standard SL 41 – Ladies Can Finally Rent A Gent!

Sara Shikhman wanted to go out with a guy and have a near-case guarantee she was going to have fun with him. As a hard working woman, it can be hard to find a good man that knows how to show a woman a good time and not worry about the sexual undertones. She saw that this service was deeply lacking in the market and created RentAGent.me, a website where you can rent a man for a work event, an indoor cooking class, and more. She explains on the Swank Life show what are some of the requirements you need to have in order to meet her company’s high demands.

Key Takeaways: 

2:20 – Sara talks about her Rent A Gent company

3:10 – In order to qualify for Rent A Gent, the man would have to be really good looking, at least have a bachelor degree in education, and have at least one talent.

6:15 – Out of the 1,500 or more men that have applied, Sara’s company has only accepted 30.

9:45 – Ladies sometimes ask the men to do things and to pretend to be people they’re not comfortable with.

11:00 – Rent A Gent has several different categories a man can fall under.

Tweetables

“I think in the future, man and women will be a little bit more equal than we are today.” Tweet this!

“We want our future clients to have accurate exceptions as to who they’re renting.” Tweet this!

“Everybody’s interested in Rent A Gent because it’s so new and it’s so different than what we’re used to.” Tweet this!

Mentioned In This Episode:

http://swanklife.com/

http://rentagent.me/

Transcript

Jake Swank:

Hey guys, welcome to the Swank Life show where we talk about dating, entertainment, and lifestyle. This is your host Jake Swank and we’ve got a great show for you today. Be sure to visit the website at SwankLife.com. Take advantage of our blog, our special offers, we’ve got all kinds of great stuff for you there to enhance your lifestyle in many, many ways. So SwankLife.com go check it out.

It’s my pleasure to welcome to Sara Shikhman to the show. She is the founder and CEO of a company called Rent A Gent. *Laughter*. You’re going to hear about some interesting stuff from her today. Sara, welcome, how are you?

Sara Shikhman:

I’m doing well, Jason. Thanks for having me.

Jake:

My pleasure. You’re coming to us from New York city, is that correct?

Sara:

Yep, where it’s nice and sunny today.

Jake:

Fantastic. Well, tell us about how you happen to start this company.

Sara:

Well, I was a busy woman in the corporate world in New York and I was looking for something to do on a Friday and I thought, Okay. I could go online on one of these dating sites and look through a thousand profiles, maybe find a guy, maybe not. Maybe have a good time, maybe not, or what if there was a service where the good time was almost guaranteed? Where I could find a guy who was good looking, who’s talent, who’s smart, and who’s right there on-demand and he can do whatever I ask him to do. So, that’s how I started the company. I wanted to be in complete control of my social life.

Jake:

*Laughter*. That’s fantastic. What would you ask him to do for example?

Sara:

Sometimes, maybe I’d just ask him to be quiet, but most of the time I wanted to learn something new. I would ask him to teach me things. Like, let’s say, right now I’m interested Italian, so I’d ask someone to teach me a view words in Italian, or maybe I would ask him to teach me how to cook a dish or maybe we could do it together.

Jake:

And this can be as used as something to stay home or go out or whatever, right?

Sara:

Yeah, it could be used as a one-on-one event at home or going out or could be used for birthday party, we’ve done it for bachelorette parties. All kinds of parties. We’ve done it for men’s events as well where like a view times it was a boss who was orgainzing an event for the office or for someone who works for him and they would just call one or two guys and maybe they’d teach something to the whole office or maybe he’d do like a dance for the whole office, something like that.

Jake:

Fantastic, wow. As we talk about it, there’s mostly a male audience listening, although it’s definitely both, but you know, how do guys qualify for this? Can become part of it and be the gent?

Sara:

Well, it’s a difficult process, but it’s just like working at Goldman Sachs. There is a process. There is a way. We try and make it pretty transparent. There’s three steps. First thing is that everyone has to be very good looking. I’m talking like top 1% model good looking and then you have to be educated so at least a bachelor’s degree, which is not so hard, and then you also have to have some kind of talent. So, you have to be able to dance, sing, cook, clean. The more non-traditional the talent the better, the more traditionally female-dominated the talent, the better for us, because we’re really working with what are the gender roles, what is society going to be like 20 years from now.

