Why spend time and money trying to come up with the next biggest business idea, when it’s far easier and profitable to follow the path already laid and signposted by existing businesses?
Ultimately, there is really no such thing as a ‘new business’, as every new business regardless of how innovative or radical is simply a variation of an existing business model.
For example, some of the most successful and profitable large businesses simply retail other companies’ products. You don’t see large supermarket chains spending oodles of cash and time on innovating the next best washing-up liquid.
Or a successful clothing retailer commissioning clothes designers to come up with a mind-blowing, wallet-opening range of clothing. Instead, they simply operate on the basis that it’s far easier to buy existing sought-after goods and retail them at the lowest possible cost to achieve maximum profits.
I’m not suggesting you take on the supermarket or retail giants of this world, but I do think that we can all learn from their successful formula by simply adopting an existing business model and making it more profitable and more successful.
So in this article, I’m going to take you through what’s involved in starting and running a number of home-based businesses that are worth considering if you really are serious about starting your own business.
My top eighteen home-based businesses include:
- Cleaning Business
- Gardening Business
- Day Care Business
- Pet Sitting Business
- Greetings Cards Business
- A Tutoring Agency
- Bed and Breakfast
- Catering Business
- Automobile Detailing Business
- Bookkeeping Business
- eBay or Online Selling Business
- Gift Basket Business
- Handicraft Business
- Photography Business
- Private Investigator Business
- Typing Business
- Vending Machine Business
- Wedding Planning Business
Table of Contents
- 1. How To Start Your Home-Based Cleaning Business
- 2. How To Start Your Home-Based Gardening Business
- 3. How To Start Your Home-Based Day Care Business
- 4. How To Start Your Home-Based Pet Sitting Service
- 5. How To Start Your Home-Based Greetings Card Business
- 6. How To Start Your Home-Based Tutoring Agency Business
- 7. How To Start Your Home-Based Bed and Breakfast Business
- 8. How To Start Your Home-Based Catering Business
- 9. How To Start Your Home-Based Automobile Detailing Business
- 10. How To Start Your Home-Based Bookkeeping Business
- 11. How To Start Your Home-Based eBay or Online Selling Business
- 12. How To Start Your HomeBased Gift Basket Business
- 13. How To Start Your Home-Based Handicraft Business
- 14. How To Start Your Home-Based Photography Business
- 15. How To Start Your HomeBased Private Investigator Business
- 16. How To Start Your Home Based Typing Business
- 17. How To Start A Vending Machine Business
- 18. How To Start a Wedding Planning/Coordinating Business
- Final Words
1. How To Start Your Home-Based Cleaning Business
My favorite all-time, start your own business is the cleaning business model. This is by far the easiest business of all as you can literally start it with nothing other than your own enthusiasm and willingness to work hard.
To begin with, you don’t even need to invest in cleaning products or equipment as you can ask your clients to supply them. And if you think that a cleaning business is a dead-end business opportunity, think again. Some of the world’s most successful franchise operations are cleaning businesses.
The advantages of starting a cleaning business include the following.
- It is a turn-key cash business.
- There is no initial capital outlay.
- There are a number of different business models for you to choose from.
- You don’t have to do any cleaning yourself.
- You can quickly build up a profitable, saleable business.
- It can operate in the private/domestic market or work in the commercial sector.
TURN-KEY CASH BUSINESS
A turn-key cash business is one where your business is cash positive. For example, you go and do the work and get paid in cash at the end of the job. So you don’t have to worry about waiting for days or even months before you get paid.
Of course, as your business grows, you will have to organize an invoice system where you charge your clients on a weekly or monthly cycle, but initially, with this business model, you can generate instant cash. Depending on your circumstances this might be very necessary.
NO INITIAL CAPITAL OUTLAY
This is the great benefit of starting a cleaning business – you don’t have to have any money to hand, so if you’ve just been made redundant, lost your life savings, or however dire your circumstances are you can start this business without requiring lots of cash.
NOT HAVING TO DO ANY CLEANING YOURSELF
The success of this particular business will very much depend on you not doing any cleaning, and instead of recruiting and building up a reliable and honest team of cleaning staff to tackle all those cleaning contracts you’re going to go out and win.
QUICKLY BUILDING UP A PROFITABLE, SALEABLE BUSINESS
If you offer a quality, reliable, value-for-money cleaning business, you will see your business grow from a one-person operation into something much larger in a relatively short space of time.
If you don’t believe me, just have a look at one of the many cleaning franchises available for you to invest in and note how they all make the same promises in terms of future growth.
Another huge benefit of this type of business is that provided you work hard enough to get it right, you will reach a stage where you have a nice healthy, saleable business.
RUNNING IT FROM HOME WITHOUT THE NEED TO RENT OR BUY ADDITIONAL PREMISES
Being able to start and build a business that you can run from your own home means that you won’t have to share your hard-earned revenues with landlords who will charge you rent and local authorities who will charge you business rates. Working from home also means that you can tailor your business around your family commitments and so on.
OPERATING IT IN EITHER THE PRIVATE OR COMMERCIAL SECTOR
Some entrepreneurs might like to work with homeowners as their clients and will offer a domestic cleaning service, while others may prefer to operate in the commercial sector where they can clean offices, factories, schools, and so on.
It is possible to operate in both sectors. However, looking at those who are already running successful cleaning businesses, there seems to be a clear division between those catering exclusively to the private sector and those involved in the commercial sector.
How To Start
You could start tomorrow by following the quick-fire guide below.
1). Decide on what type of cleaning business you’d want to run. For example, a window-cleaning business, a general cleaning business aimed at the domestic market, or a specialist cleaning business aimed at the commercial sector.
2). Check to see what other operators in your area are charging so you have a general feel for how much you should charge.
3). Get some cards or leaflets printed and drop them through every letterbox in your neighborhood; leave a pile in your local hairdressers, cafes ́s, library, and so on.
4). When the phone rings, be professional when visiting your prospective client. Dazzle them with your can-do, honest, reliable attitude. Give a fair price, which must be in line with the current prices for the work they want to be done. Don’t be tempted to undercut your competitors. Sell yourself and your business on the basis of your quality and reliability. Remember, your ultimate goal is to employ staff to do the cleaning for you, so you need to ensure there’s enough being charged to pay them and you and to allow for some profit for your business.
5). Whenever you get a new client, soon after you’ve started working for them ask them if they know of anyone else who could benefit from your services.
6). Work hard and don’t delay in building up a nice, large, but manageable working diary. The sooner you reach the point where you need to employ staff, the sooner you can stand back from cleaning and start enjoying running your business.
7). Make sure you understand what’s involved in employing staff and also that you have all the adequate insurances in place.
2. How To Start Your Home-Based Gardening Business
I started my first gardening business when I was thirteen and returned to this type of business when I found myself in a personal and financial crisis when I was in my thirties. I haven’t looked back since.
With a large number of residents seeing gardening as a chore, you can instantly see the potential market for a professional gardening company.
The gardening business model is similar to the cleaning business model, however, it has one marked difference. With a gardening business, you really do have to like gardening and be knowledgeable already. If you feel your existing knowledge isn’t up to it, don’t worry. You can study, take short courses, and so on.
The most important thing is that you can easily start a gardening business right from where you’re sitting now. You don’t need oodles of cash, business premises, and the like. As with the cleaning business model you can even start by using your clients’ tools.
The advantages of a gardening business include the following.
- It is easy to start with little or no capital outlay.
- It is a turn-key cash business.
- It needs no premises and can always be run from home.
- It can operate in the private or commercial sector or both.
- You don’t have to garden yourself.
- It is easy to build up a large, profitable business with a good resale value.
As you can see, the advantages of starting a gardening business are similar to those of a cleaning business with both businesses being relatively easy to begin with either no or limited capital.
How To Start
Similar to the cleaning business, you can start this today with some careful research and a well-planned sales strategy. A quick-fire get started guide follows:
1). Carry out some initial research by phoning existing businesses in your area and getting a clear idea of how much the going rate is for your services.
2). Decide on what services to offer initially, taking into account your skills and experience. For example, you could simply begin with a lawn-cutting service, a leaf-sweeping service, a gutter cleaning service, and so on.
3). Have some cards/leaflets printed and drop them through as many doors as you can, not forgetting to put your card up in newsagents’ windows, barbers’, hairdressers’, doctors’ surgeries, vets’, cafe ́s, and so on.
4). When the phone rings, as it will, be professional. Have a clear idea of how much you’re going to charge and what you’re capable of doing. To begin with, don’t tackle or take on jobs that are beyond your experience.
5). Successful gardening businesses are built on offering reliable, professional, value for money service.
6). As your business grows you can employ people to work for you and the ultimate point you want to get to is where you have teams of gardeners working for your business, while you take on a pure management, entrepreneurial role.
How much money do you need to start?
If cash is a huge problem, you could initially start by offering your services as a gardener where you supply the labour and expertise and your clients supply the tools and materials.
However, fairly soon you will need to think about getting your own tools and equipment as you can then charge more for your services and specialize in whatever area you’re most interested in.
3. How To Start Your Home-Based Day Care Business
If you are a stay home mom, a teacher or a nanny who have extra time in your hands and would like to earn additional income then you can try setting up a home-based daycare business. A day care business is not easy to set up simply because there are a lot of details that needs to be ironed out.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers, you would want your child to be entrusted to people who know their jobs and can provide a safe and nurturing environment for your kids. Having experience in taking care of children is a must.
You have to ask yourself if you can nurture and give affection to children of others and be privy to their needs at all times. Patience and understanding are the keys.
If your answer to the above is affirmative, then this business may just be for you. This is a booming industry especially since most households have both parents working and as their family grows, the more this kind of business is needed. Or in the case of single parents, they need the services of daycare to help them take care of their children so they can work.
How To Start
Since personal suitability is a basic requirement in setting up this business, it is best if you try out by asking friends and family to allow you to take care of their kids for free for a specific number of hours in a day.
You have to set the correct expectations when you are planning to set up a daycare business as they might be your potential client. That way, when your business is up and running, they will be a paying customer.
Try out with 3 kids of various ages. See if your current home setup is enough, if not then make a list of the things that you would need. Analyze as well how big your operation will be. Try out with 5 different sets of kids with 3 children per set.
This way, you will be exposed to different personalities and needs and may anticipate any problems that may arise once you’ve established your business.
