A Little Help: Avoiding Pitfalls in Hiring Domestic Assistance

In the age of the two-income household there’s been much greater demand for domestic help to do the things homeowners don’t have time (or perhaps the desire) to do, like housekeeping, gardening, cooking and child care. Having a little help can be, well, a big help … but there are potential pitfalls. Here’s how to hire right and make sure you’re protected from any mishaps.

You have a couple of options: You can use a service agency to provide workers they choose, or to provide candidates for you to interview before making your own decision. Or you can go it on your own, searching and hiring without using a third party.

Whichever route you choose, you obviously want to make sure you’re hiring someone who’s trustworthy, free of criminal background problems and a legal resident. If you’re using an agency, start by doing a little research on the company, checking for references and looking at their online reputation for complaints. Ask detailed questions about how they conduct their background checks and the other parts of their screening and interviewing process, and also what happens if the candidates they provide aren’t a good fit.

If the workers are going to be employed directly by the agency, ask to see the agency’s proof of insurance to make sure you’re insulated against any accidental damage that might be done to your home.

If you’re hiring on your own, start by asking friends and neighbors for recommendations. You can spread the word via social media that you’re in the market. Screen and interview all potential candidates, though, even if they come via recommendations. Search online for companies that do criminal background checks, and those should include a review of candidates’ driving records.

Once you’ve found the right person, you have two more jobs: Consult your financial professional about the taxes you’ll need to pay on any wages, and consult your insurance professional to determine whether your homeowners policy will cover any potential injuries on the job. If not, you may need additional coverage.

Questions about homeowners’ coverage for domestic employees? Contact Consolidated Insurance.