Thoughts on Personal Assistant service?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ozarkmomma, May 25, 2006.

  1. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I'm thinking about starting to do personal assistant jobs for elderly and others. I'm a stay at home mom, my kids will be going to preschool this fall. We are moving back to the area of our hometown. We just bought 27 acres there and plan to move this summer. So I want to start this when we get moved. I would probably charge by the hour. Doing anything from housecleaning, gardening, or running errands. I'd even mow lawns etc. Does anyone else do this or know someone who does? Any suggestions?? I remember reading a post the other day about how hard it is to find people to do work. And then my Aunt made the same comment about my grandparents needing some things done and couldn't find anyone to do jobs.
     
  2. jerneeon

    jerneeon Well-Known Member

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    My daughter and I were discussing this very option this morning, and I've spent considerable time thinking about it.

    The start up wouldn't be much; mostly making flyers and and putting an ad in the paper once a week. Word of mouth could help it take off from there. You would also have to have a vehicle that didn't use much fuel. Right now that is what is keeping me from doing it since the only vehicle I have is a '77 Ford pickup. Love my truck, and won't part with it.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.
     

  3. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Well-Known Member

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    I have a car that gets really good gas mileage. So that wouldn't be a problem. Husband has a truck if I needed to haul stuff for any reason. It's a diesel so it gets pretty good gas mileage.
     
  4. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a friend that I pay $15 an hour to help me out when there's stuff I want done and can't do...since DH can't/won't do much but watch TV, sometimes I REALLY need the help!

    The fact that she is SUPER hyper makes it kinda like I've hired TWO people for one money. :dance:

    Mon
     
  5. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    I used to have an acquaintance that did this work. Be forewarned that A LOT of older folks will talk you ear off for HOURS if you let them. Most are lonely and have no one there to listen to them. If you are planning to run a business (and a profitable one, at that), you must set limits on time spent in this fashion.

    One other point to be aware of. Many relatives (i.e. children), of these elderly folks are just waiting for them to pass on so they can receive their inheritance (sad but true). They will be VERY DEFENSIVE of your taking care of their relation. So much so, that you might experience hostility. My acquaintance was accused of stealing (which was completely untrue), more than once. Of course, they could never prove anything but she was extremely upset that anyone would even fasely accuse her of this when all she was doing was trying to help.

    Just so you go in with both eyes open.

    Donsgal
     
  6. Wolf Flower

    Wolf Flower Married, not dead! Supporter

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    I would LOVE to have a personal assistant, and I'm not even elderly! Just a busy working single person with too many things to do and not enough time or energy to do it all.
     
  7. LagoVistaFarm

    LagoVistaFarm Well-Known Member

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    Another target group is working couples. When I lived in Los Angeles we hired "a wife" since we both worked 65-70 hours a week and did not want to spend what little time we had on errands.
     
  8. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    I think there is a tremendous need for this kind of service. You'll be amazed at the variety of people that will want to use you. You'll probably need to hire a friend to help you!

    Good luck,

    :) RedTartan
     
  9. TxCloverAngel

    TxCloverAngel Happiness is Homemade

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    I owned a business called "Visiting Angels" my caregivers provided non-medical in-home care for the elderly.
    By FAR the most of them were not needing the assistance in bathing, etc... they needed.
    light house work, shopping, running errands, and one that most ppl don't think of.. they needed someone to write letters! They often had such bad eyesight & arthritis that they just could not do it anymore.

    I had one little old lady who paid my caregiver to come for 4 hours a week to play cards w/ her and read the paper to her husband.

    Another idea? the ladies LOVE to have someone do their hair! If you have a friend, or the skills yourself.. .
    A traveling hairdresser would NEVER run out of clients!

    Do beware tho.... you don't want to ever drive them in your car. Way too much liability!
    But! You are covered if you take them someplace in Their car. Just make sure they have ins.
    Type up a little something stating that they are requesting your assistance in driving them somewhere in their car and you'll be much better off.
    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask away.

    great Idea.
    Good Luck!

    Oh my girls charged $12.50 per hour w/ a 4 hr minimum.
     
  10. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Well-Known Member

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    Great information! Thanks so much! I am just sinking it all in....... I'm sure I'll have more questions. I wondered about the driving part, good to know that driving them in their vehicle is ok.

    I want to not only serve elderly but anyone else as well.
     
