How many times have you heard a frantically busy friend or business associate say, “If only I had someone to do this for me!” That old phrase, “Time is of the essence” is more significant than ever as two-income couples, singles, parents and hard-charging professionals struggle with the time demands of running a business, raising a family, caring for elderly parents, grocery shopping, running errands, going to the car wash, and getting it all done before the end of the day.
Unfortunately, the sun almost never sets on most “To Do” lists and therein rests an opportunity. The services of a personal concierge are becoming increasingly valuable to those who are stressed-out, over-worked and just don’t have the time or energy to do it themselves. If you already have experience in providing personal service or if you just like the idea of giving others the gift of time, the personal concierge business might be right for you.
To zero in on the aspect of the business that’s best for you, you should:
1. Narrow down the options.
2. Learn from the leaders.
3. Write a business plan.
4. Market your business.
5. Join your peers.
Find your best fitThere are plenty of ways to provide personal service to others. Run errands, pet-or-house sit, work with corporations, business executives, professionals such as doctors and lawyers, families, the elderly; the possibilities are almost endless.
Learn from the prosThough the personal concierge business is a relatively new one, there are several organizations and individuals that offer training, how-to books, and coaching.
Write a business planNo matter how confident you are that you are qualified to meet the needs of others, you’ll still need a business plan to serve as a road map. In the process of developing your plan, you’ll address all aspects of starting and operating a personal concierge business.
Market your servicesGetting the word out is critical and the Internet is a great tool to help you do it. Consider joining professional and trade organizations that will list you as a member on their Web site, and then tap into their vendor resources to help you get the job done.
- You’ll need more than drive and people skills to make it in the personal services industry. You’ll also need to think like an entrepreneur and have plenty of sales talent.
- Teaming up with a corporation means you can provide personal concierge services to key employees as part of an “employee perks” package.
- Scope out one-person businesses; your package of services will free the owner to accomplish more without adding staff.
- Consider a tiered approach to structuring your fees. Some clients will want you to provide “x” and others might want “x” plus “y.” Package your services by the hour, by the project, or on an ongoing retainer basis and let the client decide what works best for them.
- Are you best suited to provide errand services, comprehensive lifestyle management, or even on-site concierge services? Determining this in advance will help you focus your business from the start.
- Contacts are key in the personal service business. Start building a file of people you can call on to help you meet your client’s needs.