Home Business Ideas

Gift Basket Service

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

Gift basket services are one of the fastest growing home based businesses with more than $1 billion in annual sales. Specialized baskets have become the perfect way to say “thank you” to a client or to remember a loved ones birthday. Every holiday creates the perfect opportunity to give a gift basket, and now, many people are also utilizing baskets for funerals and divorces! Most gift basket services find the greatest success when they cater to a niche. Here is a list of gift basket business ideas that are successfully operated at home by current HomeWorkers Net members:

  • Event Baskets (for baby/bridal showers, weddings)
  • Get Well Baskets (sick friends/hospital patients.)
  • Pet Baskets (gifts for dogs/cats and per lovers.)
  • New Home Baskets (for new home owners)
  • Holiday Baskets (Christmas, Mothers Day, Easter.)
  • Corporate Baskets (work promotions or new hires.)
  • Kid Baskets (graduations or ‘A’ report cards.)

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

A gift basket business in one of the easiest home based businesses to start. All you need is a little creativity, ingenuity and sense of style. If you plan to sell wine, beer or champagne baskets your state may require that you have a liquor license. Be sure to check with the proper authorities so that you can comply with all pertinent laws and regulations. You must be comfortable with sales work because a good part of your job will be marketing your services to potential customers.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

Prepare sample packages and baskets and drop them off with hospital gift shops, office managers and small retail shops. Exhibit your baskets at craft fairs and local charitable events. Many HomeWorkers Net members have also found success with flea markets and community yard sales. Of course, an internet web site can provide you with tons of new business and can be easily designed and produced.

START UP COSTS:

You may want to have an initial inventory on hand (baskets, food and other gift items.) Inexpensive craft tools, such as a hot-glue gun, shrink wrap, ribbons, scissors and other materials. You will need to prepare a professional portfolio of your work complete with photographs of baskets that you offer. You will also need a marketing package with business cards, brochures and letterhead.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Most gift basket business owners charge by the basket based on materials and labor. Call other gift basket service operators in your area to find out what they are charging so that you will have a good idea before setting your prices. Most baskets range from $25 to $300 with some clients paying more for special requests. The average basket is usually priced around $50-$65. If you sell just twenty-five baskets per week, fifty weeks per year at an average of $50 per basket, you will produce $62,500 in gross sales. Keep in mind that during holidays, you should have a significant increase in your business. (For instance, around Mothers Day, you should produce 100 baskets per week instead of 25!) The average annual gross income is about $75,000.

GETTING STARTED:

It might be a good idea to get a Merchant Account so that you can except credit cards, however you may find it almost impossible for a small, home based business to get a merchant account.

Income Tax Preparation

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

Most people are surprised by the fact that you do not need a license at the federal or state level to do tax preparation. You also do not need to be a lawyer, CPA or certified tax consultant. However, some type of previous training in the accounting field along with a thorough understanding of the tax laws and regulations is extremely important. Most people who start an income tax preparation business have degrees in accounting or other financial field. Because the tax code is so complex, most business owners specialize with certain types of tax preparation. For instance, many tax preparation firms work mostly with small business owners and the Schedule C.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

You will enjoy a higher income if you become a certified tax preparer, also known as an “enrolled agent.” The enrolled agent (EA) designation is the only certification granted by the federal government. You will need to pass an exam and demonstrate proficiency in handling tax returns. EA’s are entitled to appear before the IRS at hearings to represent clients and may prepare tax returns for corporations, partnerships, trusts and estates. There are no academic requirements to become an EA. The exam, however is very difficult and is usually given over a two day period. You will also be required to complete seventy-two hours of continuing education courses every three years. Keep in mind, only about 30% of the applicants who take the EA exam actually pass!

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

Referrals are the best method of finding potential clients for tax preparers. Taxes are a personal matter, so people tend to feel more comfortable with someone that has been recommended by a friend or co-worker. Offering free tax seminars at your local library or community center is also an excellent way to find new business.

START UP COSTS:

You might want to invest in a good tax preparation software program that prints tax forms and sends electronic filings. Many tax preparers also purchase copy machines because they need to make many copies of forms and tax returns for clients. Of course, you will also need business cards and brochures.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

The average tax service handles about 600 returns per year at around $200 per return. Most services charge per return ranging from $50 to $90 for a basic 1040. An important factor to consider is that tax preparation is seasonal work. A tax preparer’s high season is from January 1st to April 15th. Most individuals start thinking about taxes in February when all of their W2s have arrived. Small businesses think of taxed most in December and January, but many also have to file quarterly returns. Therefore, you will most likely earn the majority of your income in the first half of the year.

