Business

I have put many years into developing businesses. I have also worked for corporate America. There is no better feeling than owning your own business and keep all the profits for yourself.

Finding Financing For Real Estate

Finding Financing For Real Estate

Getting Financing for Your Investment Property Or Your Renovations

Financing For Real Estate

There are countless ways to make money in real estate, all which require skill, foresight and preparation and some hard work. A renovation is no different. Whether your project is a purchase to flip, repairing a rental property or improving your personal residence, there are a few things to consider which we will go over in this post.

First, you must ask yourself whether injecting any money into the property will actually increase its value. To answer this, you need to understand your market. This requires becoming an expert on property values in your neighborhood through sales comparable and so good old research.

You must know:

  • What properties are selling for in your area?
  • How long properties have been on the market?
  • When a property sells did they get asking price?

For us, what we have recently been doing is looking at current comparable’s and tax  assessments to get a better picture of property values for my area. Sometimes finding direct comparable’s is tough. It is always best to find out what the selling price per square foot is going for in your market.

When working and purchasing rental properties I highly recommend doing repairs on rental units in order to keep happy tenants, but tackling a fix and flip or renovating your home for profit must be considered carefully prior to commencement.

If the numbers look good and you decide to move forward, the next step is creating a specific “game plan” for the renovation. Understanding exactly what to fix and what not to fix will give you the biggest “bang for the buck.” Typically the kitchen and main bathroom, including sinks, counter-top’s, fixtures and flooring will provide the most upside. Painting the entire house, both inside and out with a neutral color provides a “flow” to the house and paint is more affordable when you buy a large quantity of the same color.


Landscaping is another area which is relatively inexpensive, yet adds a lot of value and “curb appeal.” The property may also require larger improvements such as windows, roof or furnace replacements, however it is often difficult to justify these amounts of renovation dollars unless your calculations still allow a profit.

To gain perspective on properties in your area, it is important to check out other houses in the neighborhood and understand to what degree people are renovating. This is easily accomplished by visiting open houses or buy checking building permits that are being pulled in local neighborhoods.. Never make the mistake of renovating to a standard that is higher than that of the market.

If the “fix and flip” model is a little too daunting, a very affordable, slow and steady strategy is to renovate your principal residence for profit. Once the renovation is complete, you have presumably increased the value. The next step is to refinance the property and use the capital to purchase another property and repeat the process. This is a great way to begin building a portfolio. Remember, you can continue to purchase with as little as 5% down, move in, renovate and repeat. Make sure you are buying properties that will gain profit once you move and continue the cycle. By repeating this process, many people ultimately wind up in their dream home, often with a fair amount of equity.

You may simply want to renovate your home to make it more energy efficient or accommodate a growing family or just bring a new look to the house. Either way, strategic renovation comes into play.

As a side note, there are many government grants and rebates available for a number of these renovations that will add to your savings on your renovations.

Before you jump into buying supplies and hiring contractors, ask yourself the proverbial question… how are you going to pay for this renovation?

The first thing to do, whether you are paying with your own cash or intending to get a loan, talk to a financing specialist, A good financial adviser will be able to help you understand your options and pre-approve you for a specific amount of money needed for your renovation, fix and flip or your next purchase. Let’s look at some of the options to consider.

Cash

If you have saved adequately, use your own funds. Make sure the cash outlay won’t overly affect your ability to qualify for your next property or affect your cash flow. When choosing to cash in an investment such as a stock or mutual fund to do the renovation, measure the loss amount it could be making in interest and include any early redemption fees versus the amount of interest paid on the renovation loan.

Credit Cards

The convenience of plastic allows the renovation to begin immediately rather than waiting for a loan approval. Remember to pay them off quickly or be faced with high interest rates. Be careful not to carry a high balance relative to your limit as this can significantly affect your credit score.

Credit cards from one of the big box stores can be an option. Some of these stores have been known to offer zero interest charges for 6 months. Again, consider your ability to pay off the card quickly as well as the credit bureau “hit” when considering any credit card.