What You Will Need
1). Business Plan: This is usually required when securing certification or loans for your business. Government officials would like to ensure that you are following the standards established for this kind of business.
2). Start-Up Cost: Opening a day care business even if home-based requires money. Some states would require various health and safety inspections before licensing approval. Also, all states require day cares to have business insurance. You may approach an insurance agent for day care coverage requirements for your state.
3). Certification: As a general rule, any daycare program planning to serve three or more children for more than 3 hours per day on a regular basis must obtain a license or registration certificate. You have to go to the Office of Children and Family Services in your locality to obtain more information on certification. These offices usually offer support for people and organizations who are interested to set up a daycare program in their communities.
To obtain certification, the applicant must show that the day care program meets the requirements that the state has established to help ensure the health and safety of children in your care.
You may also approach Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies as they will provide information about many aspects of program start up and maintenance such as program design, referrals, insurance, budgeting and you may be even eligible for funding to assist you in starting or expanding your business.
- Facilities: As you would like to provide a second home for these children, you would want your facilities to be child proofed. It should also cater to their needs. So it is best to know the standards required by the law so you won’t have a problem with certification and inspections. Fun, educational, safe and comfortable should also come into mind when setting up your facilities and providing materials and toys for the kids.
- Personnel: Hire day care employees. Each state has a requirement on child to staff ratios. For example, Illinois requires a home base day care to have one adult for every three children younger than the age of two and one adult for every six children older than two. They may also require criminal background for careers. These requirements are available in your state’s licensing agency.
You may hire stay-at-home mothers in your neighborhood. They may be interested in earning additional income while providing a play place for their children. Students and part-time nannies may also come in handy, especially on days when you have more students than usual. Of course, friends and relatives can also be tapped for additional helping hands.
1). Contract and Policy Information: Since caring for children is a delicate matter, it is best if you hire the services of a lawyer to help you draw a contract and Policy. Student conduct and disciplinary policy is vital to avoid litigation issues. Provide policy on tuition, pickup and drop-off procedures and emergency procedures. Make sure that parents are amenable to these policies in writing.
2). Meals and Nutrition: Research and plan for meals if you are providing it. Make sure that you are aware of any allergies or food preferences of each child. Be sensitive to their ethnicity and their usual food. Make sure that all food that will be served is nutritious and has the approval of the parents/guardians.
3). Activities: Children often have a short span of attention and may easily grow restless. It is best if you can come up with fun and educational activities that will engage them such as group playing, reading activities, arts, dancing and singing. Learning the personalities of each child in your care will give you an idea on which activity will suit them best.
4). Record Keeping: It is best to keep a record of progress report for each child. Although this is not a proper school, most parents would like to be kept abreast of any progress of their kids. If the kid is showing an undesirable behavior, it is best to inform the parents ahead of time to make sure that they are aware of this and will give you a better understanding of the behavior.
5). Marketing: Like what was mentioned above, your friends and relatives are potential clients. You can start with them as they know you and may trust you easily with their children. You may also ask for referrals. Setting up your website or using social networking sites may allow you to reach more customers. Giving out flyers and brochures is also an advantage.
Return of Investment
Home-based day care is not the best business to set up if you are expecting instant riches and easy money. In fact, due to all the requirements set by the law, you may need to invest more money in order to be given certification. So planning in advance, being conscious with your spending and proper budgeting are of importance.
But if you are able to manage it well, and gain the trust of the parents, you may find yourself expanding in less than a year as the demand is always there. You may also provide Value added Services like tutoring for kids who are going to school. This way, you can charge more per student.
As a booming industry with the demands for services is skyrocketing, expansion is the natural cause if you are able to manage your finances well. You may set up a day care center outside of your home and even provide other services such as dancing lessons and singing lessons for older kids. You can also develop some sporting activities such as gymnastics and martial arts if your funds will allow it.
With the society that we live in today, parents will always opt for their children to be engaged in either arts or sports to keep the off the streets and safe from harm. If you can successfully provide an environment that allows for children to learn, develop their talents and enhance their social skills, then you may just get yourself not just a money-earning business but a self rewarding one too.
4. How To Start Your Home-Based Pet Sitting Service
For pet lovers everywhere, there has never been a better time to start your own pet sitting service. This service works on the basis that you either pet sit your clients’ pets in their homes while they’re away or, alternatively, you take their pets from them and look after them in your own home while they are not around.
However, given that a gardening business is really only suitable for those who love gardening, to be a successful pet sitter you must love pets.
This business demands that you’re going to be looking after someone’s much loved, and very often much adored, pet. The advantages of a pet sitting service are as follows:
- Very low start-up costs.
- Extremely low overheads.
- Lots of spin-off potential.
- Quickly builds up a profitable saleable business.
What does it involve?
As the name implies, you will offer a service where you stay overnight in a client’s home and look after their pet or pets. Your stay could be anywhere from a 24-hour period to a week or fortnight, during which you’ll attend to the needs of that client’s pet.
This could be anything, from feeding and cleaning to taking the family dog for walks or pre-arranged visits to any appointments that pet might have (for example, a visit to the pet parlour for a pooch makeover).
What it will not include is undertaking any household chores such as gardening, cleaning, and so on. While you’ll probably get asked from time to time to provide these services in addition to your pet sitting duties my advice, which is based on the experiences of others, is to make it clear from your marketing and your initial contact with your clients that pet sitting is all you’re offering.
Otherwise, you will run the risk of simply being hired as offering an odd-job service. Obviously, it goes without saying that you’ll be expected to clean up after yourself and to hand over the house in the same condition it was in when you arrived.
Generally speaking, you’ll be required to stay in a client’s home and to only leave the house for the occasional short trip. Your stay will usually be for a pre-agreed duration and you will need to agree in advance on what this includes. For example:
- Duration of your stay.
- How the pet(s) is/are to be cared for, which would include such things as how often you are to feed them and in what quantities, and what additional services are included (for example, walks).
- What you are to do in an emergency – which vet you are to take the pet to and whether or not you are required to pay the initial fees (or if the owner has a pre-agreed credit limit at the surgery).
- What the boundaries of the house are when you are staying there. For example, which rooms you can use, whether or not you must bring your own food, and so on.
How To Start
Starting your own pet sitting service is a relatively easy business. Obviously, as with all the other ‘looking after people or animals’ businesses, you will need to have a genuine love of pets and a real willingness to create a service whereby pet owners are willing to entrust their beloved animal to your company.
Once you’ve created a trusting reputation, building your business should be relatively straightforward. I think the most difficult thing with this business is getting started.
The most important thing to get right is to have systems in place before you go looking for your first customer. So you need to work out which animals you would be comfortable looking after. If you only like dogs, then obviously you’re going to limit your potential markets.
However, I’d imagine it would be quite difficult to find a suitably experienced pet sitter for a snake, so if you have expertise with reptiles then obviously you could take advantage of this by carving out a niche market within a niche market.
What You’ll Need
1). A responsible nature. Pet sitting involves quite a lot of responsibility. With this business, you are offering to look after someone’s pet(s), which isn’t unlike looking after someone’s children. So you’ve got to be sure that you’re up to the job and also capable of looking after someone’s home in their absence.
2). Adequate insurance cover. You’ll need to be covered by third-party insurance, which would encompass both you and your business activities.
3). Customer care contract. You’ll need to have some form of a written contract that you can get your clients to sign agreeing on the scope of the things your service covers. Remember, not every client will want all you’re offering so you must make sure your contract is adaptable and flexible enough to cover all eventualities.
4). Membership of a professional body or holding pet care qualifications. It’s not essential that you have formal qualifications, or that you are a member of a recognized professional body, but there is no doubt that you should give it some thought. Certainly, there is everything to be gained by working towards a professional pet care qualification and giving your business the endorsement it might need by joining a recognized trade body. For further information take a look at what the Animal Care College can offer you (www.animalcarecollege.co.uk) and COAPE (the Centre of Applied Pet Care Ethology) which offers distance learning courses (www.coape.co.uk).
5. How To Start Your Home-Based Greetings Card Business
For those with a creative, artistic flair, starting a greetings card business is an excellent opportunity to work on their creative side while building a profitable business. For those who don’t have the necessary artistic talent and flair this is not a problem as they too can start their own greetings card business by commissioning others to create the cards for them.
If you choose this option there are lots of different types of businesses that you could start, including:
- Designing and creating your own range of cards, which you can then sell yourself.
- Designing and creating your own range of cards, which you can then sell to retailers.
- Commissioning others to create cards for you which you can then wholesale to retailers.
THE MARKET OPPORTUNITY
The greetings card market offers endless opportunities for new card ideas. When it comes to cards there are all sorts of occasions to include.
From birthdays, which represent almost 50% of all cards, sold to condolences cards, get well soon cards, wedding cards, mother’s and father’s day cards, Easter cards – the list is endless. And the good news here is that the market opportunity is always growing for those with a keen eye for an opportunity.
TYPES OF CARD
There are all sorts of card types you can design and create, ranging from simple or elaborate homemade cards to cards that unfold to sing someone a personal greeting. Some of the main types of cards include:
- Picture cards with a photograph on the front.
- Cards featuring a painting on the front.
- Cartoon cards.
- Personalized cards.
- Cards that are commissioned for specific events or occasions where the picture/cartoon/ drawings will be specific to that occasion (for example, when a member of the Royal Family marries).
- Home-made cards.
Within the above types of cards you’ll then have a number of sub-sections, for example:
- Cards that come with verses or messages, or even those that play tunes when they are opened.
- Blank cards where the purchaser is free to add their own wording inside, writing this, especially for whatever occasion they’re celebrating, or remembering, or wishing for.
- General cards which are aimed at a particular event or occasion, such as a happy birthday, good luck with your exams, and so on. (Remember, over 50% of all cards purchased are for birthdays!)
YOU’LL NEED TO IDENTIFY A MARKET THAT YOU CAN WORK IN
Obviously the home-made card market will be aimed at a different customer than those for the mainstream market, but each business model will suit different entrepreneurs.
For example, a mum with a family to raise who is looking to start a small part-time, home-based business might find working at home, making her own cards and selling them to local shops, an easier prospect to start up and run, while the person with loads of time on their hands may want to launch a full-scale business selling to the major high street retail chains.
The secret here is to start a business that suits your skills and talents and to then follow the market that is most appropriate to your work. For example, if you’re a talented artist, you could produce your own paintings which you could then use to create your own cards.
