Top 10 Home Businesses with Rapid Break-Even Time
If you are looking for a business that allows you to earn profits as soon as possible, here are some ideas you can try.
While the list is by no means comprehensive (and some people may even disagree), these businesses were chosen based on our own research, readings from various business ideas books, and interviews with entrepreneurs. Some of the businesses that we have featured before -- e.g. computer consulting, web design, catering, etc. -- were excluded from the list even though these ventures perfectly exhibit the characteristic. Of course, how short the period your business can breakeven will depend on various factors present in your venture, including demand for the business in your area, ability to market the business effectively, capital to start-up, and your management know-how.
1. Business Plan Writer. The business plan writing service is an exciting business that demands a combination of writing skill, business expertise, and creativity. Your task is to help new or existing businesses develop an overall blueprint that includes medium-term and long-term strategies, market positioning, financial requirements and start-up costs. This business is ideal for areas where many new businesses are starting and existing businesses are expanding.
However, not all new entrepreneurs prepare a business plan: many find the process too tedious or they lack the knowledge to make one. Your most probable clients will be those entrepreneurs who are seeking loans, attracting investors, looking for franchises, or businesses at the point of being acquired.
To start in this business, you need a strong business background, good knowledge of financial statements, good business writing style and the ability to see a business both from the perspective of the owner and the financial source. It would help if you have already put together business plans before so you know what questions to ask and what information to find. Study the various business plan software available in the market, but learn to adopt it to your client's particular situation.
Start-up costs for this business can be low particularly if you already have equipment like computer, fax, and Internet access. Your biggest cost may be professional liability insurance to help protect you when your recommendations for the future direction of the business turn south. Earnings, on the other hand, can range from $2,500 to $5,000 per project depending on the time it takes to write the plan (usually three to four weeks) and the amount of research you need to do. Your price can increase to as much as $25,000 per project, particularly for big corporations seeking new funding. You can also supplement your income through business editing and revising existing plans because of the change in your client's circumstance.
Like any new business, finding the first client is the hardest. Networking and referrals are the most effective ways of finding clients. Join chambers of commerce and economic development groups. Make contacts with bankers, venture capitalists, angel investors and organizations that offer business mentor programs or entrepreneurship centers. Hone your skills by preparing business plans free of charge at the beginning, in order to have a portfolio of plans you can show to prospective clients.
2. Event or Meeting Planner. If you have excellent organizational skills and enjoy arranging and organizing formal actions and happenings, this business could be for you. An event or meeting planner arranges and coordinates meetings and other events for companies, professionals, non-governmental organizations, associations and large international organizations handling everything from room reservations, airport pick-ups, dinner menus to entertainment. Meeting planners usually organize conferences, sales meetings, conventions, trade shows, fund-raising events, special banquets, hospitality events, shareholder meetings, international symposia, and other professionally oriented events.
The tasks of an event planner normally depend on the needs and requirement of the clients as well as on the planner's specialization. Your main tasks are to set up meeting design and objectives, select and negotiate with site and facilities, create the budget, handle housing and transportation, plan the program, establish registration procedures, prepare back-up contingency plans, manage food and drinks, produce and print meeting materials, schedule promotion and publicity, manage exhibits, among others. To start in this business, you need to have a perfectionist's attention to detail and a wide array of contacts in the travel, presentation, transportation and hotel industries. In addition to handling a extensive array of elements needed for a successful event, you should be adept at negotiations and troubleshoot crisis situations.
This business is ideally suited for those with background in public relations, communications or travel. You can start by volunteering to coordinate an event for an employer, a friend's company, church or other groups. You can also start by working with a meeting planner in your area and taking on a portion of the odd jobs. This will allow you to gain skills in organizing events, and a first-hand look at what it takes to succeed in the business. The best ways to get ahead in this business is through networking in business groups and associations, contacting visitor's bureau and city's convention to learn of forthcoming events.
