Duties of a Modern Butler


What comes to mind when you think of a butler? Is it the formal, British domestic service staff from Downton Abbey? Or do you think of Alfred’s stoic and tech-savvy service to Batman and Wayne Manor?

If you are looking to hire a butler for your home, it is important to understand the modern butler’s duties and how one may support your unique household.

A butler is usually a valet or major domo for the gentleman of the house or the entire household. He or she will hold a certification from a Butler school, often from England or the Netherlands and will be well-versed in wines and may hold a culinary degree.

In the late twentieth century, the number of homes employing butlers decreased dramatically. In response, the role evolved to extend beyond valeting and serving and began to take on more managerial responsibilities. Due to this change and a boom in household income, especially in countries like China, hiring a butler has once again become a common solution to household staffing.

Modern Butler Duties

Regardless of how the role of the butler has changed over time, the position is dedicated to discreet and competent service. General duties may include:

  • managerial responsibilities

  • keeping accounts

  • marketing

  • maintaining wardrobe

  • responsible for family and staff schedule

  • household finances

  • contact for vendors

  • supervising household staff

  • hiring and training household staff

  • compiling and organizing the household manual

  • seeing to maintenance and repairs

  • planning events and menus

See the full post for more details on how the butler’s role has changed over time or contact our office and begin the process of hiring a butler.

British Nannies and Governesses


A nanny or governess is a trained professional childcare specialist with a substantial amount of childcare experience and will sometimes hold a degree related to childhood education, such as Early Childhood Development. In England many qualified nannies or governesses will hold an NNEB certificate which involves training on all forms of childcare from infant to special needs and placed an emphasis on fieldwork. The Norland Nanny School also offers excellent training in the UK.


High quality nannies will be equipped with knowledge of first aid and CPR, cooking, organization, and some teaching skills. A professional governesses will have teaching credentials and experience in a classroom or as a tutor.


Beyond taking care of children’s basic physical needs like feeding, napping, and safety, a nanny will be able to plan outings and activities for the children; creating and implementing educational activities based on each child’s level of development. Some nannies or governesses will speak a second language such as French, Spanish, Greek, German and be able to teach children this language.


Career nannies and governesses have the training and expertise to provide high quality care for your child, but most importantly, they will know to follow the parent’s lead and prioritize open communication to ensure they are carrying out what is best for the family.


Why Hire Your Nanny or Governess with British American Household Staffing?

Having the right nanny or governess in your home is a helpful asset to any family and can be a substantial advantage to the child’s development. Making the decision to work with a nanny agency will eliminate the stress out of searching for and hiring the perfect nanny for your family.


Save Time

At BAHS, our expert team sources qualified candidates and conducts a rigorous screening and interviewing process. Through our vetting process, you won’t waste time meeting nannies that are not a good fit for your family. Reference screening and background checks are also handled by our team to ensure only the highest quality candidates meet with our families.


Expert Attention to Details

A nanny placement agency acts as an HR department dedicated to the success of your home. BAHS’s expert placement specialists will be able to understand your needs and help identify the traits to look for in a nanny. You will be supported through the entire hiring process; including advisement on salaries, benefits, schedule and any relevant tax information in your state.


Third Party Perspective and Personalized Care

BAHS’s belief in matchmaking sets us apart from other nanny agencies. Our recruiters will work with you to understand your family’s needs and match you with a nanny that can provide high quality service and care. For us, success is a placement that results in a contented family and a nanny who enjoys long-term job fulfillment.


Regardless of what your family is looking for, it is our utmost goal to provide you exactly what you need. As an added service, our UK families have access to our nanny consultant Katherine Patterson. Katherine's background in education, as well as her work as a highly sought-after career nanny in high profile homes, childcare consultant, parent educator, and caregiver trainer, makes her especially skilled in understanding your family's very specific needs when it comes to hiring a nanny, and most importantly, understanding the needs of your children.


More About Katherine

Katherine is our multilingual British childcare specialist, with over 10 years of hands-on experience working with children in both classrooms and private homes worldwide, as well as 4 years of general domestic household recruitment experience prior to moving to BAHS.


Born and raised in the South West of England, Katherine has a First Class BA Hons Degree in French, Spanish and European Studies. Her career in childcare is underpinned by years of teaching experience, predominantly comprising Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and EFL, but also Cambridge English, French, Spanish and entrance exam guidance for Collège du Léman, Institut Le Rosey and Institut auf dem Rosenberg.


Katherine has devoted the majority of her career to working as a Governess for high profile families the world over, in particular; Europe, Russia and Asia. Her extensive experience of working with children in both a caregiving and pedagogical capacity means she is well versed in Child Development, Early Childhood Education (ECE) and managing transitions.


Having worked on both sides of the industry, Katherine is able to provide informed and invaluable insight and guidance to both her clients and candidates alike. She prides herself on establishing and nurturing authentic, long-term relationships and thoroughly enjoys the challenge that comes with playing such a pivotal role in the match making process. Katherine strives to manifest lasting placements, and always goes the extra mile to ensure everyone’s expectations are met.

Learn more about our services or contact our office today to begin your search.


Looking to set up your residence with the right domestic staff? Start by hiring an Estate Manager.


