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Ideas for a Home Based Business: Personal Shopper and Errand Service

What Does It Take to Run a Personal Shopper and Errand Service Home Business?

By Ron Dicker

(LifeWire) - Overview of this Business

Personal shoppers take the lightly regarded station of go-fer and turn it into a vocation, serving clients who are either too busy or simply unable to shop for themselves. Many personal shopper and errand services either charge a percentage of what they buy or by the hour, and this is one of those ideas for a home based business that's great for someone who loves to shop.

A sense of style and how to market one's self are imperative when dressing those who must dress to impress. Who's going to take sartorial advice from a schlub in T-shirt and jeans? But the most important quality of all for a personal shopper is to love shopping. Some personal shoppers come from the corporate world and lean on their network to get their home based business started when they leave. Others hail from department stores, where they may have held similar positions. A nose for quality bargains and people skills go a long way -- be a personable shopper, too.

A personal shopper often interviews clients to get an idea of their tastes, and goes from there. Sometimes, the personal shopper and client go shopping together. Other times the shoppers go on their own, armed with a digital camera to e-mail their finds.

One thing to keep in mind is that although seniors may not be able to pay as high a fee as other clients, they are likely to be repeat customers because they often need help -- not just with occasional purchases like clothing, but also day-to-day errand services like shopping for groceries.

Pros of a Personal Shopper and Errand Service Home Based Business

  • Get paid to do what you love -- shop.
  • Bookkeeping is easy for this home based business, because you don't maintain inventory.
  • You can enhance peoples' confidence.
Cons of a Personal Shopper and Errand Service Home Based Business
  • Clients can be demanding.
  • You'll have to be on call for some clients, running errands or shopping at odd hours.
What You Need to Get Started in a Personal Shopper and Errand Service Home Based Business
  • A love of finding the perfect outfit or gift.
  • A cell phone and a digital camera to transmit images of styles and colors to the client for consideration while you're shopping for them.
  • Business cards, ads in print and online, and a website to promote your services, basics for any home based business.
  • A vehicle for running errands and delivery purposes, as well as proper insurance.
  • Sensitivity to a client's budget.

Personal Shopper Home Based Business -- Real-Life Examples

Anderson Toney of New York City parlayed a corporate career into an image consultancy that charges at least $150 an hour, according to an article in startupjournal.com. Laurie Ely runs a grocery shopping service for Chicago's elderly, charging 15% of purchases plus an $8 delivery fee. She makes just under $20,000 a year.

LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. Ron Dicker is a New York-based freelance writer who covered sports for the New York Times from 1996 to 2005.
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