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Monthly Archives: March 2017

Starting A Carpet Cleaning Business

There are three main types of carpet cleaning; dry foam carpet cleaning, liquid extraction carpet cleaning, and hybrid liquid extraction using a bonnet to thoroughly scrub the floors. Most carpet cleaners use the liquid extraction method because it most cost effective. When starting your business you need to lay out a business plan. To develop a carpet cleaning business you must have money for start up because your business is equipment based.

When you first go to purchase carpet cleaning equipment you’ll be amazed at how many different types of extraction equipment is available. To find carpet cleaning equipment it is advisable to shop at a local cleaning supplies and janitorial equipment distributor or look on line at vacuum cleaner and carpet extractor websites. There are many types of carpet cleaning units available, some of these types include carpet spotters, portable carpet extractors and truck mount carpet extractors.

Carpet spotters are made for cleaning smaller spaces and areas that are not flat like cars, boats and furniture. Carpet spotters are also great at removing small spills and stains and are light and easy to transport. A great way to expand what you offer in your carpet cleaning business is to offer mobile auto detailing. Mobile auto detailing is quickly catching on and people will pay good money for this extra service.

Portable carpet extractors are what you are probably going to be looking at if you’re just starting out in the carpet cleaning market. There are two types of portable carpet extractors, tank and wand units and portable walk behind. Tank units are the best if you are going to be cleaning a lot of carpets frequently. Tank units allow you to attach carpet wand tools for a variety of jobs and are the most versatile. Tank extractors also come with heaters that super heat your extraction solution which in turn yields a cleaner carpet. Tank portable carpet extractors usually range from $1200 to $7000 dollars new and are available with many options.

The third type of carpet extraction unit is the truck mount. Having a truck mount unit for commercial carpet cleaning is the ultimate way to go. Truck mount carpet extractors are usually mounted in a truck, van or trailer and contain very large suction motors which are run off the vehicles own power. Truck mount carpet extractors come with super heating heaters that heat the carpet extraction solution up to high temperatures. Truck mount units are usually self contained so the both the solution tank and the waste liquid tank is contained in the vehicle. Truck mount setups can range any where from $10,000 to $60,000 dollars depending on the options you choose. If you are starting out your own carpet cleaning business a used truck mount systems is a great way to go.

The basic equipment needed to start your carpet cleaning business is a vehicle to get to your carpet cleaning location, a carpet extraction unit and carpet cleaning chemicals and cleaning supplies. After you have acquired all your cleaning equipment it’s time to get insured. It is not recommended that you clean someone else’s carpets without insurance and most people who hire you will require proof that you are insured and bonded for their own protection. Knowledge of carpet cleaning is required for cleaning carpets. There are many books and internet sites that are devoted to commercial carpet cleaning from which you can gain knowledge about the carpet cleaning industry.

After you have learned and practiced with your own equipment its time to get some clients. A great way to learn and get experience is to offer to clean your friends and relatives carpet for free or at a discounted price. This is a great way to gain experience and knowledge about carpet cleaning and sometimes learning by making mistakes is the best way to perfect your carpet cleaning skills. The most cost effective way to get clients is networking. Tell people about your carpet cleaning endeavors and ask them to spread the word. Advertising in smaller local newspapers is also a great option because ads are usually cheap and they are targeted to specific communities. When you first start out you should run some good deals even if you are breaking even on the actual carpet cleaning costs at your jobs. You will want to get the word out there as much as you can, and if you do a great job word will spread fast.

When you are cleaning your clients”carpets it is important that you look and act professional. Remember that you are in someone else’s house and that you are being paid as a service to clean their carpets. Before you start cleaning your clients”carpets, have them show you all the trouble spots and let them know if it is possible to get stains out. Many people believe that professional carpet cleaners can remove every stain from carpeting but this is not true because some stains can be ground in and permanent. It’s ok to let the client know if you are unable to remove a stain. After you are done cleaning the carpets take the client around and show them any trouble spots before you leave. Explain to them why you can’t get the stain out and what other treatments such as dying can be done to the carpet. Make sure before you leave that the client is happy, just as good carpet cleaning spreads by word of mouth news of bad carpet cleaning will spread even faster and could give you a bad reputation in the carpet cleaning world. Make sure to keep a list of all your clients and follow up with them over the year to see if your carpet cleaning skills are needed again. Over time you will build up repeat clients to add to your new clients which will in time expand your carpet cleaning business.

