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Tribune staff reporter, Barbara Rose
An all-service help desk
Companies offer employees a range of concierge conveniences
December 6, 2006
Such employee-friendly perks--inexpensive when compared with benefits such as company-paid health care--go a long way toward buying goodwill in an era
where time is scarce, experts say.
"People are working harder than ever before," said Mary Clark, director of Evanston-based non-profit Winning Workplaces. "Increasingly, as organizations
streamline, they have fewer employees and everyone is an important contributor."
Four percent of human resources professionals responding to a recent survey said their companies provide concierge services, according to the Society for
Human Resources Management.
Twenty-three percent said they make it easier for employees to mail packages and buy stamps by providing postal services. Thirteen percent offer dry
cleaning. Two percent offer photo-developing drop-off and pickup.
Not surprisingly, employers most likely to provide such benefits are concentrated in industries where competition for workers is greatest, such as health care and
Teresa Frith, co-owner of A World Class Concierge Service Inc. in Chicago, recently got a call from a consulting company that gave her a credit card number
and instructions to offer two key employees carte blanche access to her services during the holidays.
"Charge everything to the company and do whatever they ask you to do," the company instructed.
"I wish I worked for them," Frith said.
The Student Magazine of Columbia College Chicago
An extra set of hands
The quirky, unpredictable world of personal concierge services is booming.
Does it need you?
By: Kate Palm
(This is a portion of the article)
Maybe you used to be Mommy's little helper. Maybe you're the first person others come to when they need a favor.
But did you know that you could charge a fee? Over the past several years, personal assistant and concierge services have exploded to include more than two
dozen businesses in the Chicago area. As people's lives get more and more harried, many are desperate for a helping hand with everyday chores and
errands-everything from waiting for the repairman to arrive to walking the dog to paying the bills...
Teresa Frith and Ann Van Damme founded A World Class Concierge Service, Inc., in December 2003 after discovering they could have used such services
themselves. "I used to travel 90 percent of the time", says Van Damme. "I just never had time to get things done. When you're going all the time, your personal
life starts to fall apart." Everything from paying the bills to remembering to feed the cat had become an addition to her "to do" list.
Based in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and serving both city and suburbs, A World Class meets the needs of "time challenged" individuals and businesses
with services such as home and office organization, party planning and preparation, and moving assistance...
Van Damme believes this is part of the reason her company is growing. "As people get more and more job responsibilities they have less personal time", she
explains. "The time they do have they don't want to spend paying bills, going to the cleaners. They want to be able to enjoy their leisure time."
Van Damme and Frith have 15 to 20 regular clients. ...
Regular clients rely on concierge services to perform tasks that only a best friend might otherwise be able to do. A World Class has one customer who "always"
has unusual and last minute requests," Frith says, such as finding tennis matches that he forgot to tape for his busy wife. "That's how he found us originally," she
laughs. "He said, "You have to find this or I'm getting a divorce."
We establish a relationship with [our customers] because we are so involved in their lives," Van Damme adds. "Trust is a big factor." ...
|Crain’s Chicago Business
'Valets' hear cry for time
Tame the errand beast: Hand your to-do list to personal concierge
By Lisa Bertagnoli
February 14, 2005
(This is a portion of the article)
Some busy people hire personal assistants; others rely on spouses (or teenagers) to give them a hand with unwieldy to-do lists. How about the rest of the time-
For an hourly fee, concierge services will pick up the dry cleaning, walk and feed the dog, wait for the cable guy, hire a plumber, make dinner reservations,
order flowers and even shop for groceries.
Rather like to-do lists, no two concierge services are the same. Several in the Chicago area specialize in business tasks: typing, sorting, maintaining records
and other thankless jobs. Others work as hourly housekeepers, taking care of time-consuming chores such as waiting for deliveries, hiring and supervising repair
people and running Saturday morning-type errands.
Most are sole business people offering personal services to a handful of clients. The biggest, Lisle-based Valet Today, operates on a grander scale, offering a
set menu of errands, among them DVD returns and dry cleaning pickup and drop-off, to mass populations at train stations, apartment complexes and office
In the more personalized services, concierges charge a set hourly fee and offer package deals to steady clients. They get a key to the house and a credit card
number for purchases (such as groceries); clients can reimburse concierges with cash or checks if they prefer. Concierges maintain lists of preferred service
providers and charge those companies (not their clients) a finder's fee.
There's a trade off, of course: Those who hire concierges have to be organized enough to delegate, and they have to be well-heeled enough to pay the fees,
which can approach $50 an hour.
The payoff is more time, a gold mine for people who find it more lucrative to make business deals than wait in line at Blockbuster.
"Successful people delegate whatever they can," says Jackie Tiani, 54, a productivity expert based in Glendale Heights. She regularly hires errand-runners
herself and recommends them to clients. Surveys she's done indicate that such chores eat up 40 hours per month.
"I tell clients that a person with free time is rich beyond measure, and the envy of everybody."
A World Class Concierge Service
The concierges: Teresa Frith and Ann Van Damme. Ms. Frith, 45, has been an accountant and a property manager, is a notary public and has a real estate
license. Ms. Van Damme, 60, was a saleswoman at a relocation company before she and Ms. Frith started their business in December 2003.
Sampling of services: Pet-sitting, party planning, grocery shopping, waiting for packages and deliveries and assorted errands, like taking photos to be framed
Rate: $25 an hour with a one-hour minimum; no contract
Bonded/insured: Scheduled to be by the end of February
A client: Scott M. Pierce, 55, an OB/GYN in Oak Brook. "When I don't have time to do something, I call them."
