Private Personal Assistants: What They Do and Why You Need One
If you’re on the hunt for a private personal assistant or are thinking about hiring one, there are many things to consider. You may have a general idea of what personal assistants do—like helping with tasks around the house and managing your family’s calendar.
You need to know the full scope of a personal assistant’s duties and responsibilities—and what it costs to hire one. You also need to know about workers’ compensation insurance and the tax implications of hiring a personal assistant.
What Household Personal Assistants Do
No two personal assistants are exactly alike in their experience, skills, and abilities. Their duties vary, and the role can be customized to fit your specific needs.
If you have a large home or estate or run a business from home, you might need someone who excels at administrative functions and managing household staff. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, finding an assistant who can help with grocery shopping, errands, and caring for kids and pets may be your priority.
Very broadly, the duties and responsibilities of a personal assistant can include:
|Household Functions||Administrative Functions|
|Meal preparation||Scheduling appointments|
|Grocery shopping||Making travel arrangements|
|Errands||Scheduling and overseeing contractors|
|Transportation to |
|Taking kids to/from school||Emails and correspondence|
|Pet care||Phone support (for home business)|
|Light garden care||Party planning and management|
|Shopping (gifts, household |
goods, clothes, etc.)
Finding the Right Fit for Your Home and Family
Experience matters, but so does attitude. How an assistant fits in with your family is critical.
Depending on your personal preferences and the duties your assistant will be handling, you might want someone who’s a go-getter—assertive, ambitious, and detail-oriented. Or, you may prefer someone who’s more genial and gentler in their approach.
A household staffing agency can help identify qualified candidates and match you with an assistant whose personality and demeanor complement your family and lifestyle.
The Benefits of Having a Private Personal Assistant
Whatever your situation—whether you’re a high-profile executive who travels frequently or an insanely busy mom who needs help around the house—a personal assistant can be an invaluable addition to your home. For many people, the peace of mind a personal assistant provides is priceless. He or she can:
- Keep your family on schedule: Keeping track of doctor’s appointments, sports practice, schedules, recitals, and other events is a job in itself. A personal assistant keeps your family members on schedule and often transports family members to and from appointments and events.
- Be your trusted eyes and ears: Personal assistants can provide insight into what’s happening with individual family members at home and at school. Your PA can also serve as a liaison between you and your kids’ teachers when you can’t be there.
- Free up your time and help you achieve a better balance: A personal assistant takes care of time-consuming tasks like grocery shopping and calendar management, freeing up your time to do what you enjoy.
- Help you develop management skills: An added but often overlooked benefit of hiring a personal assistant is the learning opportunities their presence provides. Through everyday interaction, you’ll hone your skills as an effective delegator and communicator. This can help you become a better leader and manager over time, especially if you nurture open communication with your PA and are open to receiving feedback.
Household Manager vs. Personal Assistant
These terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same. A household manager, also called a private estate manager, typically manages larger homes with household staff, but a household manager can manage a home of any size.
Someone with a background in household management is more likely to have experience handling special events and dinner parties, overseeing other household staff, booking entertainment, making travel arrangements, and managing an executive’s busy calendar. They’re also more likely to have experience overseeing contractors, landscape professionals, and animal care specialists (e.g., equine caretakers).
While private personal assistants may also have experience with some of these duties, they’re more likely to have experience handling day-to-day activities around the home. Things like shopping, running errands, transporting kids to and from school, managing the family calendar, meal planning and preparation, and laundry and light cleaning.
Read more about the differences between household managers and personal assistants.
What It Costs to Employ a Household Personal Assistant
The salary for a household personal assistant varies considerably based on your location, whether the assistant works full- or part-time and lives on or off-site, their level of experience, and the responsibilities of the role.
A full-time celebrity personal assistant can earn $80,000 a year or more, while a part-time assistant for a busy family might earn $20,000-$30,000 a year.
There are other expenses to consider, including paid time off (PTO) and health insurance for your assistant.
You’re not required to offer health insurance to employees if you employ fewer than 50 full-time-equivalent workers, but doing so can help you attract top talent. In 2017, the average employer contribution to employee health insurance was $5,306 (employee only).
Tax Implications of Hiring a Personal Household Assistant
If you hire a personal assistant as an employee, you must withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid to your assistant. Conversely, you don’t generally have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors.
Learn more about how to determine the difference between an employee and an independent contractor.
Do I Need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
In a word, yes. We often think of workers’ compensation as protecting employees—and it does. Yet, just as importantly, it protects you against liability. Plus, many states require you to carry it.
If your personal assistant gets injured on the job—whether he or she slips and falls in your home or is involved in a car accident while running errands on your behalf—workers’ comp pays for 100 percent of your employee’s medical care plus a percentage of their lost wages while they recuperate. Without insurance, medical bills can creep into the tens or even hundreds of thousands.
Workers’ compensation is generally affordable. You can expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 per employee per year. When you consider the risk of not having it, it’s worth every penny.
Getting Expert Help Hiring a Private Personal Assistant
Staffing at Tiffanie’s is an established private staffing company connecting clients throughout the country with qualified private personal assistants.
We use a proven assessment process to rigorously screen and select candidates, and we nurture you through the entire process of screening, interviewing, and hiring your perfect candidate.
Learn more about our process, then contact our domestic staffing agency at 866-484-5550 to find your ideal candidate.