Bad UX is Good Business


Let me start by summarizing this awesome essay from Andrew Chen. Andrew argues that things like A/B testing the landing pages which produces 10%ish increase in conversion do not really increase the bottom line of the company by 10%. This is because the changes in landing page affect the “low intent” visitors than the “high intent” ones. Most of the high intent users, who are eventually going to pay for your services are not really going to be affected by moving some buttons and form here and there.

This differentiation of visitors into high intent and low intent visitors is very useful. Now here’s the kicker, you can use your landing page to actively filter the low intent users. On www.prowidor.com we do not provide register via Facebook/Google options to the users even though many websites instantly boost registration with it. The logic is simple. ‘if someone is willing to pay 50 Dollars for the service, they are willing to type a username and password’.

Of course, if your UX is so bad that even the high intent users bounce, you need to make some changes. For prowidor.com, the same registration form was actually difficult to navigate for a semi literate blue collar worker. But you know what they find easy to do? Chat with their friends on Facebook. So, we built a facebook chat bot for their registration. In fact the workers communicate with us exclusively via the chatbot.


But spending a lot of effort creating the perfect landing experience does pays, especially in two cases.

1] When there is possibility of unconscious/irrational behavior

When there is a possibility of unconscious/irrational behavior, you don’t really have any low intent visitors. Or a better way to put this is that you can convert the low intent users into high intent ones easily. That’s why you see these design manipulations working wonders for social media apps and apps/website with high novelty factor.

2] When the target customer jump between low and high intent.

There are many cases where the user jumps between low and high intent. Take for example a food delivery website. A low intent user at 8 am in the morning, can become a high intent one in a matter of hours. A low intent user for a job portal can become high intent user in a few months.

It is important that the entire user acquisition experience is designed keeping possible jump from low to high intent in mind. It will not work if a job portal sends you reminder emails every day at lunch, and it will make no sense for a food delivery company to wait 2 weeks before sending you a 30% discount coupon code.


There are other instances of not so good UX making a good business sense. There are the obvious dark patterns used to make it impossibly hard to do things like delete account and stop subscription.

Then there are high learning curve games like DotA and terribly outdated website design like classic reddit.com. These kind difficulties in UX make sure that only the high intent user go through the acquisition process. And once they are through, I guess they have a sense of accomplishment that increases their affinity for the product.

I am definitely not implying that you should make bad design decisions on purpose. Just know that changing positions of registration forms and buttons on your website ten times may not increase your bottom line by 100%


Needless to say, I don’t know much about UX and you might strongly disagree with the article. In any case, leave your reply below. And connect with me on twitter/LinkedIn.

You can find more at www.hatwalne.com.

Empathy is Hard.


For the majority of my life I have been baffled by a very deep, very stupid question. “How can someone who has taken a loan, enjoy anything?”

Now, I understand why that would sound stupid to you. It sounds stupid to me now. But as a twelve year old kid, all I could think when I saw my relatives who took a home loan, going to an expensive restaurant, was “How can you enjoy this moment? you have hundreds of thousands worth of loan! You should be saving every penny you can to pay back the loan! STOP ENJOYING!”

I believed this stupid thing till the day I got myself a student loan. I still vaguely remember the day I actually got the loan. After, I finished signing all the documents at the bank, came back to my hostel room exhausted and instinctively went to the cafeteria to have a hot cup of coffee. I don’t remember precisely but, probably that was the time I realized what every debtor ever in the whole word know: “I will not be changing my daily behavior or stop “enjoying” just because I got a loan.”

Let me tell another instance of similar behavior. I couldn’t believe people liked drinking coffee without sugar. I thought they have something wrong with their taste buds or they intentionally want to drink bad coffee or they just don’t want to be happy. And of course I started drinking coffee without sugar recently. Now, why I started it is a story for another time. But the important thing is that I now prefer my coffee without sugar and yes my taste buds are fine.

