Estate Manager vs Director of Residences

The ultra-luxury estate market continues to climb steadily, according to Redfin. The world’s most expensive estates currently range from $200 million to over $6 billion.

The rise in luxury estates creates a higher demand for estate managers. The position for directors of residences is also evolving as complex estate management spans the globe.

What are estate managers and directors of residences, and what is the difference between the two functions? Read on for our guide to these important private staff positions.

What is an Estate Manager?

An estate manager oversees a property for the owner(s). Similar terms include butler or majordomo, who also manage households.

Estate managers typically work on large and complex estates managing both the household and grounds. They require a wide range of skill sets. Soft skills include attention to detail, strategic thinking, and problem-solving.

They may also require certain hard skills, depending on the estate type and functions to manage. Hard skills can include:

  • Relevant degrees (property management, business administration, etc.)
  • Finance
  • Logistics
  • Agriculture
  • Building Maintenance
  • Hospitality
  • Computer/technical
  • Multi-language fluency
  • Accounting
  • Landscaping
  • Security

Estate managers generally occupy the highest staff position of a property. They may directly supervise all estate employees or designate supervisors for specific areas, such as a groundskeeper.

What Does an Estate Manager Do?

Estates can require lots of work, from human resources to land management. Estate managers must also safeguard their client’s privacy and safety while fulfilling their job roles.

The estate manager has the vital responsibility to ensure daily estate operations run smoothly. They plan long-term strategies such as budgets, maintenance, and contracts.

As they occupy the highest staff leadership position, estate managers typically remain on call 24/7 for any issues that arise unexpectedly.

What Human Resource Responsibilities Does an Estate Manager Have?

An estate manager oversees property staff, vendors, and contractors. Human resource management duties can include:

  • Hiring and onboarding
  • Background checks
  • Suspensions or terminations
  • Training and skill-building
  • Work schedules
  • Salaries and payrolls
  • Promotions and retention
  • Regular performance reviews
  • Vetting hired company services
  • Negotiating contractors

Estate managers rely on strong people skills and knowledge of many different jobs. They are responsible for the quality of goods and services provided to the estate.

How Can Estate Managers Help with Land and Building Management?

The estate manager job role includes the property grounds and buildings. The estate can have many functions or features. These duties can include overseeing:

  • Pool and spa maintenance
  • Landscaping, garden, and lawn upkeep
  • Building repairs, renovations, and regular maintenance
  • Domestic animal care
  • Animal husbandry
  • Guest services
  • Private recreation services (golf courses, airfields, etc.)
  • Vehicle upkeep
  • Luxury item management (art, antiques, jewelry)

These duties will depend on the type of estate. An estate that includes horses, for example, will require care, feeding, veterinary, and breeding services.

What is a Director of Residences? How Do They Compare to an Estate Manager?

Estate managers can oversee multiple properties. But for estates that span long distances or with very complex functions, it may not be practical to rely on an estate manager alone.

A director of residences (not to be confused with a resident director) oversees all estates or estate functions. They also oversee the individual estate managers for each property or estate.

A director of residences should have all the soft and hard skills required of an estate manager, applied to a larger scale. This also includes relevant degrees and certifications.

For example, an estate manager manages the multiple household and property budgets needed for an estate. A director of residences manages the entire operating budget for all estates.

What are the Responsibilities of a Director of Residences?

Like skills, the director of residences has similar duties to an estate manager but more expansive. An estate manager can hire private security staff for a property. A director of residences will contract a security firm to provide security services across all estates.

Other duties may include:

Directors of residences can be required to represent their clients. This can include any capacity from the brand ambassador, meeting stand-in, or negotiator on their client’s behalf.

How Can a Director of Residences Help with Human Resource Management?

The director of residences maintains employer policies and procedures across all estates. They may even develop the estate management infrastructure.

The director of residences will work with staff in many instances. This can include inspections and crisis response. However, they will coordinate daily operations between estate managers.

They may also work directly with their employer. Examples include planning annual budgets or guest events. They also can be required to directly attend regular meetings or submit reports.

How Can a Director of Residences Support Land and Building Management?

The director of residences may be required to purchase new land, expand existing properties, or coordinate major construction projects. They may also work with estate managers for major renovations and property improvements.

Their land and building duties also depend on the type of estate. An estate that includes goods or services will require more business and hospitality skills, while a private estate retreat will focus more on security and amenities.

Like estate managers, directors of residences must have a wide field of knowledge. International ranch estates must know each country’s animal care laws, for example. Or how to use veterinary services in local languages.

How to Find the Ideal Staff for Your Estate Needs?

An estate manager and director of residences keep your estate running. You want to hire top-notch and trustworthy people for these highly skilled positions.

The Private Staff Group can help you find the best and most qualified candidates. Our recruitment process has met precise estate employment requirements across the globe. For more information, contact us online or by phone at 1-866-282-7729. Our team is always ready to provide you with the professionalism and courtesy you deserve!