Demand for the well-staffed home is on the rise, according to agencies and house managers alike. Clients are calling for live-in couples, live-out housekeepers, flight attendants for private jets, stewards for the yachts and chefs for the summer house. In San Francisco, Town and Country Resources, a staffing agency for domestic help, has seen demand for estate managers and trained housekeepers grow so fast the agency is going to offer its own training programs in subjects like laundry, ironing and spring cleaning starting in 2014.
Claudia Kahn, founder of The Help Company, a staffing agency based in Los Angeles, says she used to get one call a month for a butler but has gotten three in the past week alone. Some request old-fashioned " 'Downton Abbey'-type service," a phenomenon she attributes partly to the popularity of the television show and partly to clients yearning to match the lifestyle they experience at high-end resorts and on yachting trips.
As most homeowners know, a home's purchase price is just the beginning. And the bigger the house, the greater the number of dust bunnies. A good housekeeper earns $60,000 to $90,000 a year. A lady's maid can make $75,000 a year. A butler may start at $80,000 a year and can earn as much as $200,000.