Hiring a Household or Estate Manager is a tricky process these days. It's hard to find a qualified person who fits into your lifestyle, and turnover is very expensive! There are no required certifications to enter the profession except the ones you as an employer might request. This means your potential candidate may be a great organizer or chef, but they may be completely ignorant when it comes to actual Household Management.
Starkey only places those who have been Starkey educated because our Graduates stand out from the crowd. They understand appropriate etiquette and household protocols. They take privacy seriously, and they have the knowledge of best practices and management tools specifically for homes. Our graduates understand various lifestyles, beliefs, and attitudes and have creditable knowledge when it comes to performing tasks. Service is a very unique relationship. How does a client really know what their candidate will bring to the table?
Our industry is growing and needs more trained professionals.
Browse our course offerings to send your current Household Manager for Starkey training.
My top 4 service standards are:
Property and Grounds
I grew up in a family of four in a suburb outside Denver, Colorado. We had two dogs and many neighborhood friends. My mother is an accountant and my father is a mechanical engineer and they both epitomize hard work and devotion in all aspects of life. I am lucky to have grown up in an active family lifestyle with an older brother and parents who coached many of our childhood sports teams. My happiest childhood memories are from all the family ski trips we took together. Precious time spent together that created the strong appreciation for family bonds that I have today. Because of this, my two highest values in life are family and honesty.
Throughout my life I’ve always had a calm presence. I noticed early on this calming presence would attract other individuals seeking relief or a friendly ear to listen. As a child, I didn’t fully understand why others desired this, but I knew I enjoyed the feeling of helping those in their moment of need. As I grew into a teenager, I began to better understand my personality traits and my strong desire to help others. The fulfillment and happiness I receive from helping others was a strong indicator that service was my passion.
It wasn’t until I found the Yellowstone Club that I finally found the perfect service style that matched my skill set. I currently manage a magnificent multimillion-dollar portfolio at the Yellowstone Club, an exclusive private community near Big Sky, Montana. Specifically, I tend to all areas of the house both inside and out and am responsible for general upkeep, maintenance, vendor scheduling, staff supervision, and project completion. The homes I manage are mainly used as vacation properties and are often used a few months out of the year.
I’m a highly organized self-starter with strong communication and management skills. I’m trusted to run, operate, and maintain each home as the CEO and be able to track, expense, and manage specific home budgets. When a Principal is in house, my unique position also includes working directly with the family in more of a hospitality role. I’m responsible for daily scheduling, entertainment procurement, and assisting with specific tasks as requested. My current position has trained me to manage people, systems, and resources pertaining to all home aspects and family lifestyles.
I have advanced quickly in my time at the Yellowstone Club because of my attention to detail. I have a mountain casual/Midwestern style of service where I bring a peaceful and calm approach to provide a peaceful and calm environment. I do so by maintaining a no-nonsense approach to getting the job done with a heightened emphasis on doing the job right the first time, even if it takes a little longer.
My experience managing teams, vendors, and family lifestyles; coupled with my passion for service, are why I know I will be a successful Estate Manager. The last few years of my job have brought me more joy and fulfillment than I thought possible from a career. Because of this, I intend to continually refine my skill set in order to provide the best service for those I have the pleasure of working for in the future. Thank you for the opportunity.
My top four Service Standards are Administrative, Housekeeping, Property and Grounds and Maintenance.
- Skilled with budget procurement and tracking
- Experience in creating system manuals
- Skilled with handling staff and Principals’ schedules
- Responsible for staff training, hiring, and firing
- Manages all home inventory and necessary vendors
- Creates documents and task sheets for house operations
- Proficient with Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, and Outlook
- Implements cleaning plan and creates task sheets for cleaning staff
- Establishes zones throughout the cleaning environment
- Schedules housekeeper
- Responsible for inventory sheets and supply organization
Grounds & Property:
- Responsible for creating seasonal task sheets
- Manages maintenance needs for sprinklers, gardens, patio, outdoor patio and siding
- Manages weed removal and snow removal, in addition to personally shoveling snow if needed
- Experience with draining and cleaning pools and spas
- Knowledgeable with smart home systems: Sonos, Crestron, Lutron, Nest, Ring, and camera systems
- Implements home systems maintenance schedules, in addition to personally troubleshooting various HVAC or tech issues in a home
- Comfortable sourcing bids and hiring vendors for projects
- Responsible for documenting expenses and project progress
- Knowledgeable with vehicle maintenance
Positions in a Private Home need to be clear and concise to be successful. This is the profession of the Business of Household Management. It is literally means setting up a structure much like you would in a business, to effectively manage the home. The Principals depend on their staff and may not be able to manage the home themselves due to personal commitments. Thus, this administrative piece is most important and is typically given to the Estate Manager, the Household Manager, and in some cases where there is a full time Principal actively involved in the home, the Personal Assistant.