Jake:

Say that again about the more traditionally female-dominated. Tell me what you mean by that.

Sara:

So, traditionally more men were working and more women were staying at home.

Jake:

A long time ago.

Sara:

A long time ago, but even today perhaps. So, let’s say, men were not so great at cooking or maybe they’ve never tried cooking because they’ve never had the time because they were always  working. Well, we want the kind of man who are excellent chefs so that they can entire our clients with their culinary skills.

Jake:

Okay, alright. So, what was the philosophy behind that? You made kind of an interesting remark about gender roles and thinking about the future of them, did you say that?

Sara:

Yeah, I think in the future, you know, the sexes and the different men, woman, everyone, I think we’ll be a bit more equal than we are today and the company really promotes that. It promotes if a woman can afford $400 pair of shoes, she can afford a $400 date with the kind of guy she wants. It’s the same type of thing.

Jake:

Interesting. Do you care to state the prices? I know we talked about them off air, but just wanted to, you know, ask if you wanted to do that on air.

Sara:

The prices are the same for every guy right now, which is $200 a hour and they’re going to go up and down depending on the reviews on the client. So, if a guy gets lots of great reviews and he’s great, his price will raise and he, himself, will make more money and if he’s not so good, his price will fall and eventually he’ll be de-listed from the website.

Jake:

That’s fantastic. You’ve got a real-time indicator of the free market here. I love it. It’s fantastic.

Sara:

Yeah, our clients love leaving us detailed reviews, so we know exactly how the event goes.

Jake:

And are the reviews on the website published or they just something you use to determine, well in the future, pricing, but to determine whether the guy stays or goes.

Sara:

The reviews are completely public, so if the client gives authorization to publish the review, which we love, then we publish the reviews, so we want our future clients to have really accurate expectations whoever it is they’re renting so the reviews are all out there on the website not edited by us and yeah, we try and make it a real nice transparent process.

Jake:

How long have you been doing this?

Sara:

I’ve been doing this for 6 months.

Jake:

Okay, so it’s a pretty new venture, but it’s interesting. How many gents are there in the database that are published and activity available for rent?

Sara:

Right now we have 30 gents available in the database. So, out of the 1,500 or more that have applied to us, we’ve selected 30.

Jake:

Wow, you are picky, so I guess the clients like that. You’re in 10 different cities I believe at this time.

Sara:

Yes, exactly.

Jake:

Okay, fantastic. So, lot of east coast, but you’ve got Texas, LA is coming up, you know, if you want to mention any cities..

Sara:

Yeah, we’re in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvanian, Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, and then we’re expanding to Miami, Las Vegas, and LA at the end of this month, at the end of March, and we’re also in Texas.

Jake:

Are you going to expand and do this for females? RentAChick.Me? *Laughter*.

Sara:

I don’t think so. That business has been around for, you know, that’s the oldest profession in the world.

Jake:

But what we’re saying is not the profession. This is not that.

Sara:

Yeah, that’s the thing. For men, maybe the need are a little bit different and the desires are a bit different and that’s already filled by the thousands of companies out there. Where as for women, like we were talking before, the service doesn’t include any type of sexual activity. So, it’s a totally different thing.

Jake:

Yeah, that would be illegal if it was an escort service, right? At least, in your city it would be.

Sara:

I think that in pretty much every city in the US, maybe except Las Vegas.

Jake:

It’s actually not Las Vegas. That’s kind of a myth. I met with the former mayor of Las Vegas. He spoke with a group I was involved in a few months and it’s just actually outside of Las Vegas. He wants to legalize there because everybody thinks it’s legal. *Laughter*. He talks about that. He’s a funny guy that former mayor of Las Vegas. I guess..

Sara:

Are you sure this is how you find out about this and not through experience?

Jake:

No, not through experience. I’ve never tried to hire anybody if you will. *Laughter*. I mean, how many guys have been rented? Like, how many gigs have you’ve done in 6 months?

Sara:

So, we put the website up at the end of..right around Christmas day, kind of like a Christmas present to our clients. So far we’ve had about 200 gigs, so 200 orders.