Similar story repeats when it comes to me starting to use public transport, switching to Ubuntu OS and using fountain pens.


Now, apart from highlighting the stupidity of my younger self, the point I want to make here is that Empathy is hard. It was hard for me to get into thought process of a debtor until I became one. Same goes for those drinking espresso or writing with fountain pen.

Ah…Empathy, the hottest new buzz word in technology and corporate scene. Everyone from designers, to product managers to the CEOs are supposed to have empathy now. That’s the rule according to the popular twitter wisdom at least. The likes of Satya Nadella have attributed it to the success of their companies. Countless others have written blogs and books about it.


What is Empathy?

Let me do the cliche thing first. {In generic old English man’s voice} : Websters English Dictionary define empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner”

If you skipped the last paragraph, you are not alone. No, seriously. I copied the definition from the Webster’s website but haven’t read it. Let me give you a simpler, more metaphorical definition. “To empathize with someone is to put yourself in someone’s shoes.” That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. More methodically it is creating emotional and behavior model of someone for yourself. It is not holding hands with someone, but looking through their lens.

It definitely not the touchy-feely thing you only feel for the less fortunate.(Hint: That’s sympathy)

With this definition in mind, it becomes obvious why many businesses want their employees to empathize with their customers. And it seems very easy to do, especially if you are the target customer. But if you are not, it can be very difficult as I have demonstrated earlier. It is hard for a charter jet interior designer to empathize with their billionaire customers. And it is hard for a millionaire CEO to empathize with poor malaria victim customers of her medicine.

I am in a minor Empathy deficiency of my own right now. I am developing an internet product for migrant blue-collar workers. I find it extremely difficult to judge what product feature someone will use, what will they like and what they wont.


I have found two ways which seem to be working for me to empathize with my target audience. I think they are general enough to be applicable for most readers.

1. Talk with them when they are emotional.

Talk to your customers or whoever you want to empathize with. But talking to them when everything is good and happy is not that helpful. Talk to them when they are angry, when they are frustrated and sad. What frustrate someone? What makes them angry and sad? Answers to these questions will tell you what they care about, what is important to them. This will help you create a better mental model of their emotions and behaviors.

If they are angry and frustrated at your particular service or product, That is the golden opportunity. Don’t avoid such customer calls. Those calls would probably save you hundreds of A/B tests later on.

2. Read or Watch fiction.

Fiction, where the characters belong to your target audience can be a very useful tool for developing empathy. If the creators and writers have done a good job, not only you will be able to empathize better, but you would find it difficult not to empathize with the characters.

You are essentially outsourcing empathy creation to the writers and storytellers. This can be a powerful and entertaining tool of forming empathy.


Of course, Empathy is hard. If it would have been easy every other guy would be Satya Nadella.

In any case, what do you think about empathy? Or do you think about it at all. Leave a response below. I would love to read your views on the subject.

Connect with me on twitter here if you want to discuss something.

Can we really achieve a Global Village

On July 10th of 2018, in accordance with the philosophy of the celebrated marvel villain Thanos, half of the r/thanosdidnothingwrong subredditers were banned. Over six hundred thousand users participated in the biggest social event of 2018 including celebrities like the Russo Brothers and Josh Brolin. This probably was the epitome of Marshal Mcluhan’s global village theory.

Marshal McLuhan stated that with near instantaneous movement of information thanks to electronic media the globe will contract to the social structure of a village. Across the global village, people reach out and transcend their neighborhoods. They involve in a complex community of networks stretching across cities, nations, oceans, and governments. Considering there are more people using Facebook than following Christianity, we can assume we are near global village-hood if not already achieved it. However, being someone who has spent majority of his life in rural India, I don’t really find many similarities in using the internet and wandering around in Malkapur.

Dunbar’s number and social media

Marshal Mcluhan is one of two twentieth-century thinkers most referenced in today’s social media discussions. The other one? Robin Dunbar, best known for formulating the Dunbar’s number.

