How to successfully hire a Live In Housekeeper for your home

The benefits of a live in housekeeper

Many families are reaping the benefits that come with having their own live in housekeeper. With families now leading busier lives than ever in 2018 (and the years to come..), finding time and the desire to ensure that the household is clean, hygienic and organised is becoming ever more frustrating.

With more families getting involved in social engagements, raising children or running their own businesses, the time for housekeeping is extremely limited, and most people would admit that cleaning their home is the last thing they want to do, particularly if they fall into one of the aforementioned activities.

There is literally nothing worse than coming home from work; or for those with children – during the holidays when your little ones are at home all day for 6 weeks causing mayhem. Everyone wishes they could have a housekeeper to come and maintain order in their home and maintain a pleasant, clean environment to live in.

A clean home promotes vitality and general well-being – a private housekeeper is a pivotal component in creating a safe and healthy family environment to live in, particularly for home owners who do not have the luxury of time to ensure that the household is kept free from bacteria and other things which can affect health and mindset in a negative way.

A clean home promotes vitality and general well-being – a private housekeeper is a pivotal component in creating a safe and healthy family environment to live in, particularly for home owners who do not have the luxury of time to ensure that the household is kept free from bacteria and other things which can affect health and mindset in a negative way.

What does a live in housekeeper actually do?

A live in housekeeper’s responsibilities will really depend on the household. The typical duties of a housekeeper or housemaid will involve dusting, vacuuming, mopping, surface and fixture cleaning across all rooms of the household as well as the laundry and ironing.

It’s always important that when you hire a live in housekeeper that you set the expectations early on and allocate reasonable timescales for certain tasks to be accomplished.

A household cleaning rota can be drawn up by the housekeeper to ensure that maximum advantage is taken and less time is wasted moving between tasks.

Time is of the essence when housekeeping, being practical with time is an absolute necessity. Any experienced housekeeper with have their own proven housekeeping systems in place and will be required to have access to suitable cleaning apparatus with which to conduct their duties in a timely and high-quality fashion.

Many families are now opting for more natural remedies for the cleansing of the household (particularly where there are children present), and many housekeepers will know the ins and outs relating to chemical free cleaning using items which can be easily sourced from supermarkets or DIY outlets.

With all that said, ‘Keeping house’ is not the only responsibility of a live in housekeeper. Many families delegate extra responsibilities as part of the working day, this means that a housekeeper may be tasked with one or more of the following:

  • Childcare/nanny duties
  • Running errands
  • Driving
  • Cooking

The role of a nanny housekeeper
A nanny housekeeper has become commonplace in the world of hiring private staff. On various job sites and domestic staffing agency websites there are many requests for this type of professional. The duties are usually divided but with a stronger emphasis placed on one specific area. If you have younger children who do not yet attend school, then the priority would be the childcare over general housekeeping duties.

For families with school aged children, it would make sense to have a nanny housekeeper as whilst the children are at school, the housekeeper has enough breathing space to get on with the housekeeping duties and then when the children return from school, the housekeeping role ceases and becomes childcare based for the last few hours of the workday.

As part of the childcare aspect of a nanny housekeeper role, it is expected to possibly collect the children from the local school and provide a snack once back at the house, followed by some light babysitting until the parents return home.

If hiring a nanny housekeeper, it is important to remember that the person you hire will more often than not possess no official childcare qualifications, so expectations relating to educational, physical and mental care should not be a primary thought.

A nanny housekeeper will provide you with exemplary cover where your housekeeping and basic childcare needs are concerned.

The role of a housekeeper cook
Hiring a housekeeper cook means that you have the flexibility of a housekeeper as well as someone who can easily prepare family meals and snacks.

Many households in busy business cities such as London and New York City employ a housekeeper cook to take the burden off having to clean the home and cook meals after a busy day working in the city.

A live in housekeeper cook will often prepare healthy and nutritious meals for both adults and children and generally not require the professional to have attended a culinary school unlike a private chef.

Just like a nanny housekeeper, realistic expectations and timescales should be considered when delegating duties.

Meals for a family takes time to prepare, cook and serve, so always bear this in mind when the employee has a housekeeping workload during the earlier to mid periods of the work day.

The working hours of a live in housekeeper

Typically, a live in housekeeper will be tasked with between 40 and 60 hours per week over a five or six day working week which includes lunch and rest breaks being deducted.

A housekeeper’s job is physically demanding, especially if living in a large household without access to an elevator, so it always pays to ensure your housekeeper is allocated rest breaks throughout the working day – This will increase on the job productivity and also raise overall workplace morale.

The workday will typically start early, particularly if there are children in the house, the live in housekeeper may be asked to provide assistance with the morning routine in terms of preparing simple breakfast and helping the children get dressed.

This would of course be considered part of the working day in terms of time or should be paid extra if usual duties and the agreed number of daily working hours are to commence on top of the morning assistance. Many housekeepers are taken advantage of where time is concerned and is a fairly large factor where the turnover of domestic staff is concerned. Respecting time is key to a fruitful, professional relationship.

