Overview Of Business Model
As the number of jet-set traveling business-people rises, a serious demand develops for concierge services that originate online and then turn into a high-touch service once the client is within your geographic area. Today’s online concierge service has many advantages over what the word previously meant. The client finds and interacts with you through your Web site.
Here’s how it works: Clients can e-mail you their schedule, tell you what they would like for a grocery list and where they might like to make dinner reservations, tell you what they need copied and couriered, tell you what transportation needs they have, and so on. You provide all the services that an assistant, housekeeper, and personal planner would, and you charge for your services based on the added value of having all these services done by one business or capable individual. It saves tons of time for a business traveler, and it’s becoming popular.
To operate this business, you need a personable manner and an organized method of doing things. Your clients will look to you for advice on how to best get along in the new city they have come to work in. Having knowledge of the area and knowing how to make a business traveler comfortable will ensure that you succeed in this business. You will need basic Web publishing skills to update your Web site and proper writing skills so your communication with clients is concise and professional.
Cost To Start This Business
The cost to start this business will include a computer, appropriate software, and a printer. You will also incur costs related to the design, development, and marketing of your Web site. A suggested cost for these expenses is $3,000 to $7,000. There are no inventory or overhead costs that come out of pocket before your client pays for your services, so this business is perfect for someone looking to start from scratch.
Number Of Employees Needed To Start
To begin, you will need only one capable and organized part-time person. If you become busy, however, you will have to hire more help in order to continue to deliver high-touch personalized service.
There is international potential for this business. Foreign visitors may be particularly in need of your services.
Important Business Issues To Be Addressed
In this business you want to be a careful money monitor. You may want to get a retainer upon signing the contract for out-of-pocket expenses. The client will be asking you to complete services that require paying up front, such as photocopying, dry cleaning, and buying groceries. You should have a budget for all the expenses and make sure you are not losing any profit due to poor bookkeeping. Remember that the service you are providing should be tailored to the individual. It’s your job to make their days run as smoothly as possible. If you master this, many more jobs could come your way. It’s a great business for referrals. You want to have your responsibilities and your client’s budget and expectations for specific expenses clearly laid out in a contract.
Online Marketing Techniques
- Develop a comprehensive link strategy. Generate links with descriptive text describing your services on the main business services sites in your area—for example, the local chamber of commerce Web site. Get listed and linked from the regional online directories and publications that have content geared for the business traveler.
- Develop a sponsored listings campaign to bid on appropriate keyword phrases with the popular search engines.
- Gather client testimonials and publish these on your Web site.
Additional income could certainly come from tipping, which is widely practiced in this business. Other ways to increase your income are broadening your services to include more sophisticated skills such as taking notes at meetings and becoming more of an administrative assistant than a concierge. Once you have a working relationship with each client, providing all the services humanly possible for them will be the source of additional income. It all depends on how flexible you are.