 

Start A Small Business Effort

“Do I think starting a business… an online business… is worth the effort?”

“Can make any money doing it?”

The short answer to both questions is YES. Starting a business is possibly one of the best ways to increase your income, and gain independence.

Having said that, I also need to add that there are risks.

With the advent of the Internet, just about anyone can start an online business, no matter your background, and with very little money. A computer and a connection to the Internet will get you started. Of course, these are only vehicles. You need more than this to become successful.

After pondering the reader’s questions, this is how I replied…

* Starting any business involves time, energy and money.*

This seems obvious, but surprisingly, a lot of people don’t actually stop to think about this. Before you do another thing, you need to ask yourself whether or not you are ready and willing to give this kind of commitment. It goes without saying that you can’t build any business without investing varying degrees of each.

* Decide WHY you want to build a business of your own.*

What I’m talking about here are intangibles such as the sense of self-satisfaction, a desire for more independence and freedom, fulfillment of a life-long dream… these types of things.

*Start a business on something you love and know something about.*

Too many people go chasing the almighty dollar simply because a business looks good on paper. But no matter how profitable any given business is, if you don’t have a strong interest in the subject and know a lot about it, the business is almost guaranteed to fail.

Why? Because a key ingredient in a successful business is trust. If you don’t have a passion for what you do, the business won’t be any fun. It will end up being drudgery and it will show in everything you do. Your readers will sense that and they won’t trust you. Without trust, it will be impossible for you to build relationships with them.

So, pick a business that you are keenly interested in… and that will sustain your interest over the long haul.

*You need a website that works.*

A good website can be the most valuable tool you own, no matter what kind of business you decide upon. The primary function of a good website is to provide relevant, useful information about the subject of your business. The site can also perform a variety of secondary functions — secondary being the operative word.

People use the Internet for one thing — to get information. As a business owner, you want to give them what they’re looking for.

For instance… let’s say someone wants to find information about the best gourmet chocolate in the world. It happens that your passion is gourmet chocolate. You build a website about gourmet chocolate that provides lots of information, and even suggests the best places to buy gourmet chocolate.

Quality content like that is useful to the person looking for it, and it attracts search engines. Good content also means you’re likely to rank well with the engines. The better your ranking, the more targeted visitors you’ll attract — visitors who are motivated to buy. And, of course, warm, willing-to-buy visitors mean greater profits.

Matching people who want information with people who provide it equals win-win… and that’s what makes a website work.

*All of the passion in the world doesn’t guarantee success.*

Before you roll full-steam ahead with your idea, you need to be certain you can actually make money with it. That means you need to do some research. There are hundreds of ways to do this, but the only method I recommend is Site Build It!.

SBI! combines dozens of tools and services in one package, which makes it simple to identify profitable niches. One of its best features is the Brainstorm tool. Just enter a keyword or phrase and it goes out to the web and brings back the actual demand, supply and profitability. You also see who the competition is and how they rank.

Another reason I recommend SBI! is that sites tend to rank better and faster. The company’s founder, Ken Evoy, reports that *62% of SBI! sites rank in the top 3%.*

*KEEP YOUR DAY JOB!*

Unless you can afford to live without a paycheck, don’t fire your boss. It’s going to take time and hard work for the money to start rolling in from your new business. But if you create a plan and follow it, the day will come when the income from your online business exceeds your paycheck. When that happens, you can say… “Hasta la Vista, Baby!”

At the end of the day, the decision to start a business is highly personal and yours alone to make. You are the only one who can decide if small business ownership is a good fit. But I submit to you that if the desire is there, don’t be afraid to try.

The Internet is a venue rife with opportunity. Whatever your interest, passion or hobby, I’m confident you can turn it into a successful online business.

If leading a happier, more satisfying life is something you want, make it happen. Every day that passes is one day of opportunity you won’t have again.

 

Tips to Ensure Retail Store Success

Key factor #1 – Your location

Your location is by far the most crucial factor to drive your store success. You can have the greatest selection of products, the coolest idea, the most talented and friendly staff, but if you are not in a location that receives a high amount of foot traffic throughout the day; your store will crash and burn.

