Working as a Butler: Everything You Need to Know

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When you hear the word “butler”, the first things that come to your mind are probably discretion, professionalism, and an individual holding a silver tray. However, with all the advancements in our world, a lot of people started wondering how does the role of a butler fits into the modern world.

You might have thought that people do not employ them anymore, however, according to the IGPB (International Guild of Professional Butlers), the number of butlers working around the globe is increasing every day. So, if it is increasing, what do butlers actually do? In the text below, you will learn about the tasks a butler needs to do, as well as what it takes to become one. Let’s take a closer look:

The Difference Between a House Manager and a Butler

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In theory, these two occupations might seem quite similar, but, the specific roles, duties, and tasks performed by each of them are usually decided by the employer. Generally speaking, being a butler is quite similar to being a valet, a “man-servant” who is in charge of fulfilling the needs of the head of the house or other family members. But, today, being a butler is not that different from being a household manager – meaning that their job is to organize everyday maintenance and performing a wide range of tasks.

It is actually possible to distinguish the two roles by the level of formality. In most households, the position of being a butler means that there needs to be a specific dress code, while a household manager can without any problem, assume an informal role.

The Everyday Responsibilities

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Some responsibilities come naturally to being a butler. Of course, the most important tasks that they have is hosting. The common task that every butler has is to answer the calls received on the household phone, help with dinner parties and event planning, oversee the table setting for the parties, greet guests when they arrive, as well as serve beverages and meals. When it comes to dinner parties and events organized in the homes of the employer, the most important task a butler might have it to oversee and manage the wine cellar.

They might also have the responsibility of managing other staff in the house. This could mean that they need to train new staff employees, managing the staff schedule as well as their payroll, and of course, they might be in charge of hiring new staff members and firing them.

Besides the aforementioned things, the responsibilities they might have will greatly depend on the employer’s wishes. In traditional households, the role might be more restricted than the ones above. Driving the family members from place to place could also be involved, as well as cleaning the home and caring for precious art, silverware, and antiques. Also, budgeting and security matters might be the responsibility of a butler as well.

What Does It Take?

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No university or school is required for this occupation, however, you should definitely have a high school and university degree. You should also participate in training programs that will allow you to develop your skills even further. To become a butler, you should:

  1. Participate in a Training Program – a lot of academies specialize in training potential butlers. To attend this training, you must submit an application form, and of course, a fee that might vary depending on how long you want to attend the training. Once there, the things you might learn include table setting classes, cleaning, and other skills necessary.
  2. Gain The Proper Skills – you will definitely want to make a list of the skills you want to gain. The list can include skills like maintaining one’s closet or creating schedules that will work for everyone. Whatever you decide to put on the list, you can research it online, watch videos, and read articles in order to take notes on the important things to remember.
  3. Dress Appropriately – whether you work as a hotel or household butler, you will need to follow the strict dress code rules. Males are often required to wear a suit or a shirt/vest/trousers combination. Females can opt to wear skirts with a blouse or trousers with a blouse, or they can wear formal dresses. When starting a job, you should always ask your employer about the dress code.
  4. Start Small – do not expect to finish your training and immediately get a job as a household butler. First, you will need to get experience. Start out as a footman which will require you to help other butlers or work as a housekeeper which will allow you to develop your skills even further. Also, you can choose to work at the reception in a hotel which will allow you to greet guests, as well as attend their needs. If you want to see what job opportunities are for butlers, click here.
  5. Being Discreet Is Your Best Characteristic – the one thing that might take some getting used to is keeping secrets and seeing intimate family moments. The best thing any butler can do is to create a strict policy on avoiding any discussion about their employer and their family members. Also, do not be surprised if your future employer asks you to sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Things To Consider When Looking For Employment

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  1. Learn How Much it Pays – a butler that is just starting out will annually make between $45.000 to $50.000. This will of course increase over time and with experience.
  2. Apply For a Guild – employers might look for a butler with connections to these organizations, hence, you should join one.
  3. Opt For a Placement Company – these firms will find you an employment opportunity in return for a fee you will have to pay once you start working.


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Opting for this occupation will require a person to be professional, discrete, and one will need to possess the necessary skills. If you want to hire a butler, this article might have helped you understand what to look for. On the other hand, if you want to become one, you now know what skills you need in order to become a full-time, high-quality butler.