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Core Professional Duties in Private Service

The following article was authored by Starkey International. Positions in a Private Home need to be clear and concise to be successful. This is the profession of the Business of Household Management. It literally means setting up a structure much like you would in a...

Core Professional Duties in Private Service

StarkeyInternational-PlacementPositions in a Private Home need to be clear and concise to be successful. This is the profession of the Business of Household Management.  It is literally means setting up a structure much like you would in a business, to effectively manage the home.  The Principals depend on their staff and may not be able to manage the home themselves due to personal commitments. Thus, this administrative piece is most important and is typically given to the Estate Manager, the Household Manager, and in some cases where there is a full time Principal actively involved in the home, the Personal Assistant.

In all cases, it is important to set the tone of the environment right away and establish who the staff and vendors are, and what their responsibilities and duties are in the home. This can be accomplished with listing Core Professional Duties or Position Descriptions of each staff member. If this is task is still unclear, Starkey offers a short one-week, 40 hour “Systems Course” via Correspondence or at Starkey to teach the Principal or Family Office staff person who is responsible for accomplishing this task.


Core Professional Duties of the Estate Manager

Overall Management of an Estate, or multiple Estates, is quite different from the detail of daily service delivery. Understanding the difference can make the difference of preventing turnover. An Estate Manager’s position is to take on the responsibilities involved in upholding the Service Vision and overall quality of life of the Principal and their family. The Estate Manager should approach a Private Service Management position with the following perspective:

Over all Service Vision

Learn the depth of clarity necessary to execute all operations within a Service Environment; utilize the Starkey Service Management Model taught in the “Systems Course” with careful, skillful and intentional listening to the Principal’s Service Vision. This written Customized Service Management Plan process will reveal and summarize the economic, human, and social factors required for the successful completion of setting up all aspects of the Principal’s overall Lifestyle, Service Vision and their Environments. Be sure to achieve agreement with the Principal on the Service Vision, Service Goals and the overall Service Management Plan, including the staff and resources needed to fulfill the service expectations for each home and Service Environment.


Service Management Blueprint and Budget

Use the now-complete Service Management Plan Blueprint to gather and analyze the overall budget necessary for the Household/Estate and Service Environment fiscal management. Create and refine monthly, quarterly, and fiscal year budgets in cooperation with the Family Office or Accountant. In some cases, manage the Household/Estate operations and project-specific purchasing, payroll, insurance, etc. specific to those budgets as directed.


Family Office Administration

The Family Office, at the Principal’s direction, is responsible for interfacing with specific professionals including insurance, legal, CPA, architecture and design, human resources and building contractors. They might also oversee the detail associated with invoices; maintain the files and historical data necessary to protect the owners and their private/personal corporate entities. It is always essential to maintain confidentiality agreements to minimize Principal exposure.


Vendors, Contracts and Resources

Locate ethical and reputable commercial service providers within the immediate community, as well as for any remote locations or projects. Maintain highest standards of integrity, steering clear of the unethical “kickback” practices of some vendors. Develop relationships with vendor owners and managers – communicate the Service Standards and behaviors necessary for the privilege of ongoing contracts with the Principal, Household or Estate. Maintain the records, relationships and protocols to ensure quality product delivery.


Staff Training & Management

Utilize the Technical Skills Qualifier™, the Personal Style Identifier™ and the other Service Management Tools of the System to achieve the necessary depth of clarity with the Principal and with staff to articulate the expected Service Standards, Service Styles, and individual and team productivity, expectations of conduct, requisite skill levels and pertinent behaviors. Create and deliver the expected atmosphere and Lifestyle throughout the household or Estate.


Service Relationships

Nurture the relationships and protocols in all areas to minimize Principal exposure, and to ensure quality service and product delivery. Whenever possible, cross-train to empower staff, control labor costs and promote the lowest possible turnover.


Service Environment

Educate, develop, manage and nurture talented and committed teams of Private Service Staff, Vendors, and Resources to produce excellent delivery service in the interior and exterior physical Service Environments and Grounds and Property.


Charities and Community Interface

Represent the Principal, Family and Guest priorities within the local and extended community with discretion, gracious yet confidential behavior, intuitive and empathetic service to extended family, friends and neighbors, charitable institutions and professional service providers. Nowhere is the Private Service Manager’s Code of Ethics more important than here. Expect high standards of behavior in all Estate staff.