Unsecured Personal Line of Credit

An unsecured “personal line of credit”  could be just the thing to pay the renovation costs. Banks give an unsecured personal line of credit based on a favorable credit bureau, confirm-able income and an amicable history with the bank. These vehicles allow the borrower to pay off as much as desired at any time. They are available in fixed rates but are more commonly offered with variable rates.

Secured Line of Credit

A secured line of credit, commonly known as a “home equity line of credit or HELOC” is a lower interest way which lets a homeowner use the equity in their home to borrow money, where the home is used as security. This allows payments that can be as low as interest only. You can pay as much as you want above the minimum required payment.

You can access up to 80% of the appraised value (or purchase price) of the home and as you pay down the outstanding balance, the available credit increases. Most lenders will allow a conversion into a lower fixed rate mortgage.

Bank Loan

A bank loan is perhaps the simplest way of financing your renovation. Payments on the loan will be withdrawn at regular intervals from your bank account to repay the loan. Just like a mortgage, if you can pay down the principal faster, you pay less interest. Therefore arrange your payments for a bi-weekly or weekly payments.

Refinancing Your Mortgage

When you refinance a mortgage, use the existing equity in your house to increase the mortgage amount up to 80% (or more based on the lender and insurer’s approval) of the home’s appraised value. This enables the mortgage payments to be spread over a longer period of time which take advantage of lower mortgage rates, ultimately resulting in lower payments than a PLC or HELOC.

There are costs involved which may include appraisal fees, legal fees and possibly a penalty for breaking the mortgage. Crunch the numbers and determine if this makes sense against other options available.

 

Second Mortgage

Depending on the amount of equity in the property, a second mortgage for renovation can be acquired in the form of an equity based 2nd mortgage. This is typically repaid over a shorter time period than a conventional mortgage. A second mortgage can be acquired from private lenders or many “B” lenders and will be registered as a second charge behind the first mortgage.

Many second mortgages commonly have higher interest rates as well as lender, broker and lawyer fees which are often paid upfront as a deduction to the mortgage advance. Second mortgages typically have a term of one year with interest only payments, although an open 2nd mortgage is possible.

Joint Venture Partners

Joint venture partners can become money partners, mortgage qualifiers, bird dogs or fix and flip partners. Whatever level you are at, just make sure that you partner with someone who is involved full time in real estate that can help you gain knowledge, experience and profit.

In closing, make sure to crunch the numbers and carefully consider the amounts you will pay for these loans, mortgages, credit lines or partnerships as compared to the potential profit or equity value you expect to gain from the property, prior to deciding to move forward with any renovation.

Posted by Tom in Business, Finance, 0 comments
How To Decide What To Blog About

How To Decide What To Blog About

What to blog about when you have multiple things you love?

Many of us are passionate about many things, it can be hard to pinpoint a few ideas to write about. And it can be worse even if you have not even started a blog yet. You will be beating your head against the desk trying to figure out where to start.

Have no fear, we are going to go through some ideas and look at some topics that you will love to write about.

How to pick a blog topic you can profit from?

Many of us have hobbies and interest that we all love to do, some of us we have to many hobbies. If you are like most beginning bloggers you want to write about them all. I am sure that you have read how important it is to choose a niche at stick to it in order to monetize your blog and start making money.

The question still is how do I pick that one niche market to blog about that will make me a profit?

It can feel impossible, you can do research, study other blogs, read books on writing, and talk to friends or family but the jest of it is you just need to start writing. Just Do It!!!! When I started this blog, I first started to write about budgeting and finances and it did not take long before I realized that my focus was more on small business ownership and marketing. Now if I did not start writing and blogging then I would not have narrowed down my niche. The time and effort that I had already put in on my previous post was not a waste of time. Every business needs to start somewhere and there is no better way to learn than by doing.

I feel that the time I spent working and creating by blogs was time well spent. It takes time to figure out the in’s and out’s and techy stuff to set-up a blog. A large majority of blogs use WordPress as their base, creating and crafting WordPress is not something you learn over-night. WordPress has many variable called plugins and it takes time and practice to design and create a professional looking blog.

I am not a computer or blogging nerd. I have been involved with computers since the key punch card days of COBOL programming but I am not a nerd. Over the years I have written several blogs, some self-hosted and others on Google Blogger, these were my learning blogs.

