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What is your time WORTH?

In recent years, the perception that surrounds hiring domestic staff has been changing in Australia.  People are realising that you dont need to be royalty or a billionaire to utilise the services of trained and experienced people to assist you in your home.

Say the word “Butler” and most people get images of a stiff gentlemen standing tall in a waistcoat in a castle in England!  Things have certainly changed these days! The fact is that these days it’s not so rare to find that savvy Australian households are employing fulltime or part-time professional domestic staff.  

Donna Portland, director of Elite Private Staff, makes these comments:  “There are a large number of professional households where the home owner/s have fulltime careers and simply don’t have the time (or inclination) to stay at home or take on the sole responsibility for running the home, kids, pets, garden, cars, boats, renovations etc.”

It would seem that the job titles have changed too! These days the butler role has expanded. Executive households are enjoying the benefit of employing a professional person to run their home and the new “House Manager” role is all about being a Personal Assistant in the true sense of the word!

The House Manager role would usually include supervising cleaners and contractors to perform to the required standard and overseeing the quality of their work - so that the principals do not need to. Additionally, they could arrange anything from the weekly shopping to the family holidays, from buying gifts to getting quotes, organising entertainment and events, whilst managing a budget and keeping a close eye on expenses!

So how the Elite Private Staff (EPS) agency start? Donna Portland runs a Superyacht Crew Placement Agency called Superyacht Crew International. “Some years ago, a number of clients (who owned yachts) kept asking if we could find them ‘Superyacht-standard’ staff for their homes!” Portland reveals.

“The typical complaint would be ‘We just can’t find staff who ‘get it’ - who understand how we like to live and can anticipate what’s required.’  There were also comments along the lines of ‘regular cleaners just don’t see the detail or go into any depth’, or ‘we want continuity: someone who not only remembers the details but who goes above and beyond’.  I could go on!”  adds Portland.

“We realised that our land-based clients also wanted a high calibre of staff to assist them in their everyday lives.” adds the EPS Recruitment Team.  “When you travel you want to enjoy a high level of service. There is no reason why you can’t also enjoy high standards in your home on a daily basis! It’s a lifestyle decision.”

It may not be all that well-understood what ‘superyacht standard’ means.  Portland gives this explanation “Superyacht crew work at the very top (elite) level of hospitality - regardless of their specific job onboard! Their entire focus is on anticipating the guests’ every need and meticulous planning and organisation to ensure that guest satisfaction is complete.  The hours are long and there are few days off during the season.  As long as guests are onboard crew are working to their highest endeavour.  There is hospitality service 24/7, the chef and stewards will provide anything the guests’ desire - at any hour.  The captain and his deck crew will provide a safe and interesting cruise which is completely bespoke.  The yacht will be gleaming - inside and out.  The sheets are crisp, the towels fluffy, the flowers fresh, new magazines and newspapers each day, the fridges stocked with guests’ favourite beverages, the cushions fluffed, and the crew will be smiling and attentive to every detail.  It doesn’t get any better than that!”


Portland adds, “Of course we source elite private staff from all spheres, nationalities and locations - not only from the Superyacht industry”. 

Let’s face it, these days we have high expectations of what we want to achieve and the majority of successful people running their own businesses or in high-powered corporate roles are rather time poor.  So things can start to unravel at home unless there’s a competent person taking up the reins.  




It’s a House Manager’s job to manage all your domestic affairs, so that you can be more productive in your professional sphere as well as have time for leisure with family and friends.

Alongside their daily responsibilities a House Manager is required to be a jack of all trades when necessary: if the home needs renovations they will ensure that everything is done to your liking, the House Manager can step in, organise the tradesmen and quotes and act as your representative to give direction and keep an eye on progress. In this way, you the Principal can get on with your other commitments without being concerned about what’s happening at home.


So, if you are one who has a lot on your plate, both in your professional life and at home, it is within your reach to get professional assistance to help you get it all under control.   

It really depends on your budget, but the truth is that there are quite a number of families in Australia who have a number of domestic staff: chef/cook, House Managers or Butlers, nanny, nurse-helper, housekeepers, gardener/groundsman, personal PAs, Travelling Assistants and so on.

“Some families start with a Housekeeper a few days a week. EPS find that often times this soon becomes a fulltime role when clients discover their capabilities beyond cleaning. Portland tells us that EPS offer a full service to clients which includes draft Employment Contracts and comprehensive House Management manuals to ensure that every aspect of home (and estate) management is well-organised and fully taken care of.  Additionally, clients can benefit from the initial meeting and assessment of the home by EPS recruiters so that they are able to find the best fit of candidate to the client. Our recruiters have found that a personality fit is just as important as skills and job experience” explains Portland.

She adds “As our services are confidential and discreet we are not able to publish a list of the clientele we serve. However, I can say that we are regularly approached for staff who can perform at the elite level they require. Since we are also Superyacht crew recruiters we have unique access to the kind of staff that would suit these roles: who are mature and used to dealing with exclusive clientele on superyachts.  It’s a minor adjustment to bring their skills, organisation and understanding to a land-based role.”

So should you employ domestic staff? It comes down to two questions:

1.     Would being more organised at home add to your quality of life?


2.      How much do you value your free time?


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