Inside The World Of An Estate Manager
An estate manager is often portrayed as having an exciting and glamorous life in TV shows; in Downton Abbey for example, Lady Mary Crawley seems to spend the majority of her time sipping tea and relaxing around the estate!
However, a modern-day estate manager has a very different life! This demanding role requires experience, great people skills, and advanced problem-solving skills. It is the top-level position in a household and includes dozens of duties that must be performed correctly for the estate to run smoothly. To help you understand more about this important position here is a brief look inside the world of an estate manager.
What Does An Estate Manager Do?
The precise duties of an estate manager vary depending on the size and type of estate. An estate may be run privately on behalf of a family, but many estates are open to the public and run like businesses with coffee shops, commercial nurseries and spaces available for hire by the general public.
The most common responsibilities of the estate manager role include:
Maintaining The Property
An estate manager’s primary responsibility is to ensure the property is well-maintained, safe and comfortable to live in, working closely with the owners of the property, other members of staff and various contractors to achieve this goal.
This typically involves management of all aspects of property maintenance including plumbing, electrical, cleaning, garden care, and appliance maintenance. For larger estates, staff or contractors will usually be assigned to address common maintenance issues; however, in smaller estates the estate manager may perform some of these duties themselves. An estate manager will perform regular maintenance inspections of the property to ensure that all work is performed correctly.
In terms of safety, the estate manager will ensure smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, locks, and security systems are all working correctly, this will usually involve the creation of a security policy for the estate to keep the staff, visitors, and homeowners safe.
Management Of Private Staff & Contractors
The estate manager is usually responsible for hiring and firing household staff, setting the standard of service for the estate by training staff and ensuring that service delivery is spot on.
This responsibility extends to choosing and supervising third-party contractors who come on to the property.
Administrative Tasks & Financial Matters
The estate manager is usually responsible for administrative tasks and financial matters including the management of payroll, development of budgets, payment of bills etc. The estate manager will deal with numerous third parties on behalf of the estate including accountants, curators, architects, builders, financial advisors, mechanics, grocers, and more. Strong negotiation skills are required in order to achieve the best outcomes for the estate.
When an event is held on the estate, the estate manager must ensure that it is run well and that all of the items required are available. If an estate is available for hire, the estate manager will usually take care of all bookings and payments.
What is it like to be an estate manager?
Working as an estate manager may sound like an exciting role, but it actually involves a lot of hard work and the ability to multi task!
Managing other employees is one of the most demanding elements of the role, requiring strong interpersonal and managerial skills. Employees must remain productive and be directed to focus on tasks that are currently a priority for the estate.
An estate manager must have a great deal of discretion, as they will be closely involved with their employer’s financial and personal matters. In many cases, a non-disclosure agreement will need to be signed.
Hours are usually fairly long, and flexibility may be required to cover special events that may run late into the night. Eventually, the estate manager develops a very close relationship with the owners of the property and comes to understand exactly how their employer would like the estate to be run.
How Do You Become An Estate Manager?
There are a number of estate manager training courses available in the UK, through institutes including the Starkey International Institute, the National Association of Estate Managers and the Bespoke Bureau in London.
It is a senior role, and therefore a great deal of experience is required to become a great manager. Many estate managers grow into the role from their previous position as a butler, cleaner, private chef, personal assistant or another high-level service role.
They skill requirements of an estate manager are vast and include:
- Strong management, leadership and human resources skills
- Business and negotiation skills
- An eye for detail
- Resourceful, and able to solve problems quickly
- Able to provide the highest level of personal service to the estate owners and their guests
- Project management skills
- Excellent communication and technological skills