Aussies spend $5000 to find love
AUSTRALIANS are splashing thousands of dollars in their quest for love which includes paying more than $5000 for a dating coach.
Others are spending $1500 a month to outsource their dating lives, recruiting modern day cupids to manage potential matches.
Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, eHarmony and RSVP allow free use of their platforms while also offering paid versions that cost as much as $65 a month, promising perks and more matches.
But there is also premium demand for "outsourcing" and dating schools.
Holly Bartter, who runs dating concierge service Matchsmith, said she always encouraged her clients to start with the free versions and then her job was to redesign her clients profiles on two of their favourite apps.
Their dating bio, picture selection and matching approach is all reviewed, and conversation starters are offered for five people that have caught their eye.
About 15 people - mostly female - request these services a week which cost $79 or $190 dependent on what they're after, she said.
However, others pay $1500 a month to hand over their login details and let her match on their behalf. She said she operated under the guise of her client.
"Before I take someone on I do a very detailed profile build up, looking at ... how chatty they are online, what they like to ask and what they like to reveal about themselves," she said.
"I keep conversation light, which my main aim to establish whether someone is right for my client. I then present their matches to them, explain who is interested in meeting, and they take it from there," she said.
Four people were presently using this service, and her preference was to keep numbers small.
Coaches are also available to help people brush up on their dating skills - and they're being paid big bucks for their expertise.
Damien Diecke runs the School of Attraction for Men in Sydney, and hosts a 12-week course known as the Sincere Seductive Intensive. It comes with a price tag of $5495.
The real-life Hitch said he primarily worked with white-collar men in their 30s who were well educated, but often introverted and clueless about how to woo someone.
"We find with a lot of these men … they've worked really hard in their career or studies, and not worried about relationships until later," Mr Diecke said.
"And all of a sudden, they realise, 'wait a minute, how do I find a girl?'. Or they're out of a long-term relationship and realise they really have no clue."
He said about 18 people took his part in-person, part online course each cycle.
"It's run outside of regular working hours. We have sessions on the weekends and on weekday nights," he said.
"We tend to have Skype conversations on weekday nights and talk through more of the psychology like what's happening internally, like internal battles. And then on the weekend we'll actually go out to bars, talk to girls and get some practical experience."
Mr Diecke added about 100 people a month purchased his other courses, which were conducted online. Among the most popular was his $399 online dating unit.
He said consumers should never pay for dating apps unless you were already getting results for free, and added he did not believe they were healthy.
"They are great if you want to meet people. But the downside is, that doesn't help you connect with the person at the other end in person," he said.
HOW A DATING COACH CAN HELP
When Javier Solórzano moved from Colombia to Melbourne four years ago, he was unsure how to tackle the local dating scene.
Initially the 33-year-old was forking out about $40 a month on premium versions of dating apps that promised more matches.
But without the success he had hoped for, he enlisted the help of dating coach Andrew Gung to help refine his skills.
In a six-week course priced at $2000, Mr Solórzano was taught how to approach people and strike up a conversation.
He was offered mentoring in person and via video call and even a styling makeover.
He has now been happily partnered with his girlfriend for five months and said despite the cost, the experience was worth it.
"There was a big focus on conversational skills… and how to keep a conversation going," Mr Solórzano said.
"We also looked at body language, and approached people in different social environments."
He said the skills he learnt not only helped him in the dating world, but in his everyday life, too.
"For example, sometimes I'm in training programs at work or at networking events and I don't know who I'm going to run in to, and I'm now better equipped to start up a conversation from scratch," he said.
Mr Gung, who runs dating coaching business Core Confidence, said many people who sought his help were starting at "ground zero".
"They don't know where to start, they don't know what to say, they don't know what to do on a date or how to dress," Mr Gung said.
He said often among his clients biggest fears was approaching a stranger in person and added dating apps were partly to blame.
"They've taken away that person-to-person aspect and conditioned people to hide behind a computer screen," he said.
However, he acknowledged they still played a role in people's quest for love, and part of his program looked at getting the most out of them.
"We go through their profile and help them understand what they could be doing better," he said.
"And we do a styling session and a photoshoot where they can then use the professional photos on the dating apps."