Category: Thrifty Business Tips

Get Your Hands Dirty: How To Start A Home Cleaning Business

Who wants to live the rest of their life making someone else rich? The only way out of this conundrum is to go into business for yourself.

And what better way to do so than by starting a home cleaning business? If you have experience as a housekeeper, maid or are really great at cleaning your own home, then this could be for you.

What’s great about this industry is that it’s very lucrative. After all, people will always need their homes cleaned and most lack the time to do it themselves. Plus, landlords require your services when tenants move out.

So there’s definitely a market for it.

Back in 2010, there were over 824,000 cleaning workers. The 50 largest cleaning companies made up about 30% of the revenue. Yet only 7% of cleaning workers were self-employed. So that means less competition for you in the small business sector.

Now, let’s review what you have to do to jump-start your home cleaning business.

Do Your Own Assessment of the Industry

There are many factors that play a part in determining whether starting a cleaning business is a good idea. For instance, the area you live in and your own skill set.

What makes this an attractive option is the low overhead required to start a home cleaning business. All that matters is that you and your employees work hard to maintain a happy customer base.

You’ll need to be in good physical condition, which means having the ability to stand, kneel, reach and bend repetitively. However, if you’re not fit, this doesn’t exclude you from being a business owner.

In this case, you can open up shop and then supervise employees who can handle the cleaning tasks.

What Office Skills Do You Have?

The more office skills you have, the fewer employees you’ll need to hire. For instance, you’ll need to know how to answer phones, schedule appointments, file paperwork and do your bookkeeping.

Then when tax season comes around, you’ll have to file accordingly. It’s also important to be very detailed, so you know exactly what your customers need to provide satisfactory cleaning.

Write Up a Business Plan for Your Home Cleaning Business

Once you’ve assessed the industry and your ability to run a cleaning business, it’s time to start planning. And the best way to do this is with a business plan.

This is mainly for your own use unless you need a loan to get equipment and vehicles to operate your company.

In your plan, go over details about the type of cleaning services you’ll offer, what demographics and locations you’ll target and whether you’ll have a niche. For instance, you can offer a “green” cleaning service for eco-friendly customers.

Next, go over your pricing plans – will you charge by the hour or per sq ft? Research what your competitors are charging and how, so you can gain a competitive edge.

Now, you don’t have to lower your rates to compete. You can offer greater quality or a different range of services to attract customers.

Set Up Your Accounting System

This has to be set up well before you begin operating. It’s important to keep track of all invoices, expenses, sales tax, payroll, and income.

Keep your business finances separate from your personal expenses. This will only muddle things when it comes time to file taxes for your company.

You can use an online software, such as Quickbooks to make things easier. Or you can work with an accountant. Either way, it’s good to keep track of your finances in the physical, so keep a record book on hand.

Apply for Insurance and Bonding

Customers like to work with businesses that are licensed, bonded, and insured. If you advertise this in your promotions, then it’ll help build trust.

There are different types of coverage you can seek. For instance, you’ll need liability insurance (depending on where you live). Options include yearly or quarterly payments, and bonds are readily available at local insurance companies.

Make sure to renew your bond annually. Do note that each employee you hire will hike up your insurance rates. So make sure you’re hiring people who are trustworthy and careful.

It’s also important to know that you can only cover employees under your insurance, not sub-contractors. However, you can check your policy to make sure.

Purchase the Supplies You Need

The products you purchase for your home cleaning business depends on the type of services you offer. For instance, if you boast eco-friendliness, then you need to acquire natural cleaning products.

It’s good to go with brands your customers heard of. This way, they already know and trust the products you have. Otherwise, you’ll have to educate them on why it’s healthy, good and reliable.

Make sure to ask whether the customer has specific cleaning supplies for certain appliances.

Then you’ll have to decide whether you want to use the customer’s vacuum or tote around your own.

Begin Advertising Your Services

Now, it’s time to get the word out about your new home cleaning business. You can easily do this with a mix of online and offline marketing. For instance, you can use social media, pay-per-click ads, fliers and feather flags.

