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Pest and Critter Control

If you don’t get grossed out by creepy crawlies, help people get rid of them.

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Business At A Glance

Pest and Critter Control

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

You can cash in on the booming pestmanagement and critter control industry by starting your ownpest-control service. You’ll be in good company, considering that thereare an estimated 65,000 people working in the pest-control industry inthe United States.

Specialize in ridding homes, offices, and commercialbuildings of pesky insects such as termites, roaches, spiders, ants,and bees. Or concentrate on ridding your clients’ properties of largercritters such as squirrels, snakes, rats, mice, and raccoons. For themore ecologically-minded client, some services even provide livecatch-and-release services for the removal of raccoons, snakes, skunks,and squirrels. In short, pest-control services locate, identify,destroy, catch, control, or repel pests by applying chemicals, settingtraps, installing physical barriers, or by manual removal techniques.Keep in mind that laws in both Canada and the United States requiretraining and licensing before you can offer customers pest-controlservices, especially those involving the application of pesticides.

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Maintenance

Sandblasting Service

Help erase the sands of time by blasting it with more sand.

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Business At A Glance

Sandblasting 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

There are two approaches that can be takenwhen considering starting a sandblasting service. The first approach isto operate a sandblasting service from a fixed location. The secondapproach is to purchase a van and operate the service on a mobilebasis. The second option is less costly to establish.

Operating amobile sandblasting service will also enable access to a larger varietyof sandblasting work. The cost to purchase basic sandblasting equipmentis minimal, and the required equipment is generally available atindustrial supply centers. There are many different types ofsandblasting work that can be secured in every community.

However, inthe spirit of being unique and in an attempt to limit competition andseek a niche, pinpoint one particular sandblasting specialty, such asheadstone sandblasting. It is a common practice for headstones to beinstalled in cemeteries while the person they are intended for is stillalive. When the appropriate time arrives, the headstone is completedwith the date sandblasted into the headstone at the cemetery. Thebusiness is best marketed by visiting all the monument companies inyour community and offering this type of mobile sandblasting work.Current rates are in the range of $30 to $60 per headstone and each onerequires one to two hours to complete.

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Maintenance

Carpet and Upholstery Service

This maintenance business is in constant demand.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Carpet and Upholstery 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

Here’s how it happens–the kids get a little carried away with the Kool-Aid, dad tracks in dirt from the garden, and the dog doesn’t quite make it to the backyard for his morning romp. And all of a sudden, the battle of the dirt transforms that pretty beige carpet into one ugly mud puddle.
Those rentable carpet shampooers down at the supermarket don’t really do a professional job and the in-laws are coming to visit in a week. And now that you look, your sofas have somebody’s chocolate fingerprints on them plus a nice film of smoke from the time you burned the burgers under the kitchen broiler. If you like putting the spring back in a carpet’s fibers and making dingy upholstered furniture clean and bright, you can save the day–and clean up profits in the process–with a carpet and upholstery cleaning service. All you need to get started is some experience with carpet- and upholstery-cleaning machines and the basic skills to operate them safely and effectively, plus the marketing know-how to make your own spot in the field.

The Market

Your customers can come from both residential and commercial sectors. Apartment and rental property owners and managers make good target markets because people are always moving in and out, and even the tidiest tenant leaves carpeting in need of cleaning. You can also target real estate agents who may have vacant or lived-in properties that need a good shampoo to put their best feet forward. Visit these businesspeople and leave your card or brochure, call and introduce yourself and your services, or initiate a direct-mail campaign. Advertise to residences through coupon mailers, offering specials like a discount for one room if you do two or more.

Needed Equipment

As a carpet/upholstery cleaner, you’ll need a good steam, rotary or dry-cleaning system, a commercial-grade vacuum cleaner, and of course, lots of shampoos, stain removers and stain guards, along with a sturdy vehicle to cart it all around in. You can also invest in a polo or good-quality T-shirt with your company name on it to lend a professional image.

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Maintenance

Home Maintenance and Repair

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

Entrepreneur

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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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