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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

Glass Block Installations

Specialize with your construction skills as a glass block installer.

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Business At A Glance

Glass Block Installations

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

Business Overview

Glass block is back in vogue for two reasons. The first: having glass block windows installed is a cost-effective way to beautify your home and add real designer flair. The second reason is that installing glass block into basement window areas is a great way to let the light shine in, and a the same time burglar proof windows. Starting your own glass block installation service does not require a lot in terms of investment or expertise. Almost all home improvement centers will now make up glass block on a custom order basis to fit any size opening. However, the installation techniques still do require some experience, but this can be self-taught starting with your home, or a friend or relative’s home. One thing is for sure; it does not appear as though glass block windows will be falling from popularity any time soon.

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Home Products & Services

Plant Stands

Give plants a place to grow without ruining floors.

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Business At A Glance

Plant Stands

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

Business Overview

Manufacturing and selling plant stands is not only an economical business undertaking to initiate, it’s also a business that can be easily operated from a home based workshop, with the potential to generate a sensational part-time income. The key to succeeding in a part-time business that manufactures and markets plant stands for indoor and outdoor use is to ensure the stands are of an unconventional design and that the construction material used to build the stands is also interesting. Once completed, the plant stands can be sold to specialty retailers and garden centers on a wholesale basis or directly to consumers via craft and trade shows, sales kiosks, and the internet.

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Home Products & Services

Chimney Repairs

A damaged chimney can be the source of unwanted fires or carbon monoxide intrusion. Keep people safe with a chimney repair service.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Chimney Repairs

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

Business Overview

Providing you have basic masonry skills and experience, starting a chimney repair service can be a very profitable business to own and operate. Brick and stone chimneys all require maintenance in order to stay structurally sound and perform to their design specifications.
 
The best types of chimney repairs to focus on are repairing or replacing damaged rain pots, rebuilding crowns, installing new base and counter flashing, and repointing and sealing brick and stone chimneys. The tools and equipment necessary for repairing chimneys are also very basic and include ladders, roof jacks, stone chisels, and a few hand tools. Providing you already have a vehicle, the business can easily be started for less than $1,000. Chimney repair services can be marketed to homeowners by designing and distributing door hangers and fliers describing your service.

Or you can work as a subcontractor providing roofing companies and home renovation contractors with chimney repair services for their clients. The raw and manufactured materials required for chimney repairs are extremely inexpensive and available at most building centers. Visiting used building material yards can supply you with all the old and various colored bricks that will occasionally be required to replace broken or missing bricks while repairing profitable business to operate. There should be no problem in maintaining a billing rate of $50 per hour to provide chimney repairs, as well as a markup of at least 50 percent on all the material required for the chimney repair.

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