Make sure the business logo, name, numbers, rates, and services are consistent on all your marketing collateral. You can choose to post your rates are only disclose it to prospects who call (to keep competition down).

Get Transportation and Uniforms

Presentation and consistency are everything in business. So you need professional cleaning uniforms and a reliable means of transportation.

You have to determine whether you want employees to use their own vehicles or supply them with one.

Continue Learning About Becoming an Entrepreneur

There’s a lot you can learn when you find the right online resources. At Thrifty Momma Ramblings, you can find tips and advice for running a thrifty business and living frugally.

If you’re looking to start your own home cleaning business, then browse through Thrifty Momma Ramblings blog for more thrifty business tips.

5 Unique Small Business Ideas for Women

Many of us dream of becoming our own boss. That’s probably why there are 28 million small business owners in the US.

From freelancing to tutoring, there are many opportunities available for the business-savvy woman.

Maybe you want to turn a beloved hobby into a business. Or maybe you’re researching the trendiest small business ideas for women.

Whatever the case, we’re here to provide some inspiration. Here are five small business ideas for women you’re sure to love.

5 Small Business Ideas for Women

1. Online Consignment Shop

If you’re in a position to open a brick-and-mortar store, that’s fantastic. Even if you aren’t, the digital age has enabled anyone to open their own “storefront.”

Vintage clothes are a huge trend right now, and shoppers are always looking for a bargain. Collect clean, gently used consignment items and display them on an attractive website.

A big benefit of running a consignment shop is that you don’t pay for the inventory until it’s sold. This makes it an ideal startup for those with limited funds.

2. College Planning Consultant

Do you love kids? Are you good with numbers? If so, you could become a college planning consultant.

You’ll become an expert in financial aid, college selection, and the application process. You’ll stay up-to-date on the latest scholarships and financial aid packages so you can advise parents.

Once your knowledge base is complete, you can market your services to local high schools, libraries, and universities.

3. Custom Gift Baskets

If you’ve got a decorative flair, custom gift baskets could be your calling.

People order gift baskets for a wide range of events, from holiday parties to baby showers. Creating unique baskets for each occasion requires ingenuity and design skills.

Tap into your creative side by designing beautiful gift baskets with attractive packaging. Photograph them and advertise your services on a website or through printed brochures. You could also sell your baskets in local shops and corporate offices.

4. Mobile Spa

Do you have a background in hair, nails, massage, or body treatments? If so, why not bring that spa experience to your clients’ homes or offices?

Since there’s no storefront to maintain, setting up a mobile spa requires little startup capital. Market your services to working professionals, elderly ones, or others who may be housebound.

Increase your revenue by offering spa accessories like herbal neck wraps or skin care products. If you want to keep up with the latest trends, you could become a leafbuyer and offer hemp-based health products. (Make sure it’s legal in your state!)

5. Pet Adoption Service

If you’re an animal lover, you could start your own pet adoption service. You may choose to foster pets yourself, or you could create a website or app to connect pets with people.

Users can enter information about their ideal pet, and you can make recommendations based on available animals in your area. Then you can set up a meet-and-greet to see if it’s a good match.

Of course, you’ll want to screen and approve all users beforehand to ensure the animals are going to a good home.

Final Thoughts on Small Business

These are just a few of endless small business ideas for women.

Now that you have an idea in mind, it’s time to turn that idea into reality. The first thing you’ll need for your new business is a custom logo.

Click here to learn how to create a free, professional-looking logo.

Here’s Why You Need Vehicle Wraps for Your Small Business

vehicle wrapsAs a small business owner, you may struggle to know how to advertise to your target market.

How do you do it without spending a fortune on radio or TV ads, search engine optimization, or direct mail marketing?

One way to reach a wide audience, then grab and keep their attention, is to catch their eye in a unique and interesting way.

What’s one marketing approach you might not have considered? Vehicle wraps!

Today, we’re breaking down the ins and outs of these wraps and why they just might be the best tools in your advertising arsenal.

Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

What Are Vehicle Wraps, Anyway?

Have you ever spotted a brightly colored car with a company’s logo, name, and contact information splashed across the entire thing?

That’s a vehicle wrap.

And if you’ve seen one, you already understand its power. These mobile advertisements are hard to ignore or forget, which makes them ideal for on-the-go marketing.

Why Are They Superior to Other Types of Marketing?

Price

They’re less expensive than other advertising campaigns, for one thing.

Choosing vehicle wraps is a one-time expense, unlike those radio ads or digital marketing strategies that you have to keep paying for month after month.

Scalability

Vehicle wraps, like those provided by Southern Signs and Designs, are also flexible and can be scaled to fit a variety of business sizes and scopes.

For example, if your small business is selling jewelry in your spare time, you can wrap just one car: your own. Larger companies can outfit a fleet of delivery vehicles in vinyl wraps to build their brand as drivers do their job.

No Distraction

TV commercials and internet pop-up ads interrupt the potential customer. That’s kind of the point, and there’s no denying that it’s an effective strategy.

However, there’s a fine line between the occasional interruption and annoyance. Wraps don’t distract people in the same way. Drivers see your vehicle, make a mental note of your business, and go on about their day.

Attention Grabbing

On a highway or in a parking lot, cars are mainly black, blue, red, or white, or some variation therein. So, a hot-pink or vivid green car will stand out.

When people spot the brightly colored car or truck, they will take a second look, and that’s when they’ll see your company name.

Mobility

Wraps offer a wider reach than many forms of advertising. Not everyone watches TV, listens to commercial radio, or looks at their junk mail.

Yet, nearly everyone either drives or rides at some point, whether taking the bus to work or driving the kids to school. This means that your message will be visible to more potential customers.

Custom Design

Since you will choose the color, graphics, typography and other design elements of vehicle wraps, it’s easy to echo your brand and your other advertising materials for a cohesive marketing message.

Even if passersby aren’t able to read the words on your vehicle, they will take note of the logo or slogan and connect it to ads they’ve seen before.

Do They Cause Damage?

On the contrary, wraps can actually help protect the cars and trucks they’re applied to.

Made of PVC polymer, most wraps help safeguard vehicles from being dinged, scratched, scraped, or otherwise damaged from road debris and other cars. When it’s time to remove or change the design, that’s an easy job too.

Ways to Save That Pay

Whether you’re interested in saving money for your household or growing your company’s bottom line, we’ll show you how to do it on a dime.

Our easy-to-implement tips help thrifty businesses like yours stand out in a competitive marketplace without draining your budget.

Check back often for more advice on how to live frugally and make the most of every dollar you spend!

5 Tips for Hosting a Live Conference Call

live conference callHosting a live conference call with your team?

Unsure if you’re fully prepared?

Hosting a conference call is an excellent way to connect with your team and discuss important topics. However, it can take a little practice to get the most out of your meetings.

If you’re preparing to host a live conference call, these 5 crucial tips will help you make sure you’re ready for a successful and productive meeting.

1. Know the Tech

It’s important to prepare for the technical side of your live conference call. You should also know what features are offered by your conference call service.

Be sure to find a service provider you can rely on for your business conference calls. A service provider such as VoiceOnyx will offer reliability while also providing excellent customer service and any support that you may need.

If possible, you should also perform a practice run with the software to test out any features you’ll be using before you go live.

2. Set an Agenda

Having an agenda and set schedule for the conference call is important, but it’s just as important to stick to it. Be sure to start the conference call on time and to stay on task.

15 minutes is an ideal meeting length which can help you to stay on task without testing the limits of your team’s attention spans.

Make sure to only discuss pertinent information during a meeting, and you’ll be sure to stay on track, increase engagement, and have a more productive business in the long run.

3. Encourage Engagement

The truth is, few people give their full attention during a conference call. It’s important to emphasize the importance of your team’s attention to foster engagement.

At the beginning of the call, remind your team to limit distractions and participate fully. Encourage participation by asking your team questions during the call.

