Fed up with boring chores and to-do lists? Get yourself a house PA
The Sunday Times, Home magazine say ‘It could be just what you need to keep on top of things’
To discuss your housekeeping or personal assistance needs please contact Sophie on 07866 636070 or email@example.com, or simply make a booking online for a free, no obligation service plan.
Having staff used to be the preserve of the rich, and it usually meant having someone to cook, clean and possibly drive your car. Yet family life today is such a juggling act that a chef, a maid and a chauffeur are no longer enough: just as you might have a PA in your office, a home PA is fast becoming the latest must-have. And not just for the super-rich: working families are fuelling the burgeoning industry, calling for someone to patch up daily lives that are bursting at the seams.
“We make a house manageable,” says Olivia Heyworth, founder of House PA (housepalondon.co.uk), a south London-based company that charges £24 an hour and looks after 200 homes — three times as many clients as in 2014. The most common requests are clearing clutter, finding and managing tradesmen, and dealing with general admin such as opening post, paying bills and filing paperwork. Clients typically use the service once a week for two or three hours.
Some of House PA’s clients are wealthy — City lawyer couples in big houses who hand over admin to free up time with the family. Others are on far smaller budgets, but still need someone to sort out their lives. “One lady is a teacher with a young child and she can afford us for two hours a month, so that’s £48. We do a different task on every visit.”
More than 6m people in Britain now employ some form of household help, but in the digital age staff needn’t come to your home, as in the case of the “virtual PA” Stephanie Marco, a former City PA and founder of Busylifepa.co.uk. “I’ll organise family holidays and kids’ parties, arrange couriers, switch energy providers,” says Marco, whose prices start at £30 an hour. “Many of my clients are from corporate backgrounds, so understand the benefits of a virtual PA and how to delegate. My job is listening to their pain and providing solutions.”
So how have we got to the point where life feels so overwhelming that you need a PA? The work/life balance has become ever more pressured, and demands on time — work, children and pleasure — mean boring chores are pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. For a start, there are more women in the workplace than ever before: the number of stay-at-home mums has fallen to its lowest in 20 years. And when the work day is over, women carry out 60% more unpaid domestic work than men: 26 hours a week of cooking, cleaning, laundry and childcare, according to a recent study by the Office for National Statistics.
Often it’s the basic things that become too much for overstretched families: unopened post and unpaid bills. But PAs can turn into family therapists of sorts: they’ll sort thousands of loose photographs into memory boxes, for instance, or organise your images digitally. Heyworth recently helped an elderly widower to archive a lifetime of photos, letters and memories of his late wife; she also assisted a terminally ill client in her eighties with the task of sorting through her possessions and paperwork.
The home PA’s remit is increasingly veering into property, too. They’ll help you pack or unpack for a move, or manage a rental for owners who want to avoid paying fees to lettings agencies. In these cases, Heyworth charges an hourly rate for her services until the tenants move in, then 6% of the monthly rent to manage the property.
In the end, having a home PA is about saving time more than anything else. Our lives are increasingly frenetic, and as people realise they’re not superwoman (or man), and our jobs take over our lives, we’re learning to do at home what we do at work: delegate.
My Domestic Goddess can help with all of your housekeeping and home personal assistance.
Tasks covered include but aren’t limited to;
- general, domestic cleaning
- tidying & organising
- home cooking
- spring cleaning
- new home cleaning
- holiday changeovers
- bedlinen changing
- personal assistance
- preparation for guests
- silver and brass polishing
- chandelier cleaning
- party prep and after party cleaning
- attendance for tradesmen or other home services like shopping deliveries