What can a Personal Assistant do for you?

We’ve all had “those days” when we feel pulled in a zillion different directions and can’t seem to get on top of what needs to be done. It’s not fun … unless, of course, you happen to be a personal assistant who lives and breathes to create calm during chaos. There’s a big continuum between those who want to pull their hair out when their “to-do” list gets too long, and those whose greatest joy is crossing things off the list. If you fall anywhere near the hair-pulling end of the spectrum, you may find great relief in hiring someone from the other end of the band — a personal assistant.

There are many things to think about before hiring a personal assistant, starting with where you might go to source the best candidates, all the way to establishing expectations and determining compensation. The Help Company has been placing all types of assistants, from personal assistants to executive assistants to family assistants, since the 1980’s, and can aid you in finding the very best match to suit your needs.

Everybody needs help at one point or another!

The Help Company places a wide range of Assistants, such as Family/Household Assistants, Personal Assistants and Executive Assistants.

Personal Assistant Expectations

At The Help Company, we see personal assistants with many different types of skillsets which is helpful because each client approaches the agency with a unique set of needs. We spend a good deal of time with every candidate, reviewing education and experience as well as discussing what he/she is looking for in his/her next position. Likewise, we listen closely to our clients in order to accurately assess their needs, likes and dislikes. This gives us the ability to hand pick a candidate who seamlessly matches with a client.

A tech-savvy personal assistant with an administrative background may best suit a home with a large household staff whereas a personal assistant with prior childcare experience may be the perfect fit for a stay-at-home parent who needs help with errands, child and pet care.

Generally speaking, the tasks and responsibilities of a personal assistant may include:

  • Marketing
  • Errands
  • Driving
  • Booking Appointments
  • Calendaring
  • Pet Care
  • Gifting
  • Travel Itineraries
  • Household Inventories
  • Bill Paying
  • Email Correspondence
  • Event Planning
  • Management of Household Staff
  • Liaising with Vendors
  • Project Management

Making the Perfect Match

An agency knows there are factors to consider beyond a resume when selecting a personal assistant for an individual, a business or a home. Personality and mindset can be just as important as prior experience. Some clients prefer candidates who are firm and self-assured while others prefer a more mild-mannered quiet approach. It’s the agency’s job to vet both clients and candidates in order to match skillset to need and temperament to environment.

The Advantages of Hiring a Professional Personal Assistant

A personal assistant will bring serenity to the household, whether he/she is there to streamline complicated systems or cross never-ending tasks off a lengthy to-do list. Whether they are working for a busy executive or an individual who does not have a traditional job outside of the home – at the end of the day, the job of a personal assistant is to provide peace of mind regardless of the circumstances.

Family Calendaring

Today’s families are busier than ever with children who attend different schools and parents running in opposite directions. Add in extra-curriculars and activities, summer programming and a social life on top of keeping a well-stocked house and there’s barely time in the day to get it all done. A personal assistant will manage the family calendar and think three steps ahead to ensure that the whole family runs like a well-oiled machine.

Parent Proxy

Personal assistants can serve as intermediaries at school or appointments when Mom or Dad are unavailable.

Create ZEN

A personal assistant will give you the precious gift of TIME. You can always earn more money, but you can never create more time! A personal assistant will free up time affording you the opportunity to work more intensely OR do whatever it is that makes you happy!

Become a Better Manager/Communicator

Our most successful pairings happen as a result of positive everyday communication and teamwork. There’s no reason to hire a personal assistant if you are not ready to delegate and let go. The employer-employee relationship will help you develop management skills which will serve you in other areas of your life, particularly if you are open and responsive to feedback.

Family Assistant versus House Manager versus Personal Assistant

Sometimes a name is just a name! There’s often a good deal of overlap between categories. Many clients seek to hire multi-hyphenate helpers willing to wear many hats. Likewise, many employees are seeking more broadly defined roles.

Family assistants

Family assistants are generally placed in … you guessed it … family settings! They are often former Nannies who want to develop their assistant skills. As children get older, the care they require is less hands-on and more organizational in nature, which is the sweet spot for a family assistant. In some cases, a family assistant will handle the assistant duties while the children are at school and revert to more of childcare role in the afternoon when it comes time to do school pick-ups, oversee homework and projects and attend activities.

House managers or estate managers

House managers or estate managers are often hired to hire and train a household staff. They tend to do a good deal of project management — they liaise with vendors and will handle construction administration. In some cases, they work for employers who have more than one property and will be primarily focused on the physical structures and all that needs to be done to maintain them. House managers are sometimes former butlers who develop management skills and may come to the role with a good deal of event management experience under their belt.

Personal assistants

Personal assistants may handle staff coordination and house management and there is often a family component to the role as well. They may also run errands, shop for gifts, keep the home well stocked, liaise with the family’s business manager, book travel and appointments and maintain a beautifully curated black book with all sorts of important information akin to the best concierge in town.

Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant duties skew towards business rather than personal/lifestyle though an EA may also handle sensitive personal information. The roles are more heavily administrative, and EA’s are more often found in an office setting versus a home. Executive Assistants are gatekeepers. They often field incoming calls and emails, set business meeting agendas and manage complicated calendars. Most executive assistants are expected to have top-notch tech skills.

Cost Associated with Hiring a Personal Assistant

Salaries vary greatly depending on amount of experience and skill set. Geography may also play a role with pay being commensurate to cost of living in each area. Personal Assistants should be paid hourly with overtime pay after 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. In some settings, employers are not mandated to offer health insurance, but we find it greatly helps to attract the best candidates. We also encourage employers to offer paid time off for sick days, holidays and vacation, and advise that they have a comprehensive workers’ compensation policy in place. If your personal assistant is driving their car on the job, we also recommend reimbursing for mileage based on current standard mile rates issued annually by the IRS. Following state/city guidelines will protect both the employee and employer in the long-run and will set the stage for a long-lasting positive relationship.

Let The Help Company Help!

The Help Company is one of the nation’s first premier domestic staffing and nanny placement agencies serving Los Angeles, New York City & the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as select locations around the world.  Founded by Claudia Kahn, one of the nation’s leading experts on providing in-home professional help in 1981, The Help Company covers many aspects of domestic and corporate staffing with the utmost care and concern.  Our services, screening process and continued support structure have been developed to provide for the seamless integration of new employees in to any household or corporate setting, and our intuition, experience and level of care throughout the placement process ensure that both client and candidate are matched with their ideal circumstance.  We take great pride in the retention rate our clients have experienced throughout our 35 + years of successful pairings!

 Get in touch with us to find your perfect staff member