The Pros and Cons of Starting a Personal Concierge Service Business
Busy professionals short on time are willing to save a few hours per week by hiring someone to run to the cleaners, take their dog to the vet, organize their itinerary for their next business trip, or perform other similar tasks. As a personal concierge, you'll attend to such details for your clients.
Like all small businesses, there are pros and cons associated with being a personal concierge. Before venturing into such a career choice, it's important to understand what the job entails, why it might be a good fit for you, and what some of the potential challenges include.
What Personal Concierges Do
Working as a personal concierge is much like working as a personal assistant. However, personal assistants typically work for one company, serving a single executive or perhaps is shared by several executives. As a personal concierge, you'll work as an independent contractor, taking on clients who need your services. Clients' needs vary greatly. Some need only a few hours of assistance every week, and others require multiple hours per day.
Many people think of hotel concierges when they hear the word, and personal concierges really aren't much different. They just serve a different clientele with different needs. While a hotel concierge might be asked to lock down dinner reservations—or perform other similar tasks—for guests staying in town no more than a day or two, personal concierges often serve clients for extended periods of time.
Some clients hire personal concierges on a continuing basis, while others might seek a short-term contract to get through a busy time, such as when relocating.
The types of tasks personal concierges might handle are almost endless, but some common jobs include:
- Filing and other organizational tasks
- Running personal errands
- Making travel arrangements
- Assisting with event planning
- Coordinating household chores
If you have a flexible schedule and thrive on variety, working as a personal concierge might be for you. Some of the other positives that come with this type of career include:
- Specialization: The broad needs of potential clients means you can focus on the areas where you have the most experience and the best skills. For example, if you're good at organizing, market yourself as someone who can help professionals to declutter their workspaces and manage their time better.
- No training required: There's no specific degree program or certification that is necessary to be a personal concierge. However, relative experience helps. If you have a background as a personal assistant for top executives, that will help attract clients.
- Networking: The job provides a great opportunity to forge long-term relationships with clients. You also can use the relationships you already have to help build a base of clients and get your business off the ground.
- Minimal upfront investment: Working as a personal concierge typically requires reliable transportation and sufficient computer hardware with appropriate office software to be connected. These are things you likely already have, so most upfront costs will go into creating an online presence and marketing yourself.
- Corporate contracts available: Working for individual clients is great, but you also may be able to offer your services to local companies that want to provide concierge services as an employee benefit or as a resource for new hires relocating to the area.
Even if you are a people person who likes the challenge of new and different tasks every day, working as a personal concierge comes with some challenges:
- Economy-dependent: Luxury services are among the first expenses cut during difficult financial times. During tough economic times, it's likely you'll lose some clients, and finding new ones will be challenging.
- Demanding clients: Most clients are great to work with, but some people can be rude, possessive of your time, prone to expecting too much with too little notice, or otherwise difficult to work with. Especially when trying to get a new business off the ground, it's difficult to drop a client without risking harm to your reputation.
- Insurance costs: If you are accessing your clients' homes, you should have insurance or become bonded to protect yourself from liability. This can add to your upfront costs.
- Unpredictable schedules: You may be busiest during your own busy season, such as during the holidays. You also may have to be on-call for clients who need last-minute assistance because they are on-call themselves or otherwise can't always give advance notice.