Tangible benefit: An intact marriage. After Dr. Pierce (or his TiVo) failed to record a tennis match for his wife, she stopped speaking to him. He found Ms. Frith
and Ms. Van Damme online, and they located a tape of the match at a New York tennis club and got it to him in two days, for $200. "My wife talks to me
now," Dr. Pierce says.
Short on time? Service aims to save you some
May 5, 2004
If you could put time in a bottle, your mom would love some for Mother's Day. Way more than another bottle of perfume.
But if your time-encapsulation experiments have yet to pay off, Teresa Frith and Ann Van Damme of Chicago's North Side have a gift idea that comes close.
Founders of A World Class Concierge Service Inc., the two will do whatever your mom does not have the time or inclination to do--everything from waiting at
her house for a package to preparing that house for sale.
Frith suggested moms--or other harried humans--might like help with "running-around-type things," like errands and groceries.
The company, started in 2003, serves private and corporate clients on a one-time or subscription basis. They work throughout the entire Chicago area and,
when feasible, elsewhere.
Gift certificates start at $25 (good for one hour's assistance) and are good indefinitely.
For more information, see www.aworldclassconciergeservice.com or call 773-275-1006.
Copyright © 2004, Amy Eagle
Reprinted with the permission of: Amy Eagle
This article appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday, May 5, 2004
WN WOMEN NEWS section, page 3
Delegate chores; increase joy
November 16, 2008
Delegate duties; increase joy.
Hire a decorator
Teresa Frith and Ann Van Damme, owners of A World Class Concierge Service, Inc., typically earn their money running errands for busy people—everything
from dry-cleaning pickup to pet-sitting. But this time of year, they'll also be stringing clients' outdoor lights, and buying and decorating their Christmas trees.
Clients can specify it all, from the type and height of a Christmas tree to the type of decorations to be used. The service costs $35 an hour plus travel
expenses. 773-275-1006. aworldclassconciergeservice.com
Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune
Appeared in Chicago Tribune Magazine November 16, 2008 page 21
Key to conquering stress: Prioritizing
The more efficient you are, the less anxiety you will feel, experts say
December 22, 2008
This is a portion of the article
Here's a list of stresses some helpful experts give us permission to cross off our lists.
Sure, having the kids home from school seems like the perfect time to book all their shots and dental work. But unless they're
absolutely necessary, wait until after the holidays when life calms down, said Ann Van Damme and Teresa Frith, owners of A
World Class Concierge Service Inc. on Chicago's North Side.
Obsessing about the perfect gift
A lot of hot gifts are sold out this time of year. Don't fret—just buy something similar, perhaps from the same manufacturer.
The recipient will either love it or exchange it easily with the gift receipt, Sterling said.
Whether it's dinner, DVDs or dry cleaning, you can have what you need delivered to your home—saving time and frustration.
Also consider tag-teaming pickups with friends or neighbors (you pick up their dry cleaning if they fetch kids after school),
Van Damme and Frith said.
Making special shopping trips.
It's less stressful to shop by categories like age group. You'll thank yourself for tackling all the toys in one outing and so forth,
said Chris Sterling, director of concierges for Red Butler, a company that provides personal assistant services through
Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune
|BUSINESS Focus on Uptown by Ross Forman, Windy City Times 10-5-2011
Windy City Times, in conjunction with QponChicago.com, is profiling neighborhood businesses in a series of features over
the coming months.
A World Class Concierge Service, Inc. 773-275-1006 http:// www.aworldclassconciergeservice.com
In the busy world we live in, who couldn't use an extra set of hands to help with personal or professional needs.
Welcome, A World Class Concierge Service, Inc., founded in 2003 by Teresa Frith and Ann Van Damme.
A World Class Concierge Service, Inc. provides personal assistant and errand services to corporations and individuals. "We
take care of the things you don't have time to do," Frith said.
The duo have more than 40 years of experience in the corporate service world, so they understand the need of both
companies and their employees in managing their time more efficiently. As the saying goes, time is money.
Many companies are providing personal services to their employees to enable them to be more productive. That's where A
World Class Concierge Service, Inc., comes into play, offering a wide array of services for an employee, to help ease the
daily stress and work grind.
"We can arrange many time-saving services, and in effect, become part of the corporate team," Van Damme said.
"Typically, adding our services result in a more productive and happier environment at home and at the office."
Confidentiality is guaranteed at A World Class Concierge Service, Inc.
On the business-front, A World Class Concierge Service, Inc. is particularly helpful to executive-level employees and also
those who are single and in the midst of relocation to or from Chicago.
A World Class Concierge Service, Inc. has proven to be a priceless aide to real estate agents—and those trying to sell their
property. The dynamic duo of A World Class Concierge Service, Inc. can help clean out the clutter, organize the closets,
help the homeowner determine what needs to be thrown out, moved or given to charity. "We identify quality service
professionals to do cleaning, repairs, painting etc.," Frith said. "The homeowner makes the selection and contracts directly
with the company based on their budget and time constraints. We wait at the property for the service providers, saving both
the agent and the homeowner time."
A World Class Concierge Service Inc. also worlds hand in hand with my area individuals, thus, the client has more time to do
the things they like. Personal services can range from paying bills to decorating your home for the holidays (and putting
everything away afterward) to grocery shopping to planning, coordinating and managing parties.
Yes, A World Class Concierge Service, Inc. is one phone call away—from everything.