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How To Start Your Own Personal Shopping Service Business (10 Steps)

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What Is a Personal Shopping Service?


A personal shopping service helps clients purchase consumer items. It includes picking up groceries, prescription medicines, and other necessities. 

Some clients might be physically unable to run these errands themselves. On the other hand, others might be too busy to line up in supermarkets. 

A personal shopping service can also help individuals improve fashion styles by providing expert guidance. 

What Does a Personal Shopper Do?


As a personal shopper, you’ll be interviewing customers about their product preferences, such as what they need, or like and dislike. Some of the purchases you need to get for them may include groceries, clothing, and other necessities. 

You’ll be working with your smartphone most of the time, and in some cases, digital cameras. These devices make communicating easier with your clients. 

Some clients also request a personal shopper to go shopping with them. For this scenario, your job includes providing sound advice and guiding your client. 

What Do Personal Shoppers Earn?


Typically, personal shoppers make around $12 per hour and up to $76,000 annually. You can either charge an equivalent of a percentage from the total purchase costs or can set an hourly rate. 

Who is a Personal Shopping Service Right for?


This business is ideal for you if you are: 

An Extrovert

As an extrovert, you enjoy meeting and talking with different people. You need to maintain a good rapport with your clients in this job, ensuring that you know exactly what they want.

Adventurous

Every day is an adventure for a personal shopper. As such, you need to have more than sufficient knowledge of the city you work in. This includes navigating traffic and getting to different shops for your client’s needs. 

Efficient

A significant factor in your earnings from being a personal shopper comes from delivering items on time. You’ll need to be efficient with your store runs so that you can cater to more customers. 

Additionally, your clients will appreciate your work if you can deliver their needs and requests on time.

What is the Growth Potential for a Personal Shopper Service?


Growing a personal shopper service is directly proportional to the retail industry. It has a modest growth projection of 7% before 2024 comes. 

However, the personal shopping industry caters to a diverse market and locations. Thus, growth potential may vary considering these factors. 

For example, if a location has a sizable elderly population, a personal shopper service may thrive there. 

10 Steps to Start Your Personal Shopper Service


Are you ready to start your personal shopping business? Set out a well-planned and legally compliant service with these steps:

Step 1: Plan Your Business

Planning your business requires several crucial steps to help you ease to launching day. Through this step, you can fully define your specific business goals and ensure your resources are sufficient. 

Figure out your startup and recurring costs

An excellent thing about starting a personal shopper service is that startup costs can be minimal. You can start working from home and reach potential clients through phone or email. Or, you can go through neighborhoods for market leads. 

With these options, an investment of $2,000 at most is more than enough to cover your startup needs. Setting up a professionally-created website can cost you $500. The rest can go to traditional advertising, such as radio, newspaper, and TV ads. 

You also need to plan for any recurring costs after your business launches. To give you an idea, here are some costs you need to consider:

  • Fuel costs
  • Web hosting and maintenance
  • Traditional advertising
  • Vehicle maintenance

You can adjust these costs depending on your business strategy. For example, you might want to amp up your marketing efforts to reach more leads. As such, you’ll need to spend more on advertising.

Define your target audience

Defining your target market is vital in your business. To start, it can help you build a brand identity and introduce your business in your area. Are you catering to the elderly? Or career-oriented individuals? 

Knowing who your audience is can also help you plan your marketing efforts. For example, if your target market is the elderly, you might want to skip social media campaigns. If you’re looking to include busy people in your clientele, choosing the TV ads might not be the best option.

How much can you charge customers?

You can charge an hourly rate that may heavily depend on the complexity of your services. Picking up groceries from a client-provided list sounds more manageable than being a fashion consultant while your customer shops. 

Competition with other personal shopping businesses in the area also matters.  In this regard, you can charge between $20 to $100. 

It’s also worth trying other pay models. For example, you can charge a base fee and add a percentage from the total purchase cost.

Create the name for your business

Your business name represents your brand, just as how your name represents your identity. So, get comfortable and work on coming up with four to five names in 15 to 45 minutes. If it takes you longer than that, you can take a 15-minute break, then go back to brainstorming again. The aim is to get a simple, easy-to-pronounce, and memorable name. 

