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Business Services

Utility Auditing Service

Help clients save money by auditing their utility use and bills.

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Business At A Glance

Utility Auditing Service
Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.

Business Overview

For businesses that use large amounts of utilities, fees can be truly outrageous, especially when you realize that companies routinely pay thousands–even millions–of dollars for incorrectly billed phone, water, gas and electric services. Meters get read improperly, amounts miscalculated, or the wrong data entered. And because most accounts payable people have neither the time nor the understanding to interpret the jumble of taxes and charges at the bottom of each bill, all this money gets unnecessarily paid out over and over again.

But if you’re a detail-oriented person who likes getting to the bottom of financial matters, you can save the day as a utility and phone bill auditor. You’ll not only check for billing errors but also analyze clients’ usage patterns and pinpoint areas for savings, and recommend discounts and alternative services that can save money. The advantages to this business are that you can start part time with low costs, you won’t have much competition, and it’s recession-proof. It’s also a good sell to potential clients because they don’t pay you anything unless you find refundable errors or ways to save money–your fee is a portion of the refund or savings they get from your expertise.

You’ll need a clear understanding of how phone and utility service billings work–from tariffs to taxes to customer, energy and fuel charges. And since you’ll make at least part of your money by recommending discounts or alternative companies, you should have up-to-the-second knowledge of the various suppliers available in your area and their rates and discounts or other perks. And you should have the financial creativity to design and recommend money-saving alternatives for your clients.

The Market

Your clients can be businesses of all sizes and descriptions, but your best bet will be to aim for high energy consumers like hospitals, hotels, restaurants, schools and other institutions, dry cleaners, coin laundries, and 24-hour supermarkets. Direct-mail sales letters and brochures to these companies, then follow up with phone calls. You can also send brochures to business consultants, accountants and others who can refer you to their clients. Network among professional and civic organizations and write articles for local publications.

Needed Equipment

About all you need to get started is a computer with a laser printer, the usual office software and a good calculator.

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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

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

Store Display Cases

Help clients make their products the center of attention with a store display case biz.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Store Display Cases
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

Starting a manufacturing business that specializes in custom-designed and constructed store display cases and fixtures is a fantastic business that can be set up and conducted right from a homebased workshop. There are many predesigned and prebuilt display cases available to retailers. However, often merchants require display cases and store fixtures that have to be specially constructed to highlight or merchandise their inventory. There are a few marketing techniques that can be used to promote the business including joining retail business associations, networking with the association members to gather potential leads, and establishing alliances with companies that specialize in commercial store openings and renovations. Both can become an excellent source for new business and business contacts.

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