Jacks of All Trades: confessions of Toronto’s top personal concierges
“My clients tend to be CEOs and entrepreneurs. And about 30 per cent of my business is celebrities—high-profile, high-net-worth individuals in Toronto. I’ve had to go buy large-format televisions in the middle of the night because someone decides he wants to watch a movie on a particular type of screen (luckily I knew the owner of the store). Once I had to buy a comb at Shoppers at two in the morning for a client who had forgotten her favourite one in New York and couldn’t sleep without knowing she had a comb around.” From $35 an hour. 416-578-2890, takeiteasytoronto.ca.
“The majority of our clientele find us by word of mouth. We organize a lot of moves and do general household management. A common request is to manage decor changes and renovations. We’ll hire the contractors to tear down walls, extend rooms, and replace furniture and appliances. We’ll shop for upgraded appliances, countertop materials or backsplash tiles. One client asked me to plan his marriage proposal for him: he wanted a private dinner in the kitchen of their favourite restaurant. Just a table for two with champagne.” From $45 an hour. 647-963-8900, carraraconcierge.com.
“I’ve done everything from finding gifts and tickets to events, to staging real estate for sale and furnishing newly bought homes. My clients are mostly people in the entertainment and sports industries, plus business executives. I worked for a Saudi prince, setting him up in a downtown penthouse for a month of shopping, and arranged all his restaurant reservations and limos. Once I organized the delivery of a fire truck donated by the Toronto Fire Service to the hometown of one of the Jays in the Dominican Republic. We sent it by ship.” From $75 an hour. 416-995-5028, jetconcierge.ca.
“We mostly do personal shopping for executives or take their cars in for detailing. Sometimes they’ll have a fish tank that’s gone green or will need their lawn cut. Once, a client needed his pool covered with sheets of Plexiglass to make a dance floor. The concierge business has grown a lot in the past few years, because people are realizing that they can make more money staying at work instead of doing the tedious jobs that they’re leaving work to do. Right now we’re planning an event for a doctor. It makes more sense for him to stay in the office, rather than shopping for the caterer or looking for a florist.” From $60. 416-487-9800, parrisconcierge.com.
“I deal with dry cleaning, pet care, grocery shopping, picking up orders—anything and everything that the client requests. I’m also good at acquiring really hard-to-get theatre, concert or Leafs tickets. I’ve got inside sources, usually staffers. I once arranged a cross-city scavenger hunt for a client’s girlfriend. Everything was set up at various stores for her to find. There was a florist, a liquor store, a chocolatier and a card shop. At the end, she boarded a private chartered plane that flew her up to a getaway he had arranged in Northern Ontario, where he proposed.” $50 an hour. 416-580-1129, misskrisonthego.com.