What salary to offer a live in housekeeper

Salaries are dependant on a number of factors; such as, location, working schedule, perks…

Live in housekeepers are usually younger, single persons which means they have the freedom to live in without having to worry about having to pay rent or associated living costs in expensive areas such as London, New York City, Los Angeles amongst others.

Due to the cost of rent being negated by the live in accommodation, a typical salary for a full time, live in housekeeper in a major city in the world would cost from approximately £2000.00 GBP in London, and from $4000.00 USD per month in New York City. These figures are rising as it is getting harder to find experienced housekeepers…the best housekeepers are reluctant to leave their current positions where they are happy and have already developed a bond with their employer.

Perks may be offered such as mobile phones, gym memberships, monthly travel cards, healthcare packages and other things which could be deemed beneficial to your staff. This would also be reflected in the offered salary.

Sometimes a carefully tailored package speaks louder than the number of zeros in the advertised compensation. Household staff, like staff in other industries want to feel valued

Where to find a live in housekeeper?

There is actually a plethora of ways for a family to find a live in housekeeper. A way many home owners search is via local Facebook groups. You can easily join a local Facebook group and then make a post stating the type of person you would like to hire.

You may get swamped with responses, so it would be down to you to conduct the screening properly.

Those searching for a live in housekeeper will also request the services of a domestic staffing agency, who will be able to conduct a search based on certain criteria that is specified.

For hiring a live in housekeeper, there is usually a 15-20% placement fee charge if you wish to acquire the services of a staff search. This figure can sometimes be less, it is dependent on the recruitment agency and the location. Domestic staffing agencies take away the pressure of having to filter through any and all applications for a job opening. They will filter and go through their interview processes based on your prerequisites and desires before presenting you with the candidates who will more than likely succeed in the offered role.

When it comes to sourcing candidates, a domestic staffing agency will utilise Facebook groups and post the job on various free job sites in order to attract some interest and find some hidden gems. The bigger domestic agencies will usually have a larger pool of candidates and be able to send you potential, vetted candidates the very same day you make an enquiry.

For busy homeowners who perhaps run a business or work long hours in the city, and have very little time to be involved in the recruitment process, a domestic agency would be an excellent investment as they alleviate the pressure when it comes to making a hire. With that said, you should always try to be involved in the process where possible, as the housekeeper you intend to hire will be working in your home and caring for your assets after all, so it would always be best to try and interact in the early stages and hire the right person who shares your values and someone you feel can meet, and exceed your expectations, all while getting along on a human level. Some people simply do not match personality wise and this may effect the working harmony between employer and employee, and you sometimes don’t find this out until a little further down the road. Relationship building from the offset is key to developing a healthy, professional relationship.

The more ‘labour intensive’, but cost-effective way..

Families can also post their request for a housekeeper on specialist job sites which focus on domestic staffing professionals such as live in housekeepers, nanny housekeepers and other household staffing professionals…you can even put a request in to hire a butler.

It allows you to test the domestic worker market before approaching the assistance of a recruitment agency.

Specialist domestic job sites usually charge an upfront fee to post your job, but there are zero end placement fees; which usually equates to thousands of pounds or dollars.

Through a domestic staffing job site, you will receive a good number of relevant applicants with whom to message and arrange interviews with and make a hire should you click. If you wanted to conduct a police/background check, there are multiple companies who can help you with this for a modest fee without you really having to go to much effort. A quick google search will present you with various facilities with quick turnarounds.



Protect your housekeeping asset

When hiring a live in housekeeper for the long-term, your aim should be longevity. The domestic staffing workplace has a fairly high turnover of staff in some areas, and this becomes more and more expensive when using domestic staffing agencies or domestic job boards to source employees. You don’t want to be paying placement or job posting fees every 6 months when you need a replacement housekeeper because the position has unrealistic expectations, unreasonable hours, amongst other things.

As with all assets, you need to constantly maintain them and ensure they are well-cared for. Your housekeeper is no-exception. Creating a harmonious working environment will ensure your housekeeper is happy in her (or his!) job. It’s important to remember, it’s not always about the money. Respect and courtesy go along way where staff retention is concerned.

Happy housekeepers do not leave a good job in a healthy environment for a job with a slightly higher salary in the unknown

The legals where hiring domestic staff is concerned…

When employing someone to work in your home, to be mindful of employment laws and safeguards as well as your responsibilities as a domestic employer; this includes, having a legal working contract in place which describes the details relating to paying your housekeeper’s tax, national insurance/social security and pension contributions. In the United Kingdom, this is actually Law, and there are penalties for failure to do so.

Are you interested in hiring a professional Housekeeper?  – Visit our career site for household staff where you can connect with multiple domestic professionals such as housekeeper, butlers, nannies and even estate managers, personal assistants and more…

Request a Live In Housekeeper here

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About Andrew Tilston

As well as running Estate & Manor Magazine on a daily basis, Andrew is also a digital marketer with his own bespoke marketing consultancy where he assists various global entrepreneurs and businesses with their online sales, presence and social media. Andrew worked in Moscow for 10 years where he worked for one of Moscow's wealthiest families as a household governor.

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