Q: I live in Boston – how do I start a personal concierge business?
A: To become a Boston concierge, you have to have the right temperament: reliability, friendliness, and a sense of humor. The demand for personal assistance is rising as the elite become wealthier and the middle class becomes more harried. Your first step is to set up a limited liability corporation (LLC) to protect your personal assets from lawsuits, bankruptcy, etc. These things probably won’t happen, but it’s wise to be prudent. The next thing to do is decide which services you want to offer. Here are some suggestions:
- Planning and booking business trips and vacations
- Transporting clients to and from the airport, or setting up limousines for that purpose
- Helping clients with technology (websites, PDAs, smartphones, email, online calenders, etc)
- Helping your client pick out restaurant equipment for her fabulous new kitchen
- Shopping for your clients, including gift-wrapping and mailing
- Arranging for repairmen and being present during their visits
- Helping families relocate into or out of Boston
- Planning dinners, parties, birthdays and special events
- Escorting single persons to the opera, ballet, symphony, etc.
- Procuring tickets to various events, shows and exhibits
- Taking care of your client’s pets, including walking, grooming and visits to the vet.
- Helping with office work like filing, copying, faxing, etc.
- House-sitting when your client is out of town
- Arranging dinner reservations
- Taking care of your clients’ children, such as escorting them to school or daycare, changing diapers, feeding or breastfeeding (if physically possible), and supervised play
- General errands, such as picking up the dry cleaning or pharmacy prescriptions, going to the post office or bank, etc.
You could probably name a dozen more, but you get the picture.
The next thing you should do is set up a website and hire a freelance writer to create your content. Freelance writers know how to craft web copy so that it conveys your service quickly and without requiring too much concentration from the prospective client. Once your website is set up, see about setting up advertising or paid links to boost your readership and rank higher in search engine results. Next, canvas around and see what the competition charges for the same services. Set your rates to be competitive, but don’t give it away.
Finally, make sure you are insured for personal injury and liability. Once again, you may never need this, but you will be really happy to have it if it proves necessary.