As a personal concierge, also known as a personal assistant, your job or range of duties is only bound by your own ideas of what you will do and the needs of the clients who hire you. These jobs may include dog walking and pet-sitting, appointment scheduling and travel booking, moving assistance, home office support, and any other thing you feel you can do or be asked to do by your clients.

Almost everyone in this age uses a personal concierge. Everyone from the millionaire corporate chairman to the single mom with two jobs and three children under age 10. Concierges are finding their services are needed more than ever—not just by corporate workers, but almost everyone one.

Note that as mid-level workers get busier and busier, they are more or less becoming more and more comfortable with the concept of passing along their errands to personal concierges. And in an effort to attract and retain employees, more and more companies are offering them personal concierge services.

To effectively start and run this business, energy, flexibility, organization, and an entrepreneurial spirit are expected to be your friends. Every client and their needs will sure differ wildly, so you should enjoy meeting each day’s unique challenges. You are also expected to be good at marketing yourself and enjoy meeting people and being a part of their lives to the extent they need and allow you to see to their personal needs.

In addition, you are also expected to get along well with others and project an aura of self confidence and accomplishment. You ought to be a well organized multi-tasker with strong sales skills. You should also be able to create a website that effectively introduces you to your public and be adept at social media to broaden your appeal.

Note that since this is a field of business that can be considered a luxury that some could dispense with if personal budgets had to be cut, personal concierge services are more or less tied to the economy. Once the local economy stays at least fairly strong, there is opportunity for growth. Or you might struggle to become so indispensable to your clients that they’d see your services as more of a necessity than a luxury.

Start-up costs for a personal concierge business are estimated to be between $2,000 and $4,000, that is if you already have a computer and other office basics. If not, the figure could be considerably higher, depending on what kind of computer system and other office supplies you choose to buy.

Also since it is a service-based business rather than a product-based one that calls for inventory, starting and running a personal concierge business doesn’t need so much financial investment. Moreover, much of what you will need to be a good concierge can’t be bought—for example, the contacts that come from long-term business relationships with the right people. Note that you can’t put a price tag on those contacts, but having them puts you well on the way to success.

Basic Way to Price or Bill for Concierge Services

In this business, your primary source of revenue will be from your clients for your services and, occasionally from their additional tips in appreciation. Additionally, most successful people in this business have explored and leveraged the benefits of developing referral agreements with such vendors as wedding planners, travel agents and moving companies that enables them to receive commissions or discounts for business conducted by clients.

According to the website Payscale, it is estimated that personal concierges in the United States have an average rate of $12.83 an hour and about $25 at the top end. However, this heavily buttresses paid employees of services offered by hotels and other hospitality businesses rather than independent contractors.

Have it in mind that your own rates will be determined by how much perceived value you offer as well as by the wage rate in your location and the finances of the clientele you target. Payscale puts concierge salaries in the range of from about $21,000 to $41,500 annually. Glassdoor has the figure at a national range of around $25,400.

Both of these sources are primarily concerned with the salaries of employees for concierge services at hospitality centres. Your own revenue stream will depend on your reputation, marketing expertise, local competitive rates and other factors.

Generally, note that the price you charge your clients will be more or less based on the economic ability of the client and the value associated with the task. To get started, below are few considerations and factors to consider:

  1. Know what your concierge service is worth to the customer

Note that special expertise and a personal touch are paramount for some duties (i.e., relocation assistance). In addition, the ability to finish a task that is not possible or desirable for a client helps determine the fee. Routine tasks, like laundry and daily pet care, are examples. Pricing is done by the task or by the hour.

  1. Determine the cost to produce the desired results

You can also consider how much it costs to care of a client’s pet while the owner is away. There could be feeding, walking and medicine to give. Your hourly rate (i.e., $25 per hour) and the cost of buying any food would have to be calculated to suit the services your offer. It is advisable you complete a break-even analysis to see when you reach the point when your variable (i.e., utilities) and fixed (i.e., rent) expenses are covered.

  1. Research the going rate for concierge services in your area

Indeed concierge service prices in metropolitan areas tend to be quiet easier to compare. You can use the Internet to find out what the competition is charging. There may be many companies offering similar services to clients, so be prepared to explain how your concierge service is different when advertising prices.

Conclusion

It is always advisable to start slow, with a single client on a part-time basis. For example, it can be a mom who needs you after the kids get out of school and that might allow you to continue another part-time night or weekend job.

You should also consider approaching businesses first as a concierge to employees. That way you can possibly count on enough business to devote your full-time energy once you sign a contract. Also consider approaching larger corporations via their human resources department.

Ajaero Tony Martins