In all cases, it is important to set the tone of the environment right away and establish who the staff and vendors are, and what their responsibilities and duties are in the home. This can be accomplished with listing Core Professional Duties or Position Descriptions of each staff member. If this is task is still unclear, Starkey offers a short one-week, 40 hour “Systems Course” via Correspondence or at Starkey to teach the Principal or Family Office staff person who is responsible for accomplishing this task.
Core Professional Duties of the Estate Manager
Overall Management of an Estate, or multiple Estates, is quite different from the detail of daily service delivery. Understanding the difference can make the difference of preventing turnover. An Estate Manager’s position is to take on the responsibilities involved in upholding the Service Vision and overall quality of life of the Principal and their family. The Estate Manager should approach a Private Service Management position with the following perspective:
Over all Service Vision
Learn the depth of clarity necessary to execute all operations within a Service Environment; utilize the Starkey Service Management Model taught in the “Systems Course” with careful, skillful and intentional listening to the Principal’s Service Vision. This written Customized Service Management Plan process will reveal and summarize the economic, human, and social factors required for the successful completion of setting up all aspects of the Principal’s overall Lifestyle, Service Vision and their Environments. Be sure to achieve agreement with the Principal on the Service Vision, Service Goals and the overall Service Management Plan, including the staff and resources needed to fulfill the service expectations for each home and Service Environment.
Service Management Blueprint and Budget
Use the now-complete Service Management Plan Blueprint to gather and analyze the overall budget necessary for the Household/Estate and Service Environment fiscal management. Create and refine monthly, quarterly, and fiscal year budgets in cooperation with the Family Office or Accountant. In some cases, manage the Household/Estate operations and project-specific purchasing, payroll, insurance, etc. specific to those budgets as directed.
Family Office Administration
The Family Office, at the Principal’s direction, is responsible for interfacing with specific professionals including insurance, legal, CPA, architecture and design, human resources and building contractors. They might also oversee the detail associated with invoices; maintain the files and historical data necessary to protect the owners and their private/personal corporate entities. It is always essential to maintain confidentiality agreements to minimize Principal exposure.
Vendors, Contracts and Resources
Locate ethical and reputable commercial service providers within the immediate community, as well as for any remote locations or projects. Maintain highest standards of integrity, steering clear of the unethical “kickback” practices of some vendors. Develop relationships with vendor owners and managers – communicate the Service Standards and behaviors necessary for the privilege of ongoing contracts with the Principal, Household or Estate. Maintain the records, relationships and protocols to ensure quality product delivery.
Staff Training & Management
Utilize the Technical Skills Qualifier™, the Personal Style Identifier™ and the other Service Management Tools of the System to achieve the necessary depth of clarity with the Principal and with staff to articulate the expected Service Standards, Service Styles, and individual and team productivity, expectations of conduct, requisite skill levels and pertinent behaviors. Create and deliver the expected atmosphere and Lifestyle throughout the household or Estate.
Nurture the relationships and protocols in all areas to minimize Principal exposure, and to ensure quality service and product delivery. Whenever possible, cross-train to empower staff, control labor costs and promote the lowest possible turnover.
Educate, develop, manage and nurture talented and committed teams of Private Service Staff, Vendors, and Resources to produce excellent delivery service in the interior and exterior physical Service Environments and Grounds and Property.
Charities and Community Interface
Represent the Principal, Family and Guest priorities within the local and extended community with discretion, gracious yet confidential behavior, intuitive and empathetic service to extended family, friends and neighbors, charitable institutions and professional service providers. Nowhere is the Private Service Manager’s Code of Ethics more important than here. Expect high standards of behavior in all Estate staff.
Safety and Protection Protocols
Complete understanding and support of the Safety and Protection Standards and Security Systems required by the Principal with respect to the Household, the Estate, Transportation and Travel, additional homes, security information, special Guests, and Events of the Principal and immediate Principal and Family.
Communicate on behalf of the Principal regarding Design/Build operations: management of contractors, analysis of estimates, quality standards, research and recommendation of contractors and projects.
Core Professional Duties of the Household Manager
A Household Manager (occasionally called “Butler”) is responsible for daily operations of the interior environments and will pay attention to the many subtle details of the Administrative Standards in addition to recognizing and distinguishing specific Service Expectations. Initial endeavors will include the following:
Immediate Tasks within the first days:
- Development of a working Service Management Plan Blueprint
- Supervision of Household Staff and Vendors
- Preparation of weekly Day in the Life™ Schedules
- Support or preparation of weekly menus and preparation of meals
- Support of the Principal, Family and Guests in their daily routine
- Inventorying of china, silver, crystal, art work, antiques and other collectibles
- Interfacing fully with Family Office, Accountants, Vendors and Resources
Additional Tasks within the first weeks:
- Storing resource books, smart home technology information, warranty and maintenance information
- Maintaining a Safety and Protection Management Plan for the residence and monitoring the security measures
- Organizing the pantry and developing weekly menus and grocery, paper products and other household goods ordering lists
- Developing entertaining schedules, ordering of service and wine cellar management procedures
If there is a Family Office or Estate Manager to pay bills and issue payroll checks, that person will have a list of vendors, budgets, insurance information and other resources. This is invaluable systems information for the Household Manager. Most families have vendors they have worked with over the years that the Household Manager will need to continue to work with. A Household Manager or Butler will scrutinize and supervise the level of service that each vendor is providing and what they are charging for the product or service they are delivering.