Typical annual revenues for this business ranges from $45,000 to $60,000. You can charge either by the hour, by the day, by the number of attendees, or by the project. The average hourly fee is $40 to $60 per hour, while daily amount can run from $400 to $500 per day. Or if you are expecting 50 attendees, you can price the occasion at $40 per attendee. Others may charge 15 to 20 percent of the projected total budget for the event.
3. Public Relations. A typical public relations specialist promotes people, products and events to the media or other resources in a variety of ways including press releases, special events and press conferences. However, according to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), there are fifteen elements of public relations: community relations, counseling, employee/member relations, fund raising or development, government relationships including lobbying, industry relations, investor or financial relations, issues management, marketing communications, media relations, minority or multicultural relations, public affairs, publicity, research, special events and public participation.
As a public relations specialist, you can specialize in a variety of ways. A number of specialize in crisis communications, Web publicity, copywriting, annual reports, non-profit sector, or authors and writers. To start in this business, you need to gain training and experience. You may want to get professional accreditation as an APR or Accredited in Public Relations (in the U.S., check with the PRSA). You may start with your own business by developing a plan publicizing your new venture and credentials to the right market. You can also offer volunteer to do publicity for your favorite charity, your friend's business, or even a local candidate.
Earnings from a home-based public relations business can range from $65,000 to even as high as $175,000. Overhead expenses are low to moderate at 20 to 40 percent of income.
4. Computer Repair. As more and more households and businesses embrace computer technology, the require for repairing broken computer hardware will continue to increase. As a computer repair technician, your job is to maintain and fix computers at a customer's business site or at home. Your service could include swapping motherboards, data recovery, disaster recovery, repairing network problems, removing viruses, installing software, troubleshooting modem and communication problems, repairing notebooks, and others.
To maintain and repair computers, you need first to know how they work and what to do when they don't. You need to know the mechanical workings of a computer, their interfaces and connections. If there are parts that need substitute, you must know where to get the components. You can develop your technical information through reading books, taking courses on computer repair, videos and hands-on experience. Following in this business, however, entails more than technical know-how. You need to have the personality and ability to provide a high level of service, as this is a customer-service oriented business.
Computer repair is one of the most lucrative home businesses available. You can potentially earn $48,000 to $60,000 a year, assuming your billable hours are about 1,200 to 1,500 a year at $40 an hour. Some computer technicians charge as high as $85 an hour. You can also charge for either travel time or a flat fee for a service call. Overhead costs for this business is moderate at about 25 percent or less.
5. Medical Transcription’s If you love typing and the medical lingo, the medical transcription business is for you. A medical transcription’s transcribes the medical records dictated by a healthcare professional, including letters, histories, physicals, progress reports, and chart notes. With the growing complexity of medicine, mounting threat of litigation and increasing demand on their time, the healthcare industry has relied on keeping dictated notes to document all aspects of their patient's history and pressed the medical transcription business into a $50 billion industry.
Superior listening skills, fast typing speed, and aptitude for science and language are required to succeed in this business. You need to have an understanding of medical diagnostic procedures and the medical specialties you work with, enough to know the medical terms and spell them correctly. This business is a good fit for those with medical background. If you have not studied or worked in the medical field before, you can take home-study course, correspondence course or classroom training in a occupational or technical school. To get clients, check with your existing contacts, other transcription services or solicit clients directly. You can also check out Internet sites that contract medical transcriptionists and use the Internet to send out documents.
You can charge for your transcription services in a variety of ways: number of lines (10-20 cents per line), number of characters, per page (typically around $5-$6 per page), minute of dictation (from $15 to $50 per hour depending on the level of difficulty to understand), or the number of kilobytes in a text file. While actual earnings depend on the type of work done and the equipment used, average earnings of a medical transcriptionist ranges from $30,000 to $90,000).