Dunbar’s number is cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships — relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. Basically, there is a hard limit to how many friends you can have. Dunbar determined this number to be 148. How Dunbar arrived at this number is itself an interesting read that has more to do with studying monkey brain than human ones.

Of course not all relationships are equal. Dunbar theorized a rule of three which selects fifty close friends from the 150. Further, there are fifteen friends who truly sympathize with us and five is the size of our core support group.


These numbers start to look strange as we start considering the number of people we interact with online. On average someone will have three hundred facebook friends and five hundred Linkedin connections and seven hunderd twitter followers. The Dunbar’s number seems to be dwarfed by these social connection on the internet. The thing is, you have to spend some cognitive ability maintaining those twitter followers and Linkedin connections and it has to come from somewhere else.


The more we increase our connection with the peripheral world, less time we can devote to the closer more intimate relationships in our life. And the trend looks to be diverging towards even more connections. We are increasingly more connected with larger audiences. I am personally part of multiple facebook groups with more than a thousand members, and follow subreddits with hundreds of thousands of active users. I don’t really know anyone of these Reddit or Facebook users, but I do spend considerable efforts engaging with these communities.


We have achieved global villagehood in a sense that we can organize activities and communities on a global scale. The importance of geographical factors in community building has greatly diminished.

But, On a personal scale, as we cast a wider net for connections we might be loosing intimacy of our closer ones.

Cracked article from 2007 “What is the MonkeySphere?”

Why you shouldn’t post your political views on Facebook.

Source

The 2019 elections are coming up and you are preparing to turn your Facebook feed into a “House of Cards”ish political drama.

Don’t.

There are a shit ton of reasons why you shouldn’t post your political views on facebook but, let’s first discuss few reasons why you would want to post them.

1] You want to help your friends make a better voting decision.

If this is really the reason, you probably are the most innocent person in the world. Please comment below, I would love to know you better.

If you are a normal human being, you know people aren’t exactly rational while making voting decisions. People don’t vote for someone because of their position on fiscal policy or approach towards tackling terrorism. People will vote for someone simply because they like his/her face. (I am not even making this up. Check this out.)

Also, there is a polarising effect of Facebook feed algorithms. You see, Facebook makes more money, the more time you spend on their site. And you won’t keep refreshing your facebook feed if you start seeing things you don’t like.

That’s why facebook actively tweaks its algorithms such that you are only shown content that you like. If you think candidate X is great and share a post boosting his fiscal discipline in the last term, your friends who already like him are more likely to see the post. People who don’t like X much won’t see it. This is the polarising effect of Facebook. The feed reinforces your views in an effort to make you “like” more stuff you see in your feed.

So, No. Your Facebook posts are probably not helping anyone make a better decision.

2] You want to have a discussion on a political issue.

It is true that Facebook is probably the best way to reach multiple friends at once over the internet, and a Facebook post and comment system is supposed to be the digital equivalent of a group sitting around a table and having a chat but, that’s not what really happens.

Facebook comments are not six people sitting around a table having a discussion while sipping tea. It is six people holding megaphones screaming at each other while about 100 of their friends are sitting around getting annoyed.


Besides, no one would ever change their opinion in a Facebook debate. There is no social pressure to do so. In an actual group conversation, you have social pressure to respond to new arguments that are being developed. You have to provide a better argument or change your position.

On Facebook, you don’t have that kind of social pressure. First, the argument is not happening in real time. A real discussion that happens in 10 minutes will take a few hours of commenting to develop on Facebook. Second, any of the participants can just disengage with the conversation whenever he wants.

So, a discussion on a Facebook post is inefficient compared to physical conversations, cannot convey your point the way you want and does not create enough social pressure for someone to actually change their views.

