Nowadays it seems like there is so much to do and so little time to get it done. Maybe it's a job that keeps you tied down or maybe it's the constant transportation of kids to and from clubs and practice. Whatever the reason, we all seem a bit busier these days. That's where the Personal Gift Shopper can save the day. A Personal Gift Shopper is there to take the legwork out of finding a gift for the holidays or for that special someone. This is such a popular concept that there are now quite a few companies out there offering these services as well as high end retailers. Yet if you're looking to start your own business don't be discouraged by larger businesses.
If you do plan to go into business for yourself here are a few things to keep in mind. While there is no formal education to become a Personal Gift Shopper, taking business classes or even earning a degree in business will benefit. If you've never managed a business, this education can help to understand all aspects of running your own business. There is a lot to know from the daily operations, marketing, expenses and time management. Now if you don't have that business education, you can always take classes at your local community college. There are even Personal Shopper certification courses available which can be completed in 4 to 12 weeks. This isn't an extremely complex business especially if you are working independently. With some research and planning you should be able to get up and running with or without the degree.
To begin, plan out your business and take the time to register your business name. Consider the services you intend to offer and set prices accordingly. Remember your personal and travel time is a major factor in this business. You should make sure that you're setting your prices at a point that covers your time and expenses while generating a profit. You may opt to charge mileage in addition to a standard fee or incorporate those expenses into a flat hourly rate. Typically Personal Gift Shoppers will charge around $20.00 per hour including travel time. Gift wrapping, local delivery or shipping may be extra services you offer so have these prices set in advance as a guideline for your customers. Make sure you consider requiring a deposit for larger purchases and maybe a return policy that aligns with the retailers you associate with.
You should have reliable transportation as you will likely have to do some driving. Keep your car and work area clean as nobody wants a gift that has oil smudges, food stains or smells of smoke. Really, your professional appearance and delivery will go a long way. As an additional kickback to your service fees, consider using a credit card that offers cash back as your primary purchase method. With the right credit card you can also get buyer security in the case of theft or loss. Yes, you need to read the fine print on those credit card offers but it's worth it to ensure you're protected.
You might be wondering what types of shopping you may be doing or whom you may be shopping for. The opportunities are wide open. You may be hired by a top corporate executive that is too busy to shop for their family or friends. It might be an elderly person or someone with disabilities that simply needs help grocery shopping. There are boutiques and retailers that may use your services to meet the needs of their own customers or business offerings. You might be hired to provide gift bags for a party or event. Some of your customers may know exactly what they want and others may look to you for that perfect gift. As you can see there are opportunities but you need to put yourself out there. Find out what works best for you and the growth of your business. Then focus on what is successful and develop your place in the market.
Marketing your business will be critical and how you go about that will vary. First consider the customers you have and build a reputation with them. If you provide superior service, your customers are more likely to refer you to their friends and family. Networking is also important, while the relationship may not immediately generate new customers, it may lead to a big job down the road. Have some business cards printed to hand out when the opportunity is available. Build a website to advertise your business and the service you offer. There are plenty of inexpensive and even free website building tools available to create your online presence. If building a website isn't your forte, post the job on Fiverr and have someone build it for you. Remember it doesn't have to be 100 pages; just a professional representation of you, your business and your services. Post fliers at your local grocery store or coffee shop advertising your business. Fine tune as you go along. You might discover a niche market that allows you to continue to grow your business in ways you never thought of.
There are a lot of benefits to being a Personal Gift Shopper and it's very rewarding knowing you are providing a great service to others. Being self-employed provides the flexibility of setting your own rates and as well as your hours. This is helpful if you have a family at home and need to make that appointment or attend that midday school meeting. It's not an overly strenuous job but there may be a lot of walking and standing depending on the shopping or preparation you do. You get to shop, okay so it's for someone else, but remember that cash back credit card? Use that to expand your business or treat yourself to something a little special.