One downside, though: the emergence of voice-recognition technology where doctors could sit down on their computers and say their notes while the computer "types" may reduce demand for the medical transcriptionists. Nonetheless, even with the attendance of this technology, medical transcriptionists will still be needed as it allows medical professionals to dictate notes on the tape recorder or over the phone while driving, walking or in the elevator. In addition, such technology can even be a boon for transcribers as it allows them to focus on their editing skills instead of typing spe
6. Carpet Cleaner. Carpet cleaning is one of the most popular home businesses today. As the name suggests, your job description is to shampoo and clean carpets for homes and businesses alike using special equipment. You can initially focus on cleaning homes or apartments, and then grow to service commercial establishments such as office spaces, restaurants and retail stores that could offer bigger contracts and higher percentage of repeat business.
A carpet cleaning business has a low entry cost. You can start as low as $1,000 if you initially lease your cleaning equipment and already own a vehicle to transport your equipment. As your business grows, you can find used or new professional carpet cleaning equipment at wholesale janitorial suppliers. To reduce cost, purchase industrial-grade cleaning supplies at wholesale prices. Before you start, however, you must have some skills required for efficiently cleaning carpets and knowledge of the equipment and supplies to use.
Consider the number of trips you need to make (one to estimate the job, and the other to do the job), the size of the carpet cleaned and the need for cleaning in pricing your services. You can charge your customers either a flat hourly rate or a room rate. Hourly rates can range from $25 to $50 per hour. On the other hand, a 10 x 12-foot room of 120 square feet can range from $18 to $30, at 15¢ to 25¢ a square foot. If charging by the room, most need a minimum number of rooms to clean, typically three. You can charge additional fees for moving furniture to clean the carpet. Potential first year earnings for this business can reach $35,000, and breakeven can come one month to six months. To augment your income.
There are various ways to reach your clients and market your business. Word-of-mouth is the fastest and most effective, although many carpet cleaners extend the word by placing classified ads in the local paper, distributing flyers and business cards.
7. Financial Planner. A financial planner guides clients in making sound, informed decisions on the risks and rewards of specific financial savings and opportunities. As a financial planner, you look into all aspects of the client's financial life, including income from all sources and financial commitments. Unlike a broker which looks only in stocks, you choose from a wide variety of financial instruments, such as bonds, mutual funds, real estate, venture capital opportunities, and others to help your clients reach their financial goals. Your tasks can range from providing consulting services to businesses on pension plan investments to as simple as helping individuals manage their bank statements.
Demand for this business continues to grow as investment vehicles become more complicated and the tax implications increasingly become pervasive. To start in this business, you need to have an extensive knowledge, training, and skill functioning for the finance industry. While no state or federal legislation define the qualifications of a financial planner, you need to decide how you will function as a financial advisor and get the appropriate certification and license. Many either register with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a Registered Investment Adviser or take specialized training and pass exams to become a Certified Financial Planner. To become a CFP, you need to pass exams in six areas: tax management, investments, insurance, employee benefits, retirement and estate planning. You also need to complete 45 hours of continuing education every year. Other organizations that issue financial planning credentials include the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (for Accredited Estate Planner), Institute for Investment Management Consultants (for Certified Investment Management Consultant), Association for Investment Management and Research (for Chartered Financial Analyst), and American Society of Certified Life Underwriters and Chartered Financial Consultants (for Chartered Financial Consultant).
A financial advisor can expect to earn anywhere from $40,000 to $90,000 per year. You can charge by the hour (typically $50 to $150 or more per hour), a percentage of the assets managed in the portfolio, or commission from investment products sold. If you are working on a $1 million portfolio for a client, your 2 percent commission could give you $20,000. You can justify your costs by showing clients how to increase return on investment by an amount greater than the commission.
8. Image Consultant. As the world turns more competitive, the question of "looking good" in the eyes of an increasingly demanding customer could spell the success or failure of a person's business goals. From ruling a job to landing a contract, impression and image counts. As an image consultant, your job is to enhance a client's image by improving personal appearance, diction, clothing, and professional etiquette. You will offer clients advice on wardrobe planning and personal shopping; analyze their coloring and advice on make-up, hairstyle or coloring; coach clients on effective speech techniques; or offer corporate clients with workshops and seminars on personal grooming and professional etiquette. Think of your job as "impression management" and "strategic corporate dressing."
