Before you start a personal shopper business offer to BE a Personal Shopper for someone else. If you know some shut-ins or very busy people, perhaps you could offer to be their personal shopper. If you just do it occasionally, you can consider it a kind deed. Especially if you are able to work it in when you go shopping for yourself.
[Looking for how to hire a personal shopper?]
Shopping on behalf of others is becoming a fast-growing line of business. Naturally, there are some considerations to work through if you want to make a serious profit at it.
As I've just said, the best way to explore this business idea is to offer to shop for others, to test the waters. If it looks promising, and feels like a fit for you, take time to research your costs in time, and driving, etc., and in dealing with the people who need a personal shopper. Then you must work out your sliding and/or flat fees for your service.
You will also need to work out how the client will provide you with lists. Some fussy people might give you a few words on a slip of paper or by email, and then rant at you if you don't buy certain brands and sizes of those products. You can't read their minds, so be creative about simplifying this process, yet keeping it accurate enough to cover your responsibility well.
Running a Personal Shopper Business is a bit more complicated than dashing off to buy stuff for yourself! But a good idea would be to jot down all your own shopping tips and tricks. In that list you'll find the special features and benefits you can promote to potential clients of your personal shopper business.
What could you charge? PayScale.com says (June 2014), that in the USA the national average salary is $15.25/hour. That includes those who are hired to work as a personal shopper in a retail store. Those who freelance, and especially if they can act as good fashion consultants, and have a higher bracket clientele, charge anywhere from $8.55 - $39.82 per hour. Your location and your years of experience are the main factors.
Part of your business plan would be to decide whether you are looking for a job in a company, or will freelance, and do your own promotion and marketing for clientele. What type of clientele you will specifically seek out for your personal shopper business? Are you going to cater to house-bound seniors? Career women who don't have time to shop for themselves? Or, the well-off, who can afford to hire for what they don't want to do themselves?
Ask yourself which clientele you can best relate to, and which ones you have best access to for setting up good relationships. You may need to start with a narrow field, and then expand as your personal shopper business grows.
Don't forget - If you are a really smart entrepreneur - you could do most of this shopping online, extending it to other categories as your client base grows. You might get to shop all day for a living! If you can use a shopping community like Ebates, you'll even get rebates trickling into your PayPal account. Nice fringe benefit!
The hardest part would be advertising for, and lining up clients that will call on you fairly regularly. But if you already have lots of well-off friends, or make new friends easily, it should not be so hard to build up a loyal clientele. So much depends on what kind of person you are and what you make this job to be.
If you are a savvy online shopper, (besides taking advantage of Ebates, as just mentioned) you might want to teach them to make up their list from the online stores to streamline your steps, and perhaps you'd even teach them how to order online - or do it for them, if they insist they can't learn.
Nor should you try to keep all those secrets to yourself. For every person you teach how to shop online, you will gain the respect and a strong relationship with someone who may then call on you in a crisis, or when she gets stuck. The more people who see you as an expert in the field of shopping - the more your reputation will go before you and open opportunities for more work and income for your personal shopper business. Remember, your clients, whether pleased or disappointed in you, will tell their friends about you and your personal shopper business.
The best advantage probably, is that you can specialize. Again, it all depends on your tastes, skills, and type of clientele. You might want to focus on grocery shopping for busy families where the parents work. You might even want to narrow that down to a service for the handicapped, or house-bound seniors who still live alone. Of, if you have great fashion and decorator-sense, you might do best at shopping for designer wardrobes, home furnishings, and other gadgets for wealthy men and women.
Now that would be a high class personal shopper business! Not everyone can do that.
If you have connections in the corporate world, you might get some accounts to buy the gifts and cards that companies give to their important clients, or employees. Just a few such accounts might be all you need. Another option would be buying Christmas presents for those who hate to shop. (Mostly men would seek you out then, one would think - but don't disregard the women). A lot depends on how savvy you are for finding and choosing the right gifts. There is a different air in that world.
You can also create your own niche when you see a particular need that recurs in certain types of people, or you could offer your services in different packages, one geared to one niche, and another to a related one or totally opposite.
This section grew to the point that it became another page, where I offer you a free kit of templates for the documents that I think you would need to run a personal shopper business.
Want to see that much detail? Okay, jump to this page: Personal Shopper Business Documents
aislebyaisle.com - is an online site that you can use (trial year or buy) to create your shopping lists according to the aisles in the stores you frequent. You can make up a fresh shopping list from these lists, including notes you want to remember (or remind the shopper you are sending), and also the coupons you want to use. Print out the list and you will end up shopping much more frugally and sensibly.
Not only can individuals use this for their own shopping convenience, but you can use this site to set up an online shop of your own, whether for groceries or any other products. (Not on a very large scale though, I would think). Or, if you wish you can use it to aide your own Personal Shopper business, so that your clients can make up their lists and you do their shopping for them.
Or, if you have a simple delivery business, it could allow your clients to place their orders online, and all you do is pick them up and deliver them to their door. This could be an add-on to your Personal Shopper business, especially if it is taking a while to build up a clientele, or if you have a family member who can drive, and would like to be doing something profitable too.
Just recently I learned of a shopping rebate program that has originated in Europe and is moving on to countries around the world. Use my "Reach Me" page to ask for more info on this!
If you are taking this personal shopper business route, I would be pleased to hear about your experiences and what you learn as you go along. In fact, if you would be so kind as to report them here, I'll share the best ones on this site, each one with a page of it's own!
Do you have a great story about this? Share it!