How To Travel With Your Nanny

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By Anita Rogers

 

Travelling with young children is not easy, whether you fly private or standard. A great nanny will understand how to travel with infants to pre-teens, and never turn on the iPad.

 

How does a career nanny help during the flights?

Career nannies are career nannies for a reason. They are experts with their age-group specialty. A career nanny will know how to prepare for long flights. Some may create travel kits for the children. 

These kits vary depending on the children’s ages. For toddlers, the kit will have safe objects with bright colors and different textures, from shiny to spongy. For school age children, an experienced career nanny will have games, books, and ways to engage the children in creative play. They will also have experience engaging and caring for different age-groups at the same time. 

The journey does not have to be embarrassing or agonizing. Screen time is not necessary with the right nanny.

 

How does a career nanny help with last minute travel?

An experienced career nanny will have experience packing for children, quickly and thoroughly. Packing is an art that a nanny will have learned with experience. If you decide to travel with the children last minute, the nanny will pack everything needed and pack perfectly, folding and organizing all clothing and necessary items.

An experienced career nanny will also know how to wake the children up and get them moving quickly. They will engage children and get them to the jet or plane on time, clean, and properly dressed. 

 

What are the protocols for a nanny when on vacation?

There are very specific industry rules for when you take a nanny with you on vacation. While travelling may seem like a treat for the nanny, it is not. They will always be working and actively caring for your children The children often don’t adjust well to a different time zone, so the nanny is working many more hours than they normally would. 

You would pay the nanny time-and-a-half hours after she has reached her regular daily hours (usually 8 hours). If you are a California based family, after 8 hours the nanny gets time-and-a-half and after 12 hours, the nanny gets double-time. Hours are counted in working hours, so the hours the children are awake. If the nanny gets less than 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, they should be paid for 24 hours.

 

Nannies must be provided a separate room and bathroom in the villa or hotel. If your nanny is a maternity nurse, the infant will sleep with her in the room. If not, the children must sleep separately.

Nannies travelling should be given breaks to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with all meals are provided.

Once the vacation is over, it is standard to give the nanny one or two weeks off, usually the duration of the vacation. The nanny will have been working much more than usual, so you want her to recoup before starting her working schedule again.

 

Your nanny who can handle all the above duties will be a professional, career nanny. Experience and education ensure your nanny understands how to properly travel with your children so it is as seamless as possible. 

The dangers of hiring an inexperienced nanny or a nanny who has not learned the above skills is you will be dealing with unprepared children, missing items from the luggage, tired and needing children and sometimes it could be unsafe for the children if the nanny doesn’t understand the protocols and also how to be on extra alert at all times around the children in a foreign country.

 

Hire a travel nanny with BAHS

Do you travel often? Finding the right care for your children will eliminate stress and ensure a productive and engaging schedule no matter the itinerary.


How to Hire the Right Domestic Staff

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Do you need household staff?

The idea of employing domestic staff is not an antiquated or outdated one. For many of today’s families, having household staff is essential to their lives; whether it’s childcare, home management, or the supervision of multiple properties. Like all aspects of contemporary living, staff have evolved to provide service to modern families.

 

Beyond necessity, families staff their home to support a luxury lifestyle and a 5-star quality atmosphere. The expectation of luxury has changed, and in some ways democratised, with the prevalence of technology and changing employment markets. More and more individuals are reaching ultra-high-net-worth status with the tech boom on the US West Coast. Families with established worth and also modernizing with new tech and younger generations coming of age.

 

The organization and make-up of your home staff is unique to your individual needs and lifestyle. Having the right support in place saves you time and worry and ensures the smooth running of your homes. When the home is in disarray and staff are doing bare-minimum work, the quality of life in that home suffers. Making the right hiring decisions when it pertains to staff can eliminate these stressors altogether.


 

Hiring with a staffing agency

Working with a domestic staffing agency can ensure expert attention is given to the details of hiring the best domestic staff. British American Household Staffing (BAHS) is able to provide high-quality candidates that will support a high-end lifestyle and perform luxury service.

 

Through our vetting process, you won’t waste time meeting candidates that are not a good fit for your home. Reference screening and background checks are also handled by our team to ensure only the highest quality candidates meet with our clients.

 

 BAHS’s belief in matchmaking sets us apart from other staffing agencies. Our recruiters will work with you to understand your family’s needs and match you with household staff that can provide high-quality service and care. It is therefore vital that you discuss in length with your personal recruiter what your needs are and provide prompt feedback.

