I am a firm believer that one of the easiest businesses to start up is a senior concierge service. I say that for several reasons. There is low start up costs, there is no formal training required, there are many kinds of services that can be offered, it can be a part-time or full-time business opportunity and most importantly, there is no shortage of potential clients as our population continues to age.
Now, with this in mind, you still have to have a solid base to build your business upon and that comes from the things you do before you start signing on clients. Here are five questions I am convinced you must be able to answer before starting a senior concierge business or any other senior service business.
Question #1 – What Will Your Legal Structure Be?
The main reason you must take care of this is for tax purposes. You will need to decide the precise legal structure you will be running your business under. While it is tempting to just go with a cash only system, if you intend to be professional about your business, you have to be legal. Your choices will be sole proprietorship, partnership or limited liability company (LLC). Each has advantages and disadvantages and your best bet is to discuss this with an attorney, accountant or bookkeeper for advice related to your specific circumstances, goals and long-term plans. You’ll also find helpful information online at: www.nolo.com.
Question #2 – What Will You Call Your Business?
Oddly enough this is a major hurdle for many entrepreneurs. They have a good idea on what kind of business they intend to start but tend to not have as strong a name. In today’s world the name you give your business becomes part of a brand and must be easy to remember, say something about what your business is and has a personal feel to it. If you intend to add a website to your brand you will also want the business name to be easy enough to write as a web address without a cute misspelling or hard to spell word or words. Plus, whatever name you choose should be researched to confirm it is not already being used or registered as a trademark.
Question #3 – Are You Going To Hire Employees?
This is something you really need to consider carefully. If you are certain that you will not expand your business where you will require staff, then good for you. However, if it gets too big for you to operate on your own you may need even a single part-time employee. This will add to your administrative costs as well as require training. As soon as you add someone else to the payroll it cuts into your profit. If the business will support this kind of expansion, then it is a wise move to make. If it won’t, you are better off just running things on your own.
Question #4 – What Are Your Services?
A senior concierge business will have a number of basic services. You can research online to see what other similar businesses provide their customers but essentially you are creating an errand service for those who can’t do these simple tasks any more. What you may find is additional service opportunities specific to your region. For example, in colder winter months you can add snow removal as a seasonal offering. House sitting or home checks may be another. Be sure to be flexible in what your services are so that you don’t miss out on a new ‘extra’ that can generate more income for your business. For more help, my senior concierge guide lists dozens of profitable services your can provide to seniors.
Question #5 – What Are Your Rates?
Along with struggling to create a strong, effective and easy to remember business name, many entrepreneurs have difficulty in setting their rates. For a senior concierge business the rates run between $20 and $35 per hour with a national average sitting at $27 per hour. This gives you an idea of what would be considered a reasonable rate.
Your customers will be able to help you gauge a more appropriate rate for the market you are in as well as online research comparing rates from other similar businesses. Along with setting your rates will come the kinds of discounts and incentives you are planning to offer. You may find that you will have to tweak those rates every so often to reflect current trends or to address specific holiday pricing trends.
If you are able to answer these five questions with certainty, then you are well on your way to creating a business opportunity for yourself you may never have considered before now. There is always going to be a group of seniors in need of these kinds of services so there will never be an end to the potential for customers.