Home Business Ideas

Bill Auditing

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

This is one of the best new business ideas for entrepreneurs. Large companies spend tons of money on gas, electricity, water, insurance, telephones and a wide variety of other services. These bills are often difficult to understand, especially utility bills, which are among the most complicated. Nevertheless, many of these bills are simply paid without their accuracy being verified. Often times, hundreds of dollars are recovered when a bill auditor carefully checks these bills.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

You will verify bills against purchase orders, check to see that goods have been delivered, compare charges against what the contracts allows, and check the math, tax rates and other rate classifications to make sure that your clients have not been overcharged. When overcharging is discovered, the auditor negotiates a refund and usually takes a commission from the amount recovered. Therefore, it is a good idea that you have basic math skills and the ability to spot errors. It helps to be familiar with the utility, and telephone companies billing cycles, tariffs, statements and charges.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

Direct solicitation of businesses that are likely users of large amounts of energy, such as stores, schools, hospitals, restaurants, etc. Other candidates are coin laundries, automotive repair shops and other smaller service based businesses. Your best bet is to use direct mail and then follow up your mailing with a telephone call. You could also give a free seminar or workshop at your local library or community center that explains the amount of money that can be saved by auditing.

START UP COSTS:

Start up costs for this type of business are very low. You will need a personal computer, printer and other general office equipment including a telephone, desk, chair, etc. You will also need business cards, a brochure and letterhead.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Auditors charge 50 percent of past and future savings. Therefore, if you do not find a billing discrepancy, you will not get paid! Lucky for you, an auditor can find a billing error 99.9% of the time. Average fees run from $1,000 to $4,000 on refunds. Once seasoned, an auditor can do 1 to 2 claims per day. A slow rate would be 2 to 3 per week. Based on 2 claims per week (producing $1,000 each for 50 weeks) would bring you approximately $100,000 per year.

GETTING STARTED:

As a beginner, your studies should focus on tariffs, rate structures, meter readings, and how to decipher a utility bill. Master your state’s tariffs, the maximum rates charged and profit percentages assigned to utility companies as regulated by public utility commissions. If a utility company is charging your customer above the set tariff, you have found a refund candidate. Tariffs are public information. You can request a copy from your utility carrier, free of charge.

RESOURCES:

Auditel Marketing Systems – Offers a comprehensive training program. For more information, contact them at 233 Springfield Ave., Joliet, IL 60435; (800) 551-9282; fax (815) 741-5335

Bookeeping Service

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

If you have skills and training in bookkeeping you can put them to work keeping records for other businesses, thus building a business of your own! Small business owners (those with fewer than 40 employees) — which make up about 90% of all businesses in the U.S. — do not need to hire full time bookkeepers. But, they are interested in contracting out this work to a service or individual with the appropriate skills.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

To start your service you will need experience in single and double entry bookkeeping and you will need access to a computer accounting program. It also helps to have a understanding of tax laws and preparation. You will probably get more business and enjoy higher earnings if you can also offer payroll services.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

Your best customers will be other small businesses. Therefore, you should focus your advertising and promotional efforts within a 20 to 30 minute drive of your home office. You might want to consider placing an ad in your local yellow page directory, which can run from $200 to $1,000 dollars but can be set up on monthly payments. Or, join the Chamber of Commerce in your area. They offer great networking opportunities along with a free listing in their annual membership directory. It is also a good idea to have a brochure, business letter and other professional documents prepared.

START UP COSTS:

You will need a personal computer, printer and accounting software along with other general office equipment including a telephone, desk, chair, etc. You will also need business cards, a brochure and letterhead.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Once established, much of your time will be billable at your hourly rate. Most bookkeeping services typically charge $20 to $50 dollars per hour, depending on the services performed. A bookkeeping service with 1600 billable hours per year (at $30 an hour) will have a gross sales of $48,000.

GETTING STARTED:

Before opening your service, make sure that you have the necessary skills and sufficient training to convince prospects to hire you. Bookkeeping skills can be quickly learned in just a few courses at a community college. You might also try to get some on-the-job experience by working for an established bookkeeping firm. If you already have the required skills, you should check with your local city zoning and business office to get the necessary business licenses. It will also be a good time to Join HomeWorkers Net! We offer great job leads, networking opportunities and free advertising to current members!

