Do you want to launch your own home-based business, but you’re unsure what type of business to start?
Then consider working as a personal concierge, or sometimes called a personal assistant. Not only does this allow you to work from home on a flexible schedule, but it falls under the most basic human needs of not having enough time and having way too much to do. People are more than willing to pay good money for an extra set of hands so that they can get stuff done.
As a personal concierge, you’ll assist busy professionals with their overflow of tasks, errands, and to-dos:
- Booking travel reservations
- Making appointments
- Running errands
- Picking out gifts
- Planning parties
- Grocery shopping and meal prep
- Dog walking
- Pick up dry cleaning
- Sending out correspondence
- Internet research
- Mailing packages
- Picking up kids
- Managing repairs, service setup like cable or internet, etc.
- House and pet sitting
- Watering plants
- Waiting in line for concert tickets, renewals, and registrations
- Packing and relocation services
Being a personal concierge does not require a degree, special training, or a large startup budget; however, you will need to be highly professional and organized.
How Much Can You Make as a Personal Concierge?
Now that you know what kind of tasks a personal concierge does let’s talk about how much you can make. Depending on where you live, what tasks you’re performing, and how many clients you have, you can earn anywhere from $25-$125 per hour. Some personal concierges work with just one client running their entire home life; this is usually called household management.
As a business owner, you’ll be responsible for paying quarterly self-employment taxes and keeping track of all your income and expenses. This article discusses your financial responsibilities as an independent contractor.
How Do You Get Started Working From Home as a Personal Concierge?
1. Write a Business Plan
Many people think business plans are for people trying to secure funding for their business, but that’s not the case. A business plan is a simple document that will help guide you through all the various steps you’ll need to take as a business owner. It includes what services you’ll offer, what to charge, how to accept payments, how you’ll market your business, and take care of bookkeeping and financials. Don’t worry; writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. We have simple instructions and a free business plan template right here.
2. Business Structure
As a personal concierge, you’ll likely work by yourself, so choosing your business structure should be relatively easy (Sole Proprietor). But if you have a partner or want to have some extra legal protection, you’ll need to file for a Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or S Corporation. Each structure has its pros and cons; talking with an attorney or an accountant can help you determine which structure best suits your needs in terms of protection and tax liability.
3. Register Your Business
If you plan on using something other than your own name, you will need to apply for a DBA (Doing Business As). You will also need to research to ensure that someone else isn’t already using the name you want to use. You can do this by searching the US Patent and Trademark website; do not skip this step; you don’t want to infringe on someone else’s trademark. This is also a good time to look at available domain names for your website and social media profiles.
Depending on where you live, you may need to charge sales tax on your services. This article can help you determine if you need to charge sales tax and apply for a sale tax permit. When in doubt, talk to an accountant who knows your state’s sales tax laws. You should also look into business liability insurance and getting bonded.
You will need to keep track of your business expenditures and sales by opening up a separate bank account for your business. You’ll need to have an EIN (employee identification number) to do this. Don’t worry; getting your EIN is easy, and it’s free if you do it yourself.
Along with having a separate business bank account, you’ll need to figure out how to accept payments and what type of bookkeeping software to use. PayPal is a third-party payment solution that is widely used and accepted, and it allows your customers to pay with a credit card.
You’ll also want to keep track of income and expenses, this can be done on a spreadsheet, but I’ve found that using a bookkeeping platform helps keep things more organized. Platforms like QuickBooks Online and Wave are affordable and easy to use.
5. Build Your Website
There are many affordable ways to create a website for your business, but I suggest using a multidimensional content management system like WordPress. In fact, WordPress is what I use, and many other small business owners and bloggers use it.
Not sure where to get started? No problem.
Once you go through these steps, you can purchase a theme (this is the design element of your site) to create a one-of-a-kind look. Even though I have a custom design, my site uses the Genesis Framework through StudioPress — it’s easy to upload and modify and gives you a highly professional-looking site.
If that sounds too complicated, I have a list of other website platforms you can use. There are many options to choose from, so think about your long-term goals when deciding which to use.
You will want to designate a separate email account for your business activities. Once you purchase your domain name and hosting, you’ll be able to get an email address that reflects your business name. Having a separate phone line for your business can be nice, but it’s also an added expense, and it may not be needed. Explore different options, like using your smartphone, Skype, Google Voice, Zoom, or Viber.
Related Content: Do You Need a Business Phone for the Home Office?
7. Marketing Your Personal Concierge Business
Now that you have your website ready, you will need to get traffic to your site. Start by setting up social networking profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram to promote your business. Place free ads on Craigslist, start a weekly newsletter, print business cards, blog weekly, and ask family and friends to spread the word.
You may also want to post flyers or promote your new business at your local chamber of commerce. Remember to take a little time every day to market (promote) your business.
8. Getting Your First Clients
Now that you have all of the essentials in place, you’ll need to secure your first client to start making money. While there are numerous ways to go about this, look at these articles for more in-depth instruction.
- The Way to Find More Clients and Make More Money
- How to Get More Business Clients and Customers
- Getting (and Keeping) Your First Client
Of course, it should go without saying that you deliver high-quality work completed on time or ahead of schedule. Word of mouth marketing will be one of your most powerful tools in getting new clients and repeat business from current ones.
Testing The Waters Before Making The Leap
If you’d like to test out being a personal concierge or errand runner before you invest in starting a business, there are many on-demand apps where you see if this sort of work is right for you. Apps like Rover (dog walking), Instacart (grocery shopping and/or delivery), TaskRabbit (cleaning, personal assistant, or handywoman), or DoorDash (food delivery).
With these apps, you’ll work as an independent contractor, and you’ll be responsible for your self-employment taxes. The upside of testing the waters this way is you don’t have to invest any money upfront or find your own clients.
If you end up enjoying the work, then consider starting your own personal concierge business where you can decide what sort of services to offer and what fees to charge.
While I provided some basic steps to getting your personal concierge business off the ground, I highly suggest investing in your personal development by reading books like:
- The Concierge Life: What You Need to Know to Build a Successful Business, Live Your Passion, and Change the World!
- The Concierge Manual: The Ultimate Resource for Building Your Concierge and/or Lifestyle Management Company
It’s also worth your time to connect with other personal concierges or assistants to share ideas and resources and to have a like-minded tribe of professionals to vent to, share wins with, and get advice. You can check out organizations like The Concierge Academy which offers training and coaching, or VA Networking which trains virtual assistants.
Good luck and keep me posted on your journey!
Originally published in March 2015. Content updated in April 2022.