Looking to set up your residence with the right domestic staff? Start by hiring an Estate Manager.
Benefits of Hiring an Estate Manager
Are you upgrading your home? Relocating? Restructuring? Here are some simple guidelines to help you see that your residence runs as smoothly as possible.
Running a home is like setting up a small business. The same structure, hiring, and operational complexities are involved when it comes to domestic staffing. As a business needs its CEO, the first thing your household needs is the Estate Manager.
The right one will depend on the size of your home and the number of homes you need managed. An Estate Manager works on setting up a solid daily structure for your home and also implements hiring practices for all other staff. The Estate Manager will assess your staffing needs and desires, outlining the positions you need filled, such as Nannies, Housekeepers, Chefs, House Managers, personal assistants, etc. The manager will know how to screen and hire the ideal staff for the schedule and size of the home.
The Process of Staffing Your Home
The best Executive Housekeepers tend to work eight-hour days, five days a week and slot in with each other. To attract the best Housekeepers, you want to pay market rate or above and ensure you hire Housekeepers on a live-out schedule, as those are the best candidates (good candidates have more options and will choose the job position that appeals to them the most). Market rate for a good Executive Housekeeper is $35 an hour, eight hours a day, and health insurance after three months of employment.
The Estate Manager will understand how to structure your home with the ideal schedules and number of Housekeepers, so the cleaning is done correctly and all shifts are covered. An Estate Manager will use a top-tier domestic staffing agency to send the best candidates. They will understand how to screen several Housekeepers, ensuring they work well together and understand how to manage laundry, organizing, serving, art and antique care, and deep cleaning.
Once the Housekeepers are set up, if needed, the Estate Managers will work on childcare. This is a more complex hire, as the parents are usually more heavily involved. Career Nannies have experience working in larger residences. They understand childhood development and will ensure the right Nannies are hired for the principal’s needs, ranging from specific language proficiency, special needs experience, twin experience, infant expertise, or school age and tutoring experience.
Nannies are hired with expertise in the age group of the children in the home. These Nannies will commonly have experience working with families who fly privately and often last minute, so organizing the children and packing correctly is something these Nannies do well.
Yacht travel experience is also something career Nannies will have experience with. They are expert swimmers and understand how to act and dress appropriately on a yacht. They are able to manage children safely on the water and help with sleep schedule issues that typically occur when traveling across time zones.
The best Nannies are found by appealing to their desired schedules and salaries. The ideal setup is live-out during the regular week and live-in while traveling. Depending on the number of children, the ideal Nanny arrangement is one career Nanny, Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm, one Nanny-Housekeeper from 7am to 3pm, and another career Nanny to work on weekends, if needed.
It is best to pay a weekend Nanny very well, as good Nannies don’t like giving up their weekends. However, the weekend schedule could be ideal for a Nanny working as a teacher or completing her PhD or master’s degree.
A full-time career Nanny salary ranges from $80,000 to $150,000 a year, depending on their experience and skill-set. A French speaking career Nanny is always heavily in demand, so offering them a competitive salary and schedule is the wisest approach. Sometimes an evening backup babysitter is a good option to slot in, as well. An Estate Manager will understand how to hire the ideal Nannies, specific to the family and children’s needs.
Hiring culinary staff can also be challenging, but, as with Nannies, the Estate Manager will hire Chefs who specialize in the dietary needs of the family, such as Paleo, Vegan, low calorie, pure foods, French, Italian, Austrian, etc. The Estate Manager will hire the Chefs once they have done a trial tasting for the family, ensuring the food is top-notch, and will also see that the Chef is flexible and easy to work with. This goes for not only Chefs, but all staff types. A good Estate Manager will always take soft skills, such as personality and demeanor, into consideration upon hiring. Many homes are unhappy homes due to one or two difficult personalities on staff. The Estate Manager ensures this doesn’t happy.
After setting up the home with the correct staff, the Estate Manager will do the same for other residences you may own. The Estate Manager will oversee current staff, deal with any gripes, and fire and rehire as necessary. It is important you listen to the Estate Manager because he or she will be able to identify problematic staff members or subtle inefficiencies that you would otherwise miss. The Estate Manager will have an open dialogue with all the domestic staff and know where the issues lie.
Lastly, the Estate Manager will hire a House Manager for the larger residence(s) to oversee schedules and daily issues concerning vendors, parties, Housekeepers, Nannies, and all other daily staff. The House Manager’s job is to report back to the Estate Manager, who will ensure the problems are solved. The Estate Manager then oversees all homes, the payroll, legal issues and financial concerns outside of the family office and accountants. He or she will create, implement, and continuously update processes and operations. The household manuals for each home will be in place and updated accordingly. The Estate Manager also manages private planes, yachts, and car collections to ensure all these are up to date, safe, and well maintained.
Begin Your Search to Hire a Quality Estate Manager
If you want a smooth-running home, start by hiring a top-quality Estate Manager, as this setup will ensure you don’t feel or hear of any problems. The secret to a happy home is having the right person in the Estate Manager seat to oversee hiring, training, implementation of processes, and legal compliance. Estate Manager salaries range from $150,000 to 400,000 a year.