Tag Archive | "moneymaking"

How to Start a Parking Lot Sweeping Business

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Learning how to start a parking lot sweeping business could be your ticket to self employment success!  Parking lots are an important part of the impression a customer gets about a business, so a clean lot is critical.  That’s why even when business is slow, retail locations will almost never cancel their parking lot sweeping service.

You will approach developers, owners, and landlords of commercial properties to gain customers for your parking lot sweeping business. Another opportunity for business is local or state government owned property, such as schools, hospitals, and parking garages.

 
What You’ll Need to Succeed with a Parking Lot Sweeping Business

Of course the most important thing you’ll need to invest in when you start a parking lot sweeping business is sweeping equipment.  These machines, which often come in the form of vacuum sweepers, are not inexpensive, but if you do your due diligence up front, you can get one that will last a very long time.

When deciding on what to charge for your parking lot sweeping services, you can either base your pricing on lot size, or an hourly rate.  The advantage of charging an hourly rate for parking lot sweeping is that you will be covered for lots that might be the same size but take different amounts of work, due to the amount of trash or obstacles in the lot.  For example, lots that are bordered by bushes and trees are often more difficult to clean because of the leaves and other plant debris they deposit on the parking lot.

As you progress in your parking lot sweeping business, you will get better at estimating the costs of your sweeping services.  In the beginning, be careful, as when you quote a price, your clients will expect you to stick to it.

How to Market a Parking Lot Sweeping Business

Learning how to start a parking lot sweeping business is not difficult, but the real key to success lies within your ability to market it.  You’ll want to start by doing some research to find out who owns the parking lots within several miles of your location.  These will be your target customers, and you can use a number of methods to reach them.

One method that can be effective is direct mail.  Mailing a flyer to the decision maker for a parking lot will let them know you are open for business.  On your flyer, consider offering an introductory rate or some other promotion to pique their interest.  Also stress the service aspect of your business.  Because, when you start a parking lot sweeping business, just like in any other business, it is how you treat your customers that can make or break you!

How to Start a Wedding Invitation Business

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When you learn how to start a wedding invitation business, you will be entering a world of fun, creativity, and profit.  Every year, millions of people get married, and almost all send out wedding invitations.  So the potential for a wedding invitation business is very good.

Learning how to start a wedding invitation business is for you, if you love to work with people, love weddings, and have a flair for design and creativity.  Your artistic abilities will come into play, as will your ability to deliver your product on time, as promised.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

In most cases, you will be able to run your wedding invitation business from home.  Another option is to partner with another business that caters to people getting married, such as a florist or wedding planner.

In either case, you will need to purchase some quality design software that will allow you to create any design you and your clients can imagine.  Also, develop a relationship with a local printer who can print very high quality invitations and who has a reputation for on time delivery.

As you get started in your wedding invitation business, be sure to keep a sample of each wedding invitation you create. You can use these samples to build a portfolio of your work, which will become an important sales tool.

Something else you will need as you learn how to start a wedding invitation business is a thick skin.  Tastes and preferences differ, and you might create a design that you love, only to have it rejected by your client.  It is important not to take these situations personally and view them as an opportunity to provide what your client considers to be the perfect wedding invitation.

Marketing A Wedding Invitation Business

Part of learning how to start a wedding invitation business is learning how to market it.  You’ll want to let anyone getting married in your area know that you are the best choice for their wedding invitations.  This is where partnerships and relationships with others in the wedding field come in very handy.  While those getting married are you clients, it is a good idea to target your marketing to florists, wedding planners, caterers, formal wear shops, and others that cater to people planning a wedding.

Creating a high quality website, with examples of your best work, is also a great idea.  Using the internet as a sales tool, you do not need to limit your market to your local area.  You can sell your creations to the world!

As your wedding invitation business takes off, don’t be surprised when people ask you to create invitations for other events too.  This is a great expansion opportunity.  Birthdays, graduations, retirements, and charity events are just a few of the occasions where people need invitations.  Once you are supplying invitations to a steady stream of satisfied customers, you will be very glad you took the time to learn how to start a wedding invitation business.

How to Start a Senior Portraits Business

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If you have photography skills and a winning personality, you might want to consider learning how to start a senior portraits business.  In the senior portraits business, you will be creating memories for teenage girls and boys who are about to enter their senior year of high school.  Helping them look their best and producing high quality work will be paramount to your success.

