Key Stakeholders in the Private Service Industry
Those who employ staff within their homes are referred to as Principals. This holds true if they have one housekeeper or a team of 100 spread out across multiple estates. Principals are High-Net-Worth and Ultra-High-Net-Worth individuals and families who live extraordinarily busy lives. They own multiple luxury homes, employ staff to keep everything running and rely on the best-of-the-best of everything to maintain their assets, investments, interests, and hobbies. The happiest Principals are those who understand the value each sector brings to their lifestyle, respect everyone as professionals, and allow their staff to network, learn, and grow in their roles.
The source of their wealth often directs the lifestyle of a principal. Inherited wealth (aka Old Money) usually indicates a formal home and lifestyle. Self-made or sudden wealth often indicates a much more relaxed and casual home and lifestyle. Celebrities deal with paparazzi, CEOs work 24/7, musicians go on tour, and athletes travel to compete. It is easy to see why Principals rely on staff to manage their personal lives while they focus on their careers, family, and passions.
Private Service Professional
Today’s term for an individual working within a 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. Private Service Professionals are full-time staff that directly serve their principal’s daily needs, act as the gatekeeper to any outsider, monitor all assets for potential issues that may arise, and execute plans. Their reputation, and career, are on the line when a principal’s expectations are not met. The most successful and valuable Private Service Professionals are adept at networking and maintaining excellent relationships with all sectors of the industry.
The term “staff” is a collective term for all employees working in the private service industry. The terms “help,” “Boy,” or “Girl” are derogatory terms that originated with slavery and have been abandoned by the industry out of respect to all domestic staff.
Domestic Placement Agencies
Domestic Placement Agencies are a specialized sub-sector of the career recruiting field. Reputable agency owners understand the unique needs of wealthy estates and expertly pair them with Private Service Professional candidates whose skills and experience make them the ideal match. Such agencies have developed healthy relationships and represent both sides of the match – the Principal (paying client) and the Private Service Professional (the candidate). These relationships are based on trust, human communication, and discretion. The best agencies follow the client/candidate relationship throughout their tenure, offering support and guidance to ensure longevity and loyalty. The most successful and respected agents often worked as private service professionals before entering the placement field.
Educators & Private Service Schools
Educators in the Private Service industry are dedicated to the Art of Service and passing along centuries of techniques and theory to future generations. The educators seamlessly integrate current technologies with traditional methods in teaching best practices to their students.
A detailed history of Private Service as an industry is challenging to pin down due to the cloak of privacy covering both principals and staff. Initially, skills were passed down from parent to child, with nuances specific to each estate shared amongst the staff. Eventually, training programs were developed to share industry knowledge.
Until 2010, few Private Service Professionals, running the largest and most expensive homes in the world, held a bachelor’s degree. As of 2022, there isn’t an accredited university that offers a program dedicated to the industry. Staff wishing to further their university education can create their own degree plan or follow an established track, such as Management or Hospitality, then attempt to apply those skills to a private estate. Principals requiring college degrees may be surprised to realize they hold less value in running an estate than private training courses.
Luxury goods and services are provided by outside businesses and include any company that Private Service Professionals rely on to keep an estate running. These businesses operate at the highest level of quality, availability, and discretion. They understand that developing a healthy business relationship with Private Service Professionals is the only way their business will pass through the gates of HNW estates. No matter the location or size, these businesses understand the nuances of a luxury lifestyle and readily offer their expertise. Examples include electricians, designers, realtors, caterers, cobblers, jewelers, yacht rentals, jet services, art curators, and many more.
Principals who own multiple residential properties eventually utilize the services of a joint family office or set up a private family office for themselves. Such family offices run much like a small company by managing the vast array of assets that serve the principal’s personal needs and passions and their families.
A family office comprises C-suite and director-level experts and support staff for oversite of human resources, financial investments, accounting, residential management, and operational maintenance. Additional directors may be added to expertly oversee and advise principals in specific areas of interest such as philanthropy, events, art curation, antiques, aircraft or yacht management, ranch management, etc.