Each month I ask my fellow organisers a Quick Question. Their answers help to build an accurate picture of the organising industry, and I thank them for once again helping to do that. The November Quick Question Survey asked:
On average, how many hours per week do you work 1:1 with clients?
I asked them to include any virtual consultations, but exclude group workshops, etc. The answer was clear. The average number of hours respondents reported working 1:1 with clients is 18. However, it should be no surprise that answers varied widely, from 4 hours to 30.
The numbers alone don’t tell the full story. I invited respondents to tell me more. I asked if they were satisfied with that amount, whether they cap their 1:1 hours, and whether they were seeking to do more 1:1 work. The answers read a bit like a Goldilocks scenario. Some say they are working too much, some say not enough and some say it’s “just right”.
Tracey Warren from Professional Organising Solutions works 30 hours a week and wants to employ someone to cut down her 1:1 time with clients.
Debbie Buckley from Downsized Living works 4 days a week and is happy with that. And she rightly notes that the number of hours varies greatly, with some weeks bigger than other.
The Decluttering Co’s Julie Whiting works above average hours and is satisfied with that. She doesn’t currently have a cap on the hours but may consider it in the future.
Not everybody’s organising business model relies on 1:1 client work. Chantal Imbach from Photos In Order is one of these, but still enjoys the personal interaction and the balance 1:1 work brings to her other services.
Angel Willis of Organizing4urhome Professional Organizing Services, based in the US, has relatively low hours working 1:1 with clients, but not because she’s not busy. She says, “Most of my clients are at work most of the time I’m there”, leaving her to get on with the organising process quickly.
The Clutter Bug’s Leesa Kotis is working above average hours, and more than she’d like but says, “I hate saying no to people but I end up exhausted and then other areas of my life suffer, like mental health. Next year I’m making a concerted effort to cap the number of hours that I work 1:1 with clients. I’d like to do 20 at the most.” Well done, Leesa, on prioritising your health.
The Decluttering Diva, Kristina Duke, works 20 hours a week with her clients but is satisfied with that. She also has to oversee a team, attend to admin, virtual clients, study and run a house.
Of course, 1:1 work is just one way organisers can help their clients to get organised. Reading the responses does highlight that time is not a renewable resource. Where do you lie compared to the average number of hours? Is it too much, not enough, or “just right”?
If you’re interested in exploring other business models, read this related article.