  11. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I'd advise you to talk to someone who writes business insurance. I carry a $1million umbrella policy "just in case" which only costs a few hundred a year but allows me to call myself "insured." Which is a big selling point if you're going to be working on other people's property.

    But yes, I think this is an awesome idea. Just remember: presentation is everything. Do large ads and high quality print materials and you attract clients with deep pockets. Do something cheap in a classified and off your ink jet that you tack up on a wall.. you get cheap clients. I'd pay someone who has a dry cleaning business to clip a high quality brochure to every business suit for a month... man's or women's... and I bet you'd be swimming in clients. Aim high. Higher. Go straight for the top. Dress like a professional, carry a leather bag, walk like the ground trembles when your heels hit the pavement... and charge big bucks.

    People will worship you.
     
  12. SweetSarah

    SweetSarah Well-Known Member

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    Wow. What a wonderful idea. I'd considered it before but never could figure out the nuts and bolts of it. Hmmm, I smell some "assisting" in my future! :)
     
  13. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Well-Known Member

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    I always wanted to have my own business and have had lots of time to think about it being a sahm. I think this is great because it requires very little start up costs. Plus I like helping people!
     
  14. TerriA

    TerriA Well-Known Member

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    Would a person want to be "bonded" for this kind of work? Might make a difference in how clients would view you (and be a good business practice). I was bonded once.. in order to do auditing at a big sporting goods store in Denver (eons ago! LOL!!). Just basically having someone else do a back ground check on you and pass a lie detector test stating I didn't do drugs, drink, etc... and that I had never been accused or convicted of any crime.

    I think insurance would be essential too...

    A possible good way to get the word out (for free) is to check with the local newspaper and see if they would be interested in doing a story on you.. why you chose to go into this kind of work, a bit of background on you, etc... makes a nice "human interest" story and gets the word out at the same time.

    Good luck! I just may be interested in doing this myself in the near future! <G>

    Terri
     
  15. LiL OHNNL

    LiL OHNNL Well-Known Member

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    When my Grandmother was alive she placed ads in the paper looking for someone just like you. You should of seen the people who repled. Some very interresting carictors.
    I would think you being insured and bonded would be a very good selling point. Also what is the population in your area? How far are you willing to travel? Are you ready if this takes off ? I ask becuase you may need to hire help. I think depending on where you live this could be a very profitable business in this busy world we live in. You will basically be a handywoman for a domestic cause.
    john
     
  16. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I have been informed about insurance and being bonded. I am definitely going to check into that before I get started. A good friend of ours runs the newspaper in our hometown, so she would do a story on me I'm sure. That's a wonderful idea!! (Thanks!) The town is small but probably about the right size to get started. It is a large community though. I hope it really takes off. My husband may be able to help me as well. He was planning on working away from home some as a bricklayer, but it may work out we could do this together. He can fix about anything and is a very hard worker. He could handle all the handyman jobs! LOL I have a sister in Oregon that is planning on moving back to Missouri soon. She has a degree in business, so if it grows a lot she would be a benefit. Plus she'll be looking for work when she comes back. Something might work out there.
     
  17. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think you only need to be bonded if you are handling other people's money. Go to the courthouse and get an assumed name, then a bank account in that name (your assumed name and your name,- I also have my husband's on my account, but his name doesn't appear on the checks). Put $200 into the account. All of your income should go through this account- much easier at tax time. Get insurance. An agent will understand what kind of liability you will need to have. When you deal with people who have money, have a contract ready. Sometimes the reason they have so much money is because they are cheap. It also screams "professional" to people who care about such things.

    Don't handle other people's money. There's so much direct deposit and direct payments that there is no reason for you to mess around with somebody else's bills. And, when you come across people who need to talk for hours, get them together to talk to each other. There are also senior services that will pick seniors up and take them to day programs.

    You might want to consider hiring an accountant to help you set up your books, or a bookkeeper. Many small businesses have bit the dust because they didn't keep their accounts in order. Nobody is too small to have their debits and credits kept in proper order.
     
  18. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Well-Known Member

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    The population is close to 3000 people in city limits. I am thinking I will work in the county. I will probably try to charge a mileage rate in addition to a flat hourly fee if the service includes traveling.
     
  19. pumpkinlady

    pumpkinlady Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good ideas and info being given here. Also try to get some references. This will help future clients feel that they are getting an honest person to work for them and give them some peace of mind.
     
  20. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Well-Known Member

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