The Difference between a Housekeeper and a House Manager


Published on April 14, 2020

Do you know the difference between a housekeeper and a House Manager? There are a lot of differences! And it is very important to be able to distinguish between the two. Both come with a unique skillset and one role might not suit someone as well as the other.

So what is the difference between a housekeeper and a House Manager?

Firstly, let’s have a look at tasks of both the housekeeper and the house manager. From there, we can then look at the differences and the similarities. And also understand how in some households it might be suitable to have on person taking on (most) of both roles!

House Manager – Responsibilities

Firstly, it is important to know that a House Manager can be an all-encompassing role. Responsibilities can vary extremely from one household to the other. But in general, responsibilities can be seen as follows:

Overseeing the smooth running of the house and ensuring good general upkeep and maintenance of the property and land.

Besides this, the House Manager may be in charge of the other household staff. This can mean hiring and firing, general admin and salaries. As well as household budget, and making sure all the staff are conducting their duties to a high standard. Finally, a House Manager will normally also be liaising with contractors. If you are interested to learn more about what it means to employ staff, this can be a handy link.

The responsibility of a House Manager is typically more than that of the Butler or Housekeeper. However, smaller households may combine Butler and House Manager, or Housekeeper and House Manager into one role. Employees may also be able to be promoted from one of these positions into House Management, depending on the household.

House Manager – Duties

They can have many responsibilities and these can vary a lot. This is mostly depending on the type and size of the property they are managing. Some typical duties can include:

  • Ensuring the household/estate and grounds are run smoothly and efficiently at all times
  • Supervising and managing other staff members
  • Organising and liaising with outside contractors
  • Training other staff members
  • Organising and overseeing maintenance of the property
  • Ensuring the property is secure at all times
  • Organising family and household events
  • Greeting and caring for guests and visitors
  • Serving drinks and food
  • Chauffeur duties
  • Housekeeping duties (only when the duties with the housekeeper cross over)
  • Running errands and shopping
  • Taking responsibility for the household inventory. Also ensuring that supplies are always replenished
  • Answer the telephone and door
  • Arrange entertainment for social gatherings and events
  • Arrange all aspects of moving house if the client is moving
  • Be in charge of the budgets of the household
  • Make travel and holiday arrangements
  • Packing of luggage
  • Recruit and interview for new staff
  • Maintain records where needed
  • Perform any other tasks, within reason, required by the employer

Housekeeper – Responsibilities

In a nutshell, the housekeeper is responsible for the full cleaning and upkeep of the whole house. This goes from all cleaning including deep cleaning of the house. But also the day to day running of the house can be a part of if. Think about things such as getting fresh flowers in every day. A cleaner wouldn’t do that, but a housekeeper also makes sure the please looks and feels homely. Making sure the family’s favourite candles are lit in the rooms before they come home. All the little finishing touches and so much more make a housekeeper!

Some housekeepers can even be in charge of shopping, meal prep and cooking and child to pet care. It really depends on the household and what is needed.

Housekeeper – Duties

  • Organisation and general tidying of all areas of the house
  • Inventory of housekeeping cleaning products
  • Upkeep and general maintenance (or sending for repair) of the housekeeping tools
  • All general cleaning, both deep and upkeep of all the rooms in the property
  • Deep cleaning inside appliances
  • Emptying rubbish and bins
  • Laundry, ironing and wardrobe management
  • Clothing care, repairs and sending clothes to the dry cleaners
  • Window care and cleaning
  • Light gardening
  • Cooking, from simple daily cuisine through to more advanced dinner parties and events
  • Running errands, Shopping and other relevant duties/tasks
  • Managing inventory and stock keeping
  • Pet care, including feeding, walking and taking to the vet
  • Light childcare, assisting with children or babysitting
  • Admin, paperwork and organisation
  • Dealing with contractors and deliveries
  • House sitting and property care when the principals are travelling or away from the home

Difference between Housekeeper and House Manager

Now that you have seen the different tasks of the Housekeeper and the House Manager, it can become a little more clear where the differences lie. A House Manager is much more – as the word already implies – managing. Expect a House Manager to maybe sit in an office a little bit more. As they might be dealing with contractors, managing staff, payroll and organisation of things. Whereas a Housekeeper is definitely more actively involved in the active cleaning tasks and more manual work.

Having said that – did you see how many duties and tasks actually cross over? In smaller households, there could be one person in charge of both housekeeping and House Management. Maybe the house is not too big, so that means the housekeeping duties would not be as intense. And it would also mean the House Management duties would not be that extensive. Especially if there isn’t any, or that many members of staff to manage.

Another option that can be seen regularly is having a Head Housekeeper. This person takes certain duties from House Management, and applies them to all the housekeeping aspects in the house. The Head Housekeeper would manage all housekeepers – as there will be at least 1 other housekeeper there. They would also be in charge of planning and organising cleaning routines and schedules for the house and hiring and firing, as well as training of housekeeping staff. This could again be suited if there might be a very large Housekeeping team, which requires special attention and management.

It can also often be seen that a housekeeper becomes House Manager after having worked within the household for a long time. The Housekeeper will know the runnings of the household in and out – so there is a potential that they can make a very good House Manager. Just make sure they are up for all the tasks at hand!

How can Polo & Tweed help?

Do you currently have a housekeeper who might be interested in becoming a House Manager? Why not consider them doing a House Management training. This way they will go through all the tasks and duties, practise and learn all during the training. So that firstly it can be established if this is the right thing for them. And secondly, they will be well-prepped for the job! Polo & Tweed offer both online and face to face House Management training, in group settings or one to one.

If you would like to know more about our training courses, or about how to hire a new Housekeeper or House Manager, please do get in touch with us here. One of our experienced recruitment or training consultants will be in touch to help you further!



  1. Asha says:

    Would like to know more about your training courses.

    • Aafke Meelen says:

      Of course! You can find all the information about all our training courses – online and in-person – on our website here. If it is online courses you are indeed interested in, you can go here to sign up and get started straight away. Hope this helps!

  2. Nassozi Prossy says:

    What if am not qualified should i work as house keeping

    How to apply

    • Aafke Meelen says:

      Hello! You can register on our website here, this is also where you can apply for any jobs you may be interested in. If you want to become a housekeeper and you have no experience yet, have a look at our housekeeping training. You can have a look here for more information on that too. Good luck!

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