One thing that I get a lot of questions about is the cost of employing different types of workers in the Philippines. Well, any time that you talk about labor, salaries and such, there is always a range of costs involved. Not everybody pays the same wage for the same job.
I live in Davao, and I am going to base what I say on Davao. Wages can vary quite a bit depending on where in the Philippines you are talking about. Especially in Manila, you will find that labor costs are maybe up to 50% higher than in Davao. Some places are cheaper than Davao too. But, my knowledge is about Davao, and it is kind of a middle ground anyway, so it makes a good base for comparison.
First, since we’ve been talking a lot about maids lately, let’s look at the cost of employing a maid. I would estimate that most people here in this area pay their maid around P1,300 to P1,500 per month. I have known people, though, who pay their maids as little as P800 per month, and up to P4,000 per month. So, the price varies widely, but at P1,300 to P1,500 per month you will be on target and paying a wage that is expected. Less than P1,300 and you will probably be thought of as cheap. More than P1,500 you will be thought of as generous.
I am also asked about tradesmen – carpenters, handymen and such, and how much people like this cost. Generally, jobs like this are paid on a “per job” basis instead of a set salary per day, week or month. This is because generally speaking, if you need something repaired around the house, it might take just an hour or a few hours. If a job takes up to half a day or so, the cost would generally be around P300 or so, maybe as high as P500. The cost of P500 might be if the guy sees me and knows that he is working for a foreigner! Of course, the charge to a foreigner is a bit higher in most instances! But, that is to be expected, I guess. Other jobs that are larger in nature would need to be negotiated. I have had carpenters work here for a week or so for about P2,000 or so. Painters would be about the same.
Another employee that a lot of foreigners employ is a driver. Personally, I prefer to drive for myself, so I don’t have a driver. But, I have been told by others that a driver is usually about P7,000 to P10,000 per month. This is strictly second hand information, since I have never employed a driver, so if somebody knows differently, please correct me. I won’t mind that, I’ll even appreciate it!
We also like to employ a “boy”. A boy is a young guy who works around the house doing things like yard work and such. Any kind of “man” jobs that need to be done is what he would do. He also opens the gate if I am driving in. I just pull up to the gate, give a honk, and he runs up to open the gate for me. Ha ha… it’s a hard life here, I’ll tell you! Expect to pay a boy like this about the same as what you would pay a maid.
Keep in mind that the actual Peso payment is only one part of the cost for employing people. For a maid, you will also be responsible for offering her room and board. You will cover all of her meals and such. I find these kind of expenses to be minor, though, because if you are cooking for a family, having food for one extra mouth is generally no problem. In addition, for a maid, we also pay for all of her personal needs – things like toothpaste, deodorant and other hygiene products. Many employers make the maid pay for her own items like this out of her salary, I just feel it is a little added perk, and I can also assure that she is well groomed if I provide the products. She is, after all, handling my kids! In addition, for other types of laborers that we have around the house on an irregular basis, if they are here during lunch time or snack time, we will generally offer them food when the rest of us eat. This is not really something you must do, I just think it is common courtesy.
Remember, all these prices are just based on my experience. Also, if you have a staff of employees like this, you need to adjust based on the parameters in your house. For example, if your maid goes above the call of duty, or if she has been employed a long time and is reliable to you, give her a little extra. Just use this as a guide, then make adjustments based on your situation.