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Custom Furniture Covers

Give furniture a new life with custom covers.

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Business At A Glance

Custom Furniture Covers

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

Calling all seamstresses, the time is now to put your sewing skills to work and start to earn a living from creating custom fabric furniture covers. There are many patterns available at fabric shops for creating standard-size furniture slips or covers, or the furniture covers can be custom made on a made-to-order basis. Successfully marketing the business can be accomplished in many ways, including the following:
  • Building alliances and joint ventures with interior decorators for referrals to your business
  • Selling the furniture covers and taking orders for custom-made furniture covers at craft and home and garden trade shows
  • Advertising for business in traditional print media and on the internet
  • Working on a subcontract basis for an established furniture upholstery service or retailer of fine home furnishings

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Home Products & Services

Home Inspection

Are you detail oriented? Consider starting a home inspection service.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Home Inspection

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

If you have construction or remodeling experience and you like diagnosing house ailments, then you can give a home buyer sweet dreams–or at least let him know what he’s up against–as a home inspector.
You’ll work mostly for buyers, but also for sellers and with real estate agents, clambering around in attics, crawl spaces and basements, peering at plumbing and electrical components, air conditioning and heating systems, and checking out decks, pools and landscaping elements. You’ll then provide a written report or checklist of your findings. In these days when everybody seems to be lawsuit-mad, your service can solve problems before they arise, making the seller and realtor as happy as the buyer. And this business is poised for growth–real estate disclosure laws make inspections more important than ever, and mortgage lending firms and institutions often require inspections before handing out loans.

The advantages to this business are that you’re always out and about, and you get to see lots of different homes and exercise your mind, solving where-did-that-water-stain-come-from type mysteries. You’ll need extensive knowledge of homes and how they work (or don’t work)–foundations, walls, floors, roofs, plumbing, electricity, heating and air conditioning.You also must be able to diagnose major-appliance problems; outdoor components like pools, drainage, decks and landscaping; and invisible ailments like radon and lead-based paint. And you should be familiar with building and zoning codes and ordinances in your area. You’ll also need people skills to work with high-anxiety home sellers, overanxious home buyers, and real estate agents who may fear your findings will gum up a potentially sealed deal.

The Market

Your clients will be home buyers and real estate agents, mortgage lenders and attorneys who deal with real estate transactions, with the occasional home seller thrown in for good measure. Your best bet is to target realtors, attorneys and mortgage companies by sending your brochure, then following up with a phone call to cement your image in their minds. Give talks to real estate professionals on the benefits of your services. Place ads in the Sunday real estate sections of local papers. Get your business written up in local publications.

Needed Equipment

Most states don’t require a license, but you may want to join the American Society of Home Inspectors for startup credibility. You’ll need a ladder that reaches to most roofs in your area, flashlights, screwdrivers, an ice pick for testing for dry rot or termites, electrical diagnostic tools like circuit testers and volt meters, a moisture meter, water pressure gauge, gas leak detector and carbon monoxide detector. You’ll also need a checklist on which you can make detailed notes and a computer system with a laser or inkjet printer and the usual software on which to write them up. And don’t forget errors-and-omissions insurance as well as liability insurance and bonding.

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Home Products & Services

Specialty Rug Sales

Rugs may get walked all over, but that doesn’t mean customers don’t want them to look good.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Specialty Rug Sales

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

Here are two options for starting a businessthat retails Oriental, Indian and Persian rugs and carpets. The firstoption is to locate and secure a foreign supplier for the carpets andnegotiate an exclusive sales and distribution contract to representtheir products in the U.S.
The second option is to purchase secondhand,high-quality carpets and resell them for a profit. The second option issubstantially less capital intensive to start and operate. However, theprofit potential for the business is also somewhat limited to theavailability of a plentiful product source. Regardless of the way thebusiness is approached and established, the fact remains, handmadeEastern rugs and carpets are in very high demand by consumers andprofessional decorators, and often one single carpet can retail for asmuch as $10,000.

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Home Products & Services

Wooden Sash Windows

Keep windows looking good in the Georgian, Victorian kind of way.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Wooden Sash Windows

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

Many owners of Victorian and heritage homes will never make the change to new windows manufactured from aluminum or vinyl, regardless of how bad the condition of the original wood windows is. This fact is why starting a business that manufactures, sells, and installs wood sash windows is such a wise choice for a new enterprise.
 
As mentioned before, most owners of heritage homes would never even consider installing new windows manufactured from aluminum or vinyl. However, almost all would gladly replace the old wood windows in poor condition, with new wood windows that still retain and reflect the home’s original appearance and charm.The main qualification for launching this venture is to possess a good deal of carpentry experience and knowledge. The wood windows can be marketed directly to homeowners or to home renovation companies on a subcontract basis. A well-established wood window manufacturing business can easily generate profits in excess of $75,000 per year.

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