Starting an Apartment Preparation Service

Putty Knite with Spackling PasteWhen tenants vacate an apartment, they rarely leave the residence in a clean condition. Before a new tenant can move in, the apartment needs the floors to be cleaned, carpets shampooed, holes patched and walls painted. Landlords rarely have the time (or inclination) to handle these tasks. That’s where you come in. It’s a perfect opportunity for starting an apartment preparation service.

Your job is to go in and perform apartment cleaning service and basic repairs to help property owners prepare their rental apartments for new tenants. This type of service is very hard work, and you’ll need experience in painting, doing maintenance and being able to work quickly.

Usually, the labor involves light repair work and lots of cleaning. Be prepared to wash windows, fill nail holes, repair cabinets, clean counters and refrigerators, scrub shower stalls, and vacuum and shampoo carpets. You’ll also need some basic supplies, equipment and tools that are  essential for fixing up after the normal wear and tear in an apartment.

Equipment You Need

The amount of equipment you need will be based on the level of apartment preparation services you choose to offer. Most of your startup expenses will be in cleaning equipment and supplies—a vacuum cleaner, carpet shampooer, mop, broom and dustpan, rags or paper towels, scrub brushes and sponges, rubber gloves, garbage bags, a step stool or a small ladder, general-purpose bug spray, and carpet deodorizer.

Painting requires serious prep work. You’ll have to invest in paint (white latex), paint brushes, rollers and trays, putty knives, spackle, window putty, as well as handy work tools like hammers, scrapers, screwdrivers and wrenches.

And you’ll need a cell phone to connect with your clients in case they need to contact you quickly.

Marketing Your Service

To promote your service, take out an advertisement in the Yellow Pages, local classifieds or landlord associations, and on apartment rental Websites. Contact property managers, owners of large or small apartment complexes, and real estate agents that specialize in managing rental properties or sell vacant ones. Send them a brochure that describes the services you offer, and follow up with a phone call. Stopping in their office to introduce yourself works even better.

Charging the Right Price

Most apartment prep services charge clients a standard fee and add an additional charges for services such as carpet cleaning. Do research and find out what competing services charge before deciding on a price structure. Make sure that you price your services accordingly. The size of the apartment to be prepared and its state of cleanliness or disrepair are critical factors in determining the time required and the fee you should request.

Source: The Work Pad

Providing a Local Service in Your Neighborhood

Local_BusinessIf you need some inspiration to start a small or home-based business, you don’t have to look too far. Stop and think for a minute about providing a service in the local market of your own neighborhood.

Whatever type of area you live in, there are services you can provide to your local community that people will pay you for. Begin brainstorming for ideas and opportunities by conducting research. Peruse the phone book, search the Internet, physically look around the neighborhood, and talk to people in the area to see what types of businesses are in your local area.

After you get a sense of the kind of services that are available, answer these questions … Is there a business service that is lacking? What does my local area need that I can provide?

For example, do you live near a business district? People who work in offices are busy today and often need help running errands. Starting an errand running business solves particular delivery problems for people or businesses.

Let’s say you noticed a local listing of a small mail order company. That business may need someone to regularly pick up brochures from their printer. Upon further research, you may find other errand services in the area. If so, set your prices in line with your local competitors.

Perhaps you live in an affluent area where there are big houses with significant gardens — gardens that will need tending and houses that will need maintaining. If you have a knack for gardening or you’re pretty handy with tools, people would be willing to pay for such maintenance.

You can promote your local business service in community newspapers or through popular online listings like Angie’s List and LocalBlox, which specialize in connecting neighbors to a myriad of local service providers, including businesses, professional services, and community activities.

Here are ten more ideas designed to help you think about the type of services you could provide for your neighbors:

1.            Provide a lawn maintenance service

2.            Provide a swimming pool maintenance service

3.            Provide a handyman/odd-jobs service

4.            Start a dog walking service

5.            Provide an external painting service

6.            Provide an internal decorating service

7.            Run a local fitness group

8.            Run a local newsletter and sell advertising space

9.            Provide a carpet cleaning service

10.          Provide a shed or garage clearing service

Before pursuing a local business service, call your county or city administration office to make sure you are allowed to operate certain businesses from your home. Your city might have local restrictions or zoning laws that prevent you from running certain home-based business.

For more inspiration, take a look at these 50 Small Business Ideas for Your Local Area for an expanded list of local service prospects within your neighborhood. Some of the opportunities may require that you to get specific training (and possibly experience) or invest in the right tools for the job.

