Private & Household Staff Salary Guide

Welcome to Irving Scott’s in-depth review of salary expectations for key roles in large households. As well as job satisfaction, personal betterment and vocation – all factors that make a career in private service so rewarding – we know that the main motivation which leads talented individuals to pursue this line of work is financial. Knowing how much money will be offered to newcomers, and what they can expect to be earning within a year and five years of starting a position in service, is key to encouraging those with the right skill set to consider a profession in this sector.

A household employee’s salary is usually based on two factors: the amount of experience the candidate brings to the position and the duties included in the job description. The location of the role (London, countryside or international) is also a contributing factor for defining a pay package.


Butlers, often known as household/ home managers, report a high level of job satisfaction with much room for career progression. Their role is vital for the successful operation of a private household, with key responsibilities in their remit. Junior butlers on apprenticeship positions can expect to earn around £25,000 plus benefits which often include accommodation. Salaries increase to an average of £50,000 to £80,000 and benefits for butlers that oversee staff, receive guests, coordinate events and communicate in more than one language. For higher salaries up to £125,000/150,000 butlers would be expected to manage a sizeable team of employees plus dozens of contractors, sometimes over multiple sites.


At Irving Scott we have placed chauffeurs with royalty, celebrities, and executives around the world. A chauffeur or a driver can expect to earn a salary of between £35,000 to £60,000 annually. Drivers can expect to receive bonuses for commitment, longevity and loyalty. Discretion and professional secrecy are also remunerated. To reach the top end of the earning bracket chauffeurs usually have specific qualifications such as Defensive Driving, as well as several years of experience within the sector.

Private Chefs / Cook

As with all positions in private service, the salary of a household cook will vary depending on education and experience. This role has much potential for career advancement with junior cooks straight out of college with a vocational training qualification able to begin apprenticeships at around £17,000 per year. Professional chefs are responsible for planning menus that meet employer standards, arranging the purchase of produce, managing catering budgets and planning meals for daily enjoyment as well as more complicated menus for private gatherings or parties. Private Chefs undertaking such a responsible and detail-orientated job usually earn between £45,000 and £110,000 per year, plus benefits. Previous experience within Michelin starred restaurants and private residences often lead to opportunities in even higher paying roles.

Domestic Couples

Domestic couples are often highly esteemed by their employers who trust them implicitly with the successful management of their homes. Although different roles have different pay grades, at Irving Scott we note that combined salaries range from £45,000 to £120,000, annually, plus benefits for the couple such as accommodation, which in London may be an en-suite private room or in the countryside could be a separate cottage.

Handyman/ handyperson

For a role which requires a hands-on approach to maintenance of large properties, the average salary ranges between £25,000 to £40,000 a year. Those who undertake security and driving roles as part of the position can expect a salary towards the upper end of the scale. Some clients seek specific qualifications such as electrical skills or engineering, for which they pay accordingly.

House/Estate Manager

Household Managers usually earn an annual salary between £45,000 to £90,000, plus benefits. Those who enter this profession from hotel management backgrounds can expect their salary to be matched. Candidates who choose to move into household management positions as a career improvement are able to move up the pay ladder quickly as they gain experience and make the position their own.

An Estate Manager is the top administrative position within a private household and as such commands between £80,000 and £150,000 a year, with generous corporate-style benefit packages included. This challenging role, which involves close personal contact with the owners to ensure expectations are being met, is highly regarded. Those who begin in this role have already demonstrated project management abilities in their previous positions. They have a can-do attitude, excellent negotiation skills and an ability to think on their feet. Estate Managers earning the highest salaries are often experienced land managers with knowledge of farming and the ability to manage external contractors related to the successful running of the grounds.

Housekeeper Cook

This flexible role attracts a salary of between £35,000 and £50,000 a year, depending on the candidate’s skills and experience. For many successful applicants these positions provide a perfect opportunity to transition into private households from a background in hospitality.