Or if photography is your speciality you could use your unique photographs to create cards. Likewise, if you’re a talented wordsmith or poet why not use your writing skills to create suitable verses for your cards – you can have the images created for you by commissioning artists or photographers to supply something to suit your style of work.
SELLING YOUR CARDS
You’ll only be successful if you sell enough of your cards to make a profit, and once these are sold, you have to encourage these buyers to stay loyal to your brand.
Obviously the sales and marketing methods you choose will depend on the type of greetings card business you set up. For example:
- Home-made cards could be sold to local shops, including gift shops, craft shops, charity shops, and so on, and also by creating your own website and selling online.
- Professionally printed cards (where you get a printer to produce your work) could also be sold via the above sales channels, but you could also target a broader retail market that would include specialised card shops, retail chains, and so on.
- You could also target specific markets and sell direct to them – here, the corporate greetings card is huge. This is where businesses, charities, politicians, and so on commission cards to be designed, created, and published that are specific to their needs. Although this area is hugely competitive and probably requires a lot more legwork than any of the above, it will be ideally suited to some greetings card entrepreneurs.
- Bookstands at trade shows and sell direct to retailers. Use Google to help you find a list of suitable trade fairs. While booking a trade stand will usually cost quite a bit, it can reduce your costs in the long run as you will get to meet and show off your wares to lots of potential trade buyers in one hit. You will also see what the competition are up to and get a feel of what’s in vogue and what’s outdated. This is all useful information when planning your future design and production schedule.
6. How To Start Your Home-Based Tutoring Agency Business
When I first researched this business, I dismissed this as not having a wide enough appeal as I had assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that you would have to be a teacher or specialist trainer to start and run this business.
However, as I quickly found out, you don’t. This makes this an ideal business for the home-based entrepreneur as you can use all your creative skills to get this super business up and running and earning you a profit.
How Does It Work
Parents today are keener than ever to ensure that their children are well educated to a standard that allows them compete for college and university places and ultimately for job places in today’s highly competitive marketplace.
The problem which many face is that for a variety reasons their children are not getting the one-to-one tutoring that they would like. It may be that their child is weak in a certain subject or subjects and this is where some additional tutoring would be very useful.
On the other side of the coin, you have at any given time a number of suitably qualified teachers who (for a variety of reasons) would like either some additional part-time work, perhaps retired teachers looking to boost their pension, or just those who enjoy the satisfaction that comes with teaching motivated students.
Outside of these is you – the entrepreneur looking to start a worthwhile, profitable business. You’re interested in education, you enjoy working with young people and adults. You’re also an organised person with an eye for opportunity and detail. Thus you’ve all the essential criteria to set up your own home tutoring agency.
How To Start
Starting up is relatively straightforward and won’t involve you having to spend oodles of cash before you see a return on your investment. Here’s a brief outline of what’s involved:
1). Decide to start your own home-based tutoring agency.
2). Carry out some initial market research which should include checking out what is already available in your neighbourhood, speaking to headteachers at local schools, and checking notices in your local paper, libraries, school noticeboards, and so on.
3). Decide on a name for your business. Never underestimate the pulling power of a well thought-out name. Remember, you’re selling private one-to-one education. So you really need a name that’s going to create an image of a quality, trusting learning environment.
4). From your initial research you should get an idea of how much to charge per hour. Your earnings with this business will be similar to those of any other agency which supplies staff or labour. For example, a recruitment agency will charge a percentage of a staff member’s salary for every hour they work in a business on a temporary contract. When deciding on a rate for your tutors, you’ll need to take into account an attractive enough hourly rate for them, plus any travelling expenses, plus your commission on every hour they work. And your commission will not simply be profits in your bank account. From this commission, you’ll need to cover advertising costs (which can be relatively high) as well as administration costs, for example taking and making bookings for tutors, running a tutoring schedule, sending out information packs on your service, and so on. All of these costs must be covered before you can make any profit.
5). Once you’ve come with an initial costing schedule, which is flexible enough so you can tweak it in the future if you need to, you’re then ready to recruit your first tutors. I’ll give you examples of how to achieve this in the next section on marketing.
6). When you have enough tutors to begin with, you’re now ready to market your service to potential clients. I’ll give some ideas on how to achieve this in a moment.
7). As soon as the phone starts ringing with prospective clients, this is where your business will really take off. You must match tutors to students, take and make bookings, work out the logistics in terms of agreeing suitable appointments for both parties – and you’re away.
8). Your success will depend upon the quality of the service you’re offering. So you need to be sure the tutors you recruit are up to the job, presentable, experienced, and capable of delivering home tutoring. And just as important, you must ensure that the support you give to your tutors is of such a high standard that they’re happy to work and stay with your agency. For example, if your organisation skills are so poor that a tutor finds themselves turning up to the wrong address (or the right address at the wrong time), then obviously you’re not going to be in this business for long.
How To Market Your Business
Starting a tutoring agency needs a two-part marketing strategy:
- A campaign to recruit tutors to your agency.
- A campaign to sell your services to prospective clients.
In my experience, I don’t believe you could run a joint marketing campaign to cover both of these areas. For example, putting an advertisement in your local paper that advertises for tutors and also advertises vacancies for new pupils will give entirely the wrong impression. Remember, parents are ultimately looking for exam success for their children. They’re going to be reading your ad and hoping to see that your tutors are well qualified, experienced, and have a track record in delivering exam results. This can only be achieved when you have assembled all your tutors and you can use their individual accolades as unique selling points.
There are a number of ways of advertising for tutors and potential clients and some of these include:
- Direct mail campaigns to local schools, asking each headteacher if they would display a poster on their staff noticeboard to advertise that you are looking for tutors.
- Subsequently, sending a letter to each headteacher asking him or her would they mind advertising your agency to the parents of the children in their school.
- Running a series of advertisements in your local paper.
- Putting up posters in local libraries, doctors’ surgeries and leisure centres, as well as a direct mail leaflet drop in school catchment areas.
- Setting up a website. Again, this is a business that would really benefit from a website where parents can view your services online and see glowing references from parents and existing students.
Where To Tutor
My own view on this is that the best place to offer to tutor is in the student’s own home as you do away with all the fears that will surface when a parent has to send their child to a stranger’s house. You can also use this as a unique selling point, and your tutors can also maintain the privacy of their own homes, which is equally important.
You must ensure that all your tutors are CRB checked (Criminal Records Bureau check) which you can arrange via your local council or police on payment of a set fee.
There are currently two types of checks you must have done – a basic and an enhanced – and I’d recommend you go for the enhanced as this way you can demonstrate that you have taken every possible precaution to weed out any undesirable people.
7. How To Start Your Home-Based Bed and Breakfast Business
Obviously, this is a business that will not be suited to everyone as to start a bed and breakfast you’ll need to have a suitable property. That said, there are many parents who, when their children have flown the nest, will find they have an abundance of time and a number of spare rooms and would enjoy the sense of companionship that comes with running a bed and breakfast.
I know a number of a successful bed and breakfast owners and all of them enjoy the social interaction that their business brings. Some of them had previously run other businesses, including newsagents, cafes, and restaurants, and not one of them would ever contemplate returning to their original business venture.
How It Works
I’m sure you are probably familiar with the traditional B&B business model – where visitors stay anything from one night to a week or more and on payment of a pre-agreed rate get a bed and breakfast service.
Traditionally, B&Bs tend to be cheaper than hotels and they usually enjoy a loyal following from regular customers. However, the unique selling point for most B&Bs isn’t priced, but comfort. A quality B&B will be seen by many as a sort of home from home, where personal service and attention to detail really count for something.
Some of the benefits of starting and running a B&B include:
- It is the ultimate home-based business where your home becomes your business.
- That even with a small number of rooms, the earning potential is excellent when compared with other businesses.
- You can quickly build up a regular clientele so you won’t have to continually pay out for advertising.
Potential drawbacks include:
- You’ll have strangers staying in your home and some of these people may be from a different background or culture to your existing social circle, so you need to be broadminded and generally enthusiastic about all walks of life.
- It can involve long hours where you’re up early in the morning cooking breakfasts and your days are spent cleaning and preparing rooms, thus leaving you with little personal free time.
You may think that you could only start and run a successful B&B in a seaside or tourist area, but you can start a B&B anywhere. For example, if you’re living in an industrial area you could target the commercial market by offering local businesses high quality, comfortable rooms for their visiting customers, staff and suppliers.
Colleges and universities also offer excellent potential where you can offer group discounts on rooms for visiting lecturers, students, and even family members visiting their loved ones who are at college.
When people need somewhere for an overnight stay this will also offer you a market for your rooms. So please don’t limit your thinking to just holiday visitors. There are lots of other businesses around that you can pitch for.
For example, my friend’s bed and breakfast often works as a sort of overflow accommodation for our neighbours who will book rooms for their relatives when they come to stay for parties, funerals, weddings, christenings, and so on. So it’s important to advertise your services in the market local to you. If you’re in the countryside, you could perhaps offer all-year-round breaks where your guests could come and experience the countryside at various times in the year.
You could also perhaps team up with local farms and organise farm tours, or walking holidays, where your B&B could be used a base for these holidays. During the summer months, my friend’s B&B caters for the tourist trade, while during the winter months they will fill their rooms with workers from local factories and commercial travelers who cannot find room at the local Travel Lodge.
None of them struggle for business all-round and even in an economic downturn, they’re still busy, as those people who would normally stay in a hotel will downsize, as it were, to a B&B.
According to figures from the Bed and Breakfast Association (bandbassociation.org), this sector is 28% bigger than that of the budget hotels business market. So you can see the huge potential that turning your home into a B&B can offer.
How To Start
Depending on where your home is, at present and in terms of decoration, tidiness and how everything works this will determine how soon you can start your business.
Although over the years I’ve stayed in some fairly awful B&Bs in the UK, with wallpaper peeling off the walls, cold, damp rooms, and terrible breakfasts that seem to consist of overburdening the plate with luke-warm baked beans, the general standard of B&Bs is usually very high.
And I’ve certainly stayed in some B&Bs where the standards far exceeded those I’ve experienced in four-star hotels. So you really need to have your home up to scratch – tastefully decorated, clutter-free, cosy, comfy and welcoming – if you’re going to turn it into a B&B.
