Updated: Sep 17
Bob Merritt of Merits Concierge Services & Events tells his story over a cup of coffee
"It's my job to make the impossible, possible."
Life is one giant collection of our experiences, and Bob is a man of experience. He lives and breathes creating one of one moments for his clients.
What comes to mind when you think of a concierge?
Maybe, someone who carries luggage, manages the mailroom and recommends local tourist attractions at a hotel. The definition is very broad.
But let me tell you; it is so much more than that.
From date nights, to sporting events, to trips across the country... you name it, Bob is your guy for planning a one of a kind adventure.
I met Bob visiting my friend's apartment complex in Midtown. Being a concierge is his day job, and side hustle. He was instantly one of thee most up-beat, respectful and passionate people that i've ever met.
Before I meet with all of my blog subjects, I let them pick the coffee shop. Bob planned the entire interview at a beautiful garden room inside of Restoration Hardware with luxury accommodations to really give me an idea of what he sets up for his clients. I can officially 10/10 recommend.
Though he has worked in hospitality since 1989, Bob did not start out as a concierge.
let's start from beginning
"You can't pick your blessings."
Bob is a Nashville native. Born and raised. Rare, right? He grew up in Hermitage and is one of twelve siblings. It was a packed household, full of harmless pranks and lots of love.
He soon started a family of his own and began working in hospitality. He worked for Gaylord Hotels as a Manager for 23 years and then switched to managing a Courtyard Marriott before breaking away to start his own business.
the moment it all made sense
"Everything you do is an audition for something else."
One day, Bob was setting up an event for Marriott when he realized all his efforts were going towards earning Marriott more money and making them look good.
It was in that moment that Bob decided that he was going to go off on his own as a personal concierge. He began to do whatever it took to make ends meet and get to where he wanted to be including parking cars, and managing a local club. Stability while shooting for the stars, if you will.
"My clients lives become my life; I am here to make them feel special."
If there's one thing that I learned from our chat, it's that patience might just be a virtue after all. To be a concierge you have to be patient and calm because there are so many factors involved in planning, and so many things that could go wrong. Bob calls this his, "concierge mind."
The coolest experience that Bob has ever set up is an 85 person company cruise to Cozumel. The company was so pleased with Bob's concierge services that they invited him to go on the trip with them.
He also enjoys working with the Tennessee Chapter of the NFL Alumni Golf Tournament and setting up for Super Bowl events.
Bob is always learning new things and meeting new people, and he loves that about what he does.
how it works
"You never really see a concierge."
He is technically a behind the scenes designer, planner, set up crew and then some. If the event is large he will gather the volunteers, security, book the music and handle catering.
It's very much a jack of all trades career path. You have to be specialized in knowing just about everything to be able to satisfy different clients.
Let's get down to the dollar. How much does Bob charge?
If you are in need of a concierge, you can head over to Bob's website and fill out a contact form. That is the first step.
An initial consultation is $150 where you will spend an hour chatting with Bob about the type of experience you would like him to set up for you.
From there, he will spend 72 hours drawing up plans for three different options, and will let you pick the one that aligns greatest with your expectations.
This is where exact pricing gets tricky because it is custom to the experience. Bob will always charge $150 for the consultation, and from there he typically charges 20% of the total experience cost.
He is very transparent about pricing with his clients and is willing to work with a budget.
The more custom the experience, the greater the cost. For example, simply making reservations will be cheaper than making reservations with complimentary valet, your date's name on the menu, a rose at the table when you arrive and the staff already knowing your name.
You can also be put on a monthly retainer fee for anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on the type of experiences that you prefer, and Bob will remain on call 24/7. He currently has a handful of clients on retainer.
If the event that Bob plans for you totally tanks, he is always willing to discuss exactly went wrong and give a full refund on the experience.
Bob does not discriminate or turn away inquiries unless they involve illegal activity, obviously.
if Bob wasn't doing this
"The more you give the more you get, it's not always about wanting something but wanting to give something."
If he were not a concierge, Bob would be working as a firefighter or doing something in law enforcement. He likes being out and about and connecting with people.
When Bob takes off his concierge hat, he is likely spending time with his two daughters who he considers his whole world, and proudly admits to being a huge "girl dad."
When he is not traveling, you can find him at BrickTops off of West End winding down with the other regulars and enjoying a moment to himself. Though he loves living in Nashville, he's not committed to it. He would be open to living in Chicago, San Diego, Tampa or Dallas when his business takes off.
Bob is currently working on building social media for MCSE and has lots of exciting ventures planned for the future.