let her send all her salary. keep some here in case her family swindle all her money.

    if she wants to go home for holiday, at least leave behind 1k…motivation for her to come back to you after the holiday.

    the above advise was from my sil, who has been having maid for 10 yrs d.

    Wuah… so many considerations from everyone, my head pusing adi. 😛

  10. Yeah, regarding the salary in cash…opinions differ, obviously. I pay my maid in cash because I don’t allow her to leave the house (and she doesn’t have access to the house keys and I keep her passport).

    In the end, it’s up to you. Cash, bank deposit, whatever.

    At the end of the day, if the want to run away, they will, even without a single shirt on their back. One agent told me.

  11. A lot of good pointers already.

    Agree that salary should be paid into an account, let her keep the passbook. I think our’s is in Wife’s name.

    Some scary stories now.. 🙂

    Careful when you are accessing your private “areas” like your drawer, cupboard etc. My mum’s knew where my mum keeps her keys to her drawer with cash, jewelry. She ran away with the cash.

    Don’t be too trusting with leaving them alone at home for days. My brother’s family went to Penang during school hols. A few months later they found out the maid, who was discovered to be pregnant, must have brought a guy in when she was all alone in the house. So like suggested above, do watch who they talk to. I don’t know how to handle the empty-house bit, maybe have them stay with relatives while you are away…

    But if you are lucky, some are really good. Our last one wasn’t too bad, did things quickly and properly. I guess that’s the upside of getting one who doesn’t challenge you much, like the one we have now. The last one left giving us an excuse that her kids are needing her, when we know she is tempted by higher pay in the Mid-East.

    My sister in Singapore has had this same maid for over 15 years already; may even be close to 20 years now. She has full access to the house, carries her own keys, dine together, obv knows all family members already. No hurry to return to Phillipines cos her husband has passed away and she herself is already a grandma.

    Good luck.

    I was advised by the agent to get a younger one so that they won’t challenge you much like you say.

  12. My ex-maid washed her baju (incld her bedsheet, towels, etc) by hand in morning.
    She will take a bath after doing the housework ie. washing & moping, otherwise bau peluh very strong. And she has to change her shirt too. No wearing the same shirt back – maybe she lazy to wash.

    She has access to our house key, but we never give her the password for house alarm.

    We never pay her in cash.

    We makan separately. She has a separate set of utensils. After cooking, she or us (depend who cook) will set aside some (dishes) for herself to eat later – this way, she’s not eating our left-overs. Even though they are working for us, they can be very fussy & choosy when come to food…

    No, never give her the house phone number. My maid came with a list of her relatives h/p numbers. I only give her my handphone number. So that when her relatives call or sms, it has to go thru us first.

    When she arrive, we told her that she can write (letter) home to her family, but no calling (phone) home. Only those who has worked long enough (can be trusted to some extend) are allow to call home. New maids, no no. Old maids who wants to call home, they have to buy their own phone card. That’s what my sis maids do. That way they won’t boil porridge.

    Don’t be too lenient during the early days. I made mistake for this…that’s why my maid climb over my head. She cried & persuaded me to send her home on the 1st week. I asked her why did she want to come to work when she missed her home so much… She said the agents in indo were very fierce and if she quits (she was in the agent’s hostel in Jakarta for 5 months and not allow to go home (kampung) before she come to MAlaysia)she has to pay a lot… So she thot she can bully me lor….I was soft to her ma…she gave me a hardtime.

    For food in the fridge, as she’s new, we told her she has to ask permission before taking anything…You may later on allow her free access to the food if you find that she’s okay…. For her drinks like nescafe or milo and biscuits, we buy separately for them.

    For the begining, i think it’s better to separate everything and you have control…. and later on if you find that she’s good, then allow more freedom. Rather then giving freedom and take back later…

    Control more at first and relax later makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing. Nothing like real experience with the actual situation to be able to come up with these. I tend to be more of a softy so I guess I must learn from your experience less I can’t control the maid.

