Correspondence Courses – Private Service

If you cannot afford to break away from work for a couple of months, or afford the fees for training at a formal butler school, then a correspondence or long-distance learning course becomes a viable option.

Copyright (c) Matt Buchanan

Copyright (c) Matt Buchanan

It is also an ideal way to increase the depth of your knowledge and gain another perspective and more skills to complement any training already done at a bricks-and-mortar school.

These courses are for:

  • Anyone who would like to become a butler.
  • Anyone currently in any position in private service, who would like to widen their skills base, improve their level of service, or move into the butler profession.
  • Butlers already in service, who may be long on experience but short on formal butler training and would like a credential.
  • Housekeepers in private estates.


Module One

  • Outside Hollywood, What is a Butler?
  • From Slave to Servant to Staff: Changing Perceptions and Attitudes
  • The Many Faces of the Modern Butler

Module Two

  • Essence of a Butler
  • A Good Butler’s Basic Attributes
  • Butler communication skills

Module Three

  • Butler Etiquette and How to Handle Various Tricky Situations with Aplomb
  • With Guests
  • Family
  • Employers
  • Employees

Module Four

  • Predicting and Handling Others
  • How to Recognize and Avoid the Boss from Hell

Module Five

  • The Butler Administrator, Managing the Household
  • Dealing with Permanent Staff
  • Supervising Staff
  • Dismissing Staff
  • Disciplining Staff
  • Dealing with Employee Records
  • Dealing with Temporary Staff
  • Dealing with Contractors, Suppliers and Services
  • Working with the Housekeeper:
  • Furniture Care
  • Floor Care
  • Ceramics Care
  • Metalwork Care
  • Gold Care
  • Books Care
  • Hair- and Clothes-Brush Care
  • Cleaning Cloths
  • Working with the Chef
  • Running an Efficient Kitchen
  • Dealing with Suppliers
  • Delivery
  • Safety in the House
  • Paperwork
  • Keeping Household Accounts
  • Making an Inventory
  • Handling:
  • Silver-Cleaning, Storage and Purchase
  • Cigars
  • Flowers
  • The Bar and Cellar
  • Driving and Cars
  • Butler’s Etiquette, Comportment and Walk
  • Answering the Door
  • Answering the Telephone
  • Daily Duties/Graces
  • The Greening of Butlers
  • Some General Pointers Concerning Personal Etiquette and Professionalism

Module Six

  • Looking After Guests
  • Overnight Guests
  • Tips
  • Visitors’ Book

Module Seven

  • Valet – The Gentleman’s Gentleman
  • Packing a Suitcase
  • Preparing for the Following Day
  • In the Morning
  • Clothes
  • Care of Clothes After They Have Been Worn
  • Trousers (pants)
  • Jackets/Coats
  • Shirts
  • Ties
  • Shoes
  • Sweaters
  • Belts
  • Hats
  • Various (underwear, pajamas)
  • Cleaning Clothes
  • Know Before You Iron!
  • Purchasing Clothes

Module Eight

  • The Butler as a Personal Assistant

Module Nine

  • The Orchestration of Fine Eating Experiences
  • Meals to Remember
  • Breakfast
  • Luncheon
  • English Afternoon Tea
  • Dinner
  • Setting the Table
  • Late Afternoon and the Reception
  • Dealing with certain problems
  • Serving the Meal

Module Ten

  • Other Social Occasions, How to Manage

Module Eleven

  • Moving House
  • Preparations at the Old House
  • Preparations at the New House
  • The Actual Move
  • Having Arrived

Module Twelve

  • Handling Security

Module Thirteen

  • The Twenty-first Century Butler
  • How a Butler Should be Managed and Remunerated
  • Future Markets for Butlers

Module Fourteen

  • For the Beginning Butler
  • The Tools of the Trade for the Twenty-first Century Butler
  • The Hiring Process
  • The Interview
  • Where to Start once You Arrive on Duty

Module Fifteen

  • Butler as Toastmaster
  • Making Toasts
  • Keeping the Occasion on Track

Module Sixteen

  • New Ideas for an Old Profession

HOUSEKEEPER CORRESPONDENCE COURSE (adapted from the butler courses)


  • An affordable way to learn or train
  • Keep earning income while taking the course
  • Train from the comfort of your own home
  • Train on a schedule that suits you
  • Increase your skills and value to current and future employers
  • Gain the ability to bring greater satisfaction to those you service and thus to yourself
  • Increase the depth of butler knowledge / skills with formal training that you have missed

Both correspondence courses include checklists detailing the reading and practical assignments, as well as projects to be done. Progress for students in the Western Hemisphere is supervised by Mr. Steven Ferry personally. Students in the Eastern Hemisphere and Spanish-speaking countries are supervised by Mr. Amer Vargas. All students have an open line via e-mail to their instructors for questions, and to receive guidance on professional matters.

