Imagine the lobby of a luxury hotel. Tucked in the corner, behind an elaborately carved desk, sits an exquisitely coifed concierge. Male or female, their purpose is the same. To provide you, the vaunted guest, with an endless supply of suggestions and solutions to enhance your stay. They provide recommendations about tried and true places plus an extensive array of services.
Now change the time and place. Picture yourself as a guest in your own home. There may be no lobby of consequence, or mahogany desk in the foyer, but you too could have access to concierge services to enhance your life.
Take a moment. Make a mental list of the many things you no longer have the desire or capacity to do. While many of these things still require doing, the very thought of executing them exhausts you. What you need – is a personal concierge. And chances are pretty good that there is one someplace close to you.
No longer the exclusive domain of the rich and famous, personal concierge services have become ‘democratized’ as a range of services has emerged to support the needs of a wide variety of people at all income levels. While some businesses have carved out a niche working with high net worth individuals, an emerging group of concierge businesses is focusing on fulfilling everyday needs of people like you and me who do not have the time or inclination to complete certain tasks themselves.
The list of services provided is limited only by the imagination and a good concierge is recognized by their capacity to create tailored solutions. However, the services that are easiest to visualize, and the ones in highest demand by most clients, are the very same ones that you might value. Louise Nettleton, owner/operator of Simplify Lifestyle Concierge in Port Hope, breaks down her portfolio of services this way:
Running errands: Picking up groceries, providing personal shopping, picking up dry cleaning or returning merchandise
Transportation: Driving you to medical appointments, social events or the airport
Party Planning: Birthday, anniversary, retirement etc.
Home Organization: Creating order out of chaos so that you can live more comfortably
Home Watch Service: Someone to keep an eye on your property when you cannot
Virtual Assistant: Booking reservations, research, document services etc.
Seniors, as a group, are embracing the idea of concierge services. They fulfill critical needs like transportation (for individuals who no longer choose to drive) or home watch services (for snow birds who want to ensure their homes are under a watchful eye). The services can also relieve seniors of more mundane tasks that require doing, but deplete their energies. Imagine outsourcing weekly grocery shopping to someone who knows your specific dietary needs. Picture the ease of door-to-door transportation when you visit your doctor, book club or grandchildren. Have a few drinks after the theatre knowing that a trusted driver is available to shepherd you home.
What about Price? Many concierge services are priced À la Carte reflecting the complexity of the task and the time and resources required to fulfill it. In the Toronto area, rates can range from $30 – 150.00/hr, depending on the provider and the service required. Some companies have embraced the idea of a monthly subscription model that allows you to tap into a specific number of hours each month for a fixed fee.
SAGE’s recommendation is to take the time to investigate local concierge providers and choose one that provides the best combination of services, price and personal relationship. A successful concierge relationship has all the hallmarks of a good friendship: dependability, confidentiality and trust. Invest the time to find your best fit and watch your life get easier!