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Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 10:57 AM   #1
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Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Yep, I'm going to do it. Air duct cleaning business. Yeah, yeah, say what you want, but I think the market is there. It HAS seen an influx of new contractor's in recent years, but none with the determination and planning I have . I will offer residential/commercial duct cleaning,disinfecting,mold/odor abatement and fire damage remediation.

I'm looking at about 5k for equipment, and 5k in advertising the first year, 7-8/yr following yrs for advertising (4k yellow pages,3k for newpapers,direct mail,dollar saver mags). I will use my father for jobs when I cant get to them, and his laborers when we cant be at either (logn shot).

My biggest source of business I predict will be OTHER BUSINESSES. I've talked to a slew of different companies in different industries :HVAC, Carpet cleaners, Home cleaning maid svcs,general contractors,fire/water recovery companies, allergy specialists, insurance and RE agents, home inspectors etc

All of these companies can help sell my service....each in their own unique way. My guess for the most profitable will be HVAC companies,fire/water companies, and insurance agents. I'm working out plans to pay a commission for jobs sent my way. some are even willing to mention duct cleaning in their ads...which is super! I have a family member with a HUGE fire/water restoration company, and he always uses duct cleaners. That will help. I have also worked out details for a commercial/residential mold abatement company to send his residentail jobs my way (3-4/month). My goal is to forge relationships with 50 local companies. Assuming one job every 4 months, I will be content with first-year sales on that alone. Not to mention yellow-pages and direct mail results.


I've written a business plan that actually works, and have been fine-tunign the details for a month or so. I'm a little nervous about jumping in....but I KNOW I can at least pay off the equipment and marketing in the first year with even moderate success.

I am also having a close relative work the phones for the next 3 months to help with these company alliances I mentioned. She will be rewarded nicely for any companies she gets on board.


Any comments/reactions? Just felt like posting it here....as I mentioned it in my previous ad. It's something I HAD thought abotu 1 yr agao, but dismissed it after a week or so of research due to a lack of time.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 11:04 AM   #2
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Congrats and best of luck in your new business venture!

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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 11:10 AM   #3
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Looks like you've done your planning. Good Luck. I'm truly amazed that many more people don't see their own business as a source of income for ER. Especially those who have a talent for some sort of home repairs/services.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 11:20 AM   #4
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Thanks for the words of encouragement! My fiance is more content security than anything, and doesnt like taking that "leap of faith". SO she can be a little DIScouraging sometimes.

MY biggest concern is, of course, what if I dont get any jobs? But then I remind myself of how many companies are SUCCESSFUL and busy doing this. That means I CAN take their business with effective marketing and superior services....period. Plus my angle at teaming with other companies should give me a nice boost when it counts...at least I hope so....
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 11:44 AM   #5
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed
My fiance is more content security than anything, and doesnt like taking that "leap of faith".* SO she can be a little DIScouraging sometimes.

Feal the FEAR and DO IT ANYWAY! You'll never know until you try...
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 12:07 PM   #6
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Good luck! I wish you much success
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 01:40 PM   #7
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Fed - It has been interesting reading the process you have gone through to make this decision.* I would be interested in hearing how the business goes - I hope you'll come back and keep us posted.*

Good luck to you!
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 01:51 PM   #8
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed
Yep, I'm going to do it. Air duct cleaning business. Yeah, yeah, say what you want, but I think the market is there.* It HAS seen an influx of new contractor's in recent years, but none with the determination and planning I have* .* I will offer residential/commercial duct cleaning,disinfecting,mold/odor abatement and fire damage remediation.

I'm looking at about 5k for equipment, and 5k in advertising the first year, 7-8/yr following yrs for advertising (4k yellow pages,3k for newpapers,direct mail,dollar saver mags).* I will use my father for jobs when I cant get to them, and his laborers when we cant be at either (logn shot).



Thefed: *I like it. *I generally stay away from any discussions about anything to do with productivity, as it is bad karma for a golf and fly-fishing bum, but your idea caught my eye.

There are two real killers in small business. *Large inventory, and employees. *I had a number of side businesses when I was working full time, and the "little side businesses" allowed me to bail out early.

Sounds to me that you have an idea that would *satisfy at least the major part of that equation.

Good luck, and if that is successful, be on the look-out for any other "small business" that would fall into that category.

(Disclaimer), I'm a sucker for anyone that thinks "outside the box", as that's what I have been much stuck with all my life

Good luck, Jarhead

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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 03:45 PM   #9
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

fed, one of the ways you can pay back your referral partners is to return the favor by sending business their way. That would actually be more valuable to them than any cash payment you could make to them.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 07:29 PM   #10
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed

...I've written a business plan that actually works, and have been fine-tunign the details for a month or so.* I'm a little nervous about jumping in....
I've never seen a business plan that doesn't work, but I've seen plenty that are not realistic.

But from the rest of your post, you sound like you know there's a chance you may fail, and that's a good thing.

If there really is a market in your area for what you plan on doing, and you do it well, chances are you will succeed.

With only $10K cash outflow for the 1st year, even if you fail, it's not the end of the world.* Then you can even sell the $5K of equipment and that would reduce your loss even more.

I hope you have an attorney and a CPA lined up to advise you BEFORE the fact on how to structure your business to minimize liabilities and taxes, stay compliant with rules and regulations, keep accurate records, and just to have trusted independent professionals to call when you want to bounce an idea off them or to get reliable answers to your questions.

