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.

Estate Manager / Household Manager

Also known 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: $100,000.00 – $300,000.00 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).

Lifestyle Manager

Lifestyle Manager is a relatively new title in the private home service industry. What does a Private Lifestyle Manager do? Exactly what the title states; assist in management of an Employer’s lifestyle. They can also be known or referred to as a Luxury Manager, Private Concierge, Home Service Manager or Assistant House Manager. Lifestyle Managers typically work under the supervision of the Estate Manager or House Manager. Most lifestyle management positions are created to assist with overflow duties of the Estate Manager, House Manager or other household staff members. Therefore, the duties can be a hybrid role covering a variety of skills and knowledge.

Common duties: Candidates for these positions primarily receive their expertise working in the private home sector, hospitality or concierge services and personal assistant or housekeeping positions. The duties could consist of calendar management, booking travel and hotels, personal correspondence, managing household staff, household errands, shopping, valet duties and traveling to Employer’s secondary residences to prepare and coordinate services for family’s arrival and departure. Travel can sometimes be frequent.

Salaries: $100,000.00 – $150,000.00 depending on previous experience and formal education

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: $60,000.00 – $200,000.00.  For an established cook, $60,000.00 - $75,000.00. For a personal / private chef with unlimited experience, $100,000 - $200,000.


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: $120,000.00 – $300,000.00 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: $65,000.00 to $85,000.00


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: $20.00 -$30.00 hourly for a home that’s simple to clean, $35.00 – plus, for a home when duties include a broader skill set or additional responsibilities.

Executive Housekeeper

Also known as head housekeeper or housekeeper. The old definition of an executive housekeeper has changed in our modern times. The position title and salary is determined by the duties expected to be perform within the household along with the capability of working autonomously. An executive housekeeper is normally a full-time position and carries many more responsibilities than a normal housekeeper or maid. In many instances they takes on some household manager duties.

In addition to traditional housekeeping duties the executive housekeeper is more experienced and capable of being a spokesperson for the family in certain situations and is familiar with basic computer navigation. They are normally in charge of supervising any outside services, setting the house on a weekly systematic cleaning schedule, running household errands, inventorying and purchasing of cleaning products, grocery shopping, knowledgeable with basic cooking and supervise any additional cleaning staff or cleaning services.

Salaries for highly experienced or professionally trained: $75,000.00 - $95,000.00


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: $35.00 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.

Nannies - $28.00 to $40.00 variables
Mother’s Helper: $30.00 to $35.00 per hour
Babysitter: $15.00 to $20.000 per hour

Newborn Specialist - 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: $50.00 to $75.00 per hour ( Rates change for multiple children)