Running a Successful Private Household

7 tips to running a successful private household

    • Budget Budget Budget – Like with any other professionally run operation, it is critical that the Family agrees an annual household budget against which all expenses are made. This needs be a realistic number broken down into various departments and expense heads. The Family office along with the House Operations team should be able to put an easy format together to then be able to record ongoing expenses and compare against budgeted costs on a periodic basis. Not only does it bring control to any tight run ship but also it motivates the team to work towards an achievable goal/ target
    • Procedures – Availability of accurate processes and procedures to the staff would be of paramount importance for smooth functioning of any household property. These are again listed department wise from housekeeping to food & beverage, events to vehicle transportation. Importance of checklists cannot be exaggerated to ensure such policies are in place and staff are following the correct procedures at all times. Not only does it ensure premium standard service delivery across the board but gradually becomes a ‘House operation manual’ for any future updates.
    • Inventory – Another favourite pillar of mine alongside checklists is a ‘Household Asset and operational’ inventory file. This overlaps the inventory list when the property developers handed over the property or solicitors handed over an inventory document upon completion of purchase. This document as all other will continuously evolve whilst principals continue to add/replace household items like chandeliers, rugs or even the exclusive dinnerware. Pictorial catalogue on a room by room basis works best for all ongoing purposes.
    • Staff recruitment and training – Although the wheel sort of starts from this point, the above tips are still applicable for existing household teams. Recruitment of staff is a specialist subject where best results can be achieved when accurate requirements are identified and spelt out in the recruitment stage itself. This ensures that both employer & employees are aware of each others expectations and obligations. Handy tools are employment contract and job descriptions.
    • Contractor relationship – Maintaining outstanding working relationship with supplier and contractors is the key for any successful private household. With last minute arrival information and ever changing Principal itineraries it is crucial that the contractor database is live and constantly updated for ‘milli-second’ reaction speed. This relationship can be achieved only by ensuring that their previous invoices have been settled as per agreed timelines.
    • Owner/ Principal management – It is a privileged position to be in to be working at such close proximity with very UHNWI (ultra high net worth individuals) and their families. Confidentiality and discreteness is a given virtue at this level. However key remains to be at least 2 steps ahead of the owner/ Principal in anticipating their requirements. The more planned one is, the better the chances of success are.
    • Use of technology – Technological advancements in communication methods have made substantial progress in the last few years. To keep up with both end of communication spectrum one would need to be super proficient in using available technology to their advantage. Choice of email, instant messaging or phone conversation would be vital to running a successful household, as much as ensuring that the IT infrastructure/ set up remains functional and healthy for maximum output.
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