“Maid needed”, “maid wanted”, “household service needed”. These ads are many and everywhere in Bangkok. Steen Emborg, age 46, was out running one day and was getting tired of seeing all those help wanted ads, so he thought to himself: If the demand is so big, then I am going to set up a household maid/cleaning service business.
And so he did. In the fall of 2012 Steen began to build his website, www.bkkmaid.com, and made some brochures about his new business, Millennium Maid Service. He teamed up with an English-speaking Thai woman and they launched the business on the 1st of April 2013.
“Doing business in Thailand and not speaking or understanding Thai is impossible. You must have a partner who can speak Thai or be able to speak it yourself if you want to succeed,” said Steen, adding that the first customer made contact two weeks later.
Since then the business has grown rapidly. Starting out with just one maid, his company now employs 35 full-time maids serving over 100 satisfied customers spread across different expatriate communities, local Thais and Thai businesses that need cleaning service. Unlike other services in Thailand, Millennium Maid Service is not an agency, which refers maids to clients but have their own in-house maids, who Steen Emborg fully trusts.
From the outset, Steen Emborg wanted the standard of his maid service to be on par with the service you would expect in the West, but then he realized he had to be realistic about his ambitions and admitted that it simply is not possible in Thailand to deliver that level of service.
“Some of our clients expect the same service as that of a 5-star European hotel. It’s impossible to deliver here, so that’s why we always send an English-speaking person out with the maid on their first shift. Then we can ascertain that there is no misunderstanding and the clients are happy with the service,” said Steen, who also handles all the complaints from dissatisfied clients.
“I do not want the maids to be bothered with complaints or angry clients. Thais are timid and tend to avoid confrontation. But they do an excellent job and should not be the ones who get yelled or screamed at,” said Steen Emborg, stressing that he feels a huge of responsibility for his employees.
Patience and understanding are key when employing Thais. “Let’s admit it, they do not have the same work ethics as Europeans. They do not call in sick. They just stay away and turn off their phones,” said Steen Emborg about some of his earlier, more difficult encounters with his Thai staff.
Today Steen Emborg has assembled a core team of reliable employees who he fully trusts to do their jobs and live up to the high standard of Millennium Maid Service.
“At the risk of sounding holy, I feel like I am making a difference here. Giving people jobs so they can support their families. But I also want to take good care of them. That’s why we twice a year have a staff get-together day with food and drinks when they all can bring their families. I try to make them feel like they are part of the company. Pay them on time. Provide them with social security and show them they can have a stable, decent job. I make a habit of making a toast on Fridays and say thank you for a good week,” he said. “This is not my company but ours and my employees are at least as important and as good as I am.”
The rates at Millennium Maid Service vary depending, among other things, on the service required, size of unit, number of people in the household and the frequency.
You can contact Millennium Maid Service at www.bkkmaid.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 02 645 4597 to hear about acquiring the services of Millennium Maid Service’s in-house maids.