HOUSEHOLD AND DOMESTIC STAFF

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ESTATE MANAGER/ HOUSE MANAGER/ MAJORDOM ROLE

For many years the role of a House Manager, Estate Manager, Majordomo and head butler would have varied considerably, but this is no longer the case. The difference in these roles today can be marginal and head butlers or senior butlers may carry out the duties of house managers, and vice versa. As household employees are becoming more multi skilled, hierarchy levels have reduced, and the modern day butler is born. A super all-rounder, with impeccable standards. With this in mind a job title for such a role is dependent on the family or business organization’s individual requirements. Duties are likely to include formal table service, drinks service, valeting and footman duties as well as care for fine wines & spirits, silver, china, linen, party and event planning. Care of antiques & artworks, some experience in art handling and shipping might be an advantage. Supervising & discipline, household inventories, petty cash & accounting, servicing of swimming pool & leisure facilities might be part of the job. Other duties ca include: driving/ chauffeur service; cooking; PA duties; personal and residential security

HOUSE MANAGER/ BUTLER

The House Manager role is actively involved with the daily service of a household, including include formal table service, drinks service, valeting and footman duties, as well as care for fine wines & spirits, caring & cleaning silver, china, glass. Care of antiques & artworks, some experience in art handling and shipping may be an advantage. As part of the job, the House Manager will hold inventories, household accounts / petty cash, as well as care of other valuable items. He/ she may also be required in assisting in property sales, purchasing cars and other high value items. A modern day House Manager can encompass a large skill set, and it is very much an advantage for Private Domestic Service staff to develop their ability to multi task and always looking to add to their current skills. The ability to drive / chauffeur, cook, personal assistant duties, manage events, household and personal security would all be an advantage from an employer’s perspective. There is no limit to the experience a butler /house manager /estate manager /majordomo can have to make them the best possible candidate for the job.

HOUSEKEEPER

Housekeepers roles and responsibilities will vary considerably depending on the requirements of employers. Some households may employ several housekeeping staff to share duties, whilst others may have one housekeeper to carry out all daily tasks. This will inevitably depend on size of the property and workload. Also, the housekeeper must be ready to run errands for the family, and usually a driving license may be required in certain locations. Overall, the housekeeper will be responsible for the domestic services of the property. This includes cleaning and maintaining standards in an organized and routine fashion, including laundry and dry cleaning for the family, a driving license may be useful in certain locations. The housekeeper might be asked to involve in table service too, as well as in the preparation of light meals usually for children, but maybe principles too. Personal shopping, maintaining stock levels, ordering household supplies, opening and closing the house, alarm activation might be also part of the job.

PRIVATE CHEF

The requirements for Private Chefs have increased dramatically in recent years. Households in the past would use a chef / cook on a more casual basis, often when entertaining or at events that were larger and more demanding for the regular household staff to manage. However, due to busier lifestyles and less time a chef in the home is becoming a necessity rather than an occasional luxury. Most chefs will have commercial background experience with a college City & Guilds certificate or similar level of education. All should have previous experience in menu planning & design, catering for various allergies and dietary requirements. These will most likely include low fat, low calorie, low sodium, kosher practices, halal, vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, glucose free, wheat tolerances and so on, the list is ever increasing. All chefs will have a valid food hygiene certificate.

DRIVER/ CHAUFFER ROLE

A Chauffeur possesses a multitude of skills to facilitate most importantly the smooth and safe transportation of their client. City or rural based, knowledge of the area is an absolute must, particularly in larger cities, where having thorough road knowledge is always sought after. Chauffeurs are usually private or corporate based, and the two roles can vary considerably depending on the requirements. Not only will a chauffeur be responsible for arranging maintenance of vehicles, they will be expected to keep the vehicles clean to a very high standard, both inside and out. Simple maintenance will be checked regularly, tire pressures, oil, water & other fluid levels. Small stock of other items may include water, travel sweets, hand towels, newspapers and so on. You will need to be flexible, discreet, smart in appearance, as well as demonstrating confidentiality, integrity, chauffeur etiquette and protocol at all times. Other duties may include: schools runs, errands, courier duties, restaurants booking, but also simple office duties and help with house maintenance, if time permits. Personal security experience for principles may be required, and of course advanced driving courses would also benefit.

GARDENER

A thorough background in horticulture will be necessary for any gardening position. Experience in establishing lawns and care, formal and informal gardens, project design to include landscaping may be required. Planting flowers, shrubs and trees, as well as managing fruit and vegetable areas. Seasonal plant rotation and pest control, and knowledge of maintenance and servicing of garden equipment, machinery is a must. Duties and responsibilities includes: soil cultivation, digging, forking, mulching, watering, raking, weeding, edging, pruning, seed sowing, bed preparation and planting. You must have knowledge of using hand tools and basic light machinery, as well as cylinder and rotary mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers.

MAINTENANCE/ HANDYMAN/ CARETAKER ROLE

Maintenance and handyman roles will require an individual with a ‘can do’ attitude. The person will have varied experience in general maintenance, not necessarily coming from one specific trade or background although this is possible. Skills required will include plumbing, electrical, carpentry, painting and decorating, repairs, carpet cleaning and garden maintenance. You will be required to work inside and outside the property, so remaining tidy and organized at all times is a must. You may be required to clean cars, possibly some simple vehicle maintenance and care. Caretaker role could encompass all the above requirements and more. A caretaker will be required for the overall responsibility of the property and may require some service duties. Accommodation can be provided on the Estate, usually a cottage or something similar. You will likely to be responsible for all security requirements of the property.

ESTATE MANAGEMENT COUPLES/ HOUSE MANAGEMENT COUPLES ROLE

An Estate Management Couple role will vary considerably. Whether running the property in a rural or urban setting, the role will very much depend on the size and purpose of the estate. Rural estates are more likely to involve productive agricultural land. Therefore, a background in farming could be an advantage, whereas urban estates are likely to be smaller, not necessarily farming related. Experience in commercial estate management and residential management would be relevant. Both roles will inevitably require vast experience in cost effective property management. The couple might be required to manage staff, do staff training, liaising and directing outside contractors, budget control, tendering, successfully managing projects within a time frame while best representing the principles at all times. Some properties may require daily housekeeping, cooking, vehicle maintenance and gardening. A couple will manage their individual responsibilities effectively, and demonstrate professionalism at all times. Often accommodation is included on site, therefore adding a degree of additional security.