A lack of time due to a busy career, or just plain bad luck might have you turning to a matchmaker. The total number of consumers who use matchmaking services is estimated to be at approximately 150,000 to 300,000 per year.
Contrary to popular belief, matchmakers are not just about helping clients get married. “A lot of clients come to matchmakers not exactly knowing what a matchmaker does, and they just assume that the end goal is marriage. No one can give a high accuracy rate around marriage. What a matchmaker can do is identify highly qualified matches and then introduce those matches to their clients,” says Paul C. Brunson, host of Our World with Black Enterprise, professional matchmaker, author, and board member for the Matchmaking Institute.
“My agency has had over 100 marriages but the rate we like to track is our referral rate. Roughly 90% of our clients would refer us to a friend. This is important because some clients come to us to simply learn how to date, or be less socially inept, as opposed to get married,” says Brunson. He notes that many matchmaking agencies won’t disclose their success rate, but he estimates that the industry-wide referral rate is less than 50%. “As an industry, we have a lot to improve,” says Brunson.
Brunson says matchmaking provides a valuable service in light of the fact that the average single person in the United States has not been on a date within the last two years. When it comes to the cost for matchmaking, he says there is no average, as matchmaking tends to be based on supply and demand, but there are common ranges within the industry.
“The typical range that I see for full-time matchmakers is probably between about $2,500 and $5,000 for about three to six months of service and anywhere from three to six matches,” says Brunson.
Matchmakers offer a variety of payment structures and plans. You can often pay by credit card, cash, or through an installment plan. “Whatever payment structure you can think of is in existence. The most successful matchmakers require all of their payment prior to the start of services. The least successful will have all sorts of payment plans,” says Brunson.
Since professional certifications are not required in this industry, the best way to make sure you hire a reputable matchmaker is to vet him or her through a professional matchmaking organization. Brunson recommends checking with the Matchmaking Institute, Matchmakers Alliance, and/or and iDate.
Keep an eye out for the February 2015 issue of Black Enterprise, where we discuss the latest love and money trends.