 

For us, success is a placement that results in a contented principal(s) and staff who enjoy long-term job fulfillment.


 

What to look for in a resume

Your BAHS recruiter will assess your specific needs and send resumes of qualified candidates for your review. This will give a preview of each candidate and the time to decide who you would like to meet with. 

 

When you are assessing a resume, pay attention to the dates. A good resume will show a clear timeline and progression of a career. It is also important to note if the candidate has experience with specific duties that may align with your needs.

 

Red flags on a resume would be three or more jobs that ended before two full years, gaps in the timeline with no explanation, name-dropping who they’ve worked for, and excessive spelling and grammatical errors. Our recruiters work hard with each candidate to ensure their qualifications are exemplary and each resume you receive will be clear and easy to read.


 

What to look for when you interview candidates

When you work with British American Household Staffing, every candidate you meet will be thoroughly vetted, experienced, and knowledgeable on quality service. When you meet a potential hire for the first time, the most important thing, is to gauge their personality and temperament and compare it with your family and household.

 

Keep questions open-ended and observe the candidate’s reaction and personality. Again, this interview is to assess if they will fit your lifestyle and home as well as to understand their level of expertise.

 

Some examples of questions to ask to learn about a candidate’s personality are:

  • What have you found is the best way to communicate with employers?
  • How would you handle problems with a fellow staff member?
  • Tell me what you liked about the last home you worked in.
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?


 

Discussing feedback

It is essential to discuss any feedback promptly with your personal recruiter. They will be able to provide further context or adjust the search if needed. It is also important to give feedback early if you would like to move forward with a particular candidate. The best employees are not available long before they are offered a position elsewhere.

 

Trial periods

After meeting with candidates, work with your recruiter to arrange a trial period before making an offer to hire. Because domestic staff are in your home, it is important to make absolutely sure it is the right fit before proceeding. We recommend 3-10 days trial depending on the position and level of expertise needed.

 

Making the offer and onboarding a new candidate

After interviewing and trialing a candidate, coordinate an offer through your recruiter. They will be able to guide you through pay expectations and help get everything in writing. 

 

Your household staff are employed by you. Many families organize payroll and taxes through their business office or a third party service. Whether you operate with a home office, business office, or third party, you must have an employer identification number, confirmation that the employee is allowed to work and all relevant tax forms completed for each member of your staff. This includes W4 and I-9 forms.

 

For tax or legal guidance specific to your estate and state’s laws, please consult your financial team. For example, some states require worker’s comp to be provided for all domestic staff. Most states require detailed records of payroll and income to be kept. Setting up your hiring process the correct way will save time and money for all future hires and ensure that you avoid any legal issues in the future.

 

For nanny hires, you may need to amend your current insurance plan to ensure that you have umbrella coverage for anyone working in your home. Consult your insurance agent to see if you need additional coverage.

 

The contract you will draft with your staff is your employment offer and all details written out and signed by all parties. Your particular household structure will determine the details of your contract, and should include the following:

  • Staff schedule
  • General duties
  • Employee benefits (if offered)
  • Sick, holiday, and vacation time
  • Salary, pay period, how they will be paid, and how to report hours

 

Like any agreement, having the details in writing will ensure there will be no confusion or problems in the future.

See more information on hiring and on-boarding staff in your home.

 

Hire a Domestic Staff with BAHS

We screen all of our candidates for experience, discretion, and professionalism. Our team of recruiters will work with you to identify your unique needs and match candidates that excel at working with similar lifestyles. Contact our office today to begin your search.


5 Common Legal Mistakes You Want to Avoid When You Hire a Domestic Staff

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Employing domestic staff can alleviate much of the stress of busy life and household management. However, with that relief can come with unique challenges. Running a home is very much like setting up a small business. The same structure, hiring processes, and operational complexities are involved when it comes to employing domestic staff. Just like a business, legal issues and logistical details are important when bringing on new employees.

 

It’s important to hire and onboard staff in an orderly and compliant way to avoid any future headaches. Below are 5 common legal mistakes you will want to avoid when you hire domestic staff.

 

1. Not interviewing thoroughly

If you work with a staffing agency, candidates will be thoroughly vetted before you meet them, but you should still take the time to personally screen for skills, experience, and personality match. Because domestic staff will be in your home, it’s important that you feel comfortable with each hire. A perfectly qualified candidate could still not be a match if you don’t feel at ease with them in your space. Try to ask open-ended questions in the interview and gauge not only the answers but the candidate’s demeanor as well.

