Finding an Ayi (Nanny)

I deliberated a great deal over whether to get a nanny, an Ayi as they’re called here in China. At home in England I don’t have any child care, it was just the boys and me during the week. Neither were in school or nursery at this stage so when we went anywhere we went all together. Trying to manage both on my own in England in a place I knew really well, with rules and language I understood, was still pretty tricky. Trying to do the same in Shanghai seemed virtually impossible. I thought having someone around to help would be useful for shopping and cooking and trying to build my new life in Shanghai. It would also ensure I had some much needed free time.

My first point of research as always was the internet. I looked up nanny agencies in Shanghai and there was one that stood out. The agency we opted for is called Yinuo Home Service, the website is They were easy to get hold of, easy to communicate with, spoke English and responded very quickly to our enquiry. I emailed them but they communicated also via WeChat and telephone. My husband was already in Shanghai at this point so they exchanged WeChat contact information and arranged a meeting. The contact person from the nanny agency brought three ayi’s with her for my husband to meet one on one. After we discussed the candidates we hired the one that seemed to be the most assertive, had experience and had a reasonable amount of English.

After this it was pretty simple, we paid the agency a flat fee, took a copy of her ID card and agreed wages, hours and a start date. We pay our ayi in cash, I’m not sure if this is normal but its fine for us and it’s what she wanted. We have a contract with her and the agency and we received references from previous families she had worked with.

Its worked out pretty well for us. She needed to do more hours than we wanted to pay for, in order to make it worth her while, but the boxes have mostly been ticked. She looks after the children and does some house work including the laundry which is great because I hate doing laundry. She found it hard to believe that we want to eat chinese dishes and that we are interested in trying to buy and eat local food and limit imported food to reduce expense not to mention our carbon footprint. After a lot of time discussing using translator apps and insisting we couldn’t afford to spend huge amounts of money on organic, imported fruits and vegetables and actually chinese apples were just fine. There are obviously things we need to be careful of as there are fewer food regulations in China, but £9 on a small bag of flour seems ridiculous to me! We have now reached a good balance and we are able to communicate with each other well most of the time. Most importantly the children like her and I have some free time to write and exercise and explore Shanghai!

Contact details for the agency:
Yinuo Home Service
Phone: 021 5186 0010
We Chat ID: 18817681098

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wai says:

    We are starting a new website to find nannies in China. There will be both english and chinese versions where you can both post a job ad or view profiles and communicate directly with the Ayi. It’s going to be a community notice board, no agency fees and no memberships. It’s going to be launched soon and should remove some of the headache of finding a good Ayi in China


    1. elleinshanghai says:

      That sounds really useful. Thanks for the information


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