Safety and Protection Protocols

Complete understanding and support of the Safety and Protection Standards and Security Systems required by the Principal with respect to the Household, the Estate, Transportation and Travel, additional homes, security information, special Guests, and Events of the Principal and immediate Principal and Family.


Project Management

Communicate on behalf of the Principal regarding Design/Build operations: management of contractors, analysis of estimates, quality standards, research and recommendation of contractors and projects.


Core Professional Duties of the Household Manager

A Household Manager (occasionally called “Butler”) is responsible for daily operations of the interior environments and will pay attention to the many subtle details of the Administrative Standards in addition to recognizing and distinguishing specific Service Expectations. Initial endeavors will include the following:


Immediate Tasks within the first days:

  • Development of a working Service Management Plan Blueprint
  • Supervision of Household Staff and Vendors
  • Preparation of weekly Day in the Life™ Schedules
  • Support or preparation of weekly menus and preparation of meals
  • Support of the Principal, Family and Guests in their daily routine
  • Inventorying of china, silver, crystal, art work, antiques and other collectibles
  •  Interfacing fully with Family Office, Accountants, Vendors and Resources

Additional Tasks within the first weeks:

  • Storing resource books, smart home technology information, warranty and maintenance information
  • Maintaining a Safety and Protection Management Plan for the residence and monitoring the security measures
  • Organizing the pantry and developing weekly menus and grocery, paper products and other household goods ordering lists
  • Developing entertaining schedules, ordering of service and wine cellar management procedures


If there is a Family Office or Estate Manager to pay bills and issue payroll checks, that person will have a list of vendors, budgets, insurance information and other resources. This is invaluable systems information for the Household Manager. Most families have vendors they have worked with over the years that the Household Manager will need to continue to work with. A Household Manager or Butler will scrutinize and supervise the level of service that each vendor is providing and what they are charging for the product or service they are delivering.


Words to the Wise for Staff: Never attempt to change an existing Service Delivery System until you have had a chance to learn what the System is, what the politics of the Household or Service Environment are, and the reasons things have been done a certain way. Then, have frank conversations with your Principals and learn their perspectives and share what you have observed.


Core Professional Duties of the Personal Assistant

The Personal Assistant can often function as the Household or Estate Manager in “smaller” Service Environments where a Principal is the acting Household or Estate Manager and requires Personal Assistant support or as a fully integrated Personal Assistant for a highly recognized Celebrity, Public Personality, CEO or Retired Billionaire. A Personal Assistant is primarily responsible for interfacing on behalf of the Principal with the Family as needed, their family office and Private Service Staff. The main goal is the support of the Principal’s Life Style Goals, Service Standards, Administrative Tasks, Entertaining, and Event Planning and Travel and Concierge needs.


  • Manage all Correspondence and the Household, Children’s and other Family members’ Personal Calendars
  • Interface and Communicate for Principal with Household Staff, Vendors, and Resources
  • Maintain Contact Databases
  • Research Specialty Products, Professionals, Vendors and Network Contacts
  • Manage budgets and bill paying
  • Support the Planning of all Entertaining and Charity Events
  • Manage Invitations and RSVPs
  • Attend Board Meetings and provide Meeting Minutes
  • Manage International and Domestic Itineraries, Reservations, Transportation, and Travel
  • Work with their Principal’s Charities and Non-Profit commitments




Mary Louise Starkey

First Lady of Service

Excerpts from the Original Guide for Household Management 2007

Starkey International Institute – 720-788-3398

Questions to ask Yourself Prior to Attending Starkey

Questions I Wish Students Would Have Considered Prior to Attending Starkey

1.  What’s it like to be in service?

It’s life changing.  To be in a world of wealth, but not from it, provides great learning, personal development and access to knowledge that otherwise is not often available.  You’ll never be the same!

2.  What about Work and Family balance?

It can be challenging.  If you are seeking that 9-5 job, this is not for you.  It’s typically a 50 hour week, but what great paying job isn’t? It is a lifestyle, but you will have spans of time for family and play.

