The Duties and Responsibilities of a Head Houseman

Updated November 21, 2016

In the domestic servant industry, a houseman is someone that performs a wide range of duties in a home or hotel. According to The International Institute of Modern Butlers, the term "houseman" can apply to both genders. A good houseman is generally a jack-of-all-trades, able to complete a wide range of duties as requested by the employer. There are some basic duties and responsibilities of a head houseman. The services expected of him will vary depending upon the employer.


The position of head houseman generally implies that he is in charge of other housemen in the household or hotel. As a head houseman, he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day chores assigned to the other housemen are completed. He is the person responsible for communicating with the employer regarding what work needs to be done.Generally, the head houseman will also communicate with other staff such as housekeepers, cook staff or personal assistants, regarding work matters.


If a designated housekeeper is not kept on staff, a houseman may be responsible for general cleaning such as dusting, vacuuming and more. If a housekeeper is on staff, either in a home or hotel, the houseman may be required to assist her in cleaning duties should the need arise. Typically, a houseman is responsible for heavy cleaning to the exterior of the home for chores like cleaning exterior windows, concrete walkways and jobs of that nature.

Food Services

If cook staff is not kept on staff, the houseman may be required to cook and serve meals. He may be responsible for purchasing groceries and ensuring the food pantry is stocked at all times. In a home where cook staff normally completes these tasks, the houseman may be asked to assist the staff as needed. As a head houseman, he will be responsible for completing these tasks himself or assigning the duty to another qualified houseman.

Maintenance and Repair

A houseman may be required to perform general maintenance duties such as cleaning appliance filters, landscaping duties and more. Many housemen will also be responsible for completing minor repairs that do not require the use of a professional contractor. The head houseman will be responsible for knowing which houseman on staff is qualified to complete these repairs and assign the duty accordingly.

Bookkeeping and Inventory

Depending on the employer, the houseman may be responsible for taking inventory of certain household supplies and general bookkeeping of such inventories. It is not uncommon for a houseman to be responsible for maintaining home or auto maintenance records or logs of household inventory for his employer.

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