The promise of love can make a pauper pull the last dime out of his pocket, and since the mid-1990s, it's become a big business as well. According to "USA Today," there were about 1,600 matchmakers working in the United States in 2008. For a relatively small monetary investment, potential matchmakers can buy training and credentials and go into business. The time investment may be far greater, however.
The job involves introducing clients to suitable mates, so good "people instincts" are required. A matchmaker may begin with a lengthy interview with her client to get a feel for what he's looking for. Then she'll consult her database of other singles for a likely match. To create that database, she may socialize at singles events and other places where the unattached are likely to congregate to cultivate potential clients or dates for her clients. Some might run "media searches," posting their clients with magazines and national internet dating sites, then screening the respondents on their behalf. According to CNN Money, the job can require as many as 14 hours per day, and much of that time can be spent looking for likely new clients and potential matches for existing clients.
Some matchmakers base their fees on a yearly contract. In exchange for anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $10,000 per year, they will dedicate themselves to finding that perfect someone for each client. If they include media searches, the fee can double. Some also charge a one-time $500 to $600 fee to enter clients into their databases. "USA Today" reports that the average matchmaker made about $200,000 per year in 2006, but it can take a few years of establishing your reputation and generating a database to reach that level of income. Your income might be particularly low your first year. If you don't want to go into business for yourself, some existing matchmaking services will hire you to work through them on a salary-plus-commission basis. CNN Money indicates that it is possible to earn more than $100,000 per year this way as well.
If you join organizations to meet and recruit eligible singles, you'll have to pay those membership fees. There are also costs associated with tickets to various events to find clients. Unless you want to work out of your home, you'll need office space. Although you don't necessarily have to have credentials, you can purchase them if you want to add some respectability to your enterprise. The Matchmaking Institute charges $2,250, at time of publication, for a training program and home study kit. After you complete the program, you'll receive your certification.
Although it's possible to make good money through matchmaking, you're dealing with people's emotions and sometimes unrealistic expectations, so it can be a stressful career. Some matchmakers require their clients to go through psychological screening to weed out those who would be a bad match for someone else, or who won't be happy no matter who they're matched with. Clients who have the income to pay you big fees will also have income to pay lawyers if they perceive that they haven't gotten their money's worth. "USA Today" notes that some high-profile matchmakers have been sued by disgruntled clients.