If you have the skill of appraising goods, you can put your skill to good use by starting a home inventory business.
What is a Home Inventory?
A home inventory is a record of every asset in an apartment, home or a business. It gives a total estimated value of the items. This makes it easier for the insurance companies to pay compensation in case of damage due to flood, fire, theft or other disasters. Also, it helps homeowners who are eligible for tax rebates. As insuring all of one’s property is becoming more and more prevalent these days, the home inventory business is also growing as a business opportunity.
When starting a home inventory business you need to visit places of your clients which may be their homes, apartments or offices, and make an inventory of the items present at their place along with their estimated value. The inventory should be as detailed as you can possibly make it, listing dimensions of furniture, including pictures of large or valuable items etc. You can also offer free digital storage of the inventory and back up storage of hard copies of the inventory to your customers, in case of any disaster and the inventory cannot be retrieved from their place. Make sure that these costs are considered and added to the original service charge.
Where will you work?
When starting a home inventory business you need to set up a professional office where your clients can reach you, inquire about your services and order your services. Most of the time, you will be out visiting your client’s location, where you will take inventories on sight. Make sure your office is located in a convenient location where your target clients notice you easily and can reach you effortlessly. You can consider setting limits on how far you are willing to drive since the more time you spend driving to different locations, the fewer locations you will be able to visit.
You will need to set up your office and have a good cell phone service which is reachable in as many areas as possible. This can be a one or two person operation. You will also need to invest in a good quality digital camera to take pictures to illustrate your inventory reports. When starting a home inventory business it would help if you could set up a website for your company, where your customers can reach you more conveniently– and find out more about your company. The option to login to your website and check their inventory reports at any time would be an added plus to your customers that is extremely handy in case if they happen to lose their report due to a disaster. You will also need to have the necessary insurance and consultations from a lawyer specializing in insurance claims and liability.
Starting a Home Inventory Business Tips
- Make detailed reports– Make your inventory reports as detailed as possible. Back it up with pictures, dimensions of furniture etc. Make sure that every possible item which has a positive value is listed. List serial and model numbers. Make sure you list any expensive clothing labels.
- Market your service effectively– Make people aware of the importance of a home inventory report and the purpose it serves in the case of a disaster. Get on the guest speaker lists of different groups.
- Create Good Will– Build relations with your customers. Businesses of these types thrive more on the word of mouth publicity than any other form of advertising. Value your customers and give them excellent service. This will, in turn, result in better reputation and brand recognition for your company.
- Think of ways of expanding your services to other markets– bankruptcy filings also need detailed personal property listings. Estates also need to have inventories done before being split and disposed of. Lawyers would be good contacts for these two markets. In the above cases, make sure you know the necessary documenting and pricing rules.
- Keep up with price values– investigate E-Bay final bids, and explore recent catalogs for the latest in replacement value information.
- Find a Mentor– Search for “Home Inventory Forums” on google. In the forums you will get alot of valuable insight about this business. You will see what other people are saying about this business as well as get the opportunity to ask your own questions. You can also get recommendations for home inventory software. I suggest to do plenty of research before purchasing home inventory software. Read reviews from past and current users of the software.
Advertising a Home Inventory Business
When starting a home inventory business you will need to demonstrate to potential clients of the benefits and value of your services. Here are several methods for advertising a home inventory business. Test various forms of advertising to see which are the most effective for your business in your location. Keep the advertising methods that are paying off and dump the ones that are not. If your local area has a high incidence of a certain type of natural disaster such as tornadoes, floods ect. you can decide to focus your advertising efforts on that to demonstrate the need this service.
- Home Inventory Business Cards– Create business cards and hand them whenever an opportunity appears.
- Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local grocery stores, parks, home improvement stores, community centers, and more. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byes on the street.
- Brochures– Make brochures stating the importance of home inventory if there is an unexpected event. Also have your prices and overview of your services.
- Referrals– Referrals from financial ad visors, real estate agents and lawyers are a great way to get the word out about your home inventory business.
- Write articles– submit articles about home inventory and and real life story or example to local newspapers, financial magazines, financial websites. This will help establish you an an expert in the field and attract clients.
- Website– You can decide to have a website to provide customers with general information about your financial advisory firm.
- Web Marketing– Utilize social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter to grow awareness of your business. Create a blog and youtube videos to answer frequently asked questions.
- Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service in your local area your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
- Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.