What Is A Butler and What are Their Tasks


Published on May 6, 2020

You will probably have heard of the term ‘butler’ – but do you actually know what a butler is and what its tasks are? Firstly, you should know that butlers come in all different types. The role of a butler has evolved a lot over the years and the modern butler can be completely different from what you might think of a butler to be. Perhaps from a butler, you will have seen on TV or in films.

So what, really, is a butler, and what are their tasks?

Types of Butlers

So let’s firstly have a look at all the different types of butlers and their tasks.

Traditional Butler

As mentioned above, everyone will have heard of a butler. But the most immediate connotation with the word is a very old fashioned one. One you might have seen on television shows like Downton Abbey. These butlers do still exist but are arguably becoming rarer. This is what we would call the ‘Traditional Butler’

This type of Butler stands out for his ‘invisible presence’. Understanding the needs of the Principals before they realise them and providing service accordingly. This type of butler will traditionally wear a butler suit and look very formal whilst on duty.

Traditional Butlers will have been classically trained at a Butler or Service School. Its tasks will revolve around service. Having excellent knowledge of silver service, reception, and etiquette, and therefore will be the first person anyone will be greeted by when entering the house. This butler will be in charge of service for more formal occasions and parties, as well as the day-to-day service of food and beverages. They can also be in charge of shopping and running errands for the household.

Modern Butler

The Modern Butler can come from many different backgrounds. This butler has a wide variety of skills and its can take on many different shapes. They might be called different things. Lots of people nowadays might have a House Manager, instead of calling it a butler. This very much can be a role that has been evolved from the butler. This person will be in charge of the day to day running of the household. Also often managing staff, and organising payroll.

A modern butler might have a more managerial role than the traditional serving role that a more traditional butler would have. A modern butler can also have a combined role of management, as well as service orientated tasks. Often, chauffeuring duties can also be part of this. A modern butler does not wear a traditional butler suit but would dress formally for work.

Female Butler

The Female Butler is a versatile and unique service provider – who can cover many areas a Traditional or Male Butler sometimes cannot cover. Besides the female Butler’s service skills, its tasks revolve around being a confidant or companion for a female Principal.

The Female Butler can accompany Madame on travel, shopping, and introduce her to the social scene of new cities and countries. Many Female Butlers have excellent knowledge of fashion and well-being; she will act as a wardrobe specialist, advising on style, material, and the latest fashion. Her excellent contacts in the fashion industry will ensure Madame and the rest of the household is up to date with the latest designer items.

Female Butlers can also act as an excellent double role for childcare – many have a background in childcare and can help out with day-to-day duties, assisting children with homework, caring for babies, or advising on routine and feeding.

With a great eye for details, many Female Butlers step in to help out with Housekeeping. She can be in charge of the housekeeping staff, help out with the upkeep and maintenance of the property, and make sure the complete house and interior is in excellent condition.

Traditional English Butler

This person serves a marvelous purpose for international families looking to add that ultimate British touch to their household. The English Butler will speak the Queen’s English, will be educated and specialized in English culture, habits, and history. Its tasks revolve around acting as an educator of British etiquette and style. They can help international children with perfecting their English. And finally, they can assist parents in getting their children the best British education.

The English Butler can also provide a very comforting ‘home away from home’ feeling for English and British families residing abroad. The English Butler with his typical English ways will provide that English feeling. They will add English touches to any overseas household. This type of butler very much is still regarded as a traditional butler in his demeanor and tasks.

Hotel Butler

This person typically has a service background in the hotel and/or restaurant industry. This Butler and its tasks will be focused on service mostly. They will have excellent training in silver service and be highly skilled in presentation and reception. They will also have outstanding knowledge of food, wine-pairing, and spirits. The Hotel Butler is there to offer you a more personalised and completely catered-for experience during your travels. And they will make sure your stay will be an unforgettable one.

How to Hire a Butler

People hire Butlers for all different jobs nowadays. There will still be households who will be looking for a long term, full-time member of staff to fulfill any of the above-mentioned tasks. However, hiring a Butler for a party and event is becoming an increasingly popular thing to do. And a great way to spruce up any gathering!

Having a Butler for the day, for example, can make a great present for someone’s special day. The  Butler will be with you all day to provide that ultimate level of service – from breakfast, during the whole day, through to the evening. They will be serving you, chauffeuring you around and setting the table, and serving you in true traditional fashion.

Another great option is to hire a Butler for a (large) party or event. This can be something as simple as a garden party or a housewarming – where the butler can help set up, welcome guests, and serve food and drinks. They can also play a great role in larger events where they can help with the planning and organisation. As well as managing any other staff, catering, etc. Serving and welcoming your guests and the organisation of any transport too.

Salary of a Butler

A Butler’s salary can vary extremely depending on its tasks, background, and skills. If they have special skills, such as speak a certain language, being able to cook or specialist chauffeuring duties, for example – you are bound to pay more.

The below is an estimation of a Butler salary in the UK. If you are looking for advice on how to employ and pay someone, Stafftax and this government website are good places to start.

Entry-level/Less experienced –  a candidate with 2-4 years of experience.

  • Expect a salary of £430-£740 gross a week live in and £510-740 gross a week live-out.
  • Yearly salary range from £22,000 gross to £38,000 gross.

Mid-level/More experienced – a candidate 4-8 years experience.

  • Expect a salary of £740-1300 gross a week live in and £600-1400 gross a week live-out.
  • Yearly salary from £38,000 gross to £72,000 gross per year.

High level/Very experienced – a candidate with 8+ years of experience.

  • Expect a salary of £1300+ gross a week live in and £1400+ gross a week live-out
  • Yearly salary from £73,000 gross upwards.

How can Polo & Tweed Help?

If you are interested in hiring a butler, whether this is full time, or just for an event – Polo & Tweed can help! We have the best selection of the highest-end Butlers on our books, with candidates all over the world. The Polo & Tweed strict vetting and selection process means that only the best of the best make it on the books giving you the assurance to get the highest level of staff.

If you would like to train to become a butler, Polo & Tweed are world-leading training providers to students all over the world, with an online academy for all the courses too – including Butler training! The internationally known and recognised training academy only works with the absolute best trainers in the industry. They have dedicated their years of experience and skill to the students and the training courses.

Whether you are completely new to the trade, or a seasoned butler. You will be able to learn so much from the online Butler training course. The online courses are internationally acknowledged and provide you with a certificate upon passing your final assessment. 

 To find out more about what options work best for you do contact us here now and we look forward to speaking to you!

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