Before registering your business name, check if it already exists in the following:

  • Trademark records
  • Business records in your state
  • Web domain or website
  • Social media platforms

For this step, you need to decide on the legal entity of your business. The most common business structures are:

  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation
  • Sole proprietorship

Pro tip: Starting a corporation or LLC can protect your personal assets if your personal shopper business faces a lawsuit.

Step 3: Register for Taxes and Set up Business Accounting

You’ll need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS to register for taxes. Paying for taxes also depends on your business structure. 

Also, some state taxes may apply to your business, so make sure to confirm these when you register. 

Step 4: Open a Business Bank Account and Credit Card

To keep your personal and business assets conveniently separate, open a business bank account and credit card. Doing these can protect your personal assets in case of lawsuits. 

You can also build your business credit to get financing and credit cards under your business name. This comes with added perks, such as better interest rates and higher credit lines. 

Ultimately, sorting your bank account can help you keep accurate records and simplify tax filing. 

Step 5: Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses

Before you can start your business operation, obtain the necessary permits and licenses. Without these, you might end up paying hefty fines and facing business closures. 

Step 6: Define Your Brand

How the public perceives your business depends on your branding. Additionally, it can help you stand out in your industry. As such, you need to give your best efforts in promoting your service. You can do this by offering appropriate ads to your target market. Take advantage of the latest marketing strategies and research to get to your audience. 

Besides getting people to notice your brand, you also need to strategize on keeping your service a commodity. Outstanding customer service can transform first-timers into repeat customers.   

Step 7: Create Your Business Website

Wix Summary

  • Flexible pricing plans – from free to enterprise solutions
  • The Wix Editor shows how your edits will affect your store’s design
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use interface with a drag-and-drop editor and responsive templates for mobile devices
  • Integrate Wix’s built-in Instagram selling feature to sell your products on Instagram

Creating your website can help you reach more markets and manage customer experiences. Besides, having a business website shows you are running a legitimate operation. People can also easily reach you when they have to. 

Building a website these days is not as difficult as it was ten years ago. You can create your own without any coding knowledge. Some platforms offer website builders to make the process straightforward.

Let’s take a look at some of the best website builders that can help you easily put your business website together:

Step 8: Set up Your Business Phone System

A common problem among new business owners is keeping business communication channels separate from their personal life. Having a business phone system can address this issue.

Step 9: Take Your Test Order

After setting up your website and other platforms, it’s time to take a test order. This will help you identify your strengths and possible challenges and address those before you launch your business.

Step 10: Officially Launch Your Personal Shopping Service Business

After all the preparation, it’s time to officially launch your business. As you go through everyday tasks and achieve daily milestones, consider what you want in the long run. Consider building teams to optimize your customer reach, and seek a business mentor to learn more about growing your business.

online business ideas

Personal Shopper Business Alternatives


Understandably, not everyone is ready to take the risk and start a business. In this case, you can consider these platforms to check out how being a personal shopper works for you:

personal shopper jobs

Instacart

Instacart Summary

  • 2 different types of work available
  • Earn up to $10 per full-service order
  • Get $10 for each friend you refer
  • Work as much or as little as you want

Instacart offers two options to work as a shopper. You can work as a Full-Service Shopper, where you’ll receive orders from your customers and shop for those. You’ll be an independent contractor and choose when you need to work. Additionally, you’ll need a vehicle to go around shops for the items and deliver those to your client. 

On the other hand, as an In-Store Shopper, you’ll be an Instacart employee with part-time shifts. You’ll mostly shop for items in one store at a time. Lastly, you don’t need to deliver items yourself. For either option, you should send your online application to get started. 

Shipt

Shipt Summary

  • High earnings potential in some areas
  • Get a paycheck on a weekly basis
  • Start shopping within 5 days of approval
  • Easy to apply to become a shopper

Shipt is another excellent option if you want to understand how it is to work as a personal shopper. It works similarly to Instacart, particularly Full-Service Shoppers since you’ll be an independent contractor here, too. You can also start your application through its website. 

Favor

Favor Summary

  • Flexibility to set your own schedule
  • Fast recruitment process – possibility to start the same day you apply to Favor
  • Get a $100 bonus when you complete 10 deliveries
  • Keep 100% of customer tips

Favor is another platform available in Texas that offers personal shopping services. Its personal shoppers, called Favor Runners, provide quick purchases and deliver the items to customers’ doorsteps. Similar to Shipt, you can choose a time to work as a Favor Runner.


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Kate Starr

Dollarbreak

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