RESOURCES:

AccountingNet – featuring accounting firms database, tax resources, state society pages, CPE courses, and industry news. http://www.accountingnet.com/ American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers – offers membership services, training, support and networking opportunities for professional bookkeepers. For more information, call 1-800-622-0121.

American Payroll Association – offers education and support to professionals in the fields of payroll, human resources, benefits, and compensation. http://www.americanpayroll.org/

INTRODUCTION:

This is one of the easiest businesses to start and operate. All you have to do is order Certificate of Incorporation forms for every state that you intend to help clients incorporate in (many stationery stores carry them.) The forms are simple to complete, but take care to follow their rules to the letter. For example, not placing a comma between the business name and the abbreviation “Inc.” is reason enough for the state to return the form to you unprocessed.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

To start your service you will need to contact government information centers in different states to get the necessary information regarding fees and procedures for incorporating a business in that state. Each state has their own fees and guidelines, so the more states that you are familiar with, the business you’ll enjoy because you will be able to offer your services nationwide.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

The easiest way to find customers is with an internet web site. Many software programs are available that will help you build and upload your site to the World Wide Web. Don’t be tempted to offer the same price range as conventional services, which charge from $500 to $1500 on average. Your low price is your greatest asset, so make sure it is prominently displayed on your web site and in your marketing materials. It is also a good idea to have a brochure, business letter and other professional documents prepared.

START UP COSTS:

You will need a personal computer, printer and software along with other general office equipment including a telephone, desk, chair, etc. You will also need business cards, a brochure and letterhead.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

You should add only $50 – $100 to your expenses for each incorporation that you file. Therefore, if the states processing fee is $125.00, the fees for the seal and ledger is $75.00 and the application fee is $35.00, you should charge no more than $335.00 for your services. Handling only 10 incorporations per week will bring you about $52,000 per year. You can make even more if you decide to offer other services. For instance, you could sell “Complete Incorporation Kits” that include instructions, forms, contact phone numbers and addresses. You could also offer services for helping businesses obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS.

GETTING STARTED:

Contact each states incorporation office to get the necessary forms and information.

Collection Agency

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

Collection services assist businesses in collecting money owed to them by their customers while encouraging a continuing relationship. This usually entails mail and telephone correspondence as your primary tools for reaching delinquent customers. Home based collection services have a distinct advantage in serving small businesses, particularly health-care providers. Many large firms simply do not try to collect on smaller debts because it means less commission for the work. However, home based collection agencies that specialize in small debts are often the most successful.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

To start your own service you will first need an understanding of the credit and collection side of business. Books on the subject will help, but practical experience in the credit and collection industry will give you an edge. You will need a “thick skin” and respect for you clients. Collecting money from people is regulated by both the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and state laws. State laws typically require people who do collections to be bonded and licensed, however, obtaining a license is usually not difficult.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

Directly soliciting potential customers by mail or phone is the best method. The best type of businesses to market these services to are day care providers and agencies, health care clinics, small service based businesses, retail stores and other small establishments. It is also a good idea to have a brochure, business letter and other professional documents prepared.

START UP COSTS:

You will need a personal computer, printer and software along with other general office equipment including a telephone, desk, chair, etc. You will also need business cards, a brochure and letterhead.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

The majority of collection agencies do not get paid by the hour. Instead, they work on a commission basis, therefore if you do not collect, you do not get paid. Commissions range from 25 percent on young accounts to 50 percent on those that must go to court. For instance, a collection service that gets the debtor to pay a $1,000 medical bill will earn $250 to $500 depending the age of the bill and the agreement with the business. Typical annual gross revenues range from $30,000 to $60,000, based on a 25 percent commission for collections of $10,000 to $20,000 per month (the average for a small collection service)

GETTING STARTED:

Consider focusing your business on a specific industry. For instance health care collections, if you have experience in the field. Start with just one small account to gain experience and go from there!