Look in your local newspaper for new leasing options at retail stores in high traffic areas in town. Assess the local strip mall landscape to see the incoming traffic within the stores. Look for patterns as it relates to the weekend and weekdays. Assess to see if you would have any direct competitors that would be in clear competition with you. Talk to local government employees within the towns you are considering to see if you can obtain census data. Weigh the benefits of opening a store in an area that has a high growing population versus one that may have tapered off. Factor this information into your expenses model to ultimately make your decision. WHATEVER you do, do not lease a store just because it is in close proximity to your primary residence. This is a clear cut recipe for disaster.

Key factor #2 – Your products and associated margins

When deciding what products to sell, a business owner needs to make some clear cut decisions. Go down the specialty route or be a general retailer. Sell products that are geared to consumers only, businesses, or both? Source products domestically or within the United States ? One thing is clear when you go down the route of purchasing products – be conservative with your inventory at first to gauge the levels of success within your customer base.

In today’s economy, with the advent of Wal-Mart and The Home Depot, a small business may be best served opening up a niche business with a distinct theme. By doing so, your business will more likely appeal to a core segment of customers that will be loyal to your store and come back for subsequent purchases. Examples of this could be a candy boutique or a high end jewelry store that specializes in rare gems.

Be careful with product margins. In sectors like electronics, the amount you make on a retail sale will likely only be 15% higher than what you originally paid for the product. This percentage decreases the longer you own the inventory. When possible, consider looking overseas for your products. Attend trade shows and expos that are geared for your potential sector. By sourcing in places such as China or Taiwan , your business will be able to sell products at margins closer to 50-60%, dramatically decreasing your risk associated with holding inventory.

Key factor #3 – Marketing and attracting new customers

Your business needs a value proposition, something that differentiates it from everyone else and conveys your core benefits to your customers. If you are starting a business from scratch, as opposed to buying a franchise, crafting and refining your value proposition becomes even more important. Ask yourself one crucial question – Why would customers want to both come to and buy from my store? Once you have nailed that question, you have identified your value proposition.

Now its time to market your business and get the word out to potential customers. Creativity and a little research can go a long way in maximizing the effectiveness your marketing dollars. Think about both traditional media and also emerging media. Newspapers and the radio can be great forms of advertising, but do your customers typically interact with those forms of media? Maybe your customers are prone to using the internet and search based advertising is your best bet. Consider creating a website and hiring a specialist to do search engine optimization for your business. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the task of constructing your site and executing various elements to make your website rank high in Google or Yahoo.

The key to maximizing your marketing investments is to track what works best. In a retail environment, that means simply asking your customers “where did you hear about us”. By tracking this data and seeing what works and what does not work, you can shift your spending towards the forms of media that are best driving your store traffic.

Your retail journey awaits and is sure to be one of the greatest adventures of your life. Follow the pointers we give above, believe in yourself and have fun – you will be sure to reach the levels of success that you deserve…

 

How to Starting Jewelry Business?

1. Why do you want to do this?

Is this something that you want to do for strictly for the money? For the thrill of starting something from scratch? Because you need to make extra money to pay your bills? Etc. The answer to this question will create the context you need to think through your plan. For example, if you want to start a jewelry business because you absolutely have to have extra money to survive – that consideration will limit your choices greatly because you will need to make decisions that lead you to a quick profit.

2. Market and Products

What do you plan on selling and why? Think about whether the jewelry or other products you intend to sell are right for your intended market. Diamond jewelry is probably not the right product for a flea market! Some good ‘off-line’ venues that I have used include:

Craft fairs and outdoor festivals — generally in the summer time. You can usually get a table at these events for $20-$50 for the day. You will want to have a good selection of inventory; if you do you can usually gross anywhere between $150-$400 (based on my experience). Your sales will be directly related to your quantity of inventory.

Winter bazaars, church sales, holiday festivals — Oct-December. Check the local paper. Many churches have these annual events and tables are pretty inexpensive. These events are nice because people come to spend $ on gifts.

Home-based jewelry parties. You can host an event yourself, or have a friend host it and give her some free stuff as compensation. I like to have a good friend or relative host – that way I am pretty sure they will follow through. Ask your friend to invite her friends, relatives, etc. for the party. You provide some light snacks and bring all your stuff. Again, people come to buy and you have no competition! If you get people to one of these you will make out pretty well, and you don’t need to have as large a selection. I have made up to $2500 in an hour and half! Typically, I’d gross $500-$1000 in a pretty short time.