3] You just want to rub it in their face,

You support the X party and you know some of your “Facebook friends” are stupid enough to support the rival Y party. You know you are right. You know you are smart. You know those “Facebook friends” hate X fanatically. But today is your day. Today the Y party leader messed up speech on national television, or the juiciest meme about his latest trip to southern India came up on the Internet and you have a smirk on your face as you click “share now”.

You think these “Facebook friends” are keeping quiet since you shared that meme. They are embarrassed and keeping to themselves. Not really. The Facebook polarisation is at play here again. Most of these friends didn’t really see your post. The only people who saw it are the ones on your team, they already support the X party.

This is like a bunch of Barcelona FC fans arguing among themselves how stupid Real Madrid team is. There is no point to the argument. You all already have the same opinion.

Watch this video.

4] You want attention.

Mr Meeseeks apart from existential pain, are also known for wanting attention

Well, of all the reasons listed here, this probably is the most honest one and for a good reason. Almost everything we do on social media is to seek attention and posting something political is a sure fire way to get it. I myself have done some stupid things to get attention on the internet(including posting this blog).

But, using politics to satisfy your craving for attention is a bit like using cocaine. It creates a great high and is very addictive but you can very easily overdose. If you are not careful, you can involuntarily become part of a greater political brawl that might even have consequences in your real life.


Oh yeah, and the reason you shouldn’t post political stuff? It’s fucking annoying. My feed (which is supposed to be populated with memes) gets all messy and disorganized and some of those political posts just make me sad.


So, yeah.

  1. Don’t post political stuff on social media.
  2. Don’t comment on other’s posts even if you have just the right witty comeback.
  3. Don’t even ‘like’ anything political.
  4. Tell the algorithmic overlords you don’t want to see politics on facebook.
  5. Be happy.

I am pretty sure I will break some of these rules (especially the last one) once in a while, forgive me for that. And let’s pray and act towards a peaceful internet this election season.

One week of Algo-free lifestyle


I probably spend 80% of my free time on the internet. Of this probably 95% is spent on sites/apps which heavily personalize their content for me. These sites and services try to learn anything and everything about me and use it to distract me, suck up as much of my attention as they can. Facebook/ Youtube/ Instagram/ Twitter/ Reddit are the major players here. I commonly refer to these services as Industrial Attention complex(IAC).

Some of the smartest minds of our generations are working for the IAC. Writing immensely complicated learning algorithms to show you just the right witty comment by your friend and the most delicious cooking video to keep you looking at the screen for few more seconds. And naturally, I wanted to see if I can outsmart them? If I can live an Algo-free lifestyle.

The easy way to know if a given service is part of IAC or not is to ask why are you being shown a particular content. If you come up with a simple enough answer, it is not IAC. If the answer involves “the algorithm thinks I like X”, it is IAC. Example:

  • News: The editor is deciding what is shown, Not IAC.
  • Messenger/Whatsapp: Most recent chat is shown first, not IAC.
  • Youtube: “The algorithm thinks I like flat earth conspiracy theories” Definitely IAC.

So, what does it exactly take to live an Algo-free lifestyle?


The Process

1: Uninstall the Apps.

I have developed this really bad habit. I unconsciously open Twitter/Reddit app on my phone at even a sliver of free time. I am writing an email, I press Send, take a long breath and Bam. Next thing I know I am mindlessly scrolling r/specialisedtools.

There is even weirder habit I have where I would get bored of browsing facebook on my desktop, so I would grab my phone and start scrolling facebook on the smaller sized internet experience. So Yes, getting rid of the mobile apps of the industrial tracking complex was necessary. You should also remove the IAC tiles from the new tab page of your browser.

After uninstalling all the apps, anytime I unknowingly grabbed my phone to browse the “Smaller internet” A mental flag would go up in my head and I would have to forcefully return to work. This one change alone probably increased my productivity by 50%

2: Tricks to manage Facebook pages without using Facebook.