RESOURCES:

American Collectors Association. Debt collection resource guide http://www.collector.com/

The National Foundation for Consumer Credit. The NFCC network is comprised of 1,300 local non-profit organizations that provide consumer credit education to families and individuals. http://www.nfcc.org/

Associated Credit Bureaus, Inc. International trade association, represents consumer credit and collection service companies. http://www.acb-credit.com/

Computer Instructor

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

Computers are everywhere: businesses, homes, schools, etc. The computer revolution has grown so fast that many people are not up to speed on the technology and are afraid of computers because they do not understand them. Computer instructors teach users how to get the most from their computers. You do not have to be an expert programmer. You just need a basic understanding of the basics along with the Windows operating system. Tutoring can be done at a variety of locations including your home.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

You must understand how computers operate, including hardware and software. It is best to be familiar with the internet, mail readers, Windows (including Windows 98!), and at least one popular software program such as Microsoft Word, Access or Excel, or WordPerfect. It also helps to be familiar with systems configurations and installation.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

Computer Instructors typically design classes or training sessions around popular programs or applications, then produce fliers or place small ads to promote the classes. You might also try focusing your business towards a specific group. For instance, many computer instructors are enjoying great success teaching senior citizens. (Most seniors are really just interested in the basics of computing, email and the Internet.) It is also a good idea to have a brochure, business letter and other professional documents prepared.

START UP COSTS:

You will need a personal computer, printer and software along with other general office equipment including a telephone, desk, chair, etc. You will also need business cards, a brochure and letterhead.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

You will earn more by instructing large groups, because even though the per student fee is smaller, the total income per hour is greater with groups. Hourly tutoring fees range from $85 to $125. You should earn around $50,000 to $125,000 per year based on training 3 days per week, 42 weeks per year at $50 to $125 per hour.

GETTING STARTED:

Check with your local library and find out if they will allow you to offer a computer class on their premises and charge around $25 dollars per student. Distribute your brochures and business cards to senior centers and community centers. Look into the adult education program in your area to find out about teaching a class. If you would rather focus on individual instruction, pass out fliers and promotional mailings in your neighborhood. Word of mouth referrals will be one of your best sources for new customers.

Desktop Publisher

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

Desktop Publishing (sometimes referred to as DTP), has made it possible for almost anyone with a computer and laser printer to start a quick and easy home based business. Full and part time home-workers are designing and producing printed materials such as fliers, business letterhead, brochures, business cards, envelopes, training manuals, annual reports, catalogues, newsletters and many other commercial products.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

DTP requires skills and knowledge in a variety of areas including design, computers, papers, business documents, writing and editing skills and familiarity with at least one popular desktop publishing software program. (Most home based publishers use Corel or Pagemaker, however hundreds of easy to learn programs are currently on the market. Check with your local office supply store.) It will also help if you are experienced with scanners and laser printers.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

Organizations of all types, including large and small private companies, government agencies and non-profit groups, all need the services of a desktop publisher, so business is easy to attract! The best way to win customers is by using your expert DTP skills to develop your own creative business documents and distributing them to potential customers. You will need a brochure, business letter, business cards, a price sheet and other professional documents, including a portfolio of your work.

START UP COSTS:

You must have a computer and a high resolution laser printer! You must also purchase a desktop publishing and word processing program, if you do not already have them. It will also be a good idea to have a scanner, fax machine and office telephone with a hold or mute feature. Some desktop publishers also have a good quality color printer on hand for special requests and orders.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Your hourly rate will vary depending on the value of the product that you offer and the type of businesses that you market to. Most earn between $35 and $75 per hour, however the majority of DTP jobs are priced by the product, not by the hour. Some home business owners charge by the page with typical prices ranging from $8 to $25 per page for black and white documents. (Color documents should be priced at a higher rate!) If you are located within or near a major metropolitan area, you should be able to earn $50 per hour and up. The average full time, home-based desktop publishing service earns between $35,000 and $50,000 per year.

GETTING STARTED:

Assuming that you already know how to operate a computer and are familiar with at least one desktop publishing software program, you should start immediately marketing your services. Distribute your sales literature to print shops, small offices and your local chamber of commerce. Consider placing an ad in the Yellow Pages. Another excellent method of finding customers is by contacting employers that have placed “help wanted” ads in the classifieds for overflow clerical staff.