The students who use your services will want to have pictures in several poses and then choose the one that they like best for their yearbook and to hand out to family and friends.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

In addition to professional photography equipment, such as cameras, filters, lenses, lighting, and props, you will also need a good computer to keep track of clients, the ability to print final pictures once proofs are created and reviewed, and some marketing abilities will be important as well.

As you are learning how to start a senior portraits business, think about the location you will want to find for your studio.  You want it to be easily accessible, with plenty of room for several photography settings, and an outside area that is suitable for photographs would be nice too. You don’t have to locate in a high end retail area, but you do want your shop to have good visibility and be in a good area of town.

Some people who start a senior portraits business operate out of their homes.  This is a great way to reduce your startup costs, as long as your home is suitable for your senior portraits business.

Find out the school colors of each of your local high schools, and make sure you have backgrounds and props to match each of them.  You might even want to consider having backdrops created with the various school mascots on them.

Other items you will need to invest in when starting a senior portraits business include: software to track clients, their appointments, and their work, an accounting and payment system of some kind, and professional photo editing software.  Of course at least one photo printer and quality paper are also necessities.

You don’t have to have any specialized training to start a senior portraits business, but you will obviously need to be a good photographer to realize success.  Also important will be your ability to create a comfortable, fun environment for the teens you are photographing.  In some cases, you might even want to consider using a nice local park as a spot for outdoor portraits.

Marketing a Senior Portraits Business

Think about the amount of competition in your area when considering how to start a senior portraits business.  You will need to differentiate yourself from your competition if you hope to be successful.

One way you can do this is to form relationships with the high schools in your area.  Consider sponsoring their teams and supporting them in other ways.  If they will allow it, leave some high quality pamphlets at the office of the various schools – or even in the lunchroom.  It is also sometimes possible to purchase advertising in the school yearbooks.  This is a must whenever possible.

As your business grows, consider expanding into other areas of photography.  If you are good at what you do, don’t be surprised when your customers (or their parents) start asking you to do other photography work for them.  That’s when you’ll know that learning how to start a senior portraits business was a wise choice!

How to Start a Cake Decorating Business

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If you’re the one in your family or among your kids’ friends’ parents who is always asked to make cakes, why not learn how to start a cake decorating business? If you’re good, there is a lot of opportunity in this low overhead, fun small business idea.

Professional cake decorators make cakes for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and many more special occasions. There are enough opportunities for well decorated cakes that if you market yourself well and produce a great product, you’re sure to stay busy.

What You’ll Need to Succeed with a Cake Decorating Business

Before you get too far into learning how to start a cake decorating business, take a moment to find out what kinds of licenses and permits you will need to operate such a business from your home. Of course you can open a shop for your business, but to keep overhead low, a home business is ideal. If you are not allowed to operate a food business from your home in your area, and opening a shop isn’t in the cards, renting a commercial kitchen on an as needed basis is a good alternative.

When you start a cake decorating business, you can work as much or as little as you like. This is a perfect business for someone who is looking for some extra money to supplement their regular income, and it can grow into a full time venture if that’s what you desire.

You will need to invest in some high quality baking pans, bowls, and decorating implements, if you don’t already have them. Purchasing cake molds of various types, including cupcake tins, is a good idea, but you might want to buy them as needed to reduce startup costs. For the most part, you can buy all your baking and pastry supplies and ingredients as orders come in, and if you charge half of your price up front, you might even get by with no out of pocket costs!

How to Market a Cake Decorating Business

When learning how to start a cake decorating business, you have the option of focusing your marketing efforts on individuals, corporations, or resale outlets, like local bakeries and supermarkets. All of the big chain grocery stores have bakeries in them, but smaller local stores might not. Also, while bakeries bake their own cakes, they might not have someone on staff who is an expert cake decorator.

Connecting with local event and wedding planners and other party planners can provide a flow of customers as well. Most big events, from weddings to company grand openings, will feature a well decorated cake, and you can be the one providing them.

Using free classified websites, and advertising in your local paper can also bring in quite a bit of business. Whenever possible, display pictures of your work when advertising. If you take a picture of every cake you decorate, your portfolio will continue to grow, and so will your customer base.

Many people who learn how to start a cake decorating business do so because they are decorating cakes anyway. If this is you, make a small business of it, and start getting paid for your efforts!

How to Start a Toy Business

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Are you a kid at heart? You might want to consider learning how to start a toy business. This profitable business can be built around your skill for making unique, fun toys, or you can buy toys wholesale and sell them through mail order or from your own toy store. Either way, you’ll have customers of all ages who love toys and want exactly what you have to offer.

