The Duties of a Household Manager
Nannies, chefs, and other domestic staff members are meant to make your life easier and more organized. However, it’s not always easy to keep track of staff activities, much less manage your own daily schedule. To make this easier, you might consider hiring a specialized household manager (a.k.a. estate manager).
you simply want help organizing your family’s many activities or need someone
to oversee the operations of a large staff, a household manager is essentially
a household personal
assistant who can bring greater order and efficiency to your home.
As the name of the position suggests, a household manager will be responsible for a variety of tasks throughout the home. The following are examples of the kinds of things you can expect your house manager to handle for you.
As the head of operations throughout the home, your household manager will essentially be responsible for running your entire team of staff members. In addition to coordinating staff services per their schedule, the household manager will have the duty of supervising the other staff.
Appointment Scheduling and Calendar Management
From doctor visits to family vacations, your household manager will be responsible for arranging your family’s agenda. If you’d rather not entrust your entire schedule to them, you can, of course, limit the influence they will have. If you’d like them to primarily handle appointment-setting and major events, simply direct them to consult with you on other time concerns.
Event Planning and Coordinating
From birthdays and anniversaries to weddings and charity fundraisers, your household manager can take responsibility for all of the relevant planning and organization. Per your instruction, they can handle scheduling, venue rental, catering, decorating, furniture and equipment rental, guest list creation, invitations and RSVPs, entertainment, ticketing (if appropriate), securing sponsors and raffle items, public awareness, and much more. This lifts the vast majority of planning off your shoulders, requiring your approval or input only for key decisions.
The household manager also commonly handles bill payments and other correspondence that requires prompt action. This means that you and your family can focus on the other things happening in your life without worrying about whether or not you remembered to send the check for last month’s energy bill. A good household manager will keep track of these payments in a clear way with a ledger or spreadsheet so that you can see clearly what they’re doing with your money.
Shopping and Running Errands
Any shopping or errands that haven’t been designated to another specific staff member (perhaps you prefer your nanny to take the kids grocery shopping) can be handled by the household manager. Running to the bank, buying a last-minute gift, picking up the kids from school—whatever it is, your household manager can take care of it.
Arranging for Maintenance and Repairs
When something is damaged or an old appliance breaks down, it’s a common responsibility for household managers to take point on getting things fixed or replaced. Regular recurring maintenance and inspections for things like vehicles, HVAC, chimneys, and plumbing can be scheduled for you, and your household manager will come to you to approve any work estimates before taking action. They might also arrange for things like lawn care, roof/siding repair, new appliance delivery and installation, or driveway refinishing.
Good household managers are very flexible, capable individuals by nature. Their position touches on a variety of work areas, so it’s not uncommon for some families to request that their household manager take on additional duties. Instead of hiring a separate chef, you might look for a household manager who is willing to cook as part of their regular duties. They won’t be able to devote as much time to these tasks as dedicated staff members would, but it can work well for families who just need light help in certain areas.
Another duty your household manager might take on is the management of your finances and/or valuables. If this is something you want to be able to entrust to your household manager, it might be a good idea to look for someone with financial experience. It’s also beneficial to work with a household staffing agency that properly vets its talent. At Staffing at Tiffanie’s, we investigate candidates’ backgrounds carefully and conduct thorough interviews to make sure we provide the very highest quality of staff to our clients.
Desirable Skills and Experience
A good household manager will have experience working in organization-heavy positions and exhibit key qualities like leadership, reliability, responsibility, attention to detail, transparency/honesty, punctuality, and financial competency (especially if they will be handling your bills).
Aside from any previous household staff work, good candidates may have experience in detail-oriented fields like event coordination, organization, business administration, travel planning, personal assistance, proofreading, inventory management, statistical analysis, or data entry. Former housekeepers, nannies, butlers, and private chefs also tend to be well-suited to household management.
Interviewing Household Manager Candidates
In addition to a candidate’s skill set and prior experience, it’s important that you consider a candidate’s answers to interview questions. This will flesh out the details on their resume and give you a more complete picture of their personality and abilities. To get a better idea of whether a candidate will be a good fit for your needs, consider asking questions like the following.
“What Is It That Draws You Most to This Line of Work?”
being a somewhat broad question, this is where you’ll see candidates’ gut
reactions come forth. If the candidate struggles to answer the question, it
doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t love their job, but it could be a sign that
they aren’t entirely confident. If the person responds readily and with
excitement, you’ll know there is a genuine source of motivation in their work.
Their answer to this question can also be quite telling. Obviously, answers like “I like telling people what to do” or “The money is good” aren’t as preferable as something like “I love helping people live efficiently so they can have more time with their passions and their loved ones.”
“How Would You Handle a Situation in Which Your Plans or Schedule were Thrown Completely Off Track?”
This question speaks to the candidate’s ability to act reasonably under pressure and “roll with the punches” when unexpected obstacles appear. Look for answers that suggest they are prepared to stay calm, keep others focused, and devise an appropriate plan of action. It’s even better if they mention making contingency plans to avoid such a situation.
“Could You Give Me an Example of a Time You Successfully Mediated a Compromise Between Individuals with Conflicting Opinions?”
Because your estate manager will be supervising your other staff every day, it’s important that they will be able to handle disagreements between staff members and lead them to a reasonable solution. They should also have the good judgment to discern which problems can be solved without your input and which will need your approval. This question gets right to the heart of such issues.
Let Us Help You Find the Perfect Manager for Your Household
If you’re looking for an estate manager to serve as head of your home staff, we at Staffing at Tiffanie’s can help you connect with exceptional candidates for scheduled or live-in positions. With full employment packages that cover everything from work agreements and daily logs to tax and payroll assistance, we make it easy for you to get the help you need to support a happy, smoothly running home.
Start exploring our household managers, nanny services, and other home staffing solutions by filling out our client questionnaire or calling us at (866) 484-5550.