Becoming a Miscellaneous Care Provider
What does a personal shopper do?
As a personal shopper, you can work for private individuals (doing their shopping and being paid directly by the people for whom you are shopping), or you can work for retailers or shopping centers (shopping with or for their customers and being paid by the retailer or shopping center rather than the customers).
Following is a list of the types of shopping that personal shoppers typically engage in:
- Grocery shopping
- Shopping for household items (furniture, fixtures, appliances, decor, cleansers, mops, etc.)
- Clothes shopping
- Jewelry shopping
- Gift shopping (i.e., birthdays, graduations, retirements, anniversaries, weddings, engagements, baby or wedding shower, Christmas, etc.)
- and much, much more!
How Do I Become a Miscellaneous Helper?
You have decided that you want to work in a helping profession. What do you need to do to become employed in your chosen field?
1. Develop the credentials. For example, if specific educational credentials will be expected, then you would be wise to obtain that education.
2. Acquire any tools/equipment/supplies necessary for the performance of your job. For example, if you wish to be a lawn mower, do you own a lawn mower, a lawn trimmer, and a pick-up truck?
3. Gain some experience. Do you have a friend or family member for whom you can perform your services . . . even if just to get you started? When you apply for your first job in your field, it will help if you can show that you have performed in this job before.
4. Decide whether you want to work for an agency/employer, whether you want to work for a private individual or family, or whether you want to be a self-employed independent contractor.
5. Get the word out that you are available for work in your chosen field. This may involve distributing your resume, advertising your services, posting yourself on a job website, etc.
6. Prepare for interviews or appointments at which you can sell your services. Why should the employer/client select you? What are your selling points?
7. Remember that word-of-mouth on services you have rendered to others is your best asset in securing others for whom you can render services.
Letters of Recommendation from Past Jobs
When job seeking, it is always a good idea to have reference letters (also known as letters of recommendation) from prior jobs. These letters tell prospective employers that you are a good candidate for their job, that you are trustworthy, that you are experienced, and that your prior supervisors have regarded you highly.
Therefore, as you are preparing to leave a job, make sure that you are not burning bridges. Before your last day of employment, ask your supervisor and several of your co-workers to write letters of recommendation for you. Make copies of these letters. Never distribute originals to prospective employers: give employers copies of the letters. The originals of the letters should be kept by you, perhaps in a job seeking file.
How do I become a Housesitter?
You have decided that you want to become a housesitter. How do you prepare for work in that field?
- Learn basic home maintenance skills.
- Learn how to care for pets, as some homeowners expect their housesitters to care for their pets as well.
- Consider becoming bonded.
- Prepare your resume. Have you performed housesitting services before, perhaps for friends or family members?
- Prepare a reference list or compile reference letters from people who can attest to your abililty to be a good housesitter. These documents may be given to a prospective employer during an interview.
- Pull background checks on yourself. The results of these background checks may be given to a prospective employer during an interview.
- Prepare for interviews. Why are you the best candiate for the housesitting job?
- Distribute your resumes and begin your job search.
What Costs does a Housesitter have?
Some housesitters go from housesitting job to housesitting job . . . thus never havng to own or rent a home of their own. These housesitters save lots of money on rent or mortgage expenses alone, not counting homeowner's or renter's insurance premiums and utility bills that the housesitter will not incur. Still, housesitting doesn't relieve a housesitter of all living costs.
A housesitter will typically be responsible for the cost of the food that he/she consumes while housesitting.
A housesitter will typically be responsible for any long distance telephone calls that he/she places on the homeowner's telephone. (It is recommended that housesitters always have a cellular telephone. Housesitters are discouraged from using homeowners' telephones.)
A housesitter will typically pay for bonding or professional insurance (covering property damage caused by the housesitter's intentional or negligent acts).
A housesitter will have transportation expenses. Whether going to and from the grocery store, or to and from various housesittng jobs, most housesitters have automobiles and automobile-related expenses (gas, maintenance, depreciation, and insurance).
And a housesitter will typically remain responsible for non-house related living expenses (i.e., entertainment such as DVD rentals).
What does a Party Planner do?
- Create memorable moments by catering to your clients' wishes and minimizing their stress on their big days.
- Organize events. You can organize all types of parties, or you can specialize. For example, you can be a wedding planner. You can specialize in faith celebrations: bar/bat mitzvahs, first communions, confirmations, etc. You can plan fundraisers or other business events (retirement parties, grand openings, open houses, business social events, etc.). You can plan children's parties, holiday (or other themed) parties, family reunions, anniversary parties, graduation parties, engagement parties and wedding showers, cocktail and dinner parties, and bon voyage parties.
