Household Staff Job Descriptions, Titles and Salaries

Please keep in mind: All private home salaries are based upon previous experience, stable work history, versatility of skills and flexibility of work schedule.

Household Manager / Estate Manager

Also know as butler, property manager, family manager or major-domo. Household Manager / Estate Manager was a term established in the mid 80s. House manager has now become the preferred title for any head of household administrator. However the other name titles are still in use.

The traditional duties were seeing to the comfort of the family and managing the other staff members along with the day-to-day operation of the residence.

Today’s duties: Candidates for these positions today are highly experienced or formally trained. They supervise and coordinate activities of the household and all household employees; and in the U.S. with much less formality. They are computer literate, responsible for household security, maintaining the inventory of household supplies and running all family errands. Depending on the size of the staff, or home, he or she may have cooking and cleaning duties and be the only staff member.

If the employer has more than one residence, the house manager may work at the different properties as necessary. Duties might also include managing financial accounts, seasonal opening and closing of all residences and acting as a personal assistant.
Salaries: $52,000.00 – $200,000.00 depending on experience, number of properties and staff, location of job (in larger cities, New York, California, etc., salaries are higher if the employee is responsible for his or her own housing).

Private Chef

Also called cook, recipe cook, and personal chef. The personal chef is always professionally trained and experienced in the preparation of most cuisines. Trained chefs are responsible for all nutrition, menu planning and preparation of household meals for the family and guests and any dinner parties or events. Duties include all food purchases, maintaining kitchen supplies, daily organization and cleanliness of kitchen. Also serving and clean up, depending on the household’s staff situation.

Recipe cook or cook is someone who is familiar and comfortable in the kitchen with basis cooking techniques. Cooking is not the main focus of their position in the home. Normally they have other primary duties in the home; housekeeping, laundry, ironing, etc.

Salaries: $52,000.00 – $85,000.00 for an established chef, $42,000.00 - $48,000.00 for a private chef with limited experience.

Couples

Over the years the traditional roles of these positions have stayed constant. Experienced, usually married, they work as a team. Traditionally they are live-in and the responsibilities are delineated by male and female roles. The female duties include maintenance of the inside of residence, including housekeeping, laundry, ironing, household errands, and cooking. The male duties include all exterior maintenance of property, the heavier housekeeping duties inside the residence and some gardening and handyman duties.

Salaries: $100,000.00 – $200,000.00 for an established couple who work on large estates (higher end of the scale if one or the other is a trained chef).

Driver / Handyman / Gardener

The job role has changed very little over the years. Traditional duties: Always a male and in full charge of maintaining the gentleman of the residence. Duties included maintenance and appearance of all automobiles, valet duties for the gentleman, and daily driving to all appointments and events.

Today’s duties: In some of the larger US cities, many families have a full-time chauffeur/driver. But for the majority of driving positions, driving is a very small part of the duties. Depending on the family’s lifestyle, the responsibilities could range from maintaining the operation of employer’s automobiles, handyman duties, gardening, heavy housekeeping, errands, and occasionally valet duties.

Salaries: $40,000.00 to $52,000

Housekeeper

Traditional duties: General cleaning, including dusting, making beds, laundry and ironing, etc. In a more formal home, the care of valuables such as silver, crystal, china, etc., as well as greeting guests and preparing for dinner.

Today’s duties: A housekeeper may grocery shop, run errands or have light childcare responsibilities.

  • Light Housekeeping – Tasks that are done on a daily basis to keep up with high traffic areas. Usually done in conjunction with child care.
  • Moderate Housekeeping – Overall responsibility for the general cleaning of the home. Washing dishes, laundry, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, polishing furniture, changing linens, making beds, cleaning bathrooms, ironing, and keeping track of cleaning supplies.
  • Heavy Housekeeping – In addition to the moderate housekeeping, responsible for cleaning baseboards, windows, blinds, light fixtures, buffing floors, etc.

Salaries: $15.00 -$16.00 hourly for a home that’s simple to clean, $18.00 – and up for a home when duties include more responsibility.

Laundress

A broad knowledge of caring for fine fabrics, linens and clothing. The role of a laundress has changed only with being experienced with the newer fabric products and technology of washers, dryers and the different pressing, steaming and rotary irons.

Traditional duties: Full charge of all household laundry and ironing. Preparing clothing for wash, stain removal, check for any minor repairs (tears, rips, buttons, hems, etc.), hand washing, press, iron or steam, folding and putting away all laundry, pick up of dry cleaning, and closet and wardrobe organization.

Today’s duties: Same as traditional duties.

Salaries: $25.00 to $50.00 per hour

Nanny / Mother’s Helper / Baby sitter / Baby Nurse

Although all of the above-mentioned titles have caring for children in common, they are all quite different.
Nanny - Highly-experienced person whose primary responsibility is child care. Includes meal and snack preparation, children’s bedroom and clothing maintenance, car pools, driving children to after school activities, assisting with homework, and overall safety of children. Maintaining children’s calendar and play dates. In some positions the family may require overnights and travel.

Mother’s Helper - Experienced person splitting their time between child care and light housework. These positions are normally required by families who have older children who are in school the entire day and child care is needed primarily in the afternoons for car pool and transporting children to activities. Duties include the cleaning and organization of the high traffic areas in the home, maintaining the family’s laundry, and household errands.

Baby sitter - An as-needed person who cares for and supervises children of all ages for short periods of time while parents are away. Baby sitters are typically high school and college students and are not career child care providers, and can only work evenings and weekends.

Salaries for Nanny / Mother's Helper / Baby Sitter: $12.00 to $20.00 per hour

Baby Nurse - Highly specialized, trained, and experienced person with newborns and infants. Baby nurse positions are typically a short-term position, 2 weeks to 6 months, to assist mothers with their newborns. Duties include initializing sleep, meal and play schedule, cleaning and sterilizing bottles, preparing bottles and feedings, keeping nursery tidy, bathing, and keeping a daily journal of the baby’s schedule. If requested they will accompany the mother to pediatrician appointments.

Salaries: $25.00 to $35.00 per hour ( Rates change for multiple children)