The House Manager role explained
For those unfamiliar with the term, it has evolved from the role traditionally referred to as a Butler. But as you would hope and expect, the responsibilities have changed considerably over the years.
It remains the case though that in more traditionally-run households, there are many similarities. These might include formal table service, the serving of drinks, or valeting and care of the wine cellar, as just three examples.
A successful private House Manager is multi-skilled and highly proactive, as well as easy to get along with. They may be asked to act as chauffeur, personal assistant, security, cook or even events organiser. For households in a rural setting, they might also be asked to assist with shoots and take care of firearms. In those instances the ability to organise a shoot weekend and manage staff accordingly would be essential.
In households with a team of private staff, the House Manager is often responsible for all the staff based within the house itself. But the general role is to ensure the smooth running of the household and maintenance and cleanliness of all residences. It is not uncommon for a House Manager to come from a commercial or hospitality background, and they can end up managing multiple residences internationally.
The schedule and hours of the position vary considerably – from household to household but also day to day, requiring a considerable degree of flexibility. Occasionally, the position is live-in, where security or the ability to be on call are essential to the role.
There are still roles that call for a Butler. To be a Butler in the traditional sense, you must be highly knowledgeable in etiquette and protocol. This is true of all household positions, though especially the Butler, as they are responsible for making sure standards never slip among the other members of staff. To employ a Butler or House Manager, or to take on either of those roles, it is always best to go through a House Manager agency, to ensure the placement is right for both parties.
Typical responsibilities of a House Manager: