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Industry

Who's Who in the House

The most common roles found in the US

Private Service Professional

Today’s term for an individual working in a management role within private home is “private service professional”. They are dedicated to the subtle art of managing the lifestyles of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families. The term “staff” is a collective term of all employees working in the private service industry. The term “help” is a derogatory term that originated with slavery and has been abandoned by the industry out of respect to all staff.

Director of Residence and Chief of Staff

The Director of Residence and the Chief of Staff are often based out of a principal’s primary residence but work directly with a family office. Their primary focus is to maintain continuity between a multitude of estates and staff. Director of Residence and Chief of Staff are executive roles that are most successful when promoted from within the estate, having prior experience as estate managers. They command executive salaries and benefits for their loyalty and expertise.

They are trusted with all the tools needed to conduct business on behalf of their principals, including a credit card, checking account, cell phone, laptop, and email address. Benefit packages generally include housing or stipend, car or stipend, along with a typical corporate benefits package. Since uniforms are not required, a clothing allowance is often included in the benefits package. Their education includes specialized training with a reputable institution dedicated to the private service industry, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in Management or Hospitality. Directors of Residence and the Chief of Staff typically draw a considerable salary for their talents, ranging from $200,000-$600,000 a year in the United States.

Estate Manager

An Estate Manager typically oversees one large estate, or several properties located across the country. They control the day-to-day operation and plans, supervise staff members, manage property maintenance, renovations, projects, procurement, and events. The Estate Manager may also oversee additional features, such as stables, vineyards, yachts, or aircraft.

Some essential functions of an Estate Manager’s role include acting as the gatekeeper to the principals and providing staff with the information and tools needed to fulfill their duties. Estate Managers hire and direct bookkeepers, gardeners, landscapers, chauffeurs, ranch hands, security teams, private chefs, butlers, and housekeepers. They research, contract, and supervise luxury service providers to meet the needs of their principal, which may include dry cleaners, jet services, dog trainers, piano tuners, specialty food importers, and many more. An Estate Manager would be able to fill in for any interior position if needed (including the chef at a push). An Estate Manager trains a new hire not only in the job but also in the way the estate is run, and the standards required.

In short, Estate Managers are jacks of all trades – able to manage multiple projects simultaneously. They are trusted with all the tools needed to conduct business on behalf of their principals, including a credit card, checking account, cell phone, laptop, and email address. Benefit packages generally include housing or stipend, car or stipend, along with a typical corporate benefits package. Estate Managers dress for the needs of the day, which could be a casual polo shirt and khakis or a suit and tie when guests are in residence. Since uniforms are not required, a clothing allowance is often included in the benefits package. They are usually promoted from experience cultivated while working as a household manager, and their education includes specialized training with a reputable institution dedicated to the private service industry. Estate managers typically draw a considerable salary for their talents, ranging from $100,000-$400,000 annually.

Household Manager

Household Managers oversee the operation of small to mid-sized single-family homes. They schedule appointments, handle administrative tasks, and handle all household tasks. They may also direct a small staff (housekeeper, gardener), plan and organize events, run errands, make travel arrangements, and supervise home maintenance projects. Household Managers are skilled at keeping a household running smoothly, anticipating their employer’s needs, and proactively managing issues.

They are trusted with all the tools needed to conduct business on behalf of their principals, including a credit card, checking account, cell phone, laptop, and email address. Benefits packages generally include housing or stipend, car or stipend, and typical corporate benefits packages. Household Managers dress for the needs of the day, which could be a polo shirt and khakis or a suit and tie when guests are in residence. Since uniforms are not required, a clothing allowance is often added to their benefits package. Their experience is usually earned as a previous staff member as a nanny, chauffeur, personal assistant, chef, or housekeeper. Their education may include specialized training with a reputable institution dedicated to the private service industry. Household Managers typically draw a comfortable salary for their talents, ranging from $80,000-$200,000 annually.

Personal Assistant

Personal Assistants handle a wide range of primarily administrative tasks, depending on the needs of their employer and the hierarchy of staff within the home. Personal Assistants may support the principal employers or estate management personnel. Duties can include maintaining the family calendar, shopping, errands, product research, communication, coordination with staff, activities, and events logistics. They typically perform home-based secretarial tasks, including scheduling meetings, sorting mail, booking travel arrangements, handling emails, and making phone calls.

Titles may differ in this role based on previous experience and current needs. Executive Assistants often have several years of experience and support the principals. Family Assistants may serve one household or an entire family – including children, college-bound teens, and elderly grandparents.

Personal Assistants are provided with all the tools needed to conduct business on behalf of the household, including access to a car, cell phone, laptop, and email address, along with a typical corporate benefits package. Personal Assistants dress for the needs of the day, which could be a casual polo shirt and khakis or a suit and tie when guests are in residence. Uniforms may be required, or a clothing allowance may be added to the benefits package. Their experience is often earned as a previous member of staff as nanny, chauffeur, housekeeper, or assistant in the corporate world. Personal Assistants typically draw a comfortable salary for their talents, ranging from $75,000-$200,000 a year.

Butler

In the United States, the modern-day butler is very similar to the role of household manager. Butlers are typically found in formal households and estates and are adept at greeting and pampering guests, overseeing table settings, serving drinks and food, in addition to household management duties. While the role of butlers has evolved, a well-trained butler will have impeccable etiquette and social skills.

Butlers are trusted with all the tools needed to conduct business on behalf of their principals, including a car, credit card, checking account, cell phone, laptop, and email address. Benefits generally include housing or stipend, along with typical corporate benefits packages. Formal homes require staff to wear uniforms. A Butler will dress for the needs of the day, which could be a casual polo shirt and khakis, a suit and tie when guests are in residence, or a tuxedo for formal entertaining. Trained Butlers hold certifications after completing rigorous courses through accredited schools around the world. Those without certification have worked at luxury resorts, hotels, and cruise ships. Butlers are typically promoted from within the household or from experience in the hotel or hospitality sector. Butlers typically draw a comfortable salary for their talents, ranging from $80,000 to $200,000 annually.

Private Security

Security is something the private service industry takes very seriously. Onsite, dedicated teams of highly trained Security Professionals monitor detection systems, deter intrusions, vet and train staff, monitor access, and respond to emergencies. Close Protection details escort VIPs through public appearances along with corporate and leisure travel. They assess and plan all aspects of safety, logistics, risks, and evacuation needs.

Private Security staff are trusted with all the tools needed to maintain the safety of the principal, their family, guests, and staff. They attempt to adhere closely to the principal’s standards and preferences when safe to do so. They need access to a car, cell phone, email address, credit card, and security tools. Security staff generally live out, often travel with the family, and receive corporate benefits packages. They usually dress similarly to other staff, the principal, guests, or black suits and ties to blend in with others on site. Security staff typically gain their experience in the military or police sector before entering private service. Security staff salaries vary by perceived risks, region, experience, level of expertise, and travel requirements. Executive Protection agents can earn $75,000 to $150,000, while A Director of Security for an estate can earn $200,000 to $500,000.

Nanny

Caring for children plays a vital role in the industry. Nanny services vary significantly, depending on the ages of their charges and the family’s unique needs. Most Nannies will prepare children’s meals, keep their toys and spaces clean and tidy, run child-related errands, and drive kids to school and appointments.

The Nanny industry has developed sub-specialty roles trained explicitly in one or two areas. A Private Educator, Nanny Teacher, or Nanny Tutor was once called a governess. These Nannies all focus on the educational needs of children. A Nanny Family Assistant often serves families with teens who need lifestyle management more than supervision. Special Needs Nannies care for children with disabilities or illnesses. Specialty Sports Nannies are dedicated to the overall well-being of child athletes.

