what is an estate manager

What is an Estate Manager?

Estate Manager is a more recent term used to describe the similar Majordomo, House Manager, or Butler. Although none of those terms fit the complete meaning of what an Estate Manager is responsible for. Modern day Estate Managers supervise and manage the entire day-to-day operations of private estates. They are responsible for the smooth operation of the estate owner’s residence and other properties. Every detail of the estate is in the care of the this manager, which requires experience and a strong and unique skillset.

Every estate is different, therefore every Estate Manager’s role will vary slightly.

What does an Estate Manager do?

As a top level executive position in the household, the Estate Manager is the chief of staff, so to speak. They work with the owners and family members to plan and carry out the overall management of the property. The main objective of the role of the Estate Manager is to make the estate owner’s life as carefree as possible.

An Estate Manager differs from a household manager, because an estate is larger and more complex to manage than one household. Estate Management is often the management of a large household, multiple buildings, and sometimes even overall management of property including hundreds of acres of land. In some cases, responsibilities may even include vacation homes and other types of the estate’s business ventures.

Many estates run as a business themselves, so the duties of an Estate Manager may even expand to profitability. If the estate owns livestock, for example, the Estate Manager would be responsible for overseeing the activities and care of the animals. Additionally, they may be responsible for coordination with outside vendors, employees, and independent contractors.

Estate Managers observe the daily operations and many moving parts of an estate, including hiring, training, and termination of staff members. They interview and supervise outside contractors and groundskeepers, overseeing all maintenance to the estate grounds and buildings. They coordinate events and are responsible for managing the estates’ budget, as well as other administrative functions.

Who do estate managers actually “manage”?

Specifically, Estate Managers may be responsible for managing driving staff, a housekeeping team, security staff, grounds keepers, a private chef, nanny, handyman, etc. They may also work directly with outside accountants, financial advisors, vendors, contractors for construction projects, lawyers, and more. The Estate Manager’s responsibilities will vary depending on the property owner. Their most constant role will be the ongoing management of staff.


Estate Managers are required to have a diverse skill set. Their expertise must go beyond a service environment due to the various duties that go into mastering this role. These skills include excellent management and communication skills acquired over years of experience. There are many moving parts in the management of an estate and it is essential for a successful Estate Manager to be in constant control.

The Estate Manager is skilled at problem-solving, a seasoned professional with knowledge and experience in Service Management, Human Resources, Transportation and Security, leadership, and the ability to adapt easily to new and varying responsibilities. The role of an Estate Manager will differ with each estate and require various specific skills, depending on the service needs of the household. The most successful Estate Managers will have a unique combination of skills and experience including, but not limited to:

  • Human resources management
  • Domestic staff and personnel management
  • High-level leadership
  • Business administration
  • Personal service experience with private families and/or individuals
  • Well-educated in luxury items such as fine art and antiques
  • Finance management
  • Astute business skills
  • Time management
  • Independent and team project management
  • Adept at problem solving
  • Current on applicable technologies
  • Negotiating skills
  • Service training for private and/or hotel environments
  • Cultural knowledge and formal social etiquette
  • Strong project management skills

Qualifications of Estate Managers

An Estate Manager of a large estate will be expected to hold a Bachelor’s degree and/or post-secondary education. Some may possess a Master’s degree. Fields of study relevant to Estate Management include Real Estate Construction Management, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Real Estate/Property Management, or a Household Manager certification. Modern day Estate Managers are not only event planners and managers of service staff, they are the top position title of the household, essentially the CEO of the estate. They manage and protect the estate owner’s and family’s extensive assets, security, and privacy. A high level of training and experience is expected.

An Estate Manager may be required to have 5 or more years experience, depending on the size of the estate and the scope of its business ventures. That experience could be in real estate, project management, hotel management, estate management services, or a combination of those and the like. This is a top level position requiring a top level candidate.

If you’re looking for qualified household staff, including a Property Manager or Estate Manager, contact us.