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The cost of living in Bali (even with rapid inflation) is still low compared to western countries. You probably don’t need to clean your house by yourself ever again. In this article we’ll tell you a bit more about the dynamics of a housekeeper in Bali, where to find them, and what to look for. Read on for our list of 3 great places to find a maid or housekeeper in Bali!

Most expats living in Bali tend to have at least one staff member helping them out, and every now and then you’ll meet someone with such a lush lifestyle that they has as many as 5 or more. The larger the villa or property, the more staff you’d expect to see.

For an expat living in Bali, a maid’s service can be invaluable. It provides a job to a local who may otherwise not have any work, especially in these crazy times. While the task of searching and hiring and firing (yes, this WILL happen) can seem arduous, once you’ve found ‘the one,’ it’s likely they will become a pillar of your daily life and even a part of your family.

What is a pembantu?

Pembantu translates to maid or helper. We’re going to avoid using the term servant for obvious reasons. In most instances that you’ll hear the word pembantu used it is referring to a maid or housekeeper in Bali. If you’re looking for a nanny, check back here at BaliManual frequently, as we’ve got an article coming up on that really soon.

How much do housekeepers in Bali earn?

A maid’s salary can vary depending on the situation of her working condition and her skills. A maid in Bali who speaks English is surely to expect a higher salary than one who cannot. You pay for convenience, true for anywhere in the world.

Many locals employ live-in maids, who will live in a small room of their house. This concept usually seems a little strange to most foreigners, having an extra person around the house all the time, but it is pretty standard. If you choose to have a live-in maid, her monthly salary will be much lower because you will be providing her accommodation, meals and other daily essentials. An average salary for a live-in maid is somewhere around rp. 1.500.000-2.000.000.

It’s unlikely that you’d want or need a live-in maid. Many expats have a part-time maid, earning at least rp. 800.000 per month for a few hours of work per day, 5 days per week. Expect these figures to be inflated in tourist areas such as Canggu and Uluwatu.

A full time maid can earn as little as rp. 2.500.000 and as much as rp. 4.000.000. It really depends on the circumstances of employment, the generosity of the employer, the financial circumstances of the employer, the specific responsibilities given, etc. It’s worth noting that the provincial minimum wage for Badung Regency was Rp. 2.930.092 in 2021. The further out you go from Badung, the lower the minimum wage…. down to approximately Rp. 2.500.000 in Bangli.

Bali Housekeeper cleaning a window
A Bali Housekeeper cleans a window.

3 Great Places to Find a Maid or Housekeeper in Bali

Finding a quality, reliable housekeeper in Bali will require time, effort, and quite a bit of patience. The odds of you finding the ‘one’ on your first go is extremely unlikely. Before searching for a maid in Bali, make sure to set aside some time to list all the tasks and responsibilities that are to be expected of them.

Typically, laundry is a topic of debate and often means an increase in work time and therefore a slightly higher salary. Cooking is not usually included as part of the very basic responsibilities for housekeepers in Bali. So make a list, check it twice…. make sure you can tell your prospective pembantu exactly what they are required to do and how to do it. Sometimes it’s helpful to prioritise these tasks and make a follow-along checklist for them.

So where should you actually find your maid or housekeeper in Bali?

Staffing Agencies

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to find a maid or housekeeper in Bali is through a staffing agency. It’s our least recommended method, as the agencies charge a fixed fee for each new hire. Unless you can find an agency with some kind of guarantee of performance, we wouldn’t recommend this option. It would get costly and you’d likely tire of trying new people out.

A Bali Housekeeper vacuums a dirty floor
A housekeeper in Bali vacuums up the aftermath of a children’s party.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups have become a brilliant resource when used correctly. One group in particular, Bali Housekeepers, is very popular for finding maids or housekeepers in Bali.

We recommend not scrolling too much, as these groups are typically full of trolls with too much time on their hands. Simply post what you’re looking for, disable commenting, and recommend that people seriously interested (and able to follow instructions) contact you via DM. Make sure to at least include the working hours, responsibilities, location.

Prepare for a flood of messages. A great first step is to arrange a day for you to interview candidates. Set a specific time for the candidates to show up. You’ll be surprised how helpful this will be in eliminating candidates who don’t show up early, or at least on time, for a job interview.

Word of mouth

Probably your best option for finding a great maid in Bali! The island is very transitory in nature. Many people are coming and going at any given moment. You’re best bet it to ask around your network of people. Sometimes there will be posts on FB groups to the same effect, but start first with offline options.

You’d be surprised how easy it might be to find a highly recommended housekeeper in Bali because the family is relocating. They are probably already asking around on behalf of their housekeeper to try and give them a nice segue into their next place of employment.

If you already have a housekeeper in Bali but you’re not totally satisfied with their performance, it might be worth trying someone else out especially if you stumble across someone highly recommending their soon-to-be out of work staff.

Other provisions and recommendations

Start employment with a probation period. Typically 30-90 days probation would be a good starting point to employing a housekeeper in Bali. The pay should be slightly less for the first few months. Only once they’ve proven their value should you pay them the full intended salary.

It’s your responsibility to provide, in an ideal Bali, the all natural cleaning supplies and equipment the housekeeper will need to perform their job effectively.

Sadly, it’s very common for staff to ask for some, if not all of their salary in advance. Never pay the salary early, whether in part or full. This is usually the start of a bad pattern and it almost always results in the “giving an inch, taking a yard” mentality. Keep the terms of employment structured and firm. Be nice, be kind, but don’t be weak. You’ll thank us later.

This also applies to 13th month holiday pay. While this is a legal requirement for staff employed by an actual company, it is discretionary for you. It’s great if you wish to provide this pay and the staff have earned it, but we recommend not paying it within the first 8-10 months of employment. A common story details the staff disappearing after having received this additional month’s salary.

This is typically paid, after our recommended waiting period, on the most significant holiday of the religion of your housekeeper. If your housekeeper is Balinese and Hindu, it’s likely to pay this on Galungan. If they’re Muslim, you’d pay it for Idul Fitri. Christian staff would get it for Christmas, and so on.

That pretty sums up everything we’ve got on how to find a maid or housekeeper in Bali. Good luck on your search!

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