Running a large household can be difficult to juggle alongside meetings, appointments and family commitments; our lives are busier than they’ve ever been. Whilst many modern households would now discount the need for a traditional formal butler, countless private residences and estates still have a need for domestic service, personal assistance, property maintenance and support with guests and other staff members. According to the International Guild of Professional Butlers, the numbers employed in this vocation globally have been steadily increasing for many years.
Highly skilled, a professional butler is an individual who is formally trained in all aspects of personal service, ensuring their employer receives the very highest level of service at all times. But the word “butler” may conjure up a rather stereotypical image of an upright, respectable middle-aged man in a formal tailcoat holding a silver platter in one white-gloved hand.
Of course, the traditional butler along with the demand for this impeccable standard of service still exists. However, a modern adaptable approach has evolved. Both men and women of all ages are working in the personal domestic service sector, many experienced in hospitality.
Whereas traditionally, a butler would usually be a member of staff attending to the personal needs of the head of the household, a modern butler now performs a similar role to that of a house or estate manager. They may be responsible for housekeeping, cleaning, maintenance, budgeting, administrative duties and security issues, along with more traditional duties such as valet or chauffeuring. The only difference may be the level of formality or seniority within the household team.
There are certain tasks that go hand-in-hand with being a butler, such as being the first point of contact for the residence, whether on the telephone or welcoming and guiding guests on arrival. Acting as an impeccable host, this role will usually assist with event planning, the dressing of a formal dining table and serving food and drinks. They must demonstrate an understanding of social etiquette along with luxury products and services.
Today’s role also includes the organisation of the day-to-day, overseeing maintenance and performing multiple hands-on tasks to ensure the efficient running of the property. To meet the demands of our full lifestyles, the exact definition of each individual role will ultimately fall to the employer with everything from duties to dress code being adapted to suit.
That’s not to say that a butler is no longer formally dressed, but many don’t request the lengths a traditional butler would go to. Few modern butlers wear white gloves, some wear a suit, others wear a waistcoat and some wear a more informal dress shirt with smart jeans.
For many, the role of their butler is vastly different to the role you’d see performed in a period drama. Instead of polishing the family silver, the butler may organise required maintenance, manage the rest of the household team, book flights and holidays or secure the best table in stunning restaurants via their wide network of contacts. They may be in charge of complete building projects, oversee the installation of a new heating system or manage all the property’s bills. Many also have their own specialisms, perhaps also being a trained chef, wine sommelier, mixologist or even a guest entertainer.
As our digital world advances, it is essential that a butler stays up to date with the latest smart home devices, heating controls, security systems and the commercial equipment that they use to complete their daily duties.
Individuals and families hire the services of a butler for a variety of reasons. It might be to make their lives safer, more convenient, more enjoyable, or simply easier. But what would life look like with a butler and what benefits would the role bring to you and your family?
Butlers are expertly trained to do many tasks that you may not have experience in. Often handling the more difficult or time-intensive tasks, so you retain more of your free time to spend with family, friends or to indulge in your personal interests.
As experts in laundry and cleaning or as professional chauffeurs that take care of the children’s school run, a butler cannot fail to alleviate the pressures from everyday tasks and responsibilities.
Particularly helpful for larger private residences, today’s butler can also manage your household staff team, scheduling rotas, arranging cover for periods of leave and organising salary payments. If required, they can also manage recruitment, appraisals and training.
If you love to entertain, this service will allow you to spend more time with your guests rather than running back and forth. Not only will a butler plan and set up the event with flawless attention to detail, as specialists when it comes to gourmet food, wine pairing and silver service, but your event will also run smoothly. They’ll provide an invisible presence, whilst you enjoy the event as much as your guests.
Many find that by employing a butler, they feel more protected; adding an additional layer of security, both when at home and by protecting the property whilst away. Some employers request that their private butlers accompany them whilst travelling, particularly if venturing to an unknown region.
Our clients often report that having a reliable and trustworthy butler service, makes them feel more relaxed, healthier and happier – some report that it has actively helped improve their mental health.
Noticing what you need, before you even request it, butlers are experienced in interpreting all manner of situations. They will soon understand exactly how you view life and the world around you; getting to know you exceptionally well.
This provides exceptional efficiency, this also means that your personal butler will become a close personal assistant and confidant - listening, advising or just being there at the end of a long day to hand you a glass of your favourite tipple. The height of ultimate discretion, they can be trusted implicitly to never divulge anything that’s shared.
If you are considering adding this role to your household team for the first time, there’s a lot to think about. Would a butler suit your lifestyle? How do you choose the right individual to fit seamlessly into your life? After all, you are looking for a new, pivotal member of your household to join you in your family home.
Whether you are seeking a modern or a more traditional form of help, it’s useful and important to be clear on exactly what you are looking for from the outset to set expectations. This will make recruitment stress-free and far more rewarding, long-term. For example, would they be full or part-time? It is a live-in position? Would they have access to the entire house?
Butlers come from a diverse range of backgrounds, they have a vast variety of experience, skills and types of service; therefore recruitment can be a more complicated process when compared to other domestic staff vacancies you may have filled previously.
When it comes to selection, many use domestic staffing agencies to connect them to not only available butlers, but the best in the industry. A dedicated consultant will help refine specific requirements, authenticate training and experience and manage the entire process to make life just that bit easier.
Today’s butlers give new life to a once dying profession. Our increasingly busy lives have seen the occupation evolve; the role now varies significantly depending on the residence, the employer, their family and their contemporary, often fast-paced lifestyle.
Despite the modern evolution, one thing will never change. A private butler provides exceptional peace of mind. If you choose this role for your household, you’ll feel confident that everything has not only been actioned, but completed to the highest possible standard. They are the ultimate domestic service professional to be relied upon.
Acting with efficiency, reliability and discretion, Hutchinsons Domestic Staff is a leading private household recruitment agency, placing professional butlers and other household staff positions in residences across the globe.
With over 35 years’ experience, our hands-on approach means that we interview all candidates personally, performing the reference and background checks you would expect. Our bespoke approach to recruitment ensures we place the most suitable individual to join you in your family home.
To speak directly to one of our experienced domestic service recruitment consultants or to find out more about our 10-week guarantee, do contact our London office. Call us on 0207 038 0151 or alternatively email: email@example.com