Month: March 2016

How to Start a Cell Phone Recycling Business

Cell phones have simplified people’s lives to a great extent. You can do a number of things with this small device which doesn’t even require much space. You can stay connected to the world and can perform a number of important tasks just by clicking a button. But, have you ever thought how dangerous this device can be if it is just thrown or dumped in the ground or water? Yes, cell phones are very dangerous to the environment and the only way to get rid of this problem is, cell phone recycling. It is a way out of the disastrous effects of toxins found in cell phones. The most interesting part is that it can be taken up as a business too, through which you can earn a reasonable amount.

What is Cell Phone Recycling?

Like any other material, say plastic bottles, metal articles, waste papers, etc., cell phones can also be recycled. They have plastic, metal and many other elements which can be used to make other products. This saves Nature from the toxic effects of cell phones and also helps in recovering various metals like gold, silver, palladium, copper, etc. Electronic recycling helps to make them useful in one or the other form. It is no doubt an environment-friendly process and waste management companies associated with it are in some way saving the environment. But, you can recycle cell phone for money also. It is emerging as a new business which can be profitable and beneficial too.

Why Cell Phone Recycling Business is a Good Idea?

You may be thinking why to opt for an electronic recycling business, when you have numerous options to earn a considerable amount of money. But, the following points will help you to understand the positive points of starting this business and bright chances to earn profit.

Cell phone supply is in abundance. On an average, people change their cell phones every 12 to 18 months. Over 100 million mobile phones are discarded every year out of which only 30% of them are sent for recycling. Hence, you can get a huge amount of cell phones every year for recycling.
Cell phone requires very less space as compared to other waste like water paper, plastic bottles, etc. At the same time, it has more value. For example, the value of 5 kg of cell phones will have a higher value than 5 kg of papers.
You can easily get the pricing list of every recycling company through the Internet and can accordingly make the deal. Just decide the company and send the batch of cell phones and wait for the money to come.
There is no shipping charges in case of recycling materials. Yes, you just have to take a print of their shipping label and your material will be picked up by the shipper. This saves your time as well as money.
You can either collect the cell phone by going from house to house or create awareness and go to a social gathering to collect the cell phones.
You can explain about the dangerous consequences of mobile phones and can encourage people to donate their phones and help the environment.

How to Start a Cell Phone Recycling Business?

Well, I hope by now you must have made up your mind to start this business. You can work for a profit by choosing it as a business or can also take this job as a fundraiser or as non profit organization. Following are step-by-step tips on how to start this business in order to earn maximum profit.

☞ Collect Information About the Cell Phones
The first rule of the business is to know every single thing about the business you are getting into. So in this business, you need to have a great and wide knowledge of the cell phones available in the market. I know this is a tough job as there are lots of companies and all the companies have numerous types of cell phones, but you should at least have an idea of the common ones. As the companies have a price list according to the quality and time period of mobile phones, you should have a proper track on at least the top models of all the companies.

☞ Means of Transport and Collection
Means of transportation like car and trucks help a lot in mobile collection. If you do not have them, then you need to rent or borrow. You can also collect mobiles from nearby places by going door to door if you live in a crowded area. You can also have drop boxes made out of cardboard boxes which you can place outside your house or somewhere where you can ask people to deposit their cell phones. This will help you in collection.

☞ Contact the Cell Phone Recycling Companies
You can easily get phone numbers and details about the electronic recycling companies on the Internet. Go through their websites and check out the price lists for various mobiles. Tell them about your business and ask their support in terms of collection boxes, posters, etc. Refer to different companies so as to get a better idea of the price list and go for the company which is ready to give you the best deal. Pace Butler Corporation is one such company, which has a good reputation in the cell phone recycling business and pays well to the cell phone providers or dealers.

☞ Locate your Collection Points
You need to figure out the collection points. Look around for the places where you can place your collection boxes. You can talk to the mobile retailers who are into selling business and not in the buy back of old or second hand mobile. Try to develop more contacts with the retailers and spread your collection area. In the beginning you may find only few places, but later as your network expands, you will have more collection points.

☞ Register your Business Company
You may be looking for a part-time job or a small scale business but whatever you are doing, you need to show your presence. For this, the best thing is to get yourself registered to a local business office. You will get a label of L.L.C (Limited Liability Company) after your company’s name. This will make other companies aware of your presence which in turn will develop a goodwill among the other business companies and will also save you from any kind of frauds. You may require a local permit or license for recycling business in your city. So get all the necessary formalities done before starting the business.

