Services businesses provide a need for people in exchange for money. This can be lawn care, gardening, manicures, haircuts, social media consulting, fixing computers and phones, the list goes on. I’ve ran service businesses before and since then I’ve gotten away from that because I’ve fallen in love with information businesses (providing information to people). However, you can make a lot of money by providing spectacular service to people. If you are thinking about starting service business, here are some things that you will need to be successful.
7 years ago, your business would be okay without a website. But that was 7 years ago. Now, it is imperative that every business has a website if you want to survive. That is where your customers find you. Years ago, there was a differentiation between an online business and an offline business. Now every offline business needs to also be an online business. As a service business, your website can serve as your marketing department and your secretary. It can market your business and it can also take messages from your customers, as well as enable your customers to book your service online.
The good news is a website is relatively cheap and easy to set up. All you have to do is sign up for hosting and buy your domain name. Bluehost (affiliate link) is offering hosting for $3.99/mo. For shared hosting, it doesn’t get much cheaper than that. After signing up, go to my tutorial to learn how to set up your website.
Billing and Invoicing Software
Because you are a service business, you will need a way to charge your clients for the type of work done. Sure paper receipts can be had but they are prone to getting lost when tax season comes. Additionally, billing clients not in the local area is hard with paper receipts. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be cheap.
If you are charging your clients before starting the job, there are a few options I recommend. Paypal is a simple and free way to have someone pay. You can have preset prices that your customers choose and pay for. You can put “buy” buttons on your website and specify the prices that Paypal will charge your clients.
When I had an article writing service, I used Wufoo forms to connect to Paypal. The great thing about Wufoo forms is that it is extremely customizable. You can have your customers specify the type of work needed and the form will calculate the total charge according to the work requested. When I had my article writing service, I had the form for customers to order the amount of articles and words per article they wanted. Then the form would total up the charge. And if they ordered a large order, the form would also discount the order according to my specifications. Wufoo also works with discount codes.
So if customers are paying before the work is done, I definitely recommend Paypal. If want your customers to specify the quality and quantity of work done, I recommend Wufoo forms, and then integrating it with your Paypal account.
If you bill by the hour or bill after the work is done, Freshbooks is by far the most popular option.
As a service business, you get business from the good word of others. That is why you need to set up your online platforms so that your raving customers have a place to tell people exactly what they think of your business. At the very least, set up a Google Business, Yelp, and Facebook Pages account. Google Business will allow your customers to review you on Google—allowing your business website to rank higher when local customers search for you. Yelp is where most people go to review businesses and see if they should use your service. And Facebook. Well Facebook is where everyone and their mom is. So you need to be on there and set up a Facebook Page for your business.
Once you set up these pages, make sure to direct your customers to these pages to leave a review. Reviews are extremely important to the health of your business.
Of course, there are a few other things that are specific to your business that you will need. These things are:
- Business formation (S Corp, Sole Proprietorship, LLC, Corporation, etc)
- Business license. The state needs to get their money, so you may need to get a license depending on the nature of your business.
- Equipment. The equipment you need will depend of course on your business. Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy all new stuff. If you are starting a business, you need to be frugal. Craigslist is a great way to get used equipment for your business. Or look for businesses that are going out of business and buy their equipment.