Instead of an audio only conference call, consider using visual aids. You will need a reliable internet connection and a computer with web conferencing abilities.

4. Give Your Full Attention

It’s important to give the conference call your undivided attention as well.

Some bosses have their conference calls while in a busy airport, a crowded bar, or while walking down the street. This may send the wrong message to your team and encourage similar behavior from them during future calls.

Make sure you’re in a quiet space during your conference call and avoid working on other tasks, like monitoring your email.

5. Record the Live Conference Call

It is an excellent idea to record your conference call if you have the capability.

An archived recording of the call can allow you and your team members to go back in and review important information that was discussed.

Final Thoughts

Used correctly, a live conference call can be an excellent and comfortable way to communicate with your team. Just make sure to follow the steps above and you’ll be sure that you’re getting everything you can out of the call.

Did you enjoy the article? Contact me if you have any questions about Thrifty Momma Ramblings or have suggestions for future business tips.

5 Unique Ways to Make Your E-Retail Business Stand Out

fotolia 168882516 subscription monthly m If you’re ready to start your own e-retail business, then get ready to have some fun. Internet sales last year reached a whopping $394.86 billion!

With sales figures in the billions, you’re bound to come across a healthy dose of competition as you set up your e-retail business.

Have no fear. There are plenty of ways you can make yourself stand out. Let’s have a look.

Understand Your E-Retail Business’ Unique Selling Point (USP)

This will be the cornerstone of your e-retail business. Ask yourself if the product you’re selling solves a problem for customers. Is there anything out there like it? What makes your product unique?

Can you sum up your USP in one graphic? That’s the goal when designing your e-retail business’ logo.

You must create the most eye-catching logo this side of the moon. This is easier than it seems.

Let’s consider one of the most notable logos in the world – the golden arch at McDonald’s. Incredibly, it’s simple and has no special effects.

Understand the Trends in Your Industry

If your business relates to the fashion industry, follow the current trends and produce something with a unique twist.

For example, you’ll find woven patches on a lot of outerwear this fall. What can you do to capitalize on this movement?

One smart company is out there selling embroidered clothing labels.This is a great example of someone who thought outside the box.

Create Exciting Content

While your website is your storefront, your blog is your shop clerk.

Create a blog that expresses your voice and inspires customers to not only purchase your products but improve their lives.

Stay active on social media. Send out fun, informative, and stylish Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts every.single.day.

Always Be Available

This is worth repeating. Always be available.

One of the first things you should check every morning – and all throughout the day – is customer inquiries that have come through the “Contact Us” form your site. If you’re able, set up a Live Chat feature as well.

When customers feel they have your attention as they spend their hard-earned money, you’re already standing out from the crowd.

Make Your Website Shine

Similar to your logo design, you actually want to follow the “less is more” practice on your website. Limit your content, keeping each page clean, simple, and easy to read.

Pay special attention to your images. A picture’s worth a thousand words for a reason. They tell as much of the story as our words – if not more.

Your images simply cannot be blurry, outdated, or irrelevant. They must work for you – helping to sell your products.

If you have any friends in the industry, see if you can work out a deal with them to take some professional photos for you.

Thrifty Momma is always seeking out new ways to earn a living right from the comfort of our homes. If you want to chat about innovative ways to create the e-retail business of your dreams, we’re only a click away.

3 Tips to Help You Work From Home With Your Own Business

work from homeAre you trying to juggle raising kids and running a business from home?

Do you constantly want to tear your hair out because there’s not enough time in the day for completing all your tasks?

If so, don’t worry!

This article will give you tips on how to effectively work from home while raising kids. Read on for our top three tips:

1. Designate a Space For a Work From Home Office

We understand that you might not have an entire room to dedicate to your work from home business. However, it’s important you have a designated work space.

Make this space a kid-free zone. Emphasize to your kids that they shouldn’t bother your work space under any circumstances.

Keep this space clean and organized at all cost. Even when the rest of your house is in disarray, make sure your office area is clean so you can always hop into work mode.

