You've probably worked with professionals across many fields, and know that everyone does it differently. That being said, there are a few similarities for Professional Organizers across the field and the country. Let's define some key words so you can be certain that you are hiring the best Professional Organizer for your project.
So what the bleep is a "session"? This is the question I hear the most. When I was first transitioned careers, I quickly heard this term being used over and over again. It wasn't until a more seasoned pro made the following analogy that finally clicked.
A session is a three hour block of time that many organizers consider their minimum number of hours that they will work and schedule out. I offer an AM session (9AM - 12PM) and a PM session (1 - 4PM). Many use these time blocks (sometimes longer and sometimes shorter) to optimize their calendar AND to be realistic of client stamina when working side by side or 1:1.
A package of sessions is an all-inclusive offering which includes all the "extras" that most want to be included, but in my business, Savvy Solutions, the extras do not count towards those in-home session time, they are literally "extras". Instead of billing the client later with what can feel like nickel and diming, if you opt for a package, you will get all of what I consider to be necessary to include to make the experience as stress-free as possible:
Free 15 minute phone consultation
Choice of labels
Use of all organizing materials + tools
One trunk-load of donations per session (or a carload if a full-day)
Online shopping-list and research time to fit your space
Custom closet design
15% off The Container Store
Cardboard and battery/lightbulb recycling, if applicable
In-person shopping time discounted to 2 for 1 at package rate (½ off)
Sensitive document shredding, if applicable
It's like getting a delicious + healthy meal with everything you can and can't even think of, without lifting a finger, vs. a flat hourly with a long list of billed out items later that you might be frustrated with....that's a package vs. a la carte or hourly. Ultimately, depending on your circumstances, you may not need everything in the package, which is why it is always the client's choice.
When hiring a PO (Professional Organizer), ask about how they structure their services to make sure you are getting everything you want included. Another important factor to consider is the payment schedule. Many POs ask for 50 - 100% upfront to book, while more newbies will have you pay as you go or at the very end.
Although it might be scary to make that payment upfront, this is standard for the industry and as long as there is an agreement (which there should always be), there should be no hesitation.
Last tips? Read the reviews! Look at their work! See if they are established or brand-new! Talk to them and make sure that you will work well together! Ask all of your questions before booking!
Most importantly, have fun :) Organizing your home and life is truly transformational.