☞ Publicize your Company
You have got a company and you are all set to work, but people have never heard about your company. Will it work? No, you need to publicize about your company in order to gain reputation in the market. You can use posters, banners, flyers, business cards, etc. to tell people about your company. The cheapest way of publicizing is through the Internet. Try out social networking sites and blogs to make people aware about your company.

☞ Keep a Track on Your Expenses and Cash Flow
To start any business you need to first invest some amount of money. There are some state and federal government grants, which are available for the people who want to start a recycling business; so, you can find the details and can apply for it. As you are doing business for money, it is the most important thing to be taken care of. So, keep a track on the expenses which will be done in the publicity, transportation, etc. Note down every small expense also. Now, let’s come to the cash flow. You have to calculate every single penny of the cash flow as it will help you to understand whether you have been profited or not. Make a complete and proper agreement with the company with whom you are going to start the business and do all the legal formalities before you hand over the phones for recycling.

So, these were some of the tips on starting a cell phone recycling business. Though you will be doing this business to earn money, it will also help the environment to get rid of the toxic effects of cell phones. But the foremost thing to do is to create awareness among the people as there is a huge mass which do not even know that their cell phones can be dangerous to the environment and can be recycled.

How to Start your Own Music Teaching Business

If you can play a musical instrument such as the guitar, piano, or any other, or if you sing well, you may consider starting your very own music-teaching business. It is a lucrative business option and can be done from the comfort of your home. You can take classes at home and also train students over the Internet, thus reaching a large number of students. This business requires less initial investment and can prove to be a profitable venture. There are some music teachers I know, who are earning pretty well through a music-teaching business. Knowing how to start this business can help you begin on the ‘right note’.

Conduct Background Research
Conducting a background research is of utmost importance before starting any business. In case of a business in teaching music, do some online research to understand the number of music teachers in your area, what they teach, how much they charge, and the response they get. The answers to these questions will help you gauge the viability of your business idea and tell you whether investing in this business would be profitable. If there are quite a few music classes in your locality, consider starting your business in some other area. Choose the location wisely.

Find a Mentor
Try to speak to a person who has worked in the field or someone who owns a similar venture. Talking to him will help you understand the nitty-gritty of the business. However, if he is from the same city/locality as yours, he may not divulge too much information with the fear of competition. Look up on the Internet for someone who has achieved success with a music business. Consulting him will help you know about all the aspects of starting this business. Maintain good relations with him. Sharing a good rapport with a successful music business entrepreneur is sure to benefit you.

Have a Business Plan Ready
Before you start the business, you need to have fool-proof plan ready. Start by deciding a name for your music class or academy. It should be striking and inviting. Other things to be planned include, whether to conduct one-on-one lessons or take group lessons, how much to charge as fees, and which musical instruments (or any other equipment) to use. It is also important to decide the target audience and devise ways to reach them. Pertaining to the financial aspect of your business, ways to raise funds for the initial investment, salaries of the people you may need to hire, expenditure on the infrastructure and equipment, and the record-keeping system to use, are among the important things to consider. It is important to think about ways to expand your business, and also have an exit strategy ready, in case your business is not a success.

Find a Good Location
You can either rent a facility or use a part of your house. Renting a facility will be costly. It is good to start small. To start with, use a spare room in your apartment or the basement. See that it has a separate entrance so that movement is easy, and ensure that this arrangement does not disturb other residents of the apartment. If time and distance are not your constraints, going to each student’s place to teach him, is also a good option.

Source Instruments and Course Material
Decide the number of students to be accommodated in a single batch. Accordingly, decide the number of instruments (and accessories, if any) that need to be sourced. After a few months of training (once the basics are taught), the students can be asked to get their own instruments. Prepare the course material and source books and song sheets accordingly. Make lesson plans for beginner level as well as expert level students. Arrange for the course material to be printed and given to every student who enrolls to your class. You can also make instructional DVDs for the same. This will save you a lot of time and effort.

Complete the Formalities
You will have to get the license to teach and buy insurance for your business. Look into the zoning and land use rules of your community. Also, don’t forget to get a business liability insurance. You can browse through the government’s Small Business Administration website to understand the formalities that need to be taken care of. You may have to register your business name as ‘Doing Business As’. Complete the necessary paperwork as per your state’s requirements. You will also need to register your business with the IRS. Take professional advice for accounting and taxation.