Keeping your workspace clean will ensure you have a clear mind when you have those precious moments to wsit down and crank out some work.

2. Set a Schedule For Yourself

Buy a desk calendar and plan out a weekly schedule for yourself if you can.

First write down your motherly obligations such as soccer games, doctor’s appointments, and carpools. Then plan your work time around those engagements.

Write in scheduled work hours in pen and view them as a commitment to yourself.

As a mother, you too often get caught up in the needs of your children and forget to tend to your own needs and aspirations.

Don’t let that happen with your work at home business.

Schedule out time every day – even just an hour or two – to get work done.

Only you know your family’s schedule. If your kids are in bed by 8pm, then 8pm might be the best time to get some work done.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

Running your own business from home while raising kids is hard work.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether that help is in the form of child care or financial need.

You may need to hire a nanny or babysitter for your children in order to get work done, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

If your business needs help financially, consider looking into short term business loans, and other forms of start-up capital.

Seek out help from your friends, family, and community. People will understand how hard it is to try to raise children and conduct business at the same time.

To Wrap Things Up…

You’re a rockstar for chasing your dreams while raising kids.

Remember to designate room for yourself to work, set a concrete work schedule, and don’t hesitate to ask for help.

If you follow these tips you’ll be on your way to a thriving work from home business and kids who are happy because their mother’s happy.

If you have any questions or tips on how to work from home with your own business please let us know!

How to Choose the Perfect Dress Shoes for Work

dress shoesWomen and our shoes. Thanks to the Internet, the possibilities are nearly endless. That doesn’t mean we can wear whatever we want, whenever we want.

Every day you open the closet and every day you ask yourself the same question: “What shoes do I wear to the office today?”

For the not-so-fashion-conscious lady out there, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Today, we’re talking about how to pick out the perfect dress shoes for work, so that your boss notices your killer pitch and not your worn-out soles.

The Best Dress Shoes for Work

Classic Black Pumps

When in doubt, throw on these dress shoes to wear to the office. They go with nearly every possible ensemble, from skirts to suits.

Just like the lady wearing them, they’re sophisticated and business-like, but can still be sexy when they need or want to be.

If you like having the illusion of longer legs, have a backup pair of neutral colored pumps. To keep it as professional as possible, go with a two-inch heel or shorter.

Flats

As long as the style is business-like, these shoes are great, especially if you’re in a busy office where you find yourself getting up and walking around. These shoes are the best for having style without sacrificing comfort or mobility.

Boots

Keep a pair of boots around. If a rainy day hits, you don’t want to ruin your pumps or flats.

It’s not hard to find a pair of these shoes for pretty much any occasion — not just a thunderstorm. Plus, they’re great for helping ladies who wear small sizes shoes look like they have more proportionate and balanced feet.

Shoes You Should Never Wear to the Office

Open-Toe Shoes

If your office attire is business formal, business professional, or business casual – and let’s face it, if you’re working in an office, it’s likely one of these three — open-toed shoes should not be considered dress shoes.

Crazy Colors

Pinks, yellows, and oranges. You love them and every lady has a pair or two in her closet. Unfortunately, they aren’t appropriate for work so Monday through Friday, leave them at home.

This rule includes shoes that have polka dots, zebra or leopard prints, and any other trendy patterns or designs.

Stilettos

You know what they say, “The taller the heel, the less appropriate it is for work.”

Who says that? We do.

These shoes are great for a girl’s night out or clubbing, but for business attire, they really aren’t doing it for us as dress shoes.

Flip Flops

If you’re looking to get canned, one great way to do so is to wear flip flops to work and see how many times you can walk by the CEO’s office before being reprimanded.

It won’t take long.

Wrapping it Up

So now you know what to wear and what not to wear. You can’t go wrong with a classy pair of pumps or even some nice Mary Jane’s.

A lot of your attire possibilities depend on your office’s dress code. To next level your outfit, match your shoes with your bag and any other accessories you’re rocking that day.

What do you think about today’s post? Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.