Household Staff Guide

Domestic Staff Agency, staffing guide

Its very easy to get confused and these days most domestic staff can be employed in conjunction with other roles depending on the hours and duties required. The most typical combinations of domestic staff are to mix House managers, Butlers, PA’s, Nannies, Drivers and Chefs. Gone are the days when people hired one staff for each role.

On this page we explain the roles and duties of each domestic job title, within the household Staff market. All of our candidates have very good references, understand the importance of discretion and are hard working.

The Bespoke Butler Academy trains old and new domestic staff of all levels

An au-pair might be an option for the busy mum/dad who needs an extra hand on a daily basis. A typical au-pair is aged 18 – 27 and has got an interest in children and has got a bit of experience. If you are looking for an au-pair, please contact our sister company Peekaboo at 

Au-pair Couples/Domestic couples
Domestic Couples, whether married or in a long-term relationship, usually cover all domestic duties between them for average size households. They tend to stay long term as they are working for you together. They are familiar with working in a private household and experienced in all aspects of running a large informal household including: housekeeping, childcare, cooking, gardening, driving and general maintenance. Au Pair couples and domestic couples are proving a very popular choice for busy family homes in the country and feedback from our clients is always very positive.   In larger or more formal residences, an experienced couple will often take the roles of house manager and estate manager, providing maintenance and security of the property while you are away.  A resident couple may also take care of your household pets on a daily basis.

A house manager is often in charge of one or more large households with many staff and the person who provides supervision to the others. The house manager is responsible for the everyday running of the home/homes and is usually reports to the Lady or Gent of the propery. Our House Managers hold excellent managerial, operational, organisational household skills and have very high professional standards.  Some of their core duties include:  staff management and training; development of standards and protocols; supervising household accounts and budgeting; stock-taking inventories; control of supplies and procurement; plus the planning of formal entertainment and business schedules.  They are experienced with office-based software plus payroll and basic accounting software.

The role of a Butler
 is a type of upmarket servant in a large home and the role of a butler is to be in charge of the dining room,wine cellar and kitchen/pantry and some also have charge of the housekeepers or the entire house and its appearance. A Butler is by tradition usually male but we also offer female butlers, under butlers and butler trainees. Our unique Butler Training in London City qualifies many great Butlers several times per year. Butlers thrive on providing flawless organisation and an immaculate service for you.  They combine and supervise household skills from housekeeper, waiter, chef, valet and chauffeur through to personal assistant, displaying excellence and aplomb across every role with charismatic refinement.  Core duties usually include:  recruiting and supervising household staff; maintaining employee records and household accounts; taking responsibility for stock control; liaising with contractors and suppliers; menu planning; greeting and dining etiquettes; stocking wine cellars; booking travel arrangements; caring for clothes; with an impeccable telephone manner.

A housekeeper is a person who is hired to provide professional domestic services such as cleaning, laundry, and sometimes cooking and errands. Usually only wealthy households employ full-time domestic workers such as housekeepers, though many dual-income upper and middle class families hire the services of a housekeeper for periodic household cleaning. Considered a luxury by many, employing a full-time housekeeper may involve providing room and board in addition to a weekly or monthly salary. A full-time housekeeper usually does not have any involvement with children in the household but some of them have childcare experience and also baby sit or do nanny work. How much to pay my housekeeper? Have a look at our household staff salary guide

Chefs can make a dramatic difference to the life of a household and help to generate your family’s reputation for entertaining and fine dining.  Core duties usually include:  menu planning; grocery purchasing; general ingredient and meal preparation; catering for parties and occasions; plus maintaining food health and safety requirements. We have short term, long term, emergency and yatch chefs available throughout the year.

A qualified chauffeurs who will expertly drive you through London and navigate all main routes beyond, in the UK and abroad.  The Bespoke Bureau Drivers are experienced in continental driving as well.  Most have completed advanced driving courses and hold British Chauffeurs Guild qualifications. All hold a clean, full licence and can proficiently handle various, prestigious, performance cars including:  Bentley; Rolls Royce; Jaguar; Mercedes; Aston Martin; and limousines.  We can also source security trained drivers should you require.

Estate manager
Similar to the House manager, The Estate manager is likely to be the most senior member of your staff, with managerial responsibility for all property and land, rather than just solely residential premises.  They usually manage multiple properties on one or more estates owned by their employer and ensure all are well organised and meticulously maintained.  They will supervise and guide the collective operations of all outside event, gardening, maintenance and other ground staff plus the supervision of estate budgets and accounts.  Most will hold land management or farming qualifications and will have previously worked in senior positions at other large estates.

Gardeners tend and care for all grounds around your property, preferably with the benefit of holding horticultural qualifications.  Many clients requiregardeners that have a strong knowledge of hosted, formal gardens and topiary, vegetable gardens, organics, herbaceous settings, woodlands, ponds and rockery, themed gardens plus swimming pool maintenance.  Experience operating and maintaining garden machinery is essential.


A nanny is a person who looks after you child(ren) in your own home. She has a genuine interest in children.  Normally they have some form of childcare qualification (NVQ , NNEB) or relevant experience (at least 2 years) which equips them to provide a stimulating, safe and positive learning environment in which your children can develop. A Nanny can be either live-in or live-out (daily) and/or specialised in Special Needs children, school aged children or even double as a Housekeeper or Tutor Nanny. At Bespoke Bureau we also offer foreign nannies that are often cheaper as well as junior nannies and mother’s helpers.