Do Good Networking
Visit local music shops and leave your visiting card, resume, and fliers/brochures there. Meet the managers personally and explain your business to them. Visit school teachers and ask them if they can give your reference to students who want private lessons. Firstly, this will help you get students. In addition to that, it might get you work as a sub-contractor for a marching or jazz band. Contact local band directors. Even they may help you get students. If you have a college degree, or if you have received formal education in music, you may get hired on an adjunct position in a community college or university. Word-of-mouth promotions work wonders for a music-teaching business.

Use the Media for Promotion
It is important that you promote your business strategically. Use attractive visiting cards, brochures, and fliers, and circulate them in music stores and cafes. Advertise through local community newspapers and specialty magazines. For any business to succeed today, a strong social media presence is important. Make Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles for your business. Keep updating them with interesting photos and information. Try to have a Fan page on Facebook. People tend to visit these pages to see how many people Like them before deciding whether to join the classes. You will benefit immensely if you start a YouTube channel and display your musical talent in weekly video updates. Create a separate email account and website for your business. Advertise your business effectively.

Watch Your Conduct
Leave your flip-flops and that rugged t-shirt at home when you go for networking or invite students for a musical demonstration. Dress smartly and neatly to make a positive impression on the people you interact with. When communicating with them, be polite. Be approachable.

Make the Classes Interesting
Fun activities, educational games, and contests make learning a fun experience. Feature the best students on your website and/or social media pages. Once in a month or two, host a musical night so that your students get a chance to perform. Such events help promote the business. Even the students and their parents feel motivated to continue with you. Introduce discount schemes, lucrative offers, and/or allow the students to pay in installments. Schemes like these help attract more business.

Starting a Photography Business

Many people with an eye for beauty, judgment of light, and ability to capture the moment undertake photography business. Those who have made a name for themselves in this field are earning extremely well today. This is because there are three things which matter the most for the success of this business: right composition of elements in the photograph, right opportunity, and right networking.

Undertake Professional Courses

Even if people say you are a ‘pro’ at photography, it is highly advisable that you undertake professional courses to hone your talent. Getting a certification in photography or attending courses will give your work a professional perspective. Needless to say, your work will be taken more seriously on competitive platforms. It will also teach you to work with many photography software, the knowledge of which has become indispensable today.

Mentor

Is there a photographer whose work you look up to or appreciate? You may be in awe of how he has carved a niche for himself in the field of photography. You may even be a pure admirer of his art. Meet that person and speak to him about your aspirations. Request him to teach you ‘tricks of this trade’ and guide you in your work. Having a mentor can not only help ameliorate your work, but it can also get you good business contacts.

Hands-on Experience

Merely spending a few hours in photography classes is not going to make you an ace photographer. Apart from continuously clicking photos of various objects, models, monuments, nature, etc., you will have to do an internship with an able photographer. This will actually help get a preview of how your business will operate. Learn as much as you can about camera, equipment, posing, makeup, models, objects, light, etc. Even if you earn only a few dollars for this work, take it, as you will learn a lot.

Be an Expert

In the initial days, you can try your hand at different kinds of photography. However, it is advisable that you specialize in a particular field later, like wedding photography, fashion photography, industrial photography, travel photography, object photography, wildlife photography, food photography, portraits, etc. This will help in establishing yourself as a capable and creative photographer.

Build a Portfolio

Build a creative portfolio of your photographs which will help showcase your talent in front of clients. They will get an idea about your work and give you more business. They may even refer you to their family and friends. Having a good e-portfolio will enable you to send your work to prospective clients in a matter of minutes.

Finances and Taxes

During the inception stage of your business, you may not have the necessary funds. Hence, it advisable to take a loan for the same. You can get an SBA loan easily, without much hassles. It is recommended that you carry your portfolio with you when you go to your lender to make a favorable impression. Also, hire professional services to look after your financial records and taxes. Maintain a record of all paperwork as it will be useful later on.

Source Equipment

Sourcing the right equipment is essential for your business. The quality of your photos will be highly dependent on the quality of camera and allied instruments you use. Hence, do not compromise on it. You will require a variety of instruments like camera, lenses, flash, flash cards, tripod, etc. Speak to a senior photographer before going ahead and buying these things. Try to utilize online deals to get them at best bargains. However, buying secondhand equipment is not advisable, as they will cause you to spend a lot on repairs.

Hire a Studio

In the initial days, when you might have cost constraints, you may choose to shoot at locations decided by the client which may include their houses, lawns, convention halls, parks, etc. Some even create a temporary studio space in their home. However, renting a studio is also an option, if you have some extra money to spare. You may need to allot a place for a professional lab in your studio. Slowly, as your business will pick up, you can go ahead and buy a studio of your own.