What You’ll Need to Succeed with a Toy Business

If you plan to make your own toys, you will of course need the necessary materials and tools to do so. Toy makers are typically quite passionate about their trade, so chances are you have already been making toys when you decided to learn how to start a toy business.

If your plan is to buy toys from toy wholesalers and sell them at retail prices, your first step will be to research the various manufacturers and suppliers. Part of your research should be to contact current and former customers of these suppliers to make sure whoever you choose is reputable and trustworthy.

Once you’ve researched your potential suppliers, you’ll have a good idea of what your costs are going to be. Using this information as well as other overhead figures, you can determine for how much you will need to sell your toys to turn a healthy profit. But before you make any final decisions on pricing, be sure to also research the competition. If your toys are priced higher than anyone else, you better have something to offer your customers that no one else has. On the other hand, this research might reveal that you had planned on charging far less than your competition and could lead to more profits.

A business license, sales tax permit, and insurance are all items you’ll need to look into. A few states don’t charge sales tax, but most do, and a business license is required wherever you are. Also, if you plan to operate out of your home, check local zoning ordinances to make sure it’s allowed.

If you are going to open a retail store, make sure it is in a location where your target market shops. If you carry high end toys, locate in a mall or shopping center where people with extra money to spend on toys shop.

How to Market A Toy Business

Perhaps the most challenging part of learning how to start a toy business is figuring out how to spread the word about your new business.  One key is to grab the attention of your audience with plenty of color and fun. Whether using print media, television ads, or the internet, make sure all you do reflects the joy of being in the toy business.

If you’ve decided to make your own toys, approach local toy shops to talk about the possibility of their carrying your line of toys. This has resulted in some product makers building huge, thriving businesses. People have begun selling their products in a single local chain store and eventually ended up supplying to the entire chain.

Direct mail and email, using targeted, vetted lists of likely customers is another way to spread the word about your toys. Even if you have a store, you can still take orders that get shipped to customers all over the world.

Learning how to start a toy business involves quite a bit of work, just like any business, but it’s a whole lot of fun too. So get started, stay focused, and keep driving toward your dream!

How to Start a Parking Lot Striping Business

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Have you ever wondered how to start a parking lot striping business?  If so, you’ve come to the right place!  This in demand, flexible business opportunity offers those who start it the potential for a lucrative living.

We’ve all seen the stripes in parking lots, showing where people can and cannot park their cars, where pedestrians should walk, and designating which parking spaces are reserved for the handicapped.  But did you ever stop to think that every one of those lines and symbols was painted by someone who had the entrepreneurial spirit to start a parking lot striping business?

 

What You’ll Need to Succeed with a Parking Lot Striping Business

For lots that have existing striping, it isn’t difficult to learn how to start a parking lot striping business.  For new lots though, the owner of a parking lot striping business must possess math and logic skills.  Anticipating the flow of traffic and planning the perfect arrangement of striping to accommodate it takes planning ability too.

There are standards and regulations for much of what you’ll paint in parking lots, but you also have to make your own decisions about a parking lot layout that is most advantageous to customers, as well as the business owner.  Striking a balance between parking spots that are too wide (causing there to be fewer spaces) and too narrow (causing customer frustration) is a big part of your job when you start a parking lot striping business.

While it doesn’t have to cost too much to start a parking lot striping business, you will need to make an equipment investment.  Purchasing either an airless or compressed air striping machine will be one of your first orders of business.

For the paint you’ll use to stripe parking lots, the surface will dictate what you will use.  Concrete and asphalt, for example, require different types of paint.  In all cases, it is important to choose a paint that lasts long, covers well in one application, and is easy to apply.  Also consider the environment by investing in paint products that are environmentally responsible.

The other equipment you’ll need includes a power washer and blower to clear lots before striping them.  You will also need to have tape and stencils to guide you when applying parking lot paint.

How to Market a Parking Lot Striping Business

If you plan to focus on new parking lots, a great source of contact information will be found in your city planning department.  There, you can find out who has requested a permit to create a parking lot, the size of the lots, and their locations.

You can then contact the developers of these locations to pitch your services. Grocery stores, apartment complexes, and schools are examples of construction projects you might want to target.

If you plan on mostly concentrating on existing parking lots that need striping, finding potential clients couldn’t be easier.  Simply drive around your city and look for lots in need of your services.  Then approach the managers of those businesses and sell the advantages of your company.

