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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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errands-business

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

Freight Broker

Match shippers and transportation services as a freight broker.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Freight Broker

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

Business Overview

Trucking plays a major role in the nation’s economy–according to theAmerican Trucking Association, those big wheels generated $346 billionin gross revenues in the most recently calculated year, employed morethan 9.5 million people and hauled 6.5 billion tons of freight.

And 77percent of all American communities rely on trucks as their sole sourceof freight delivery. If you’ve got experience in the industry, youprobably also know that it’s the freight broker who keeps those trucksrolling by arranging for delivery of consignments large and small.

Ifyou love the song of the open road but you don’t want to be on theroad, then a freight brokerage may be just the business for you. As afreight broker, you’ll work with manufacturers, wholesalers anddistributors who need to get their products across town or across thecountry with the help of trucking companies.

You can specialize in LTL(less than a truckload) cargoes or in containerized ones. Theadvantages to this business are that you can work from home and it’s anindustry that’s unlikely to disappear–transportation will always be anecessity.

A background in the transportation industry is importantbecause you’ll need not only hands-on experience, but also contacts inthe field. If you lack this experience, work for another freightbrokerage until you learn the tricks of the trade.

You’ll also needexcellent organizational and time-management skills and the ability toget things moving quickly.

The Market

Your customers can be manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors ofany types of goods and materials. You can also target companies thatexhibit at trade shows or conventions and need booths and displaymaterials moved to various sites.

Place ads in trade magazines and onimport/export Internet sites. Send sales letters and brochures tomailing lists of prospective companies. Ask for referrals fromsatisfied customers and industry contacts.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need to be licensed by the Office of Motor Carriers (a divisionof the Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation),and you’ll be required to carry a $10,000 surety bond or trust.

Thenyou’ll want a computer with the usual office software, a laser orinkjet printer, and a fax machine.

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Business Services

Survey Service

Gather the data businesses need to succeed.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Survey Service
Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Starting a home based telephone survey service is a terrific new business venture to set in motion. A few of the best aspects about starting this type of business include
  • Homebased business opportunity with very flexible operating hours
  • Growth industry, proven and stable, and no previous experience or special skills requirements
  • Low initial startup investment and minimal monthly operating overheads
Once established, referrals and repeat business should drive the marketing. However, gaining clients to establish the business can be as easy as developing a direct-mail marketing program and distributing a marketing package to potential clients. The marketing package should include the various benefits that clients receive with you service, as well as a complete description of the service.

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