Managing Facebook was Tricky for me as managing Facebook ads are part of my job. Few things I did to avoid the facebook feed while managing an marketing campaign are:

  1. Use Facebook Pages app to manage the page. The app lets you manage all aspects of a Facebook page but does not show any other content.
  2. For desktop, I adopted a trick where I would use “log in via Facebook” in some other service and then directly go to the ads manager URL.

3: Fill up the time.

It is impossible to live an Algo-free lifestyle without finding something to fill up the time. I am fairly busy at work nowadays and I am preparing for a competitive exam, so I don’t have a lot of free time, but I was surprised to find out how many times I just had nothing to do, and would crave for IAC.

My solution: Install Kindle wherever I can. I have kindle on my phone, on my computer and well, on my kindle. Having Kindle more easily available than IAC was probably the most important reason I could complete the algo-free week.

4: Gamify it.

Gamification is an old tool in the IAC toolkit, but you can try to use it against them. Think of the algo-free lifestyle as a streak. Keep some of your closest friends posted on your streak. Try to make them jealous of your cool new lifestyle if that works for you.

I did keep some of my friends posted on my streak and the fear of breaking the streak helped me recover from some of the moment of weakness.

5: Resist the Tweetbursts.

By the second or third day, you will start having these tweetbursts. You will think of this incredible tweet that you just have to tweet. (even though no one really follows you) or you would take the perfect photo for your Instagram. You have to resist these temptations at any cost. Hopefully, you have already uninstalled all the apps and can eventually regain self-control.


Observations

1 week of algo-free does change your daily life quite a bit. Here are some of the things I observed.

1: No enlightening revelation

Let’s first talk about what definitely did not happen. I was not enlightened in some zen thing and found out the meaning of life or any other spiritual stuff. (I was kinda hoping something in this direction would happen though)

2: Noticeable increase in productivity:

It turns out if you are not looking at your phone every 5 minutes, you can get a lot of work done. The first two days were especially productive as i haven’t figured out other ways to waste time. But As I started visiting a few more news sites set up kindle everywhere, the productivity dropped a bit. The average productivity level was still much higher compared to non algo-free days.

3: Greater appreciation for long-form content.

Many people(including me) have developed this really bad habit in the last few years, I call it “the secondary screen syndrome”. Secondary Screen syndrome happens when you are watching a long-form content (Movies/Documentaries/ Even Comedy Specials) on your Computer/TV and almost unconsciously you open up your phone and start scrolling IAC. Your attention is divided between the primary screen and the secondary screen and you lose the ability to fully appreciate the long form content.

As part of the algo-free lifestyle, I did not have any appeal of the secondary screen and primary screen had my full attention. And I was observing some subtle jokes or foreshadowing in the movie that I would have normally missed.

4: You don’t really miss out on much.

Entering the algo -free lifestyle, you essentially create an information bubble around yourself. Most of the information you would normally consume is filtered out at this bubble, but if something is important enough, it will get through. I personally do not think I missed out on anything important by slightly disconnecting myself from the internet.


Will I do it again?

I probably will. I don’t think You can live algo-free for a really long-term. IAC does provide some value to us as a community. You should not completely shut yourself off them forever. But getting away from the attention distractions once in a while is a helpful change.

So, what do you think of the Algo-free Lifestyle?

Five questions you must ask in a maid interview.


So, you have shortlisted a few maids you might hire. Hiring an FDW is a bigger deal than you might think. Afterall you are hiring someone to stay in your home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Your kids would probably see her more than you for next few years, or you might be trusting her with your parent’s health. It is undoubtedly important to vet a maid before you hire her.


Here are five questions you must ask a maid before hiring her.

1] Ask about her family.

You can learn a lot about a maid by asking about her family. Most importantly, you will get an idea why she is working as FDW in Singapore and what drives her dedication. This will also help you empathise with her.

2] Ask her to cook something for you.

The maid may claim to know various dishes and cuisine, but the only way to be sure is to ask her to cook something for you, taste it and then decide. Also, if you have some dietary traditions, make sure she is comfortable with them.