 

Making the right hire will eliminate legal issues that come from worse-case scenarios like terminated contracts and severance pay requests.

 

2. Hiring workers not authorized to work and/or not paying on the record

It is very important to confirm each candidate’s ability to work legally and to pay on the books. It might be tempting to cut corners in this area, but come tax time and any future audits, you want to be sure your staff are compliant and in order.

 

3. Not withholding taxes for your staff

Because household workers are considered employees and not independent workers, it is necessary to file the correct taxes according to your state. Many families organize payroll and taxes through their business office or a third party service. Whether you operate with a home office, business office, or third party, you must have an employer identification number, confirmation that the employee is allowed to work and all relevant tax forms completed for each member of your staff. This includes W4 and I-9 forms.

 

For tax or legal guidance specific to your estate and state’s laws, please consult your financial team.

 

4. Not providing overtime pay

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), you must pay at least minimum wage for every hour worked and overtime for every hour over 40 worked for live-out employees.

 

This example, from the American Bar Association, is a useful guide on overtime. Be sure to consult your accounting team when working out the details.

“If you anticipate that your employee will work more than 40 hours each week, even if your employee “agrees” to a weekly pay rate, you should structure a written compensation agreement that complies with this law. For example, if you and your employee agree on a weekly salary of $600 for a 45-hour work week, the employment contract should explicitly state that the employee earns $12.63 per hour for the first 40 hours, $18.94 per hour for five hours of overtime work each week, and $18.94 per hour for any additional overtime work.”

 

5. Not having an agreement in writing

The contract you will draft with your household staff is simply your employment offer with details written and signed by all parties. Your particular household structure will determine the details of your contracts, and should include the minimum:

  • Employee’s schedule
  • General duties
  • Employee benefits (if offered)
  • Severance package (if offered)
  • Sick, holiday, and vacation time
  • Salary, pay period, how they will be paid, and how to report hours
  • NDA or other confidentiality clause 

 

Like any agreement, having the details in writing will ensure there will be no confusion or problems in the future. 

 

 

What Are Tax and Labor Laws for Household Staff?

Always consult your legal and finance team to onboard domestic staff. For more information, reference the labor laws for your state. 

New York labor laws for domestic staff

California labor laws for domestic staff

 

 

Hire Household Staff with BAHS

If you want to hire the best domestic staff, contact British American Household Staffing. We can advise on proper processes and begin optimizing your home management.


5 Ways a Personal Assistant Can Make Your Life Easier

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Do you feel your days are filled with seemingly unimportant tasks that take time away from your more important goals? Are you booking appointments, running errands, organizing, arranging, and cancelling plans? Is your inbox clogged with emails you never seem to see the end of?

 

A personal assistant could solve these problems and more by taking tasks off your plate and supporting a smooth-running life.

 

Who Needs a Personal Assistant

Having a dedicated personal assistant (PA) is not just for CEOs and business moguls. Anyone can benefit from the assistance of another set of hands and second brain. Entrepreneurs, busy families, tech start-ups, and public figures are just a sample of the kind of people we help find the best support for their unique lifestyle and schedule.

 

What Does A Personal Assistant Do?

While a job description for a personal assistant is as unique as you are, qualified assistants will understand the “around the clock” needs that busy people maintain. A PA’s daily routine can vary from any of the following tasks:

  • managing the family calendar
  • personal shopping
  • planning events
  • paying bills
  • arranging travel
  • handling investments and philanthropic accounts
  • Quickbooks
  • managing an estate or celebrity home
  • managing household staff
  • HR duties including hiring and paperwork 
  • bookkeeping and vendor management
  • organizing the maintenance of any private yacht or jet travel and staff
  • any other home and/or office management

 

5 Ways a Personal Assistant Can Make Your Life Easier

Beyond the daily tasks and calendars, personal assistants can add value to your life in the following ways:

 

1. They can organize your life.

A personal assistant can work out of your home, office, or remotely.  They will manage your inbox and help you feel more in control of your life by understanding your needs and managing them in a professional way. 

Knowing all of these everyday details are handled will leave room in your life to focus on larger projects and enjoy more time with family and friends.

 

2. They can delegate and manage tasks.

A quality personal assistant will understand how to communicate properly and act as gatekeeper to you and your family. They may also manage your staff and help to hire, train, and manage conflicts in a legal, diplomatic way.

