6. Carpet Cleaner
Carpet cleaning is one of the most popular home businesses today. As the name suggests, your job description is to shampoo and clean carpets for homes and businesses alike using special equipment. You can initially focus on cleaning homes or apartments, and then grow to service commercial establishments such as office spaces, restaurants and retail stores that could offer bigger contracts and higher percentage of repeat business.
A carpet cleaning business has a low entry cost. You can start as low as $1,000 if you initially lease your cleaning equipment and already own a vehicle to transport your equipment. As your business grows, you can find used or new professional carpet cleaning equipment at wholesale janitorial suppliers. To reduce cost, purchase industrial-grade cleaning supplies at wholesale prices. Before you start, however, you must have some skills required for efficiently cleaning carpets and knowledge of the equipment and supplies to use.
Consider the number of trips you need to make (one to estimate the job, and the other to do the job), the size of the carpet cleaned and the need for cleaning in pricing your services. You can charge your customers either a flat hourly rate or a room rate. Hourly rates can range from $25 to $50 per hour. On the other hand, a 10 x 12-foot room of 120 square feet can range from $18 to $30, at 15¢ to 25¢ a square foot. If charging by the room, most require a minimum number of rooms to clean, typically three. You can charge additional fees for moving furniture to clean the carpet. Potential first year earnings for this business can reach $35,000, and break-even can come one month to six months. To augment your income, you can also clean upholstery, cars and full houses.
There are various ways to reach your clients and market your business. Word-of-mouth is the fastest and most effective, although many carpet cleaners spread the word by placing classified ads in the local paper, distributing flyers and business cards.
- Secrets of the Carpet Cleaning Super-Giants: Mark Kennedy’s Proven System: Created for, And Used By, The Largest And Most Successful Carpet Cleaners On The Planet!
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- Carpet Cleaning Business Start-Up Guide
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7. Financial Planner
A financial planner guides clients in making sound, informed decisions on the risks and rewards of specific financial investments and opportunities. As a financial planner, you look into all aspects of the client’s financial life, including income from all sources and financial commitments. Unlike a broker which looks only in stocks, you choose from a wide variety of financial instruments, such as bonds, mutual funds, real estate, venture capital opportunities, and others to help your clients reach their financial goals. Your tasks can range from providing consulting services to businesses on pension plan investments to as simple as helping individuals manage their bank statements.
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Demand for this business continues to grow as investment vehicles become more complicated and the tax implications increasingly become pervasive. To start in this business, you need to have an extensive knowledge, training, and experience working for the finance industry. While no state or federal legislation define the qualifications of a financial planner, you need to decide how you will function as a financial advisor and get the appropriate certification and license. Many either register with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a Registered Investment Adviser or take specialized training and pass exams to become a Certified Financial Planner. To become a CFP, you need to pass exams in six areas: tax management, investments, insurance, employee benefits, retirement and estate planning. You also need to complete 45 hours of continuing education every year. Other organizations that issue financial planning credentials include the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (for Accredited Estate Planner), Institute for Investment Management Consultants (for Certified Investment Management Consultant), Association for Investment Management and Research (for Chartered Financial Analyst), and American Society of Certified Life Underwriters and Chartered Financial Consultants (for Chartered Financial Consultant).
A financial advisor can expect to earn anywhere from $40,000 to $90,000 per year. You can charge by the hour (typically $50 to $150 or more per hour), a percentage of the assets managed in the portfolio, or commission from investment products sold. If you are working on a $1 million portfolio for a client, your 2 percent commission could give you $20,000. You can justify your costs by showing clients how to increase return on investment by an amount greater than the commission.
- The Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice: A Proven System for Becoming a Top Producer
- So You Want to Be a Financial Planner: Your Guide to a New Career, 7th Edition
- The Million-Dollar Financial Advisor: Powerful Lessons and Proven Strategies from Top Producers
- Marketing and Selling to Business Owners: A Financial Advisor’s Guide to Dominating this Lucrative Market (Business Planning for Financial Professionals) (Volume 1)
8. Image Consultant
As the world turns more competitive, the question of “looking good” in the eyes of an increasingly demanding customer could spell the success or failure of a person’s business goals. From finding a job to landing a contract, impression and image counts. As an image consultant, your job is to enhance a client’s image by improving personal appearance, diction, clothing, and professional etiquette. You will offer clients advice on wardrobe planning and personal shopping; analyze their coloring and advice on make-up, hairstyle or coloring; coach clients on effective speech techniques; or offer corporate clients with workshops and seminars on personal grooming and professional etiquette. Think of your job as “impression management” and “strategic corporate dressing.”