3] Ask why she is leaving the previous employer.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, was once asked if he could ask only one question while recruiting, what would it be? His answer: Why are you leaving your last job. The same applies here. If your home is a company, then the maid is a chief operating officer, and you need to understand her reason to leave the last employer.

4] Ask her about your specialised needs.

More often than not, you would have some tasks that the maid need to do with utmost care. It might be taking care of your infant or elderly parents or something else. Press her about her experience in that area, make sure she is not bloating her profile.

5] Ask about her religious belief.

Religion is a sensitive topic for many. You are lucky if you and the maid share the same religious belief, but if not, you should test her religious tolerance. You might have rules about consuming certain meat or some religious practice you follow. You must ensure that the maid will not disrespect your religious beliefs.

Check out Prowidor.com for hiring transfer maids in Singapore without the hassle of an employment agency

How to hire a maid in Singapore without maid agency?


Many employment agencies in Singapore will have you believe that it is impossible to hire a maid without a maid employment agency. However, that is not true. It is indeed pretty straightforward and easy to directly hire a transfer maid, especially with prowidor.com.

Prowidor.com is a platform that connects maids in Singapore looking for transfer with employers who want to hire them. It is not an employment agency, and the basic features are available for free.


So, how do you hire a maid via Prowidor.com?

Step 1] Register on Prowidor.com
Just go to prowidor.com and Sign up. After you sign up, you would be prompted to fill out your job description. Job description consists of things you would expect from your maid. Such as cooking skills, what kind of services you need, etc.

If you choose to go for the premium plan, Prowidor.com will advertise your profile across its network, ensuring that maids who are interested in working for you will contact you.

Step 2] Find the maid you like.
You can find the latest maids in Singapore looking for transfer in the “Browse FDW” section of your dashboard. You can click on a profile for a detailed view. If you are interested in a particular candidate, or if the candidate is interested in you, you can choose to reveal her contact information by shortlisting her. 
Simply chat with us on the webchat to get 3 free shortlist credits. If you are interested in more, you can opt for standard or premium membership plans.

Step 3] Interview the maid.
Once you shortlist a maid and get her phone number, you can call her to schedule an interview. You should typically interview 3–4 maids before hiring one. 
Note: Prowidor.com does not share your contact information with other employers or maids on the platform.

Step 4] Documentation
Once you have decided the maid you want to hire, choose a date of transfer and start with the documentation process. You can find more information about the documentation process here.

Best of luck with your maid hunting process.

The real cost of hiring a maid in Singapore


Hiring a maid or FDW in Singapore is not a cheap affair. Here are some of the costs associated which you may not consider in the first glance

  • Salary: The monthly salary of the FDW which can be between 450 to 700 SGD depending upon the skillset you require.
  • Bonds and Insurance: You need to have a Security bond deposited to MoM either in form of banker’s guarantee or Insurance. Besides this, you also need to have a medical insurance of at least 15,000SGD and accident insurance of 40,000SGD. The average premium is around 300 SGD per year in most cases.
  • Employment agency(EA) fees: If you are hiring a fresh maid, it is adviced that you hire through an EA. An EA will charge you around 1,500SGD as their fees. Besides they will also ask you to pay the Maid’s share of EA fees as an advance which can be around 900–1200SGD. This totals to 2500 SGD in most cases. Given that most FDWs change employment or leave Singapore after one year, this comes out to around 200 SGD each month.
  • FDWs Cost of Living: The maid will live in your home. You will have to provide her with a private sleeping place in your home. You might even have to upgrade to a costlier apartment to enable this. Also, you should account for her expense for food, toiletries, etc. Although it is hard to calculate the exact expense, you can safely assume it will be around 100 SGD per month.
  • MOM Levy: As an FDW employer, you have to pay a monthly levy to Ministry of Manpower of 265SDG. You must check if you qualify for levy concession under any of these schemes:

1]Young child or grandchild scheme.