Everything runs like clockwork and all events and parties are arranged and organized in advance. Your house will be organized, your daily duties will minimize, the home will be arranged down to the smallest detail, and budgets will be managed.

 

3. They can save you time.

The most obvious benefit of having a personal assistant is the time they will save you completing small tasks so that you can focus on the big ones. You will be amazed at the difference in your day when all the small tasks are off your plate.

 

4. They can save you money

A good personal assistant has the potential to save you their salary, from finding the best deals, to getting refunds from vendors, organizing special treatments for less, using discount sites to get the best luxury deals, and more. This savings is on top of the time and energy you will save from having competent management of your life and business.

 

5. They can help you avoid problems by identifying and solving them before you even know about it.

One benefit of having a personal assistant, you may never notice. A competent assistant will be able to not only identify a problem, but find and implement a solution with no direction. You will know you’ve made the right hire when problems that once took up a large chunk of your time, begin to disappear. 


 

Most importantly, your personal assistant should practice discretion and loyalty. Competency and reliability are also key as PAs are responsible for many details of life and business being completed.

 

Being a team player is a crucial need for any personal assistant. Not only because no task is too small, but your assistant will be coordinating and sometimes managing the rest of your team.


 

Hire a Personal Assistant with BAHS

We screen our PAs for experience, discretion, and professionalism. Not only does your personal assistant need to be competent, but they should understand boundaries and presentation. Our team of recruiters will work with you to identify your unique needs and match assistants that excel at managing similar lifestyles. Contact our office today to begin your search.


Top Tips for Career Advancement – Personal Assistants

British American Household Staffing had the pleasure of hosting the Association of Celebrity Assistants, Los Angeles Chapter on March 28th at the Montage hotel in LA. Our California team met with members of the organization for a cocktail hour and presented some expert advice for career advancement in the private industry.

 

Below are our favorite Top Tips from the event. If you are looking to become a personal assistant or are an experienced PA looking to advance to a higher-level position in a private home, consider the following:

  • Learn the difference between a formal and informal household and tailor your resume/behavior/appearance accordingly.
  • Clean up your social media. Best practice is to make all accounts private.
  • Create good, professional relationships with your recruiters.
  • Strengthen Your Resume:
    • Be clear and concise with your experience. Limit 1-2 pages depending on experience. Confirm all details (dates, locations, etc.)
    • Have all letters of recommendation and contact information for references organized and ready to be verified.

 

Personal Assistants

  • Leverage the exposure you get to people, places and knowledge and take on tasks outside your wheelhouse.
  • Keep yourself busy. Find ways to make your employer’s life easier without being asked.
  • Always be on call. Don’t assume off hours unless stated.
  • Strengthen Your Resume:
    • Schedule international travel accommodations and create travel itineraries.

 

House Managers

  • Successful HMs are information junkies and a resource to their employer. The more you can offer an employer, the more valuable you become.
  • Grow your network within the industry.
  • Be discreet, well organized and maintain an almost invisible presence around the home.
  • Strengthen Your Resume:
    • Inventory the home and work with insurance to appraise the household.

 

Estate Managers

  • Have advanced cultural knowledge (well-traveled) and social skills (impeccable social etiquette).
  • Identify your weaknesses and strengthen them (HR, law, finance, etc.)
  • Strengthen Your Resume:
    • Oversee the purchase or renovation of a new property.

 

 

 

Find a Personal Assistant with BAHS

When you begin your search for a Personal Assistant, take a general inventory of your needs. Different personal assistants will be experts in particular industries and tasks. So your search should focus on those that will best meet your particular needs. Do you travel often and need someone who can arrange and troubleshoot travel arrangements remotely? Do you own your own business that could benefit from having hands-on support? Could your family and household staff benefit from having a professional to maintain order? Do you need someone familiar with busy, celebrity lifestyles that can provide seamless, on-the-go support?

 

Whether you are a busy celebrity, need support for your business or family or are organizing your private estate, our recruiters will work to find you a qualified and professional personal assistant to support your life.


What is the Difference Between an Estate Manager and a Property Manager?

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By Anita Rogers

The short answer is an estate manager will manage a single principal or family’s high-end estate, and a property manager will manage any size and type of property, including apartment complexes, condos, a large mansion, town house, or a country home.

 

British American Household Staffing is the preferred household staffing agency for private, high-level residences and discreet UHNW homes worldwide.

 

What does a property manager do?

