Becoming a modern-day butler

A young woman in an orange top sitting at a table outside being served by a modern-day butler.


Gone are the days of gloved hands carrying silver trays – the modern-day private butler job looks a little different these days. With an extended range of responsibilities, numerous benefits and an ever-growing knowledge base, it is now a very varied role requiring a wide range of skills. As a result, the paths to becoming a household butler have also evolved.

From working in five-star hotels to attending butler school, developing the skills required to excel in this position can be acquired in many different settings. So just how does one end up as a butler for a private household?

The first step is to understand the required skills and responsibilities. As a butler, your daily duties will include the coordination of household staff; overseeing the cleanliness of a property; caring for a principal’s wardrobe, fine art, wine cellar, silver and antiques; food and drink service, attending to the needs of guests and in some cases, valet service. Depending on the household, a private butler may also be assigned tasks normally attributed to someone in a personal assistant job, such as diary management and booking restaurants and travel.

The diversity of the role means there are plenty of routes to becoming a butler in London or elsewhere. While no specific formal qualifications are required, there are specialised training programmes available, with a focus on contemporary household management and domestic service.

Alternatively, many of the skills can also be developed in customer service positions, especially in luxury hospitality. Concierge or hospitality positions in five-star hotels are a fantastic way to develop communication, customer service and cleaning skills, as well as developing an understanding of silver service.

Alternatively, you may wish to seek an entry-level role in a private household, such as a junior house attendant or temporary position. This can offer the possibility of further training and progression.

Outside of these technical requirements, there is plenty you can do to work towards a butler position. A strong understanding of etiquette, professional appearance and discretion are all crucial attributes of a successful butler.

Outside of the work itself, a butler position in a private household has multiple advantages – it offers live-in accommodation, exposure to the world of luxury goods and services, a competitive salary and in some cases, the opportunity for travel and quick career progression.

Whatever your career aspirations, working with a butler employment agency can often help with your prospects. It is quite common for private households looking to hire a butler to approach a butler recruitment agency with their job specification, so being registered with an agency can maximise your chances of attaining a role as a household butler.

Author Laura Glendenning Tiger Recruitment Team

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