GETTING STARTED:

Start preparing for the EA exam by studying last year’s test and preparation study guides and decide what type of tax services that you want to offer. If you are going to specialize with individual tax returns, for instance, start making contact with local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. For more information regarding merchant accounts, please see our Home Business Tips.

Mail Order

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

Everyone has seen the ads in the back of magazines: “Make Millions With Mail Order!” The truth is, only one person in twenty-five actually earns six figures with a mail order business. But, don’t let that discourage you. Americans are ordering merchandise by mail, phone and the internet more than ever. The key to your success is finding the right products to sell and marketing your products correctly. Mail order isn’t really a business. Instead, it is a way of doing business. It uses the mail and package delivery service to market and distribute products. You will sell your products by placing ads in newspaper classifieds, direct mailings or an internet web site.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

You must be able to create a strong ad campaign, direct mail piece, web site or catalogue. You will also need a clear understanding of your market. Most importantly, you must have a good and exciting product line that is easy to ship. Specializing in certain products usually proves to offer the most success. Some HomeWorkers Net members sell herbs and teas, others focus on pet products. If you stick to certain product lines you will find your marketing and advertising campaign easier to manage.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

To be successful in the mail order business you need to identify your customers and market niches. One way to do this is to purchase mailing lists from other direct marketers. Publicity is also a great way to find customers, especially if you have unique or hard-to-find products. Send press releases with a full color photograph announcing your products to new products editors of targeted publications.

START UP COSTS:

Produce and distribute a catalogue of your products and design a web site that highlights the benefits of your unique merchandise. You can produce the catalogue yourself on a laser printer and there are now hundreds of software programs on the market that will help you design a web site. You will also need brochures, letterhead and business cards.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Your earnings will depend on your product line and your marketing abilities. Most mail order services earn around $30,000 to $50,000 per year after expenses. It will be important that you price your merchandise correctly in order to enjoy sufficient profits. Most business owners price the products by multiplying the base price times three. Therefore, if your product wholesales at $10.00, you would charge around $30.00 (or $29.95!) plus shipping and handling (usually about $4.95).

GETTING STARTED:

Once you have decided on what type of products that you would like to sell, you will need to find a wholesale company that handles that product line and set up an account with them. There are also hundreds of companies and organizations that can help you get started in the mail order business, like drop shippers that will provide you with catalogues of there products and you then distribute them to customers. It will be almost impossible to operate a mail order business without a merchant account, so you will need to set one up with your local bank. For more information regarding merchant accounts, please see our Home Business Tips.

Medical Billing and Claims

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

Home based medical billing services are one of the fastest growing opportunities. Medical billers work for doctors, dentists, hospitals, and other medical care services. The main duty of a medical biller is to process insurance claims to Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance companies. Medical claims assistance, (CAPs), are hired by patients to help them handle a variety of billing and insurance tasks. CAPs also verify bills, handle billing errors and monitors co-payments.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

Medical billing and claims requires knowledge of the regulations and guidelines of the health care and insurance industry, including Medicare and Medicaid. You must also be familiar with the coding system that is used by doctors and private insurance companies. It also helps if you are familiar with medical billing software, that is sometimes required by certain hospitals and doctors.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

The best place to find business is the most obvious! Network with your own medical care professionals! Your personal pediatrician, dentist, chiropractor or general practitioner are usually the best sources for gaining potential customers. In fact, personal doctors are usually a new medical billers first customers! Cold calling is another excellent source of customers because doctors are extremely busy and usually do not have the time to hire and train new staff. They may appreciate a call from an experienced Medical Biller or Claims Processor.

START UP COSTS:

You may need to invest in a medical billing software program in order to process claims. You will also need professional business cards, brochures and letterhead to complete your marketing campaign.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Medical billing services usually charge by the hour with fees ranging from $10 to $50 per hour, depending on your skills and the variety of services that you are offering. Many medical billers that charge higher fees also offer doctors management and patient follow-ups. Claims assistance professional usually charge a fixed monthly or annual fee to handle all medical claims for an individual or family. (Usually ranging from $200 to $500 per year.) Depending on the number of clients that you represent, your gross profits should total around $30,000 to $60,000 per year.

GETTING STARTED:

If you do not have experience in the medical field, try taking a few courses at a community college in your area. Many are now offering classes on medical billing and claims processing and are convenient and inexpensive. Also, check with your own medical care providers to find out if they are in need of office help.

