As recently as 10 years ago, old veteran Estate Managers were still available. These were highly skilled individuals with advanced Maintenance and Property and Grounds expertise. Their knowledge of the interior of homes was minimal, other than the management of vendors. For the most part, this is no longer the case. Today’s Principals want Estate Managers to know it all: the management of homes, inside and out. This includes Housekeeping, not just Maintenance and Property and Grounds. As there are also few veteran Housekeepers available in the market today, this presents a challenge.


We are talking about developed professionals in Private Service with deep knowledge in:

  • Administrative skills including HR management
  • Fine Housekeeping
  • High-end Entertaining
  • Maintenance, including remodeling projects and smart home technology 
  • Groundskeeping, including both hard and soft scapes and plantings 

This is a sophisticated position, as are the varied duties, and qualified individuals are few and far between. 

Why is this? I have read that several veteran Estate Manager professionals are not able to find quality positions. Why is this?

Principals in today’s world are often brand new at hiring for their homes and don’t know what or why certain tasks are needed. They are looking for answers from their highly paid Estate Managers for what needs to be done in each standard.

Veteran Estate Managers are used to well-trained Housekeepers and support staff to back them up. They are expecting a defined structure within homes, but they rarely find it. 

Estate Managers find chaos, crisis mode and negativity among staff when interviewing.

Well-positioned structure and clearly defined position descriptions are not developed, and if they are, they are often not functional. 

The result is that the Principal’s overwhelming expectations of immediate results are just not doable. 

Fixing these industry challenges will take leaders with real understanding of daily operations. Today’s Estate Managers need a customized system that they are able to set up in new homes. Taking Starkey’s Service Management System’s class will be an invaluable beginning. 

Principals need to be educated by agents who represent candidates from the beginning. These agents need to share what is possible from each potential candidate, what their full capabilities are. They have to know how long it takes to grow staff to be able to deliver expectations. Agents also need to be formally educated in Private Service.

The days of agents throwing out potential candidate resumes with no real knowledge of who they are or what they know is no longer functional.

Service must be positioned to be successful. Similar to a business plan, candidates must be able to develop and customize a service plan for the family and their service expectations.

Household Service is a highly sophisticated process of people management. Development of functional position descriptions. Day in the Life plans that can be shared with principals. Housekeeping plans cooperatively put in place with the housekeeping staff with written and time-oriented Zones and Task Sheets. Training of staff performing these tasks. Menu development fine-tuned with the Principals. Daily calendars. HR knowledge, and so much much more.

Estate Managers are expected to manage everything, often in multiple homes.

This is a big deal! Did I mention also supporting unique belief systems, religions, cultures, unique priorities, security and diverse ages within homes?

Service must really be positioned to be successful. High-end Estate Managers and those growing their skills must be represented by someone who also knows Private Service, and knows what each candidate is worth financially, not just what is offered. Candidates must be uniquely positioned to be successful.

Life connectors and mutual frames of reference must also be taken into consideration. Styles of Service must be matched. This is likely the most unknown aspect of Private Service and successful placement. Service has indeed become an expertise… and so is our ability to place successful candidates. 

Starkey is now almost 41 years old, providing real education and successful placement of 95 percent of our graduates. Please contact us today to learn more.