Words to the Wise for Staff: Never attempt to change an existing Service Delivery System until you have had a chance to learn what the System is, what the politics of the Household or Service Environment are, and the reasons things have been done a certain way. Then, have frank conversations with your Principals and learn their perspectives and share what you have observed.
Core Professional Duties of the Personal Assistant
The Personal Assistant can often function as the Household or Estate Manager in “smaller” Service Environments where a Principal is the acting Household or Estate Manager and requires Personal Assistant support or as a fully integrated Personal Assistant for a highly recognized Celebrity, Public Personality, CEO or Retired Billionaire. A Personal Assistant is primarily responsible for interfacing on behalf of the Principal with the Family as needed, their family office and Private Service Staff. The main goal is the support of the Principal’s Life Style Goals, Service Standards, Administrative Tasks, Entertaining, and Event Planning and Travel and Concierge needs.
- Manage all Correspondence and the Household, Children’s and other Family members’ Personal Calendars
- Interface and Communicate for Principal with Household Staff, Vendors, and Resources
- Maintain Contact Databases
- Research Specialty Products, Professionals, Vendors and Network Contacts
- Manage budgets and bill paying
- Support the Planning of all Entertaining and Charity Events
- Manage Invitations and RSVPs
- Attend Board Meetings and provide Meeting Minutes
- Manage International and Domestic Itineraries, Reservations, Transportation, and Travel
- Work with their Principal’s Charities and Non-Profit commitments
Mary Louise Starkey
First Lady of Service
Excerpts from the Original Guide for Household Management 2007
Starkey International Institute – 303-832-5510
Starkey International has reached agreements with China's largest household service organization, China Home Services Association, and Gaoyang Vocational Education Development Center which is working with top universities to provide Starkey education and curriculum throughout China. This would allow Starkey International to engage in the training and education of Chinese household service professionals through mutual cooperation. Gaoyang center was established in 2003 and was one of the earliest entities that helped introduce international programs into China.
These efforts were made possible by Starkey International and Gaoyang's vision for quality service in China. Working with Starkey, Gaoyang will be launching training programs for Butlers, Housekeepers and other related household service specialties by mid 2013.
For more information, please contact Starkey International.
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Dear Starkey Patron;
Starkey International and I extend our sincere appreciation to you for your donation to Restoring the Art (RTA) Student Assistance Fund. RTA is a not-for-profit and maintains its 501c(3) status. Starkey and 4,000 other small vocational schools lost all funding support in the recent economic turn and we are most grateful for your generosity.
All donations will be utilized to support student’s efforts in attending Starkey and entering the Private Service Industry as an educated professional. Service has long been seen as a non-educable and domestic population, which continues to serve a servant mentality and a historical slave cycle. To continue to have service providers available to the high-net-worth, Service must continue to be elevated to an educated “Service as an Expertise” and as a Profession.
My great appreciation,
Mary Louise Starkey
First Lady of Service
CEO Starkey International
The age-honored term "Butler" is one aspect of the Household Management profession and Private Service industry. It is a style of service that is sought in a select portion of the positions now available in the American job market - found primarily in New York City. Butlers are typically more formal in style, technically centered in smaller homes (or hotels), directly serving one principal’s overall needs.
Starkey’s Graduates are typically more main-line Household or Estate Managers. We serve our Principals and their families throughout the U.S in homes between 5,000 and 50,000 square feet in size. We teach “Real Management” in Service Management. We teach functional “Service Relationships” in Service Management. Our Graduates require developed abilities in up to four of the ten described Starkey Service Standards. Starkey also has Household Management positions that include in the position description such qualities as a high level of Personal Assistant responsibilities, an expertise as a Private Chef or as an Executive Housekeeper and still others require an old guard or diplomatic Butler style of support.
We are a highly sophisticated Service Management education corporation teaching the art form of Private Service. We are a state-approved vocational institute. We are also a seasoned Placement Corporation, placing our new and veteran Service Graduates with a 90% success rate. Our Publishing Company has penned five Service Management Publications for our Students and our Employer Clientele, along with our state of the art HQ Service Management Software. We house Starkey in a classical and registered historical mansion, built in 1901. This 13,000 square foot high-end private residence, in the heart of Denver, is where students are invited to reside while in training and where we conduct our Household and Service Management Programs.
Starkey International provides the key that opens doors leading to the Private Service profession and a career in Household Management; and to experience "Service as an Expertise." Whether you want to enter the profession as a Household Manager, Service Manager, Private Chef or Butler; or are looking for professional Household Management staff, Starkey International can "Make a Difference" in your life!