Small Business Idea – Start a Concierge Business

Do you know someone who’s so busy that they’re constantly saying things like “I’d pay someone to do this for me” or “I need more hours in my day!” or even “I wish I could clone myself” ? If so, what that person really needs is a personal assistant! Concierge or Errand businesses are a growing trend. Although the economy isn’t in the best shape, people are still leading very busy rat race type lifestyles. From busy working moms to jet setting professional singles – they all have a need for an extra set of hands or person to remind them of important appointments or tasks.
 
Starting a concierge service is going to take some work and creativity on your end. Although most people have a need for this type of service, some have a hard time justifying the expense. Your marketing and client acquisition strategy will require you to effectively demonstrate how easy their life would be with you on their team! Here are a few tips to consider when planning your Concierge (errand service) business:
 
1. Start with a business plan: You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a business plan – in fact, with this type of service business – you can write one yourself. You will want to write out the vision you have for your company, as best as possible – note any start up costs, price points, target demographic and market.
 
2. Discover your start up costs: Start up costs associated with a concierge business are surprisingly minimal. Like with any business, one of the first steps you’ll take is setting up your business legally. This means you will need to check with your state and local commerce offices as well as the IRS for any licensing and tax requirements. The cost of a business license in most states is pretty low ranging from $25 to $100. After you’ve established your business legally you’ll want to create your website and marketing materials. Depending on your level of technical and graphic expertise you may be able to do this on your own for nothing at all. However if you’re like most people, it’s something you’ll end up outsourcing. You can find a reputable website designer at places like GetAFreelancer to do your website for under $500 with matching business card and brochure templates for a little bit extra. It’s also advised to invest in business liability insurance. Depending on the range of services you offer, you’ll likely spend a lot of time driving around – if your current car insurance doesn’t recognize your vehicle as a business/commercial vehicle – you may not be covered if you get in an accident while doing company functions. All in all, the estimated start up costs for a concierge business would be under $1500.
 
3. Develop your legal documents and contracts: Because of the nature of a personal assistant concierge style business – it’s important to have contracts and agreements between you and your client. For example – you may offer a car pooling service shuttling kids to and from soccer practice. You’ll want to have a signed agreement that authorizes your clients children to be in the car with you.
 
4. Decide on your range of service: A concierge can offer a wide range of services. As long as it’s legal – you should remain open to any type of assignment. Typically concierge services are divided into two categories – corporate services and personal/individual services. The types of services you offer a business will vary from what you’ll offer an individual. Corporate services may include things like courier services, event planning, travel planning, and transportation arrangement. Those types of things are often duties handled by executive secretaries, but many businesses choose to save money by hiring a concierge business instead. Personal services include gift shopping, cleaning services, relocation assistance planning, dry cleaning pick up, house sitting, reminder services, appointment making services, grocery shopping and many others.
 
5. Decide your price point: Most concierge businesses charge by the hour, with $25-30 being the going rate. It’s also wise to offer monthly package rates. This will help you secure long term contracts, particularly if you require a minimum number of months to sign up. Your packages should include a guaranteed number of services and/or hours per month – with an extra fee being charged for services or hours over.
 
6. Put your best foot forward: With your business cards and services brochures in hand – you’ll want to hit the ground running with your marketing strategy. Word of mouth is always the best way to grow a business – it’s free also! The first impression will be the lasting impression for potential clients, because of this you should be courteous to a fault! You want clients to know that you are a trustworthy and responsible individual. Your appearance should be well-kept at all times, answer your phones in the most professional manner and always be organized.
 
The sky is the limit when it comes to starting a concierge business, it will be challenging in the beginning – but that’s the case with any new venture. Don’t give up and always keep a smile on your face – you never know, you may be talking to your next client!

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