Estate Manager is the most widely used term in the business. Most candidates with a bit of experience running a household will mistakenly call themselves an Estate Manager. Likewise, other terms can be confused with it such as Majordomo, House Manager, and Butler.
However, with a clear picture of the Estate Manager’s functions it is easy to see who truly fits the position. A common abbreviation for those in the industry is “EM”.
Estate Managers are common in households of 15,000 square feet and larger, and especially in estates with multiple properties, extensive grounds, elaborate art, antique, and wine collections, or complex technology.
Estate Manager is the top level in the household. He or she works directly with the owners to plan and execute the overall management of property and service. Where there are large or multiple homes the Estate Manager is the “C.E.O.” of the organization, carrying out the wishes of the owner at each location. Estate Managers typically set the service standard and are responsible for the hiring, training, and ongoing management of staff required to meet the service needs of the household. In addition to personnel management, the administrative functions are many. All related financial matters including accounting, budgets, and payroll normally pass through the EM’s hands. Based on the size of the property the Estate Manager may wear many other hats. Common tasks include screening and overseeing outside vendors, contractors, construction projects, maintenance of pools, landscaping, autos, yachts, private planes, etc. With multiple properties, most EM’s travel ahead of their employer to get a property ready for their arrival and bring the staff up to speed on any necessary changes or service requirements. An Estate Manager may also be called upon to plan and execute events for the owner. This could range from a simple dinner for eight to a grand, formal gathering for eight hundred. The level of “hands-on” involvement can vary from full participation in gardening and cleaning to strictly office based administrator.
The top Estate Managers in the industry are some of the most well rounded workers that can be found anywhere. The unique combination required to succeed in this position is rarely found in other professions. Important abilities include:
- Highest level of personal service experience with private families and/or individuals.
- Well educated in luxury items such as fine art and antiques.
- Proper social etiquette and cultural knowledge.
- Acute business skills in areas of finance, computers, planning, and organization.
- Human resources management.
- Leadership and motivation skills.
- Independent and team project management.
- Creative and intuitive thinking and problem solving.
- Very resourceful.
- Negotiating skills.
Above all, the right person for the job will be adaptable to the standards and desires of the employer. Execution of plans and tasks can be taught and developed with a basic skill set, but only those who are truly “in synch” with their boss and environment will succeed for the long term.
Typical salary range is $60,000 - $150,000. Some Estate Managers in service for many years or with specialized project skills can earn upwards of $250,000. Additional benefits may include fully paid housing, automobile, insurance, paid travel, clothing allowance, and more.