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Maintenance

Home Maintenance and Repair

Keep clients’ homes in tip-top shape with a home maintenance and repair business.

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Business At A Glance

Home Maintenance and Repair

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

Business Overview

If you’re the type who can (and likes to) do just about anything around the house–mend a leaky faucet, nail down those sagging shingles, paint a wall, unstick a sticking door, repair a broken cabinet or build a garbage can enclosure, then this might be just the business for you.
You’ll be on-call in your neighborhood for all those jobs that aren’t quite big enough to hire an expensive contractor but are beyond the homeowner’s expertise or time constraints. This is a business with room for growth: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spent nearly $43 million on home maintenance and repairs in a single recent year. The advantages to this business are that you can work from home, you can start on a shoestring, you’re always doing something different, and it’s gratifying. People are delighted when you can save them money by doing the job yourself and appreciative of skills that they don’t possess. You’ll need a variety of home-repairs skills–everything from minor plumbing to minor electrical to painting and carpentry. You’ll want people skills because you’ll be dealing with a variety of personalities on their home turf, and a good sense of logistics to help you determine which jobs to schedule in what order.

The Market

Your customers will be mostly homeowners, but you can also target owners or managers of small apartment buildings or condominium complexes who don’t have a maintenance person on staff, and small shopkeepers and real estate agents who may need help with a vacant property. Deliver fliers detailing your services to potential customers by tucking them under doormats or making them into door hangers. (Don’t place them in mailboxes–the U.S. Postal Service gets very upset about this.) Place ads in your local newspaper and in your neighborhood Yellow Pages. For small-business commercial customers, hand-deliver fliers or brochures and explain your services. You may not get any takers the first time you visit, but don’t get discouraged. A repeat visit or two can often seal a deal.

Needed Equipment

In some states, you’ll need a contractor’s license, so be sure to check with your local contractor’s board or commerce department before you start. You’ll want to be bonded. And you’ll need the handyperson’s stock-in-trade: hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, grip vises, flashlights, a cordless saw, a stepstool and ladder, and paint brushes and rollers. You should also have a pager so customers can reach you during the day and a pickup truck for making house calls.

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Maintenance

Siding Installations

Be a handyman with a niche. With low startup costs, this could be a great business opportunity.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Siding Installations

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

Siding sales and installations are about asstraightforward as a home improvement business start-up can get. Sellthe siding, and install the siding. Pricing for siding products andinstallations are generally based on a per-square basis (one squareequals 100 square feet). There are, like any home improvement orrenovation service, upgrades to the standard package that can be madeavailable to the consumer.

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Maintenance

Fencing Installations

Fencing installations can surround you with plenty of opportunities from property owners.

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Business At A Glance

Fencing Installations

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 desire to keep kids and pets inside a property, and unwanted trespassers outside a property, has created a big demand for companies that provide property fencing installation services.
 
The starting point is to first determine the fencing materials and style of fencing your fence installation service will be installing. There are various types of materials used in fencing including cedar wood, pressure treated wood, stone, brick, steel or cast iron, recycled plastics, cedar rail, chain link and aluminum.

Likewise, there are also various methods that can be employed to promote and market a fence installation service, such as subcontracting for construction and renovation companies, direct retail sales via advertising and ‘installations only’ for home building and renovation centers. Perhaps your fence installation service could be different from competitor’s by offering the service of installing the fence posts only and supplying the prebuilt fencing panels for the homeowner to complete the installation. This method would save the homeowner money, while having the difficult portion of the job, which is the installation of the fence posts, completed professionally.

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Maintenance

Mobile Mechanic

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

Entrepreneur

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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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