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Arrow really hit the spot for us!

  1. #9
    MeowMeow is offline Registered User
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    Thanks thanka2 for the information!

  2. #10
    xxJJxxx is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by thanka2 View Post
    Well, this agency is probably really different than any other agency out there. First, they are run as part-business, part-ministry. This means they actually exist to help and aid Phillipinas with a different route than the abusive and often corrupt agency system in their own country as well as HK. They also exist to fill the gap and provide potential employers with another option. In addition, our close friends, who are Americans in their late 60s--who came to HK to do volunteer work and ended up staying and raising their 3 grown children here--they are the ones who recommended this agency to us because they are personal friends with the owner, another American who has been here for 20+ years. So, for us, we had a close friend who has had personal experience with the owner and the agency over an extended period of time give us the recommendation.

    Of course, this is not guarantee that the lady we hired is going to work for us--no one can guarantee that. Even the owner himself told me that there is no guarantee that a certain helper will be a perfect fit with your family. Also, whenever you're dealing with human beings you have to take into account that there are feelings and situations that change and well, that means that there are no guarantees with humans. That's what the owner told me when I talked with him.

    But, I must say, they made a huge impression on me with their initial customer service. There is no other agency I've ever gone to that didn't give me a fast, hard, pressure-filled sell. The most any agent ever spent with us was maybe 20 minutes and usually it was a lot lower than that. They were very anxious to get us to decide on someone and book her right then and there. The atmosphere with this agency, Arrow, was the complete opposite--it was so laid-back. We could have spent 2 hours there and walked out and never hired a maid (in fact, we did walk out without signing anything and went home and thought it over and then called later) and there would have been no hard feelings or sense of disappointment from them.

    So, our helper will likely come meet us in September or early October. After she's been here 2-4 weeks, I'll give a summary of my experience, how does that sound?

    All I can say, is that you're not wasting your time by checking into this agency. Go check it out, sit down with them and see what your gut feeling is and that will tell you a lot, I think.

    Here's to better experiences with domestic helpers in HK! Cheers!
    Hi thanka2,

    Just wonder how much did you spent on a ball-park figure for this agency? Like if there's any hidden costs or what to note for the whole hiring process?

    Look forward to your sharing! Cheers

  3. #11
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    No hidden costs. On their website they are very upfront about the costs.

    From my reading on this site about helpers it seems that the going rate is somewhere around $2,000 HKD for most agency fees in Hong Kong. Arrow's charges were around $3,000 HKD which was a palatable cost difference for us. We also received a 10% discount because we were referred by one of their clients (someone who had hired a helper through them) so that brought the cost to $2,700, if I remember correctly. So, yes, they are about $1000 HKD more expensive. Still waiting for the helper to arrive--I think she will be able to have all of her paperwork processed by the middle of to the end of September and we should meet her shortly after then. Will update here.

  4. #12
    HK2008 is offline Registered User
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    The cost seems about right. I paid $3,200 to the agency who processed my helper's applications as a direct hire(I found the helper myself) and there is no guaranteed free replacement either. Also it doesn't cover the agent picking up the helper from the airport(we picked her up ourselves).

  5. #13
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    rani is offline Administrator
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    We also paid around $3200 for a direct hire recently. HK2008, has your helper worked in HK before? Ours hasn't and she was told she needs to undergo the TESDA training, and the cost is $1000.

    Filipino Household Service Workers - HSWs

  6. #14
    HK2008 is offline Registered User
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    Yes rani. My one worked in hk for about 4 years before I hired her, so I only had to pay for her medical check up. She was referred to me by her ex-employer(a memeber of this forum).

    Good luck to all of you who are trying to hire a helper. I can vouch for a much easier and improved quality of life with the right helper, eg. dining out and followed by a movie with just your hubby; going to Shenzhen or Macau for fun without the kids...(please don't mistaken me as a bad mother, because sometimes we really need some time off from our kids:missingto)

  7. #15
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Alright, so I haven't really had a chance to sit down and update this thread but I'll try now.

    I promised that I would update and let everyone know how our experience with the helper we hired through Arrow has gone.

    Well, first of all, we thought the earliest she would be able to make it here by would be October. We got a letter in early September from immigration saying that it would take 4-8 weeks for our helpers' papers to be processed. Two days later, immigration called us and said that everything was ready and that she could come anytime.

    So, she arrived here on September 19 and as of this week she has been working for us for one month.

    As far as Arrows' dealings with us--they have been really great. As promised, they picked up our helper from the airport, gave her a one-day orientation and took her to file for her HKID card. The next day they brought her to our home along with her belongings and spent about 30 minutes introducing us and helping her get settled in and answering any questions we had. As promised, they called the following week to check in and ask if we had any issues--at that point one issue had come up--we were unsure if our helper needed to wear her glasses all the time because she had mentioned several times that her normal everyday (not reading) eyesight wasn't that great but then she said she only was supposed to wear her glasses for reading. The staff at Arrow gave me some helpful pointers on how to go about resolving the situation. That was really helpful.

    As far as our helper personally goes. She is very good-natured and an extremely hard worker. She rises with the chickens in the morning (and out where we live, we do have roosters that crow in the morning) and our house has never been cleaner or tidier. It's to the point where we have to "order" her to sit down and take a 10-minute break once in awhile. No one could ever accuse her of being lazy. She really does live by the motto, "If you have time to lean, you have time to clean", I guess.