How to decide which topic will fit your blog?

First find a relevant topic to talk about. Google some phrases and topics and see if they are relevant today. Then the key is to write your blog post that are related to the topic that you choose.

For Example.

Let’s pick cooking for an example. You can post about recipes, cookware, kitchen gadgets, food groups, slow cooker recipes, bar-b-que ideas or recipes, dieting, kitchen organization and anything else that has to do with cooking. As you can see this all has to do with cooking. Then you monetarize your blog with cooking advertisements.

Do not make the cardinal sin of picking a topic that you cannot write about daily.

You need to have a topic that you can come up with 500 to 1000 words every couple of day that is relevant to the main topic of your blog. Usually you will have a passion for your main topic so coming up with articles to write about should not be a problem. For me it is business and an entrepreneurial mind. One of my current blogs is about computers and computer repair. Computers change every day, so there is always fresh new content that I can write about daily. I have had that blog up and running for about 3 years now.

When you are deciding what to write a blog about, you need to think about long term. When I was contemplating about writing about computer repair I knew that this would be one subject that I could write about for many years.

Please keep this in mind when you are asking yourself if this is really what I want to do or what I have a passion for.

Posted by Tom in Business, Lifestyle, 0 comments
Can A Copy-Writing Service Benefit Your Company

Can A Copy-Writing Service Benefit Your Company

What is a copy-writing service and what do they offer the people.

We first have to look at the definition of what is a copy-writing service. Copy-writing is the use of words to promote a product, a service, a business or an idea to the general public. In essence copy-writing can be summed up to be the promotion in any sort of form, it could be television, newspaper, magazine, social media, or the internet. With social media and the Internet copy-writing has gained popularity significantly over the last several years with using materials produced by a copywriter more people are touched through this medium than any other form of promotion.  The business of copy-writing has gained great popularity over the past decade do to the advancement of technology, copy-writing services can be done through businesses, freelancers, or by ghostwriters. There is a great market of clients that are looking for individuals to help them promote their work or their businesses.

A business cannot survive without getting the word out to the general public and in today’s business market companies need to aggressively promote their business in order to stay ahead of the competition. Many businesses hire copywriting freelancers to assist them in writing promotional material that will promote their company in a positive light to the public.

Many companies have marketing and public relations departments that are assigned the task to promote the business. Some department’s hire freelancers to write the promotional material for them because they do not have the time or knowledge to do the writing for themselves. Marketing departments get stretched so thin with other task it is just good business sense to hire freelancers to handle the writing for them.

The main function of the copywriter is to promote the business in a positive way using words that will engage the audience to take action steps. The copywriter may need to work or meet with personnel of the business in order to set a base of demographical information to begin the process of forming a promotional package for the business. Some of the information that a copywriter would gather to begin making a promotional package would be; identify the potential customer base, earning income of the customers, the spending habits, and etc. This information provides you a base to know who you are trying to reach when promoting a business.

If you are looking to hire a copywriter it is always good to look at some sample work or ask the copywriter if they have a portfolio that can be viewed. Also ask the copywriter if they have a testimonials from other clients that they have done work for. A copywriter needs to be flexible and open minded for any suggestions or ideas and input from you since you are the one hiring the copywriter.

The copy-writing industry is a tool that can be a great resource and benefit for a company. The industry is growing and offering a wider variety of services to businesses and organizations. Most companies hire people that offer copy-writing services to help build and promote their business in order to drive up revenues and profits for the company. If you are looking to expand and grow your business then I would recommend looking into seeing what a copywriter can do for you and your company.

Posted by Tom in Business, Freelance, 4 comments
Don’t Get In The Way Of Your Dreams

Don’t Get In The Way Of Your Dreams

Do not sabotage your dreams.

Do you dream of the day when you can stay at home and be a business entrepreneur working on a project that you are passionate about? Many of us have this dream, for most people the only thing that is holding you back is yourself. What I mean by this is that you are in a comfortable position right now and you are afraid to leave your comfort zone and follow your dreams.

