Starting a senior concierge business is a lot easier than starting most other businesses, as it’s a service business that doesn’t require a store or inventory. It’s a fast-growing area due to the large number of aging Americans who need a personal assistant. If you’ve just heard about the concierge business, you probably have a few questions before you’re ready to get started. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:
1. What does a senior concierge do?
“Concierge” is a French term for a personal assistant. In recent years, personal concierge services, especially for seniors, have become a multi-billion dollar industry. A concierge assists their clients by helping them do what they are too busy or unable to do themselves. As seniors age, they develop health and mobility issues, and have to turn over many tasks, like running errands, grocery shopping, home care, household management, pet care and even personal transportation to a senior concierge. This growing need for assistance has created a golden opportunity for those who can provide this assistance to seniors in need.
2. What hours do you have to work?
As you are an independent service provider, you have a lot of control over your own schedule. Most of your jobs will be during normal working hours during the day, but there may be occasional evening work, depending on a client’s needs. Most senior concierge services encourage their clients to schedule jobs during the day by charging higher rates for evening and weekend work. If you only want to work 20 hours a week, or prefer to just work in the mornings or afternoon, you can usually arrange that with your clients.
3. How much does a senior concierge get paid?
A senior concierge typically makes between $20 and $50 an hour. Rates are higher in larger cities and lower in small towns, where the cost of living is lower. At these rates, it’s possible to earn a solid income of between $40,000 and $100,00 a year, depending on where you work, for a 40-hour work week. The national average is around $26 per hour, which is $52,000 per year.
4. Do you need insurance?
Yes, you will need liability insurance and auto insurance coverage for business use of your vehicle. You may also need to have additional insurance coverage if you transport your clients or their pets. Be sure to check with a local multi-line insurance agent to find out what is required in your town.
5. What are the most in-demand senior concierge services to offer?
That depends on each individual client. For example, those with memory issues need help with bill-paying, while those who are not computer-savvy need assistance with email, online shopping and even online dating! Many senior clients have mobility issues, so they need help with errands and everyday shopping.
A local senior concierge enjoys helping seniors “de-clutter,” and specializes in helping seniors get organized, and sort through all the “stuff” that can accumulate over 30 to 40 years in the same home. Another specializes in escort services, as seniors who no longer drive, need an escort to get them to medical appointments, social events and church services.
6. Is a senior concierge service expensive to start?
On the contrary, a senior concierge service is very inexpensive to start, as the only two essentials to begin are a reliable vehicle and a cell phone, preferably a smartphone. You’ll need printed marketing materials of course, such as business cards, flyers and brochures. By using affordable online printers like vistaprint.com or uprinting.com, you should be able to get everything printed for under $300. To save even more on printing, visit retailmenot.com and type in the name of a printer to find additional discounts. Today, for example, I found a 40% discount coupon for business cards and another for 40% off any other printed items such as flyers or brochures. When you are starting a senior concierge business, you don’t need expensive print marketing materials, just a simple flyer and business cards can do the trick if your budget is tight.
7. What if I’ve never done this before?
Many of the tasks done by a senior concierge are tasks we all do regularly, such as running errands or grocery shopping. The most important qualities of a successful senior concierge are a can-do attitude, common sense and caring and compassion for seniors. Being a senior concierge is all about people, so the ability to be a friendly listener and have a cheerful smile is important as well. If you are not sure how to do something, be honest with your client and say so. If you are clueless about computers, or allergic to cats, it’s okay, there are plenty of other tasks that need to be done as well.
8. Are there free ways to advertise for new clients?
Yes, there are. Word of mouth is a proven method. When you do a good job for a senior client, they will tell their friends. A flyer or brochures at the local senior center will bring in new clients, as will a free ad on Craigslist.org. If you have over-55 communities in your area, see about running a small classified ad in their monthly newsletter offering your services. After you’ve been in business for two or three months, contact your local newspaper, as they might want to run a human interest story about your service, or at least publish a free new business announcement.
9. Is specialized training required?
This is a learn-by-doing profession, so if you are a caring person who enjoys helping others, you have what it takes to begin. A good start-up guidebook will help, but just working every day with a variety of seniors and tasks will do more to help you become a pro than anything else.
10. What’s the difference between a senior concierge service and a a senior errand service?
A senior errand service offers just one basic service – running errands. While it can be a profitable business, seniors often need more personal assistance than just errands. A senior concierge service typically offers between 10 and 20 additional services to their clients. For you, that means more work and more income in your pocket. In addition, clients are willing to pay a higher rate for “concierge services” than “errand running.”
Again, more money in your pocket.
11. Is there really a lot of work for a senior concierge?
There are almost 50 million senior citizens in the U.S. and that number is growing by 10,000 new seniors each and every day. Many of them will need assistance as they age, and will be grateful if they can find a reliable, honest, caring senior concierge in their area. That could be you.
If you are seeking a rewarding new business that can provide a dependable income from helping others, consider starting a senior concierge business. The start-up costs are low, and the joy of putting a smile on a senior’s face is an unbeatable fringe benefit. To discover more, read: How To Start A Profitable Senior Concierge Service.