    As far as cooking goes, I think she does a decent job but she's still in the process of learning how to cook the style of food that we eat as she has mostly worked for Chinese families over the past 10 years and we aren't really big on frying everything we eat in a wok with oil. We bake and steam things a lot. Anyway, I really wish at this point I could just lay out instructions and ingredients and that I could come home to a meal but that's probably a way off yet.

    How is she with our son? She is really attentive and spends really great quality time with him. He has learned a few words from her already like "turtle" and "parrot"--he already knows her name and has accepted her as part of the family--they get along well. HOWEVER, we are still working on the discipline factor as like most helpers, and especially those who have worked for local Chinese families she operates on the belief that our son is her "master" and she is to follow him around and pick up after him and just give him whatever he asks for (or demands)--including dropping everything she's doing every time he wants her to come over to where he is at. We have conscientiously been very careful to try to prevent creating a "xiao huang di" or "little emperor" and this age of toddlerhood is quite sensitive--if she doesn't start picking up on how we relate to our son when it comes to discipline we run the real risk of undoing a lot of good habits we've already instilled (i.e. waiting patiently; not being rewarded with what he wants when he throws a temper tantrum--which consequently doesn't happen often because there is no reward in it for him; asking for things with please and saying thank you; using age-appropriate table manners--no spitting food everywhere or sticking his feet on the table etc.)

    I've heard from several others that this is just a weakness with almost all helpers--the tendency to just let the child do and have whatever they want just because again, they view the child as the "master." So, it's really a difficult concept for our helper, I think as I have explained that when we're not here she is "the boss" when it comes to my son, not the other way around and that we have charged her with doing things the way we do and enforcing our boundaries and standards. She just chuckles in a "Oh, that sounds nice...but I'll just do my own thing" sort of way which is kind of annoying because this is such an important issue to us.

    So, we have to constantly correct her (i.e. "No, do not pick his toys up for him, ask him to pick them up--you can supervise and help a little but let him do the job because he is able and gets a sense of accomplishment from it.") and then tell her, "Watch what I do and copy it." Also, we really need to work on her "stern no face." If my son asks for something that he shouldn't have etc. she tells him "No" but then if he keeps asking she is like "No, okay? Okay, maybe it's okay....okay, I'll give it to you" With us, we just give a simple "No" and that's the end of discussion and our son doesn't push it with us because it really doesn't get him anywhere--if he figures out she can be manipulated, you know where that leads, right?

    One other issue came up a couple of days ago that really made me realize that our helper may be lacking in the area of creative problem solving. All the adults in our house had to go to Wan Chai to set up for an exhibition on Monday but because my son is under 18 he couldn't come along--it's one of the only times we've left him alone with the helper. I asked my mother, "Did you tell the helper what to make for him for dinner?" She replied, "Well, not exactly but I think she knows where things are at and she'll either decide on something for him or call us." So, the helper called us as we were on our way home to ask if she should bathe the baby (which usually my husband does so we usually ask her to wait but once in awhile, we have her or my mother do it if it's really late). We told her to wait because we were on our way home. So, we get home and I ask, "What did you feed him?" She was like, "Oh, I didn't feed him anything. He ate a late lunch." I find out he ate at 2 pm but by this time it was 8:45 pm!!! That's almost 7 hours without food! Not even a snack! And for a toddler that is always hungry and growing by the day, that is a really long time to wait to eat! I looked at my son's face and I could tell he was just about to the point of breakdown--where he would have a meltdown because he wouldn't be able to decide whether he was more hungry or tired and then what would ensue is hours of struggle to try to feed and put him to bed. Anyway, I set to work making a simple sandwich for him and disaster was averted. I was shocked! I asked her after my son was fed and put to bed, "Why didn't you feed him?" She was like, "I didn't know what you wanted me to feed him and I thought you were bringing food home." Okay, since she has lived here we have NEVER brought food home for our son--yes, we eat out with him but we've never brought food home. We never said anything about that--and when she called us on the phone she could have asked for pointers on what food to feed him. Then later she told my mother, "I was ashamed to ask." I just kind of felt frustrated with the whole thing because while she was saying "Sorry she kept telling me why what she did was okay." I felt like saying, "Just say, 'I made a mistake' and next time I will either call you and ask or come up with a solution on my own." I didn't get upset at her I just told her to call next time and also to use her own imagination/problem solving skills to come up with a solution. Yeah, so it's not a huge deal, but it just made me think about how when I hired a helper I didn't want to hire someone I need to give play-by-play instruction to. But, we just do what we have to to get through, right?

    Overall, I think we expected that our helper would be a very fast learner as she has worked in HK for 8 years before but sometimes I feel like I have to give her a play-by-play instructional on simple tasks and sometimes my husband I think to ourselves, "Did she REALLY work in HK before? And she doesn't know her way around a Park n' Shop?"

    So, I would just say that the communication factor is a bit exhausting sometimes. She really is good-spirited and willing to learn, I think but sometimes I (and my mother who lives with us and has been training her a lot) want to shake her and say, "Take some notes! Write this down!" It gets tiring having to explain simple things over and over again--and I write out very simple (I teach basic English here in HK so I'm used to being simple with my language) notes to explain what I've already orally said at least 20 times.

    But, the truth is that most people I've talked to say that it takes a good 3-6 months to really train a helper and for them to get used to living and working with your family.

    So, we've just responded by lowering our expectations a bit and going slower.

    But overall, I think our experience has been positive and we're still very optimistic that this helper will work very well for our family.

  8. #16
    cookie09 is offline Registered User
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    consultant speak suggests to never start a sentence with 'why' or 'who' as they have a blaming undertone and make people defensive. better to use things like 'what's the rationale', 'how come', etc.

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