 

A property manager will oversee all external duties related to a property or estate. These include any construction, build-outs and build-ins, and general management of the external structure. They will also oversee and manage all outside vendors, including landscapers, maintenance crews, arborists. 

 

Internal structural issues and duties also fall into a property manager’s duties, including HVAC, plumbing, heating, water supply, and all appliances inside the home. Some property managers oversee interior designers, internal architects, and may work alongside general architects. All budgets connected to their duties are managed by the property manager and they report budgets to the estate’s financial offices for approval, payment etc. 

 

What does a property manager not do?

 

A property manager will not manage domestic staff, create schedules, oversee hiring, training, and firing of domestic staff and childcare. They usually do not have a close relationship with the principals, and they traditionally work with the family office and other internal financial management services the estate has in their employ.

 

What does an estate manager do?

 

The term estate manager can apply to a wide range of domestic, managerial roles. The key factor in determining the status of an estate manager will be their experience managing multiple homes and properties. Qualified managers will have worked for principals with 3 or more properties across the United States and/or abroad.

 

Many duties of an estate manager are also shared by a house manager, but the difference in these two roles is the scale at which they worked. At BAHS, we only present a candidate as an estate manager if they have managed two or more properties (a mansion, an estate, townhouse, or large luxury loft or apartment building) that requires at least 2 housekeepers and another 5 full-time domestic employees in the home.

 

In general, an estate manager will oversee 5-15 housekeepers, 2-3 chefs, 1-4 nannies, groundsmen, maintenance staff, a butler or personal assistant and a chauffeur. The position often has the possibility of growing into either Chief Of Staff or Director of Residence. 

 

An estate manager will oversee and manage vendors but not quite to the same degree a property manager. Duties of an estate manager include overseeing and managing budgets with the family office or finance/business office, they will usually have a close relationship with the principal or principals. They will oversee and manage growth, especially in relation to an increase in hiring domestic staff. An estate manager will oversee construction projects and they will have some experience in project management. An estate manager has to understand how to run the estate like a CEO and COO runs a company.

 

Hire an Estate Manager with BAHS

 

If you are a family with an estate or multiple estates and you are looking to hire a director of residences or estate manager, British American Household Staffing will assess your home and needs and present qualified professionals that meet those needs and compliment your lifestyle.

 

Some multiple properties or larger estates are overstaffed or badly staffed and incorrectly structured, expenditure is often high, and domestic staff are not being utilized properly or need to be replaced. We have helped replace or reduce the staff in homes while ensuring the estate runs smoothly.

 

This creates a home environment that is cost efficient, free of stress, and staffed with competent employees that are discreet and committed to long-term positions. We are available to recommend resources for domestic staffing laws in your state and, most importantly, ensure the family is legally protected.

 

Connect with our office today to begin the process of finding the right household staff.


Autumn Time Is Back-To-School Time | Find the Right Childcare

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Are you looking for a new nanny or maternity nurse? Maybe an upgrade in childcare for extra help during this busy season? We have all types of screened and carefully chosen childcare professionals including nannies, governesses, and newborn care specialists.

 

Contact us today to find the right care for your family.

 

As summer days begin to shorten, families with children begin to plan for the hustle and bustle of fall. Back to school time is the perfect opportunity to find and hire the right help to support your busy life and booster your children’s success.


 

Common Types of Nanny and Childcare Professionals

 

What type of nanny or childcare professional you hire will depend heavily on your family’s individual needs. Common types of nannies for school-aged children are:

 

Full-Time Nanny - the nanny’s exact schedule depends on the family, but full-time nannies most often care for the children while the parents are at work and/or handling household management beyond childcare consistently every week.

Part-Time Nanny - part-time nannies offer much needed support for busy families that need afterschool or weekend childcare.

Governess or  Nanny/Tutor - a nanny/tutor will be able to prioritize educational activities and work with each child’s unique learning styles to foster an engaging environment. 

Nanny/Personal Assistant - the nanny that can take on personal assistant tasks, like scheduling appointments and running errands, can be a big help for busy families with older children that don’t need as much attention. 

 

Hiring the Right Childcare for Your Family

 

Having the right childcare in place will not only support the family’s schedule, it will give added support and structure to each child’s development. To decide what type of childcare is best, consider you and your children’s unique needs:

 

What are the ages of your children?

Would a nanny specializing in education and tutoring be ideal?

Does your family travel extensively?

Do the children need full-charge care or is a parent/s home during the day?