Newsletter Publisher

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

There are thousands of newsletters in circulation in the United States. Some newsletters are distributed free of charge by businesses wishing to promote services. Others require a subscription fee. There are two ways to profit from newsletters:

  1. Special Interest Publications: You will earn income from subscriptions and advertising. You must select a group of people (for instance, senior citizens), who may be interested in paying for a newsletter subscription that provides them with information that they cannot obtain elsewhere.
  2. Publish Newsletters for Others: There are many organizations that would like to start a newsletter fbor their customers but do not have the time or resources. Real estates agents, churches and doctors are all potential clients for a newsletter business. In this case your clients will pay you a flat fee to develop and print a newsletter (on a monthly or quarterly basis). Standard rates for writing company newsletters range from $20 to $60 per hour, or up to $1000 for four to eight pages.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

You must be an excellent writer with the ability to compose informative articles that are of interest to your target audience. Desktop publishing skills will also be required so you will need to be familiar with computers, scanners, printers and related software programs. It helps if you have expert knowledge of a certain subject (for instance, travel or pet care).

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

Make your first issue free and distribute copies to local stores, post offices and libraries. You will probably need to do some cold calling to businesses in the area to find advertisers. You could also try small classified ads in your local newspaper or publications that market towards customers with similar interests.

START UP COSTS:

Your biggest cost will probably be the production (printing and mailing) of your first issue. Therefore, it is important that you check with printers, distributors and the postal service so that you will have a good idea of how much you will need to make in advertising dollars to cover your expenses and still turn a profit on your first few issues. You might want to invest in a postage meter and a bulk mailing designation (available from the US Postal Service) to save money on mailing expenses. If you plan to earn most of your income from advertising dollars you will need business cards and brochures that highlight your unique publication.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

If your newsletter is $60.00 per year (for subscribers) and you have 1,000 customers, you will earn around $60,000 per year. Of course, if you also accept advertising in your publication your earnings will greatly increase and you should earn upwards of $100,000 per year.

Paralegals

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

Paralegals-or legal assistants-are in great demand, as they can perform many of the duties that attorneys have traditionally accomplished. Paralegals free attorneys for other duties, and are cost-effective for law firms and businesses. There are many types of home based paralegal services that you could specialize in:

  • Compliance Manager – Ensuring that companies are in compliance with state and federal regulations.
  • Contracts Administrator – Write, review and negotiate contracts for a company’s subcontractors, employees, and business transactions.
  • Health Care Paralegal – Use your medical or dental experience to interpret medical files and analyze medical procedures for medical malpractice.
  • Marriage and Family Paralegal – Handle divorce, child custody, wills and estate planning.
  • Real Estate Portfolio Manager – Manage real estate holdings, find tenants, and prepare and negotiate leases. Stop evictions and unfair rent practices and handle rental agreements. Assist in preparing for closings and review title histories.
  • Franchise Coordinator – Prepare franchise agreements, research franchise chains and help restaurant, retail, and other service industry franchises expand throughout the U.S.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

Paralegals in the business world may help with employee contracts, shareholder agreements, stock option plans, and employee benefit plans. They may help prepare and file annual financial reports, maintain corporate records, and help secure loans. Paralegals may also review government regulations to ensure the corporation operates within the law. You will need to have expensive training in the legal field. A college degree in Public Administration or a certificate from a Paralegal studies program may prove to be very helpful in gaining the trust and respect of new customers.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

In addition to finding potential customers in law firms, you should be able to find work with schools, non-profit agencies, investigation agencies, banks and other financial institutions, the health industry, computer software companies, engineering firms, franchise operations — the list goes on. You will need a brochure to distribute as well as a highly detailed resume highlighting your expertise. You might also want to place an ad in your local Yellow Page directory.

START UP COSTS:

Of course, you must have a fully equipped home office with computers, a fax machine, laser printer and other related business equipment. You will also need a highly professional marketing package consisting of business cards, brochures and letterhead.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes in its Occupational Outlook Handbook that “Employment of paralegals is expected to grow much faster than average [at least a 36% increase] — ranking among the fastest growing occupations in the economy through the year 2006.” This translates into an estimated 77,000 new jobs by the year 2005 with the average salary for freelance or self-employed paralegals at $75,000 per year. Most paralegals charge between $30 and $75 per hour.

GETTING STARTED:

Make sure that you are proficient in the legal industry with a strong understanding of the field. Start contacting law firms by sending out your brochures/business cards.

