You will need to prepare some personal shopper business documents if you are going to turn this interest into a business of your own. The chances are high that you are a young woman who has never been a business owner before. In that case, you may not know what kind of documents are necessary or useful. It is not really all that hard, but to save you a lot of research, or the feeling that you must first get a university degree in business administration, I'm going to offer you a batch of templates for the documents you should set up, and some simple tips for organizing your record-keeping.
You can apply your own creative touches as you prepare the templates into your own papers and digital files, so they are uniquely you and make your business appear official and of good standing. Hopefully, you will catch on that you can design whatever you feel you need, and streamline your system to be as simple or as complicated as you want your personal shopper business documents to be.
Unless you specialize in online shopping only, you will need your own transportation - a car. (I suppose, in a big city you might manage to run your personal shopper business using public transit).
If you research online, you will find sites that say you can start this business without any financial backing. That assumes that your clients will provide their funds for your shopping assignment ahead of time. Most of them, however, will expect you to go shopping, bring back the items and if they are satisfied they will reimburse you and pay your fee - after the fact. This implies that you should have some basic shopping money in your account, or a credit card, that hopefully you can pay off on time if they pay you on time. I would want a cushion of $200-500 so I don't run into debt before I get paid, and if your first clients throw a tantrum and refuse to pay you, you could have a bigger crisis on your plate. That's just my debt-free, cautious opinion and advice; take it or leave it.
Any questions? Just ASK!
The next most important requirement would be your website, introducing you as a personal shopper, giving your qualifications, and the reasons why you are the one people should contact if they want a personal shopper. Your site needs some promotion too.
You want people to be able to reach you, so you should have business cards, an answering machine, a cell phone, and a digital camera (or perhaps the one in the cell phone might do) to send photos of some choices to your client.
Here's a few other documents you want to have ready in a professional manner before you start:
1. In most places you need to apply for and have a business license in hand. Yes, even for a personal shopper business.
2. Prepare a bio/resume brochure, (basically a summary of your website) and a short oral speech to explain why YOU are the right personal shopper for this prospective client. Remember, you will have to sell yourself for this job, that's your "boss" or public relations role you have in your personal shopper business.
3. Prepare a list of questions to ask the prospective client - because you want to make sure they are the right match for your skills.
4. Prepare a client profile or information form that you can keep on file for the next time they call, so you don't have to quiz them all over again.
5. Prepare a contract template on your computer, but also a printed one, so that when you finalize an agreement with a new client, you can quickly produce a copy for them, and one for your own files. (Having it on the computer means you can edit it before printing if you make some consessions for this one client). You may want a lawyer to look it over for clauses to protect you from being sued.
6. Prepare an invoice template on your computer, which you can fill out in a matter of minutes and print out for them when ready to present your bill.
7. Prepare also, an attractive card with blank lines for testimonials, so that when a client raves about your services, you can ask them if they'd like to jot down their kind thoughts on the card. If you like what they say about your services, you may ask them if you could use that as a testimonial in your advertising of your personl shopping business. This could be included with a thank you card, whereby you can express gratitude for their business.
8. Prepare a list of stores or vendors where you are likely to shop and go ask them ahead of time, if you may have arrangements whereby you can take items to your client for approval before the sale is finalized. It will save you and your client a lot of hassles with returning items that are not "just right." Some stores will cooperate, some will not.
You may have a puzzled expression; are you wondering how you are ever to design these business documents? Over the years I have designed some for myself, and even occassionally for others. Although I don't consider myself an expert, I have whipped up a set of templates to show you what they might look like. Assuming you have a word processing program on your computer (such as MS Word, or Libre Office, or Open Office, etc.) you can save them to your computer, and then edit and fix these template up with your Business name, and your address, and logo, so that when you save the documents with your business name, they are ready to use.
I will not be offended if you see them and say to yourself, "Oh, they just look like that? I know what kind of graphics and fonts I would prefer to use so it is more in line with my own personality and tastes." Feel free to revise them, or design your own from scratch.
(Or, you can contract with a professional graphics company to design everything for you - if you can afford them).
You may download these individually, or altogether as a compressed .zip file. But here is a list with brief explanations, so you know their purposes. Because I learned ago not to be wasteful, I try to get two copies to a sheet, so paper will go further. If you prefer to do everything digitally, you will not need to do that, but consider that digital files can easily go Poof - and disappear, so I would print out at least certain documents.
(Note: the clickable titles are PDF files you can open to preview, but if you want to use the templates in .docx or .odt, and .xls formats you need to download the zipped package of files at the end of this list)
Planner for your Personal Shopper Business - this takes your through the steps of weighing your options, doing some research and coming to the decision to start this business. You should do this first!
Business card - template with instructions.
Brochure - to advertise and to explain your services as a personal shopper
Client Contract - (2 per sheet, just print and cut apart)
Client Profile - (also 2 per sheet
Schedule/summary of Shopping for Your Clients - this is a spreadsheet chart in both a digital and a print edition that allows you to see at a glance which client you have promised to shop for, and when, and where. It's for the sake of your own time organization. Maybe at first you can keep it all in your head - but if your business thrives, that will not always be the case.
Client invoice - important document, so your client knows how much she owes you!
Thank You card and Recommendation/Feedback card - mail to client after you are paid, to say thank you for hte business, and to ask for feedback and a recommendation - which you can use in your advertising to show you have satisifed clients.
Shopping Lists - when I saw how many shopping list templates are on the internet, I decided that I didn't need to compete with them at all. Do a search online and find the template or templates that you think will work best for you and your clients. Perhaps a separate one for groceries, from all the rest. Or design your own unique lists. Here are a few links to get you started;
If you decide to give up and design your own, you can imitate my simple personal grocery list idea; just open a blank page in your word processor, adjust for narrower margins all around, and divide the page into two or three columns. key in your list of regular and ocassional purchases, and try to group them by the aisles in your favourite store. Then copy and paste the list into the second and third columns. Print several sheets at once, cut the lists apart, and stash them above the fridge or your favourite handy spot.
You are welcome to download and adapt these template files for your own business. I'm counting on you knowing how to personalize them with your own business name, logo and details.
Personal Shopper Business Documents kit (a zipped package of files; you will need to unzip it to get at the files inside).
Would you like to use the Facebook comments feature to let me know how this works out for you?
Or maybe you have devised some unique and useful documents you could tell us about? That could really inspire us all!
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Let's G---o -S---h---o---p---p---i---n---g!
It is not that hard; you CAN shop securely online, and have fun saving too!