Many fall into this trap and we constantly find ways to sabotage our thoughts and behaviors that hold us back from getting out of our comfort zone and do something that we are passionate about.

Here is a list of thought that I have come up with that kept me in the past from stepping out of my comfort zone.

  • The wait game – Many of us play the wait game. We tell ourselves and others that when I have accomplished X – Z I will start my business. If you have a strong desire to have a home based business then there is no time like the present to get it started. If you do not start now then you will probably never will get started.
  • Looking for help – Starting a home based business can be intimidating and many of us are waiting for someone to come along to hold our hand while we are scared to take the leap of faith. I use to feel this way but I found support from online communities and forums on the subject that I wanted to start my business in. Asking people that are in like businesses on forums can be a much better resource than waiting for someone to hold your hand. Many people in these forums have been in the same boat as you are right now and they can guide and direct you in the correct direction.
  • Make the time – We all can come up with the excuse that we do not have enough time. We tend to let distractions get in our way and keep us from focusing on our business. Each one of us are blessed with 24 hours in a day, the question is, what are you going to do with that 24 hours to be a successful at home based business?
  • Remove distractions – We all have distractions in our lives that eat away at our time. We need to focus on shutting down the noise that distracts us from what we are trying to focus on. We need to be 100% focused on what needs to be done in our business first in order to be successful. Turn off the phone, shut off the email, and stop letting social media eat up your time. If you run a home business you need to prioritize your time and your first priority of the day needs to be your business and your cliental.
  • I don’t have the education – Don’t use this excuse to keep you from doing what you are passionate about. Stop telling yourself that you are not smart enough or I don’t have the education to be successful. You don’t have to be a business professional to have a small business that you can run from home.
  • Be positive – Many people fail at home based businesses because they focus on negative comments from family and friends. People today want to see us fail, news and gossip only focus on negativity and not on positive results. Don’t let what overs may say spoil your passion and keep you from succeeding. Keep telling yourself that you will succeed.

Conclusion

If you have the dream of being a successful stay at home business owner then don’t fall into one of these traps that I have mentioned above. Don’t let others or your own mind sabotage you from doing what you are passionate about.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you have anything you would like to add we would love to hear from you.

 

Posted by Tom in Business
Consider A Pool Cleaning Service For A Business

Consider A Pool Cleaning Service For A Business

Pool Cleaning Service Can Be A Great Business Opportunity

Are you looking for ideas in order to start a home based business, have you ever considered opening a pool cleaning service? Living in Florida owning a swimming pool is a necessity. My wife talked me into putting in a 12 thousand gallon above ground swimming pool in order to have pool parties and for the grandchildren to have something to do when they come and visit. We had the pool installed about a month ago and it has been great, now comes the chore of making sure all the chemical levels are perfect in order to have a pristine blue swimming pool. What a nightmare I have gotten myself into.

I thought no problem, I can just hire a pool service to keep the pool chemical levels in check and they will clean the pool once a week while I am at work. No problem I thought, how wrong I was. All the pool service companies in my area are slammed with customers or they don’t service above ground pools, great! Now what do I do?

Having a swimming pool is great, they are relaxing, enjoyable and they can be hours of fun for the family. But a dirty swimming pool can be costly and a breeding ground for mosquitos. Many people like myself don’t have the time or understand the chemistry in order to keep a pool clean and the ph of the water in balance. This is where a pool-cleaning service comes in for being a great business opportunity for those that love to work outside and making people happy.

Marketing For Work.

If you’re the type of person that loves the great outdoors and can work unsupervised and be a self-motivator then this may be a business for you to consider. The clients that you will most likely encounter will be homeowners like myself and owners of apartments, condos, hotels and motels. You will want to find a good pool supply business and a reputable pool builder for the area that you are wanting to service to feed you leads and referrals. Make sure that you have a good supply of professional looking business cards on hand to leave with the pool chemical supply store and the pool installers, this way they can hand your cards out to their clients. Check back often with the store owners and to build a good reputation with them so they continue handing out your name and number.

