What Does Butler Do?

A butler is responsible for everything! The list is endless, but your role could have you doing any or all of the following:

  • Overseeing household staff
  • Housekeeping or cleaning the pool
  • Coordinating the activities and schedules of the staff and your employer
  • Walking the dog
  • Making holiday or travel arrangements
  • Traveling with your employer
  • Packing your employers bags
  • Doing the shopping
  • Make restaurant bookings
  • Ironing clothing
  • Training other staff members
  • Acting as a personal assistant
  • Organizing social events or parties
  • Cooking, or serving food and drinks
  • Driving your employer around or acting as a valet
  • Acting as a bouncer or doorman when the need arises.

What Skills Does a Butler Need?

For all of these reasons and more, a butler must be.

As a butler, you need to be courteous, well-spoken, loyal, and able to carry out any and all tasks requested of you, whether they fall under this list or not. Becoming a butler has a lot to do with management and a commitment to service excellence is crucial. The role requires good manners, professionalism, and an intuition for what your employer wants and needs before they ask for it.  Flexibility is important – you have to be prepared to be available at all hours. If you’re woken up in the middle of the night, you better be on the ball and happy to help. It’s also important to look the part – you’ll be on the go all the time and you should always look your best for your employer.

Confidentiality is Key

The most important responsibility and skill is discretion. Your employers will always be wealthy and well known, and usually very protective of their privacy, and as someone who is so entrenched in the inner workings of their lives, your confidentiality is crucial. You’ll be expected to sign a non-disclosure agreement and keep the confidence of your employers – current and ex-employers included.

According to Neil Phillips, the head butler at Cape Royale Luxury Hotel says:

“Private butlers build a relationship with their employer, you become friends and they start to trust you. You sign confidentially agreements saying you won’t release any information about them.”

Says Cape-based butler, Lynette Venter:

My colleagues and I have worked with princes and movie stars, but we don’t mention anything specific about them, even to each other. Nobody will even say whom exactly he/she work for. We respect people’s privacy.”

Butler Jobs Around the World

These days, hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other hospitality establishments all around the world in demand outside of private households as well though, seek butlers out. You could find yourself working on a private yacht, on a jet, or in a holiday villa – not a bad life! Also, job experience in the hotel or hospitality industry is a big plus on a butlers CV.

Butlers are usually paid quite well. According to Times Live, a butler with a pilot’s license could receive a salary of up to R2 million per year! All in all, if you’re a service-oriented individual, a job as a butler could be right up your alley.

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