Given people's desire to look good, everyone can be your potential client. The bulk of your customers, however, will be individuals, mostly professionals and corporate executives needing guidance on how to look best as they climb up the corporate ladder, self-employed individuals who must market themselves effectively, people seeking employment or changing fields, and those in specialized occupations such as television. To get clients, network extensively and build a referral base. For this kind of business, clients want assurance that you can deliver what you promise, and may be less inclined to check out the Yellow Pages. If you have successfully consulted people, ask for a letter of recommendation or other references. Establish yourself as an expert in your field by writing a book or articles for magazines and newspapers. Get your name out to a wider audience by speaking to social and civic groups.
One-on-one wardrobe consulting can bring you $25,000 to $40,000 a year in gross earnings, with hourly rates ranging from $50 to $250, with $125 the average. You can expect higher income if you do speech coaching, where you can charge from $75 to $300 an hour. Seminars, however, produce the biggest income potential as this can give you fees ranging from $750 to $5,000 a day, depending on the number of participants and the nature of the workshop. The more corporate work you do, the higher your income potential. Overhead costs for this business can be as low as 20 percent of gross earnings.
9. Personal Chef. This is one of the fastest growing home businesses with great income potential, minimal start-up costs, and allows for flexible schedule. Entrepreneur Magazine calls it "one of the hottest trends in today's marketplace" while the U.S. World News and World Report called it a "hot track career." In 2000, this business was estimated to reach over $100 million and is one of the rapidly growing segment of the home meal replacement market.
As a personal chef, you arrange meals one or two times a month in your clients' homes, providing enough food for two to three weeks. Given the shortage of time and increasing level of activity, more people are paying $7 or $8 a meal per person to a personal chef to come to their homes, prepare ed.
several dinners and leave them in the refrigerator or freezer. When they come home, they have several choices of tasty and nutritious meal to choose from, instead of fast food fare or TV dinners.
To become successful as a personal chef, you need to prepare customized and personalized menus that allow you to make profit while making your services cost-effective to clients. If you prepare 10 meals to a family of five costing them $340 per visit, each dinner costs around $6.80 apiece an amount lower than the $12 to $15 per person a family would typically spends in a restaurant. However, you have to be careful that excess costs do not devour your bottom line. Personal chefs can make monthly income of $3,000 to $4,000, while prospective yearly revenues can $40,000 to $50,000.
While you can get clients through advertisements, this business primarily thrives on word of mouth. Since you will be working in your clients' homes, they need to be comfortable and familiar with you (although it helps to get theft and liability insurance in the event an untoward incident occurs in your clients' homes). You can also do cooking demonstrations and write articles in magazines and other publications.
10. Real Estate Appraiser. Real estate appraisers determine the value of property and structures. Real estates need to be appraised prior to its sale, when refinancing or getting a home equity loan, when getting insurance, in the event of foreclosure or bankruptcy, for investment decisions, and for other decisions needed on a property. Your tasks include checking real estate records, inspecting and measuring property, and calculating value based on local and industry guidelines. Probable customers for this business include banks when they grant a mortgage or foreclose on a home loan; lawyers in estate distribution or dispute cases; individuals prior to selling or buying a home or contesting real estate taxes, government when it condemns a property or reassess taxes; and insurance carriers prior to agreements on property damage settlements.
To start in this business, contact your state licensing division for the licenses and certifications needed to become a real estate appraiser. Qualifications through training and experience are very important in this business. To help you get some idea of what licenses and training to get, study the ads for appraisers in the local telephone book and real estate sections of newspapers. The association where they belong to is usually listed. You also need to create some samples of your work to show to prospective clients of your business, to help establish that your estimates are not wild guesses. As with any other business, networking with the right group of people is essential, and in this case you need to develop personal contact with mortgage companies, savings and loans, and banks to get on their list of approved appraisers.
Potential earnings in a year could reach from $35,000 to $75,000 for residential appraising, while commercial appraising could bring you $100,000 per year. Appraisers normally charge by the hour at a rate of $40 to $80 an hour. Overhead expenses for a home-based operation are moderate at about 30 percent.