Money can buy you love--if you've got $10,000 to spare

December 07, 1990|By Pat van den Beemt

If you are a busy executive looking for love in all the wrong places, there's a Philadelphia entrepreneur who says he can steer you in the right direction.

For a $10,000 fee, Robert M. Davis will combine his skills in executive recruiting and matchmaking to help you find your way to the altar.

Sure, you can find cheaper dating services. Officials at several matchmaking companies in this area would not reveal their fees, but clients cite charges of $1,000 or more for the first year.

But Mr. Davis sells his service as more confidential and intimate than offered by larger companies. He considers himself a doer of good deeds, a Johnny Appleseed of matrimony, trying to sow the seeds of wedded bliss, or at least commitment, among America's busy professionals.

"Once you're working and you're busy building your career, how do you find time to meet someone who is serious about starting a relationship?" Mr. Davis asked during a recent telephone interview.

"You don't want to do the bar scene. When you find the right person, you ask them to share your life. You don't want to ask a lounge lizard who is all looks and no substance."

Mr. Davis' clients pay $10,000 up front, which is put in an escrow account. Mr. Davis withdraws $150 for each introduction, as well as reimbursement for expenses. If a client marries or enters into a committedrelationship as a result of Mr. Davis' introductions during the contract year or the next five years, the client pays Mr. Davis $10,000.

However, if introductions do not result in a relationship after a year, the bulk of the escrow account (minus costs and fees for each introduction) is returned to the client.

Mr. Davis, who is 43 and single, is currently working for a dozen single clients, including three in the Baltimore-Washington area. One of his clients, a 40-year-old divorced Washington man who owns an interior design firm, feels Mr. Davis provides a valuable service for the harried and overworked.

"He saves me the time I used to waste just finding somebody somebody to date," said the man, who didn't want his name used. "Finding someone compatible can be a shot-in-the-dark, done haphazardly. His search is more directed. The people he finds are interested in a possible relationship."

The Washington client says he is currently dating one of the seven women he met through Mr. Davis.

"I think Robert's service is the coming trend. As people get busier, they are willing to pay for professional services like this."

Mr. Davis begins the matchmaking process by meeting with clients in person to get a feel for their personalities, likes and dislikes.

"I have a sixth sense about people," Mr. Davis claims. "I can tellwhen people are being phony with me. I always do a reality check to make sure a 58-year-old woman isn't looking for a young Chippendale's dancer or a 68-year-old man doesn't want me to find him a 22-year-old model from the Ford agency."

After the personal meeting, Mr. Davis uses his executive search skills to find prospective partners. He contacts people he's met through his headhunter business and he also places ads in magazines. The ads require a resume which Mr. Davis verifies by calling employers and references.

He has been playing Cupid for a year and claims to be responsible for many happy couples. He looks forward to attending the wedding of two of his clients early next year.

"Life is too short to do nothing but work," he says. "I know too many people who drink two quarts of Maalox and smoke two packs of cigarettes a day. It's a tough world out there and you need a partner to get through it just like you'd need a partner if you were starting a business."

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