Remember, failure is when you go down more times than you get up.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 08:40 PM   #11
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER


Thanks guys, you all are very encouraging! I am prepared to fail, but I expect to succed. If it doesnt work out, i will sell it as a "business" and see if I can recoup losses that way.

I'm really trying to go into this gunz a'blazin! I'll definately keep you all in tune....expect an update by Jan or Feb, when I really get moving. Right now is mainly calling companies, talking tro people, going to lunch with some to weasel my way in....

If anyone knows a good contact in AKRON or CLEVELAND let me know....lol. I think the networking aspect of this project is what will really help it blossom.

If anyone has any ideas, send em my way!
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-12-2005, 09:51 PM   #12
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed

If anyone knows a good contact in AKRON or CLEVELAND let me know....lol. I think the networking aspect of this project is what will really help it blossom.

If anyone has any ideas, send em my way!
Get some *free* advertising on Craigslist. 'Real estate services' or 'skilled trades' would work probably. We got a couple of our subs from there. One of the guys solely uses Craigslist to get business. He tried paid classifieds in the newspaper but he did not get any business from it. This plumber went on his own and within two months he had more work than he could handle.
http://cleveland.craigslist.org/

Vicky
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-13-2005, 07:11 AM   #13
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

thefed, you might also try the real estate brokers in your area and join any kind of chamber or buisness persons association in the area.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-13-2005, 07:56 PM   #14
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by vic
Get some *free* advertising on Craigslist. 'Real estate services' or 'skilled trades' would work probably. We got a couple of our subs from there. One of the guys solely uses Craigslist to get business. He tried paid classifieds in the newspaper but he did not get any business from it. This plumber went on his own and within two months he had more work than he could handle.
http://cleveland.craigslist.org/

Vicky
i'll have to try that....
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-13-2005, 11:52 PM   #15
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

I needed an attic fan repaired and used an internet matching service at www.servicemagic.com. It identified local contractors, I selected one, and they did a great job. Then, servicemagic sent me an e-mail to rate the contractor. Pretty cool.

I'm not sure what their revenue model is, but I assume they get a cut of your fees. Check it out. Seems like it would be worthwhile unless there are high setup costs.

Also, I like your idea of using complimentary contractors to steer business your way; however, it has been my experience that other businesses/people don't do a great job selling work for new businesses. It seems as though you are covering other bases in marketing, so you should be ok. Just don't get inflated expectations about that portion of your strategy. Let's hope I'm dead wrong!
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-14-2005, 04:55 AM   #16
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Hi Fed,

Good luck. Just some curiosity questions. What does $5k buy you in equipment? Is there some way of measuring the before-and-after to show customers and/or know you've got them clean (airborne particle counter, etc)? How do you handle stuff like fiberglass duct board (porous on the inside)? Would you also be doing air filter (passive-active) replacement-service installation? Do you know your direct competitors (if any) yet?

Always like learning about new things.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-14-2005, 06:11 AM   #17
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed
If anyone has any ideas, send em my way!
Too bad you weren't in the Orlando FL area. I need to call an air duct cleaning guy when I get back to my house in Clermont.

Look to see if there are HOA (Home Owners Associations) in your area that advertise business services. Doubt if it would cost much to put up a web page on their sites.

Pete
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-14-2005, 12:07 PM   #18
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Arin: I will be in touch with servicemagic. My dad's used them in the past for his paint/drywall business. They charge per lead, I believe, but they come through with jobs every once in a while.

As far as the "complimentary businesses"....I'm not so sure I'll tell them I'm a start-up business. I plan on doing friends/family to get some experience, so I have a better understanding of the ins/outs. but if they dont ask, I wont tell!

TargaDavE:

5k will get me the bare essentials : a smaller negative pressure vacuum with 12" hose, a fogger for the biocides and such, a powered brush system with 35 ft cable, and a lot of odds and ends

For before and after , I plan on purchasing a video system to show the customers results. Basically, its a camera on a cable with a monitor...something nice to offer for free....it'd help set my business apart from the others.

Porous ductboard is a little touchy, you need to use a softer bristled brush, and there's no EPA approved biocide for them yet...so Im still researching

I MAY get into the air filter sales, specifically electrostatic filters that are much more effective than a regular throw-away

And latly, yes, I'm very familiar with the local competitors and their practices. That's the first thing I researched!



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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-14-2005, 12:34 PM   #19
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

TheFed,

I saw an add in our local paper for duct cleaning. 10 ducts for $79.00 plus another #20 for the cold air return.

Just thought you would like to know the going rate. This was in a newpaper ad in the "local" section and not in the Want Ads part. FYI.

Good luck.
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER
Old 11-14-2005, 01:09 PM   #20
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Re: Decided to start a business to facilitate ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefed
TargaDavE:
For before and after , I plan on purchasing a video system to show the customers results. Basically, its a camera on a cable with a monitor...something nice to offer for free....it'd help set my business apart from the others.
Sounds very cool. I remember using borescopes to inspect techy stuff in the old days. I don't know if they make cheap air borne particle monitors but I would think that might be another decent before-after tool.

Here is a great quote that HaHa posted on this board sometime back. "We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about."- Einstein

Have fun and don't look back
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