2] Aged person scheme.

3] Persons with disabilities scheme.

  • Flight ticket of maid Back home: At the end of employment contract, you have to pay for the airfare of the maid to the source country. You can avoid this by giving your maid opportunity to transfer to another employer.

If eligible you will have to pay concessionary rate of 60SGD only. 200SDG savings per month will go a long way in balancing your budget. You can find more information on eligibility and application process here.

As you can see, an FDW will really cost you anywhere from 750–1500 SGDper month in real money. You can check out more resources about FDW hiring at Prowidor.com/blog.

You should also consider checking out prowidor.com for our updated listings of Transfer maids. You can contact them for free and save on EA fees.

Three things you need to know before hiring an FDW

Source

Hiring an FDW is a bigger deal than you might think. Afterall you are hiring someone to stay in your home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Here are three important points that you may easily overlook but are very critical.

1] Know the Law.

The Ministry of Manpower, Singapore dictates all the rules regarding your FDW employment. Before Hiring an FDW, you should make sure you are aware of all the rules and regulations. Some of the things to look out for are:

  • You need to make sure that your maid is adequately insured for health and life.
  • The FDW should get a medical checkup every six months.
  • You have to pay a monthly levy every month the FDW is working for you.
  • The FDW should only do household work. You cannot ask her to work for any commercial purpose. (Like working in a shop, making something that you sell, etc.)
  • At the termination of FDWs employment contract, if she is not transferring to another employer, you have to pay for her airfare to the origin country.

You must go through the MOM documentation before even planning to hire an FDW.

2] Know your FDW.

As mentioned earlier, the FDW is going to stay with your family 24×7. Thus it is critical that the maid can fit into your family culture. Everything from the dishes you cook to the way you treat your children is a part of your family culture, and the maid you hire should be able to adapt to it. Many families choose to hire a maid from their own origin country which may be a good basic strategy.

If you are hiring a fresh maid, it is difficult to judge the maid as you will only have 2–3 phone conversation with her before your decision to hire her.

While hiring a transfer maid, you can interview the maid face to face and even ask her to demo her cooking and cleaning skills. Thus it seems to be a much safer option for most employers unless you are looking for a very niche set of skills.

3] Choose Maid Agency carefully.

At 4% there are more consumer complaints in Singapore about Maid Agencies than Travel, Telecom, and even Phones. So, it is critical to be careful while choosing the maid agency. Make sure the maid agency you select understands your needs and have large enough database of FDWs to recommend the best fit for you.

Many maid agencies will also try to hide some portion of fees to lure you. Make sure that you dig up any hidden fees before you go any further. Most maid agencies charges between 2000–2500 SGD for a fresh maid and 900–1500 SGD for a transfer maid. If the agency is claiming fees significantly different than this, consider it a red flag.

If you are hiring a Transfer Maid, you can eliminate the need for a maid agency entirely be using services like ProWidor.com.

ProWidor.com is a DIY maid hiring service where the maids looking for transfer can connect with employers.

There are tons of things that you need to take care of while hiring an FDW and of course this list is not exhaustive. But, this can be a good starting point for your FDW hiring process.

You should check out our detailed article on Hiring Transfer Maid Here.

Why Hire transfer maid in Singapore?

So you have decided to hire a maid or FDW as they are more frequently called. You have to keep a few things in mind here.

1] Why do you really need FDW?

Finding the right FDW is really a key to making your life easier. If your expectation and the skills of the FDW do not match, you will not be able to have a pleasant experience. Following are the things you should keep in mind.

  • Do you need FDW of general housekeeping?
  • What kind of cuisine is she expected to cook?
  • Will she take care of your infant child?
  • Will she take care of elderly parents?

source

Then there are other things like religious compatibility, beliefs regarding consuming pork and beef etc. You need to have clear answers to these questions before even thinking of hiring an FDW.