With requirements varying in nature with options that include live in or live out and covering part or full-time, it can be challenging to accurately reflect a gross salary for this domestic household role. Housekeepers are sought for many types of homes, from multi-staffed formal ambassadors’ residences to more casual positions in family homes. A very experienced and/or professionally-trained Housekeeper will normally earn £35,000 to £50,000 per year. Their benefits package may include housing, automobile, insurance, and other rewards. Head Housekeepers with supervisory duties will reach the higher end of this salary band.


A houseman is tasked with a variety of chores that require a wide range of basic skills. Clients seeking a houseman expect the candidate to have a driving license, be adept at indoor and outdoor maintenance, able to assist serving if required and aware of all matters concerning security.  A live-in houseman usually receives a salary of £20,000 – £28,000 per year gross. Those that live-out are paid more but must live within a commutable distance of their employer’s home. Thus, dependent on location, they may be offered between £25,000 – £35,000 for a full time position.

Lady’s Maid

As a female personal assistant reporting directly to the mistress of the house, a lady’s maid has specific knowhow that makes her invaluable to her employer. Earning between £40,000 to £60,000 as a rule, these members of staff are responsible for wardrobe management, personal care, informing their principle about local cultures and etiquette, as well as being able to source manicures, spas, gyms and yoga classes to complement their principle’s busy social life.

Personal Assistants/EA

Full-time salaried Personal Assistants working in domestic environments typically earn between £45,000 to £80,000 annually, plus benefits such as use of a car and an expense account. Working closely with the estate manager, the personal assistant often has decision-making abilities which can lead to salaries around and above  £120,000.


Qualified, experienced laundresses can expect to earn in the region of £50,000 for this niche role which is so appreciated by Irving Scott’s clients. Starting salaries begin at 30,000 for those with experience in recognizing and categorizing certain fabrics, who are able to care for and maintain clothing and linen, and who know about seasonal organization of wardrobes. Salaries increase with experience and specific knowledge about designers, couture clothing, trends, altering and mending items of clothing and wardrobe maintenance.


These trustworthy and faithful employees, fully qualified in childcare, are the backbone of a happy household with young members in it. Salaries range from £30,000 upwards and are dependent on a variety of factors including the age of the child(ren), number of children under their supervision, whether the role is live-in or live-out and if skills such as languages, a driving license and nutrition are required.

Maternity Nurse

The average salary range for a Maternity Nurse can range between £180-400 per day working 10 to 12 hour shifts. The average being around £20ph. Most maternity nurses will be classified as self-employed meaning they take care of their own taxes and National Insurance. If they stay overnight with the baby they should still be paid for those hours they are on-call.

Wardrobe Manager

An ideal role for fashion graduates and those who have worked behind the scenes in the film industry, wardrobe management in private service is highly rewarding on a financial and personal level. At Irving Scott we have a policy of negotiating salary on a position by position basis for this specialized job that is becoming increasingly popular among our clients.


Within the security positions offered by our clients there are roles such as residential team members, security trained drivers and close protection operatives, each with specific skills. Expected to work shifts and to live-out, security staff earn around £45,000 per annum, although this is variable and can be substantially higher in more complex household circumstances.

Family Office Staff

Family Office Staff are incredibly talented individuals with a flair for business, an eye for detail and a smart attitude towards harvesting brilliance. Although salaries can vary remarkably dependent upon the nature of the position available, here at Irving Scott we can guarantee satisfaction for both our clients and the successful candidates in these situations.

Ski & Yacht Staff

Salaries for Ski & Yacht staff are very much dependent on the type of contract being offered and the number of persons to be attended to. Lucrative short-term positions for chefs, housekeepers, wardrobe managers and lady’s maids are consistently offered by Irving Scott for those candidates who enjoy the challenges of these unique environments.

These figures should serve as general guidelines.

We encourage you to speak with an Irving Scott Private Staffing Consultant about your specific requirements and the salaries offered for household staff similar to those you are looking for.

You may be interested to read the Stafftax advice sheet for domestic employees. To calculate your take home salary you can use a salary calculator.