Starting small biz concierge services for senior

mangomoonAugust 4, 2013

Need some help here. I am staring a part-time business providing concierge services for seniors, in particular those that nerd to get out but can't,on their own. I will not be providing caregiving, just transportation, be it to go shopping or run errands, to visit with friends,etc.

My dilemma is that my business cards will read concierge services. A friend of mine thinks that the seniors I hope to assist, will not understand what the word concierge means. I am beginning to think that the friend may be correct.

I searched for related words to use, but none came close to concierge.

Any one think otherwise?

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emma

Yes I agree with your friends, just go with personal shopper.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:27PM
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jkom51

And get liability insurance! Just in case.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 8:07PM
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mangomoon

Hmmmm, personal shopper...I like that.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 8:39PM
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sushipup1

Other words that might be easier are butler, valet, chauffeur. Or create a name for yourself like Dolly Does Errands, something like that. Yeah, concierge would have you spending half your time explaining what that means.

Good luck! Lot of people need your services!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 9:54PM
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mangomoon

What would I do without all of you? Thank you SO much. You have helped me a great deal!

I enjoy seniors and want to help them with their needs!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 12:38AM
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sunnyca_gw

Your card might read
Senior assistant -transportation, shopping, pickup pharmacy items. That way if you write in what you do do you won't have to answer so many questions.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 1:21PM
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ogoopogo

Vista print has awesome business cards & ideas for cheap !!

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.vistaprint.ca/vp/ns/default.aspx?langid=6&xnav=ipaddr&rd=1&GP=8%2f6%2f2013+9%3a22%3a51+PM&GPS=2919087045&GNF=1

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 9:23PM
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emma

I still think Personal Shopper would be the best and most dignified. You could add a short list below about errands, etc.. Make your cards special in a way that anyone that has one will recognize it immediately....by the color or the icon on it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 9:28PM
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raee_gw

To me, "personal shopper" implies that the person will do just shopping and selecting and deliver to home. So something more generic maybe? "At Your Service"?

My mom needed someone to drive her to the store, and be with her in the store too, all right, but she also needed someone to just stop in and say hello to her every day, for 20-30 minutes or so. I lived 3 hours away and she wasn't ready to leave her condo (until a stroke forced her to). Well, maybe I was the one who needed someone to stop in daily! This type of service simply did not exist. Couldn't even find someone to call her daily. With my work I couldn't call multiple times a day every day. The town she lived in did have free or discounted transportation for seniors though.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 4:21PM
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sushipup1

The problem always comes when you start figuring costs. Raee, you said that your mother needed someone for maybe 30 minutes a day? Let's figure that out. Current costs around here for licensed and bonded and trained agency people is $25.00 an hour. Three hour a day minimum. Of course, the employee only gets less than half that $25, but let's use $12.50. Oh, and don't forget the employee's transportation costs and the time spent going from one job to another.

BUT in an ideal world, let's say that you find someone who will visit your mother for $12.50 an hour (bonded? Licensed? Insured? Trained?) So $6.25 x 7 days a /week is $43.75. Or $187.50 per month. Oh, and who pays the payroll taxes?

The average social security payment for a retired worker is a little more than $1200 a month. Many of the seniors that I work with are below the Federal Poverty income level, which is $957.50. A senior with that income will still pay $100 for Medicare Part B, and maybe $40-$50 for Part D insurance. (Supplemental insurance would be at least another $100). Rent? Hope for Section 8 assistance, then baseline phone and utilities.

Most seniors I know could not pay $187.50 a month for help. They might scrape up $20 once or twice a month for help getting a ride to the doctor's office or help with shopping.

It's always sobering to put real-life budget numbers on paper and figure out how much help really costs.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 4:58PM
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jkom51

Good example, sushipup. I'll add another one: my 85-yr old MIL lives with us and uses one of our friends who works as a personal asst. 3 hr minimum, $45/hr. She only lives 10 min. from us so she doesn't charge for time to/from.

We use her services at least once a week. Most are 3-4 hr periods. Once a month, there is a full-day drive to take MIL to visit her SIL who resides in a senior facility 30 miles away (across a bridge, lots of traffic at all hours). They go pick up some Chinese deli food, visit with SIL to share the lunch, chat some, wheel SIL around in a wheelchair, then come back.

With bridge tolls and gas (yes, we receive receipts) that little excursion costs over $400 for that one day's visit.

She can afford it, thankfully (we convinced her to sell her house before the market started falling like the proverbial rock). Most seniors - heck, even us - couldn't.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 1:42PM
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