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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

Furniture Steam Cleaning

Keep furniture looking new with a steam cleaning service.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Furniture Steam Cleaning

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

Are you searching for a business opportunity that can be started for peanuts, operated on a full- or part-time basis and has the potential to earn $30 per hour or more? If so, perhaps you should consider starting a furniture steam cleaning service.
 
A furniture steam cleaning service is very easy to get started, as the equipment needed is available in almost every community, and the business requires little experience or special skills.One of the best aspects of starting and operating this type of business is the fact that it can be operated on a part-time basis and expanded to a full-time business from the profits earned. Additionally, operating the business from home will enable you to keep monthly overheads to a minimum. This can be an advantage for undercutting steam-cleaning rates of the larger established services. As a quick start marketing promotion, print and distribute two-for-one furniture steam cleaning coupons.

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Home Products & Services

Satellite Dish Sales And Installation

Dish out some profits with this company.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Satellite Dish Sales And Installation

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Minisatellite dishes are in high demand byconsumers, as many of these systems can receive a few hundredtelevisions and radio stations for the cost of a basic television cableservice. There has never been a better time to start a business thatsells and installs minisatellite dishes, as the product and service isstill relatively new, yet well proven, and saturation of the marketplace is many years (if ever) away.

The first step to establishing thistype of business is to secure a sales and installation contract withone of the many manufacturers and subscription providers.The next stepis to effectively market the product and installation service, and thiscan be accomplished by building a direct sales team to represent theproducts and services, as well as utilizing all traditional advertisingmediums to gain consumer interest in the business. Additionally, besure not to overlook apartment and condominium buildings as potentialclients, as it is often easier to market to a captive audience once oneor two people are on board and have purchased the product and service.

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Home Products & Services

Window Shutters and Blinds

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

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Window Shutters and Blinds

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

Manufacturing interior and exterior wood window shutters is a very simple manufacturing business to establish and run. Best of all, only a small homebased workshop is required for manufacturing space. The demand for wooden window shutters and blinds is enormous, especially with recent news that plastic miniblinds can give off toxic fumes into a home. The demand for exterior wooden window shutters used for home decoration and shutter replacements for heritage home renovations is also very large. The completed shutters can be sold to national home improvement center retailers on a wholesale basis, or the window shutters can be sold directly to homeowners on a custom order and installation basis. The profit margins can be terrific on this type of product, as there is not a lot of competition in the industry that focuses on manufacturing wooden window shutters and blinds exclusively.

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