A housekeeper is responsible for all aspects of the cleaning and laundry in the household. The role may sometimes include cooking family meals, grocery shopping, childcare, flower arrangements and dealing with tradesmen, but these expectations should always be discussed and agreed before employment as no two families have the same requirements. The role can also be extended to housekeeper/cook, housekeeper/nanny or executive housekeeper who will oversee a team of staff.
A housekeeper’s duties include cleaning the kitchen, including the ovens, fridges and cupboards, the bathrooms, bedrooms and living areas. The laundry will be washed (including hand washing delicate items) and ironed and dry cleaning arranged as necessary. We have housekeepers who are experienced in caring for antiques, silver, flower arranging and caring for fine clothes, so if that is something your require, please let us know.
A housekeeper can either be employed on a daily or residential basis and will usually work between 10 and 12 hours a day.
A PA is employed in the household to assist with the day to day scheduling and diary management, secretarial duties, managing household and business accounts and household management. They may also be required to liaise with the children’s schools and organise travel arrangements. They will usually be employed on a one-to-one basis and can work either full- or part-time.
Butler / House Manager
Traditionally a butler managed the male staff in the household and was in charge of the pantry, wine cellar and dining room, ensuring the smooth running of dinner parties as well as dealing with any staffing issues. However in the modern age the role of the butler has changed to encompass a more general managerial role, and they are expected to be flexible, on call at most hours, be able to multi task and often need to be prepared to travel with their employer at short notice. Butlers or house managers are responsible for, amongst other things, hiring and dismissing staff, arranging events, overseeing travel plans and occasional chauffeur duties. They are also knowledgeable in fine wines. If working in a country residence, they may need to have knowledge of shoots, gun care and experience in arranging shooting weekends.
Chef / Cook
Chefs and cooks in a private household are usually required to cook three meals a day for the family and in many cases will also have to cook the staff lunch and children’s teas. They are responsible for the menu planning (in consultation with their employer), shopping, cooking and kitchen accounts, as well as keeping the kitchen clean, tidy and well stocked at all times.
A chef will be expected to cook for most formal functions to a very high standard but should also be prepared to cook for children and informal family meals. A cook, on the other hand, will be required to prepare meals to a good family standard and to cater for informal dinner parties. Salaries will vary depending on age, experience, duties and working hours required and whether accommodation is provided.
A domestic couple is two people working as a team within a household to achieve a common goal. Couples are available in many varied combinations to suit whatever your needs may be. Whether it be a housekeeper and butler, housekeeper/nanny and gardener or cook and handyman/chauffeur, a couple can be a wonderful addition to your household.
Couples generally stay for longer terms in their posts, and they would normally expect separate accommodation to be provided. Some couples may have children or pets who will accompany them, and this obviously should be considered and discussed before employing them. this obviously brings a certain about of stability.
A chauffeur is normally required to take their employer to and from work. During the day the role may include various duties, such as general car maintenance, running household errands, driving other members of the household to various appointments, collect children from school as well as occasional DIY duties around the house.
Chauffeurs are expected to have an excellent knowledge of London road systems, local routes and motorways. Some posts may also require security skills or duties to be carried out.
Carer / Companion
A carer / companion is a person employed to assist with the day to day living of an injured, incapacitated or elderly individual. Duties will vary dependent on the level of care required but usually involves cooking, cleaning, assisting with bathing, personal care, dressing and general companionship. A carer / companion can work on a live-in or out basis, again depending on the level of care needed, although they usually live-in and work hours to suit the employer. Their experience and qualifications vary greatly and we have a wide range of staff to suit most needs.
A gardener with horticultural qualifications may have experience of landscaping, soft and hard fruits, herbs and propagation. They could be expected to plant out and maintain formal and informal gardens and lawns, look after orchards, woodland and greenhouses, hard landscaping, ponds and pools.
An under gardener could be expected to maintain established gardens and hard landscaping, tennis courts, fences, water features, ponds and pools.
A gardener may sometimes also be responsible for security systems, household maintenance and act as a driver for tasks such as airport runs, school runs, errands etc.
An estate manager will manage their employer’s property when the employer is unable to do so themselves. Generally they will be responsible for budgeting decisions, managing other staff and ensuring good practice in the work place. Traditionally an estate manager will have farming or land management experience as well as some business management experience. They will also usually have experience of running a shoot. They will be expected to liaise with outside contractors, security of the property and offer hands on assistance when required by other staff.