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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

Bug Screen Repair

Everyone has screens on their windows, and you can be the person to help maintain them.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Bug Screen 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

Starting a screen repair and replacement business could put you on the road to riches, especially in light of the recent mosquito-borne West Nile virus and ever-present threat of killer bees. You will need basic tools and materials to get started’-a miter saw, screen rollers, various screen replacement parts, and a selection of fiberglass and aluminum screen rolls in various widths.
 
The business can be operated from an enclosed trailer or van to provide protection from inclement weather for onsite screen repairs and installations. Or, you can operate from a homebased workshop and pick up the screens, repair them at the workshop and return to install them. To market your service, contact companies and individuals who require screen repairs and replacements on a regular basis. These include residential and commercial property management firms, condominium strata corporations, apartment complexes, government institutions and renovation contractors. The profit potential is excellent, as there is limited competition and consumer demand for screen repairs and replacements is high.

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Maintenance

Hardwood Floor Sanding

You’ll always cover your tracks with a hardwood floor sanding business.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Hardwood Floor Sanding

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

Many do-it-yourself homeowners are more than happy to stain hardwood floors. However, when it comes to sanding new hardwood floors or sanding off old finishes and scratches from old hardwood floors, that’s another story entirely.
 
Let’s face it, sanding hardwood floors can be a backbreaking task, not to mention the fact that it requires a certain amount of experience, skill, and ability to sand the floors correctly. Perhaps these are good reasons for starting your own hardwood floor sanding service. As previously mentioned, there is a skill requirement that must be taken into account. However, with practice on your own hardwood floors, this skill can definitely be learned in a relatively short period of time. To keep start-up costs to a minimum you can rent the required floor sanding equipment as needed, until the business is profitable and established. Generally, floor sanding is billed on a per square foot basis, so you will want to check current rates in your local area. Successfully marketing a hardwood floor sanding service can be achieved by promoting your service to the end user or by subcontracting your services to local construction and renovation companies. Once the business is established, the owner-operator of this type of specialty construction service should have no problems in creating a yearly income in the range of $40,000 to $50,000.

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Maintenance

House Painting

Get out your old painting jeans and ladder to start a house painting business.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

House Painting

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

Business Overview

One of the hallmarks of a well-kept home or prosperous business is afresh, professional coat of paint. But most people hate painting–ittakes a lot of time and skill to do the job right–plus you have tospread drop cloths over everything, climb around on ladders orscaffolding, and hope you don’t get paint in your hair.

But if you likepainting–you love the transformation as a dingy room or buildingbecomes clean and new–and you’ve got the talent and experience todeliver a first-class job, then this could be the business for you. Theadvantages to this business are that you can work from a home base,your startup costs can be relatively low, and if you like the feelingof accomplishment that comes from a good day’s physical labor, it canbe both rewarding and lucrative. You’ll need experience in paintinginteriors and exteriors and in working with different types of paintsand primers. You’ll also need some people skills in dealing withvarious personalities and the ability to estimate a job and come out onthe winning end.

The Market

Your targets will be homeowners, apartment buildings and condominiumcomplexes, businesses large and small, interior designers, and realestate agents who may need help with a vacant property. You may want tospecialize in certain types of painting–homeowners and interiordesigners will go for decorative treatments like sponge-painting, fauxaging or stenciling–or, if you live in a historic area, you canspecialize in ‘painted ladies,’ those glorious, gaudy Victorians,Colonial homes, or whatever suits your neighborhood.

Using authentichistoric colors for antique homes is very popular these days, so youcan offer color consultation and expertise as part of your historicalservice. To sell to this type of client, send brochures to historichome associations or introduce yourself to homeowners and contractors.To target other types of prospects, send brochures; leave fliers onhomeowners’ doorsteps; and network with interior designers, contractorsand real estate agents. You can also place ads in local papers. If youspecialize in decorative-painting techniques, get your company writtenup in local publications, give talks to local groups and volunteeryourself as a guest on a local radio chat show.

Needed Equipment

You can start off with a couple sizes of ladders, an assortment ofbrushes, rollers and paint trays and perhaps a sprayer and a breathingmask. As you grow, you can branch out to heavy-duty sprayers andcompressors and a set of scaffolding. You’ll also need a pickup truckto carry you and your equipment to jobs.

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