Benefits of Hiring an Estate Manager

Are you upgrading your home? Relocating? Restructuring? Here are some simple guidelines to help you see that your residence runs as smoothly as possible. 

Running a home is like setting up a small business. The same structure, hiring, and operational complexities are involved when it comes to domestic staffing. As a business needs its CEO, the first thing your household needs is the Estate Manager.

The right one will depend on the size of your home and the number of homes you need managed. An Estate Manager works on setting up a solid daily structure for your home and also implements hiring practices for all other staff. The Estate Manager will assess your staffing needs and desires, outlining the positions you need filled, such as Nannies, Housekeepers, Chefs, House Managers, personal assistants, etc. The manager will know how to screen and hire the ideal staff for the schedule and size of the home. 

The Process of Staffing Your Home

The best Executive Housekeepers tend to work eight hour days, five days a week and slot in with each other. To attract the best Housekeepers, you want to pay market rate or above and ensure you hire Housekeepers on a live-out schedule, as those are the best candidates (good candidates have more options and will choose the job position that appeals to them the most). Market rate for a good Executive Housekeeper is $35 an hour, eight hours a day, and health insurance after three months of employment. 

The Estate Manager will understand how to structure your home with the ideal schedules and number of Housekeepers, so the cleaning is done correctly and all shifts are covered. An Estate Manager will use a top-tier domestic staffing agency to send the best candidates. They will understand how to screen several Housekeepers, ensuring they work well together and understand how to manage laundry, organizing, serving, art and antique care, and deep cleaning.

Once the Housekeepers are set up, if needed, the Estate Managers will work on childcare.  This is a more complex hire, as the parents are usually more heavily involved. Career Nannies have experience working in larger residences. They understand childhood development and will ensure the right Nannies are hired for the principal’s needs, ranging from specific language proficiency, special needs experience, twin experience, infant expertise, or school age and tutoring experience. 

Nannies are hired with expertise in the age group of the children in the home. These Nannies will commonly have experience working with families who fly privately and often last minute, so organizing the children and packing correctly is something these Nannies do well. 

Yacht travel experience is also something career Nannies will have experience with. They are expert swimmers and understand how to act and dress appropriately on a yacht. They are able to manage children safely on the water and help with sleep schedule issues that typically occur when traveling across time zones.

The best Nannies are found by appealing to their desired schedules and salaries. The ideal setup is live-out during the regular week and live-in while traveling. Depending on the number of children, the ideal Nanny arrangement is one career Nanny, Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm, one Nanny-Housekeeper from 7am to 3pm, and another career Nanny to work on weekends, if needed.

It is best to pay a weekend Nanny very well, as good Nannies don’t like giving up their weekends. However, the weekend schedule could be ideal for a Nanny working as a teacher or completing her PhD or Master’s degree.

A full-time career Nanny salary ranges from $80,000 to $150,000 a year, depending on their experience and skill-set. A French speaking career Nanny is always heavily in demand, so offering them a competitive salary and schedule is the wisest approach. Sometimes an evening backup babysitter is a good option to slot in, as well. An Estate Manager will understand how to hire the ideal Nannies, specific to the family and children’s needs. 

Hiring culinary staff can also be challenging, but, as with Nannies, the Estate Manager will hire Chefs who specialize in the dietary needs of the family, such as Paleo, Vegan, low calorie, pure foods, French, Italian, Austrian, etc. The Estate Manager will hire the Chefs once they have done a trial tasting for the family, ensuring the food is top-notch, and will also see that the Chef is flexible and easy to work with. This goes for not only Chefs, but all staff types. A good Estate Manager will always take soft skills, such as personality and demeanor, into consideration upon hiring. Many homes are unhappy homes due to one or two difficult personalities on staff. The Estate Manager ensures this doesn’t happen. 

After setting up the home with the correct staff, the Estate Manager will do the same for other residences you may own. The Estate Manager will oversee current staff, deal with any gripes, and fire and rehire as necessary. It is important you listen to the Estate Manager because he or she will be able to identify problematic staff members or subtle inefficiencies that you would otherwise miss. The Estate Manager will have an open dialogue with all the domestic staff and know where the issues lie.

Lastly, the Estate Manager will hire a House Manager for the larger residence(s) to oversee schedules and daily issues concerning vendors, parties, Housekeepers, Nannies, and all other daily staff. The House Manager’s job is to report back to the Estate Manager, who will ensure the problems are solved. The Estate Manager then oversees all homes, the payroll, legal issues and financial concerns outside of the family office and accountants. He or she will create, implement, and continuously update processes and operations. The household manuals for each home will be in place and updated accordingly. The Estate Manager also manages private planes, yachts, and car collections to ensure all these are up to date, safe, and well maintained. 

Begin Your Search to Hire a Quality Estate Manager

If you want a smooth-running home, start by hiring a top-quality Estate Manager, as this set up will ensure you don’t feel or hear of any problems. The secret to a happy home is having the right person in the Estate Manager seat to oversee hiring, training, implementation of processes, and legal compliance. Estate Manager salaries range from $150,000 to 400,000 a year.

If you want to hire the best domestic staff, contact British American Household Staffing. We can fix any issues and begin optimizing your home management.