How a concierge service can assist you in a time of need Featured

2:27pm EDT March 1, 2011
How a concierge service can assist you in a time of need

Smart Business spoke with Carolyn J. Harbert, the president of OHMISS Concierge, about how a concierge service can offer you help when you really need it.

When I started my business several years ago, I had a plan that I thought would be the path that the company would follow. That assumption, as most of you know, was probably my first mistake. Maybe not the largest mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. As time has gone on and the economy has fluctuated, that plan has had some changes. The company has taken some directions that I really had not fully considered, and other things that I thought would be shoe-ins faltered along the way. Now the business has a life of its own and it is my job to make sure that it is steered in the right direction.

I recently found out from a friend and now client that when I talked about starting this company, she thought I was crazy and couldn't believe that there could be so many self-centered and self-absorbed people in our area that would need or want a concierge service that was not in a hotel uniform with a smile on their face, ready to be of assistance. Well, times change and so do the attitudes. She contacted me this past week to say she needed my help. No, it wasn’t for something exotic or luxury oriented, although I expect that she wishes it were for that purpose, but rather it was to assist her in finding the right people to help her with everyday living. She was in a position where she could not physically accomplish the tasks of daily living on her own, and her husband had a job that he could not leave to be with her all day or have the flexibility to work from home. She needed help that would work now for her needs and to go forward as those needs would change.

What if this happened to you? If none of your family members live in the same city you do, where would you turn? Contacting a local concierge firm might be a good first step. If they are like us, they have strategic alliances throughout the U.S. and worldwide and can ensure that you are given the best possible assistance for your needs. This may be of a surprise to you, but the concept of concierge and/or lifestyle management service has been growing the past few years and it will be a growth industry for the next decade. The concierge is no longer just associated with hotel or resort properties, luxury condominiums or apartment homes.

A concierge service can be your own personal or virtual assistant. They can help you locate housekeepers, handyman services, qualified organizers, private car/chauffeurs, assistance with moving in or out, seasonal home maintenance visits, ticket procurement, unusual requests, event planning or finding that special gift for a loved one or client.

Look at a concierge service as a valuable member of your team, not just a friendly smiling face at the hotel to assist you. I can assure you that my friend, now client, has changed her mind on the way she views a concierge.

Carolyn J. Harbert is the president of OHMISS Concierge. Reach her at (813) 636-9700 or