Referral Service

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

If you’ve ever needed help finding someone to perform a service, you know how handy it would be to have a single source to call. Even though the Yellow Pages may offer some assistance, how will you know if a company or service is reputable or a rip off? A good referral service is the answer. A referral service finds, qualifies, selects and promotes businesses that meet a specific criteria and then refers this information to potential customers. Many HomeWorkers Net members are currently operating their own referral services specializing in the following areas: Baby-sitters and Nannies, Child Care Workers & Day Care Services. Home Repair, Contractors, Automotive Repair, & Pool Contractors. Roommate Finders, Apartment Locators, & Real Estate Agents. Doctors, Dentists, Mid-Wives, Nurses, & other medical specialists. Tourist information, Travel, Restaurants, Hotels & Attractions. Schools, Colleges, Universities.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

A referral service is paid for knowledge of resources. Therefore, the more knowledge and resources that you have, the more valuable your services will be. All you really need is a business phone line, a database program for storing information and detailed knowledge of the industry that you will specialize with. You should choose a specialty that matches your own background and experiences or in an area of special interest to you. If you have vast knowledge of the tourist industry in your area, you could offer a referral service that specializes with recommending local hotels, tours, attractions and restaurants.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

A service ad in a local newspaper can easily and inexpensively promote your child care or home repair referral service. You should also distribute flyers, brochures and business cards to stores or local facilities that might benefit from your expertise. A Yellow Page ad in your local telephone directory is almost mandatory. Such advertising will not only attract calls but also make it easier to sell your services to vendors because they see you making an investment to reach people. And don’t forget, the HomeWorkers Net membership directory offers free advertising for current members and is a great way to network with other business owners!

START UP COSTS:

If you do not already have them, you will need a computer and database management software. You will also need a business telephone line and a Yellow Page advertisement. You should also prepare a marketing package with your business cards, brochures and letterhead.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

Referral services may be set up to receive income in one of several ways. Probably the most common is for the referral service to charge the business a fee to be listed. The referral service is then free of charge to consumers. If your customers will save thousands of dollars by using your referrals you might decide to charge them a small service fee too. If you decide to offer an online service, you will also be able to charge for advertising space on your web site. Some referral service owners make $100,000 per year after they have been in business a few years.

GETTING STARTED:

Pick a service and a group of customers you enjoy working with. Set your rates and start contacting businesses in your area to find out if they would be interested in a referral listing with you. Begin compiling your database and advertising your services.

Resumé Writing Service

Posted by | January 9, 2014 | Home Business Ideas

INTRODUCTION:

As a resumé writer you will write resumés and cover letters for presentation to potential employers. There is a tremendous and constant demand for professional resumé writers who specialize in helping people develop and create competitive resumés that will get results. Many resumé services also provide additional services such as writing cover letters, salary histories and preparing salary negotiation letters.

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:

You do not need to have a background in personnel or the employment industry to start a home based resumé service. You can easily become an expert on resumés by reading books, collecting sample resumé formats and writing practice. However, you should have a strong grasp of the English language, including punctuation, spelling and grammar. You should have some talent for design and layout in order to prepare attractive and effective resumés for your clients. It also helps if you are familiar with resumé, cover letter and other related documents and the standard formats.

FINDING CUSTOMERS:

If you live near a college or university, you are in luck! Half or more of a resumé writers clients are usually college students, so if there is a large college near your home you should be able to find customers easily. Other potential customers can be found by placing ads in the employment classified section of your local newspaper. Most job seekers browse the help wanted ads and will be anxious to contact you when they have an important interview lined up! Offering free resumé clinics at local colleges and libraries is also a great way to find new customers.

START UP COSTS:

You might need to meet people in your home (if you plan to do personal interviewing for resumé preparation) so you will need a professional and private place to consult with your clients. You will also need a laser printer and word processing software. You should prepare a brochure highlighting your fees and services along with business cards and letterhead.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL:

A resumé service that operates 40 hours per week at an hourly rate of $35.00 can earn more than $1,000 per week and usually around $50,000 per year. However, many resumé services charge $50 to $100 per hour and put in nearly two hours of work per resumé. Other services charge flat fees for resumé packages. For instance, a one page resumé for a college student might cost $85.00. A one page resumé for an executive might cost $125.00.

GETTING STARTED:

Consider becoming a certified resumé writer. This usually requires a test and sometimes membership with a professional resumé writers organization. These organizations will provide you with the credential “Certified resumé Writer” that you can use on your brochures and advertisements. Advertise in college newspapers and put up fliers in college career centers.

RESOURCES:

NCNA (The National Career Networking Association): Offers a Resume Writers Certification and Career Counselor Certification programs. http://www.ncna.com or write to:

NCNA
PO Box 242
Roseland, Florida 32957-0242