  13. A Married Man recommends anyone to monitor the neighbor’s maid first.

    Influence is destructive.

    I’m worried becos my neighbor’s maid has a lot of freedom. I think she goes out of the house on her own more than me.

  14. 1. medical check up – yes, i brought my previous maid to another doc. when my SIL bought her maid for medical check up on her own, maid got hepatitis B
    2. dining together – its up to u, but of course not using own spoon to dish the food lor. for me, we ate first, thenlater maid ate in the kitchen
    3. laundry – maid washed her own with hand.(for my previous one)
    4. Rules & Regulation- no stealing, running away, hitting or scolding my kids, no talking to strangers, guards, no stealing food, etc
    5. i kept her passport in my bank.
    6. salary- i bank into my newly opened acct which was mainly for her salary and she kept the bank book. my uncle banked into his own account which is mainly for her maid one, but she doesnt get to keep the bank book. she only has to sign on a piece of paper stating RMXXX have been banked into her acct. reason being is that bank got interest ma, why give the maid the interest and not keep for himself. in the end of the contract, maid only gets her salary wo bank interest..hehe..
    7. give her a list of what she should do everyday and on specific date. like 1st and 16th of every mth is to change bedsheet. i did that.
    8. get her a bed? besheets, pillow and blanket. shampoo, soap, (i bought separate washing powder for her clothes cause mine is expensive, cant share with her), *sanitary pad, sometimes toothbrush and toothpaste, clothes, undergarments* – these can be bought after she arrives and check with her what she doesnt hv.
    9. i was warned by a fren to ensure that maid doesnt hv err. this disease, something called lepea, etc, it has to do with down there u know. its contagious but no big harm. ensure ur kids doesnt share the toilet bowl ur maid will be using, not until u bring her for medical check up and have gotten back the result.
    10. tel no – relatives can only call my HP no, but my SIL maid looked at their house tel bill to get hold of the hse no.
    11. i was told to get maid to wake up early lie around 6 or 6.30am so that when ur kids r older and need to get up early and maid maybe needs to make milo, etc, she still can wake up at that time. if u allow her to wake up say aorund 7.30 – 8am, she might not get used to it later when u need her to get up early..
    12. resting- it depends on whether u allow maid to rest in the afternoon,. it also depends on wat time she gets up and sleeps at nite, if too tired oso cannot la, if she falls sick, jialak lor, have to jaga her too. i didnt allow my previous maid to rest in the afternoon coz got so many things to do and she was super slow, perhaps my new maid i might allow her to do so.. see how la
    13. my room – i locked it whenever we went out and left her alone at home.

    as what other says, dont treat her like a slave, more like a family, and tell her to treat her so. tell her to work well at ur home and treat u and ur family as her family…? my maid didnt appreciate even after i told her many times. damn!
    now it all depends on ur luck!!! good luck!!

    Wen, Thank you so much for your list. I wouldn’t have thought of all these things myself becos no experience mah.

  15. MG, since so many others have already shared with you what they do at home with their maids, am not going to load you with more..

    The new maids would have undergone some form of training and orientation prior to coming here and ground rules would have been laid by the agent’s trainer. You must ask the agent, what have they been taught to do and not do. If there is a checklist, ask for a copy. Then, you “modify” as you see fit. Say, if you are comfortable with the maid sitting together at the same table, then do it and ensure that she knows to use the serving spoons. Whatever that you are not comfortable with, like her putting her clothes together with your pile, tell her not to do it. All these have to be laid out right from the start according to your wishes. Passport must be kept in the bank if you have a safe deposit box. Jewelleries too.

    I’m confused now. Are you talking about her passport or my passport. Hehe.