It will take some sales skills and hard work to really make it big when you learn how to start a parking lot striping business, but you’ll find that your hard work and skills will pay off in a big way!

How to Start a Smoothie Business

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Smoothies are all the rage, and you can get in on the trend by learning how to start a smoothie business. Most smoothies are healthy and delicious, and they’ve become very popular as snacks, pick-me-ups, and even meals. Instead of reaching for a candy bar or soda, many people are going for the better choice of a smoothie.

You can capitalize on the growing health trend, help people eat healthier, and have a lot of fun doing it. If you pick a good location and make great products, you’ll see your business grow rapidly through word of mouth.

What You’ll Need to Succeed with a Smoothie Business

Before diving into learning how to start a smoothie business, take some time to research you competition. As smoothies become more popular, more and more smoothie shops are opening up. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as long as you are able to offer something unique and have a high visibility, high traffic location.

Researching other smoothie businesses will also give you an idea of what you can charge for your smoothies, which will be important when you are projecting numbers for your business. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to be the lowest priced shop in town to be successful. If people love what you’re selling, they will not expect to pay less than other shops. Keep your profit margin high by producing delicious smoothies and charging what they’re worth.

Because a smoothie business is a food business, you will need to look into what your area requires for licensing. In addition to a standard business license, you will need a permit to sell food, and you will be subject to inspections by the health department.

For a smoothie business, the way you decorate your shop and the overall feel of the business has almost as much to do with your success as the product itself. Smoothie shops tend to be very light and modern, with an airy but comfortable feel. Visit other smoothie businesses to get ideas, but don’t copy anyone. Be unique!

Just about anyone can make up a smoothie recipe – fruit, ice, fruit juice, and sometimes frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream. Try experimenting to come up with unique combinations and adding other ingredients. Again, standing apart from the other smoothie shops is what it’s all about.

How to Market a Smoothie Business

Once you’ve come up with a menu based on your smoothie experimentation, the next step in learning how to start a smoothie business is to learn about marketing your creations. On opening day, throw a huge grand opening celebration. Give away samples of your smoothies, get a live radio remote, and put coupons in the local newspaper. The key is to get people to come into your shop once, wow them with your product and service, and then give them reasons (like coupons) to come back again and again.

For anyone who wants to dive into entrepreneurship and all it has to offer, learning how to start a smoothie business is definitely a potential. As your business grows, your options are wide open – from opening multiple locations to franchising your concept. Just stay focused and work hard, and you can find success in a smoothie business.

How to Start a Locksmith Business

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If you have mechanical abilities and like being the one to come to the rescue, think about how to start a locksmith business. Locks are everywhere we look, and learning how to become a locksmith will present you with a great business opportunity.

For every lock, there is potentially someone who has locked themselves out. Locksmiths are called to help someone get into their car, house, or office every hour of every day. People also call on a locksmith to re-key and install locks and, in some cases, to open safes.

What You’ll Need to Succeed as a Locksmith

Learning how to become a locksmith takes some training. There are training programs offered all over the country at community colleges, trade schools, and even online. These courses teach all you need to know about locksmithing, from how to make a key to how to open a locked car door. You’ll also learn the proper tools to use for each job, and you’ll have a chance to practice your skills as you learn.

Certification is the next step, once you’ve finished your locksmith training. From there, learning how to start a locksmith business comes down to the management and marketing side of things.

As you were learning how to become a locksmith, hopefully you purchased the tools you will need for your business. You’ll also need basic office equipment, like a computer, printer, and general office supplies. You can work from home or open a shop, depending on your startup budget and whether or not you plan to hire employees right away.

In addition to standard training, your state might have legal requirements you must meet as well as laws pertaining to how and when you can open locks. The last thing you want to do is help a thief steal a car or break into a home!

Research the competition in your area to see what they do well and identify opportunities where you can do better. Offering great customer service and being available 24/7 will go a long way to winning business.

How to Market a Locksmith Business

Your biggest challenge, as you learn how to start a locksmith business, might be letting the public know you’re around. If you plan to open a store, make sure it is in a very visible location, with plenty of traffic. A locksmith is not someone uses everyday, so it’s important to do a lot of “top of mind” advertising. In other words, be in many places at once. Advertise in the phonebook, the newspaper, on bulletin boards around town, etc. See if you can buy ad space in areas where people might need your services, like parking garages and parking lots.

