Jean LeMoin's 12 employees often put in long hours at MCA, her Mountain View, Calif., high-tech public-relations firm. "It's a very high-stress business," she says, "and if I can't lessen the workload, then I can at least help find a way to reduce some of the anxiety." Enter Katherine Russo, sole proprietor of Corporate Concierge, whom LeMoin hires once a week to run personal errands for her staff. Employees send a list of tasks via electronic mail to Russo, who is on MCA's system, or meet with her when she comes in, every Tuesday. For approximately $15 an hour, Russo will take a dog to the vet, pick up a prescription, buy a baby present, or do just about anything else within reason. "I use her on a regular basis," says account manager Diane Hayward. "She'll drop off my dry cleaning, go to the post office, even buy a Mother's Day card."
LeMoin pays Russo about $500 a month, which covers about four hours of personal errands for employees every week, plus another four hours of office-related tasks. Russo might, for example, take the postage machine to be refilled or get the espresso machine fixed. That means MCA's staff is relieved of the more menial office errands, leaving more time for revenue-generating work. "It brings a little bit of sanity to our office," says Hayward.
Two concierge firms, LesConcierges, in San Francisco (415-291-1165), and Capitol Concierge, in Washington, D.C. (202-223-4765), offer services like Russo's to small companies.