Here are some of the things you need to address before starting:
1). Before you do anything else, pay a visit to your local council offices and check whether or not you need planning permission to turn your home into a bed and breakfast. You’ll also need to register with the council’s department of the environment and you’ll need to take a short course on food preparation and hygiene.
2). Your home will also need to comply with current fire regulations. Your local authority will be able to tell you what’s required.
3). You’ll need to carry out your own survey of your home to work out how many rooms you can comfortably let out, what toilet facilities you can offer, where you’ll have your guests sit down and have breakfast, and what provision you’re going to make for families staying with children.
4). Work out the costs of buying linen, towels, bedspreads, crockery sets, and so on.
5). While doing all the above, check out the competition. A visit to your local tourist information shop (or if you don’t have one search online for bed and breakfasts local to you) will establish the going rates. When comparing these rates, make sure you don’t get carried away by assuming the rates quoted by a single bed and breakfast are indicative of all B&Bs in your area.
For example, some B&Bs will charge significantly more as they will have far superior rooms with en-suites and may also have won awards and/or have been AA or RAC approved. All this adds up to boosting their earning potential, but remember that as a start-up business with no reputation or awards to trade on you may have to tailor your prices accordingly.
6). There are a number of great how-to books around that have been written by B&B proprietors and these will often contain many tips of the trade. For a relatively small investment you could save yourself lots of bother and learn from the experts. Don’t forget as well to discuss your plans with your local tourist information office (assuming you have one) as they can be really invaluable in giving information on visitor profiles, local B&B rates, and when the high or low seasons fall.
How To Market Your Bed and Breakfast Business
There are a number of ways to market your B&B, including
1). Register your business with the local tourist information office, assuming you have one. If there is a scheme local to you where you can get your business rated by the tourist board then you should do this as soon as you can. Independent reviews of your new B&B are essential if you are to attract the right clientele.
2). Get a professional to design a website for you. This is relatively inexpensive and it really does pay to have a professional build your website. In my experience, you’ll get far more business with a great website than you will with any other advertising medium. You’ll need to become familiar with how a website works and how you can achieve high rankings on the search engines, which you can either do yourself or get your web designer to show you. If possible, create an online booking system for your bed and breakfast so you can take bookings 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
3). When paying for print advertising, be careful that the publication you choose will be able to reach your target audience. For example, if you’re in an area where you get lots of walkers visiting, then advertise in those magazines that walkers will buy. If your market isn’t very specific, and you’re casting your net as wide as possible, then my advice would be to spend your money on a website and the overall appearance of your home as opposed to blowing a fortune on expensive directory advertising. I’ve yet to find a B&B (or hotel for that matter) anywhere other than by using Google on the Internet. I’ve no wish to go out and buy an expensive B&B directory that only lists those B&Bs which fork out for an advertisement.
4). Network with existing B&Bs in your area. For example, when my friends opened up their bed and breakfast, they approached a number of the existing B&Bs in their area and asked them if they would recommend their B&B when they were full. Without exception all of them agreed, and almost immediately a steady flow of guests came their way as a result. And of course when my friends’ B&B is full, they return the favour with reciprocal referrals.
Running a B&B isn’t for everyone. However, if you like people and want a relatively easy to run, high-margin, low-risk business, then the B&B business model takes some beating.
Those I know who run B&Bs are far happier, and I’d hazard a guess more profitable, than those people I know who run restaurants and cafes. The latter group always seem to be up against different problems.
Whether these are staffing problems or a lack of business due to bad weather or faulty fridges, the hassle factor of running a restaurant seems to me to outweigh the benefits. On the other hand, those who run successful B&Bs seem to enjoy doing this far more and to have fewer problems.
8. How To Start Your Home-Based Catering Business
Very often when those entrepreneurs who have a flair for cooking think of starting their own catering business, they turn their attention to more traditional catering business models such as restaurants, cafe ́s, pizza parlours, and tea-shops.
Nothing wrong with this, however, you will need lots of cash either to buy an existing restaurant premises as a going business or to build your own. There is an alternative, which is to start your own catering business that you will initially run from home, subject of course to how suitable your home is to this type of business and provided you get permission from your local authority’s environment department.
However, if your home isn’t suitable don’t despair, you can still find a suitable property to operate from and subject to planning consents and the necessary registrations you can still work from relatively cheap premises. I say ‘relatively cheap premises’, as your business could be located anywhere, from a suitable building down the end of a remote lane to rented space in a local restaurant or hotel.
How It Works
Your business will work on the basis of you bringing catering to wherever a client is. For example, one day you could be providing a light buffet in the offices of your local town hall and the next a full sit-down lunch for a business meeting at company offices.
The possibilities with this type of business are endless, as you and your business are no longer tied to one location. Outdoor catering opportunities include providing the catering for:
- Local businesses in their offices when they’re having meetings or customers visiting their premises.
- Events such as village fairs, shop openings, council meetings, and so on.
- Funerals, weddings, christening ceremonies, birthday parties, and any home-based celebration or gathering.
- Farmers’ markets and town feˆtes.
- Garden parties. o Mobile, all-in barbeque services where not only do you supply and cook the food, but you also bring your own equipment.
You can also create your own range of home-made food products (for example, soups, cakes and cookies) which you then sell at various shows, fairs, and farmers’ markets.
How To Start
Starting a mobile catering business is relatively straightforward and to begin with, can be easily achieved on a very small scale. For example, you could start with a simple homemade soup-making business where you make the soups at home (subject to local authority permissions), which you can then market at various farmers’ markets, town center feˆtes, and so on.
A more ambitious business will require greater preparation and research to get started, but don’t let the work involved put you off. Your initial groundwork should include undertaking the following as a minimum:
1). Check with your local authority as to what the current legislation is for running an outside catering business. You’ll also need to speak to your council’s environment department which will cover all aspects of food hygiene and safety. My advice would be to book an appointment to discuss your plans with them. They should also be able to advise you on what elementary food hygiene courses you will need to take before opening your business. Discuss your premises with 227 them also. If you are planning to use your own kitchen at home then it will have to meet the minimum legal requirements. Ask the council officer to tell you what this entails.
2). As you’re not planning to open a restaurant or cafe ́, the location of your kitchen isn’t crucial to your success. However, you will still need to be sure that the premises you choose are suitable for your business and have suitable planning consents for the preparation of food. Again, you’ll need to check with your local council for advice and guidance on the current legislation. Whatever you do, don’t sign a lease or rent or buy anywhere until you are completely assured you can get the relevant permissions and that any work needed to bring the property up to the required standard will not prove cost-prohibitive. For example, if the premises you are considering renting consist of a derelict rat-infested warehouse with no proper sanitation it’s likely that the costs will be too prohibitive for you to convert it into something that meets your requirements.
3). Learn the trade before you start. Unlike some of the other business models (for example, a cleaning business), a catering business does require you to have cooking skills. Of late, I do wonder at the number of ‘cafe ́s’ I’ve had the misfortune to eat in where it’s blatantly obvious that those folk running the business have about as much cooking ability as my dog. So if you are considering this option, you must be a competent cook in the kind of food you’re going to offer. If all you’re planning to do is run a tea and coffee and sandwiches buffet at your local council offices once a month, then fine. But if you’re going to undertake the larger and obviously more lucrative jobs, then you need to be skilled and capable in what you do.
How To Market Your Home-Based Catering Business
As with any business, timing is all-important. So when’s the best time of the year to start an outside catering business? The answer to this question will very much depend on the type of outdoor catering business you’re intending to run.
For example, if you’re planning to sell your food at farmers’ markets, village feˆtes, shows, and so on you’ll probably find that early January isn’t the best time to start.
However, if you’re pitching at the domestic market you could find that you do well catering at funerals, birthdays, New Year parties, and the like. So much will depend on who your target market is and/or how broad the customer base is that you’re going to try to sell to.
Don’t be tempted to start your business on the basis of a solitary advertisement in your local paper or telephone directory. While this is one thing you could or perhaps even should do (depending on your budget and the type of business you’re planning to run), it shouldn’t be your only sales strategy.
This is the sort of business that needs a really clever, proactive sales approach. For example, if you’re going to target the corporate market and win contracts for business lunches, then why not turn up somewhere with free samples of your cooking?
Just show up unannounced with food, flyers, business cards, and business-winning smiles and offer some tasty bites, and then move on to the next big office you can find. Just do it – get out there and sell your business.
The great thing about selling food is that you can offer free samples, and how many people do you know who would turn down the offer of free food? Some marketing ideas to get you started would include:
1). A website, which is ideally suited for this type of business. As your business doesn’t have a shopfront to speak of, you’ll need somewhere where prospective customers can see what you’re offering, can browse menus and products, and get a feel for you and your business. In my experience, there’s nothing better than a welcoming, personal website where you have an almost personal interaction with your prospective clients. Once you’re up and running you can also publish positive customer experiences on your site and if you sell at farmers’ markets and feˆtes, you can also upload pictures of your previous attendances at these events, hopefully showing lots of happy people munching their way through your sought-after produce.
2). Proactive campaigns work with this business – passive advertising isn’t really an option. Think leaflets, flyers, A-boards, posters, free food samples, direct mailing to businesses, and networking with local councilors, local business people, and so on.
3). Advertise your services to as many local businesses as you can who could then add your service to their existing service. For example, you should approach all the funeral directors in your area asking them if they would consider recommending you to clients who may be looking for home catering after a funeral service. Or florists, who again could help you sell your services locally to those who are buying flowers from them for a wedding, anniversary, funeral, and so on.
4). Be proactive with the local press. Get your press releases out. Give your business a local news angle to capture the imagination of the editor of your local paper. This could be anything, from why you’ve started your business (for example, you recently needed a similar service to what you’re now offering but were unable to find a cost-effective solution) to you winning a cookery award when you were at school, or you have been a chef at a certain hotel. Whatever angle you take, make it in some way newsworthy. You’ll find the results far better than using any sort of expensive but passive advertisement.
5). Pick up the phone and cold call as many local businesses as you possibly can to advertise your new business. Don’t be shy, just dial the number and tell them how your new business could help them out. Be bubbly – or gracious, sexy, or charming – but above all, be proactive.
9. How To Start Your Home-Based Automobile Detailing Business
If you are passionate about cars and have the skills and know-how on cleaning cars then this business might be for you. Most people gain their knowledge in car detailing through experience with their own cars, especially if you are the type that goes beyond just cleaning a car. You should research and try out products to make the showroom shine of a brand new car last longer or even make old cars look new.
