This topic discusses the estimated startup costs for this business idea. Startup costs are what you need to pay in order to be ready to begin business operations. The amount of these costs also helps you decide if the idea suits you.
List of items in startup costs
Note: I am only showing one month for certain expenses. You should be able to get your first job or two in a month. Then these items become operating expenses, not startup costs.
The assumed startup costs for this business idea, using a frugal style of business operations, consist of the following items:
Advertising and promotion (1 month) -- Small classified advertisements or flyers delivered to likely neighborhoods.
Business insurance (1 month) -- Business liability insurance. (Talk to a local insurance agent to see if you need this coverage.)
Governmental requirements -- Local fees and business license. (Note: You might also be subject to state and federal deposits and registration fees, but these will vary. So I have not included them in these startup costs.)
Job supplies -- Marking pen or pencil and trash bags.
Office equipment -- Business telephone; desk accessories (stapler, paper clips, pen and pencils, etc.); and listing adding machine.
Office supplies -- Check blanks for business checking account, file folders or large manila envelopes (for filing papers), lined writing tablets, pads of accounting journals and ledger, and pads of standard job bid forms.
Other operating expenses (1 month) -- Business telephone expense.
Reference book -- Bookkeeping for Dummies (Paperback) available from Amazon.com or other online bookstores. (Note: The "for Dummies" series of books are easy to read manuals for normal people, not dummies.)
Here are the dollar amounts for a frugal business operation:
Note: See the Planning costs and expenses subtopic in the Business Plan on another page for ways to reduce these startup costs.
This topic satisfies the Starting business operations subtopic in the Business Plan page.
Preparing for business operations
Completing the startup requirements -- This is the last step needed just before you start business operations. See the Listing the startup requirements subtopic in the Business Plan for the items remaining to be completed.
As a minimum, you should have discussed the business idea with your family, set up your business entity, and satisfied all governmental and insurance requirements.
Local information needed -- You need the location of local dumpsites, fees charged for dumping, restrictions on materials allowed to be dumped, and rules for hauling trash.
Check with your local building inspector for any rules about installing locksets, deadbolt locks, and window protections. (There may be rules about required fire escapes.)
You also need to see if a building permit and/or contractor's license is needed before you start working on a job in your local area.
Operating the business
Soliciting customers -- Place classified advertisements in your local newspaper and/or the newsletter of the local property owners association. You also might want to deliver flyers to likely neighborhoods (where rich people live). Use a simple, honest description of your services. Once you become well known in the community, you should benefit from word of mouth advertising from satisfied customers.
For additional ideas on soliciting customers, see the Sales Methods page in another section.
Getting jobs -- Hopefully, some of the people who read your advertisements will inquire about your services. During this initial telephone conversation, you should determine if you are willing and able to provide the desired services. If so, you may want to discuss the tentative cost of the job. However, in most cases you probably want to inspect the job site before quoting a price.
I recommend that you meet with customers in their homes or offices, or at the job site. Your neighbors may object to having a stream of strangers arriving at your home. Also, meeting with customers in your home may violate the zoning rules in your town or city.
Preliminary job activities -- After greeting the customer at the job site, you should do a walk through to see the risks and note the possible counter measures. Then you can agree on what the customer needs.
The customer may be in a hurry and want you to work on a holiday or weekend to get the job done soon.
You can use your job bid forms to estimate the costs of installing the anti-burglar devices. The cost of the required devices can be estimated, subject to actual retail cost. This bid should include the fees for any extra services to be performed, such as working on weekends or at night, and hauling away any trash. The bid probably should include a completion date, subject to availability of materials. If the customer accepts your bid, you both can sign the bid form.
Obtain any needed building permit or contractor's licenses before doing any work.
If doing the work later on, you need to set the time and date, and arrange for access to the property. You also may want the customer to pay you for part or all of the estimated costs of the devices before starting the job.
Main job activities -- See the Main procedures topic below.
Final job activities -- Inspect the premises to verify you have finished all required tasks. Remove all your equipment and supplies. Gather up all the trash.
Collect your agreed upon fee from the customer. Haul the trash away, if part of your agreed upon services.
Job equipment -- Typical items needed: aluminum step ladder, assorted drill bits and screw bits, assorted screw drivers and nut drivers, broom and dust pan, claw hammer, crescent wrench, electrical extension cords, heavy-duty 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch electric drills, lock installation kit, pliers (regular and side cutting), portable work light, stud finder, tape measure, utility knife, and water container (for drinking).
Job materials -- Typical items installed: "burglarproof" lockset and deadbolt lock for exterior doors; Charley bar for sliding doors; extra long strike plate for exterior doors; latch or lock for sliding doors and windows; protection against window breakage (polycarbonate panel, security film, or a window gate); and wide angle viewer (peephole) for exterior doors.
Related activities -- Surveying homes and apartments for needed protection against burglars.
Allowing for fire escape -- Fire departments usually recommend that locksets and deadbolt locks should not require a key from inside the home. (If there is a window close to the lockset or deadbolt lock, the glass should be protected against breakage. This will keep burglars from using an inside thumb latch to open the exterior door.)
Installing anti-burglar devices -- You should install the various anti-burglar devices using the manufacture's directions.
Lock installation kits -- A jig or kit makes easy work of positioning and boring holes in doors for locksets and deadbolt locks.
Protecting exterior doors -- Let's say the home has a good locking doorknob (lockset) or deadbolt lock. A thief can simply kick in the door. The wooden doorjamb on the locking side will easily give way. (The holes drilled into the doorjamb for the strike plates actually weaken it.)
The solution for this problem is a special strike plate. This plate extends for almost the entire length of the doorjamb. You use screws long enough to go through the doorjamb into the 2x4 stud behind it. You also should put one long screw through each hinge. Now the door probably cannot be kicked in. An example of this special strike plate is the StrikeMaster II manufactured by Safe Homes International.
After installing this special strike plate above, you can install a "burglarproof" lockset and deadbolt lock. (A deadbolt lock provides much more protection that using only a lockset.)
Protecting interior doors into garages -- Garage exterior doors can be easily broken through. The solution is to treat the door from house into the garage as an exterior door. Thus, it requires the same safeguards as other exterior doors.
Protecting windows -- Let's say the windows in a home have strong latches or locks. A thief can easily break the window glass with a hammer or other heavy tool.
The solution is to install either iron bars (window gate), polycarbonate panels, or a security film.
Note: There is no way to make any home completely burglarproof.