how to manage your domestic housekeepers

Hiring and Managing The Housekeeping Staff

As a Household/Estate Manager, one of the important roles you will undergo is hiring and managing housekeeping staff. Here is how to begin the process.

Assessment – Consider the size/style of home, number of people & pets residing, standards, guest and entertaining lifestyle. Typically, there is one housekeeper assigned for every 4,500SF – however these other elements need to be considered to understand the amount of time and manpower needed to maintain the estate. Of course, budget will be another consideration.

Expertise – Have a clear understanding of the principals’ standards and needs as you interview candidates and review their skills. A housekeeper working for a demanding and busy household should have a minimum of 5 years of experience. It is always ideal to hire someone who reached a level of “executive housekeeper” who is experienced in all areas and has worked in a staff environment.

Resume & References – A candidate’s resume may seem terrific on paper, but when you call the references, you come to discover otherwise. This is the tricky part. References do not always reveal the truth and resumes do not always reflect the experience. That is why it is important to have several references on an individual and even 2-3 interview sessions so that you can make a good decision.

Background Checks – This is mandatory on all candidates even if a friend is making the referral. You will need list of names and addresses that this person has had in the last 7 years and other identification such as: social security number, driver’s license and proof that the candidate is legal to work in this country to begin the investigation. All background checks take up to 14 days to complete and can only be conducted upon signed approval from the candidate and when there is a potential job offer.

Trial & Training – It is best to give a person a trial before offering a position. Interviews may go well, but the proof is in the pudding. Before starting, go through the house carefully and provide a checklist with necessary tasks. Observe how efficiently and thoroughly the job is executed.

Sometimes a candidate may need a bit more experience than you expected. If the candidate has an amazing attitude and willingness to work hard and learn everything possible to be the best, this is a priceless quality in any employee and may be worth the extra effort to train.

Manual – Each employee should receive not only an Employee Handbook that covers all the protocols associated with time sheets, payroll, vacation, sick leave, etc., but also a Household Maintenance Manual establishing housekeeping, laundry, childcare, pet care, culinary and organization standards; detailed cleaning procedures; schedules; and, instructions on how to use each product on every surface. Have daily staff meetings to review and communicate any issues and service flow changes. Give this employee as many tools as possible to ensure success!

About Marta Perrone

Marta Perrone was born in Madrid, Spain, Marta came to this country at age five landing first like many immigrants in New York. She watched her parents work hard from sunup to sundown to follow their American dream. After attending UCLA and majoring in Spanish and Linguistics, Marta decided to fill her own American dream by owning her own business. For 25 Years Marta owned and managed a staffing agency and became an industry leader. Whether consulting families, lecturing at educational centers for parents, conducting training seminars for nannies and housekeepers, or promoting her books, her passion for the Private Service Industry burns just as bright as it did when she began her career.

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