- Give advice and have the clients' take action thereafter or give advice and be responsible yourself for taking action thereafter. Full-service party planners are responsible for handling every detail of the party. They make all the reservations and coordinate with all the party service providers (the catering company, the decorators, etc.), they are at the location of the party before the party begins to ensure that things are set up properly, they stay throughout the party to handle any problems that may arise, and they stay at the location until the last details of the party have been wrapped up. This enables clients to enjoy their parties rather than be stressed and distracted due to all the logistics during their parties. Party consultants may, on the other hand, offer advice that clients may then take and apply themselves as they are planning their own events.
- Give advice regarding (and perhaps be fully responsible for) party venue, equipment rental, invitations, guest books, decorations, party favors, special lighting (to include candles), floral arrangements, seating arrangements, music, entertainment, food, food service, beverages, beverage service, apparel, transportation, hotel block booking, photography, videography, etc.
- Give clients and their guests time to socialize, celebrate, and have fun.
Becoming a Personal Shopper
Being a personal shopper can be a fun, rewarding experience. It typically does not require an advanced degree or any special training or experience. It does, however, require a good deal of knowledge about shopping and an ability to set and achieve objectives in tandem with your clients. Here is what you will need to know to get started.
- Unless your community has an excellent mass transit system, you will likely need a valid driver's license, a reliable automobile, and valid automobile insurance.
- You should have a cellular telephone so that, if questions about purchases arise while you are at the store (assuming that your client is not at the store with you), you can call your client to clarify his/her wishes before the purchases are made. (See #7 below.)
- You will need to be able to walk extensively and lift and carry your purchases.
- You will need strong organizational skills and attention to detail. You may be tasked with shopping for a wide variety of items from a variety of retailers: accomplishing everything in the most efficient manner possible requires organizational skills. Ensuring that you get exactly what your clients want requires attention to detail.
- You will need good communication skills.
- You will need the courage to ask questions of your client. "What size do you wear?" "Do you prefer pull-over or cardigan?" "What size bottle do you want?" "Which scent do you like?" "Do you have a brand preference?"
- You will need the ability to remain calm when others around you are not. This is particularly true when you first begin shopping for a client. There will inevitably be times (when you first begin shopping with each client) that you purchase something other than what he/she was expecting. Sometimes, disappointed clients lack tact, so you will need to be able to calmly apologize for the misunderstanding and offer to exchange the incorrect item for the correct item.
- You will need to be trustworthy. Some clients may want to check your credit rating. Clients will be giving you access to their financial resources, and they will need to know that you are worthy of that trust.
- You will need to be consistent. Your clients need to be able to rely on you.
- If you are willing and able to meet the above criteria, then being a personal shopper may be a good fit for you!
What are "Vaction Services"?
Performing vacation services can provide you with fun and variety in your work day. Different vacationing families will have different vacation services that they may seek from you. A brief list of the most commonly sought vacation services are below.
- Periodically checking on the house to make sure everything is ok
- Retrieving, sorting, and storing mail
- Retrieving and storing newspapers and any packages that have been delivered
- Attending to household maintenance issues (i.e., putting water softener salt in the water softener on the designated day, winding any clocks that are not battery-operated, etc.)
- Watering plants, removing any ripe fruits or withered flowers
- Watering the lawn (if not using an in-ground automatic sprinkling system)
- Some vacationing families will prefer that their vacation services provider actually live in their home during the family vacation so their home looks like it is (and actually is) lived in. This is done to avoid having the home appear vacant and thus become a good target for thieves.
What Transportation Assistants do.
People hire transportation assistants for a number of reasons. Perhaps a client is ill or aged and cannot drive. Perhaps a client has never had a driver's license because his/her spouse always drove, but the recent death of that spouse has created a transportation problem. Perhaps a client has had their driver's license revoked. If you have a valid driver's license, reliable transportation, and valid auto insurance, you can likely be a transportation assistant. Transportation assistants drive their clients for any purposes agreed upon between the client and the transportation assistant. Such purposes may include:
- driving the client to and from doctor's appointments
- taking the client grocery (or other) shopping
- taking the client errand running
- taking the client for a ride on a beautiful autumn day
- driving the client to / picking the client up from the airport
- driving the client to / picking the client up from a social engagement
- taking the client to / from an activity in which he/she may become unfit to drive (medical procedures, events at which alcohol will be present, etc.)
- taking the client to / from events at which traffic is expected to be difficult (hence the client not wanting to drive him-/herself to / from the event)
- driving the client's gifts to their recipients' homes or places of employment
- shuttling property between two places on behalf of the client
- and many, many more purposes