Here in Florida most everyone has a pool and a pool service. Talk with you competitors, if they are routes are full and they are not looking to add new customers to their business they may help you by giving you referrals of people that call them looking for a service. Another way to advertise your service is by checking the tax assessor office and see who has pulled a permit for a new pool. Drop off to the homeowner of the new pool a brochure of your pool service and offer them a free pool water analysis.

To Get Started

In order to get started you will need to check with the state that you are going to operate in and see if you need to be certified in order to clean pools for the public. If so then check to see what is required to get certified. As for equipment you will need test kits for checking the water condition, poles, hoses, skimmers, pool cleaning screen for taking leaves out of the pool and either a dependable car with a trailer or a dependable pickup truck. Make sure that what-ever vehicle you use for this business that you have it wrapped with your pool cleaning service advertising, your vehicle is a moving billboard.

 

Posted by Tom in Business
Guide To Set Up An EBay Business

Guide To Set Up An EBay Business

If you are thinking about starting an online EBay business there are many things you need to know to so you can be successful. A lot of people I know have been successful in EBay and some have even given up the corporate life in order to do eBay full time. Now EBay is work, don’t kid yourself.  But if you want a stay at home business this is one that has been around for some time and it has made a lot of people like yourself successful.



First thing first, be smart and do some homework before
diving in with both feet. Explore around and find the power sellers, check out their sites. Power sellers are very successful EBay business owners, look at they are selling and see how they set up their item descriptions and their about me page. Find out what is working for them and take some good notes. They would not be power sellers if they did not know what they are doing.

Now open up an EBay seller’s account. There are a few pages
of information you will need to set up with EBay, you will also need to setup a 
PayPal account in order for your customers to pay you. PayPal is one of the
best and easiest accounts for people to pay you through especially with a
credit card.

Find items that are in high demand, this will take some
research on your part. This is where you do some investigative work on power seller’s sights, and check out the “hot topic area” on EBay. What I did was I started selling items that were lying around my home and items that were cluttering up my garage and my shed. I started with these because these items were pure profit for me; I also had some old college text books that were in the closet
doing me no good. I listed these on EBay and sold them for two to three times
more profit than what I would have gotten for them at a yard sale.

Once you have your EBay business up and going and you have learnt the basics of what to do and how to
do it. You will want to think about opening up an EBay store. An EBay store is a great place to show off all the items you have listed on EBay. People may be searching for one item and then they go to your store and find something that they just can’t live without, they would not have known about that item if they
did not see it in your store.

One of the power sellers that I know uses Google “Trends”. Trends finds out what people are searching for on the internet. Google searches for hot topics that people all over the world are searching each and every
day.  What my friends do is explore the list and see what they can get their hands on in order to sell on EBay. Just
keep in mind that EBay is international, so if something does not sell in your area does not mean it may not be a hot topic in another part of the world. Stay positive and don’t get discourage, EBay takes work and commitment, treat it like a business and it will provide an extra income to you.

In a future article we will look at some of the finer details of how to run an EBay business. We will look at deeper of how to list items, how to add pictures, how to ship the best way, how to track your feedback, and good customer satisfaction ratings.


Posted by Tom in Business
Ways To Have A Passive Income

Ways To Have A Passive Income

Passive Income

Passive income is not just a dream it can be reality if you put you put your heart, mind and soul into it. Let’s first take a look at what passive income is; Google calls passive income as income that is a result from cash flow received on a regular basis requiring minimal work or effort by the person receiving the income. Most of us want to break away from the corporate world and free up time to spend with family and friends but at the same time we want to be the bread winner for our family.   This is where passive income comes in. When an income stream takes little to no effort to maintain this is passive income. It is important to note that once you have your passive income coming in it does not mean that you will not have to maintain it and keep a close eye on it so the stream does not run dry.

First thing first, do you have the heart to make it happen?

Earning a passive income does not happen overnight, it takes time, hard work, discouragement, tears and long hours. One thing I have learnt over the years is – if it was easy everyone would be doing it. You just need to ask if yourself if you can handle the tough road ahead? Usually if the road is tough and difficult it greatly reduces the competition. For me, it is worth the time and effort!

What are some passive income streams?

