If you’re looking for a way to earn some cash on the side and you have a vehicle, you might want to consider becoming a personal shopper. With the elderly still afraid to venture out because of the coronavirus, as well as those who are vulnerable due to cancer or other illnesses, a personal shopper is something they need.
NOTE: If you hate shopping or running errands, this job is not for you.
What does a personal shopper do?
A personal shopper is someone who goes to clients’ homes, picks up their shopping list and cash for shopping, or medicine list and insurance cards if you’re shopping for prescriptions for them, and they sometimes even take clothes to the dry cleaners and pick them up. For myself, sometimes I need someone to drive my car once or twice a week. Or even take it to be serviced. Walk their dog if they ask you to. Don’t put a restriction on what you will or will not do unless it’s something you just don’t feel comfortable with. The more you make yourself valuable to your clients, the more work you will get due to referrals, and of course, they will keep calling you back. Keep your options open if at all possible. There are a lot of ways personal shoppers are handy.
What’s in it for you?
Money. You’re not going to get rich being a personal shopper but you will make a decent amount of money for shopping for those who are unable to shop themselves for one reason or another. There are times when I’m unable to do simple tasks like taking my pets to the vet myself due to my chronic back pain. Having a personal shopper to manage the errands I can’t is very handy.
What are the requirements?
The requirements vary from person to person. I grew up in my area so I know just about everyone around here. I know who is trustworthy and who isn’t. However, if I were to ever let someone I didn’t know become a personal shopper, I would want them to submit a background check (because sometimes sending a debit card or a blank check is more convenient than going to the bank to get cash). A COVID-19 vaccination card would be absolutely a factor because I fall into the vulnerable category. I would want personal references as well. These are all easy things to acquire and are free except for the background check (research shows it’s about $20 to obtain one).
Also, you’d have to have a valid driver’s license and own your own vehicle. Show your license to your clients. Earn their trust.
You also need to have something like a binder to keep up with everything. Don’t slack off in this area. Even just a spiral notepad would work, to begin with. Every time you shop, give your client the opportunity to check everything off their shopping list when you return it to them after shopping, and note the errand and have them sign beside the date and errand. I do want to note that when you’re shopping if they’re out of something that’s on your client’s list, call them to see what they want to substitute and write it on the list. Don’t leave anything off the list. Check and double-check. Triple check if you have to.
How much should you charge?
This really depends on you but let me break it down for you. You need to calculate how many miles to and from your client’s home, to and how many miles it is from wherever it is you have to go. You need to calculate how many miles your vehicle gets to the gallon and how many miles it takes to complete your errands. That’s how much you charge for mileage. I suggest skipping this step and including it in your hourly rate instead. It’s entirely up to you.
Depending on how much time it takes you to shop you may want to start with the average rate that personal shoppers generally make. “*The national average price range for personal shoppers is $120-$200 per hour”, but pick an amount you’re comfortable with. Your reputation is going to have a lot to do with the amount you make so make sure to offer references and anything else you can to put your client’s minds at ease.
If becoming a personal shopper is something you would like to consider, do your research as there are a lot of valuable tips online on how to market yourself and how to build up your clientele.
Also, be sure to make your clients feel more comfortable. A lot of the clients you shop for are vulnerable and they want to feel safe. Get your COVID vaccinations as soon as possible (and provide proof of it to your clients) and always wear a mask. Disposable shoe covers are great too if you have to go inside for any reason (decline to go inside if at all possible).
*google search recommendation.