The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Steal this job: Personal concierge

Jennifer Brickman Rasche, 41, turned her side job of helping people tackle their to-do lists into a full-fledged business. (Teddy Wolff/For Express)
Placeholder while article actions load

Jennifer Brickman Rasche, 41

Salary: $75,000

Position: Personal concierge and founder of 25th Hour Concierge (202-320-3838)

What She Does: Have things that need to get done but work and family and holidays keep you from doing? That’s what Brickman Rasche does for her clients, so they can focus on work and family and holidays.

“One of the beautiful things about this job is there’s no typical day,” Brickman Rasche says. “It’s different every day.”

At an hourly rate of $85, Brickman Rasche ticks off any to-dos her clients need accomplished: call a plumber when a pipe bursts; organize a lifetime of photos; help a client’s tweenage daughter de-clutter a messy room; research how to get a passport for a client’s newly adopted child from another country or shuttle a boxer-mix named Steve to and from doggie daycare. (Yes. All of these tasks did happen.)

How She Got The Job: Having worked in marketing and communications for nonprofits since 1998, Brickman Rasche negotiated a four-day workweek for a communications position at the Duke Ellington School in 2006. That meant she had an extra day to fill.

She came up with the personal concierge idea to make extra money and, in 2008, posted on a Cleveland Park neighborhood listserv to ask if anybody needed help with anything. One woman responded “YES!” and Brickman Rasche spent half a day each Friday assisting with all kinds of tasks — from cookie-baking projects to interviewing moving companies for a big move to a new home. The seeds for a new career were planted.

“A friend suggested to me that I take what I was doing on Fridays and blow it out to full time,” Brickman Rasche says. “Just hearing somebody else suggest it felt like permission to go in a direction I had never considered going.”

Brickman Rasche left the Ellington School in May 2009 and made preparations to launch 25th Hour Concierge — taking small-business classes through the D.C. Public Library, reading a book, “The Concierge Manual,” and even attending a conference for the International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association in Glasgow, Scotland.

Her first official client came onboard that August. Among other things, he needed help moving to a new home and office while he was away in China.

Who Would Want This Job: If you are self-motivated, organized and good with time management, this job could suit you well. Most months Brickman Rasche juggles about 10 different clients, and she’s only working 20-25 hours a week. Her client list — as well as workload and salary — could potentially double as the business grows.

You have to like helping people, too. “My clients now, they’re not a cause, they’re not a mission, but they need help,” Brickman Rasche says. “It’s so rewarding to feel like you’re making a difference in their lives and to know that you’re reducing their stress levels.”

How You Can Get This Job: Just as Brickman Rasche did by advertising on a listserv, you can start by dabbling in the personal concierge realm. There’s even an app for that: TaskRabbit. As a TaskRabbit, once you’ve been screened, you would log on to see what folks need accomplished and what they’re willing to pay.

Growing your client base can happen by simply providing quality service. While Brickman Rasche gets some referrals through the ICLMA, most of her business comes from word-of-mouth. Happy clients tell their friends about their personal concierge, and then said friends become happy clients.