Life as a billionaire’s butler

Life as a billionaire’s butler – Full story on The Telegraph
By Olivia Goldhill
30 Mar 2015

Life as a billionaire’s butler

If money is no object, who are the staff you need to run your life?

Butlers are no longer the preserve of country manors, but can be found jetting between international homes and on Riviera yachts. Billionaire clients spare no expense in their globe-trotting lives, and many refuse to fly without a personal butler who can attend to their every need – immediately.

Sara Vestin Rahmani at her British Butler Academy

Sara Vestin Rahmani at her British Butler Academy

The TV series Who’d Be a Billionaire?, which explores the lives of the super-rich, airs on Sky Living this Tuesday. Although few billionaires remain in one city year-round, there are more billionaires per head based in London than any other major city, and a growing number of UK agencies who source the staff that cater to their very particular demands.

Social media and meerkats: the demands of a modern butler

Sara Vestin Rahmani, founder of elite domestic staff agency Bespoke Bureau, says that unusual requests are the norm. “We have a black book to source anything that they need. Anything that’s legal,” she says.
Bespoke Bureau recently found two butler-nannies to care of baby meerkats for one eccentric client, and a fearless assistant who was asked to accompany his billionaire boss on extreme sport trips. Another hire was warned that the lady of the house demands freshly-ground peppercorns on her plate at every meal. In addition, many staff members are expected to manage social media profiles.

Life as a billionaire’s butler – or nanny…

A nanny or governess would monitor the children’s social media, to make sure it’s in line with how the family wants to project their image,” says Rahmani. “We also have Chinese clients who want to raise their social status on social media and hire someone so it looks like they know all the right places to go to. That’s how people network today.”

Life as a billionaire’s butler - Sara Vestin Rahmani and Butler

Life as a billionaire’s butler – Sara Vestin Rahmani and Butler

Aristocratic companions for hire

Although there’s still demand for the traditional butler in white gloves, the international billionaire tends to prefer new breed of “super-butler” who acts not only as an assistant, but a companion and guide.

They see their client is accepted at the most exclusive restaurants and are the source of all knowledge on dress code and social etiquette.

Rahmani says one 65-year-old client hired such a companion for his 25-year-old girlfriend when the pair moved to London. As a newcomer to London, the twentysomething girlfriend needed help to access the city’s elite social scene. So it seems that life as a billionaire’s butler can be much fun.

These sociable assistants, often affluent in their own right, attended single-sex private schools, but haven’t achieved the same level of wealth and status as previous generations. “The upper-classes who used to hire butlers are now working as help themselves,” says Rahmani. Salaries range from £55,000 to £80,000.