Engaging A Household Services Scheme (HSS) Cleaner Versus Hiring A Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)

Alright, now that we know the benefits of the Household Services Scheme (HSS) elaborated HERE, how does it fare against hiring a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW)?

Did you know that the HSS and FDW options are the top choices for households in Singapore to assist them with their household chores?

Yet, contrary to majority mindsets, HSS and FDW are far from being “competitors”! Yes, they are actually not mutually exclusive!

*jump straight to our summary table of HSS v FDW here*

In reality, MEIDE Singapore also recommends that families and professionals residing here in Singapore utilize one, both or even multiple options. Thus, one can form the best arrangement to handle cleaning, laundry, chores, babysitting and more, optimized towards one’s individual schedule and budget.

Disclaimer: MEIDE Singapore is an advocate for getting household chores and cleaning done efficiently. We are related (directly or indirectly) to both HSS and FDW business(es) and agency/agencies. Thus, we cannot guarantee 100% impartiality but will strive to achieve as best a neutral stance as possible in this article of HSS v.s. FDW helpers!

When Should You Engage a FDW?

A stay-in helper like FDW is suitable for families who require cleaning and do not mind sharing their living space
A stay-in helper like FDW is suitable for families who require cleaning and do not mind sharing their living space

Neutrally speaking, FDW is the top choice for families who require (almost) round-the-clock help, but have a limited budget to spend each month for the help.

Also, if your household requires the same person to do all chores, including cleaning, cooking, laundry work as well as child-minding, and perhaps even car-washing, then FDW who stays with your family will make arranging all these much less fuss-free.

On top of these, we encourage households who plan to engage a FDW to be familiar with the guidelines from MOM here. The guide really helps clarify misconceptions and promotes a healthy and long-term relationship between FDW and employers!

When Should You Engage HSS?

Get professional cleaning help for your home via HSS companies like MEIDE Singapore
Get professional cleaning help for your home via HSS companies like MEIDE Singapore

Even with all the preparations, finding a good FDW (or some call helper, or maid), can somewhat depend on your luck and fate.

Some couples meet their destined helper within 1 try, whilst others remain frustrated at the unsuitable helpers they hire.

There are many scenarios where HSS comes in really handy and here are the common ones:

  • You require cleaning or babysitting help, but not on a “round-the-clock” basis;
  • You wish for regular intervals (eg. weekly) or ad-hoc arrangements instead;
  • You need cleaning help fast (within hours or days);
  • You do not wish to go through the hassle of hiring a stay-in-helper or FDW;
  • You have FDW but your FDW goes on home leave;
  • You are in the middle of changing FDW, stuck in the process of hiring one still, or simply need some time to train up your new FDW;
  • Your FDW is sick / unable to work;
  • You have FDW but your household composition is changing:
  • You need extra cleaning assistance due to festive season(s) and gathering(s) at your place;
  • Your residence no longer has sufficient space to accommodate a full stay-in helper;
  • You want privacy in your household and not have someone non-blood-related to stay under the same roof;
  • Your or any of your family members becomes adverse towards hiring FDW for any reason whatsoever (eg. prior bad experiences);
  • The monthly costs of hiring a FDW becomes too extravagant for you to handle;
  • You want more professional standard of cleaning or babysitting and priority placed on this task;
  • You manage or own multiple properties and need cleaning assistance across multiple properties;

Of course, the list goes on, but with so many examples, you can now see why HSS is an extremely popular choice amongst homeowners in Singapore too!

Book your #1 home services today, or join our team!

meide.sg is here for you, always.

Other Options Besides HSS and FDW

Do not forget about the awesome and time-saving robot floor vacuum and cleaner
Do not forget about the awesome and time-saving robot floor vacuum and cleaner

Okay, before we dive into the key differences between HSS and FDW, we just want you to know that there are also a handful of other ways for you to manage your domestic chores!

First, you can of course DIY – do it yourself! Yes, with our resource-rich and fun-filled blog on cleaning here at MEIDE, we are certain you would definitely pick up a skill or two on how to clean your own house efficiently. That is, if you don’t mind getting elbow grease though!

