Tailor-made household help: A guide to domestic staff agencies

Feeling swamped by your household chores? Join RT’s tour around Moscow’s English-friendly domestic staff agencies.

In your search for good and cheap household personnel, the Internet will be the first place to start.

Online forums like Expat.ru are packed with inexpensive offers from private tutors, drivers and, of course, housekeepers. An average rate for a maid in Moscow is around $10 per hour.

If, apart from cleaning, you need other household routines to be taken care of, Moscow has a popular service specially designed for you.

“We offer a service called ‘Rent a Husband’ which includes such services as maintenance and electrical wiring,” Tatyana Belevtseva, deputy director of Uborsila cleaning services agency, told RT.

A bit less popular, there is also a “wife for an hour”. Starting from 1,500 rubles, a temporary spouse will not only clean up but also do your laundry and buy groceries.

­Quest for ideal baby-sitter

While most people have standard requirements for a maid, the search for a perfect babysitter can be a lot more difficult, so it might be worth getting professional advice. Domestic staff recruiters manage to satisfy even the most eccentric needs.

“Sometimes our clients have specific requests for the employee’s appearance,” Mila Kostenko, a manager at Perfect Personnel company, told RT. “For example, a brunette nanny to a baby whose mother has dark hair. Around 50 per cent of people ask for staff born under a specific zodiac sign.”

Mila is a professional psychoanalyst. Specialists like her have far more sophisticated methods than astrology to ensure compatibility between the client and personnel.

“It often happens that a family hires an employee with excellent recommendations from their friends,” Alla Averina, from Prestige Agency, told RT. “But soon they discover that this person simply doesn’t fit in the house. This will rarely happen with an agency, as they look for a perfect candidate based on your psychological profile.”

Recruiters also have resources to organize proper training, a thorough background and medical check. Unfortunately, few agencies In Moscow specialize in finding English-speaking personnel.

Still, there are some options, like Family Care agency. They say a true professional will always find a common language with the client.

“If the kid doesn’t speak any English or Russian, the right nanny will always find an approach to him,” Ekaterina Morozova, a manager at Family Care, told RT. “First she will learn a few words in his language, just to establish contact. And gradually, while talking to the child, she learns his language and vice-versa.”

­Traditional Western upbringing

Jason is another entrepreneur promoting Western upbringing in Russia. He brings nannies and governesses from the UK, France and other parts of Europe. His clientele is mostly comprised of wealthy Russians, who want their kids to go native and are ready to splash out on it.

“People need some kind of motivation to come to Russia,” Jason Farrell, from Gouverneur agency, told RT. “For teachers, governesses and nannies, that’s usually something to do with finance. The average expat, unless they’re on a serious budget from a company, is unlikely to value the service as much as a Russian person would. We have occasional requests from French-speaking expats who want their children to learn English better.”

In general, an agency’s services will cost you around a month’s salary of your employee and 50 per cent for every contract extension.

Remember: the demand for in-house staff in autumn often exceeds supply, so you might end up paying more to your staff now than you would outside the peak season.

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