Jake:

Wow.

Sara:

Yes, it’s been very popular. I mean, we’ve been on a lot of television stations. Bloomberg, Channel 11, Fox, whatever. I mean, everyone’s interested in it because it’s so new and it’s so different than what we’re used to.

Jake:

Tell us about some of the weird experiences? There have to be some weird or uncomfortable experiences that have happened. Maybe your men report back to you, your gents or your female clients.

Sara:

Sometimes we’ve had situations where the activity that the client ask the gent to do, the gent is maybe scared to do. Like, one time a client wanted a gent to go skydiving with her and the guy was afraid of heights and she didn’t tell us ahead of time that’s what she wanted. So, we had this whole situation where the client was trying to say, hey..like, don’t be scared, it’s going to be okay and he was calling us saying, “Is it going to be okay?” So, we had those situations.

We also have situations where the client asks the guy to pretend to be somebody that he’s not and that’s cool, but sometimes, it’s hard to pretend to be a brain surgeon if you’ve never been a doctor or never went to medical school, so we’ve had some situations like that, just are funny.

Jake:

You mean those were at, say, parties? I mean, a lot of your clients Rent A Gent for a date or a company party or something like that, right?

Sara:

Right. They’d be at a party with a bunch of co-workers, let’s say from like, a hospital, and in front of hospital employees. Someone’s asking someone to pretend to be a brain surgeon, that’s pretty difficult, because they could ask some really specific questions.

Jake:

Right, they’re not going to pull that off. This is a *Laughter* just, I just have to laugh. This is funny. You have a bunch of different categories entertainers, daters, teachers, helpers. Tell us about some of those categories?

Sara:

Yeah, well, I thought about it like this, I wouldn’t want to just have like a useless man standing around or just like I wouldn’t want to have a useless pair for standing around that I’m never going to wear. Everything has to have a use. I wanted to have men who are kind of categorized into the different ways our clients might interact with them and that are a little bit unusual. Like someone teaching me poetry, that’s category poets or comedians. So, yeah, we try and categorized them into how they are going to better our clients lives, either by entertaining, teaching, by helping.

Jake:

Very interesting. You’ve got comedians, musicians, photographers, bartenders, chefs, you mentioned chefs before, dating coaches? I mean, that’s kind of interesting.

Sara:

Well, that interesting itself is pretty interesting to me, but there’s a lot of people out there who are actually certified dating coaches where they basically help people find their true love or whatever it is they are looking for, so they come in and they listen to what your current dating situation is and give you tips, whether it’s even writing your online dating profile or actually how to present yourself to the opposite sex. Just a variety of different things.

Jake:

Fascinating, fascinating. I assume for some of these guys, because like under the teacher category, you’ve got dog trainers, dancers, language teaches, martial arts, personal trainers, and visual artists. You know, these gigs where they’re making half of the fee, I mean, they’re probably pretty lucrative for some of these guys.

Sara:

Yeah, it definitely, it’s definitely lucrative job for them for sure. Most of our gigs are about 2-3 hours, so yeah, in that amount of time they’d probably make more than they make at another job for the whole day.

Jake:

Yeah, yeah. I agree. So, what else would you like people to know? What else can you tell us?

Sara:

Every man who thinks he’s good enough to apply and we’ll tell him how it is, whether he’s good enough or not. You know, that’s one. We’re also wanting to hear from the men to know what they think of it and how we can make it better or how it’s crazy, so the more feedback, the better, and that’s it.

Jake:

And, how does the application process work?

Sara:

Someone submits us their pictures and resume, if we like them, we invite them for an in-person interview. We meet everyone in person. If we like them at the interview point, we have our panel of female judges and they have to vote unanimously to accept someone into the company. So, someone has to get an unanimous vote from a women in order to be accepted.

Jake:

Wow. *Laughter*. Interesting. Very interesting. So, I assume you’re background checking these guys, right?

Sara:

Yes and we background check everybody before we list them on the website.

Jake:

Yeah, okay. Good stuff. The website again is RentAGent.Me. Sara, thank you so much for telling us about this.

Sara:

No problem! Thanks Jake!

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