I enjoy sharing with others how easy it is to start a new home watch business. The best part is, when you go into business for yourself, you become your own boss. Plus, you don’t have to punch a clock. Being an entrepreneur with a home watch business also provides you with a ton of flexibility while earning a fair wage – even if you work your business as a part-timer. But how exactly do you start a home watch business? It may sound complicated at first, but if you follow my ten easy steps, you’ll be in the business earning your extra cash in no time.
1 – Determine Your Service Menu
What this is, is your ‘menu’ of services you intend to provide under the umbrella of your home watch business. It doesn’t have to be complicated but you do need to have an idea of what services you are prepared to offer to potential clients. Within your list, don’t forget to add possible add-ons that may compliment the established services on your list. Also, be flexible enough to add more based on your client’s request.
2 – Give Your Business A Name
This is often the most difficult of the tasks that face a new business owner. My tips for making this easy include naming it something easy to remember, pronounce and spell. Make your business name something that says what your business is and give it a name that sounds professional and friendly. Our guidebook has a list of over 40 proven home watch business names you can adapt for your own use.
3 – Keep A Handle On Spending
A home-based business is pretty easy to launch and doesn’t normally cost you much money because you will have most everything you need already in place. The only real expense at first will be your local business license. As for a vehicle and office space, you should already have wheels and you can easily set up an office in the corner of a room if you don’t have a spare room to dedicate to your new home watch business venture.
4 – Establish A Legal Structure
You can’t properly operate a home-based home watch business without a form of legal structure. This is primarily for tax purposes and it will be one of the smartest steps you take. Your choices will be to operate as a sole proprietor or as an LLC. There are advantages and disadvantages to both but you will need to figure out which is best for your long term goals. Visit nolo.com for a better understanding of both legal structures.
5 – Insurance Coverage
Another thing you will need that will turn your home-based business into a legitimate venture is insurance. You will want to have the right kind of coverage that will protect you in case of a lawsuit or claim. There is no guarantee that you won’t need it, but having the extra protection is wise. Your best bet is to discuss your needs with a local independent insurance broker who can give you a better idea of what that coverage is going to look like and cost in your state.
6 – Determine Your Rate Structure
This will be one of the most important steps you will take to launch your home watch business. I strongly urge you to consider using an hourly rate. That is because it is an easy way to quote prices to a potential client and gives that client a number to budget for. You can tack on extras but stick to a solid base hourly rate that is high enough to cover your costs and give you a profit but is not so high that it scares off business. Another popular option is to quote fixed rates, based on the size of the house. You’ll find complete guidelines in How to Start a Profitable Home Watch Business.
7 – Build Your Customer Base
Once your business is up and running, you will need customers to keep it up and running. There are many ways in which to promote your home watch business but your best return will come from target marketing. You can start this by getting some business cards printed and hand them out at such places as insurance offices, travel agents, real estate agents and anywhere else that your future clients will learn about your business. You can advertise online through free classified ads, put posters up in and around your community, have signage on your vehicle and park it in a high traffic area…the possibilities are endless on who to promote your business in the beginning. Eventually, if your clients are pleased with your home watch service, you will see business come your way from referrals.
8 – Speaking Of Referrals
Yes, one great spin-off to having happy customers is the fact that they will often tell others in their circle about your home watch business. To make this work in your favor, don’t be shy about suggesting to your customers that they do this. You can make it even easier for them by providing extra business cards, brochures about your business and services or whatever else you can provide. In a way, you end up with customers doing the promotion and advertising of your business for you at no cost to you and direct to your target market.You could provide a $10 gift certificate for future services to each client who provides you with a referral that converts to a customer.
9 – Focus On Providing Excellent Service
Sure, this could quite easily be considered a no-brainer but the reality is that to be successful in any kind of business, you need to be good at what you do and that what you do pleases your customers. This includes some of the small things that are often overlooked by bigger businesses. Because your home watch business will put you in direct contact with the majority of your clients, you have the opportunity to impress them with a personal and professional approach to doing business. Remembering names, doing the tasks correctly and not making a lot of huge mistakes will go a long way in keeping your clients happy with your service. You may even want to consider added incentives to enhance that user experience.
10 – Keep Your Business Orderly
One thing you are going to discover once your home watch business starts to take off is that you won’t be able to get away with hand-written invoices for very long. There are easy computer programs that will do the invoicing for you and keep track of your revenues and expenses so that you don’t have to have the added expense of hiring a bookkeeper. Even if you are not all that tech-savvy, there is bookkeeping software out there designed just for entrepreneurs like you who either don’t have the practical experience of bookkeeping or don’t have the time to spend learning a complicated program. When you can keep your books in order, it takes a great deal of stress away from you and lets you concentrate on your business. Our guidebook has detailed reviews of the best software to use for both bookkeeping and home checks.
As I have stated, it isn’t all that difficult to launch a home-based home watch business. If you follow the ten steps listed here, you will be in business faster and building your business faster than most entrepreneurs are in today’s marketplace. Plus, you’ll be earning a solid wage working just part-time hours!