Whether you’re a time management-challenged professional or an on-the-go parent, there’s a simple solution if you’re juggling a shopping list and busy calendar. Once reserved for the VIP, today’s personal shoppers can help cut anyone’s to-do list in half—by doing anything from taking care of groceries to restyling wardrobes. Services like TaskRabbit will hook you up with a shopping match that suits your needs.
Check out five tips for getting the most out of a personal shopping service.
- Have Your Shopping List Ready
Personal shoppers are experts in their fields, often armed with the 411 on sales, restocking and markdown schedules, store layouts, and more. That’s why it’s important to have your shopping list finalized and ready to hand over before the last minute. The last thing you need is thinking that you’ve sent your shopper out for a kid’s game, and they come back with a blender. Plus, it’ll give you have time to answer any questions that your personal shopper may have ahead of time. Be clear and honest about your list.
- Be Up-Front About Your Budget
You may be hiring someone to save time, but it’s still important that you spend efficiently. Whether you’re using a retailer’s in-house shopper or a third-party service, be sure you’re clear about how much you want to spend. That way, your personal shopper can better tailor the stores they visit and the products they buy to your budget.
- Get to Know Your Personal Shopper
A good personal shopper will want to get know your lifestyle, fashion sense, and other preferences, so don’t be afraid to get buddy-buddy with them! Most shoppers will set up an initial consultation so that they can get familiar with your habits. For example, a personal shopper at Neiman Marcus will want to know if your job requires you to attend corporate meetings often. If you use a service like Trunk Club you will complete a survey to explain your needs (and wants).
- Go Solo or Gift It
If you’re meeting with a personal shopper in person, resist the urge to bring along a third wheel. The service is called “personal” for a reason, and your well-meaning (but opinionated) spouse or best friend may make it more difficult for your expert shopper to provide the most efficient experience. If your best friend is trying to get the skinny on a service, a great gift is a service like Stitch Fix, which connects her with her own personal stylist and shopper.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Since you’ll be handing your credit card number over, you’ll want to feel confident in your decision to hire a personal shopper. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their credentials, professional background, hourly rate, and how they’ll help you save money. Typically, this time management wizard will have already given you the lowdown on the ways they’ll simplify your life and save your hard-earned cash.