The Bare Minimum Needed to Start Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business

One of the quickest ways to start a foreclosure cleanup business is to 1) decide you want it, 2) do a little planning, 3) and jump right in. If you think about it too long, you’ll scare yourself to death and will get stuck in the thinking phase. But with a business like foreclosure cleanup, the industry is wide open. All the numbers point to a booming enterprise for 2010 and beyond.

Top Economists’ Predictions

With top economists labeling the rise of foreclosures among prime borrowers the “third wave of trouble,” businesses offering foreclosure cleanup services are poised for tremendous growth. In 2010 alone, well over four million homeowners will receive foreclosure notices; over half of those will go through foreclosure.

Further still, $2.5 trillion in risky loans are expected to reset in 2010 and 2011. It’s predicted that many of these loans were given to people who couldn’t afford the payments from the outset, which will make for an even more congested foreclosure market.

Foreclosure cleanup is the perfect opportunity to start a business, and, with a little planning, your doors can be open in a few weeks, ready to capitalize while offering a much-needed service. And, it’s a business that can be started part-time while still working a job.

Planning Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business

Decide to take two weeks to plan your foreclosure cleanup business. Write a business plan (outline format is fine with detailed notes) so you have a direction, a path, for your business as it relates to services, pricing, equipment and marketing.

Figure Out Which Services to Offer

During your two week business planning stage, you will figure out which services you will start out with. Foreclosure cleanup services can run the gamut. You can offer everything from debris removal, cleaning, lawn care, pressure washing, gutter cleaning, interior cleaning, painting, winterization, window and door boarding and replacement, locksmith services, inspections, and more. If you’re not careful, you’ll be all over the place, so you’ll need to be really focused in choosing the services you want to start out with in your new business.

TIP: Keep it simple in the beginning. Start by offering only those services you know you can handle in-house — and only those services for which minimum equipment purchases are needed.

Setting Your Pricing

After you create a services list, do a little research and set up your pricing guidelines. These will change often based on various factors as jobs come in, but have basic pricing guidelines already setup before you open your doors. Call “like” services to see what they are charging for, for example, lawn maintenance, debris removal, gutter cleaning, etc. Set your prices competitively based on what they are charging, the job factors, what you are putting out, and how much you want to clear off the job.

Getting Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business License

Make sure you call your County Clerk’s office to see what kind of licensing you will need and register your business formally. Go to the IRS’ website and sign up for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, so you are right with Uncle Sam’s reporting requirements once the money starts to roll in.

Getting Insurance for Your Business

Next, call around and get insurance quotes. You’ll need basic liability for your business and the proper insurance for your vehicle. It’s easiest to start out as a janitorial/maintenance type service. That’s a category that’s easiest to get insurance under; but note, you can only offer services for which that insurance covers.

Setting Up Your Website

Then, set up a quick website. There are various website templates online for a little of nothing will allow you to setup a quick webpage. Visit template sites where you can setup a website cheaply or for free.

At minimum, you will want to list information about your company, its services and your contact information on your new website.

Ordering Your Business Cards

Next, you will want to order your business cards. Try to have your business cards match the theme and/or colors of your website. This is another good reason to use printing type websites for your web page. You can order cards that will match your website’s theme easily.

Some sites even allow you to order “free” business cards if you keep their company name on the back of your cards. Not a bad tradeoff to cut costs in the start-up phase of your foreclosure cleanup business. You will wind up paying for shipping of the cards, however. (One such site will send you 100 “free” business cards and you will pay only a few dollars in shipping for the cards. Not bad.)

Create Your Marketing Material

Order some matching postcards online for your foreclosure cleanup business, and create some fliers on your computer that you can print out. Then, take them to a copy shop and duplicate — and start papering your surrounding community.

Pull Together Your Call List

Next, you will want to pull together a call list of realtors in your areas (foreclosure realtors!) as well as a list of REO assets managers at banks, a list of larger property preservation companies, and a list of landlords and real estate investors. Then you’ll want to jump right in calling them and seeing how you can service them with your new business.

Come up with a special promotion to peek especially the realtors’ interests. Also, offer them a discount if they belong to, say, NAR (National Association of Realtors). Many realtors will be coming out-of-pocket for foreclosure cleanup expenditures on their listings and will be waiting to get paid from the banks. They will appreciate a price break from your company.

Create a Phone Script for Your Business

Write a phone script so you will already know what you want to say when you call potential clients.

TIP: Make sure you get your company name and your company’s services in there. If you get a voicemail when calling, be sure to include the best time a potential client can reach you, your phone number, and your website address so they can learn more about your company.

The Basics!