Investing – Investing has been one of the leading ways for making passive income. The issue with investing is that you first have to have capital to invest. Investing can also be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. Dividend stock has been a popular investment tool for many people. They provide a recurring cash flow and when the dividend is reinvested it can compound to a healthy return over time.



Writing – writing articles and submitting them to places like HubPages, Squidoo, Quora, InfoBarrl and so on. There are several places to submit your articles and in due time they will reward you with some passive income. Again you will not get rich from these articles but they will help produce a few hundred dollars a month for a bunch of articles you have written and submitted.

Become a proofreader – Proofreading jobs are flexible and can supplement income. Proofreading can be fun and it does not have to be something that you do full time. There are all sorts of proofreading work out on the web, just take a little time and do some research and find a niche that you are comfortable working in.

Rental income – When we are talking about rental income this does not have to be purchasing property and being a landlord. Renting items that you such as a room in your home, at one time I rented my basement to a person that needed a place to live. He ended up paying us $300 a month to live in my basement for two years. Another time I had a three car garage and was only using two spaces so I rented the other space for $175 a month. That gave me another $2,100 a year income on a space that I did not need. If you can afford to have rental property this is a great source of passive income. My wife and I love having that extra source of income coming in every month, plus the great tax benefits from rental property are a nice perk.

Start a blog – One of the most aggressive and successful passive income generating tool is a blog. If you put in the time, do your research, and can write good articles that will get picked up by search engines you can generate a full time income that will carry on for years. Regardless of the niche you pick, if you have clear knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization), social medial marketing your blog could provide several streams of income.

Self-publish a book – This may not sound fun or interesting but in reality it can produce some nice passive income. Many people that are into blogging love the idea of selling ebooks online, through guest posting, and on their own blogs. The concept sounds hard but in reality it is fairly easy and can add an extra few hundred dollars a month to your revenue stream. Now we are not talking about writing a novel, we are talking about writing a 50 to 80 page ebook that can be sold on Amazon or iBooks.

Dropshipping business – This is a new concept for many people. Dropshipping is a business that you sell products from a supplier and have the item shipped to the customer without have to have any sort of inventory. This is a great passive income producer and believe it or not it has been in existence since 1999. Big name companies like Amazon and Sears use droppshipping and some estimates state that up to 33% of online sales through ecommerce use droppshipping.

Affiliate marketing – Last but not least is affiliate marketing for making a passive income. With affiliate marketing you earn commission for sales or leads that you have linked on your website or in your content of your blog. Another affiliate tool is display ads and banner ads that you receive a commission for every time someone clicks on the ad. This is a great way to produce incomes while you are on vacation or lying in bed sleeping.

Conclusion

These are just a few thoughts for passive income that you can put into action and start generating income for yourself. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, each of these idea’s take time and effort upfront in order to benefit from the rewards for a lifetime. The rewards will more than exceed the time and work that you put into any of these ideas.

Related Links:

Passive income streams

Want to be a millionaire

17 Passive income ideas

 

Posted by Tom in Business
How To Start Your Own Lawn Maintenance Business

How To Start Your Own Lawn Maintenance Business

How to start your own lawn care business

Are you the type of person that loves being outdoors and being in charge of your own destiny? If you answered yes to this question then you may be the right person for opening your own lawn mowing service and landscaping business. With just a few pieces of equipment mowing lawns and doing some landscaping for people can you a sense of pride and accomplishment while you will be earning some serious cash.

The Pros of owning your own lawn care business.

Owning and running your lawn care business has many benefits and advantages for you and your family. If you are looking to be the master of your own destiny then this could be the business for you. Some of the advantages would be, you could work at your own pace, set up your route so you do not have to commute very far from home, you are in charge of your own timetable, and you can enjoy the fresh air and serenity of being outside most of the day.

The start-up cost all depends on you. The price of freedom can be relatively low, many people that I know that have started this type of business started with either purchasing the equipment on a personal credit card or took out a small personal loan. Usually once you have invested in the tools to start this business you will be generally set for years to come. Most everyone that I know run their business from their home from a desk in the corner of their family room or from a spare bedroom, there is no need to open up any sort of commercial office for this business.