More than anything else, offering quick, friendly service will be your ticket to success. People tell friends and family about being locked out of the house or their car, and if they include how great you were in their story, you’ll be sure to get business from it.

So be a hero by learning how to start a locksmith business! It’s an interesting, profitable business that is a great entry into entrepreneurship.

How to Start a Judgment Recovery Business

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If you have seen any of the daytime court TV shows, you already have some idea of what a judgment recovery business is all about.  Very often, when someone takes a person to court, one of the parties in the case is awarded financial damages.  But just because the court has ordered one party to pay the other doesn’t mean they will necessarily pay.  That’s where your judgment recovery business will come in.

If it sounds like learning how to start a judgment recovery business is much like starting a collection firm, you aren’t far off.  Your job will be to collect on judgments that the court has made but that the paying party has not paid.  When you accomplish this, you will receive a fee, usually a percentage (typically 50%) of the total collected.

While you can offer your judgment recovery services to anyone, commercial accounts are where many people choose to focus their efforts.  Court awards tend to be higher in business cases, and it is easier to reach business clients than individuals, for marketing purposes.

What You’ll Need to Succeed in a Judgment Recovery Business

Finding people and businesses that need your services takes some research, but it isn’t difficult.  Court judgments are part of the public record, so it is just a matter of going to the courthouse or county clerk’s office to look up recent judgments.

Businesses often have a difficult time collecting on bad debt, and this can be even more so the case with a court awarded judgment.  So your services might be in high demand in your area.  Because they are giving up half of what you collect, businesses typically try to collect through their own methods before hiring a judgment recovery business.  But if you are good at what you do, word will get around, and you might just find that many businesses will turn to you sooner, to avoid the hassle and expense of in-house collections.

If you are worried about confronting those who owe judgments or the collection methods you will need to use in your judgment recovery business, it might not be as hard as you would expect.  Most of the work you will do – if not all of your work – will take place through the court system, and you might never actually meet or speak with the person you are collecting from.  Because these are court ordered judgments, methods of collection can include seizing bank accounts, garnishing wages, and placing their property in lien.  You will need to learn how to go about doing all of this, but it is not difficult once you learn it and become comfortable with the process.

The learning process for starting a judgment recovery business can be long, but there are many online resources that can help you learn the ropes.  Mostly, you will want to get to know the folks at your local courthouse and read your local civil codes to understand exactly what you are and are not allowed to do.

The great news is that the overhead for this business is extremely low, and you can make a very good living at it, once you know how to start a judgment recovery business.

How to Start a Security Business

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With a background in military or law enforcement, learning how to start a security business might be a natural fit. Those backgrounds aren’t required of course. Starting a security business is open to anyone willing to do all it takes to make it happen.

Even though crime rates have dropped in many areas for certain crimes, theft, robbery, and property crimes are still a major issue, and violent crime is a big problem in many areas. Companies and families with money hire security companies to protect their people and property, and they pay these companies very well. This presents a great opportunity for those who learn how to start a security company.

 

What You’ll Need to Succeed in a Security Business

If you plan to conduct security yourself, you will need training and certification. Again, having military, security, or law enforcement experience will give you some of the training you will need. If your plan is to hire security guards and simply run the operation, you won’t need the same training, but it would be a very good idea to get the training so you know everything your employees know about their jobs.

Private security training schools can be found throughout the country, and some vocational schools and state programs offer security guard training as well. Getting certified and licensed will happen through your state. As we are talking about not only becoming a security guard but starting a security business, you will also need to get a business license, and you’ll definitely need a good business insurance policy. Additionally, some states will require you to be branded, and you will need additional training and permits if you plan to carry a weapon.

Depending on the size of your security company from the start, startup costs can run from several thousand to over fifty thousand dollars. The only exception would be if you plan to simply be a freelance security guard with no employees or office.

Marketing a Security Business

A good way to start your marketing is with a quality website, and you can start to have it built even while learning how to start a security business. Make sure it is easy to navigate, and have it optimized for search engine rankings. You want your site to come up any time someone searches for security related keywords in your area.

In addition to a web presence, going out and speaking with companies who use security firms is a good way to gain clients – as long as you have something to offer them that they are not currently getting. To make sure you’re setting yourself apart, you will need to do extensive research on your competition.

Networking within your business community is another way to meet and get to know company owners and managers. Building these relationships takes time, but the end result is well worth it. If you do it right, they will refer your business to others they know, and that can snowball into a thriving security business.