Because the matchmaking industry is self-regulated, it is hard to say how many professionals are out there.
But the Sara Eden dating agency, for example, which charges up to £10,210 for membership and covers London and the Home Counties, has seen a 200 per cent rise in inquiries in the past year or so.
“It used to be a taboo to use a dating agency, but now it is like a status statement.
It has the same cachet as a personal trainer,” says Daniel André, the CEO of Elect Club, whose members range from executives to models.
And with one million more people living alone than they did in 1996, Mac Lynn believes the love business is set to expand.
Their conversation was nothing more than a friendly discussion. As the founder and CEO of Vida Consultancy, she meets her clients, questions them closely on their life history and what makes them happy and, backed up by her psychology background, attempts to match them with a compatible partner.
But by the time Cheatle left he was convinced Rachel was the woman for him. It is Mac Lynn’s job to accompany her clients on their anxious journey to love, sometimes in person, although more likely via the telephone.
“They can, within reason, ring me any time they want,” she explains.
From seduction boot camps to dating coaches – why single males are paying a fortune to find true romance One day last August, Duncan Cheatle walked into a London café to meet the woman he hoped would change his life. He was a successful entrepreneur; he liked going on adventurous holidays to such places as Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar; he had a lot of style.But unfortunately he was still single and was growing increasingly unhappy at living his life that way.Rachel was an elegant, angular woman with glossy blonde hair.Although only 34, she had her own business and spoke a language Cheatle understood – “consultant”, “connecting”. This time in her office, where he paid her £8,000, plus VAT, for a minimum of 10 dates over 18 months and the promise to help him find, if not the love of his life, then certainly a romantic partner. She offers her service to high-end, successful people, mostly in their thirties and forties, and what they get for a fee is a series of introductions and a personal approach.
He’d been close a couple of times, but it hadn’t worked out.And now, as he saw it, “I don’t want to be getting nearer 50 and still not settled down.” And with that in mind he agreed to meet Rachel for coffee.