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Home Inspection

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

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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

Interior and Exterior House Painting

Like the changing of the leaves, home owners are constantly wanting the latest color of the day.

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Business At A Glance

Interior and Exterior House Painting

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

The business of painting houses has been around for years, and will continue to produce excellent profits for the owners of house painting services for many years to come. Why? Simple.
 
Heights, ladders and slow tedious work are enough reasons to scare off even the most hardcore of do-it-yourself homeowners. House painting is a very simple business to set in motion and only requires a small investment to get going and even a smaller learning curve to master. Like most labor-intensive business ventures, you can pretty much be guaranteed of work regardless of economic conditions. Providing a free value-added service such as cleaning the gutters or windows while on the job site, is a great way to separate your company from the competition. Often, small, free value-added services will increase the numbers of referrals your business will receive.

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Home Products & Services

Window Boxes And Shutters

Your business future will be bright as you keep the light out with a shutter biz.

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Business At A Glance

Window Boxes And Shutters

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

Business Overview

Sales and installations of exterior window flower boxes and decorative window shutters is a fantastic little business to get going that can be started for peanuts and operated right from home on a full- or part-time basis. You can design and build your own products or purchase prebuilt window boxes and shutters. All that is required to install these items are a few basic tools and a ladder.
 
These windows boxes and shutters can be sold to homebuilders, architects, and homeowners. One interesting marketing method may be to pick a highly visible and attractive home in your community and offer these products to the homeowner for free in exchange for allowing you to use their home as a show home, ore reference home.This method will allow other potential customers to drive by to have a look at the dramatic difference that installing window flower boxes and shutters can have on the appearance of their homes. Giving away a few hundred dollars worth of installed products may return you a few thousand dollars in profits.

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Home Products & Services

Garage Organizers

For some, the garage has become the holding place for all their junk. If you like organizing, there’s a lot of garages that need your help.

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Business At A Glance

Garage Organizers

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

Millions of people can no longer fit the car into the garage because of the treasures (junk) that the garage seems to magically collect. This strange, but true force of nature can make you rich. To start your own garage organizer service requires no special skills or equipment other than some basic hand tools.
 
Ideally, you can start close to home by providing the service to family and friends, while building a sound referral base. Home improvement trade shows will also be a valuable source of leads, and a ‘before and after’ display can generate an enormous amount of interest in your products and services. The display can be designed and built for less than $1,000. The lack of competition in this industry should allow you to mark up your products such as shelving and storage cabinets by at least 40 to 50 percent, while maintaining an hourly rate for installations in the range of $25 to $30.

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