House Manager and Estate Manager
Highly specialised and trained, your House Manager or Estate Manager will ensure smooth day-to-day running of your property and staff.
We prize House/Estate Managers who have extensive experience. The position demands grace under pressure and consummate professionalism. Courtesy is of paramount importance.
The House Manager/Estate Manager will oversee tradespeople and the general running of the property, capable of servicing the many facets and unique aspect of your household. They are flexible as well as highly skilled, and come with extensive experience managing large properties and staff for high-profile individuals and companies.
House or Estate Manager, or House & Estate Manager?
The terms Estate Manager and Household Manager are commonly used interchangeably, but they’re actually two different roles that have some (or many) overlapping responsibilities and skills. In order to retain the right person for each job and ensure that your home and property run smoothly and to your house/estate’s particular specifications, it’s helpful to understand the difference between these two two roles. It might make sense to combine the roles, or to hire two specific people for unique roles. The decision is yours.
Today’s modern Estate Manager is yesterday’s Majordomo. Majordomo refers to the highest (major) person of a household (domūs or domicile) staff, the chief of staff who acts on behalf of the owner of a large or significant residence. Sometimes referred to as the ‘head butler’, maître d’hôtel, or steward, it’s important to recognize the overall true meaning of what a modern Estate Manager does on a daily basis.
Estate Manager Functions
Typically, the Estate Manager holds the #1 position in the household and implements the management of your property and will be flexible, organized, and supremely competent to deal with multiple properties if several exist. Many will have experience in managing multiple residences, often abroad, giving them valuable international experience. In a large estate that consists of several thousands of acres, where the owners live away and visit on occasion, the estate manager will often reside on the estate and will have overall responsibility for it in every aspect.
Estate Managers are responsible for hiring and training staff and usually oversee ongoing personnel management. Some Estate Managers have a more ‘hands-on’ role, depending on your needs, but their primary roles involve the management and supervision of other household staff.
Key duties of Estate Managers include:
• Handling financial elements such as budgets, payroll, and accounting
• Interacting with curators, architects, accountants, attorneys, and financial advisers
• Overseeing maintenance of grounds, transportation, private collections, construction projects and contractors
• Managing a complex team of staff, tradesmen and professionals
• Preparing a specific property for your arrival if you have multiple properties
• Planning and coordinating executive events such as a private dinner or a large, formal gathering
Estate Manager Qualifications
The most successful and competent Estate Managers are well-rounded individuals who possess a certain depth of knowledge and, of course, prior experience.
At Irving Scott, we seek the following qualifications when interviewing Estate Managers:
• University or an industry-specific degree (Hotel Management, for instance)
• Trained in service for private and hotel environments
• High level of personal experience with individuals and private families
• Ability to confront difficult issues and make the right decisions, particularly in relation to staffing and financial matters
• Understanding the legal and financial aspects of estate
• Knowledge of luxury items including antiques and fine art
• Organization and documentation of wine cellar inventory
• Excellent business skills in the areas of computers, finance, organization and planning
• Experience in human resources, team projects, and independent management
• Resourceful, motivational, creative, intuitive
• Leadership and negotiating abilities
• Up-to-date on the use of all relevant communication technology
Household Manager Functions
While the duties of an Estate Manager and Household Manager appear similar, Household Managers are typically more ‘hands-on’ and perform service tasks themselves rather than delegating them to other staff. For a single family home or a smaller estate/residence, the Household Manager functions as a self-contained version of the Estate Manager. They train, oversee, manage, and assist your household staff. They’re friendly and always available, and yet respect privacy and confidentiality and can maintain a comfortable level of professionalism.
Other key duties include:
• Receiving guests and visitors, answering phones and signing for deliveries
• Keeping inventory, and managing household budgets
• Overseeing contractor services and vendors and supervising home renovations
• Assisting with home security precautions and fire prevention systems
• Planning travel preparation and assisting with packing
• Organising and planning events and parties, or assisting event planners
• Preparing table service and the serving of meals
• Cleaning and maintaining household furnishings to include clothing, artwork, antiques, crystal, silver, porcelain, etc…
• Managing household budget and liaising with the employer’s family office
• Hiring and directing other household staff
• Managing the household calendar
• Maintaining household security, such as fire and alarm systems
Household Manager Qualifications
The qualifications for a Household Manager are similar to those of an Estate Manager: both require a variety, scope, and range of skills. The best Household Manager for you is someone you feel comfortable and confident with. Experience in restaurant or office management and/or formal schooling and specialised degrees can vary to the degree necessary to do the job.
At Irving Scott, we typically seek the following qualifications when interviewing Household Managers:
• Excellent personnel management and social skills
• Knowledge of household items and proper care procedures
• Leadership, negotiation, supervisory and problem solving skills
• Personal competencies and qualities to ensure satisfaction and success in the role
• Commitment to high standards of service
• Diplomacy and tact
• Enthusiasm and a sense of humour