Would a high-energy nanny that can keep up with busy schedules be best? Or would your children thrive with a calm, quiet presence?

Do you employ other staff in your home and need a team player, or a nanny that works best autonomously and knows what to do with little direction?

Is there a language requirement?

 

The Benefits of Hiring a Governess or Nanny/Tutor

 

Many of our families look to hire educated nannies and governesses. We encourage this choice as children learn the most from those around them. We feel a nanny with the training, education and skills related to age-appropriate development including sibling rivalry, positive reinforcement, etiquette, and tutoring is a positive force around children. This support and guidance sets up children for continued success throughout their life.

 

Only an educated, trained, and skilled nanny will truly understand how to manage these dynamics. Their end goal is always to help children feel loved, valued, gain confidence, encourage education, and help them learn coping skills.


 

Hire a Governess or Nanny/Tutor with BAHS

 

Our team of recruiting specialists can help determine what care is best for your family and match you with qualified candidates. 

 

Still not sure exactly what type of nanny your home needs? Contact our office to be connected with an expert recruiter that can assess your needs and recommend the right nanny for your family.

 

Because every family’s needs are different, our commitment as your nanny agency is to provide expert service that saves you time, sees that all details are in order, and matches a nanny that compliments your home and unique needs. We believe that if both sides of the placement - family and nanny - are beyond satisfied in their placement, the relationship will be happier, more successful and longer-lasting.


Does Your Home Need a Private Chef?

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What is the difference between a private chef and a personal chef?

While equally qualified in food preparation and service, a private chef and a personal chef are two different positions in a home.

 

According to the American Personal & Private Chef Association,

"A private chef is employed by one individual or family full time, and often lives in, preparing up to three meals per day. A personal chef serves several clients, usually one per day."

 

 

What are the duties of a private chef?

A private chef’s overall responsibility is to prepare meals for an individual or family. They may live-in with the family to provide on-call service or plan weekly meals according to a set schedule. A common schedule for a private chef is to work mid-morning to evening in the home preparing lunch, dinner and breakfast for the next day. A private chef will also be essential in planning any hosting event in the home and able to implement their expertise in meal planning and execution.

 

A private chef’s specific duties may include:

  • Keeping informed of all food and sanitation rules
  • Menu planning based on dietary needs and preferences
  • Keeping kitchens clean and organized
  • Managing other household staff involved in food prep and serving
  • Stocking pantries and refrigerator
  • Preparing meals to be reheated by the family later
  • Planning and preparing any and all food and drink for events/gatherings in the home
  • Preparing healthy snacks that are easily accessible to the family between meal times.

 

Does your home need a private chef?

Private chefs work 3-5 days a week in one home for an individual or family for a long-term commitment, not for occasional or temporary needs. Busy professionals, individuals with specific dietary needs and families juggling multiple schedules are common households that employ private chefs. Full-time chefs are commonly paid an annual salary with benefits.

Consider the needs of your home when looking to hire a private chef. Do you entertain? Do you have any special dietary needs or favorite cuisines? Most chefs will specialize in a cuisine/s and can offer authentic tastes and experiences. Are there children in the home that may need special meals? Chefs that can anticipate younger palettes and adjust without compromising quality or health are invaluable.

 

Hire a chef with BAHS

One of the top benefits of hiring a private chef through British American Household Staffing is knowing that your new chef will have years of experience in high net worth and formal homes. Our chefs are all top-of-the-line and understand proper decorum and measures that are needed in your family's setting. They will be able to discern your needs and will follow a strict guideline based on your requests, or will experiment with a variety of cuisines if that is what you prefer.


A Personal Assistant or Virtual Assistant? Which Should You Hire?

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By Anita Rogers

 

What is a Personal Assistant?

A personal assistant (PA) is an administrative professional who manages all personal and some business duties of their employer. These duties may include personal appointments, beauty appointments, health-related appointments, children’s schedules, vacation bookings, and all travel-related arrangements, expenses and bookkeeping, etc. A PA may also maintain a personal budget and help get the best deals on all bookings and refunds for travel.

 

I often hear, a good personal assistant will save you their salary in savings from finding the best deals, to getting refunds from vendors, organizing special treatments for less, using discount sites to get the best luxury deals, and more. This savings is on top of the time and energy you will save from having competent management of your life and business.

