Household Manager

Alternate Titles:  HM, House Manager, Butler, Butler Administrator, Major Domo, Manservant, Staff Manager, Chief of Staff, Staff Captain, Estate Manager, Head of Household Staff, Houseman, Private Service Manager


A Household Manager’s sophistication, professionalism and experience requirements will be driven by a more complex (formal or high profile) residence, and the standards of service requested by the Principals. 

Manage the Daily Details of ONE Private Residence

Household Managers may perform some of the same duties as the Estate Manager but take care of the daily details of managing usually one private residence with a smaller staff, if any, and fewer vendors or contractors. In very large estates, the Household Manager reports to the Estate Manager. Because this is such a general job title, the actual duties will vary from household to household and the sophistication and service requirements of the Principal. When taken to a greater range of responsibility, the title Household Manager gives way to the Estate Manager who has all the same skills and more.

By virtue of their training and experience, more sophisticated Household Managers can draw upon a broader range of talents and skills to save employer time and money. Taking care of the daily details can mean that the Household Manager is doing some cooking, cleaning, driving and other domestic tasks. The successful employee will often be efficient, skillful and quick, which will usually make the employer happy by anticipating employer needs, being able to think the way the employer thinks, understanding pro-active property management, event planning, security, and luxury items.  It is understood that there is always some hands on involvement, and this level of Household Manager will know all the domestic tasks in order to properly supervise, train and fill in in event of an absence, if necessary.

Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

The top Household Mangers in the “private services” industry are some of the most well rounded, thoughtful, independent and resourceful workers that can be found anywhere.  The unique combination required to succeed in this position is rarely found in other professions. 

The 21st Century Household Manager

The 21st Century Household Manager will have a Bachelor’s degree and or post-secondary education; many may possess an MBA or even might have a degree in Real Estate Construction Management, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Real Estate/Property Management and hold a Household Manager certification.  Top Household Managers have many years of previous experience in private services and is responsible for managing and protecting the Principal’s and family’s extensive assets, their privacy, and security. 

  • On the one hand, the successful Household Manager is a strong leader with exceptional organizational, human resources and financial management skills; these managers are acutely aware of current household and business technologies, finance, computers to include smart home systems. 
  • On the other hand, they are well educated in luxury items such as fine art and antiques, and proper social etiquette, and cultural knowledge.  Household Manager is creative and intuitive thinkers and constantly solves problems; they are highly capable negotiators, and have a broad range of property management knowledge

Household Manager Reporting

  • In a large estate, the Household Manager reports directly to the Estate Manager. 
  • In a single family residence or property, the Household Manager may report to the Principal
  • If a Single Family Office (SFO) is set-up by a high wealth family, the Household Manager may report to a high level management position within the SFO

Household Managers Range of Responsibilities 

  • Standards Setting & Household Procedures - Household Managers in a more formal residence typically set service standard and housekeeping procedures for the home.  May write Household Standards Manual and Household Procedures Manual
  • Staffing – Household staff may include, if any: Housekeepers, Laundress, Houseman, Chauffeur, Private Chef, Gardener, Nanny etc., although a very large staff would indicate estate management  and estate management skills, rather than household management.  Regardless of staff size, staffing and personnel management responsibilities for one or a multi-staff include:  ; hiring, firing, orientation, training, mentoring, coaching, development, compensation, taxes, reviews and supervision, and accurate record keeping, on-going management of staff to meet service needs of household and administrative functions
  • Vendor & Contract Negotiation and Management – May negotiate and manage all contracts, supervise work and review invoices for all outside serve providers including screening and overseeing outside vendors, contractors
  •  Property & Systems Management - scheduling for all maintenance, staffing, accounting and services needed for l property; system and procedure protocol development for all properties
  • Budget Preparation –May prepare budget and Timesheet approval for payroll
  • Security & Safety - Overseeing security for the household and family could also be included
  • Other Duties - Greeting and serving guests, errands (shopping, gift purchases, dry cleaning), managing the household calendar

Compensation – Corporate Type Benefits, Perks

  • Annual compensation for a Household Manager broadly will range from $45K - $100K plus benefits.
  • At an uncomplicated level, the salaries are often in the $45 - $60,000 with corporate type benefits and in many cases may include accommodation
  • For the highly experienced, seasoned Household Manager, salaries can reach to $100,000 for such talented individuals with specialized project skills to include accommodation and benefits.
  • A household manager may live in or live out, and principally is employed on a full time basis