Some Cons for this business venture.

Now everything we have just talked about sounds great and appealing, but of course if this was the perfect business then everyone would be doing it. Let’s explore some of the cons. First you must be the type of person that is a self-starter, you must take care of your customers if you want to stay in business. You cannot get up in the morning and decide to go fishing or golfing and neglect your customer’s needs. You must also be physically fit and be able to stand being outside all day. You will also need to be a good business manager, marketing person, and being able to handle customers with tack. If you are planning on running this business where there are winter months you will need to be able to plan for a different source of income through the winters, like plowing snow.

Where do you get your customers?

In this industry of landscaping, irrigation, lawn services and suppliers according to some the industry generates from $67 billion to $69 billion annually. Many independent lawn service provide lawn maintenance services to customers on contract basis and get paid in cash that is not declared, so this number could be quite a bit higher. Looking at the aging baby boomers who own homes many of these people are work aholics and don’t have the time in order to take care of their lawn. They see the value in keeping a well maintained lawn but they also see the value in the time it takes to maintain their lawn they could spending this time with their family instead of being behind a mower.

Here in Florida we have three groups of people that hire someone to maintain their lawn.

  • Retirees who would rather be on the golf course hitting a little white ball than mowing the lawn in the heat and humidity.
  • Retirees that cannot do lawn maintenance because of health issues.
  • Homeowners that travel frequently.
  • In Florida we have snowbirds that head back north for the summer.
  • Property managers of rental property.
  • Commercial property owners

Setting Prices

Before you can give out estimates you first need to figure out what your hourly baseline needs to be. There are many ways to figure out this rate. First you will need to do some shopping around to find out what the competition is charging for the services that you want to offer. Ask friends to contact the competition in your market that offer the same or similar service that you plan to offer. Inspect the properties before giving prices, never give out estimates or prices over the phone always deliver estimates in person, this builds credibility. You will need to figure out the cost of doing business, take in consideration rain days, maintenance to equipment, insurance cost,  how many hours you want to work per week, cost for tools, administrative cost, etc. Many of the lawn maintenance companies in my location charge around $30 to $50 per cut. Other companies charge on a monthly basis which range from $100 to $200 per month. I do not recommend being the cheapest in town and of course in the beginning you don’t want to be the most expensive either. Pricing in the middle of what the competition charges or a little more is a good rule of thumb, this is where you put on the hat of being a good sales professional. Be honest, have good integrity, look and smell clean, and have good professional equipment makes a world of difference when you are trying to establish your pricing. Image does matter.

Conclusion

For whatever reason that you may have for entering into the lawn service industry, the independence, freedom, working outside, etc. The first couple of years are going to be your roughest. As being a new business owner you will have to wear many hats, from being an accountant, customer service specialist, purchasing manager, routing specialist, and mechanic. But in the end you will be living your dream and that is all that matters.

 

Posted by Tom in Business
Starting A Home Inspection Business

Starting A Home Inspection Business

 Start Your Own Home Inspection Business

Home inspection business is an untapped business opportunity which could put on the road to being a successful business owner If you have obtained the license to be a qualified home inspector, you can plan to establish your own business and be your own boss. Here is some useful guidance for you.

Step 1:

Although you have attended a home inspection course and have passed the state exam (if your state requires one) you are still not a professional home inspector. Some of you may have been in the construction trade industry in the past and this will help you when doing inspections, but it is still not enough to be a business owner, especially a home inspection business owner.
It is advised that you should start working as an apprentice or assistant to an experienced home inspector. Get the senior to be your coach or mentor. Working with an experienced professional is ideal as he or she can provide valuable hands on experience to you.

Step 2

Do thorough research for your market. You need to have the statistics of how many homes have been sold in the area where you plan to offer your services. Find out how many of these homes were inspected previously. It is also necessary for you to know how many other inspectors serve the area and how much is their service fee. It is important for you to know your potential clients as well as your competitors.