Nannies are trusted with all the tools needed to fulfill their duties, including a car, credit card, cell phone, laptop, and email address. Benefit packages generally include housing or stipend, along with typical corporate benefits. Nannies dress for the needs of the day, which could be a casual polo shirt and khakis or a smart suit when traveling with the family. Sometimes uniforms are required, or a clothing allowance is added to the benefits package. Their experience is usually earned as a babysitter, college majors in Child Development, or specialized training with a reputable institution. Nanny salaries vary drastically by region, experience, age, and developmental needs of the children, number of children, needs of the family, level of expertise, and travel requirements. Salaries can range from $75,000 to $250,000.

Newborn Care Specialist

A newer but quickly growing role within the household is a Newborn Care Specialist (NCS), formerly called a baby nurse, a highly trained expert in the first 12-16 weeks of life. 
 
Newborn Care Specialists are often educated in postpartum care, lactation, and sleep support for a new or growing family. The NCS usually has specialized training or experience working with premature babies and multiples. Their primary role is the support and education of parents and the direct care of newborns, usually overnight or for 24-hour shifts. Some are hired as household employees, and others operate as consultants. They handle all aspects of a new baby’s arrival in the home, including the purchase and set up of the nursery, additional support staff, and may travel with the family as needed, both domestically and internationally. 
 
Presuming the NCS is engaged as a household employee (recommended), benefits packages are similar to other household staff. Newborn Care Specialists usually wear scrubs for overnight shifts and will dress for the needs of the day when working day shifts. This could be scrubs, but may also be a polo shirt and khakis or similar attire. A clothing allowance is added to the benefits package if uniforms are required. Their experience is usually earned as a professional nanny or postpartum doula who then trains further, college training in Infant Development, or specialized training with a reputable Newborn Care Specialist training institution. Newborn Care Specialist wages vary drastically by region, experience, education, level of expertise, and travel requirements. The pay rate is hourly and can range from $100,000 to $250,000+ annually.

Housekeeper

A Housekeeper maintains a frequent presence within the home. Small or seasonal properties may be monitored and cleaned once or twice a week, whereas large homes or estates may employ several full-time Housekeepers. The duties of a Housekeeper include light cleaning (e.g., dust, straighten, vacuum, and mop) in rooms that are seldom utilized and deep cleanings of heavy traffic areas. They also change bedding, laundry, iron, wash dishes, take out the trash, and restock household items. Some Housekeepers also run errands, grocery shopping, and prepare light meals.

Housekeepers are trusted with all the tools needed to maintain the household to their principal’s standards and preferences, including vacuums, irons, cleaning supplies, cell phones, and email addresses. If they run errands, they are also provided access to a car and a credit card. Full-time Housekeepers may live in or out, sometimes travel with the family to another home, and are offered typical corporate benefits packages. Most homes require non-management level staff to wear uniforms, such as a polo shirt and khakis or a formal dress and apron. Housekeepers typically gain experience in the hotel or hospitality sector before entering private service. Housekeeper salaries vary drastically by region, experience, square footage of the home, number of people living in the house, level of expertise, and travel requirements. Salaries can range from $75,000 to $150,000.

Private Chef

Private chefs prepare meals based on each family member’s preferences. They may oversee food prep staff during parties and other events. A well-trained Private Chef is adept at dealing with last-minute changes, special requests, allergies, event protocols. Some chefs specialize in specific cuisines or diets (e.g., vegan, gluten-free).

Private Chefs are trusted with all the tools needed to stock and maintain the kitchen to their principal’s standards and preferences, including knives, pans, a cell phone, and an email address. If a Chef stocks the pantry and shops for groceries, they are also provided access to a car and a credit card. Private Chefs may live in or out, sometimes travel with the family to another home, and are offered typical corporate benefits packages. Most Private Chefs wear uniforms, such as a polo shirt and khakis or kitchen whites. Private Chefs typically complete their preliminary training through a culinary school, then gain experience in the hotel or hospitality sector before entering private service. Private Chef salaries vary by region, experience, number of people living in the home, events, level of expertise, and travel requirements. Salaries can range from $90,000 to $350,000.