Hire Help

As your business will expand, you will find it difficult to keep up with its growing demands on your own. Hence, it is advisable that you hire photography enthusiasts or students as interns to assist you with your work. This way, you will be able to get employees at a very lesser cost. In turn, the interns will also get hands-on experience.

Network

The right kind of networking is essential for being successful in this business. Attend photography conventions and visit galleries to meet other photographers. Mingle with other photographers so that you may get opportunities through their contacts.

Promote Your Work

It is important that you promote your work on a large scale. Start with having a website which will feature your work along with the price list. It’s great to have your (business) presence on all the social media forums. Print calendars with your photos and send them to your clients as New Year gifts. Try to put your branding on your cards, envelopes, invoices, and album covers. You can even put stickers on your car. Enroll your entries in photography contests, and try to get your work printed in a magazine. This will help bring recognition and more business.

Formalities

You may have to register your business as ‘doing business as.’ Apart from this, you will need the necessary licenses and permits from your local and state authorities to start your business. You may also need to avail the Employee Identification Number. Understand the prevalent copyright issues, and don’t do anything that will cause a legal offense. You may have to get a ‘model release’. This is a liability waiver which is signed by the subject of the photograph allowing the photographer to legally release the photo. It is also advisable that you get a Professional Photographers of America (PPA) membership.

Use Social Media

Nothing works well for promotion of photography business quite like social media. It is perhaps the best word-of-mouth source. You can blog about your work and communicate about it to the world. Utilize social media platforms, like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, etc., for marketing your work. You will be surprised to find so many people connecting with you through these platforms.

Keep Up with the Industry

Professional photography is perhaps one of the most dynamic of all the creative industries. You should also keep an eye on the developments in the photo editing software industry. There is a technological innovation after every few days, and clients will expect you to be abreast with it. Hence, you should take some time out for training and brushing up your talent.

Undertake Insurance

Undertaking insurance for the safety of your premises and equipment is a must. The last thing you would want is something to damage your costly camera. Accidents can happen anywhere, so insurance coverage is a must. For more information about insurance coverage, you can log on to the PPA website.

Offer various discounts and promotional schemes to your loyal customers so that they will spread the word about your services. Try to create a favorable reputation in the market by clicking stunning images. Do not leave a single opportunity to promote your work.

How to Start a Property Preservation Business

Buying, selling, or maintaining a property has never been an easy task. Yet, if done efficiently, this work can turn out to be rewarding. Property preservation involves safeguarding and protecting the properties that are owned by the bank, or those that have been foreclosed or defaulted. Apart from securing, the work also involves preparing the properties for sale. This business is one of the fastest-growing ones since 2010 and is expected to go much more further. The paragraphs below will give you some tips on how to start a property preservation business.

Concept

People buy a house, a bungalow, etc., by taking a loan from a bank or any financial institution. Sometimes, unfortunate situations crop up, and people are unable to either repay the loan or fulfill the contract requirements on time. This causes the property to revert to the bank. Many a time, the homes are left in an unmarketable condition. Here is where the concept of property preservation comes up. These companies/services handle the foreclosing formalities and prepare the home for resale. Such properties are called ‘real estate owned’ (REO) properties. As more and more such abandoned/vacant homes come up, this business keeps expanding, as people are needed to secure and prepare the homes again for future sale.

Your Services Include

It is important that you know what services you will need to provide when you start this business. A brief on the same is given below.

Removal of Debris

All the debris must be cleared off, especially if the house has been in the same condition since a long time.
The car should be removed and taken care of.
Any kind of dangerous material should be very carefully dumped. Please remember to follow appropriate country codes and laws while dumping hazardous material; not doing so may be considered a crime.
Dispose off all the personal property, like television, stereo, microwave, etc., in storage boxes for a stipulated period. After that, if the items are not claimed, they can be auctioned or dispensed.
Remember that all the above activities must be done on the instructions of the lender/client.

Removal of Snow

This is based on the requirements of the lender, mostly. If the surroundings are covered with snow and this is causing a major problem, your job would be to shovel off the snow and make the place fit and fine.

