At one time, the terms “butler” and “house manager” could be used interchangeably in reference to the professional charged with organizing and maintaining a formal home. Over time the definition and basic responsibilities of these two occupations has shifted apart into very distinct roles.
As explained by British American Household Staffing’s founder Anita Rogers when interviewed for Town and Country:
A house manager oversees the structure of the staff and typically does all of the hiring and firing. They handle scheduling—making sure a chauffeur is always on call, housekeepers shifts are covered, and that a replacement is available if someone calls in sick. They’re also responsible for budgeting, financial planning, and overall management of the household.
A seasoned butler is properly trained in etiquette, so they understand how to serve a meal and handle all the details, from the wine pairings down to the flower arranging. They provide a white glove experience, which not everyone needs or wants. In Silicon Valley, for instance, no one would have a butler. But in New York, it’s much more common.
While the definitions of a butler and a house manager have changed over time, the roles do maintain overlap in responsibilities and duties. Many families elect to hire a butler to act as a house manager for this reason.
What are regular butler duties?
A butler is a trained domestic staffing employee for high-end households and estates. A butler is trained to provide white glove service at its best. Common duties for a butler are:
- Care for a gentlemen’s closet
- Proper care of all guests
- Wine sommelier
- Meal preparation and presentation
- Implementation of manners and etiquette in the household
- Hiring and training domestic staff
- Personal assistance for the gentleman of the house
A butler employed as a house manager will also take on the following duties:
- Supervise all contractors and vendors
- Hire, train, and manage household staff
- Receive and look after guests
- Plan and execute events
- Craft and manage a household manual
- Manage household budgets and bookkeeping
- Prepare property ahead of a Principal’s arrival
- Maintain automobiles, private jets, and/or private yachts
- Cooking, cleaning and laundry duties as needed
If you are considering hiring a butler for yourself or for an estate, or a butler to oversee and manage the household while taking care of all the gentleman of the house’s needs contact us as British American Household Staffing.