There is a lot of elbow grease entailed in this type of business, but if done right, this may just be a lucrative business for you. The demand for car detailing has increased over the years. What with reality show on TV showing how you can pump up your car, make an ordinary car look luxurious and an old beaten car made to look brand new.
This gives us a lot of possibilities that what you drive has become a status symbol and as time goes on, demands for car detailing will even evolve as needs evolve. It is up to you how big or small you want your business to be. As long as you have the equipment and a steady client base then you can dictate the amount of profit you want to make.
How To Start
Although a degree is not needed for this type of business, skills, experience, craftsmanship and attention to details do. If you have been practicing with your car, your friends and relatives may have noticed it already. This can be your first client base.
You may have to give discounts at the beginning, but it is okay if it would mean that you can establish your business. If you want to have credibility though, it is still important to enroll in car detailing courses as this will enhance your technique, skills, and knowledge especially in using cleaning products.
You may also work in an auto detailing shop to learn how to professionally detail a car. Having a garage and or a space in your driveway/lawn where you can set up a portable canopy will be an advantage when setting up a home-based auto detailing shop.
What You Will Need
1). Secure Your Business Permit: It is best to acquire any certification from local authority before starting up a business. This way, your operation is legal and you won’t have to worry about authorities closing you down. Zoning may also be a consideration. You have to check with the board if you will be allowed to have such business in your home especially if it is identified as a non-commercial zone.
2). Facilities and Equipment: Your garage or driveway or lawn can be a place for your business. You should provide a shelter like a portable canopy over the cars since it will not be good for them to be under the sun or rain when you are waxing it. Make sure that tools and equipment that you use are organized accordingly so your workplace doesn’t appear to be cluttered. Appearances are important in this business as your customers expect you to be detailed and organized when servicing their car. Water and power supply should be adequate and is in compliance with government safety requirements. Make sure that the area you are working on has a good drainage system so that flooding is avoided. Create a segment in your working space so you have a space for certain car parts that have different level of grease/stains or based on its size. This way, cleaner items will not get greased and small items will not get lost.
3). Insurance: It is best to secure a business liability insurance to protect your business in case you damage a car while working on it. Approach a local insurance agent and ask for advice on how best to go about securing one.
4). Research on Products and innovation: It is best to be updated on cleaning products used for car detailing and innovations on machines and cleaning processes. It is also recommended if you can join an online community or an organization of car detailing business owners. This way, you are abreast with new innovations and best practices can be shared.
5). Marketing: As always, small business should start with the people around you, namely your friends, relatives and neighbors. Give a promo during the launch of your business for say 2 months. You can also give away discount coupons. Mailing your flyers to neighbors or ask a student to go house-to-house to give away flyers may do the trick. Using the networking sites will also be beneficial. Encourage your satisfied customers to give feedback on websites such as yellowpages.com, yelp.com, citysearch.com as this will generate more business for you.
Another marketing strategy is creating a maintenance contract where you will provide maintenance for a period of time for a customer if they buy a packaged deal at a discounted price. This way, you will ensure to have repeat customers and a steady stream of job for you. Just remember, trust is a key point in this business. Getting your customer’s trust is easier than maintaining it.
Return of Investment
Car detailing can be a very lucrative business because the demand is evolving as the need of the people evolves. It is necessary that you not only offer a cleaning business but other value-added services or tie up with other vendors like car upholstery businesses, auto mechanic businesses, and car accessory dealerships.
This way, you can strike a deal with these vendors to cut you a percentage of their professional fee for referring your customers to them. You can categorize your services based on price and materials/products that you will use. Your salesmanship will play a great role in having your customers take the package with a higher price. Again, it is up to you as to how much profit you would want to generate.
Just because you are operating in your garage does not mean that you cannot reach customers that are not in your neighborhood. By setting up a mobile car detailing, you can create business with customers who would wish to acquire your services.
Of course, you would need to invest in a truck, personnel that you need to train or send to take the same courses you did. Having portable equipment that you use in your garage that will fit in your truck will be great. And the best expansion possibility is of course getting your own space just for your car detailing shop.
Once you have established a loyal client base, the next step is to get a bigger space. You may also offer other services such as car accessory shop or a mechanic shop. You can also expand your knowledge by learning how to detail luxury cars as this will generate higher revenue. Nothing is impossible if you put together a great business mind, sheer diligence and hard work.
10. How To Start Your Home-Based Bookkeeping Business
If you are patient, thorough, diligent, attentive to details, dependable and has integrity, and can crunch those numbers, then this business is for you. The great thing about this job is that not all business owners have enough of the abovementioned qualities or time to do their own book. And this means more business for you. Business owners need to keep track of their spending lest they ran the risk of bankruptcy.
How To Start
If you have done accounting or bookkeeping jobs from your previous employer and are familiar with bookkeeping software then you are ready to take in jobs as an individual contractor. If not, then you have to take courses to familiarize with the work entailed.
You can take courses from local colleges or get a distance learning program with a university. Reading books and articles on the internet will also help you speed up on your knowledge.
Start up cost of this type of business is very minimal so you can start right away if you have already secured some clients.
What You Will Need
- Computer – As most businesses are using computers to keep their books, then having one is a must.
- Bookkeeping software – Some clients will provide you with this while some would not, especially if they have just started their business.
- Brochures – You can mail these brochures to small businesses in your community. Put in detail the services that you can offer them. Create packages so that you can optimize your earning and make sure that it will also entice your customers.
Return of Investment
Since Start-up costs in this field are minimal, you don’t have to take up a loan. Individual bookkeeping contractors charged between $25 and $60 an hour.
How much you can charge depends on your location and the level of work you do, ranging from minimal record keeping to virtually all the tasks leading up to preparation of financial statements. Some bookkeepers also prepare financial statements and do tax work as well.
Once you have established your client base, you may need to hire more bookkeepers. You can set up a virtual bookkeeper agency, where your employees are working from their homes, but they will be working for you. That way, you can charge a certain percentage on their earnings as agent’s fee. You can also further your studies and be a Certified Public Accountant so that you can maximize your earning potential.
11. How To Start Your Home-Based eBay or Online Selling Business
Angie Cash, 37, a stay-at-home mom who started selling on eBay nearly six years ago because it was “something I could do and watch the kids at the same time.” Her Kennesaw, Georgia, company, Cashco1000 Inc. today sells thousands of home-decoration and other items each month on eBay and expects to break $500,000 in sales on eBay this year.
Real people, like Angie Cash, are making big bucks on eBay, and thousands have even reached Power-Sellers status. This is done by maintaining at least $1,000 sales per month for three consecutive months.
Even social media sites like Facebook, twitter and the likes have been recent avenues for enterprising people wanting to make money from home. So why not join the band wagon and have a taste of the success this home-based business is offering with just a click of a button?
How to Start
The primary thing you will need to start making bucks would be to create an eBay account or a separate Facebook or Twitter account for your online store if you still have none. For eBay all you need is a home address, a credit card, and a checking account.
Have a credit card and a check in handy when you are creating your account and simply follow the steps. For social media sites all you need is to create a separate account. You can either choose to just stick with one site or make multiple online stores for each site. And viola you have your online store.
What You Will Need
Aside from your eBay account or separate online store in social media sites, there is more to online selling that you will need to jumpstart your online business:
1). Merchandise: Collectible items are often the best items to start with in eBay. If you have a pile of knick-knacks lying around, then you can list and sell those: plates, Beanie Babies, Stars Wars action figures, or good old stamps, this is a lucrative arena in Depression glass, silver dollars, or Smurf figurines; you can start selling right away. As for your online store in social media sites, you can sell clothing, shoes, jewelries and the likes. With people enjoying online shopping more than ever, there are endless possibilities in this arena.
2). Camera or Phone with a good camera: To sell your items, you need to take good pictures in different angles to showcase your items. Keep in mind pictures with better resolution will help convince the buyer if they want to buy your merchandise. You can also opt to borrow a camera from a family member or a friend.
3). Research: You must know your market inside and out before you start this process, and in order to know your market you must study it like it is going to get you into medical school. Page through the blue books, magazines, fan sites, and even eBay for an idea of what things are worth. This is what will make your eBay business work.
4). Logbook of transactions: You need to treat this as a legitimate business from the start otherwise this may have the chance of you piling up with merchandised that are undersold. It is easy to neglect this business as most transactions are online, thus keeping a more stringent accounting or logbook of transactions will help keep you in line and profit from this business.
Return of Investment
When you have established your eBay account or online shop in social media sites now comes the hard work; making a profit. To start selling, you simply need to use your eBay account to list the items, along with pictures, set the initial price and, if you are the impatient type you can list a significantly higher “Buy it Now” price.
To list any item, you need to pay an insertion fee. For a normal item, this is dependent upon the initial price you set. This fee is non-refundable, so you need to be sure that your initial price will not scare away buyers, leaving you holding the bag on an unsalable item.
You will pay a commission to eBay when the item actually sells, so keep that in mind also. This is usually a larger percentage for lower-priced items, and then it slowly reduces once the final percentage passes certain benchmarks. As all of these fees are subject to change, you would be well served to check eBay for their current numbers.
The next stage to your eBay business comes when you are running low on your own stock of merchandise. If you are trying to create a business and not just clearing out the garage, you will need to replenish your small business’s supply.
This is where your expertise on your subject comes into play. You need to hit the garage sales, the yard sales, the pawnshops, and the flea markets for new stock. These places are your best bet for low-priced goods that may be worth much more.
If you are selling antiques, you need to hit the antique malls. Just find places where you can find cheap goods that could be worth something. It will take some hunting and a lot of expertise and experience, but if you can find things that are broken, but are worth a lot when repaired, or if you spot a knick-knack that is worth much more than the seller thinks, your Internet business is moving forward.
Your Internet business whether through eBay or other social media accounts need you to be ahead of the curve and able to forecast where the market is going. Then you will be able to put one foot on your expertise, another foot on your merchandise, and you will be standing tall atop your eBay business.
To expand in this business you should never stop learning. The prices are always changing, and you need to stay on top of those changes. Study, study, study. Then when you are an expert, study even more.
