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 in the local newspaper and/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 equipment -- Broom and dust pan, claw hammer, combination cleaning sponge and squeegee, electrical extension cords, extension poles for squeegee, flashlight, garden hoe, garden spade, lawn rake, plastic scrapers, portable work light, pry bar, sledge hammer (4 pounds, short handle), step ladder, utility knife, water buckets (2), water container (for drinking), and wide shovel.
Job supplies -- Heavy twine, lint-free rags, pad of sticky notes, trash bags, window cleaning solution, and wooden stakes.
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.
Protective gear -- Dust mask, goggles, plastic gloves, and work gloves.
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.
Find out what materials are classified as toxic wastes. You probably want to avoid these materials.
Operating the business
Soliciting customers -- Place classified advertisements in your local newspaper and/or 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.
Being a slave for a day is a novel business idea, so you may be able to get free publicity in the local media.
For additional ideas on soliciting customers, see the Sales Methods page in another section.
Qualifying customers -- Hopefully, some of the people who read your advertisements and/or flyers will inquire about your services. During this initial telephone conversation, you should determine:
Getting jobs -- For a small job, you may be able to come to an agreement over the telephone.
If this will be a big job, the customer may want a firm bid for the job. If so, you probably will want to inspect the job site first. If you both agree on the terms for the job, you can record them on the job bid form. Then both parties can sign it.
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.
Determining needs of customers -- To insure satisfied customers, you need to determine what they want from you. You need to replace assumptions with specific instructions.
Following are some questions you may need answered for various tasks:
Cleaning out a basement or garage -- Where is the trash located? Are any good items mixed in with the trash? (If so, may want to identify them with a sticky note that says "GOOD" on it.) Should the good items be moved to somewhere else? Should the areas formerly occupied by the trash have the cobwebs knocked down and the floors swept out?
If you will be washing windows or any other things, you need to verify that water will be available to you at the job site. (If not, you will have to bring your own supply of water.)
You also need to determine when and where to perform the services and receive your fee.
Preliminary job activities -- After arriving at the job site, get any remaining questions answered by the customer. If you don't already have a detailed list of the required tasks, prepare one now.
Main job activities -- Review you list of required tasks. Determine the best order for completing them. Then finish each task in order. Clean up after yourself if any task makes a mess.
Any refuse to be taken off the property should be placed in your vehicle. Use the wide shovel to put small items of refuse into trash bags for easier handling.
Final job activities -- Collect your agreed upon fee from the customer. Haul any refuse to a dumpsite.