Private Service Titles & Positions

Terms and Titles continue to be challenging for the Private Service industry due to old cultural patterns of the profession. In addition, the lack of knowledge and management expectations of both the employers and employees continue to be difficult to navigate in Private Service. It’s also because the industry as a group has not been able to agree upon titles, as each position is unique. The main factors that contribute to salary are the difficulty factor of the position, the qualifications necessary for the position, the location and cost of living.

Service Management as an Expertise

The term “Service Management” has taken on new life with Starkey and has become a highly desired profession on the national and international stage. Much more comprehensive than Customer Service, it refers to one’s in-depth knowledge of and ability to successfully position service to succeed. Service Management focuses on meeting expectations, the Relationship of Service, sophisticated Service etiquette and Service as a professional expertise in any style or environment. It can apply to those performing Household Management, Concierge Services, Butlering or Senior Services. Service positions continue to grow in hospitality, private homes, concierge companies, private clubs and in senior communities. Salaries typically begin at $50,000 per year.

Estate Manager:

The Estate Manager is an administrative service professional who possesses a mature and seasoned knowledge of Service Management Systems, expertise with multiple homes or in small luxury hotels, deep knowledge of the luxury marketplace and a thorough understanding of Grounds and Property. This person must possess basic Human Resource principles, overall knowledge of Transportation and Security and understand his or her role as part of the Family Office team. This professional must understand the Relationship of Service and appropriate Private Service/business etiquette protocol. This professional must be able to identify all Service Standards, organize work schedules and manage all staff. Typically, these professionals manage large Estates that are 18,000 square feet or more, and often manage multiple residences. The Starkey Service Management System knowledge is essential. Salaries are currently between $90,000 and $300,000 per year with full benefits, and, if appropriate, private housing.

Certified Household Manager:

Mrs. Starkey developed and coined the term “Certified Household Manager” in 1981. The term introduces into the marketplace a professional who is trained in the overall management of a private home. This position may be a Butler in the British tradition, or a Personal Assistant, Household Manager or Military Enlisted Aide in the American tradition. This individual has been trained and/or is experienced in all aspects of the private home and has a working knowledge of developing a Household Service Management System. The focus is primarily on the Home and Service Environment. The skills would include a working knowledge of Human Resources, management and training of service contractors and personnel, as well as the hands-on technical experience necessary to personally perform or train others within a Service Environment. Knowing Administrative, Housekeeping, Maintenance, Clothing & Valet, Culinary and Entertaining Standards is essential. This person’s skills are more appropriate for homes between 5,000 and 17,000 square feet. Salaries are currently between $70,000 and $125,000 per year with benefits, and, if appropriate, private housing.

Hospitality Butler or Gentleman’s Gentleman:

Hospitality Butler or Gentleman’s Gentleman comes to life in P.G. Wodehouse’s stories of the British Butler Jeeves and his Employer Bertie Wooster. Jeeves does save the day! The Butlers in these stories are companions and artists of discretion for their Employers. The term Gentleman’s Gentleman was used if the Butler was in Service to a single gentleman. In Europe and elsewhere, we have trained in the style of the traditional British Butlers. However, the term “Butler” typically refers to the classic British Service style within the profession of Private Service Management. The American version of the Gentleman’s Gentleman or Butler has gained expertise in an Old Guard home and also has a more formal and structured style of service. Butlers outside of the traditional British tradition need to be trained in a Service Management model to perform in a structured style of Service. Butlers may provide some Administrative, Culinary and Entertaining duties, as well as have knowledge of wine, Clothing & Valet and light Housekeeping. Salaries are currently between $50,000 and $100,000 per year with benefits plus housing on property.

Personal Assistant:

The Personal Assistant has become popular within the Entertainment and Personality community on both coasts. This professional is typically business and computer literate, and has obtained Administrative experience in the corporate world. Personal Assistants focus on Administrative Standards and support of the Principals of the home, including identification of vendors and resources, maintaining appointments, schedules, bookkeeping and upholding Entertaining Standards. They often handle invitations, RSVPs, gift buying, transportation and generally do not provide direct management of the staff or home. The Starkey Service Management System knowledge is essential. Current Salaries are $50,000 to $80,000 per year with benefits, typically without housing.

Private Chef:

Private Chefs typically have a culinary arts degree or have been trained in the restaurant community. They focus on developing an expertise in cooking for a private home, yacht or other Private Service environment. Household Chefs require the education of a Service Management model to be able to identify Flavor Profiles in the preparation of menus and selections of wine, keep a household-appropriate kitchen, be an expert in diets or food substitutions and have a working knowledge of Entertaining, formal and informal. Current Salaries are between $60,000 and $100,000 per year without housing.

Household Couple:

Household Couples function at a Household, Estate Management, or Chef level, or at the domestic Houseman/Housekeeper level. Prior life experience, culinary background, Household Management and Service training determines their management and technical skills abilities. The Starkey Service Management System Knowledge is essential for a couple entering into Private Service together. Current salaries are between $90,000 and $200,000 a year with benefits, plus housing on property.

Family Attendant:

Family Attendant is often the title given to the man or woman who is caring for the school-age children or an elderly grandparent within the Environment. The Principals hold the overall management duties and responsibilities. The Family Attendant prepares simple meals, organizes and drives children to school activities, play dates, recreational and entertaining events and keeps an overall watchful eye while performing daily household tasks. Depending upon their Day in the Life schedule, they might also support the Housekeeper or Houseman in cleaning and laundry duties. (Nannies are primarily for children 5 and under). Current salaries are between $40,000 and $80,000 per year with benefits plus housing on property.

Housekeeper or Houseman:

The terms Housekeeper or Houseman are used in the U.S. and abroad and are generally considered domestic help in homes and in hotels. Some speak English well and are able to communicate effectively, but are not typically managers and need training and organizational supervision. They can be highly skilled in cleaning, laundry, maintenance and outdoor labor. Their positions can be full-time or part-time, and they can be live-in or live-out day workers.  Current salaries are between $40,000 and $60,000 per year with benefits.


Caretakers are typically utilized in second or third properties in lieu of a Household Manager. The employers are not often in residence, and when they are, they bring other staff to provide for the personal service needs. Duties may include cleaning, laundry and care of the Grounds and Property. Personal service is generally not requested. These positions are typically live-in with a $25,000 to $50,000 salary.

Excerpt from Mrs. Starkey’s Original Guide to Private Service Management, February 2010

Mrs. Starkey’s Original Guide to Private Service Management is proprietary to Mansion Publishing and is used under license.  All rights reserved by Starkey International.
Copyright © 2010 Mansion Publishing