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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

Waterproofing Service

Help protect your clients’ property from the elements with a waterproofing service.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Waterproofing Service

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 waterproofing service forresidential homes means that you can specialize in one or twoparticular types of waterproofing, such as concrete foundations orsolariums. Or, the service can focus on waterproofing solutions ingeneral for residential homes.

Waterproofing services can be promotedand marketed to both residential homeowners and property managementcompanies by employing traditional advertising and marketing mediumsand methods. The service can also be offered to renovation andconstruction companies on a subcontract basis.

The key to success inthis type of repair business is to have a good working knowledge ofconstruction practices and the ability to properly assess water ingressproblems. As this type of repair business is highly specialized, trueprofessionals will have no problem in creating a business income thatcan easily surpass $100,000 per year. A great additional revenue sourcefor the service is to also become an exclusive agent representingmanufacturers” waterproofing products. Many of these types ofspecialized waterproofing products can be used in your business, aswell as sold to architects, contractors, and the general public.

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Maintenance

Fabric Restoration

Are you great at cleaning and mending? Try out fabric restoration.

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Business At A Glance

Fabric Restoration

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

Fabric restoration is big business for both residential and commercial applications, mainly because, if you stop to think about it, fabric covers just about everything in the home and office. Working from a well-equipped van on a mobile basis, you can repair and restore torn, cracked, faded, stained and burned fabrics like leather, suede, vinyl, cloth, plastic, carpet and velour.
Market your fabric restoration services through traditional advertising mediums like the Yellow Pages and classified ads and build working relationships with other businesses that have the potential to utilize your services on a regular basis. These businesses include hotels, motels, movie theaters, hospitals, carpet cleaners, furniture stores, boat dealerships, car and recreational vehicle dealerships, bus and limousine companies and restaurants. There is quite a bit of learning to be done, which makes starting a franchise operation a good choice because training is provided. At the same time, entrepreneurs with handyperson skills can master the trade on their own through trial and error and practice, practice and more practice.

The Market

Motels, hotels, movie theaters, hospitals, carpet cleaners, furniture stores, boat dealerships, car and recreational dealerships, bus and limousine companies and restaurants.

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Maintenance

Fence Repairs

Help complete the perfect picture by fixing the white picket fence.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Fence 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

Fences are very easy to repair, and securing work for a fence repair service is even easier. Design a standard fence repair estimate form, leaving a blank area for the description of the repair to be completed.
 
Once you have printed 50 or so of these estimate forms, simply start driving around your community in search of fences that are in need of repairs. The completed fence repair estimate can be left attached to the homeowner’s mailbox with a business card and brief cover letter explaining your fence repair service. Aim to close 25 percent of the fence estimates that you complete, and I will guarantee that you can make more than $25,000 per year repairing fences, which is not bad for a business that can be started for less than $1,000.

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