Estate Staffing In San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London & Palm Beach

Estate Staffing In San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, London & Palm Beach


British American Household Staffing Discusses Estate Staffing, Yachts & Problem Solving 

By Anita Rogers

If you need help staffing a new or existing estate, yacht or private jet contact us here

Estate Staffing is a term used in the yachting world to describe the high-end category of domestic staffing.  Essentially, a large yacht is run like an estate, the same level of service in a much smaller space.  Yacht crew are some of the most sought-after candidates for estate staffing.  They have adjusted to working long hours in a five-star hospitality setting.  Yacht crew, often called "yachties", are quite often educated candidates, well-travelled with a deep understanding of service and luxury. British American Household Staffing has an extensive roster of screened yacht crew, but very few want to transition to working on land.  Most yachties are world travelers, for life.  

How do we staff an estate successfully? What domestic staff are needed in an estate? In San Francisco, British American has been fortunate to staff many estates from ground-up. This means we started with the principals from scratch.  The technology boom on the West Coast has created many young new estate owners who need advice on how to set up their new life correctly.  This is the ideal situation for our firm as we can handpick the best estate managers and house managers for the principals to ensure they are starting with an expert. We would then work with the estate manager on hiring housekeepers, a personal chef, a domestic couple if there are large grounds to maintain and other staff, depending on the needs of the principals.  If the principals are starting a new family, we provide newborn care specialists in maternity nurses, often trained in the UK then we'll assist with the nanny. Generally, one should start with less and add more domestic staff as needed.  This allows the principals to adjust to private help in the home, which can take adjusting too. The most common first hires after the estate manager are a personal chef and housekeepers. 

On the East Coast we deal with a different type of estate staffing. New York, CT or Bedford and Katonah based estates are rarely new and most are fully-staffed. Some principals come to us with internal problems that usually stem from one or two long-term domestic staff employees causing issues with the rest of the domestic staff.  Similar to a corporation, an estate suffers at the core when the principals keep on members of the domestic staffing team who are not good team-players.  Sometimes a housekeeper has been promoted to a manager but has no experience managing other staff.  This can cause tension.  Some of the staff members maybe don't pull their weight but are kept on as they have been with the estate for a long time and the principals feel a loyalty to them.  Again, like a corporation, bad employees only show their good sides to the upper management and principals. The best way to solve this kind of common issues is to replace the management or speak candidly to the principals if management is aware of the issues in the estate but the principals don't make the necessary changes.

Depending on the size of an estate, the domestic staff needed are usually hired in the following order:

Estate Manager

House Manager or Butler acting as a House Manager

Personal Chef

Three to six Executive Housekeepers


Childcare (if required), Baby Nurse, Nanny, Tutor

Domestic Couple to live on property and maintain the grounds

Personal Assistant



In England, most estates hire a butler and a lady's maid for the principals, but British domestic staffing is very traditional. Most butlers have studied at a Butler school, hold a degree in hospitality and are often trained chefs and wine sommeliers.  A lady's maid is often a housekeeper and laundress, understands formal service and maintains the lady's fine clothing. Most British nannies in an estate are also governesses, with degrees in teaching, education and finishing school, which teaches speech, manners, posture and formal home etiquette.

We at British American are able to staff an estate almost anywhere in the world due to our national and international reach.  We have staffed many estates in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Palm Beach, Switzerland, Monaco and the Middle East.  We have specialized consultants who work with our clients, helping and advising them on how to staff a new estate, replace or reduce staff in the estate, how to purchase a private jet and maintain the jet, how to buy or charter a yacht and the correct way to choose yacht crew and your captain.

If you need help staffing a new or existing estate, yacht or private jet contact us here

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