Business is busy and so is life! Although my businesses are not necessarily seasonal (that is, they don’t pick up the pace during the holiday season), life just seems that much more hectic at this time of year. It’s hard to find the time to go shopping for the gifts and the extra food and the holiday decorations: lines are longer and there’s so much to do! I’m convinced that concierge services are the business to start this season.
Concierge services have traditionally been associated with fancy hotels where guests wanted tickets to a show or reservations at a nice restaurant. Today, concierge services are available to anyone who needs more time in their day.
What can they do? It seems like just about anything you don’t want to do! What about…drop off or pick up dry cleaning, bring your car in for an oil change, buy Christmas gifts, print your family’s holiday letter at the printers, book reservations at restaurants or hotels, pay your bills, and do any number of other tasks, too.
Although it does cost money to get these projects done, it really is potentially money in the bank for you because of the time crunch in our lives. For example, if it took you half an hour to fight traffic to the laundromat, pick up your dry cleaning, and fight traffic home, you have lost that half an hour (plus potentially increased your stress level from the traffic or standing in line). What is your time worth? If your concierge could do the same task for less, you’ve saved money and decreased your stress level. And during the holiday season, both of those are great things to do!
To know if a concierge service is right for you, simply figure out how much your time is worth (by calculating, for example, how much you’d make in an hour) and then comparing that to how much time it would take you to run the errand. I’ve spent 2 hours in a line at the mall because I left gift shopping just a little too late. If I knew about concierge services then, I could have simply asked them to do the waiting for me. What I make per hour compared to what it cost me to wait in line would have been well worth the cost.
And life doesn’t seem to slow down very much after the holidays! It’s back to school for the kids and back to work for the rest of us and life continues to sprint forward at breakneck speed.
Looking to start a concierge business? I think it’s a great idea! You don’t need very much to start: of course you’ll need a business plan as well as the necessary licenses, but the only other assets you need are a cell phone and car. I’d recommend getting a cell phone like Palm’s Treo which is nearly a fully-functional computer in the palm of your hand. This allows you to take calls, process invoices, create marketing, and browse the Internet while you’re waiting in line for your customer.
Got time on your hands and the ability to organize? The real profits come from doing several things at once. (For example, shop for 3 or 4 clients at the same time…you’ll only stand in line once and yet all of them will pay for your time, plus you’ll have plenty of time to tweak your marketing efforts and business plan while you’re waiting).