12. How To Start Your HomeBased Gift Basket Business
Gift giving is as old as time but choosing gifts to buy will take up a lot of time. For people who are busy with their careers and family life, gift baskets are manna from heaven. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but some gift baskets are also creatively bagged and their contents are well-thought. It also allows a non-expensive item to look expensive.
It is the reason why both giver and recipient of the gift basket appreciate the concept. Sounds easy enough? Not necessarily so.
Creativity is a key factor in the success of this business. You should be able to think of great ways to match items that will go to the basket and present it in a creative fashion, but the possibilities are endless.
Browsing shops, supermarkets and departments stores should be one of your strengths. Putting a cohesive basket will require a great imagination and creativity. Visit crafts shops and buy anything that you think can accessorize your basket for better presentation.
How To Start
It is best to put together some baskets before starting out the business and see if you have what it takes. If not, then try to take some craft-making classes to kick start your creativity. Browse gift baskets in shops to give you an idea and think of ways to beat the competition.
Try to think of persons/personalities that may buy your baskets and place yourself in their shoes. What would they want to receive if ever. Ask around; ask friends and relatives what type of gifts they like to receive.
Go to specialty shops, department stores to be familiar with prices as some buyers would have budget in mind when buying the basket. Determine what kind of baskets you wish to put out. Categorize it based on gender, age, occasions, budget etc.
What You Will Need
- Supplies: Try to look for suppliers where you can buy wholesale items, this way when your business grows, you can save a lot for items in the baskets.
- Marketing: While it is good if you can find stores where you can consign your baskets, try to secure some corporate accounts as well. Some companies need such gift baskets for employee birthdays, token of appreciation and gifts for clients. Taking advantage of the internet by putting up your own website and making use of the social networking sites to your advantage is a good way to go. Offer made-to-order baskets this way it is personalized. Approach stores who you think need your creativity to put together baskets for them.
- Gif Basket Brochure and Pricing: It is great to have one in hand when visiting businesses or even going to parties or any events where you can do networking. This way, most questions that they may have is already answered in your brochure.
- Furoshiki: This is a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth that is used to transport goods or gifts. Most often, they use scarves instead of basket. It is a very creative way of wrapping items which is not yet explored. Buy a book or search the internet to learn more. This will be a big hit for toiletries items.
Return of Investment
If done right, business owners can earn up to $500 a week or even more during the holidays. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving Day are the most profitable holiday. Buying wholesale will increase profit margins as well.
Expect to net 15 to 30 percent of gross revenue by applying a 100-percent markup to the cost of the items in the basket. The more creative the basket, the higher markup can be applied.
A tie-up with a florist would give more exposure to your business. Eventually, you can put up a shop in a commercial area so customers can walk in and order for their specific recipient where the contents of the baskets can be handpicked by them. You can also offer gift-wrapping services. Offer personalized gift items with their name, initials or pictures are in the gifts.
13. How To Start Your Home-Based Handicraft Business
For people who have the innate passion to create eye-pleasing and appealing craft items turning that passion into an income-generating business has never been more feasible than now. With the increase in demand for the handicraft industry, especially in areas where there is a surge in tourism, more and more people are looking for original handmade items that are affordable but functional.
A handicraft business encompasses a wide array of work where useful and decorative devices are made completely by hand or by using only simple tools. These handicrafts are made to be used, worn, etc. having a purpose beyond decorative.
Among the famous handicrafts are: Assemblage, beadwork, crochet, gardening, metalwork, needlework, pottery and ceramics, pressed flower crafts, puppetry, quilting, sewing, shoemaking, stained glass, wood carving, and the list goes on.
But having handicraft as a hobby and turning it into a successful crafts business requires a different set of expertise other than just the skill for handiwork. Here are some start-up considerations before delving head-on into a business venture.
How to Start
Having a well-laid-out plan is the greatest ammunition you can have when starting a home-based business. Before shelling out any investment, study the market first so you are not left with frustration or worst, losing hard-earned money or loaned capital.
Start with creating what you love. Small-scale home-based business does not instantaneously reach a level where the owner can actually live off from its earning. This will take time and diligence in the owner’s part.
So, starting a business with a passion for your craft will help sustain the level of interest in the business and push you to work at it until it succeeds. Remember, craft business owners often start their business not to earn money, but rather they decide to make money out of something they love doing.
What you will need
1). Local licensing: As local regulations may vary, it is the responsibility of the owner to familiarize himself about licensing and permits needed to operate your business. Even flea markets ask for permit and will collect sales taxes so know the regulations applicable in your area.
2). Materials: This will depend on what crafts you are going to produce. Either way, it is wiser to buy in bulk to get the materials in lower prices. You can tie up with local arts and crafts material store to set up a credit account. If you are starting with a very small capital you can begin with making one sample per product and have it made to order. This way you don’t need to shell out big capital and end up with stocks of crafts.
3). Workshop Area: An efficient workspace is a must regardless of whether you start in your own apartment or choose to go big and rent a different space. However, you may opt to use your home as your workshop during the startup phase to lower operational and overhead costs. The workshop should be suitable to your needs in terms of services, size, safety and security. It is vital to have adequate electrical services and ventilation systems, especially if you are working with chemicals like dyes.
4). Marketing Materials: This is especially helpful if you are planning to begin with a made-to-order crafts business or sell in flea markets. You will need a business card and pamphlet illustrating and describing your work with photographs of your best work. You can also opt to set- up a website once you are established. For the start-up phase, you can make a page exclusively dedicated to your business on social media site. The potential customers that these websites will bring may surprise you, as everyone is using at least one website. Thus this may be worth putting a little extra time on.
5). Make a portfolio of your work with pricing: Create a binder full of your finest pieces on display with quality photographs. This will cost extra capital however it is essential especially when presenting your business to boutiques, galleries, retailers, interior designers, or architects. Include pricing with the portfolio this way you won’t have to break a sweat when presenting this either to potential tie-up retailers or clients.
6). Labor Force: If you are starting small, this initiative can be a one-person business. Once you have bulk orders you can then employ extra help either part-time or full-time on a daily basis pay depending on the demand.
Or better yet, you might want to employ artistic kids on weekends or stay-at-home moms in your neighborhood. This way, not only will you save money, but you can also help out your neighbors. But be sure to diligently supervise the production to avoid substandard products.
7). Outlets to Sell Your Crafts: There are a variety of outlets you can sell your crafts like: Retail Stores, Consignment Stores, Crafts and Flea Markets, and Online Stores. The most Popular out of the four outlets in selling craft items is through specialty craft or gift stores. You can start with smaller boutique stores by offering wholesale purchase of 12 or more.
Consignment stores are another great venue for selling your products. They generally pay only after they sold your work. Read the consignment agreement carefully as the store often keeps 20%-60% of the sales. Some will require a 6 months to 1 year booth contract and monthly fee aside from the commission they will get.
Crafts and Flea Markets are a popular outlet for crafts. People who go to these markets are on the lookout for unique pieces and the greatest thing about events like this is that you get to meet your customers.
Chances are not only will you get to know suppliers for your crafts but clients looking to buy by the bulk. The internet has likewise become a vital distribution channel for crafts. Evaluate the costs of utilizing each online channel, and which one could bring the most customers for your business. You can create your own e-commerce site, join virtual craft malls, or sell your products at online auctions.
Return of Investment
Pricing your products correctly is the foremost essential for your return on investment. First add up all your costs (raw materials, labor, overhead expenses, licenses, marketing expenses, profits, etc.). You should likewise make marketplace research to compare your prices in stores, galleries or on the web.
Crafts business often needs to be done in a slowly but surely phase. This is particularly important if you are starting on a very limited budget. It is wise to do all your research and homework before you start spending on stocks, supplies, and marketing.
This is the reason why it is best to start with a made-to-order crafts business that is best supported by an online outlet. Thus you will only make your products when there is a sure buyer for it. Learn how to cost-effectively run your business and manage cash flow. Major profits often take about two years to show in the crafts business so patience is a virtue needed to succeed in this business.
As stated above, crafts businesses often take a long time before they generate income that the crafters can live off on and this requires diligence and persistence on your part. The key to this is finding the right niche to sell your crafts.
If you start small in this business do not be afraid to expand your market. Keep in mind that creating consistent high-quality crafts is the most effective form of marketing. Word-of-mouth, especially if given by an opinion leader (e.g. magazine) is a powerful marketing tool that can build the inertia of your business.
14. How To Start Your Home-Based Photography Business
Photographs are now a daily part of people’s daily routine especially pictures in digital format. This is evident in the popularity of online social sites. With the prevalence of digital cameras and gadgets, this new social norm is born.
On the other hand, professional photography is still in demand, especially at events like weddings, social gatherings, and corporate events. Are you are a person who always find yourself snapping pictures early in the morning and all throughout the night or sometimes for no apparent reason?
And you often find yourself thinking of turning your interest into a profession. Well, don’t think you’re crazy because many became serious photographers for the same reason that some people became anything; simply because they love what they do.
How To Start
The knowledge and skill of talented professional photographers are always in demand. Many start by being a shutterbug; taking occasional snapshots of family and friends at occasions or get-togethers. Yet, for those serious enough about photography; sooner or later become advanced amateurs or working professionals.
If you are serious about taking photography as a business venture or a way to make a living then you should start making a reputation for yourself. First and foremost you must have the right camera equipment and the necessary skill to jumpstart this endeavor. Then decide which business niche you want to focus on.
You may either work on assignments or focus on a home-based photography business or both. These are the certain types of photography specialties you can work on: portraits, wedding photography, nature photography, pet portraits, product photography, and photojournalism. You can start by volunteering to become a photographer in family gatherings to establish your photography status.
You can then use your pictures as giveaways to guest to capture their attention to your work. Include a call card so they know how to contact you if they need your services. Likewise build a portfolio for each event you cover. This way you will have something on hand to show future clients.
What You Will Need
1). Business License and Permits: Most cities require a valid business license to start a home-based photography business. Consult your local business permit regulating agency as requirements for obtaining a business license may vary based on local ordinances. This is also important as most banks require a business license to open a business bank account.
2). Business Insurance: It is integral even for a home-based photography business to have business insurance. The basic insurance coverage includes general liability coverage, theft and damage coverage as well as business property content coverage. Comprehensive general liability coverage covers bodily injury and property damage for which the photographer is legally liable. Theft and damage coverage and business property content coverage covers the photographer’s photo equipment and home-based office equipment.