 

A personal assistant may work from your corporate office or from a home office. Some PAs may work remotely one or two days a week, especially if their employer is travelling. Some have strict office hours while others will be available on an on-call schedule. The personal assistants with a more flexible, on-call availability will typically require a higher salary, but are a relief to have when things need to be handled outside of business hours.

 

In the home, a PA may manage vendors, coordinate staff schedules and training, and oversee any repairs or renovations. In smaller homes, they may function as a house manager and take on more domestic duties.

 

Key features of a great PA are: discretion and loyalty, reliability, tech-savviness, “hands on” attitude, and the ability to work proactively.

 

Most importantly, your personal assistant should practice discretion and loyalty. Competency and reliability are also key as PAs are responsible for many details of life and business being completed.

 

Being a team player is a crucial need for any personal assistant. Not only because no task is too small, but your assistant will be coordinating and sometimes managing the rest of your team.

 

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant (VA) is an assistant who only works remotely. They may be available for on-site visits to assess projects or problems, but do the majority of their work, as the name suggests, virtually. 

 

The positive side of hiring a VA is the very fact that they work remotely and will not invade privacy or be privy to any personal details beyond their duties and job description. They work autonomously with little need for extensive direction.

 

The negative aspects are that they are not onsite for emergencies in the home or business. A burst pipe or late housekeeper, for example, may first need to be relayed to the principal before a VA could address the issue.

 

Ideally, VAs work with a fixed list of tasks or responsibilities to accomplish weekly or daily. Consistent communication is key, but they will be self-motivated and autonomous workers that do not need constant direction or feedback.

 

What Type of Assistant Should You Hire?

At BAHS, we have found that virtual assistants are more popular with single professionals who are living between several time-zones and are rarely home. These types of clients often need things last minute, including travel booking, moving homes, or issues with last minute travel changes.

 

The other type of client we see hiring VAs are Bay Area individuals or families who tend to prefer a staff-free home as much as possible. The Bay Area culture is more private in general, disliking live-in staff or full-time onsite help where they can avoid it.

 

While having tasks managed virtually works for some, the traditional, on-site personal assistant is still the best support for busy individuals and families. Through knowing their employer’s needs and being in tune with the inner workings of the life and business, a good assistant will be able to anticipate problems before they come.

 

A good assistant can react and solve problems with ease. A great assistant can proactively work to avoid problems all together.

 

Hire a Personal Assistant with BAHS

While there is no set standard of educational requirements to be a personal assistant, a college degree in communications or business is common. PAs represented by British American Household Staffing have prior experience working with celebrities and high-level executives.

 

Our rigorous screening process selects only the most qualified and experienced candidates. Our expert team of recruiters will work with you to find the right match of caregiver to you family’s needs to work toward a happy and long-term placement.


Newborn Care Specialist FAQ

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What is a newborn care specialist?

A newborn care specialist (NCS) is a non-medical professional who comes into the home when the baby comes home from the hospital. They generally assist parents from a few weeks up to several months in all aspects of newborn care and provide overnight, daytime, or 24-hour care.

 

How soon should I book my NCS?

We recommend booking as soon as possible, as schedules can fill up quickly. Best practice is to book when your doctor confirms your due date.

 

What if I already had my baby and have an immediate need?

No problem! We are generally able to fill emergency or last minute requests for families.

 

How long should I book my NCS for?

We recommend at least 2 weeks of care. However, some families will request services for up to one year. Once you no longer require a NCS and would like a nanny, please contact us about our nanny placement services.

 

What if I don’t know how long I want to keep my NCS?

We suggest putting a range. We only require that you fulfill the minimum amount of time that you specify on the contract. In most cases, you are able to extend past what you’ve written on the contract, especially if you are able to give 1 to 2 weeks’ notice.

 

What type of screening process do your newborn care specialists go through?

All of our newborn care specialists are asked detailed questions regarding their knowledge about child development, infant safety issues, scheduling, and breastfeeding. They must pass a nationwide criminal background check that includes social security verification. We call their personal and professional references and make that information available to you. All of our specialists must have current CPR and a minimum of 3 years’ prior experience with infants. They also have various certifications and attend trainings that cover different aspects of newborn care.

 

Can I meet the NCS that you match me with before she starts the job?

Specialists are happy to meet if there is time between their assignments. However, if there is not an opportunity to meet her before she begins working, you can speak extensively with her over the phone or Skype and call her references before committing to that NCS and before being charged any application fee.

 

Do you have specialists who have experience with multiples?

Yes. Many NCSs will specialise in working with a particular populations, such as twins and triplets.

