On the Money

Time is money, so SOLD will wait in line for you

Worth the wait

Everyone is familiar with waiting in line. According to a recent study in The New York Times, Americans spend roughly 37 billion hours each year waiting for all sorts of things.

Yet for some people, patience isn't necessarily a virtue and time is money. Therefore, there are better ways to get that shiny new Apple gadget than camping out for days in front of their store, or squatting on the sidewalk to purchase a pair of limited edition Nike Air Jordans.

Enter the professional who, for a fee, will save you precious time.

"The longest I've ever been on a line was 38 hours for an iPhone," says Robert Samuel, a professional line waiter, in an interview with CNBC.

Samuel is the CEO and founder of SOLD, an acronym for Same Old Line Dudes. After he was laid off from his job in 2012, Samuels launched SOLD as a line waiting service. Since then, the business has since grown into an enterprising start-up that views time as a precious commodity. And people are clearly willing to pay to save it.

While Samuel describes SOLD's clients as average everyday people, he says his customer are more time strapped than cash poor, and vary widely from middle class to super-wealthy.

"Moms hire me because they can't wait in lines in the mornings. They have to take the kids off to school," says Samuels. "I get hired by people who want stuff but their schedules are just tight."

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We'll get you that Cronut

The Cronut.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Samuels acknowledged that his most steady business comes by way of the popular croissant-donut hybrid pastry Cronuts. Dominique Ansel Bakery, the New York City café famous for selling the item, is notorious for its long lines and short Cronut supply that has even given rise to scalpers.

Samuels even devised special Cronut pricing featuring a "Delivereach" premium service.

Based on the day of the week, for $60-$65 this Cronut delivery service includes purchasing of an item and, if necessary, shipping. Inclement weather and travel are added costs for which Samuels accepts electronic payment for an additional charge, in lieu of cash on delivery.

In three years, SOLD has not only branched out to ensure clients' place in line for the latest tech gadgets to the post office, but Samuels has now ventured into tasks.

He is currently partnered with several high-end concierge services that contract him for tasks he assigns to his team of 15 employees.

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Samuels, who initially began his business on Craigslist, says the peer-to-peer site of hiring strangers for a variety of chores is no match for the personal service his company provides. SOLD, by the way, has earned glowing Yelp reviews.

Low barriers to entry have paved the way for similar service providers like TaskRabbit—an online site that outsources household errands and skilled tasks to people in local areas—but Samuels touts SOLD's personal touch as a standout quality.

Samuels also had a word of advice for would-be patrons who wait in line, professional or otherwise.

"The rule is always respect the order of things. First come first served," he said. "If you skip people that's a clear indication that you think your time is more valuable than someone else's time, and that's a no-no."

On the Money airs on CNBC Sundays at 7:30 pm, or check listings for airtimes in local markets.