Ranch Manager

Ranch Managers typically oversee large, rural properties utilized for production or recreation purposes. Ranch Managers may require different skillsets depending upon the usage of the property. Some Ranch Managers may supervise other employees while others may be a one-person show. Generally, Ranch Managers will be handy, Jack-of-all-trades that enjoy working outside in the elements.
 
Ranch Managers enjoy the lifestyle of working on a remote property. Ranch Managers should be knowledgeable about caring for the land, enjoy solving mechanical challenges, and possess the ability to care for various livestock and animals. While a lot of the work a Ranch Manager performs will be hands-on, the ability to research and handle administrative duties is also important.
 
Ranch Managers are trusted with the complete oversight of a large property. They are expected to create long-term plans for the care of the Ranch depending upon the owner’s needs and expectations. They are responsible for maintaining a wide variety of equipment, from small tools to large tractors and implements. Knowing when to call in a professional is vital, as is maintaining a safe work environment. Additional knowledge of conservation techniques and the ability to work with local regulatory authorities is beneficial.
 
Generally, Ranch Managers live on the property and must be available 24/7 for emergencies. They are provided with all the equipment needed to care for the property and will be relied on to make improvement recommendations. For larger, production-based Ranches, education in Animal Husbandry or Land Management is preferred. Some colleges offer specific degrees in Farm and Ranch Management. An educated, experienced Ranch Manager can draw a compensation package ranging from $70,000 – $170,000 a year, including benefits.

Groundskeepers

Like housekeepers, Groundskeepers maintain a routine presence on the estate. Small or seasonal properties are monitored and serviced once or twice a week, whereas large homes or estates may employ several full-time staff. The duties of Groundskeepers include vehicle maintenance, lawn care, snow removal, lighting, cleaning and maintenance of exterior surfaces, landscape, tree care, and irrigation. Many estates include pools, sport courts, putting greens, stables, exercise arenas, and guest houses.

Groundskeepers are trusted with all the tools needed to maintain the estate according to their principal’s standards and preferences, including tractors, mowers, ATVs, trucks, cleaning supplies, cell phones, and email addresses. If they run errands, they are provided access to a car and a credit card. Groundskeepers may be contracted through a business or full-time employees, live in or out, rarely travel with the family to another home, provided corporate benefits packages, and are uniformed in polo shirts and jeans or khakis. Groundskeepers typically gain experience in the hotel or hospitality sector, a nursery, farm, or through a lawn care company before entering private service. Groundskeeper salaries vary drastically by region, experience, acreage of the estate, number of people living in the home, level of expertise, and certifications. Salaries can range from $70,000 to $200,000.

Private Nurses

Private nurses assist people with special needs, long-term illnesses, chronically ill, disabled, or are cognitively impaired. They also care for seniors who need assistance and companionship. The responsibilities of a Private Nurse include helping with personal hygiene, dressing, and toileting, checking vital signs, and medication management. In homes with a small staff, they may also run errands, do light housekeeping, and arrange appointments and transportation. Registered Nurses have extensive medical training and can administer medications, ventilators, tracheostomies, and gastrostomy tubes. Each certification level offers a specific range of services.

Private Nurses may be contracted through an agency or paid as an employee. If they run errands or drive a family member, they are provided access to a car and a credit card. Private nurses may live in or out, sometimes travel with the family to another home, and are offered corporate benefits packages. Most private nurses wear uniforms, such as a polo shirts and khakis or hospital whites. Private Nurses typically gain experience in a clinic or hospital setting before entering private service. Private Nurse salaries vary by training, region, experience, living accommodations, level of care needed, and travel requirements. Salaries can range from $80,000 to $200,000.