 

Does “Baby Nurse” mean they have an actual nursing license or degree in nursing?

You may see newborn care specialists referred to a “baby nurses” which denotes a background in nursing. While a specialist may be a CNA, LPN, or have experience working in a hospital’s infant care, it is not a requirement for the role. Newborn care specialists will have a certification from a professional newborn care or NCS organization. Their focus is to provide non-medical care for your baby.

 

How does a NCS benefit breastfeeding moms at night?

They will bring the baby to the mom for all feedings. When mom is done feeding, the NCS will take the baby and care for its needs until the next feeding, allowing mom much needed rest.

 

What is the NCS NOT required to take care of?

Your newborn care specialist will not cook, clean, or do household chores. She is only responsible for the baby’s complete care along with duties pertaining to the baby such as laundry, cleaning bottles/breastfeeding supplies, and keeping the nursery stocked and tidy.

 

Will my NCS help my older child adjust to the new baby?

While the NCS is not responsible for caring for any of your older children, she can help them adjust to having a new sibling in the home.

 

If my baby arrives on a different date than I wrote on the contract, how will I know my NCS is available for me?

We encourage all NCS placements to include the specialist being on call two weeks before and two weeks after the estimated due date.

 

How do I begin the process of booking a NCS?

Connect with your local office to speak with a recruiter that can answer any questions you have and begin assessing your needs to match with the right newborn care specialist.

 

How is the NCS paid?

The family is responsible for paying the NCS directly at the end of each week based on the number of hours she is there. This will be laid out in writing prior to the start date.

 

Do I need to pay taxes on my NCS?

A NCS is considered an independent contractor. Based on your own state’s rules she may be required to receive a 1099. Find more information about tax and labour laws for household staff.

 

What accommodations are required for the NCS?

For 24-hour care the NCS will sleep when the baby is sleeping. For overnight shifts, you can request the NCS to stay in the baby’s room or you can choose to provide the NCS with a separate living space with a baby monitor where she can read, work on the computer, or watch TV after her other duties are finished and the baby is sleeping.

 

Am I required to provide the NCS with meals?

With 24-hour care it is required to provide the NCS with food. For overnight care, it is not required, but if you would like, you can have snacks and drinks available.

 

Do I need to pay for my NCS’s travel expenses?

Finding the right newborn care specialist for you may mean hiring from out-of-state. The client is monetarily responsible for round trip transportation if the NCS is coming from another state. Some specialists will also travel to your home by taxi, metro, or ferry and will request reimbursement for these fares. Again, this will be laid out in writing and agreed upon by all parties prior to the start date.

 

Should I tip my NCS?

Yes, tipping your newborn care specialist or baby nurse is customary but not required. Between 10%-15% of the total job assignment is standard.

 

When I’m using 24-hour care when does the NCS sleep?

The NCS will sleep when the baby is sleeping. She will also be allowed a 4-5 hour break per each 24-hour period in which she can decide to sleep or leave the premises.

 

Will the NCS put my baby on a schedule?

The NCS will fit into the plan that you want for your baby. Specialists are trained to establish structure early on and adhere to an infant’s natural schedule. When we are in the process of matching you with a specialist, we will discuss the type of care that will be the best match for your family.

 

Can I have the NCS travel with our family on vacation?

Yes. All expenses for food, travel, etc are the responsibility of the family.

 

Can someone purchase services as a baby gift for me?

Yes. Family or friends can purchase gift certificates for you. However, the family using the services in their home is required to fill out the application.

 

When my NCS is finished and I have a nanny starting, can the NCS train my new nanny?

Yes, if schedules permit it is a good idea to have the newborn care specialist train any nannies coming on board as the NCS will know your child’s care best.

 

Does my NCS get any days off?

Yes. This varies depending on how many hours the NCS works each week and will be agreed upon before the start date. Please refer to the contract for more information.

 

If my NCS has a day off, can I have someone fill in for her?

Sometimes. This is not always guaranteed and depends on how many of our NCSs are working at the time you need a fill in.

 

Do NCSs work on holidays? 

Yes, some NCSs will work on holidays. If needed, this should be outlined in the initial conversations with your recruiter in order to focus on specialists that will be able to work the desired schedule.

 

When NCSs work on holidays, do they get paid time and a half?

Yes, the NCS should be paid time and a half for the following holidays:

Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day and July 4th.

 

Contact our office to speak with a recruiter and find the right newborn care specialist for you and your growing family.

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