Butler, Estate Manager, Majordomo: The Right Staff for Your Household

Butlers — they’re a pop-culture staple. They feature in many famous books, movies, and TV shows, usually as a staple of an upper-class, or old-school household.

But in modern-day society, what is a butler?

Butler’s certainly aren’t as popular used to be. As short as a hundred years ago, it was common for the upper-middle and upper-class to have staff on hand that would complete various tasks for them.

Now a large portion of the workforce has been deputized to the outside of the home: the new “servant” class consists of people like waiters, baristas, and clerks, and caterers. But many of the more well-to-do have gravitated back towards hiring butlers—and other types of household staff—again.

If you’re someone who’s considered hiring a butler, estate manager, or majordomo, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through all you need to know.

What Is a Butler?

A butler is a household servant—usually a male—who’s responsible for the upkeep and presentation of certain rooms in a house, or the entire house. A butler acts as the leader of the house staff but also performs many services himself.

The butler doesn’t just see to these observations but provides a pleasant experience for those who come to the house. There is an element of theatricality to the butler’s job. The butler is generally responsible for presenting a formal appearance, knowing the etiquette, protocol, and manners, and providing knowledge on various foods and wines.

Sometimes, in this day and age, a butler will work as a chauffeur. They receive and take care of guests, and organize any function where guests are involved. They also take care of more day-to-day tasks, such as the writing of manuals, the maintenance of fine silverware, furniture, and vehicles, and hiring outside contractors.

Butler’s don’t just provide these practical benefits, however. A good butler is trained in discretion and can operate as a confidante. They also generally know a great deal about telephone etiquette and will help you cut a more formal, graceful figure to anyone who calls.

Butlers are trained by various organizations to adapt to the needs of the individuals they are serving. The longer you have your butler with you, the more you’ll notice your life improving. They’ll do their job better and better as they learn the preferences and tastes of the different members of the household.

What Are the Differences Between a Butler, Estate Manager, and Majordomo?

Butlers are perhaps the most recognizable members of household staff, but they certainly aren’t the only option for helping to manage the household. Let’s take a look at two of the other types of staff you might consider hiring: a Majordomo and an Estate Manager.


First of all, it’s important to note that majordomo is a somewhat nebulous term. Sometimes the term “majordomo” is used interchangeably with butler, and sometimes it isn’t.

When it isn’t, it’s usually referring to a position that’s higher up than a butler. In very large houses where there are multiple butlers, each one will likely be in charge of a different area of the house. The majordomo acts as the “head butler”, responsible for overseeing the whole house.

A house servant is more likely to be called a majordomo if several people are working for that house. A lone butler in a house will almost definitely be referred to as a “butler” but a butler who’s leading a staff of house servants might be called a “majordomo”.

Estate Manager

The specialty of butler and majordomo is knowledge of a wealthy person’s house. They’re responsible for the upkeep of the house, the receiving of guests, and organizing house-related affairs. However, some people own more than one house on their estate—or across the world—in which case, having someone keep things in order while the owners are away is critical for their peace of mind as well as maintaining the value of the property.

The person who oversees the whole estate is the “estate manager”. In a system with multiple houses, more complex policies are required—an estate manager handles these policies and enforces them.

They manage many purchases for an employee, to greatly speed up the process of acquiring additions to the house. Because of this, they have to have a working knowledge of business and a strong grasp of finance.

Many estate managers also assist employers in aspects of their businesses.

Is Household Staff Right For Me?

Your home is more than just your place of residence. It’s a statement, a symbol of your accomplishments and a facilitation for your lifestyle. Upholding order and value in one household, let alone multiple, remote properties, is a challenge that requires the right team to address. Delegating that work to the experts leaves you with more time for your important job, and more time for you to enjoy your leisure.

Our team focuses on the individual needs of each home and determines the perfect candidates for you. We offer you several options, so you can pick the staff that you think you’ll bond with the best. Our founder works with each client to make sure that the client’s satisfaction is ensured.