Editing & Proofreading

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

A variety of businesses use the services of a professional editor or proofreader in the preparation of books, magazines, newspapers, research papers, reports, contracts and other documents for clients. These include hardware and software companies, trade associations, law firms, and even private citizens. A proofreading service checks written materials for accuracy in grammar, spelling, punctuation and style. An editing business helps others apply the rules of good communication to documents they write, focusing on content. You might also offer indexing services. Indexers typically work for reference and professional book publishers constructing key word indices for the back of the book.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

You must have thorough knowledge of good written communication skills including punctuation, grammar and style. It helps to have a degree in English or other related field because you will likely attract more business if you have a degree. You will also need to be familiar with “proofreader’s marks.” (The format that professional editors use to make corrections.) It will also help if you are familiar with desktop publishing and word publishing software so that you can offer design and layout services.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

Your customers are most likely to be magazine and newsletter publishers or private writers. Other potential customers may include businesses that need assistance with the preparation of reports, corporate documents or advertising materials. Individuals may hire you for manuscripts, articles for publication or resumes. Personal contacts within the industry are the best marketing tool. Get to know publishers and writers by joining a trade association and using your networking skills! Refer to Writers Market for names and addresses of publishers to whom you can send your resume and marketing package.

START UP COSTS:

You will need a computer, modem, laser printer, fax machine, word processing software and other related office equipment. You should also have plenty of reference books like dictionaries and a thesaurus. You will also need to pay trade association fees to any organization that you decide to join to help with networking.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Once established, you should earn $25,000 to $60,000 per year depending on how much you charge and how you price your services. A manuscript editor may charge $2,000 to $3,000 to review and comment on a 400 page manuscript. Editors usually charge around $15 to $40 per hour for basic editing services. Proofreaders earn $10 an hour and Indexers usually charge around $3 to $6 per printed page they read to produce the index. Remember, many spell checking and grammar checking software programs have now taken the place of the need for Proofreaders, so you will not want to focus your business on these types of services, and if you do, you will need to make your prices reasonable.

GETTING STARTED:

This type of job typically requires some credentials, so don’t expect to be hired without some solid work experience behind you. Try to gain experience as a editor, perhaps with a local newspaper. If you have not already, consider attending college to work towards a degree in English or Journalism.

Event Planner

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

An event planner is hired to plan and coordinate meetings, conferences and seminars for business professionals. Individuals may employ event planners to organize reunions, parties, weddings, and bridal and baby showers. Other organizations and groups need event planners to help them with fairs, festivals, fundraisers and workshops. Many event planners specialize with family, school and military member reunions. This involves locating attendees by searching computer databases, making telephone calls, searching marriage records, voter registration files, alumni associations and previous employers. With this type of planning the focus is on the people and not the party.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

You will need good organizational skills and excellent people skills. Almost anyone can start an event planning business as long as you are comfortable working with the public and are able to manage a wide variety of elements needed to organize a successful event.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

To get started, begin with smaller events. Maybe you could consider planning your own high school or college reunion! Organize a baby shower or birthday party for a friend and then use attendees for references. Much of your business will come from networking. Make contact with hotels, printers, caterers, florists, photographers and restaurants because they will be an excellent source of referrals!

START UP COSTS:

You will need business cards, stationery, a brochure and a computer with contact management software. You might want to invest in a professionally designed web site to help advertise your service.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

You will price by the event, calculating the fee based on an hourly rate of $25 to $40 plus expenses. For example, if a business Christmas party takes 30 hours to plan and coordinate as well as $1,000 in expenses, your price for the even is $1,900 (at $30 an hour) or up depending on your mark-up. You can also price per attendee: if you are expecting 50 people, you could charge $40 per person. (This helps to put the event in terms your client can understand.) Other planners (like reunion planners) usually take their fees from the money paid by each attendee. So, the more people that show up, the higher the income for you! Reunion planners are generally rewarded for their efforts in generating large turnouts. This helps to market the service because reunion committees do not risk any money. A new event planning service may struggle but once established you can earn $60,000 per year or more.

GETTING STARTED:

Event planning is a difficult business to grow quickly. It takes lots of promotion, networking and word-of-mouth advertising. Start by placing an ad in the local Yellow Pages. Distribute your brochures and marketing documents to hotels and restaurants and ask for referrals in exchange for holding the event at that particular hotel or restaurant. Research your area. Find out who has an upcoming reunion and contact the reunion committee to find out if they already have an organizer.

