Do you want someone named Jeeves answering the door of your "cottage" in a tuxedo, or are you just looking for a temporary butler to work a special event? Locating the right person for your butlering needs takes some time, energy and bucks, but you'll be thankful when your household runs like a well-oiled machine.
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Be very clear what you expect your potential butler to do before you begin the search and interviewing process. Tasks include arranging dinner parties, looking after your yacht, making travel arrangements, maintaining the household budget, looking after visitors, doing the laundry, getting the kids off to school, tending the garden, and directing other workers in the household. Many butlers double as a personal assistant, handling correspondence and coordinating your calendar.
Estimate the time it will take to accomplish those duties. Could you hire a part-time butler or simply a personal assistant? Determine this in advance to find the appropriate person for the job and your budget.
Decide whether or not you want your butler to be an in-house resident. This will be determined by how much living space you have and how many hours of work you require. It's very important for the butler to fit in with your family or household. Reputable agencies coordinate extensive interviews between you and butler candidate before the butler is placed.
Analyze the costs. A butler's salary ranges from $50,000 to $120,000, but beware of hidden costs, which can include a search fee to the placement agency (between 15 and 35 percent of the butler's first annual gross salary); a nonrefundable retainer fee; all travel-related expenses including airline tickets, car rentals, and hotels for candidates and consultants; and all benefits and taxes of the butler you hire.
Search for a butler via local and regional newspapers and statewide publications if you decide not to use an agency. Ask your local Employment Security Commission if it can provide a list of potential candidates as well as good advice on local publications for butler listings. Consider placing your own ad with other agency Web sites.
Tips and warnings
- Placement agencies usually offer a free consultation without obligation.
- If you don't want your butler to reside on-site, it's still your responsibility to pay for his accommodations and transportation to and from your home as well as any work-related transportation.