  16. What happened to JLow’s brother, happened to me. My maid din get pregnant tho.

    My 2nd maid was with us for 3 yrs, we had intentions to extend her contract for another 2yrs. That’s how much we ‘loved’ her. She was the best. U din have to instruct her to do things. She took the initiative herself. She loved my kids. Got along well with my wife (u now how hard that is). We trusted her.

    We found out later, that whenever we went on holidays, she brought a guy into our home to ‘spend the nite’. She admitted this to us later when she went back to Indon. I still dunno how she got in contact with the guy.

    Hmmm… thats why you say never ever trust your maid…..

  17. Aiyo, after reading all the comments, I lagi dun want maid!! 😀

    I do understand for you, you cannot avoid it and have no choice but to get a helper. It’s great that you have so much feedback here to be better prepared! 🙂

    I oso dunwan lah Kat.

  18. I thought of sharing some points with you but after reading everyone’s comments, seems like they have said it all.

    One thing to add is, although we don’t eat together but we always take out her portion of food first before we started eating. So that she is not eating leftover. There is no rule who must eat first coz it is not important. She has to be full in order to carry out her tasks. So it is fine for me even if she eats before me. She has her own set of utensils.

    Do treat her like a family member, like do talk to her; if she is not doing anything, can invite her to watch some general tv programs with you like cooking programs (she needs entertainment as well but make sure is under your permission); I’ll educate her things also when I read some articles (so she is more informed); I also chit chat with her when free (so you know what she is thinking and also she is not so bored only doing work at home).

    I guess if we respect her, she’ll respect us too. She got to be “happy” staying with you, so that she won’t get attracted to the outside world so much. She also got to be “happy” and “respect” you, so that she won’t listen to outsiders so easily.

    I totally disagree treating a maid like a “maid” coz they need a life too. Do not treat them like “aliens” coz if they feel lonely, that’s when they start to think of funny things to do.

    Good luck to you….hope your maid comes with a good heart!!

    Though everyone has said it all, you still managed to come up with new pointers for me. Thank you so much. 🙂

  19. I’m talking about her passport.. but many runaway maids ran away with nothing… So.. I am confused too..

    Yah, one agent told me, if they really want to run away, they will even if naked not to mention passport and money.

  20. Wow I see many readers writing blogs post on your comments box….. For me, I just let her settle down and do simple chores first few days. By the way, when it comes to teaching, you will need lots of patience. I send her home after 9 mths because she just refuse to learn and I totally lost it.

    The beauty of blogging is its like having your own personal forum. Very useful. To get so many helpful comments and suggestions over 1 or 2 days, I’d have to call up 20 friends. Haha. Don’t think thats feasible.

  21. When I had my first maid, I was sooo clueless, did not really lay down the ground rules..instead.. as and went she does something not right.. I will correct her…but really… it should be done at the very beginning… they do take advantage….

    Authority!!! Don’t make the mistake I made, I was toooooo nice to the point she never apologizes when he makes mistake, lack of manners and stuff… So… be nice but also make sure she knows there is line/boudary…. she is with me almost 2 years and believe it or not… I never really scolded her! As for my hubby…. he thinks I am too lenient to her..which is true… and we also argue alot because of the maid!!! So…make sure you and hubby are on the same level on how you want the maid to be…. I always treat her well in terms of food and accommodation… human afterall… at times.. you should have personal chats with her so that she won’t feel soo lonely…afterall.. she is away from home and family… it’s always good to give her some personal space…

    Oh yah thats true hor. Must be on same level as hubby. Haha.

  22. Sometimes I feel like we need a maid because the boys are so active, I want to do stuff with them and not worry about chores and give my in-laws a break, but I had one bad experience at my mum’s and now I really try not to have one. Also hubby treasures his privacy and freedom too much. Hahaha…

    Our probable option in future would be a come in helper like twice or 3 times a week.

    Hope you have good helper.

    Agent tells me part timers are usually better workers then full timers. So thats a good option for you. I would prefer that too if I could. I used to have a part timer for 2 years. It worked out very well but I think she left for more money eventually.

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