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Solar Tube Installations

Get into the specialty lighting business by installing solar tubes.

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Business At A Glance

Solar Tube Installations
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

Solar tubes are a low-cost alternative to installing skylights. These miniskylights are available in a few different sizes and are packaged complete with roof flashing, expandable tunnel, interior finishing ring, and all required installation hardware. What makes this a terrific business start-up is the fact that solar tubes are easy to install, require no permits or special tools, and cost the homeowner less than $600 for the complete installation, including the product. The benefit of the solar tube is that they can add a tremendous amount of natural light to areas that are normally dark, such as closets, stairways, bathrooms, and hallways.

The market for solar tubes is cations. Solar tubes are a relatively new product to enter the home improvement market. The potential growth is excellent and current competition is limited. The best way to promote the product and your installation service is to build a mobile showroom n a trailer, keeping it completely free from light inside the trailer with exception of a solar tube. Both you and your customers will be amazed at the amount of light that is generated by the solar tube, which of course is a great sales tool. requirements: Only basic construction knowledge and power tools are required to install solar tube skylights. Currently there are no regulations for the installation of solar tubes, but check with local building officials in your area. Note: A few of the solar tube manufacturers have a night light option. If you are considering providing this option to your customers, ensure that you are, or you have access to, a licensed electrician to complete the electrical hookups.

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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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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.

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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

One Hour Photo Lab

Do you enjoy seeing a finished product? Consider film development with a one hour photo lab.

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Business At A Glance

One Hour Photo Lab

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

Business Overview

In spite of the increasing popularity ofdigital imaging, print or negative photography will be around for manyyears to come. A good income can still be earned by starting andoperating a one-hour photo lab.

Of course the resourceful entrepreneurwill also provide customers with digital imaging services in additionto traditional film development services. Like any retail business,location will be a major consideration.

Good operating locations for aone-hour photo lab include stand-alone kiosks in malls, smallstorefronts in strip plazas, and kiosks within existing retail storessuch as grocery stores and pharmacies.

One-hour photo lab equipment iseasy to operate and most distributors of this equipment will includesome training when new or used photo lab equipment is purchased.

Thetitle of the business suggests that all film developing is completed inone hour or less. However, this is inaccurate as it is best to givecustomers film development options.

The faster they want their filmdeveloped the higher the costs. There are also incentives that you canoffer to secure new and repeat business such as two prints for theprice of one, a free roll of film with each three rolls developed, anda free 8-inch by 10-inch blowup of one picture per roll of filmdeveloped.

Also to increase revenues, be sure to establish drop-off andpick-up satellite locations. Satellite locations simply mean thatcustomers can drop off their film at various locations throughout thecommunity and pick up their photos at a later date.

You simply drive tothese location daily and pick up the film to be developed and drop itoff the next day when you return to pick up film again.

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