Hiring a Personal Shopper, Economical or Unnecessary?

From on January 23, 2009 in General

Personal ShopperIt might seem, at first thought, that spending money for the services of a personal shopper is a luxury and an unnecessary expense. Looking at the prospect again, though, might show the make-sense – and actual economy – of bringing a personal shopper on board to participate in your remodeling activities.

When you stop to consider the value of your time, that consideration alone might warrant paying a skilled personal shopper to go on shopping missions for you. Whether scouting the aisles of local stores or browsing the Internet for selections, a personal shopper devoted to the task of locating a variety of options for you can make your decision-making process much simpler and more pleasurable. Instead of having to weed through acres of possibilities, you can sort through a limited, refined group of possibilities that have been selected according to pre-set parameters.

Another thing that will influence your decision to hire a personal shopper is whether or not you like to shop. Many people don’t. With the vast array of products and services to choose from, shopping can be an overwhelming chore for anyone – especially people who don’t enjoy the process. And also for people whose natures are so detail-oriented that they can’t help getting sucked into the minutiae of product information details, thus making the process of selection even more time-consuming and confusing. We’ve all heard the expression that has become popular in recent times: “Too much information!!”

One designer I know, who manages a whole range of subcontractors on her remodeling and design jobs, says she can’t imagine not working with her personal shoppers. She has several freelance shoppers in her team of resourceful professionals. Each shopper has her own specialty – one focuses on kitchen and bathroom fixtures and hardware, another on decorative moldings and trims, flooring and fireplaces, and yet another scouts out fabrics, carpeting, window coverings, and upholstery.

This designer pays $25 an hour for these personal shopping services. At the onset of a project, she meets with the shopper – either in person or by phone while both are online for referencing capability. The designer explains the project, tells the shopper what she’s looking for, gives the shopper some visual input (again, either in person or online), and puts a cap on the number of hours the shopper is to spend finding her initial round of possibilities.

After the shopper has found the first round of options, she presents the designer with product information and/or computer print-outs detailing visuals, cost, and availability factors. From this batch, the designer culls out the items that work for presentation to the client. Also, with this initial batch to work from, the designer can justify spending some of her much higher-priced hours adding and refining the options for the most effective client presentation. Depending on the client’s response, there may be some repetition of this methodology until the client is satisfied and ready to authorize purchase orders.

This example shows how effectively you can work with a personal shopper – with you being both the designer and client for the end selections. When you see how efficient and economical it can be to work with a personal shopper, it may become a skill to utilize for saving you time and money in many areas of shopping.