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Next, you can rely on your good friend(s), housemate(s), or family member(s) to chip in! After all, what makes for a better bonding session then cleaning up stuff together as a family, right?

Last but not least, trust in our technological inventions! Nowadays, we have a robot floor cleaner that will not only vacuum but mop the floor. They can even self-maintain and dispose of the rubbish via central hubs! Additionally, get your laundry done more efficiently with washer-cum-dryer machines (hence saving the hassle of hanging up and taking down clothes). Newer machines even come with automatic steamers and automatic clothes organization features – if you can afford the high upfront cost of them!

These make our lives a whole lot easier to manage amidst the busy modern lifestyles we lead. So, why not tap on one or more of them indeed?

Summary Table of HSS v.s. FDW

Both HSS and FDW are useful ways to get help with laundry and bedsheets
Both HSS and FDW are useful ways to get help with laundry and bedsheets!

Back to our main topic.

Together, HSS and FDW are useful yet uniquely different ways to complement your chores management at home.

To end off our discussions today, here are the key differences between HSS and FDW choices:

Overall CostsCheaper for short-moderate durations of work, or ad-hoc services;Cheaper for longer durations (eg. 8 hours, 12 hours, or full day routine) of work;
Agency FeesSome HSS businesses charge separate agency fees, but MEIDE.SG fees are transparent and NETT as per our website already! Definitely applicable unless employers choose to D.I.Y and go the “direct hire” route.
Per Hour CostsHigher (Hence better for short durations of work);Lower (Hence better for long durations of work);
Miscellaneous CostsOther HSS companies may have misc costs, but at MEIDE.SG, we have already stated the all-in NETT price at our front page, website, socials and booking form – so worry not!Here are the miscellaneous costs you need to consider when hiring FDW: air tickets, FDW levy, insurance, security bond(s), living expenses, allowances, medical checkups, and so on.
Privacy of ResidencePrivacy is optimized as homeowners can choose when exactly they want, or do not want the helper / cleaner to be around.FDW are expected to stay in the same housing as the employer in the majority of the cases.
Quality of CleaningStandardized and professional efficient cleaning can be expected without teaching;Constrained to basic household chores performed daily unless specifically taught by employer;
Range of ServicesHome cleaning;
Laundry and ironing;
Grocery shopping;
Home cleaning;
Laundry and ironing;
Grocery shopping;
Contract(s)Hiring a HSS service is just like booking a masseur – a simple and straightforward business transaction, but of course do remember to read through the company’s full terms and conditions.Hiring an FDW helper requires a mandatory formal contract to be drafted and signed between all parties involved. Additionally, some contracts need to adhere to certain countries’ laws.
Ease of HiringStraightforward – book online fast and swiftly!Require more careful and multi-step process whether via agency or direct hire.
Ease of Change of HelperRequest a change of HSS home helper any time via your HSS company – most companies will accommodate as long as the schedule shows availability!Termination of contract and various administrative considerations and steps need to be undertaken before change is completed.
Work Location(s)Any residential premise in Singapore is possible.Limited to the employer(s) residence unless under special circumstances or approved by MOM.
Communication Barrier(s)Most HSS workers are screened and trained to communicate primarily in English. By MEIDE experience, HSS workers tend to be more proficient owing to their longer years of prior work experience at the point of hiring.Most FDW / MDW are also trained to communicate in English, but many who are first-timers in Singapore still struggle to communicate effectively.


All in all, it appears that HSS has a higher score.

Hm, but does this mean HSS triumphs over FDW? We think absolutely not!

After all, both schemes are non-mutually-exclusive. We think that the choice of HSS and/or FDW ultimately depends on a household’s needs and budget. In fact, many households now utilize both HSS and FDW to get the best of both worlds.

If after all these discussion points, you remain undecided, let us help you – free-of-charge! Our consultation experts are available 24/7 over WhatsApp. There, we can learn about your situation, offer complimentary quotes, and offer household tips and advice on how to solve your domestic situations.

Book your #1 home services today, or join our team!

meide.sg is here for you, always.