The butler course takes about six months part-time and cost US $2,500. Students must purchase their own course materials (books & DVDs) via or another provider, which will cost approximately US $200-$250 depending on whether you purchase new or used books, plus the shipping and handling costs of said books (which will vary depending on where in the world you live). As a note, from experience we’ve learned that shipping to foreign locations may cost as much as US $200 in addition to the costs of purchasing the books and DVDs.

A 10% discount is extended to existing IIMB members who pay in full before starting. If preferred, students can pay in three installments as they proceed through the course, however, when chosing this option one forfeits any discounts that may have applied to payment in full.

The Housekeeper course takes about three months to complete on an intense part-time schedule and costs US $1000. Four books and two DVDs must be purchased for this course (similarly via Amazon) for a total cost of about $150 plus shipping. This course must be paid in full before starting; there are no installment payments.

All graduates receive Certificates of Completion from the Institute upon successful completion of the course.


The Institute offers discounted rates for students living in regions with wage scales that might put paying for the course beyond their reach as individuals. Contact the Institute to find out if you qualify. You will be required to provide evidence to show you qualify for a discount based on your income.

If you live in a country that is not serviced by PayPal or you are otherwise unable to use PayPal to make your payment, please contact the Institute to be guided through bankwire or other money transfer procedures.

Ocean House, Rhode Island

Ocean House, Rhode Island


“This is to notify you that I have received my certificate via mail yesterday.
To say I am happy is  an understatement. I am filled with joy and most proud to have been able to complete the process against all odds.
I sincerely  want to thank Ms. Monica Ferry for refusing to let me stop and for not given up on me in the face of my many shortcomings due to diverse challenges I encountered.
Thank you, Mr. Vargas for seeing me through the program. I appreciate your keen eye to detail, you made me more focused.
I also want to thank Mr. Frank Mitchell; to my mind he is the most patient and wonderful tutor who saw me through the dark years of my studies which ordinarily would have been a study for just a few months. I am blessed to have had him teach me the excellent art of service.
Above all,  my thanks to Professor Steven Ferry who supervised my every course work and accessed me worthy to bear the seal as a certified Bulter from his prestigious institute. I am hopeful I will have more to learn from the institute in terms of further studies.
Thank you all, God bless you all.” M.W.

“I am writing to express my gratitude for your utmost professional guidance and for the fantastic materials that you have created in the Correspondence Course.

“From the moment I opened the Butlers & Household Managers book there was no way back for me. At that stage, I did not have any service background whatsoever, and it was a magical experience to discover my interest in the content of the book, enough even to prompt me to learn English. Beginning then on the course, I was amazed at the thoroughness of the materials—I understand the importance of every single Module.

“No other butler school concentrates as much on the mindset of the butler, the understanding of which is paramount. I simply cannot think of a better idea than structuring the course on the butler mentality fundamentals. Everything else simply flows naturally from this understanding, which makes the studying process really enjoyable! The skills and knowledge I have gained are helping me in everyday life.

“Some assignments were really challenging, but it was a pleasure to accept these challenges and broaden my capabilities in these fields.

“I honestly think that you are the best teacher that I have ever had (!), and your personal approach and expertise is what makes the studying process interesting. Without doubt, your personal example will serve as a reference point throughout my career and beyond!

“The value of what you give to people like me cannot be assessed with money. To summarize my experience with the Private Service Butler and Household Manager course, I feel that it can offer as much for beginners as it does to people with work experience in the service industry. Absolutely sterling!” E.A.

“The correspondence course gave me the entire scope of the duties and responsibilities of the multi-skilled butler in meeting the differing needs of employers around the world.
“I now understand the butler’s frame of mind and his intention to achieve remarkable service. My great gratitude to my teacher for his guidance.” A.F.

“I want to thank the Institute for the excellent training they provided. I am very proud to now be one more butler with a certificate from this reputed training center, able to offer my services in hospitality venues as well as private estates.” H.L.

The following comments from a university professor as he progresses through the course:

“I hope all the assignments in the course are this much fun.”

 “This is a wonderful module, very thought provoking.”

“I have most enjoyed Module 1.  I didn’t expect to enjoy the videoed programs quite so much as I actually do; and pondering the questions after gives me extra insight it the videos themselves.  Great job on Module 1!”

“I look forward to the new assignments.  This set was thought-provoking, instructive, and fun.”

“Thank you for your prompt and very kind review.”

“I can’t thank you too many times, nor overstate my gratitude, for your help through this material.”

“This whole set of modules from section five of the course has been most instructive and great fun.  As always, should you require changes, I shall be happy to try again.  I have come to enjoy and trust your comments on my work.  The times I have needed to do things again, I have been better off for it.”

“Thank you for your very prompt and very helpful reply, as always. I have observed in life that there are few truly dependable people.  You are proving  to be one of them.” R.R.