I'm a housekeeper in Palm Beach earning more than I ever imagined due to the influx of young, wealthy families to South Florida



I left Brazil at the age of 24 in 1987 and moved to America. Originally, I planned to attend school in Florida for just a few months to learn English, but I ended up falling in love with the man who would become my husband, and we decided to settle in Florida together. I started working as a housekeeper, managing several houses where my duties included cleaning, washing, and cooking. Being a perfectionist has truly benefited me in this line of work, enabling me to earn the trust of the homeowners, or "principals," as they're referred to in the industry, and develop strong relationships with them. Over time, I advanced to cleaning larger and more luxurious homes in South Florida, securing jobs through recommendations and newspaper ads. Today, I am the executive housekeeper for a family in Palm Beach, earning far more than I ever envisioned.


**Becoming an Executive Housekeeper**


Housekeeping is physically demanding, especially when you have young children. Once I had kids, I found it exhausting to keep moving between different houses. In 2009, I transitioned to a more senior role in a single new household. The principals were looking for an executive housekeeper, so I seized the opportunity. Despite lacking previous experience in this role, I didn’t let that deter me. I believe you can always learn on the job. Many principals prefer a single person who can handle multiple roles rather than needing several staff members. This versatility is why executive housekeepers often command higher salaries — we wear many hats. Beyond the standard responsibilities of a housekeeper, an executive must be able to drive, cook, assist with children and pets, and support a personal assistant or house manager, while also managing tasks like cleaning, organizing, and laundry.


I worked at that first household for nine years. You develop close bonds with the principals, making it hard to leave, but seeking new challenges after nearly a decade is important. I thrive on pushing myself and avoiding complacency. I had aspirations of becoming a chef, so I attended culinary school. I later worked in private homes as a chef for some time, but the constant stress of cooking wore on me. I missed the variety in my day-to-day tasks.


I returned to executive housekeeping equipped with new culinary skills and stayed in my next household for six years.


**The Day-to-Day Routine of an Executive Housekeeper**


I started in my current household just a year ago. The family has young kids and pets and they love to travel, which presents unique challenges. My day typically begins around 9 a.m. If the principal is home, we usually review the week's schedule. Ideally, my role is to ensure the principal doesn't have to worry about the house: everything is immaculate and organized when they return home. 


My primary responsibility is to make the principals' lives easier. They pay for the luxury of having an executive housekeeper so they can enjoy a stress-free life. I start my day by clearing the breakfast kitchen, making the beds, and handling the laundry. Two additional housekeepers come in twice a week to assist with cleaning, allowing me to focus on grocery shopping and dry cleaning. I also check their other properties to ensure the pantry and fridge are stocked and everything is running smoothly. I spend considerable time with the principals' dogs, whether walking them or just pampering them. My day usually ends around 6 or 7 p.m., which allows me to clock off, go to my local church, and spend the evening with my husband.


**Less Staff Means Less Drama and More Traveling**


In my current household, the team is small — just me and two housekeepers. Larger homes in Palm Beach often employ numerous staff members, which can lead to more drama. I've worked in houses with up to 13 employees, which required managing everyone's opinions and relationships. I prefer working with a smaller team where I have more varied roles but less drama. 


This job involves a lot of travel — I go wherever the family goes. The trips are relatively short, usually about a week, but frequent. My favorite destination is upstate New York. You must be prepared to travel on short notice, and while I haven't had to leave immediately yet, my passport and bags are always ready. The high salary reflects the need for this preparedness.


**Changes in the Palm Beach Housekeeping Market**


Palm Beach is an expensive and beautiful area, known for its luxury stores and restaurants. Having been here for over a decade, I've witnessed significant changes in the housekeeping market, especially since COVID-19. Previously, there were fewer jobs and more workers; now, it's the opposite, with many people migrating to Florida post-pandemic. The influx is noticeable in South Florida with increased traffic, new construction, and more crowded streets. 


Post-pandemic principals tend to be younger, often in their 40s, with young families who prefer an all-encompassing household staff. This shift has brought more housekeepers to the area, but also a wave of unprofessionalism. Many are drawn by high salaries but lack proper experience, resulting in short ten  

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