3). Camera Equipment: Equipment needs vary based on the kind of photography services provided. Wedding and portrait photographers often require studio lighting and/or portable strobes and lightweight cameras. Architectural photographers typically use larger-format cameras that have the ability to tilt/shift the lens plane, and sports photographers require cameras that have a fast frame rate and the ability to use long focal length lenses with wide apertures. The right equipment helps the photographer shoot more efficiently and leads to better results.
4). Marketing Strategies and Materials: A website and business cards comprise basic marketing materials for the home-based photography business. A photographer’s website must showcase the photographer’s work and provide an easy method to contact the photographer. Essential website elements include contact name and phone number, email address and in some cases – typically non-commercial photography – the ability to purchase photographs directly from the website.
5). Computer Equipment: The majority of professional photographers uses digital camera equipment to capture images. Digital images get uploaded to a computer for further manipulation after capture. Digital image files range in size from a few megabytes to very large files that can reach almost a gigabyte in size. The software used to manipulate digital images also requires extensive amounts of computer memory. Computers used for digital image management need extensive amounts of memory and hard drive space to accommodate these requirements.
Return of Investment
The return of investment in this business will mostly depend upon your marketing skill and persistence. This is not an instant get rich business. Among anything, you need to first build a reputation for yourself.
There are two types of photographers that make their living from photography, the serious photographer and the very serious photographer. The market for photographs of virtually every type has widened, the world seems to have an insatiable appetite for photographs.
The price however has fallen as the marketing net has broadened. Photographers are needed in many more fields. You should try to be on top of your competitor’s prices, to undercut an existing photographer is one choice, but to neglect to value your skills and not charge enough to cover your overheads is another matter entirely.
Remember this is an important point. Use your skills to the best advantage of the business and define what you want from it. Only you can determine if you really have the desire and self confidence to follow a path to a money-making photo venture, and to what end.
Potential for Expansion
The potential for expansion in this business is big but this will depend on your persistence and resolve to really succeed in this business. You can tie up with floral boutiques, cake and bakeries and other party needs provider and leave a pamphlet or busin
15. How To Start Your HomeBased Private Investigator Business
Private investigator or detectives is a well-established occupation or business as their services is needed by some sectors like law practitioners, businesses and even individuals. Detectives gather information for these sectors for legal, financial and personal reasons.
Being an investigator requires skills such as interviewing and interrogation skills, good communication skills, observation and listening skills, problem-solving ability and a good network of contacts that will help you gain access to information and databases.
How To Start
Although there is no degree required to be an investigator, some agencies or clients require a diploma or degree. But it is important to have a background on law especially if you are gathering information for lawyers and such information will be used as evidence in court. Some state requires license for individual investigator. Visit your local authorities to pass such requirements.
Often, retired law enforcers and military men would either put up detective agencies or be a detective themselves. This is because they have a law background and have experience in the field. If you have no experience yet, then joining a detective agency and learning the ropes is the best place to start.
What You Will Need
1). License: Visit your local authority for a license to be a detective. Requirements per state vary but they usually require applicants to be 18 years or above, must have a clean criminal record, a US citizen, and must have transferable or actual experience.
2). Business Permit and license to operate: Determine the state requirements, fees licensing requirements, and apply for these permits.
3). Insurance or Bonds: Having insurance coverage will protect you financially just in case something goes wrong with an investigation. Approach your local insurance agent for the best coverage for this type of business
4). Services Offered: Investigation agencies can offer up to 30 varied types of services. It is best to focus on just about 10 types of services that are correlated to each other. It is best for your business if you focus on your specialty or what you have experience with. Some types of services that you can offer are: Insurance Fraud Investigator, Domestic Investigator, Criminal Investigator, Computer Forensic Investigator, and Defense Investigator
5). Join Associations: Joining an organization with the same interest is beneficial to your business because you have a source of information and advice from veteran detectives on how to go about a case you are working on. This will also serve as networking for your business.
6). Equipment: Acquire basic tools such as a camera, voice recorder, computer, and smartphones that will do all 3 in case of emergency. As your business grows, you can invest in more sophisticated tools. Invest as well in private investigator software that will help you access data base.
7). Marketing: Create a portfolio or proposal that you can send to businesses that would need your services. If you have an opportunity to network, bring brochures that detail your services and even pricing so that you can encourage more clients.
Return of Investment
Detective work is high paying due to the sensitivity of work performed so charging higher is possible. Target corporate clients like law offices, undercover detectives in malls, and insurance companies.
They give premium payment for your work. Keep records of all the business expenses you incur while on the job, including travel, lodging, and meals, or mileage either to be reimbursed by the client or to have for your business tax return.
As your business grows, you can add other services that you won’t normally offer. You can also set up other offices in other city/estate. This way your income potential can grow. Once you have established your name and reputation, the business will come knocking on your door.
16. How To Start Your Home Based Typing Business
Due to the economy, as it is today, some small businesses are cutting back on expenses and are outsourcing some clerical jobs. Being a freelance typist before required that you type at a certain speed and has to have optimum accuracy.
Thanks to computers and the internet, this simple typing part-time job has become a serious business for some people. All you need is a laptop, a good amount of patience and diligence on beating the deadline, and you’re set to accept typing jobs.
Although typing jobs have also evolved over the years, some employers will require your input and not just copying text from the original content. This is where this business becomes exciting.
Accepting a typing job nowadays may also entail editing or rewriting a document. They may even ask you to transcribe from a voice recording. You may also be asked to write resume’s, term papers, thesis, contracts, articles, newsletters, etc.,
So the skill set required for this job does not just entail fast fingers but also writing and listening skills and knowing different formats of the above-mentioned documents. They may even ask you to manage their emails and send emails to prospective clients. The possibilities are just endless.
How To Start
Sounds fun and easy? Not so. Although typing is easy, patience to go through documents upon documents that needed to be entered in computer is taxing, not to mention sitting for long periods of time. But this is a small price to pay if it would mean that you can work in the comfort of y our home and earn good money too.
To start your business, you have to identify what sorts of services you want to offer. As mentioned above, there are a lot of options for you:
1). Data Entry: This means copying and typing documents into the computer. Pretty simple but is usually low-paying. So the trick here is to be fast and accurate so you can finish more documents in an hour.
2). Typing Letters/Term Papers/Contracts: The fees for these may vary if you are asked to draft the content as well. Writing term papers may require subject knowledge and a lot of research. So if you have experience and inclination, then this can generate a lot of money for you. Contract writing usually entails a lot of legalities so don’t even volunteer if you are not an expert on law.
3). Writing Newsletters, Articles and Press Releases: If you are inclined in writing then this is a great opportunity for you. Seeking the businesses of bloggers may also be worthwhile as some bloggers need help in either encoding or content writing
4). Medical Transcriptionist: Having a background in medicine/science will play an important role with this type of service. Your job is to basically encode the medical history, findings, progress of a patient. Doctors are very busy and instead of updating their patient’s records manually, they would record it in a voice recorder and have someone transcribe it. Or sometimes, if they have a medical case, progress is also recorded and is later transcribed. Knowledge in medical speak will help you decipher those recordings easier.
5). Virtual Assistant: Answering phones for certain businesses whose phone trunk line is redirected to your phone. You will be giving out general information about that company and will keep a record of those who called and will forward it to the client. Your job may also entail scheduling meetings for the client.
6). Email Management and Marketing: A lot of businesses are using email as correspondence and they would get more than 500 emails a day and they would need you to sort the email for them or even answer them.
So once you have identified the type of services that you wish to offer to your clients, it will be easy to identify the start up cost, equipment and supplies that you would need. This will also help you identify which businesses you will target for your ads.
What You Will Need
- Business License: Since you will be dealing with businesses as clients, it is best if your business is registered. This way, you appear professional and are serious with your business.
- Space and Equipment: The great thing about this business is that it does not require a lot of space in your house and if you have a laptop, you can even work from a cafe or park if the mood suits you. You will need computer, internet connection, telephone and a headset. Having office supplies will also come in handy.
- Part Timers: Having a pool of part-timers will allow you to get more contracts. Also you can hire some people who have writing skills this way you can expand the services that you can offer.
- Marketing: Approaching some local offices will be a good start. Talk to doctors in clinics and they may be interested to get your services. Register in different websites who post data encoding/writing jobs online. And the best marketing tool for this business is word of the mouth or referral. The more satisfied customer you have the more business will come your way. So be accurate and conscious on meeting deadlines and you will be okay. Try to bid for data entry projects from various companies or even local government if it is available. You can find bidding websites that allows anyone to place a bid for free.
Return of Investment
The great thing about this business is that earning money is fast and easy. Start up cost is low and you can charge more if your services is diversified. If you’ve diversified you can earn from $100-$500 a week.
If you are already offering the above-mentioned services, then the best expansion plan is to add more employees to your pool of typists, writers, and transcriptionists. You can also set up a customer service center for small businesses like groceries, pharmacies, restaurants, and florists to take orders and answer general questions.
17. How To Start A Vending Machine Business
If you want to start a business with an average capital, little daily effort and a steady stream of income a vending machine business maybe a path worth venturing into.
But do not be think that this will be a get-rich easy endeavor; there is more to vending machine business that meets the eye. If commercial vending machines are a business that you are interested in, there is a wealth of information about vending machines and vending routes available online.
Some people prefer to get into the vending machine business by purchasing an established vending route. And most of the people who have dreamed about how to start a vending machine business have been hesitant to put their plans into action, as they cannot find answers to their questions.
A vending machine business comes with the following benefits: no experience required, flexible working hours, you can work full time, part-time, or even as an absentee owner, you never have to deal with your boss again, low overhead, good financing options for start-up vendors, excellent return on investment, immediate cash income and tax advantages.
If you are truly serious about this then here are some practical tips and some advice to get you on your way to start a vending machines business.
How To Start
The only thing that you can arm yourself with before diving head on in this type of business is research. Research first and foremost the location that would be the best place to put your vending machine this will be discussed further how this can make or break your vending machine business. Next is what type of product you will sell depending on the location of you have chosen. And of course you need to go and find what type of vending machine you will purchase.
What You Will Need
- Location: Before you begin your hunt for a vending machine, you should first secure the location where you will station it for optimum profit. This is a make-or-break factor in this business venture. It is integral to put the vending machine where human traffic (on foot) is frequent. The best places would be schools, malls, busy street corners, movie theatres, or any other place with lots of passersby. After you have done this, you should check with your local authorities to find out what taxes or tax reductions are applicable to this type of business in your area.
