Living Cost in Shanghai – Service Fee

The third article to answer SSC’s question:

What about service fees, like cleaning, electricity installation, etc.?

If you want to live in a low cost life, and a local life, chances are, you don’t need any service. You clean the house by yourself, and install electric applicants by yourself, and change bubble by yourself.

If you do need service, check it here.


I once wrote an article named Life in a low cost labor world.

It described how to hire someone to work at home. Later, to further clarify the reason I encourage people to hire instead of do by himself, I wrote Helping by Hiring. Hope you read two articles together.

In Shanghai, the general practice is to hire an Ayi (which literally means Aunt in Chinese), or nanny to help you on cooking, cleaning, baby sitting, or other household works.

Price for work per hour is typically 7 RMB. Some areas, like Xujiahui charges 10 RMB. There is a significant difference in hourly pay between Shanghai Ayi, and other places Ayi. Shanghai Ayi asks for 12 RMB per hour in places where others asks for 7. I believe this is clearly discrimination, but to describe the fact, let me just put it as it is.


There are not too much installation service, since the market is not big enough. I don’t know the price, but you can refer to the average 10 RMB per hour price, and double it (because it requires some technique).


To have you hair cut, it is typically 20 RMB in many chain beauty salons, like Young, or Wenfeng… If you buy their pre-deposited card, it is 10 RMB per hair cut, pretty amazing, since they also have hair wash, shoulder massage (like 20 minutes?) service.

Foot Massage

I hesitate a little bit whether I should include this service as “living cost” in Shanghai, because it is really an add-on instead of necessary services. Anyway, just give you some sense about the world where labor cost is not as costly as industrial product.

Typical foot massage costs 50-60 RMB for one hour. Cheap street shop is as low as 20 – 30 RMB per hour, and better one is 100 RMB.

I met many friends in California who have been to Shanghai. To my surprise, their favorite was food massage (and Xiaolongbao). Some added Xiangyang Road.

7 thoughts on “Living Cost in Shanghai – Service Fee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *