Do you want to start a personal shopper business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a personal shopper business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample personal shopper business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample personal shopper marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for personal shopper businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a personal shopper business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Personal Shopper Business?
If you are thinking of starting a business with low start-up capital and high profits, then look no further, the personal shopper business is ideal for you. A personal shopper attracts different kinds of clients. Some clients may have strong fashion sense while others may not.
Another set of clients may need your services because of their busy schedule and they would require you to help them find the various outfits they need, while other clients would need to look fashionable and well-dressed but may need a bit of help in putting pieces of clothing together.
Some may equally need your service to help them select, package and deliver personal gifts to family, friends, and even their own clientele. Personal shopping is an exciting and diverse career for those who love to work with others to create a fashionable and appropriate outfit.
If you are fully determined, then you can be sure that the information contained in this article would help you set out on the right footing.
Starting a Personal Shopper Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
Statistics have it that within the United States, we have about 3,000 businesses that provide direct personal services which include personal shopper services, concierge services, and style consulting.
These businesses generate more than $3 billion revenue yearly while providing more than 25,000 jobs. This is a mature industry, and the growth rate of the U.S economy in the future is expected to mirror that of the industry. Currently, the bad economic conditions within the country and globally may have an impact on the company’s ability to initially generate significant income. However, the customers being sought by the personal shopper are mostly wealthy people who are less swayed by negative changes in the economy.
Relatively few people are willing to start a personal-shopping business when compared with other businesses. The economic census conducted by U.S. Census Bureau in 1997 listed 2,670 firms in the miscellaneous personal-services category, one of which includes the shopping services. In total, they were able to generate $1.2 billion in sales and employed 25,526.
Whilst most large retailers make use of their employees to offer their major customers personal shopping services, there is still a need for one to take personal shopping as a job rather than an added bonus for clients. Getting a job as a personal shopper is one way to learn this business.
Another approach to learning this business is to train with an established personal shopper. You can attend some training courses where you would be taught the rudiments of personal shopping before you venture into the business.
Personal shopping services within the last decade have emerged as a rapidly growing industry with a high potential for highly profitable operations. It is a service that appeals to corporate clients and busy but above average income clients. An enterprising person who provides this kind of service can make good profits from it.
Starting a Personal Shopper Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
If you are looking at defining the demographics and psychographics of this kind of business, you would realize that this kind of business does not exempt any age group or status in the society. So, you should make it all encompassing.
Anyone can require the service of a personal shopper as there will be the need for a personal shopper at some point in time regardless of your financial status. With the advance in technology nowadays anyone can order for your service online.
List of Niche ideas Within the Personal Shopper Business That You Can Specialize in
The personal shopping services business is a highly competitive industry in which you need to include many areas of specialization in order to grow your client base because most clients prefer personal shoppers with vast experience in different fields.
Therefore you need to acquire more knowledge and add other niches to your services. Here are some of the niche ideas in the personal shopper business that you should specialize in:
- Specialize in purchasing clothing, accessories, and holiday gifts for your clients
- Specialize in working for busy moms
- Specialize in internet shopping for your clients
- Specialize in home/office cleaning services
- Specialize in virtual assistant services such as typing, data entry, pet services, vehicle maintenance services, etc.
- Specialize in green and organic shopping
- Specialize in clothing and fashion
The Level of Competition in the Personal Shopper Services Industry
In the course of running your personal shopper business, you are bound to face some competitions. This is not new as it is peculiar to any type of business you do. However, the personal shopper business also experiences competition due to the fact that other stores are offering the services free as a bonus for their clients. You can stay on top of this competition by ensuring that you build a strong relationship with your clients who are also going to reciprocate by recommending you to their friends and family. You should also ensure that you provide quality and excellent service to your clients always.
The level of competition in the personal shopper industry does not depend on the business location as you can operate your personal shopper business globally from any part of the world since you can also ensure that you make your online presence count.
List Of Well – Known Brands in the Personal Shopper Industry
In every industry, we always have brands that are well-known and better regarded by customers and the general public than others. These are key players in the industry and some of them have been in the industry for long and so are known for the business they do, while others are known best for how they treat their clients.
Here are some of the leading personal shopper companies/brands in the United States of America and all over the world.
- Fashion Valley
The economic analysis of your personal shopper business starts with you carrying out a feasibility study to know how profitable this business will be in the long run.
You would also need to draft out strategies to enable you to get a market share for your business by focusing on some specific areas of specialization. You also need to ensure that your unique selling point is attractive enough to entice your customers. To achieve this, you would need to draft a business plan that would show you clearly if the business is viable or not.
Another thing you would need to consider before starting your personal shopper business is your source of finance. This is quite important as most major financial institutions will likely lend to established and successful personal shopper businesses than start-ups. You need to make your business plan interesting enough to convince the lending institution.
Starting your Personal Shopper Company from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
If you intend to start your personal shopper business, it is worthwhile to first make a research if there are any good franchise opportunities available that might help you avoid common mistakes entrepreneurs make. Unless you have other compelling reasons to start up your business from the scratch, buying a personal shopper business franchise may be the better choice.
The good thing about it is that a personal shopper business acquisition is a recognized name which usually comes with a loyal client base. If you are diligent enough to find the right acquisition prospect, you may be able to capitalize on such business franchise to rapidly become a leader in the personal shopper industry.
Possible Threats and Challenges you will face when starting a Personal Shopper Company
If decide to start your own personal shopping business, you are likely going to face challenges from major department stores who also offer personal shopping services for free to their customers. Therefore, you should have basic knowledge about trending fashion styles and have some experience with fashion and fashion brands and also know which fashion or gift items are appropriate for various occasions.
You will also have a challenge dealing with demanding clients. There will always be some clients that are difficult to satisfy and you would have to go the extra length to meet their expectations and probably exceed it. You would need to handle these clients with tact and graciousness, and you need to also demonstrate your willingness to do anything within reason to meet their expectations.
Starting a Personal Shopper Business – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
When considering starting a personal shopping business, you will need to carefully choose the legal entity to use as it will go a long way to determine how big and successful the business will be. Some personal shopping companies do design their services to cater for the regional market, while some for the national market, and others for the international market.
Generally, you have a plethora of options; you can either choose a general partnership, limited liability Company (LLC), or a sole proprietorship for your personal shopping business. Ordinarily, one would have chosen general partnership as the ideal business structure for a start-up personal shopper company with moderate start-up capital.
But if you intend to grow your business and have both corporate and individual clients from all over the United States of America and beyond, then choosing a general partnership is not the best option for you. You would do well by choosing the Limited Liability Company.
For example, when you set up a limited liability company, it will protect you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong during the course of the business, you will only put the money that you invested into the LLC at risk, not all your entire capital. This is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are more flexible and simpler to operate. You also do not need a board of directors and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors that you need consider before you choose a legal entity for your personal shopper company; limitation of personal liability, admission of new owners and investors, ease of transferability, taxes.
If you critically study the various legal entities available for your personal shopping company, you will agree that limited liability company is most suitable for you. Another good thing about it is that you can start this type of business as limited liability company and in convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporations in the near future especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading your LLC to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your personal shopping company to the level at which it can compete with major players in the industry; then you will be able to generate enough capital for your business from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you will enjoy the ease of the company’s ownership transfer.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for a Personal Shopper Company
Generally, it has to do with choosing a suitable name for your business; you ought to be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will create the perception of what your business represents in the mind of the people. When naming their business, most people usually tend to follow the trend in the industry they want to start operating from.
If you are intending to start your own personal shopping company, here are some catchy business names that you can choose from;
- Anytime Assistant
- B2V Errands
- Checklist Errands
- Eager Errands
- Ergo Errands
- Errands 4 You
- Every Mission
- Everyday Butler Concierge & Errand Service
- Gimmie A List
- Made Easy Errands
- Odds or Errands
- Quality Errands & Personal Service
- Road Runner Errand Service
- Little Birdie Errand Service
- Errand Ladies of LA
- Errand Runners
- Errands & services
- Errands & Tasks
- Run for You
- Your 25th Hours Errand Service
In most countries of the world especially in the United States of America, you can’t run a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers required by the industry you intend to operate from. So, it is quite necessary that you create a budget for insurance policy covers and you might need to consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the most appropriate insurance policies for your personal shopper company.
Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you are expected to have if you want to start your personal shopping company in the United States of America;
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- General insurance
- Workers compensation
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Payment protection insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
Intellectual property protection/trademark guides you from losing your product or service to intellectual theft. However, for this type of business, you won’t really need intellectual property protection but you could still go ahead and file for it to protect your official logo, banners, fliers, and important documents from being used elsewhere. To protect your intellectual property, you should file an application with the USPTO. The approval of your trademark will be subject to a review by the attorneys as required by USPTO.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Personal Shopper Business?
For this kind of business, you don’t really need any professional certification before you can run it successfully, but you could still enroll online for a Personal Shopper Certificate Course. This will further broaden your knowledge on the roles of a personal shopper and how you could serve your clients better.
