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Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Don’t worry about heavy flooring supplies–refinish the hardwood floor that’s already there.

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Business At A Glance

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

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

Fifty or 60 years ago, if you had hardwood floors it meant that you couldn’t afford carpeting, and everyone who had the funds put heavy pile over those burnished boards.
Nowadays, hardwood floors are valued for the beauty and warmth they add to a room. Homebuyers who find an older house with original hardwood floors count themselves lucky, and owners of new homes often request that the builder install wood flooring. But after years of wear and tear–even when buried beneath carpeting–those gorgeous floors can look downright dingy. If you like working with wood, restoring ugly ducklings to their rightful titles of flooring beauties, then a hardwood floor refinishing business might be for you. The advantages to this business are that you can work from home, you can start part time with relatively low costs, and you get the deep-down glow that comes from giving new life to fine wood. Hardwood floor refinishing is an art–you should know how to read wood, whether it’s healthy or not, suffering from moisture or dryness, and how it lives in the home it’s in. You’ll need a good working knowledge and solid skills with your equipment and materials, including polyurethanes, varnishes and stains.

The Market

Your customers will be home and apartment owners, remodeling contractors and interior designers. You can generally figure that homes and apartments built prior to the late 1950s will have hardwood floors–target neighborhoods of these homes and leave fliers on doorsteps or as door hangers. Send fliers to interior designers and contractors, then follow up with phone calls to reinforce your company in their minds. Leave cards or fliers at neighborhood hardware or home improvement stores (larger warehouse-type centers don’t usually allow this). Get your company written up in the real estate or home section of your local newspaper. Network in your community.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need a drum floor sander, an edger, a buffer with steel wool pads, and a reliable vehicle like a pickup truck to get you and your equipment to jobs.

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Mobile Mechanic

Make car repairs easy on your customers by going to them.

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Business At A Glance

Mobile Mechanic

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

Business Overview

Everyone’s experienced that grim sensation of rushing out to the car inthe morning only to discover that it won’t start, or being stuck in thesupermarket parking lot or on the side of the highway. Not only haveyou lost your means of transportation, but you’ve got to deal with allthe logistics of having the vehicle towed to a repair shop, thenfinding your way back home or to work.

But if you’re one of the luckyfew who can deal with these problems and you like solving automotivemysteries, then you can save the day as a mobile mechanic. You’ll takeyour expertise and your tools directly to people’s homes, workplaces orwherever the car has decided to stall. In today’s hectic, hurriedworld, you can help your customers not only by fixing automotive ills,but also by allowing them to remain at home or the office while youwork. The advantages to the mobile mechanic business are that–unlikemost auto repair businesses–you don’t need employees, and if you likebeing an automotive physician, this can be a satisfying, stimulatingcareer. It’s also gratifying–people are appreciative when you gettheir baby back on the road, and doing it on their turf makes you evenmore of a miracle-worker. You’ll need expertise and experience in theautomotive repair industry–your customers will need as quick a fix aspossible, so you won’t be able to spend hours tinkering under the hood,hoping to hit on the solution. A strong analytical sense is alsoimportant; you’ll need to be able to decide who needs you first, secondand then on down the line.

The Market

Your customers can be anybody with wheels. Target the average driver onthe street as well as corporations and institutions that will bedelighted to have you arrive on-site so their employees don’t need tobe away from their desks. RV parks and private campgrounds are alsofertile grounds for customers–people with boats or recreationalvehicles always need some sort of assistance, and people who are livingin them have a hard time leaving them at the auto repair shopovernight.

Hotels and motels can also be good customer sources becauseout-of-town guests with car woes have no idea where to turn for experthelp and are usually pressed for time. Deliver your business cards toowners or managers of all these businesses and explain the advantagesof your services. A promotional item like a refrigerator magnet or penemblazoned with your company name can also help keep you in mind whenvehicle troubles arise. Place an ad in your local Yellow Pages. Getyour business written up in local publications. If you live in atourist-oriented area, introduce yourself to local visitor assistancecenters and leave cards. Put your logo with a large, legible phonenumber and a description like ‘mobile mechanic’ on your vehicle sopotential customers can spot you on your rounds.

Needed Equipment

In most states, you’ll have to be a certified mechanic–be sure tocheck with the proper business licensing authorities before you roll onthe road. You’ll need a set of mechanic’s tools, a multimeter(ohm/voltmeter), a diagnostic scanner and of course a vehicle to carrythem and you to jobs. You’ll also need a cellular phone so customerscan call wherever you are and a flat-rate manual and on-boardcalculator for determining job charges.

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Miniblind Cleaning Service

Put your attention to detail to work when cleaning miniblinds.

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Business At A Glance

Miniblind Cleaning Service

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

Almost everybody’s got at least one set of miniblinds in their homes oroffices–and everybody who has them also has a major problem with thedust and grime that sticks to blind surfaces and defies soap and water.You wash one side and dirt drips to the other. Tackle that side and youwind up with globby streaks on your first side.

But you can conquerdirt and prove that grime doesn’t pay with a miniblind cleaningservice. You’ll roll to customers’ homes with your ultrasonic cleaningsystem on board and give each miniblind a maxi shine. The advantages tothis business are that you’re always on the go so there’s no time toget bored in one place and there’s plenty of room for growth. You’llneed experience or training in ultrasonic miniblind cleaning, which youusually receive when you purchase your machine, and the marketingskills to reach customers who may not be aware that systems like yoursexist.

The Market

Your customers can be both residential and commercial. Tackle them byplacing ads, perhaps with a discount for the first set of blinds, incoupon mailers or with a direct-mail campaign. You can visit smallbusinesses directly, leaving your flier and business card, and placeads in the Yellow Pages and your local newspaper.

Needed Equipment

Your major piece of equipment, of course, is the ultrasonic machine,but you’ll also need the cleaning solutions that go with it and areliable utility vehicle like a van to transport it and you around town.

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Small Engine Repair

Use engineering experience to rev-up a plan for this small business idea.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Small Engine Repair

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

Mechanically inclined entrepreneurs have theopportunity to make fantastic full- or part-time cash repairing outdoorpower equipment and small engines, right from a fully equippedhomebased workshop, or from a small commercial storefront. Even if youdo not have previous small-engine repair experience, there are numerousschools offering in-class and correspondence small-engine repairtraining, such as the one listed below.

The list of equipment you canrepair is almost unlimited: lawn mowers, outboard motors, gas trimmers,lawn tractors, snowmobiles, snow blowers, leaf blowers, and chainsawsare only the tip of the iceberg. There are additional revenue sourcesas well. The first is to establish a certified-warranty repair depotfor outdoor power-equipment manufacturers. The second is to buysecondhand outdoor power equipment in need of repairs at dirt-cheapprices, fix it, and sell it for a profit right from your shop. And thethird additional revenue source is to rent outdoor power equipment andtools to local homeowners and contractors. Combine the three with therepair side of the business and you could easily generate in excess of$100,000 per year in sales.

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