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Private Investigator

Get paid to use your nosy nature as a private investigator.

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Business At A Glance

Private Investigator

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

As a private investigator, you’ll delve into the secrets of people’slives and solve mysteries, but you’ll spend far more time on the phoneand at your computer than any fictional private eye ever does, and oddsare you’ll never be involved in high-speed chases or shootouts with badguys. Instead, you’ll perform background checks on prospectiveemployees, tenants, business partners and marriage mates; do skiptraces (missing-persons searches) on parents who owe child support orpeople who’ve left town owing money, investigate insurance claims, andnose out evidence for lawsuits. You can specialize in any of theseactivities, or in finding lost loves, children abducted by noncustodialparents, or corporate fraud. If you’re a computer whiz, you canspecialize in hacker crimes and advise companies in online security.

The advantages to this business are that it’s creative, challenging,glamorous if not conventionally exciting, and reuniting people withloved ones or finding criminals who can be brought to justice can bevery rewarding. You’ll need dogged self-motivation, and you’ll requirehigh levels of creativity and intuition to guide you to new andinnovative ways of obtaining information when normal channels fail. Youshould also have A-plus people skills, the ability to sift truth fromprevarication, and a healthy dose of self-confidence–you’ll deal withall sorts of characters, and not all of them will want to talk to youor tell you the real story.

The Market

Your clients can be attorneys who handle criminal or civil cases,insurance companies, apartment complexes, corporations and privateparties with a variety of mysteries to solve. Solicit all of theseentities, except individuals, by sending your sales letter and brochurein a direct-mail campaign, then following up with phone calls. The bestway to reach individuals is through an ad in the Yellow Pages. You canalso develop clients by networking among professional and civic groupsand giving talks or seminars.

Needed Equipment

In most states, you’ll need a private investigator’s license, whichrequires you to have experience in a similar field–law enforcement inthe public or military sector, collections, claims adjusting, sometimesinvestigative journalism, or of course a background in a privateinvestigative agency. To set up your office and get going, you’ll needa computer with a laser or inkjet printer, the usual office software,internet access, and a fax machine.You should also have a camera or avideo camera, a tape recorder, and a pocket organizer or notebook forkeeping track of expenses, which you’ll bill to your clients.

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Business Services

Errand Service Business Opportunity

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

Entrepreneur

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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

Locksmith

Help people in their time of need–when they’re locked out.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Locksmith

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Working as a locksmith on a mobile basis,from home, or from a retail storefront, you can offer customers a widerange of locksmithing services ranging from key cutting, installing newpassage sets, emergency entries, sales of locks, safes, and relatedequipment and installation.

In the United States there are more than30,000 locksmiths, of which 50 percent are self-employed and reportingearnings in excess of $50,000 per year after expenses. Needless to say,the time and money invested in locksmith training is money well spent.

In both the United States and Canada, locksmiths are required to belicensed and bonded, but all states and provinces have their owntraining and licensing requirements. You can contact the associationslisted below to inquire about training and licensing requirements inyour area.

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Business Services

Customer Service Training

Have a knack for impeccable service? Teach companies’ employees to deliver.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Customer Service Training
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

We have all been in situations where we have been treated poorly by a food server, service manager, receptionist or product installer. The end result of such an encounter is typically a vow to never return to or refer that particular business again. Rude and poorly trained employees cost companies millions of dollars each year in potential future business and referrals.

The companies that benefit from this are the ones that take proactive measures to ensure their staff has received proper customer service and appreciation training. You can earn an incredible income by starting a consulting service that provides companies, organizations and associations with various customer service training programs that have been specifically designed to meet their individual needs and that target how to become a good, helpful and customer-appreciative employee.

To get started, decide if your instruction program will focus on one specific industry for training, such as food servers, or be a general instruction program that trains all service employees, regardless of the industry or position they work in. Once you have chosen an operating format, the next step is to design and publish an instruction manual and course description that will become the basis of the program.

This step is extremely important, as it is the foundation for the entire business venture. The manual should be designed in such a way that it is a comprehensive ‘A to Z’ program that covers all the bases in customer service and customer appreciation training and can be easily and quickly customized to meet individual client needs. The training programs can take place at client locations during nonbusiness hours in a group or one-on-one format.

A prerequisite for starting this type of business is to be a customer service specialist. While this does not mean that you must possess a specific certificate, it does mean that you must posses a great deal of customer service experience, common sense, and a creative imagination to develop role play sketches for the purpose of training.

Market the service by joining local business groups to network for clients, as well as build alliances with other types of employee training services that do not presently provide clients with customer service training options. Fees for the service will be in the range of $40 to $60 per hour, based on the average training program.

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