First Time Hiring A Butler: What To Expect

High Tea

Published on September 16, 2016

Having a clear plan to find the right butler makes all the difference…

Hiring a butler for the first time can seem like a daunting task. Whether you are looking to hire a butler for yourself, your household, or for the principals you are working for, it can be a tricky and confusing process.

If this is the first time a butler will be entering your household, it’s helpful to set expectations and be very clear on what/who you are indeed looking for. This will avoid confusion, manage expectations, and make the process altogether much more rewarding.

Keep reading to be reminded on exactly what a butler can do, what to expect having a butler in your household, and what to be mindful of when going through the recruitment process.

The Butler: Defining Expectations

When looking for a Butler to join your household it is important to set the right expectations. Asking yourself the following questions can give you much clarity on what you need in a butler:

  • Which tasks in the household are currently left untouched/overdue
  • Would all of these tasks be picked up by the butler
  • Can any of the other staff also pick up/fulfill these tasks
  • What unique skills would I require the butler to bring to the household

After answering these questions, you will have a much clearer idea on your need for a butler in your household, and what role the butler will fulfill.

Your next step is to get a better idea of exactly the roles and responsibilities a butler can take on, then match these with the requirements you defined above. 

Ready to hire a butler? Start your search >>

Typical Butler Roles & Responsibilities

Meet & Greet

  • The butler is often the first point of contact in the household, whether this is over the phone, at the front door or gate and when welcoming guests. The butler can welcome you or any visitors in the correct manner, take your coat and bags, and in case of parties or events, guide your guests to the right location in the property

Food & Drink Service

  • Any professional butler will be specialised and educated in Silver Service. The butler can set the table in any way required. This might be a simple weekday meal, where the butler can make sure the table is set, and serve the food or it may be a formal dinner party where the butler can provide full professional table settings.


  • Many butlers are an expert in cleaning and laundry. They can either assist already present housekeepers, manage the housekeeper and check/correct their work, or be fully responsible for the housekeeping in the house. When making a butler fully responsible for all the housekeeping and laundry, set realistic expectations on workload. It might be worth getting a part time housekeeper to aid the Butler, so the butler can focus on other tasks too.

Household Staff Management

  • A Butler can be in charge of household staff, managing rotas, organising payment and arranging cover when needed. They can also be in charge of recruiting new members of staff, disciplining staff where needed and providing training and guidance.


  • Butlers can serve excellently as a private chauffeur, on a daily basis if needed. They can do drop offs and pick ups to and from appointments, be in charge of the school run for the children and pick up guests from required locations. Many Butlers will have knowledge of cars and can be in charge of the valet and upkeep, including MOTs.

Personal Assistant/Confidant

  • Male or female, Butlers make the perfect Personal Aide or Confidant. They are excellent in accessing situations, will know you and the way you like your life to look like through and through, and are well known to ‘know what you need before you do yourself’. Butlers will hold the highest level of discretion, and will never give away any information. They can be there for you after a long, stressful day, to give advice or just to lend a listening ear.

Adjusting to life with a Butler

Another thing to be mindful of, is what your life would look like with a butler. Ask yourself the following questions, to get a more clear and concrete picture:

  • Do you need/want the butler in your house full time?
  • Do you want the Butler to have access to all areas in the house, or are some a no-go area? Make this clear before employment so there cannot be any confusion on this.
  • Do you require the Butler to Live-In? If so, consider accommodation. This needs to be appropriate for someone to live independently. Do you want the butler to be living on your premises, and using facilities? Be very clear about what can and cannot be used after working hours.
  • Working hours. Some butlers can be available during the night, or for longer periods of time. But again, set expectations and communicate clearly how many hours are required.
  • Cross-over tasks. As mentioned above, a Butler can cover many different tasks. This is part of what makes a Butler such a wonderful addition to a household, but again be clear in expectation and requirements, so the Butler can schedule tasks in accordingly.
  • Consider how independently you would like the Butler to work. Would you like to give him/her a list of tasks every day/week, or would you prefer for the Butler to manage tasks and work independently from your guidance?


What to expect when hiring

Now you know what you need from a butler – the most concrete process starts; the recruitment process. There are several ways to conduct this process. You can find a Butler through connections, post an advert locally or on websites like Gumtree, or use a professional Agency. Going through CVs, profiles and references is not an easy task and Agencies can help with this. For more information, read this article on what the recruitment process for domestic staff, like Butlers, is like, and advice on the different options to take.

At Polo & Tweed we are here to help. If you have any more questions after reading this article, would like any more advice or you would like to find out how we can find the perfect Butler for your household, do contact us and we will be looking forward to helping you further.

Ready to hire a butler? Start your search >>


  1. Andrew says:

    This article was quite helpful, would you have a starter checklist of things the butler would say.

    I am considering purchase of a piece of property which will become my full time household which is in need of a full-time butler and a housekeeper due to my work schedule.

    The property in its current condition apparently has a groundskeeper so I am honestly looking for a script or things to say to my butler/housekeeper in addition to the groundskeeper.

    Butler or servant protocol as it were is something I’m stressing about, but I want to have read this and have my family read thru the process well before buying the property.

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Hi Andrew, Thank you for your message. It sounds like a great idea to do some research before starting your recruitment process for your new full time Butler and Housekeeper. Might I recommend you read our blog about interview questions for a Butler – as this may give you some guidance. We would love to help you with your recruitment if you need our advice or support. Good luck with your new property and staff!

  2. Sonia Hodgin says:

    Excellent read and clarity I was seeking. I’ll also go to the links you provided. Thank you!!

  3. Lynn Wyatt says:

    Very informative, I’m impressed with the professionalism.

  4. Mikki Gravlee says:


    I live in Oklahoma and it’s very hard to find a live-in Butler. Would you have any ideas?

    Thank you.
    Mikki Gravlee

    • mm Aafke Meelen says:

      Hello Mikki

      Thank you very much for reaching out. We are an international agency so we work with clients and candidates all over the world, including Oklahoma! You can reach us on [email protected] or call us on +44 (0) 203 858 0233 to find out more!

  5. Luis Baclagan Jr says:

    I’m interested in the Butler job which I found on I believe I have the appropriate experience for this role. Please contact me if you would like to discuss further.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

  6. Ronnie says:

    It does not appear that there is any training schools in the US that would train someone with out experience, Is there away I could get trained in the US with out traveling out of the Country?

    • mm Aafke Meelen says:

      Thank you for your question, Ronnie. All our training courses are available as online e-learning courses too! This means that you can access our training wherever you are in the world. We have students from all over the world doing our e-learning courses, including many from the US too. You can find all information about our online e-learning courses here. Hope that helps!

  7. Jackson says:

    If I where to get a butler and want them to live wity me, can they live in a three room apartment?
    And, How do I pay them It only feels right to pay them.

    • mm Aafke Meelen says:

      When hiring any member of live-in staff, it is very important to have suited living arrangements for them. Ideally, at a minimum, their own private bedroom with en suite or bathroom. Regarding salary, you can find the salary guidelines for butlers on our website here. Hoping this helps!

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