3.  Can I have the exact position that’s right for me?

Yes…. Starkey has in place a sophisticated educational process for you to learn what that perfect position is for you.  It’s an integral part of our educational process.  Further, our placement team listens carefully and helps you create that opportunity.

4.  Do I have to know a lot of technology?

Yes…. We live in a techie world from computers to smart home technology.  You must have a working knowledge of computer software to succeed at Starkey.

5.  Why don’t clients hire me and then train me?

I don’t know of another industry where your employer first educates you, except possibly the military, and then you are required to stay at least four years and put yourself in harm’s way!  Persons earning income at this level are expected to be life savvy and have enough resources to educate themselves in Private Service with appropriate Management tools and service expertise to warrant a six figure income. Your clients will then provide their specific expectations and priorities.

6.  Why choose Starkey as opposed to other program?

We have spent 34 years developing both sophisticated curricula and relationships with the high net worth. Our teachers are the finest in the profession. We teach real management with multiple management tools for Private Service. Our Personal Statement work teaches you who you are and the position that is really right for you. We position you with employers that want what you bring culturally, psychologically, ethically and in technical skill. Starkey genuinely provides opportunities not available anywhere else in the world.

7.  Why do I need training in Private Service before you Place me?

That is really a good question. You may know how to cook or manage a boutique hotel and have a range of other important skills. The key, however, is understanding the psychological aspects of private service and the management system we teach you that will ensure your success in private service. Our clients expect the best of the best and we provide you with the education that will help you determine the perfect position for you. We have real standards of professionalism.

8.  What are Private Service Management tools?

Starkey has 19 patents, copyrights and trademarks. We have authored 15 publications, software for private homes, hiring tools and a language for you to speak as a professional in Private Service.  Starkey has  developed a day in the life template for sharing with your employer what you do, a customized housekeeping system, baselines for identifying how many hours of work time each staff member must complete to meet the employers’ service expectations and most importantly a defined process for setting up and customizing an overall written service management plan.

9.  How do I know which of your educational programs is right for me?

There is an actual acceptance process we adhere to.  It requires a background check, knowledge of computers, lifestyle restrictions, health, prior education, work experiences and aptitude for service. Starkey will ask for your résumé, will carefully ascertain your knowledge about service and career goals and recommend the right program for you.

10.  Why is it important for me to know so much about me prior to entering service?

Several reasons:  Service is a lifestyle.  It’s an intimate relationship with a principal and family with unique service expectations. Starkey works with you to help you see who you are and what’s important to you so you might use these same tools to learn from your principal who they are and what’s important to them.  It helps you be on their agenda in serving them. It further identifies the right position for you to grow with for many years. Private Service provides a process of personal development that will change you in all ways.

11.  Are these positions domestic in nature?

No, not in the traditional sense. We teach you a new way of thinking about and delivering service! They are highly paid, with professional boundaries, requiring superior technical skills, with real management and leadership requirements. Our courses are considered master’s level curriculums.

12.  Who hires Starkey Grads?

Our Clients today are primarily New Money and of great wealth.  However, new clients often do not know what they want or how to receive service.  Real knowledge of Private Service, therefore, is required to genuinely succeed.

Service as a profession is experiencing rapid growth. Starkey knows there are nine million positions in the marketplace with old and new wealth, with hotels and retirement communities. Service has indeed become an expertise.  If we are to have a real profession, like all professions, education is required to genuinely succeed.

Apply Now & Join our Starkey Family of Certified Professionals. 

Unparalleled in Service Management

Starkey is a 30 year, world recognized brand known for our commitment to excellence and survival in our changing economy to provide a sophisticated education in the management, technical skills, and the placement of our 1,300 Graduates in private homes.  Starkey has always made meeting the expectations of the High-Net-Worth Employer our first objective.

Our full, 360 credit hour, eight week Household Management Program opens doors to those seeking to enter the unique world of Service Management in Private Service.  Starkey takes each student, provides a high quality of Household Service Education, and positions them to succeed.

  • We teach how to identify specific service expectations, customize, and set up a Service Management Plan in any Service Environment.
  • We position each student to fully understand themselves and how to succeed in the overall Service Management community in our Personal Statement Exercise.
  • We have developed and internationally patented multiple Service Management Tools unique to Private Service to bring a real management expertise to our Students and our Employer Clientele. (more…)