Financial Advisor

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

Almost everyone needs financial assistance. Whether its with paying off high interest credit cards, investing in the stock market or starting a retirement fund. A financial advisor will guide clients in making informed decisions about their financial situation. You can offer a wide range of services including investing, bill consolidation, estate planning, savings programs, college education funds and even small business financing.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

You should have extensive training and knowledge in the financial industry. This includes banking, investing and the stock market. It also helps to be familiar with loan procedures and where to research best interest rates. Knowledge of financial industry products including IRA’s, mutual funds, money market accounts, and other related services. Keep in mind, depending on the type of financial advise that you plan to offer, you may need to be licensed or bonded.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

If you have experience dealing with bankruptcy, you can find customers by offering free bankruptcy clinics or workshops at your local library, community center or college campus. Likewise, if your area of expertise in the stock market or investing, free seminars are a great way to network and meet potential customers. Write a press release for your new business, highlighting your specialty and fax it to your local newspapers. Mention in the press release that the first consultation with new clients is free!

START UP COSTS:

You will need a computer and other general office equipment. A modem and internet connection is very important so that you can get instant access to stock quotes, banking rates and other financial information. A professional business brochure, business card and letterhead is also an important marketing tool.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Qualified and experienced financial consultants generally earn $40 to $100 per hour. Many financial advisors work on a percentage of the assets managed in a customers “portfolio.” Therefore, a 2 percent commission on $1 million in assets in $20,000. You may also want to set standard rates for typical services. For instance, bankruptcy assistance could be priced at around $500. Likewise, mortgage loan assistance could be priced at $250. Once your client base has been established, you should earn no less than $50,000 per year.

GETTING STARTED:

It is important to decide what type of financial services you are most qualified to offer and focus in that area. You may also need to contact your local state or county business office to find out what type of licenses, certifications or credentials you will need to operate a financial service business. Some states may require that you be bonded, so you will want to make sure that you have met all required guidelines before accepting payment for your services.

Freelance Writer

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

There are a hundred different types of freelance writers. Some work for retail stores and advertising organizations, others work for magazines, newspapers and newsletters, and some write for doctors, lawyers and other professionals. A specific type of writer, a copywriter, prepares copy for a wide variety of materials: ads, brochures, instruction manuals, grant proposals, press releases, media kits, feature stories, magazine articles, TV and radio spots, web sites, company slogans, speeches and many others. Some freelance writers work exclusively for magazines. They perform research, develops and sells articles to magazines and newsletters. Many specialize in a field such as the medical industry, while others prefer the flexibility of writing on a variety of topics.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

A strong background in English and communications in necessary. You should be creative, logical and organized. It is important that the art of writing comes easily to you so that you can prepare articles and stories to meet publisher deadlines. If you plan to do commercial work (brochures, slogans, advertisements, etc.) you should have thorough knowledge of desktop publishing, business writing and public relations. It helps to have a degree in journalism, or related field, however many writers are enjoying successful careers without college degrees.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

The annual edition of Writer’s Market is an important tool in finding buyers for your magazine articles. Be sure to also consider local publications, like your local newspaper and supplements, as well as college newsletters. New writers will find that it is much easier to get published in a small, local publication the first time around. Attend writers workshops and seminars to meet others that may be able to provide valuable tips and information. Networking organizations are a great way to find new customers because they allow you to meet with hundreds of people and business owners that may need your services.

START UP COSTS:

You will need to develop a professional look for your own business cards, letterhead and advertisements complete with samples of your work and references.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Freelance writers charge by the hour, by the day, by the word, by the page or by the job. Most magazine writers establish an hourly or daily rate that helps them calculate profitability. The typical rate is $25 to $50 an hour. However, many magazines pay by the number of words in the article. An editor might offer you $450 for a 1,500 word article, based on .25 cents per word. Most publishers will pay you separately for photographs and drawings, if you provide them. Typically, new writers earn $20,000 to $40,000 annually for the first few years. After five years, most freelance writers who have established their careers are earning between $80,000 to $150,000 per year.

GETTING STARTED:

If you plan to do freelance magazine writing, review the current issue of the Writer’s Market. Once you have identified which publications you are interested in, write or call to request editorial guidelines and schedules. This information will help you determine how and when to submit article proposals or queries. You will market your ideas in what’s called a query letter – a letter to the editor describing your proposed article and why it will be useful to the magazine’s readers. You should create a portfolio of at least five samples that you have written to show potential clients.