A blog for escort business entrepreneurs

The Blueprint Blog is often updated with tips, ideas, and advice for entrepreneurs interested in opening and operating an escort service.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Inventing a New Business Model

It is a fact that life is always evolving. Technology improves and situations change and we must go with the flow and change as well. Some changes are for the better and some are not. Sometimes there are new beneficiaries to changes in technologies and situations in life - even anti-adult business crusades.

A reviewer of my Blueprint book on Amazon made a statement that stuck in my mind - the review is titled Incredibly Useful Book, and the statement:

"...This book doesn't have 100% of the answers. Each area and each philosophy have their own complexities. But it has really valid guidance for anyone in the adult entertainment industry. For your tiny investment, you'll get thousands of dollars worth of information."
In other words, there is much information to gain from the book, though there is no one size fits all plan. There are probably as many ways of doing business as there are people in the business, and every geographical area has its issues that are specific to the area. Anyway, this isn't a book ad, so on to the idea of inventing a new business model.

Ideas always evolve and my last post was the beginning of an idea. There are a variety of situations that have changed in the escort business in the past few months.

Craigslist eliminated "adult services" and "erotic services" in the US a few months ago and as of this weekend they have eliminated these categories worldwide. Some entrepreneurial adult business owners were placing ads on Craigslist outside of the US for businesses in the US, and now that is cut.

Google Places/Maps has evolved to the point that one doesn't want to include a website with any listing because Google has issues with any adult business landing page - even when the dancers, strippers, entertainers, escorts or whatever are dressed and it is an "R" rated website. I admit that I don't get it, but then that is immaterial, right?

Backpage has adult categories as of this point in time (LOL - see date of this post), but I seriously doubt that this will continue for much longer.

I am finding that it is taking an excessively long time for escort businesses to be indexed in Google's regular search results as well these days. I'm not sure when all of this began, but I submitted several sites a couple of months ago and none show where they need to show as of yet. Perhaps this isn't a completely new problem: A few years ago it was over six months before the research site that I've used showed in the appropriate keyword phrases, but then I really didn't work at it at all either so it was unnoticeable at the time.

There isn't much money in selling ad space to independent escorts, unless you've been doing it for a while and your website is well-known in the world of adult business. Unless you have some reason to be happy with earning close to nothing for the first year or two of business this idea should be out.

I posted about the Craigslist situation on my Accused Madam Blog tonight and at the moment the best category name for the new business model that I could come-up with was appointment referral publisher. I will work at renaming the category this week, but this is the business idea behind the name:

As a business you'll only be charging entertainers and escorts one referral fee - this depends on what rate you quote as your fee will be higher if you quote higher, otherwise you have no incentive to quote a higher rate for the independent contractors. The idea is to have lots of escorts/entertainers to call at any point that you are answering. You can give only basic information - name, telephone number, and address or include some sort of verified information. The Blueprint books get into verifying.

The general rule would be that the escort or entertainer must call back immediately if she isn't going to the appointment. The reason for this is so that you could contact a different escort/entertainer and make your referral fee. You'll find that plenty of independent contractors are interested in signing-on with this type of operation - they keep more money and there's no game involved in passing out their telephone number or staying longer.

This business model must be refined and independent contractor agreements must be clear on the referral only aspect of the relationship. I'm just making changes to the same contract that I include in my books - simple.

The idea here is to take this idea and adjust it so that it works for you. It sure beats the label of escort service these days with all of these groups on a crusade to finish off adult business. It will work because the great majority of independent escorts really want to be completely independent; however, they're clueless on the topics of websites, marketing, and advertising so they'll never get search engine optimization.

What you are actually doing is marketing and publishing online and scheduling for independent contractors. Many clients call services to begin with because often these independents are unable to schedule them or do not answer a phone when they call, so build a business model from that.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Booking Calls: Ideas and Issues

It has recently come to my attention that some escort businesses in Central Florida take exorbitant fees from escorts for the sole act of passing on a telephone number. Let's be clear here: that isn't booking a call. Booking a call involves verifying client information in some way, calling the escort with the information, and then anticipating that the escort will call you when she arrives. It doesn't end there either – you really are responsible to make sure that she safely leaves that call.

This problem seems rampant in Central Florida so there's little doubt that it is transpiring in other locations as well. These businesses are not new and inept in the booking process; they are merely shirking all responsibility. One in particular that was brought to my attention actually just passes the telephone number on to the escort and tops that off by taking over 50% for a fee. So if the person answering the telephone quotes $250, the fee for the call is at least $125 and sometimes more. I was told the split was 60/40 with the higher amount going to the service by one escort and 50/50 by another, so I must assume they charge escorts differently.

In the case of one particular company that's been around for a long time they sometimes do no more than retrieve the telephone number from voicemail and call the escort and instruct her to call and quote the price and client information; often they will then go to sleep and the escort is on her own.

This could be acceptable if the company charged a small fee. I recall a business from South Florida that was open for many years – at least a decade – that only passed on a name and telephone number. They gave the escort 5 minutes to call back and say she was not going, and if she didn't call back in the 5 minutes she owed the $50 fee. It didn't matter if the escort went to the call or not or went and stayed for 5 hours, making $2000 – she owed the $50 fee. They did collections daily at a Denny's restaurant and if an escort didn't show to pay she was off the call list.

This could actually be a good way of doing business – it eliminates the concern of escorts stealing calls or pretending to leave and staying and collecting hour after hour. If the escort called back within the 5 minutes to say that she wasn't going, they called someone else immediately no matter what her reasoning was. If she did that too often (perhaps 2 times in a row?), they no longer called her and instead called someone else. Try to cheat them out of their $50 fee and you were out quick – end of that gravy train.

I have also noticed lately that so many of these independent escorts are thieves that I can't really blame these businesses. Often these escorts accept a call and then call back with a short story about why they will not be going. They then go to the call and keep all money for themselves. Who knows what they state to the client to secure his silence – I have no clue as I'm not the escort. Sometimes the client calls back later and the service finds out anyway.

With all of the thieving independents out there today that simply do not know how to advertise and market for themselves and want to steal agency clients, including the first booking fee, it may be time for change. If you are not inclined to run around all night to see who is doing what where, you may be better off with charging a small fee for the information and just letting her work on her own. I do not advise you to take 50% in such an arrangement though, and I do advise you to note the specifics in a contract so that the escort is clear on your level of responsibility and hers.

The way that you operate should be based on your level of participation and your expenses. I am seeing viable reasoning for that old South Florida business model, but prices have gone-up across the board since then and charging $60 or $75 for a name and telephone number isn't entirely out of whack. If you have plenty of escorts to call the thieves will soon realize they have been checkmated.

This business model is somewhere in-between an escort service and an internet publisher. I think I actually like the idea and will be putting it to good use.