Flea markets– usually in summer and holiday season. These can be boom or bust. It depends on whether, traffic, etc. Generally people at these want to spend very little, so the low-end stuff sells best. Good place to experiment since the tables are usually only $20 or so. I know people that go to the same flea markets every week and do very well with lots of repeat customers.

Store/ mall-cart. This is a much bigger leap since the overhead is so high compared to the above venues. I have done neither so cannot offer any good advice in except to plan really well and consider all the costs involved.

3. Where will you get your inventory?

This is the place you will need the best research. Unless you are selling in large volume, you will probably want to get a markup of about 3 times (what you paid for inventory). The lower the price you pay for your goods, the lower the price you can offer your customers/ the more profit you will make. You will always save more when you buy in bulk, so look for a supplier you can form a long-term relationship with who can give you good deals, service and selection. Buying a large quantity now may seem like a big expense now, but the result is you make more profit on every single item you sell.

The more you spend the more you save. Find a few good suppliers and see what sells well and who is willing to work with you. Find suppliers who provide good service and are committed to your success.
Buy off ebay- many people buy stuff at good prices then just re-sell

Search the web for other silver jewelry wholesalers.

Search the web for manufacturers. Most are in Asia. And you will get the best deals this way – but you are going to have to spend $3000+ to get the best prices and give yourself 6 months to find the right vendors, get your inventory and develop a relationship. It seems simple, but trust me, the cultural differences alone will add 3 months to the process! Unless you need 20+ designs of each design you order, or actually want to get a mixed batch of random leftovers that you will not see in advance, this is not a great option for most small businesses.

4. Is an online business right for you?

I make a living through my website. My business is successful because I:

– Have an efficient system to manage business operations

– Provide excellent service

– Have several great, inexpensive sources for products – suppliers that I know well and trust 100%

– Purchase a high volume of jewelry each month (enabling lower margin on each item)

– Spent time researching/ testing products and marketing strategies and learning about ecommerce

As I said, everyone’s situation may be different, but this is what works for me. I started about 6+ years ago part time, and within about 6 months had a full time internet business. I never expected it to work out this way, but it’s still going strong. Now it is much easier to get started from the technical side — the major auction sites offer good services for beginners and there are products out there to manage your business. You can even start a fully-functional ecommerce website without knowing any html! It is the “systems” that are the key factor for me. I have a system for inventory, a system to communicate with customers and a system to manage the fulfillment and customer service process. Most of my systems are computerized but I always take the time to get to know my customers in person when I have the opportunity.

5. … Is an offline business right for you?

Many folks are intimated at first by the whole ecommerce thing. The truth is an off-line business can be just as successful. Unless you have a lot of capital you want to start off (and continue!) with low overhead. So, you don’t need to go out and buy a store front! You can start by buying a small amount of inventory and testing the waters.

Try selling to friends and co-workers

Host a jewelry party (or better – have a friend host it) and invite a lot of people. I once made $3000 in an hour an a half! Typically, I would make about $800 or so in a couple hours.

Rent a table at a craft show (summer fair or church bazaar around holiday time). Tables are usually only $40-$60 for the day.

Get a spot a flea market

Put stuff out at your or your friends garage sales. It really works!

My advice is until you really know your market and have a handle on your revenue stream, start small. This way you are not going to lose much, if any, money.

6. Business licenses, TaxID numbers, merchant accounts, etc.

Check with your state to see what is required to do business. My experience is that it is very simple. You can get a TaxID, which takes about 1 hour and you can do it by phone, and this enables you to buy inventory without paying sales tax. But keep in mind that most vendors will be out of your state and will probably not charge sales tax anyway. In this case most vendors may not even need a TaxID. In terms of taxes, you can file under your TaxID or your social security number. If using your social security number and keeping the business under your own name, I do not THINK you need a TaxID, as long as you claim all your income appropriately. If you plan to have a business checking account you will need a TaxID number.

As far as I know you do not need any special license to sell retail. But you should contact your state tax office to get all the paperwork you will need to remit sales tax to the state. You are required to collect sales tax on retail purchases (most internet companies only charge sales tax to customers that live in the same state as the business). And at the end of the year, you have to pay this tax to the state.