Yes, He Can
Personal concierge Dillard Jones tackles the tasks you don’t have time for
STORY: H.M. Cauley
While most of us expend precious moments merely whining about how busy we are, Virginia-Highland’s Dillard Jones capitalizes on our overbooked calendars. From a background in events planning management, Jones has crafted a career as a personal concierge, ready to step in and handle just about any task. Need the dog walked? A birthday dinner planned? Someone at home to let in the repair people? “My tagline is ‘Leave it to Dillard and consider it done,’” says Jones, a member of the Concierge Society of Atlanta. “Whether it’s running errands, waiting for the plumber, managing a move or shopping, I handle it.”
The idea for a personalized concierge business crystallized about eight years ago. Jones had spent 13 years working in events management with local companies such as Affairs to Remember Caterers and Zoo Atlanta when he decided to branch out on his own. “I had been thinking about a personal concierge business, and I’d made a dream board of what I wanted to do,” says Jones. “I’d researched other markets around the country to see what other services were and how I wanted to reflect that.”
But instead of handling events, Jones saw a need for a service tackling smaller projects—someone who could help overtaxed friends and clients. “I realized people were busy juggling too many things because the pace of life is nonstop and hectic,” he says. “But I also believe that time shouldn’t be a luxury just of the rich and famous.”
Jones morphed into a personal assistant without the 24/7 commitment of being anyone’s full-time employee. “I try to be convenient for everyone who needs their time back,” he says.
Jones started out doing pet services for folks in his condo building. “I had 200 neighbors, so I got a website, a logo and a couple of hashtags and got the ball rolling,” he says. “It took about three years to get solid traction, but I was always moving in the right direction.”
As his clientele grew largely through word of mouth and repeat business, so did the variety of services he offered. He’s arranged a business breakfast at a client’s house and organized a Halloween party complete with decorations, bartenders and cleanup. He’s picked up dry cleaning and made the trek to the post office to return unwanted purchases. He’s taken cars to the mechanic and waited while the service was performed. Along with helping clients find contractors, he also manages projects by being on the job to oversee the work. And he’s branched out beyond Midtown to other ITP neighborhoods.
“It’s been easy to get people hooked on having their time back,” he says. Jones typically charges around $55 an hour, with discounts when you buy a package of 10 or more hours. Several clients keep him on retainer, and he also has established relationships with small businesses to offer his talent to their employees. “The same way companies provide a dental plan, they can also provide personal concierge services to retain quality employees,” says Jones.
So far, no job has proved too small or too daunting. “The strangest thing I’ve been asked to do was a few years ago when one of my clients asked me to pick up his children from a gas station swap with his ex-wife,” says Jones. “I know that sometimes I’ll have to say no, but so far, I haven’t. But I did think that one was strange.”