Household Help

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Doorman/Custodian/Concierge (Bawwaab)

You'll see him around the door of your building. He may have a bench there.

Duties: Keeps an eye on who comes and goes into the building. Keeps the building hallways and staircases clean.

Pay: The owner of the building pays the “bawaab” and AUC gives an extra per apartment. It is customary for the tenants to give something extra as well. There is no fixed amount, and each building is different, ranging usually from LE40 – LE100 per month. You would be expected to pay what the other tenants in the building are paying. Find out from other tenants (not the doorman) in your building what they are giving.

Please note that in some buildings there are professional security guards wearing a uniform, such as the Zamalek Hostel and the AUC apartment buildings on Road 17 and Road 213 in Maadi. You will need to find out from your neighbors in the building if they are giving them something extra and how much.

Garbage collector (Zabbaal)

Duties: Comes several times a week to pick up trash. There are different systems of collecting trash in each building. Therefore, you need to visit one of your neighbors to find out about the system in your building.

Pay: Before giving money to anyone, find out from other tenants in the building whom to pay and how much (typically LE 30- LE 50/month, depending on the building).

Scams: Please do not give money to anyone who comes to your door unless you are sure that he is the garbage collector. The doorman of your building (bawaab), your neighbors or your host family may help you find out.

Home delivery

Home deliveries are possible from most stores large or small, and restaurants. A tip is expected (at least LE 5).

Gopher (“go for”)

Gopher means a person who takes orders from you and delivers heavy groceries to your home.

Besides home deliveries, we have in Cairo the wonderful service of a gopher. You will most probably hear about one of them, Fouad, who takes orders from AUC people and delivers groceries, such as box of soap, soft drinks, cartons of bottles of water, cartons of milk, boxes of beer, to their apartments. He speaks Arabic only. His mobile phone number is 012 032 9409. He will bring purchases usually one or two days later. Besides paying for the cost of the items, it is up to you to give him a tip.

You may ask a long-timer resident who uses his services to introduce him to you. The following is a list of approximate prices: - A carton of bottles of water (12 liters) – LE23 - A box of cartons of milk (12 cartons) – LE80 - A crate of tonic water (24 bottles) – LE50 - A crate of coca-cola (24 bottles) – LE50 - A package of toilet paper (40 rolls) – LE40 (according to the quality) - A 4kg box powder detergent – LE65


In Cairo, many women and men (Egyptian but also Sudanese, Ethiopian, Filipino, Indian and Iraqis, many of them refugees) are looking for a job as a housekeeper. You'll probably be asked if you want to hire one of them. Be sure to hire a person recommended by someone you know. You may contact the Faculty Services Coordinator, Louise St-Laurent, email, who may have letters of recommendations from faculty members. Your host family may also help you find one.

Duties: You explain whatever tasks you would like to have done, such as dusting, dishes, vacuum, making beds, etc. May iron (not all women will agree to iron), cook (extra) and babysit (extra). May come for parties/dinners (extra) to serve guests and clean up afterwards.

A good maid can be present at home when AUC maintenance workers (plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc) come while you are at work (in the case of faculty renting AUC apartments).

Working hours: A housekeeper may work for more than one person and may go to two employers on the same day, one in the morning and to the other in the afternoon. Usually they don’t work on Friday.

Pay: Usually, people pay at the end of the month, but weekly is another option. Depending on the nationality and work history of the housekeeper and employers, wages can vary greatly. Some pay as low as LE 100 per day (3-4 hours) and others up to LE 150, depending on the number of days per week, i.e. the fewer days they work, the more work there is to be done when they come so a higher pay per day is only fair. It also depends on the size of apartment, duties and size of the family in the apartment. Some don’t mind to pay more than average because they are very happy with their housekeeper’s services. Filipino or Somali women usually demand much more, as high as US$400 and on up. If your housekeeper works for others as well, check with them before agreeing on a wage with the housekeeper.

Plan on giving an annual raise.

During the winter session and/or the summer, if you leave Cairo, you should pay the housekeeper in order to retain his/her services even if you ask her/him to not clean during your absence.

Tips. It is customary to give 1/3 month's salary for each of the two big feasts, the Eid El Fitr and Eid El Adha for Moslems, and Coptic Christmas (7 January) and Eastern Easter for the Copts. It is also a custom to give a tip to both Muslims and Copts at the Western Christmas.

Holidays: Plan for housekeepers to take time off for Egyptian feasts, if they are Egyptian.

Severance pay: It is expected that any employer will give one month’s salary for every year of service.

Laundry and dry-cleaning

Washing machines are not usually provided in the apartments owned or rented by AUC. A washing machine will most probably be your first big expense after your arrival. European 5-kg capacity washing machines cost about LE 2000 - 2500. If still in good condition, it is usually easy to sell before departure from Egypt. In fact, the Faculty Services Committee has a webpage where departing faculty post items for sale.

Self-service Laundromats. There are no self-service laundromats in Egypt. However, there are many laundry services in Cairo. Approximate prices for washing and ironing are: LE 3.50/skirt, LE 2.50/shirt, LE 1.50/socks, LE 6/dress, LE 3.50/trousers, LE 3.50/jeans, LE 3/pullover, LE 1.50/ underwear, LE 2-3/towels and LE 5/bedsheets.

Dry-cleaning services. There are many dry-cleaning services. Approximate prices are: LE 5/skirt, LE 3.50/blouse, LE 5/silk shirt, LE 10/dress, LE 5/pants, LE 10/suit, LE 6/ cotton jacket, LE 25/leather jacket, LE 10/coat and LE 15-20/bedcover.

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