- Vending Machine: The distributors that deal with your area will be able to give you advice about getting into this type of business opportunity. Consult only trusted distributors as some scams regarding this business is definitely out there. Though this might cost you more, it will be worth your investment as larger distributors have better service and warranty than the smaller ones offering an overnight business success.
The vending machine sales that you might realize from your vending machine business are hard to predict. When you sit down to discuss the business with a vending machine distributor, you can get a good estimate of the costs involved in operating this type of business.
Keep in mind that you also have to deduct the commission that you pay the business owners of the locations where you place your machines. Or if you have the time, you can browse the internet for second-hand machines that are on sale. This way you won’t shed too much capital for your first machine.
- Merchandise: When you are getting started in this business it is best to try to find a unique product that you know customers want to buy. The lack of knowledge when starting a vending business can be very costly & stressful. Most people start out in the vending machine business with one or two gumball machines. When you want to start a vending machine business of your own, the first thing you need to do is find a vending machine distributor that has the type of vending machines you want to start with.
Return of Investment
Basically, a vending machine business is just like any other business that needs your good attitude and management in order to bring in a profit. This doesn’t mean the vending machine business is easy money.
Depending on where your put the vending machine, what products you are selling, how many machines you start with and your dedication to this venture you can rip a profit in as little as 1 month to 1 year.
Once you have made a profit to your vending machine business you can start expanding by purchasing more vending machines. Most business owners and managers will be very receptive if you approach them with your idea for coin-operated vending machines.
Explain how having a candy vending machine at their location may draw more business and will make their employees very happy. Since a lot of employees slip out to the nearest coffee shop for a cup of coffee, being able to offer specialty coffee at your customer’s location helps to sell him on contracting for your machines.
Due to the demand for machines and the constant rush everyone is in, the vending business has started to reap the benefits and has answered the desire of our new robotic world with a large variety of national brand name products in vending machines.
18. How To Start a Wedding Planning/Coordinating Business
Every year millions of couples are getting married in the United States. In fact, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, they expect event planning to increase at a much faster than average rate between now and 2020.
Because of this, it is considered a billion-dollar industry and you can have a slice of those earnings by setting up your own wedding planning business. An event planner has a median annual wage of $45,260 in May 2010.
An average wedding would cost about $25,000.00 or more depending on the size and grandeur according to Princeton Review. So what does a wedding planner do? Well, you plan, consult and coordinate. You are responsible for all aspects of the event so people skills, negotiating, networking, organizational and creative skills will play an important role to set up a successful event.
You will be dealing not just the bride and groom, but in most instance with the relatives and friends of the couple. So it is important that you are driven and focused that all ideas are processed and cohesive planning is set.
You have to be graceful in dealing with the blind curve that may come your way and even anticipate mishaps so that you have a contingency plan in place. You will also need to have a list of wedding vendors/suppliers to offer to your client. Remember, you will be the source of information for all stages of the wedding.
How to Start
Best way to start? Help out in a wedding of a friend or relative or work for a wedding planning business. This way, you will have a feel if the frantic planning and coordination is for you, not to mention the management of people’s emotions.
Remember, a wedding is a very personal event for the couple, and knowing how to empathize and having long patience will go a long way. This will also give you exposure to how the other wedding vendors/suppliers work and you can add them to your portfolio of business contacts.
What You Will Need
- Vendors/Suppliers: It is important that you have a good list of different vendors as this will make or break your business. You will need vendors for Catering, Florists, Dressmakers, Make-up Artists, Salon/Spa Services, Car/Limousine Services, Photographers/Video Services, Venue (hotel/restaurants), Hosts, Musicians, Temporary Staff services, etc. Having at least 10 vendors per category in your list will be handy for you. This way you can give options for the couple to suit their needs may it be for a cheaper option, style, religious affiliations and even time management if your preferred vendor cannot meet your deadline or is not available on the allocated date. So scout in your locality for the vendors and set up a meeting so that you can strike up a good deal with them.
- Portfolio: Since you haven’t set up a wedding yet, ask for pictures from your vendors of weddings that they have done previously. Create a cohesive lookbook that will give them a feel of what their event would be. This will help you close more deals. In the future, keep a picture of all the weddings that you have planned. This way, your potential client will have an idea of how you work.
- Startup Capital: Although this is a home-based business, you will still need capital. So putting up a substantial amount is necessary. You would need some office equipment such as a computer, printer, landline, cell phone, internet, and supplies to touch base with customers and vendors. It is also great if you can set up your own website. Although you can set up an office on your kitchen table, you can use a cafe or restaurant to meet up with your clients. This way, you are not pressured to set up an office.
- Legalities: Yes this is a home-based business but it does not exclude you to secure proper business licenses. It is also best to get the advice of a lawyer when it comes to drawing up contracts if you don’t have first-hand experience with contracts. This way, your interest is protected. You may also want to consult with a CPA on how to file taxes to avoid any unnecessary penalties. They may even help you manage your finances or how to apply for a bank loan. If you don’t have the funds to pay for a professional lawyer and CPA, then seek out the advice of friends who have set up a business or attend a training that is being given by government agencies for small businesses.
- Research: If you are not that creative, don’t sweat it. Looking at some videos or pictures of celebrity weddings will give you a fairly idea of how to plan a wedding. Also, your vendors will be the one to execute those creative designs but it is up to you to sell the idea to the couple. So sitting down with your florist, venue and caterers will help you a lot.
Another thing that you should be aware of is the different cultures of your clients. Since we are surrounded with different ethnicity, you are not required to know how they do their weddings, but it will impress them if you have background knowledge on how they do their wedding ceremonies and reception. You have to watch out for food preference, venue, and be sensitive to their religious affiliations. It would be great if you have lined up specific vendors that will suit their needs before meeting with the clients.
- Marketing and Networking: In this type of business, word of mouth will play an important role. So putting yourself out there will be substantial to your business. Always start with the people around you, friend and relatives. If you have helped in setting up a wedding make sure that people notice you, introduce yourself and you may even meet some people who are planning to get married or know of somebody who are getting married. From your portfolio, create a flyer that you can send to couples whom you know are planning to get married.
Ask for referrals. When meeting your vendors, ask them to refer you to a wedding event that they are doing.
- Set up accounts on networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Post pictures of your previous events and vendors so friends, relatives and neighbours are aware of your business.
- You can also join wedding symposiums, bridal shows and visiting clergy of various faiths as they may very well send business your way.
When setting up a tie-up with different vendors, you may have to pay them a percentage of your professional fee or may have to give discounts at the start. This is okay if it means that you will be given a start in your business.
- A Structure of your Event: Although events are not the same, it is good to establish a structure on how you will plan the wedding. Attention to detail and knowing the latest trends in weddings is the key. This way, you will look organized and knowledgeable and may impress the client. This will assure them that all areas of their event are covered and all needs are anticipated even before they thought of it.
You also have to set up a meeting for each preferred vendor for the couple. It is important that you are in these meetings as you will be the one following it up and knowing the preferences of the couple is very important. You will, after all, be acting on their behalf.
- Additional Personnel: Weddings can be small or big, since you want this to be a lucrative business, you need to anticipate big events. Having a pool of personnel that you can tap at any time will be valuable. You don’t need to hire them straight away. You can start with friends and relatives to help you out. You can also have a list of students who would like to do some part-time jobs. Time is of the essence when coordinating an event. So learning how to multiply yourself is a must. Good organizational skills will be of utmost importance.
Return of Investment
As a wedding planner/consultant, you can charge 15% to the entire cost of the wedding. Say a wedding would cost $25,000.00, and then you will be paid $3,750.00 for the project. Not only that, you can set up a deal with all your vendors that you will charge them 5%-10% on their professional fee for referring them to your client.
Also, a very satisfied client may even pay more than what was agreed on and they will send more business your way through referrals. So in one wedding, you can earn more than $5,000.00. If you set up at least 2 weddings in a month, that can be very lucrative earnings for a home-based business.
A good expansion for you is to accept other types of events, like Baptismal, Birthday party, Varmitzvah, Engagement party, Debut, Anniversary and even corporate events. You can also set up a new division were you can provide your own photography/video services by hiring photographers and work under your company umbrella.
Setting up a gift shop or wedding/corporate giveaway business can also be along your alley. If you are a crafty person, you will be able to give options on ideas that may not be commonly found in the usual gift shops. Since you will get to know your clients well, you can even personalize it based on their tastes and personalities.
You can also set up a venue for a wedding ceremony or reception if your funds will allow it. The possibilities for this business are just endless. It would also be beneficial to get a certification or join any event coordinating associations as this will add to your credibility and may push more business your way.
Also, don’t forget to do a post-event analysis. This way, you are aware of the good and bad things that happen to your events. You can use the start-stop-continue method. Start doing things that you’ve discovered are a better process for your event.
Stop any process, or behaviors that are not beneficial to you and continue the good practices that you have. You can also give feedback to your suppliers may it be good or bad so you can plan better for the next event.
Working from your home office not only provides an opportunity to earn money but also put forward numerous advantages in saving money.
First and foremost you can increase your tax write-offs by declaring home office space and rent. Then there are reduced clothing, traveling, and food expenses.
These significantly raise your expenses without you noticing them while working on-site in a company’s office. The profession in high-profile industries such as sales, corporate industries, law, banking, art galleries, etc. can mean high clothing expenses for suits and ties, dresses, shoes, jewelry, and accessories to maintain a presentable look.
Working at home not only lowers this cost but also allows for a more casual dress code. However, many make the mistake of making a habit of working in their pajamas which can sometimes be hard to resist. Since you work in the comforts of your own home traveling whether you own a car or commute to work daily is lessened.
The great bonus is you do not have to battle traffic daily which can be really stressful at times. Mealtimes when working in your home are less expensive, quicker, and healthier.
Starting a home-based career can be a wonderful solution for individuals who need to earn an income while having the opportunity to be closer to their families. Moms who work at home can have the opportunity to closely monitor their children and this can be very beneficial to everyone in the long run. You foster better relationships with your family while earning a living.
Truly there are myriad benefits to having a home-based career. However, the actual start-up may be challenging.
As with any business startup, think carefully about your goals and what you like to work on to create a new home business that works for you.