In addition to butlers, majordomos, and estate managers, we offer many other types of staff for you to choose from. Consider hiring a caretaker for services on your landscaping and pools, a laundress for specific laundry services, or a personal assistant, for day-to-day needs.

Hire House Staff

Many people these days find themselves asking—what is a butler? Butlers aren’t quite as popular as they used to be. However, they’re still a wonderful option for anyone looking to bring a level of dignity, formality, and respect to their house.

Once you consider what a butler is, the difference between a butler, majordomo, and estate manager, and find yourself a good service, you’re well on your way to hiring the housing staff of your dreams.

For more information, contact us today.

How to Hire a Personal Assistant During COVID-19

Wealthy seniors and baby boomers are choosing a new type of Personal Assistant/Companion. This is in part due to Covid but also to enhance their active lifestyles. Today’s companions and personal assistants are selected by how well they fit a tailored job description.

In the past, private staffing companions may have been more involved in assisting those with health and mobility issues. Today’s companions and personal assistants are selected based on unique client needs. These needs may include:

  • Working and live-in in luxury remote communities such as: Nantucket, Aspen, Sun Valley, Caribbean islands, etc.
  • Special skills with dogs, grandchildren, cooking, sports and house management
  • Calendar, organization and business assistance
  • Training and certification: First aid, CPR, RN, rehabilitation
  • Household tasks: laundry, couture, entertaining, shopping
  • Driving, walking, hobby activities
  • Social companion to restaurants, travel and resorts
  • Wardrobe organization and styling
  • Supervising other domestic staff and residences

Personality factors are also an important part of household staff fit. Such personality factors include energy, background, flexibility, education and talents. These are a few considerations for the hiring selection process.

Hiring a companion/personal assistant during covid requires especially disciplined measures for client protections. This can lead clients to rely upon only one or two key staff members. Companion/PA jobs often have generous salaries to ensure longer term retention.

Screening and background checks are of utmost importance, and Private Staff Group takes these very seriously. Here are some of the measures we are taking to ensure your safety during covid and beyond:

  • Comprehensive background checks, including education and driving
  • Zoom interviews
  • 90-Day Placement Guarantee
  • Privacy protection plan
  • Advisement on best safety practices and protocols

Review our private staff hiring protocols in detail here. For further information and a discussion of employing private staff safely, please call Stephen Candland at Private Staff Group 203-856-7811 or email: stephen@privatestaffgroup.com​.

Family Assistants vs. Nannies. Which One Do You Need?

With our worlds turned upside down by covid-19, your family’s needs are likely different than they were before. Many schools are online, requiring far more oversight of your children throughout the day. Although many parents are working from home, their busy schedules may not allow for the time necessary to ensure their child is excelling at school. In addition, with kids home a lot, you may be finding that your home is getting messy more quickly, and you are having to cook and grocery shop far more often. In addition, keeping your kids occupied is never easy, and is likely even more challenging now. If this sounds like you, your family would benefit most from a family assistant. 

How do nannies and family assistants differ?

Nannies are typically for younger children who require round the clock care. If your family needs are more than just childcare, a family assistant may be a better choice for you. The family assistant role is more versatile. Family assistants are like a hybrid between a nanny and a personal assistant. In other words, family assistants help the parents rather than just helping/prioritizing the kids. 

Other factors to consider are whether or not you want your family assistant to live in or not. Many families opt for the former, especially during Covid-19, but it is ultimately up to you. Whatever your private staffing needs, Private Staff Group can help. Private Staff Group employs best practices for safety including background checks and virtual interviews as well as health screenings. Read more about our Covid-19 safety guidelines here. Private Staff Group specializes in staffing New York, The Hamptons, Greenwich, Palm Beach, and San Francisco. Apply here for a complimentary private staffing consultation for your home, or email stephen@privatestaffgroup.com or call 1-866-282-7729.