Overall, your time and investment in tools will be worth it. Potential customers will be prepared to pay for that knowledge, experience, and just the fact that you have the tools to perform the service.

Source: Business Ideas Daily

Learn By Example from the Startup Playbook

Startup_PlaybookLaunching a startup is a never-ending learning experience of what to do and what not to do when starting a new business venture. Aspiring entrepreneurs will never know what to expect unless they either start from scratch and learn by themselves or look at what others have already done and hope to profit from their experiences.

The “learning from others” approach is the premise behind a book called The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest Growing Startups from Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David Kidder.

In the Startup Playbook, Kidder, who is an entrepreneur, offers his own success formula for starting a business by relying on the experiences of highly profitable ventures that started from very modest beginnings.

Kidder demonstrates his lesson-learning approach by illustrating famous success stories from entrepreneurs such as Chris Anderson, who became famous through a publishing startup that built an important niche with broad online support; Charles Best, who made money by developing a philanthropic marketplace where people could meet to raise money; and Tom Gardner, who launched Motley Fool to make tons of money by charging a modest flat fee for high quality investment advice.

The Startup Playbook delivers plenty of examples of how to take a product from concept through to full implementation while making money on practical ideas that work. Overall, the book serves as a helpful resource for anyone with a new idea that seeks to commercialize it and reap the benefits of happy customers and large profits.

Source: BlogCritics.org Book Review: The Startup Playbook by David Kidder

Starting a Silent Auction Bidding Service

BidPal_Silent_AuctionSilent auctions are a popular way to raise money by moving merchandise quickly and adding fun to a special event. By starting a silent auction service, you’ll be able to earn a living while offering organizations, businesses and charities an engaging fundraising solution. You can also maximize revenues by “going digital” with your silent auction through the use of handheld bidding devices.

A silent auction is a fundraising technique frequently used at charity events. They are conducted without a live auctioneer who calls out the prices for items and accepts bids from people in the audience. A silent bid is often a preferred means for raising money at charitable events because it doesn’t detract from the entertainment provided at the event.

Can you earn a good living by running a silent auction service? You should be aware that in order to raise a lot of money, your silent auction will either need to have a large number of items to auction off, or plenty of well-heeled attendees bidding on a few high-end items.

In the DenverPost.com article, Silent Auction Hit And Misses, author Joanne Davidson provides a list of what items sell poorly and what items sell best at silent auctions. It also says that the return on silent auction items should be 65-75 percent. In other words, “If your silent auction has a total value of $40,000 you should make $25,000 to $30,000 to have it be considered a success.”

Usually, tables or displays of items or services are set up for people to bid on at silent auction events. Paper bidding sheets are located near each item to allow attendees to write down their names and bids. However, advances in silent auction technology are revolutionizing the bidding process with the use of handheld electronic bidding devices that eliminate the need for bidding sheets.

Today, companies like BidPal and iBid are wirelessly automating bidding by providing electronic devices with uninterrupted access to the silent auction—and instant outbid alerts. When guests register, they are handed mobile devices or iPods loaded with a bidding app. Attendees carry the device with them and when they want to bid, they enter the item number and press a button to record their bid.

According to BidPal, guests at their automated auctions, on average, bid three times as often as those at a traditional auction.

Regardless of whether you decide to take a hands on approach or automate the bidding process, holding a silent auction is a lot of work. Before planning your silent auction business, decide if the return is worth the investment of time, people, and resources.

The WikiHow article, How to Run a Silent Auction, offers some good ideas on getting the most out of your bid items and what steps you should take before, during and after a silent auction.

Video of BidPal in action at an event in New York City holding a silent auction with mobile bidding.

Creating a Niche Coupon Website

Shopping  for back-to-school items is often stressful for parents and students on a tight budget. To help make their shopping experience less painful, daily deal coupon aggregation sites, such as Groupon.com, are connecting consumers to local merchants that offer coupon savings on items like rulers, pencils, clothing, dorm room furniture and more.

With so many shoppers looking for daily deals and using coupons to save money these days, now might be the best time to start a coupon website. But how do you compete successfully in a crowded market? By choosing a specialized target group or offering bonuses that no one else does.

To determine the right niche markets to target, MySmallBiz.com recommends that you conduct research to investigate current competitors in your field and answer the following questions: What coupon sites serve your local area? Do they concentrate on a specific product or group of people? Are the sites kept up-to-date? What types of coupons do they offer? How will your coupon site differ from those already in existence?

