Are these budgets feasible?
Hi Below is a brief outline of how I see a new startup with a limited budget developing in the early stages, the thing is I’m not too sure about IT costs, what I do know is that it will be essential to the smooth running of the business, if someone who works in this field could have a look and give me a bit of feedback it would be appreciated, I’m also going to use something like Basecamp to collaborate on some of these projects and allow anyone who is interested to view any progress so if you’d like to see how this goes just ask and I’ll get you some login details when I start work on this. Overview I would very much like to start a small p/t business where I act as a commission based rep for a small selection of home improvement companies. The idea is that I visit potential clients and take their instructions (whether it be a quote, or advice on a particular problem) I then record these details along with anything else which may be of relevance, such as images, floor plans, measurements etc and record them digitally before sending these details to the relevant home improvement company. To get the correct information from the client I would like to use modern working methods and IT as much as possible to gather whatever information is required for the relevant company to make an assessment or generate a quote, I’m not fully sure what technology is available to assist me but I was thinking of possibly recording video (streaming?) and/or setting up a conference call on site to ensure I get the job done properly (that’s the worst case scenario), but most of the time I just think it’ll be a case of taking property details , instructions and measurements. As everything is done digitally I would like to also have a simple method of accepting quotes, as pretty much all my clients have smartphones and have 3g, I think it may be good to have an option of accepting them digitally (with an option of backing out within a reasonable time) and also paying for them digitally. For this to work, I need to be very careful with the money I’m willing to spend and certainly reinvest all profits in projects which are awaiting funding, therefore the first task is to get to the stage where I can actually offer a service and complete a sale for which that profit can be reinvested. To do this I believe the following tasks need to be a priority (initial budget between £500-£1000) • Business logo/identity • Generate full business process for 3x sample companies (companies line of business to be confirmed • Review full job process from all 3 sample companies point of view (generate mock clients, site visits, sales , check printing format etc) If this can be successfully completed I would like to move on to the next stage which will include the following: • Approach a small No. of companies showing them the process and ask if they would like to participate • Discuss with IT options available for clients web experience with available budget (budget to be in the region of £500, further budgets to will hopefully be more generous as this area is very important. • Complete clients job management process • Formulate an agreement regarding contractor, me and the client (separate budget) After this I would like to arrange for some potential clients to try the system and gauge interest and gain some feedback to see what they like/dislike, and see what features or services they would like added. If at this stage I am reasonably confident I will make a further £1000 available to introduce further services and allow them to be integrated into the system, for any projects awaiting funding or to add features that potential clients have requested. Go Live date For a limited period (say 3 months) I will give up 100 hrs per month to carry out any task such as visiting properties on behalf of a company free of charge and at my own expense and reinvest any income back into the business. As soon as is reasonably practicable I will hand over the overall management onto someone more qualified and hire someone to develop a transparent business. Review After the 3 month period I will review the business and if unsuccessful I will dissolve it, or if successful I will hold an open discussion as to how the business should proceed and how to use the available budget for future tasks such as website design, IT infrastructure, specialist staff, professional business plan, marketing etc.
Before you spend a penny, you should speak to home improvement companies to find out how much commission they are willing to pay you.
You need to find out exactly what kind of information they would need from you in order for them to be able to provide a quote without seeing the job themselves.
I have provided support to a number of tradesmen, and I’m sure you’ll find they’ll be interested to know how many other quotes you will put forward to the client.
Also, my biggest question. . .how are you going to find the clients wanting home improvements?
I don’t think you’ll have problems finding tradesmen who are willing to give you a commission if you can deliver quality leads to them.
My question is how are you going to get those leads?
I think your idea can definitely work if you have a great system in place for securing leads.
You absolutely need to work out how much you will spend on Marketing. Don’t go crazy on the details about exactly how you will manage the job assessment. Tradesmen are already paying commission just for access to leads. Trust-A-Trader, Rated People, My Builder, etc. I’m sure they’ll love the extra value you add, but the success of your business will not be based on how slick your IT processes are. The success of this business will depend on you being able to get enough quality leads from domestic clients to keep your tradesmen happy.
Hope this helps!
Please feel free to give me a bell if you want to discuss.
Maggie Langley Startup Assistant 08435 570036 www.startupva.co.uk
You should try focusing on the marketing efforts you need to build and your target customers. This wouldn’t be feasible without a good marketing strategy. Start by making a simple website that contains your information, skills, portfolio and contact information so that you will have something like a landing page for your target clients. This would cost less than 100 pounds, then start promoting on social media and SEO. You can hire a single link builder which would cost about less than a pound per hour to help you in your SEO efforts.