Step 3

Before you start your inspection business you must decide which inspection reporting software you will be using. There are many options on the market and for you to consider. These software programs range in price and they allow you to give a clear and concise report to your clients. Be careful, they can get pretty pricey so do your research.
Step 4

In order to expand your network, you are encouraged to join any of the recognized trade associations such as The National Association of Home Inspectors, American Society of Home Inspectors and The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. You are able to meet real estate agents, contractors, builders and other professionals in the same field. These people are able to share some valuable insights and useful tips with you.

Step 5

Make sure that you keep in mind having insurance that covers you for errors and or omissions. This is must to have. Plus you will want to make sure that you have good general liability and a good health insurance plan on top of business insurance.
Step 6

It is a must for you to create a business plan which is critical for your success.  A good business plan and a resume about yourself that you can share with the people you network with is important.

If you have never been in business before, I would encourage you to take additional training programs which specialize in business management and accounting. With the steps above, you should be able to prepare for your business in a more appropriate manner.

 

 

Posted by Tom in Business
Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Starting Your Own Business

Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Starting Your Own Business

Fear will get you know where in business

Being an entrepreneur is a dream for many people, many people put off being an entrepreneur because they do not have the capital to get the business off the ground. Many people have the dream and they have the vision and great ideas but they feel they lack the capital to see their dreams become success.

There are several steps for getting your dream and vision off the ground. If you feel that you have a great idea and you have put a lot of thought into executing your plan don’t let having very little capital stop you from seeing your dream come true. Yes there is going to be stress, yes there will be nights with no sleep, yes you are going to work hard and yes you will have to step out of your comfort zone. But you that want to be an entrepreneur bad enough will make it happen.

Here are some steps that will guide you to get your vision off the ground with little capital.

  • Make your knowledge work for you. Take what you know and have skills in to build your business. Do not spend money on outside sources and consultants to build a business you know nothing about. Take the years of knowledge you have already invested in and build your business, you will find it easier and sometimes knowledge may be all you need to get your vision started. You will spend less money and time relying on others to guide you if you just take what ever you know and put it to work..
  • Let the world know what you are doing. Tell everyone you know what you are doing, this includes your family, friends, people at the grocery store, bowling leagues, business contacts, people at the gas pump and etc. This is called grassroots marketing, or marketing 101, don’t be shy and don’t feel embarrassed to tell everyone about you and your business.
  • Spend your money conservatively. No doubt your going to have expenses, try to keep them minimal if you can. Make wise decisions on your purchases and avoid overspending when you can. Remember you are starting a business with very limited capital, be frugal until the business brings in good revenue, this can make you or break you,
  • Don’t use credit unless you have too. When establishing a business you should not use credit cards for business purchases like computers, meals, furniture, and office supplies that you do not need. These expenses can add up quick and lead the business to the firing squad. Slowly purchase new items when you have positive revenue growth. Don’t add to your stress, if you don’t have the cash yet, then don’t purchase it with plastic.
  • You built it. When first starting a business you will be the one doing everything. You will be answering the phones, marketing, building your reputation, and all of this takes time. Some days you will find yourself working around the clock, just remember you are not doing it for nothing or someone else, you are doing all this hard work in order for you to be successful. This is called sweat equity, your business will be a great success because of your hard work and sweat equity.
  • Make the internet work for you. There are several ways to market yourself, just remember you are starting this business on a shoestring income. Social media today is a great tool to gain exposure to your business and to gain customers. Another source of free advertising is through writing on forums and writing articles in the local paper.When ever you can use local media sources this can be very responsive because the public will look to you as a leading local authority. Use what ever free marketing you can until you have the revenue to advertise more elaborately.
  • Work hard. When venturing out on your own especially with little or no capital you will be working hard. You will need to dedicate everything you have and know into making your business a success. Again you will have to be the one answering the phones, playing office manager, service manager, handling customer complaints  or questions, handling the finances and banking and of course you will have to be the marketing guru. In order to be successful you will have to wear many hats for awhile until your business grows.

 

Don’t be afraid, don’t let limited funds keep you from seeing your dreams come true. Life is full of stress and life is difficult, take that energy you are using now to be successful for yourself.

Thanks for visiting! Remember to like us on Facebook and Pinterest for daily updates.

 

Posted by Tom in Business