Potential niche markets for your online coupons could include:

  • Parents – parents are always on the lookout for deals and ways to save money
  • Hobbyists – there are hundreds of hobby areas in which you could specialize
  • Business to business – offer discounts on products that other businesses frequently buy
  • Seniors – target senior services and other products senior citizens purchase
  • Coupon booklet sales – package different types of coupons into a single coupon book

How to start a coupon website.

Sites that offer coupons and deals online are very popular. Running a coupon website involves listing coupons and sales; you make money from paid advertisements on your site and from commissions earned when people click on the coupons.

A coupon website is a great way to make extra income, especially if your hobby is shopping and finding deals online. It doesn’t cost much to set up, and promoting it is easy with online marketing and social networking.

Wikihow.com provides these 8 steps for starting an online coupon site in a crowded market.

  1. Choose your target customers and find a niche. The market for finding general coupons and deals online is somewhat saturated with big names like FatWallet and Groupon, so competition is fierce. However, a specialty website or coupon blog that offers deals in specific areas is a good alternative that can make extra income. Research what your target customers buy to figure out how to start a coupon website with relevant deals and low competition.
  2. Create a website or blog, or hire someone to do it. The site must be attractive and easy to use, with search capabilities for users to find the coupons and deals online that they are looking for. It should have social networking features like blogs, chat and forums for users to interact with each other. Consider purchasing a customizable template or hiring a website designer. If you choose to start small with a blog, it’s easy to create a free blog with WordPress or Blogger.
  3. Register your domain name. Usually your web hosting company will do this for you. Remember to renew your registration annually or when it’s ready to expire. You can save some money by registering for longer periods of time once you know the site is successful. Register your website with Google, Yahoo and other search engines.
  4. Find coupons to place on your coupon blog or website. Contact local and national businesses to get coupons. Some offer programs that give you a commission on sales when people use coupons from your site. Another idea is to rent advertising space on your site where retailers can place coupons. Do some work yourself by looking for online deals and coupon codes, and then placing them in your blog or site. Be sure to have a way for users to easily share coupons and online deals on your site.
  5. Consider registering for affiliate programs and coupon feeds like For Me to Coupon and Smashdeals. There is a fee for this subscription, but it’s a way to get large numbers of coupons without doing a lot of work.
  6. Market your site online with social networking and search engine optimization techniques. Create Facebook and Twitter accounts to broadcast online deals as you hear about them, with status updates that direct back to your website. Use keywords when writing articles or blog posts so that people looking for deals will find your site.
  7. Make sure your business is legal and legitimate. Talk to a business adviser, accountant or attorney to determine how to start a coupon website, including tax and liability issues. Register your business with the IRS and find out if you need permits and licenses to operate in your state and town.
  8. Manage your time and work area. Make sure your schedule allows for finding deals online, engaging in advertising and social networking tasks and maintaining your site. Keep your site up to date; remove coupons or deals as they expire.

Home-based Jewelry Business Idea


If you are already crafting jewelry items as a hobby, why not take it one step further and obtain an income from doing what you love? Starting a home-based jewelry business can be a rewarding business venture. To help get you started, I’ve sprinkled a few hyperlinks below, pointing to some resourceful guidelines for earning money from your own home-based jewelry business.

As a business idea, jewelry making is a great one, particularly for a home-based enterprise. With only the cost of jewelry supplies and tools, you can focus most of your budget on marketing. MySmallBiz.com recommends these steps to learn How To Start A Jewelry Business, including how to acquire the skills, where to get your supplies and how to sell your work.

Once you get started, running a home-based jewelry business requires you to do a little bit of everything, from bookkeeping to marketing, and most of the time, you can create your own schedule.

The Home Jewelry Business Guide Web site was written for both aspiring and established jewelry designers who want to grow their home based businesses into a successful and profitable stream of income.

Selling beaded jewelry at fine craft shows and jewelry shows is another way to start earning money through your own home-based jewelry business. If you don’t know how to bead, watch this video to learn the basics of beading as Karla Schafer, Auntie’s Beads designer, demonstrates how to make a bracelet.

Driven by her creative instincts, Sandy Rueve started She Beads in 1993 in Wilmette, Illinois, as a small cottage business, designing and selling jewelry and accessories. Now Sandy’s son Andrew and her daughter Alex work side by side with their mother to manage a thriving family business that exports jewelry around the world.

The realities of running a jewelry business.

Many jewelry designers have failed in the craft business because they have been unable, or unwilling, to deal with the realities of the business world. Therefore, it is important for you to not only learn more about effective ways to sell your products, but also how to manage your business—no matter what stage you have already reached.