I’ve heard each of these a million times since November 1:
“I need a wife.”
“I need to clone myself.”
“I need a driver.”
Guess what? You can have all of those things, and for a lot less money than the others would cost. Anything you can think of, you can hire out. I mean, just about anything … keep it legal, folks!
Recently, I met with Cathi Bingaman, owner of In Sync With You, a company specializing in personal assistance and concierge services. She promises to “take the hectic out of your life,” and after chatting with her, I do believe she can do just that.
We focused our conversation on the holidays, but there are so many ways to use this service all the time. But first things first: here are some holiday chores that you can cross off your list and give to someone else, namely your personal concierge:
1. Holiday decorating
Holiday decorating is a chore, for sure. Hire someone else to do it: to decorate your house and your tree, hang your garlands and do the lights outside. Imagine coming home to a completely decorated house! Also, something to consider for those of us with aging parents, hire someone to do the decorating in their home, so that they don’t have to.
2. Holiday card writing and mailing
Give someone your list and have them stuff, address and mail all of your holiday cards for you. That’s hours of mindless work you’ll save yourself. Now if they could just get the perfect picture with all your family smiling, that would be even better!
3. Party invitations
Having a holiday open house? Give someone your list and have them do the invitations and mail them out. So much better than an eVite.
4. Gift buying
You can delegate all of your holiday gift buying to a personal concierge, especially if you give someone else your guided list of preferences. This is another service that is especially helpful with aging parents.
5. Gift wrapping
How does one find the time to wrap gifts for others, when those “others” are around all the time? It’s called zero dark thirty, and that’s usually me in the corner of a locked room blazing through tons of gifts. How about you get someone else to wrap those gifts off site and then deliver them back to you when they are done?
6. Hotel reservations
Go the extra mile and offer to make hotel reservations for friends and family coming in for the holidays. Your concierge can do that for you, and they can even get a special “home for the holidays” welcome gift placed in their rooms. Rental cars and other scheduling for your guests can be done, too.
7. Coordinating activities for guests
What are you going to do with your holiday guests from out of town? Get someone else to plan their day, whether it be a sightseeing trip of Louisville or a trip to the distillery. You don’t have to be the entertainment coordinator here.
8. Gift research
Looking for the perfect gift for your friends and family? Write down their preferences and send someone else on the hunt for the gift. They can come back to you with the options, and then you choose from the comfort of your smartphone or computer. Get the gift wrapped and mailed or delivered.
9. Teacher gifts
Looking for 20 gifts that are all under $20 for all the great teachers in your life? Send someone else on that mission. Get them wrapped and ready to be delivered to your favorite teachers.
10. Employee gifts
Whether looking to do individual gifts for your employees or basic uniform gifts, state your preferences and get someone else to take care of it. They can be wrapped and delivered or mailed.
11. Meal plan
Whether you are cooking or picking up food for holiday meals, you can no doubt use assistance. Have someone get groceries or order and pick up desserts or plan for an entire meal through carryout and get them to deliver it to your house before the party.
12. Stock the fridge, pantry and bar
Sounds mundane, but going to the grocery store is such a time drain. Give someone your list and have them stock your fridge, pantry or bar (or all of the above).
13. Basic maintenance
The holidays are always a time when we pay more attention to the state of our house. Getting your carpets cleaned, touch up painting and basic fixes are all great things to hire out to trusted, recommended vendors. Consider your “honey-do” list done.
14. Basic errands
Pick up the dry-cleaning. Pick up your prescriptions. Return that sweater. The list is endless, and someone else can be running all those errands for you.
15. House and pet sitting
Going away for the holidays? Need someone to watch your house or take care of your pets? Hire someone from a trusted source and enjoy your vacation. Or if you’re simply not going to be home after work most of the month thanks to your super-booked social calendar, have someone come whenever your animals need a potty break and enjoy an accident-free home when you return.
16. Wait services
It is inevitable that something breaks during the holidays. Who has time to go home and wait for the three-hour service window for this to be fixed? Someone else does. Let them wait at your house, so that you don’t have to.
A good babysitter is hard to find, especially during this busy party season. Hire a trusted sitter, and enjoy your evening away from the kiddos.
Wondering what all this help is going to cost you? Not much, considering the time you will save.
Bingaman’s initial consultation is free; this is your time to discuss exactly what you need. After you decide what services you need, the cost is $35 an hour, with a 30-minute minimum, which covers the concierge time; you pay for the purchases - gifts, food etc. - that they pick up. And if you need to hire a vendor, such as a plumber, a carpet cleaner, even a babysitter, you will still pay the $35 (or less if it takes less time to arrange) as a “finder’s fee.” In Sync has a list of trusted, vetted vendors that they work with. What you pay for is peace of mind and the tremendous convenience of not having to do the research and find the vendors.
There are also opportunities to purchase a block of hours. If you purchase more than four hours at a time, you will receive a discounted rate.
For more information and to contact In Sync with You, visit insyncwithyou.com.