We all complain about the clutter in our lives, or the errands we need to run; how we need to Marie Kondo our apartments this weekend, or how we miss the taste of a home-cooked meal made by our mothers every once in awhile. For busy young professionals in Hong Kong who are just starting to build their own homes, it can be hard to get all the details just the way you want it, especially when juggling a growing career and social life after work. “You want to be able to go home and everything’s just right,” says Angues Chan, co-founder and director of Butler Asia.
Partnering with two other friends, the three finance professionals decided to offer millennials and time-strapped young couples a much-needed service: high quality housekeeping. Believing that saving time is the biggest luxury, they sought to give their customers their free time back — by covering all the necessary home chores for them at the highest quality possible.
Hong Kong is unique in that the number of foreign domestic workers per household is dense, but apartments are small. The Butler team found that younger professionals and new married couples didn’t particularly need a live-in helper, instead preferring to hire simple cleaning services on a weekly basis — but these solutions didn’t always get the best and most consistent results. Butler Asia offers an array of services that are customisable to your preferences, determined in a preliminary meeting between you and your Butler.
Originally dreamed up to be the ‘Uber’ of house cleaning, an on-demand strategy was quickly scrapped in favour of a more secure model, namely, free of any legal grey areas. Instead, Butler Asia hires its own team of contracted employees, all of whom have had at least five years of experience in the professional cleaning or hospitality fields.
Butler Asia’s staff may not be the suited-and-gloved types from high-end hospitality, but they are all specially trained in the Butler Home Management System; are from the local labour force; and are typically mothers themselves, aged between 35–50. Called to your home in as little as 24 hours in advance, the Butlers are intended to be invisible household helpers, so when you open your door after a long day, everything is just right, and prepared for your next day’s routine too.
Need to have a constant supply of soda in the fridge? Your Butler will keep your kitchen stocked with whatever you need, or head out on shopping errands as requested. Partnering with Cook Easy, a social enterprise established by the Tung Wah Group of hospitals, Butler also gets fresh market deliveries to your door, and can offer meal preparation services with a monthly changing menu of Cantonese home-cooked dishes. Examples of meals include homey dishes such as Chinese steamed pork meatloaf or winter melon soup.
Cleaning services are a huge part of what Butler Asia offers, with each Butler receiving consultation and training from hotel management experts. Starting with an agreement on your choice of cleaning products to going through your requirements on a checklist, your home will be tidied and cleaned to the same specifications each time.
Closet management and laundry services remain one of Butler’s most sought-after services. Instead of endlessly procrastinating your long overdue closet cull each weekend, your Butler will work with you to Kondo your closet, reorganising it to fit your personal daily needs, as well as to store away seasonal clothes. Working with Groom Shoe Repairs, your shoes will also be polished and repaired as needed. Extra charges such as for repairs and grocery shopping will be covered separately on top of the Butler fees, with everything being agreed upon first and costs fully transparent.
Butler also offers a bespoke service for pet care and pet sitting, so if you’re out of town, you can rest assured knowing young Pookie will be well fed and watered, with regular updates from your Butler on how your pet is doing. Other services that are expected to be rolled out include minor home repairs, elderly care, relocation and moving services, car washing, bill paying, dinner party preparation, and even doula services for expectant mothers.
Butler services can be complementary even if you already have full-time help at home. For instance, the helper may be tasked with nanny duties while you order Butler services for cleaning and grocery shopping — going above and beyond the usual part time cleaner for a completely customised service that understands the way you like to live.
You can request services on an ad hoc basis, but Butler Club memberships are also available where you can get unlimited service plans, priority bookings, discounts, and a club points system. You pay a HK$800 one-off fee, then either HK$900 per month for Silver Tier or HK$1,600 per month for Gold Tier membership. All services are available Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays-Sundays, 10am–8:30pm only.
For the level of bespoke services and ready-trained expertise that Butler Asia promises, it certainly seems to be an attractive and affordable way to give yourself the ultimate luxury of free time.
Butler Asia is currently in its soft-launch phase and the dedicated app is set to launch before the end of this year. Find out more at Butler Asia.