5 Differences Between Services Provided By A Cleaning Company vs A Maid Agency

There is this saying, “Household chores are never-ending.”

Singapore is renowned for its high standard of living, which includes a clean and well-maintained environment and homes at all times. Singaporeans are also extremely house proud with many families who love to entertain and have guests over for dinner, social gatherings, birthday celebrations, kids play dates and so on.

Maintaining a clean, tidy and well-organized home can be a challenging task, especially for busy working professionals or large families. Balancing work, personal life and household chores often leads to stress and leaves little time for relaxation. Therefore, many households in Singapore rely on professional services to keep their homes in good order. Two common options are hiring a full-time maid through a reliable maid agency or engaging the services of a professional cleaning company. While both are able to provide essential cleaning and maintenance services, they operate differently.

In this article, we will explore the key differences between the services provided by maid agencies such as Hire A Maid and cleaning services providers such as MEIDE.SG in Singapore. Without further ado, let’s find out  the 5 differences in services provided:

Job Scope Of Cleaning Company VS Maid Agency

A cleaning company provides primarily cleaning services to both households and commercial clients. Cleaning companies do cleaning services on a large scale and for individual homes. They not only provide labor but also material and equipment used for cleaning. Services offered by cleaning companies are structured via a defined scope and checklist. These are usually focused. Examples include ironing, laundry, or deep cleaning of items or furniture and these may be time-bound. Also, cleaning companies provide these services on a scheduled basis, such as weekly, bi-weekly or per visit.

Generally, services provided by cleaning companies include:

In comparison, a maid agency is a business that provides services related to the recruitment and placement of foreign domestic helpers to households in Singapore. A maid agency typically acts as intermediaries between the employer and the foreign domestic helper, helping to match the employer’s needs with the skills and experience of the helper. The agency also provides assistance with the necessary documentation, maid insurance, work permit application and contracts in accordance with the employment laws. In other words, it provides live-in domestic helpers, also known as Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) to households by matching employers’ needs to suitable skilled maids. These domestic helpers are trained to handle a wide range of household chores beyond just cleaning.

A domestic helper’s duties include:

  • General Cleaning
  • Cooking and meal preparation
  • Administration of medicine (as per physicians’ instructions)
  • Child care
  • Elderly care
  • Daily laundry and ironing
  • Grocery shopping
  • “Round the clock” home help

Employment Arrangements

Housing arrangements for helpers need to be recorded too
Housing arrangements for helpers need to be recorded too

Engaging a cleaning company involves service agreements and contracts. These can range from one-off cleaning sessions to regular weekly or monthly arrangements.

Cleaning companies like MEIDE.SG can also provide the same cleaner on customer’s request ensuring familiarity for both the customer and cleaner. These cleaning staff are usually employees of the cleaning company, not the household. This arrangement provides more flexibility for homeowners who do not need full-time help or space is a concern for a live-in maid.

On the other hand, hiring a maid through a reliable maid agency like Hire A Maid usually involves a long-term employment contract, often lasting for one or two years. The family becomes the direct employer of the FDW, responsible for her welfare, accommodation, meals and compliance with employment regulations set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). FDWs typically live with the family they are employed by, enabling their employer to dedicate various tasks throughout the day.

Training And Skill Sets

Secondly, cleaning companies typically ensure that their staff undergo specialized training for different types of cleaning tasks. This training includes the use of professional cleaning equipment and products. The different techniques used for different surfaces, materials and safety protocols. As a result, cleaning company staff are usually more proficient in delivering high-quality cleaning services.

Similarly, domestic helpers from maid agencies often receive general training that covers a broad spectrum of household duties. However, this training may vary depending on the agency but generally includes basic cleaning, cooking, and caregiving skills. Notably, the level of expertise in specific cleaning tasks might not be as high as that of specialized cleaners.

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Costs And Payment Structures

Know the difference in payment mode for cleaning companies vs maid agencies
Know the difference in payment mode for cleaning companies vs maid agencies

Mostly, cleaning companies operate on a pay-per-service model.

So, for cleaning companies, clients are charged based on the type and frequency of the cleaning services they require. This can range from hourly rates to package deals for regular services. Moreover, there are no additional costs for accommodation or daily necessities, making it a more straightforward financial arrangement for many homeowners. Also, clients engaging cleaning services do not need to pay for insurance, levies and other miscellaneous costs like security bonds.

In contrast, hiring a domestic helper through a maid agency involves a fixed monthly salary, which is paid directly to the maid. Additionally, there is usually an agency fee (if you engage an agent) associated with the hiring process, including insurance, levy and other administrative costs. Finally, the employer is also responsible for providing accommodation, meals and other daily necessities for the domestic helper.

Hence, it is important for consumers to differentiate costs involved between hiring a maid versus engaging cleaning services via other methods.

Regulatory And Legal Responsibilities

Know your legal responsibilities and practice due diligence
Know your legal responsibilities and practice due diligence

Lastly, know the legal aspects and differences.

For example, when you hire a cleaner through a cleaning company, the legal and regulatory responsibilities largely lie with the employer of the cleaner (i.e. the company). The cleaning company handles all employment matters, including salaries, staff benefits and regulatory compliance. This arrangement reduces the administrative burden on the homeowner and ensures that the cleaning staff are managed according to local labor laws. 

Next, when you employ a foreign domestic worker (FDW) through a maid agency, the homeowner (Employer) takes on significant legal and regulatory responsibilities. These include ensuring the FDW’s well-being, complying with MOM regulations and employment-related paperwork. Furthermore, employers must also provide mandatory rest days and ensure fair treatment of the FDW.


Choosing between a maid agency and a cleaning company in Singapore depends largely on your specific needs and circumstances. Maid agencies such as Hire A Maid provide comprehensive round the clock household assistance through live-in helpers, and are suitable for families needing ongoing support with elderly or childcare services and large families with various daily domestic tasks. On the other hand, cleaning companies like MEIDE offer specialized, flexible and professional cleaning services, ideal for those who require high-quality cleaning on a scheduled basis without the commitment of a live-in maid.

Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision, ensuring that your home remains clean, comfortable and well-maintained according to your lifestyle and preferences. Both services will allow you to have extra time to spend with your loved ones, pursuing hobbies and self development. Consider implementing a dual approach to take your home’s cleanliness and maintenance to the next level.

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This article was originally written by and contributed by our guest writer Ms Jass – who is a freelance writer

meide.sg have since vetted and modified as necessary to best suit the article to our audiences. In view of the fact that this is an article contributed by a guest writer, meide.sg, meide services, and all affiliated businesses: (1) Reserves the ownership and writing copyrights to this article nonetheless, as explicitly explained and agreed upon with the guest writer/contributors; (2) Have done our best to validate and check it against any form of copyright infringement or plagiarism. However, in any event of dispute or unhappiness, we offer our sincere apologies in advance and are open to negotiation of plausible corrective actions (eg. if adequate credits have not been given). Do contact us at admin@meide.sg in any such instances.