On-Line Training

Copyright (c) Matt Buchanan
Copyright (c) Matt Buchanan

What if you cannot afford:

  • For your existing staff or new hires to take time off from their busy schedules for on-site training?
  • Or for them to train at a Butler school (existing only for private-service butlers)?
  • Or maybe you prefer not to invest the $15,000 fee (on average), plus travel costs and wages for the two months spent training at a private-service butler school, but you would still like your staff to receive some formal butler training?

Then an Internet-based on-line and long-distance learning course may be a viable option.

The information employee trainees receive from an Institute on-line course are more intensive than that available in butler schools. While there are copious amounts of practical assignments on these on-line courses, the downside is obviously that there is no tutor on site to correct and demonstrate, and no field trips are arranged. This lack can be rectified in part by guidance on possible field trips and additional training (on such as firearms training or wine service) to be conducted in the local area, and a brief visit on site by Institute personnel at the conclusion of the training, if desired.

The course for those in private service is based on the best-selling industry text, Serving the Wealthy, The Modern Butler’s & Household/Estate(s) Manager’s Companion, Volumes I & 2, as well as many other industry books and DVD’s. For an outline of this course, please check the course modules here.

The Institute also provides a course for housekeepers, which is based on the above butler course and is about half its length.

The course for those in the hospitality industry is based on the best-selling industry text, Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators, as well as many other industry books and DVD’s. For an outline of this course, feel free to check the course modules here.


These online courses include checklists detailing the reading and practical assignments, as well as projects to be done. All students have an open line via email (and if need be, via telephone and videoconferencing) to their tutors for questions and guidance on professional matters. Spanish-speaking students can be assisted in Spanish.

Both full Butler Courses take about four hundred hours of study to complete (equivalent to 8-10 weeks of full-time study at a bricks-and-mortar school) and cost US$2,500 each. Materials are purchased via Amazon for approximately $350.


Shorter courses in specific subjects are also available, as follows:

Private Service Management Skills: takes about two hundred hours to complete and costs US $1,000. Materials needing to be purchased for this course (via Amazon) cost about $250.00.

The Housekeeper Course: takes about two hundred hours to complete and costs US $1,000. Materials needing to be purchased for this course (via Amazon) cost about $250.00.

Private Service Basics for Butlers, Household Managers and Others Serving the Wealthy: US $750

Fine Dining Skills for Butlers, Household Managers and other private service professionals: US $600

Private Service Specialty Courses for Butlers, Household Managers and other private service professionals, each covering a specific topic:

  • Valeting Skills and Looking after Guests: US $300
  • The Bar and Wine Cellar: US $200
  • The Culture and Way of Cigars: US $200
  • Moving House: US $200
  • Security and the Oddjob Factor: US $200

All graduates receive certificates of completion from the Institute.

Hesitating about what sort of training is the best for you? Read the IIMB chairman’s article on the Training Path Choices here.

If you would like more information, please e-mail us.

Training Path Choices

Training at the front end of any career, and ongoing until the day we retire, at least, is a given for butlers and household or estate(s) managers today. In the old days, the only training route was on-the-job training and apprenticeship that was hands-on heavy, light on theory, and limited in scope. The results were narrowly focused manual skills and not much in the way of managerial expertise.

Today, we have two additional avenues: bricks-and-mortar butler schools providing anything from 2-8 weeks of training with varying degrees of effectiveness and for prices ranging from a couple of thousand to $15,000. The advantages include working with peers, face-to-face tutorials, and field trips, and often, preferential placement efforts upon graduation. 

The other avenue, perhaps more in tune with the digital world in which we live, is on-line courses. Their weaknesses are the very strengths of the bricks-and-mortar schools; whereas the strengths of on-line courses include a significantly lower fee (typically $2,000 – $3,000 for study hours on a par with an eight-week residential course); zero costs for travel, room and board; and for those currently in the work force, neither loss of income for the trainee nor interruption of service for the employer during the training. Additionally, because more subjects are covered, the training tends to be deeper, or can certainly be made far deeper by the student taking ancillary courses locally on such as wines, cigars, flower arranging, advanced driving, firearm and security, etc.

An independent survey was conducted recently into preferred training methods, which is well worth reviewing. Key points established were:

Ø  Only about 50% of people feel they have the learning opportunities they need in their work;

Ø  People like to learn at home more than anywhere else;

Ø  If they have a choice between learning on computers, tablets, mobile phones or reading a printed document, they pick a computer. Mobile phones came last;

Ø  The preferred duration for learning is 16-30 minutes, by a very large margin;

Ø  Learning opportunities are critical to job satisfaction.

Furthermore, according to the survey results, people most desire self-paced learning and to put information into practice immediately.

Anyone who has done any of the Institute’s on-line courses knows that’s exactly the way their Institute training was conducted. The courses were designed and written by the Chairman, who has worked for decades as an educator, specializing in cutting-edge education methods, as well as by Professor Ratliff, likewise an educator for decades. Where an employer is paying for the training (as opposed to self funding), a visit to the estate by Institute personnel at the conclusion of the training can ensure full application of the materials and certainty on the part of the trainee, which are, after all, the ultimate purposes of any training.

Bricks-and-mortar schools and on-line courses appeal to different groups with different needs, goals, and barriers, so one cannot say that one is better than the other: only that it is a blessing for the profession that we have choices. Even the old hands-on training on the job is still available in a few stately homes and such as Buckingham Palace for those who want authentic and traditional training. Certainly in combination with the other two forms of training, they are valuable experience and CV/resume builders.


“This course and your mentoring have been some of the most valuable education and training I have experienced. I am only sorry that I did not receive such training when I was in my early 20s—what a difference it would have made in my life and career. Yes, I have a wonderful life, and my career has been successful; but I can look back and see remarkable benefits that might have been realized had I simply had the skills of a proper English butler. Not a day passes now that I do not use my training. I have observed in life that there are few truly dependable people. You are proving to be one of them. Thanks, and thanks again.”

“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 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!”

One individual just graduated from the Institute’s On-line Private Service Course, consisting of about 400 hours of study and assignments, which took him about 10 months, or 10 hours a week, to complete. He had prior experience in high-end hospitality management, as well as household manager work. It took dedication and persistence, and this is what he had to say on completion:
“This course has been of real benefit to me—quite challenging at times but a great way for me to stay in the game while I continue to look for my next position. The course has given me confidence and a trust in my knowledge and experience in the field, and I appreciate all the guidance throughout. The two books Serving the Wealthy Volumes I & II are indispensable texts for anyone in the profession.”