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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

Furniture Delivery and Assembly

Put your muscle and handyman skills to use by delivering and assembling furniture.

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Business At A Glance

Furniture Delivery and Assembly

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

Starting a furniture delivery and assembly service is the perfect new venture for the handyperson with a truck and basic tools to get rolling. The business can be managed from a home based office and the fixed operating overheads are minimal.
 
Get started by contacting local furniture and office supply stores in your community to see if they are currently providing their customers with a delivery and assembly option. If not, strike a deal to provide their customers with the service and you’re in business. Moving companies are also a good source of work, as there is a lot of furniture assembly to be done after a move. Outside of a suitable delivery vehicle and moving carts, the only other requirement is liability insurance.

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Home Products & Services

Residential Cleaning

Help get homes spic and span with a residential cleaning business.

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Business At A Glance

Residential Cleaning

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

Business Overview

Residential cleaning is a multibillion-dollar industry, and gettingyour piece of this very lucrative pie is very easy. Cleaning requiresno special skills, start-up investment and equipment costs are minimal,and there is no shortage of work.

Residential cleaners perform dutiessuch as dusting, vacuuming, washing surfaces, mopping floors, polishingmirrors and fixtures, and you may also choose to offer interior windowwashing. For the most part, residential cleaners supply all cleaningproducts and equipment needed to perform these services. Ideally, youwant to land customers who will be using the service on a regularbasis’daily, weekly, monthly, instead of only occasionally. Market yourservices with flier and coupon drops, as well as by running classifiedadvertisements in your local newspaper. Referrals will also make up alarge percentage of new business, so quality and excellent customerservice are musts. Expanding the business requires no more thansubcontracting cleaners with their own transportation to work on anhourly rate or an income-splitting basis. On average, most cleanerscharge in the vicinity of $15 to $25 per hour.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need to invest in things like a vacuum cleaner, buckets,dusters, mops, rags, cleaning solvents, a stepladder, and reliabletransportation.

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Home Products & Services

Roof Trusses

Help homebuilders get their work done quickly by providing prefab roof trusses.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Roof Trusses

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Most new home construction now utilizespre-engineered and built roof trusses, as opposed to traditional rafterframing to form the roof structure of the house. This type of framingconstruction is faster and generally costs less money than rafterframing, making it a popular construction choice for contractors. Thetarget market for this product is general contractors, home renovationcompanies, and architects. Setting introduction meetings with theowners of these firms is the best route to take in promoting andmarketing the business. Additional considerations in establishing abusiness that manufactures roof trusses will be business location,equipment requirements, and most importantly, learning local buildingcodes and regulations in terms of roof truss manufacturing.

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