2] Real Cost of hiring an FDW

Hiring an FDW is not a cheap affair. We have already discussed the MoM levy. There are other hidden costs as well when it comes to hiring an FDW.

  • Salary: The monthly salary of the FDW which can be between 450 to 700 SGD depending upon the skillset you require.
  • Bonds and Insurance: You need to have a Security bond deposited to MoM either in form of banker’s guarantee or Insurance. Besides this, you also need to have a medical insurance of at least 15,000SGD and accident insurance of 40,000SGD. The average premium is around 300 SGD per year in most cases.
  • Employment agency(EA) fees: If you are hiring a fresh maid, it is adviced that you hire through an EA. An EA will charge you around 1,500SGD as their fees. Besides they will also ask you to pay the Maid’s share of EA fees as an advance which can be around 900–1200SGD. This totals to 2500 SGD in most cases. Given that most FDWs change employment or leave Singapore after one year, this comes out to around 200 SGD each month.
  • FDWs Cost of Living: The maid will live in your home. You will have to provide her with a private sleeping place in your home. You might even have to upgrade to a costlier apartment to enable this. Also, you should account for her expense for food, toiletries, etc. Although it is hard to calculate the exact expense, you can safely assume it will be around 100 SGD per month.
  • Flight ticket of maid Back home: At the end of employment contract, you have to pay for the airfare of the maid to the source country. You can avoid this by giving your maid opportunity to transfer to another employer.
  • MOM Levy: As an FDW employer, you have to pay a monthly levy to Ministry of Manpower of 265SDG. You must check if you qualify for levy concession under any of these schemes: 1]Young child or grandchild scheme. 2] Aged person scheme. 3] Persons with disabilities scheme.

If eligible you will have to pay concessionary rate of 60SGD only. 200SDG savings per month will go a long way in balancing your budget. You can find more information on eligibility and application process here.

As you can see, an FDW will really cost you anywhere from 750–1500 SGD per month in real money.

Beware!! Many Employment Agencies will try to hide some of the cost to lure you. You need to be very careful while ensuring if there are any hidden fees in the EA contract.


Now that you know some of the key points to think about before hiring a maid. Let me tell you why hiring a transfer maid is a smart move. But first

What is a Transfer Maid anyway?

A transfer maid is an FDW who is currently in Singapore who’s employment contract is about to end. Instead of going back to her own country, she can look for another employer and continue to work in Singapore.

Why should you hire a Transfer Maid?

Well, there are two major reasons, Cultural risk, and Cost. Let me explain.

1] Cultural Risk

The FDW you hire will live in your home 24×7. It is very important that you and she get along. Even small things like eating habits, use of footwear inside the house, excessive use of handphone by the maid, etc can lead to squabble.

Then there are the more important things. A fresh FDW will be coming to Singapore for the first time, Probably from rural area in the origin country. There is a risk that she might not adjust to city culture and might have to return home. She might not be able to take care of your children or parents the way you expect. She might not have the skills she talked about during your phone interview.

All these Cultural aspects cannot be tested in a few phone calls you would have with the FDW before she arrives in Singapore. But, if you are hiring a Transfer FDW, you can have multiple face-to-face interviews with the candidate before finalizing. You can test their cooking and other skills first hand to ensure you get the best candidate possible.

2] Cost

Most of the costs pertaining to FDW hiring are not flexible, except for the Employment Agency fees. While in case of Hiring a fresh maid the EA charges up to 2500 SGD, Transfer maid services will cost you less than 1000 SGD. As the EA doesn’t have to source the candidate from an origin country they can charge less.

However, you can do even better and virtually eliminate the Employment agency from the picture. Using service like ProWidor.com you can find a maid interested in transfer for free. You can contact up to 30 maids for a nominal amount and save your 1000 SGD. Of course, you will have to do the nominal documentation of the transfer on your own.

As you can see hiring a transfer FDW is the smart move and using ProWidor.com is even smarter.

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