When you get your certification as a personal shopper, you will have the advantage of billing your clients at a higher hourly or daily rate than a non-certified personal shopper. Also, your clients will be eager to pay because they will have confidence and trust in you since you have mastered the principles of image and style, while they will also know that their image goals will be achieved under your service.
Aside from your personal knowledge and competence, you must also ensure that your key staffs too are competent to handle your clients and give them quality service.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Personal Shopping Company
The importance of having the necessary documentation in place before starting your business in the United States cannot be overemphasized. You cannot successfully run any business in the United States if you don’t have the proper documentations. This is because it is prohibited and you could be arrested and charged to court if you do.
Here are some of the basic documents you can have in place for you to legally run your own personal shopping company in the United States of America;
- Business Plan
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License and Certification
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Business Name and Logo
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Apostille (for those who intend to operate their business outside the country)
- Federal tax identification number
- VAT Registration
Financing your Personal Shopping Company
When it has to do with financing your business, one of the major factors that you need to consider is how you would write a good and catchy business plan. With a good and workable business plan in place, you won’t have issues with convincing your bank, investors, and friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options to explore when sourcing for capital for your personal shopping company;
- Raising money from your personal savings
- Raising money from the sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from business partners and investors
- Selling of shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from banks
- Applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations
- Sourcing for soft loans from your friends and family members
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Personal Shopper Business
The location of your personal shopper business cannot be overemphasized as it goes a long way to determine how your business will grow and expand. Because of its importance, you need to look at renting your business facility in a visible and accessible location.
You should also be aware that securing a business facility in choice or good location doesn’t come cheap, therefore, you will need to allocate sufficient funds for it in your budget. If you rent your facility in a place that is not too visible to your potential clients, then you would have to spend extra costs in advertising your business.
You need to also be aware that this is a business that you can run from your home, but you will still need to have a business location where clients can meet with you. This actually makes your customers see you as a serious person and it would boost their confidence in you.
Starting a Personal Shopper Business – Technical and Manpower Details
For this type of business, you won’t need any technical equipment all you need is to hire competent and qualified personal assistants who would help you deliver excellent service to your clients. Ensure you look out for qualified and highly flexible persons to work with you. Also ensure that you do regular training and retraining for your staff. There is no limit to the number of staff you can employ but you can start with about 4-7 employees and continue to expand as you have more clients.
The Service Delivery Process of a Personal Shopping Company
The service delivery process of a personal shopper business has to do with rendering a wide range of personal assistance services to your clients depending on their needs at such period of time. The process involves providing personalized and customized services to your clients. Make sure you render excellent services aimed at satisfying your clients.
Starting a Personal Shopper Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and Strategies
As a personal shopping company, you would have a lot to do to earn the trust and confidence of clients. People and organizations will call on you to help them handle all their personal shopping needs if they know you can offer them quality service.
So, when drafting your marketing ideas and strategies for your personal shopping company, ensure that you create a personal and company profile that will be compelling enough to your client. Here are some platforms you can make use of in marketing your personal shopping service;
- Introduce your business to small scale and corporate organizations by sending introductory letters along with your brochure
- Advertise your business in newspapers, magazines, radio stations and TV stations and in other programs relevant to your business
- List your personal shopping business on local directories
- Create specialized packages to accommodate various category of clients so as to work with their budgets
- Leverage on the internet in promoting your business where you blog regularly on key issues relating to your business
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
Strategies to Boost Your Personal Shopper Business Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
One of your main goals in any business is to ensure that the awareness of your brand is properly boosted while your corporate identity is rightly portrayed to the public. If not, then you should be prepared to take on whatsoever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of success of large corporations is their willingness to spend fortunes each year to boost their brand awareness and to communicate their corporate identity to people in the right perspective.
If you intend to grow your personal shopping business beyond the location of the business to have more clients where you could become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend a fortune on the advertisement and promotion of your brand.
To promote your brand, you should make use of the print, electronic and social media (the internet). The internet and social media platforms are more efficient and cost effective ways to promote your brands. Another strategy is to sponsor TV and radio programs relevant to your business and advertise your business in relevant magazines and newspapers.
Here are some of the platforms you can choose from to boost your brand and advertise your business;
- Place adverts in magazines, newspapers, radio stations and TV stations with programs relevant to your business.
- Make use of word of mouth publicity from your loyal and satisfied customers
- Promote your business with the use of the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Google+, etc.
- Ensure that your banners and billboards are placed in strategic areas around your city
- Distribute fliers and handbills in specific areas in your neighborhood
- Contact small businesses and corporate organizations and inform them of your organization and the personal shopping services you offer
- Advertise on your website and employ ways to pull traffic to the site