Strategies for Negotiating Contracts with Executive Household Staff

Contracts can be a tricky subject when you hire someone new to work in your home. But they are absolutely crucial for establishing responsibilities, payment, and non-financial benefits for what will hopefully be a successful long-term working relationship.

Here are some contract negotiation strategies to keep in mind as you hire new executive household staff for your home. We’ve also included a few domestic staffing tips to help you get started.

Clearly Communicate Household Needs

Honest and productive communication is the only way to establish an effective business relationship with household staff. You must communicate your needs clearly and outline each staff member’s role and responsibilities in the home.

This helps to eliminate the possibility of misunderstandings, and every important detail should be in writing. Also, communicate with your candidate whether negotiating is a possibility or whether you are firm and set on your contract’s figures.

Establish Financial and Non-Financial Benefits

It’s easy to fixate on the hourly rate or yearly income, and obviously, this is an essential part of contract negotiation. But in addition to the base pay rate, it is also a good idea to discuss overtime pay, petty cash arrangements, and expenses.

Beyond these figures, the contract should outline non-financial benefits that the household staff member is entitled to. These are some of the non-financial benefits to discuss with your prospective employee in the negotiation process.

  • Vacation days
  • Sick days
  • Personal days
  • Holiday time off
  • Maternity/paternity leave
  • Health insurance
  • Pension
  • Retirement plan options

Be Fair, But Firm

No one wants to see a high turnover rate for household staff, and the way in which you negotiate the initial employment contract sets the tone for your future working relationship. Before making an offer to your candidate, research what the “going rate” is for the service that you need in your geographic region. You want to offer a rate that is fair but also be comfortable in standing firm at that price. If a candidate is not willing to do the job required for the rate you have settled on, continue looking to find an ideal match.

Aside from the regular rate of pay that you decide on, be prepared to be flexible with compensation for overtime and the pay schedule. Weekly or bi-weekly payments may work better for your candidate, so be open to these possibilities and be willing to make concessions for the optimal candidate.

One negotiating tactic that household staff members often use is to offer limited availability in exchange for an employer’s unwillingness to budge on the rate. You may also want to consider offering an introductory rate at a lower cost with a promise to increase the rate based on good performance over time. By offering other benefits, such as access to a car or paying for a cell phone bill, you may be able to better leverage your position in negotiations.

Domestic Staffing Tips for Contracts

To protect yourself and your new household employee, ensure that the contract is signed before any work begins. Contacts should include the names and addresses of the employer and employee, start date, place of work, hours, expenses, sleeping arrangements, transportation, and any other pertinent details. The ultimate goal in putting all of these details in writing from the very beginning is to protect the future relationship between the staff and family.

To take the guesswork out of hiring executive household staff, Pavillion Agency Inc. has a stringent screening process to match your needs with the most appropriate candidate. Based in Manhattan, we are the premier household staffing agency in America and have a local presence in cities and towns across the country. Whether you’re looking for a nanny, chef, butler, chauffeur, housekeeper, personal assistant, or private security, we can also handle the logistics of payroll processing and benefits administration. To get started, reach out to us via online form or give us a call!

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