Private Personal Assistants
Private PAs works within your home office environment.  They are responsible for managing all of your organisational and administrative matters and duties usually include:  running the home office; providing all secretarial skills and administrative support functions; diary management and scheduling appointments; responding to mail; managing accounts payable and expenses; organising travel arrangements; overseeing any special projects; plus organising your corporate and private entertainment.

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Contact the domestic staff agency to discuss hiring of housekeepers for the UK or overseas, finding work as a housekeeper, other domestic staff or to book or find your ideal Butler, Butler course, Housekeeper course, Yacht interior course or Silver service course in London. We even run first aid courses for nannies, au pairs and domestic staff as well as maternity nurse courses and professional nanny training courses at our prestigious premises or yours’. We are your one stop shop for all your private household requirements or job search. The Private staff company will not let you down.

Main Office

Bespoke Bureau
Blackwell House
Guildhall Yard
Near Bank
City of London

Main phone: +44 (0) 2031670925
Main email:

Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm



More info about Bespoke Bureau and the British Butler Academy:

Based in the prestigious heart of London (Guildhall in the city) for the past 11 years and now a franchise, we pride ourselves to be considered “The World‘s and The UK’s Best Household Staffing Agency” amongst staff agencies

Bespoke Bureau specialises in the recruitment of household staff internationally including House/Estate ManagersButlersHousekeepersChefsNannies, Gardeners etc for palaces, mansions, estates, prestigious houses and yachts all over the world. We provide high calibre staff – professional, multi-functional, discreet and flexible.

Over the years we have built a strong relationship with domestic staff candidates and private NHW and other clients alike which has led to new opportunities that enable us to provide a more comprehensive service with our clients’ needs in mind.

For assistance and advice on all the services we offer, please contact us and we will be delighted to help you.

We are a leading domestic staff agency in London due to our dedication to providing our clients with dependable, thorough and professional household staff. We have built up an enviable reputation across London and can provide tailored household staff services to suit our clients’ private household staff requirements.

We only hire experienced domestic staff who can deliver the high standards required from our private employers. Our household staff agency will undertake a rigorous domestic staff recruitment process, as we carefully check their household employment history and references, as well as interviewing each candidate at great length to ensure they have the right professional attitude and personality to work in the domestic staff service in the UK and overseas.

All our domestic staff on our domestic agency’s database understand the importance of hard work and discretion, and are 100% committed to delivering an outstanding household work service on a daily basis.

As a leading household staff agency, we will work alongside you to ensure that all your needs are met. We can provide an array of domestic staff to suit your household, including:

  • House Managers or Estate Managers
  • Butlers for private homes or hotels
  • Housekeepers, Head Housekeepers or Junior Housekeepers
  • Gardeners and Handymen
  • Nannies, tutors, au-pairs and Mother’s Helps
  • Personal Assistants
  • Valets
  • Chauffeurs and Private Drivers
  • Private Chefs and Cooks
  • Laundry Maids and ladies maids
  • And more domestic staff

More info on:

Many of our domestic staff employees can combine a number of the domestic staff roles upon request, but this will depend on the hours of employment required. As well as being a leading domestic agency in London, we can also provide domestic staff services across the UK and abroad/overseas.

For more information on our household staff agency and candidates, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Sara Vestin Rahmani
Bespoke Bureau, Peek-a-boo and Cupcakes

Blackwell House | Guildhall Yard
Bank | London | EC2V 5AE
Bespoke: +44 (0) 2031670925
Peek-a-boo: +44 (0) 2031670926

Bespoke and Peekaboo in recent News:

Our new Exciting Yacht academy (Reuters News release film)
Russias main news station visits the residential Butler school
The Bespoke Bureau Butler school Reuters visit (6 mins news)
The Guardian does 5 pages on The Yacht Academy
The world news org reports on Bespoke Butlers

Time out Dubai interviews Vestin on Butler trends

TVH11-The return of the Butler
CNN reports on Bespoke Bureau-From Jeeves to Jiang
Evening standard recommend Bespoke’s Butlers
Arabian Business meets with Vestin at the Yacht Academy

6 page story on Bespoke Butlers in the Jazeera Magazine by Sakhr Al-Makhadhi

The Global Post interviews Sara Vestin on Butlers
Washington DC and Chinese CCTV’s Richard Bestik visits Peek-a-boo
Great British post on Butlers in China with Bespoke
Tokyo TV News on Bespoke Bureau
Channel 4’s Brunch gets a visit from our Head Butler
CBS This morning reports on Bespoke Bureau
Paris Match Magazine speaks to Peek-a-boo
Swedish Dagens industri and PS tells about our success
Hotelier Middle East reports on Bespoke Bureau
The times report on the Modern Butler
Al Arabia News on our Nannies and Butlers
Arabian Business News reports on our Mid East Demand
Australia’s courier mail on Bespoke Bureau
The Daily Telegraph in Australia on Sara Vestin and Bespoke in Australia reports on London’s Finest academy 
Adelaide Now reports on Butler Trends
Australian News talks to The bespoke Bureau
Daily Mail reports on Bespoke Bureau

Metro London on Bespoke Bureau
Reuters TV pays a visit to our London Academy
New York based Alex Burton talks to Sara
Russian TVC news channel reports on the Butler School
CCTV in China visits the school
Spanish Elmundo reports on Bespoke
The Economist Oct 2012
Sky news Oct 2012
Independent Oct 2012
Bloomberg TV Jan 2012
BBC Breakfast Mar 2012

Butler trends in China
China’s demand from Bespoke Bureau
British Butlers on the rise
Sweden reports on their Native Sara and Bespoke
Women’s everything interviews Sara on her businesses
The Telegraph-Chinese  Nannies in the rise

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