Butler standards Newsletter Richard Ratliff

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, August 2018, Professional Standards of Performance

Professional Standards of Performance: Application #8

By Richard L. Ratliff

Moving House

Scenario: I recently visited a young executive, who had just moved with his family into a new home from a faraway place. Their story was not an entirely happy one. The shipment was delayed in transit. Valuable furniture was lost. The packing boxes had been left unopened by the moving company. Nothing was put away, and the family was fumbling to carry on even basic, normal activities. Plus, the family was understandably tired and stressed from the ordeal.

The Standards: The Butler’s Standards of Professional Practice state the full scope of responsibility for moving a household and suggest the detailed attention required for a successful, and happy, move.

“When managing a house move, the butler may facilitate the move and ease any associated stress for the employer and family…by assuring the following:

  • Proper administrative preparation
  • Preparation of the old house
  • Preparation of the new house
  • A competent and responsible moving company and security company
  • A secure and complete move of all household items and valuables, without mishap
  • Good public relations in the new community
  • Staff preparation, orientation, and training; and
  • A suitable welcome and orientation of the family”

Proposed Resolution: When comparing this move with the professional standards, the first, obvious issue is that there was no butler to orchestrate it!

Secondly, a more professional and responsible moving company should have been hired in the first place, for which, see #1 above.

A third improvement would have been to plan and execute the many projects relating to leaving the old estate, preparing the new estate ahead of the arrival of the furnishings and staff, supervising the loading, escorting the moving caravan, and supervising the unloading, to ensure the safety of the household goods.

Checklists help immensely in this regard, and both volumes of Serving the Wealthy contain the many aspects that need to be covered to ensure this evolution progresses smoothly and completely.

Certainly, the move is complete only when the new estate is ready for occupancy—in perfect repair and order, perfectly clean, and functional—and the employers simply walk in and continue their lives without disruption.

Which brings us back to #1: Have a butler on board to take care of the estate!

Professor Ratliff is a retired butler who co-authored Volume 1 of Serving the Wealthy and has published three other books and over thirty articles. He can be reached via the Institute.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.