Given people’s desire to look good, everyone can be your potential client. The bulk of your customers, however, will be individuals, mostly professionals and corporate executives needing guidance on how to look best as they climb up the corporate ladder, self-employed individuals who must market themselves effectively, people seeking employment or changing fields, and those in specialized occupations such as television. To get clients, network extensively and build a referral base. For this kind of business, clients want assurance that you can deliver what you promise, and may be less inclined to check out the Yellow Pages. If you have successfully consulted people, ask for a letter of recommendation or other references. Establish yourself as an expert in your field by writing a book or articles for magazines and newspapers. Get your name out to a wider audience by speaking to social and civic groups.
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One-on-one wardrobe consulting can bring you $25,000 to $40,000 a year in gross earnings, with hourly rates ranging from $50 to $250, with $125 the average. You can expect higher income if you do speech coaching, where you can charge from $75 to $300 an hour. Seminars, however, produce the biggest income potential as this can give you fees ranging from $750 to $5,000 a day, depending on the number of participants and the nature of the workshop. The more corporate work you do, the higher your income potential. Overhead costs for this business can be as low as 20 percent of gross earnings.
- FabJob Guide to Become an Image Consultant (With CD-ROM)
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9. Personal Chef
This is one of the fastest growing home businesses with great income potential, minimal start-up costs, and allows for flexible schedule. Entrepreneur Magazine calls it “one of the hottest trends in today’s marketplace” while the U.S. World News and World Report called it a “hot track career.” In 2000, this business was estimated to reach over $100 million and is one of the rapidly growing segment of the home meal replacement market.
As a personal chef, you prepare meals one or two times a month in your clients’ homes, providing enough food for two to three weeks. Given the shortage of time and increasing level of activity, more people are paying $7 or $8 a meal per person to a personal chef to come to their homes, prepare several dinners and leave them in the refrigerator or freezer. When they come home, they have several choices of tasty and nutritious meal to choose from, instead of fast food fare or TV dinners.
To become successful as a personal chef, you need to prepare customized and personalized menus that allow you to make profit while making your services cost-effective to clients. If you prepare 10 meals to a family of five costing them $340 per visit, each dinner costs around $6.80 apiece an amount lower than the $12 to $15 per person a family would typically spends in a restaurant. However, you have to be careful that excess costs do not devour your bottom line. Personal chefs can make monthly income of $3,000 to $4,000, while potential annual revenues can $40,000 to $50,000.
While you can get clients through advertisements, this business primarily thrives on word of mouth. Since you will be working in your clients’ homes, they need to be comfortable and familiar with you (although it helps to get theft and liability insurance in the event an untoward incident occurs in your clients’ homes). You can also do cooking demonstrations and write articles in magazines and other publications.
- The Professional Personal Chef: The Business of Doing Business as a Personal Chef (Book only)
- How to Start a Home-based Personal Chef Business (Home-Based Business Series) 2nd edition by Vivaldo, Denise (2011) Paperback
- FabJob Guide to Become a Caterer or Personal Chef (With CD-ROM)
- How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Personal Chef Business: With Companion CD – ROM
10. Real Estate Appraiser
Real estate appraisers determine the value of property and structures. Real estates need to be appraised prior to its sale, when refinancing or getting a home equity loan, when getting insurance, in the event of foreclosure or bankruptcy, for investment decisions, and for other decisions needed on a property. Your tasks include checking real estate records, inspecting and measuring property, and calculating value based on local and industry guidelines. Potential customers for this business include banks when they grant a mortgage or foreclose on a home loan; lawyers in estate distribution or dispute cases; individuals prior to selling or buying a home or contesting real estate taxes, government when it condemns a property or reassess taxes; and insurance carriers prior to agreements on property damage settlements.
To start in this business, contact your state licensing division for the licenses and certifications needed to become a real estate appraiser. Credentials through training and experience are very important in this business. To help you get some idea of what licenses and training to get, study the ads for appraisers in the local telephone book and real estate sections of newspapers. The association where they belong to is usually listed. You also need to create some samples of your work to show to prospective clients of your business, to help establish that your estimates are not wild guesses. As with any other business, networking with the right group of people is essential, and in this case you need to develop personal contact with mortgage companies, savings and loans, and banks to get on their list of approved appraisers. Joining national associations can also give you some referrals.
Potential earnings in a year could reach from $35,000 to $75,000 for residential appraising, while commercial appraising could bring you $100,000 per year. Appraisers normally charge by the hour at a rate of $40 to $80 an hour. Overhead expenses for a home-based operation are moderate at about 30 percent.
- How to Get Started in the Real Estate Appraisal Business
- California Real Estate Practices – 6th edition
- Basic Real Estate Appraisal: 6th (Sixth) Edition
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