Securing the Property

This is a very important step. The entire place must be carefully checked. Look out for these things:

All the locks and bolts must be changed according to the regulations. This includes deadbolts, slide bolts, padlocks, etc. If necessary, take permission from the lender and have him accompany you for a change of lock, if need be.
It would be better if you have lock boxes with an assigned code. This would firmly prevent third-party access.
Any kind of entryway that allows easy access into the house must be sealed off. This can be done with the help of board-ups to secure windows, doors, and ventilators.
The terrace and balcony areas must be boarded with extreme caution, for this is an easily accessible, vulnerable entryway. Double-check the locks and see if any extra protection, like grills, can be temporarily installed.
If a fence surrounds the house, see if it can be boarded up with glass spikes.

Maintaining the Lawn

Contact the lawn maintenance services and have them mow and clean the lawn about 2-3 times a month. This again, requires to be done only on the instructions of the client.

Maintaining the Pool

Not maintaining the pool can cause major problems, like spread of certain diseases.
The pool must be drained, cleaned, and refilled with water periodically.
Chlorine or any other necessary chemical must also be added regularly.

General Cleaning Services

This involves the entire cleaning process to be done, including sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing, and mopping. Call on some good janitorial services to get all this done.
Clean out all the bedrooms, bathrooms, hall, dining area, kitchen, the study, the library, and even the garage. The house must not look jaded and old.

Plumbing, Draining, and Sealing

This job has to be carefully done. One of the main and vital duties here is to drain and seal the pipes so that they do not freeze and burst during winter.
Drain the plumbing and heating systems.
Shut off the main water supply, disconnect the water meter, and place it in the corner of the garden.
Also, disconnect the feed pipe leading to the main valve.
Use air pressure to clear the water system, and use an antifreeze mechanism to protect the system.
Turn off the gas and electricity.

After all these jobs are done, label them accordingly with the date so that they can be done again on an appropriate date the next time.
Keep Evidence

Whatever services have been provided, detailed photographs of the same should be duly sent to the lender/client. The photos will indicate how regularly and efficiently the services are being done.

Steps to Start the Business

Choose a Name

Establish your company first. Choose a good corporate name; something that will attract clients.

Apply for a License

Here is a very important step. You need to be legally registered to start any business. So, get to your local office and apply for a business license. Submit all the required documents.

Complete Formalities

This is a huge step. You need to complete a lot of banking formalities before actually getting down to work.
You will be working with banks and lending institutions, and they will require you to have the essential documents. An important one among them is the general liability insurance policy. This is a must-have when you start this company.
Next, apply to the REO department of important banks. If you want them to sit up and take notice of you as an independent service provider, you need to establish ties with them.
A summary needs to be submitted to the REO department to get requests for a proposal (RFPs). The banks can procure this from different sources, but you must first get noticed in order to receive contracts.

Get Acquainted with the Basics

Start learning the tricks of the trade. Ideally, if you are up for starting this company, it indicates that you are already aware of what services are expected of you. However, you need to know this in minute detail.
Download a training start-up guide, and here, you will be explained every little detail.
You will come to know about different banks, lending institutions, REO asset management companies, realtors, investors, insurers, the various cleaning services that you will be needing in the course of your work, etc.
You will learn how to contact the right people, price your service properly, and establish your business effectively.

Contact Companies

Once your self-training period is over (don’t take too long!), you can start contacting the companies immediately. Again, these include the major banks, mortgage lenders, realtors, and REO asset management companies.
Ideally, the banks which you have applied to, might contact you if they come across a proposal. Act on this contract immediately, for this is an ideal opportunity.
For this, you need to be well prepared with all your services in place, but do not let go of the offer to showcase your business acumen and skills, as there is intense competition in the market, and you may not get a second chance. This is how you will build contacts, and over time, accumulate goodwill and reputation.

Market and Expand

This is the most important step. You need to know how to sell yourself (not literally), I mean, market yourself.
To start at grassroots level, establish a professional presence on the web. Create a website for your company.
As the business expands, you can create a personal blog too, through which you can market your company further.
Join online financial networks and directories, and advertise your business.
Use social networking and digital media platforms to let people know about your services.
There are many online forums and sites through which you can communicate to companies and generate contacts, prominent among them being the property preservation directory and the foreclosure cleanup network.
Through the Internet, you will also understand how much competition you are facing in this business.
Market yourself beautifully, mention your professional qualifications, depth of knowledge, etc. All this must be worded efficiently enough to attract clients.

Starting a property preservation business is neither an easy nor a difficult task. It all depends on your skills and abilities. Do not expect profits and contracts to pour in immediately, every business takes time to catch up, and you will indeed face some hurdles in the beginning. But, make it a point to learn from every instance, and better your services. Who knows, one day you might be one of the top echelons of this business in the market!