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Business Services

Photo Inventory Service

Delve into the world of databases, organizing and inventory with a photo inventory service.

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Business At A Glance

Photo Inventory Service

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

Every year Americans suffer billions of dollars in losses due to theft,fire and natural disaster, yet most people have no record of theirpossessions.

When damages occur from theft or natural disaster and theinsurance company asks for descriptions, serial numbers and otherdetails, victims are at yet another loss.

But if you have a camera andare willing to travel around town, you can save the day with a photoinventory service. You’ll take pictures of clients’ possessions andmark them with serial numbers and the purchase price or replacementvalue so that if a burglary or disaster occurs your clients areprepared.

The advantages to this business are that you can startpart-time on a shoestring, you meet lots of people, and you provideboth a valuable service and peace of mind for your clients.

Althoughyou don’t have to be an Ansel Adams, you do need to know the basics ofgood photography. You’ll also need to know the sorts of detailsinsurance companies are interested in–when you snap a photo of thatcomputer, for instance, you’ll want to make sure the model number isvisible.

The Market

Your clients will be individuals and businesses of all types. Anexcellent way to solicit trade is by establishing relationships withinsurance agents who can refer you to their customers–be sure to leaveplenty of business cards for agents to hand out.

Introduce yourself tothe detectives in charge of property thefts in your police or sheriff’sdepartments and give them your cards as well. You can also send outbrochures in direct-mail campaigns–a good time to do this is when arash of burglaries makes the morning papers.

And don’t forgetnetworking and giving talks to professional and civic organizations.

Needed Equipment

The biggest tool of your trade will be your camera. You can go withwhatever model you already have on hand, but you may want to invest ina digital camera, a computer, photo software, and a high-quality colorprinter.

Digital models can store hundreds of pictures at a time, whichsaves on film costs and time spent changing and labeling rolls–andthere’s no developing involved.

Or you may choose to go with a videocamera. You should also have a notebook to record the details to gowith your pictures and, of course, a supply of pens and pencils.

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Business Services

Errand Service Business Opportunity

Help busy people get through the day by providing an errand service.

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running-errands-for-people

Business At A Glance

  • Business: Errand Service
  • Start-up Costs: Minimum
  • Home Based: Can be operated from home.
  • Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
  • Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

Let’s face it; today’s busy lifestyles mean that a lot working people just don’t have time for even the simplest of errands, such as taking the family pet to the veterinarian for a routine checkup, buying AuntSue a birthday present, or picking up the kids after school.

Which is great news if you’re a multi-tasker looking to start your own simple,inexpensive, yet potentially very profitable business. An errand service can be operated with nothing more than a cell phone and reliable transportation.

Land clients by networking and by creating a simple marketing brochure explaining the services you provide along with your contact information.
Related: Start A Small Business, Become Self–Employed

The brochures can be pinned to community bulletin boards, hand-delivered to homes and businesses and distributed with the local newspaper.

A few promotional items such as pens and memo pads emblazoned with your company logo, name and telephone number given out to potential customers will go a long way as a daily reminder of your fast, reliable and affordable errand services.

This is the kind of business where growth is fuelled by referrals, so customer service and satisfaction are the most important goals.

The Market

Busy individuals who need a little help getting their day to day errands done. You can also market your services to small business owners.

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Business Services

Translation Service

Speak multiple languages? Go into the translating business.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Translation Service
Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

How to do you say ‘party of the first part’ in Spanish? If you know the answer, or if you know someone who does, then a language translation service might be just the business for you. Language translators are in big demand these days. International commerce is growing as fast as the internet, and while we may believe that English is the world’s linguistic choice, it’s not.

So people who can translate documents from one language to another are in high demand. As a language translator, you’ll interpret all sorts of documents, from books to private letters to product labels, but your greatest source of revenue will be legal and medical companies. You can specialize in the one or two languages you speak fluently, or you can hire other linguists to translate dozens of other tongues. You don’t actually have to speak anything other than English–you can function as the management and administrator for your bilingual freelance consultants.

The advantages to this business are that you can work at home, you can start part time, you’ll deal with all sorts of interesting people and materials, and if you like the nuances of languages, it’s always fascinating. You (or your consultants) will need a definite fluency in your specialty languages. High school French is not enough, especially if you’ll deal with legal and medical documents. An understanding of medical or legal lingo is also a plus so that your translated materials come out sounding like the real thing. You’ll also need good administrative and organizational skills.

The Market

Your customers can be anyone who needs something translated, but your best sources will be the legal and medical communities. You can also target book publishers, government institutions like welfare agencies and immigration services, insurance companies, and import/export firms. Send direct-mail brochures to targeted businesses. Place ads in trade publications and introduce yourself to supervisors and administrators at local hospitals and institutions.

Needed Equipment

Certification as a translator is a plus but not a necessity–if you’re a doctor, a nurse, an attorney, a paralegal or are otherwise well-versed in the lingo of the profession, you’ll be way ahead of your competition. You’ll need a computer with the usual office software, a laser printer, and a fax machine. There’s a variety of translation software on the market, but since they tend to translate verbatim regardless of context, they don’t really do the trick–in most cases you’re better off without them.

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Business Services

Telephone Answering Service

Give callers a live person to talk to with an answering service.

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Business At A Glance

Telephone Answering Service
Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

The only talents needed to start a home based telephone answering service are a pleasant telephone manner and excellent communication skills. Business owners, professionals and sales consultants are all starting to realize that customers want the personalized service of talking to a live person when they call a business, not a prerecorded message. Many business owners are turning to forwarding their calls to a telephone answering service after normal business hours, on weekends, during lunch breaks and when no one is available to take incoming calls.

Services provided by a telephone answering service include: answering incoming calls, answering basic customer questions, forwarding messages and often additional office services, such as sending and receiving faxes and e-mails. Rates are based on the number of services provided for clients, and standard nonbusiness-hour telephone answering rates start at about $200 per month. Securing 10 to 15 clients for the service could easily generate business revenues in the range of $3,000 to $5,000 per month.

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