These are just the basics to get your business off the ground quickly. Do a little industry research and get started planning today! As your business grows, you will become more formalized and add more policies and procedures that will ultimately benefit you, your business, and what is a growing cache of foreclosed homes.

Good luck out there on the front lines of the foreclosure cleanup industry!

Business Cards and What They Can Do for Your Business

It has been said that advertising is vital in order for any business to survive. With that said, most people will tell you that this is because advertising brings in the customers and customers are the lifeblood of any business since they are the ones that keep the business going by bringing in business. One way that you keep bringing in customers is when you advertise and that is why you have to use every means at your disposal so that you get to grab more customers. That certainly makes sense doesn’t it?

Also, if you have customers, they can also be a form of advertisement since people like to talk. But one way that you can really get cheap advertisements is through the use of business cards and some roller banners. You might scoff and say that those are such old fashioned ways to do advertisements for your business. See, advertising does not have to cost you too much money for it to be effective and bring you the kind of business that will bring you big money. The thing there is these business cards may be old fashioned but that does not always have to mean that they no longer do the job because believe it or not, a lot of businesses still make use of business cards for advertisements.

It is all a matter of innovating; taking something old fashioned and making it into something that can still catch the eye of most people. That is what you need to make people come to you. Just get something that may be old fashioned, and modernize it. Once people see what you have done with a business card, they will love your idea and will surely get interested.

You see, advertisements need not be too fancy; sure those huge wide screens can be eye catching but sometimes, some things as little as business cards and roller banners can also be eye caching if displayed and designed the right way. People will always go for clever advertising and that is why you need business cards that are cleverly made.

If you already have some designs in mind, you can most certainly make your own business cards. But if you do not trust yourself how to do it, then you can contact a company that will make and your business cards for you. All you have to do is give them some input and you are good to go. They will do the designing and the printing and they will even send it to you for free. You do not have to pay for the shipping just the business cards that you can use for advertisements.

The same deal goes for the roller banner and you will even get a stand to go with it. You cannot use a roller banner without a stand right? And a stand is perfect if you want to use your roller banner outside your store. So there is no such thing as old fashioned media for advertising, juts old fashioned thoughts.

Small Business SEO Checklist

In 2005 there were 11.5 billion web pages that could be publicly index able by the web. There is an over abundance of information and your browser gives you access to all this information, and to the say the least there is going to be a multitude of so-called experts on any subject and SEO is no different.

There are some SEO best practices that stand the test of time, and regardless of the ongoing debate there are some basics that you need to check off before you start going any further with higher level SEO strategies. You may hear terms like, personalized search, or link building, but before you start getting lost down the rabbit hole please have these items checked off on your list and have these best practices on your tool belt.

Everything Starts with the Key Word

You could know everything there is about SEO, you could have a greatest web designers in the world and have an entire multi-million dollar infrastructure built around your business but in the SEO world if you don’t have the key words that you want associated with your business and eventually ranking for your website it’s similar to having a Ferrari without ever filling the tank with gas and taking it out of the garage to take it for a spin.

You are going to need key words, and you are going to have to find good ones. Good key words, in the SEO world, can be described as key words that are searched for allot but don’t have allot of competition. Eg., the keyword “real estate” is searched for quite a bit but is it realistic to go after such a key word that is very competitive? No.

So do some due diligence and use some free tools on the web to find the keywords that you think will be a good fit. As a general rule of thumb the more niche the better. Yeah, “Red Widgets” may be a great key word with good search volume, but “Red Widgets San Diego” would be allot easier to rank and it is geographically specific to your area so there is a higher chance you will close the deal if it’s a local customer versus somebody who’s calling your from Whistler, BC.

Search Engine Spiders Eat Text

This may seem like Chinese to you but this phrase will make sense if you know how a search engine works. The only way a search engine is going to find your site is with their search engine spider which crawls the web and sends back all the text it’s crawled and it caches it on their servers.

To make sure that your site is cached for the right key word you must tag your HTML appropriately with the level of importance as follows.

  1. Title
  2. h1
  3. h2
  4. first key words of your paragraph
  5. meta description
  6. meta keywords
  7. alt tags for images
  8. actual text on web page

New Content

One very important aspect of a web site that search engines weigh in heavily with their rankings is the updating of content and the indexing of new content. That’s why it’s always recommended that you have a blog on your website that is updated daily with new posts.

If it looks like your site is being outfitted with fresh content on a daily basis that offers more information on your service, brand or product to searchers so Google, or Yahoo! will consider that when ranking their search results for certain keywords.

Submit Your Sitemap

It’s important to have content on your website that is useful to the visitors to your site, but it’s also important for the content to be easily to navigate through. So build a sitemap, make it easy, readable and submit it to Google Webmasters.

Get in the Habit of Linking

Links are basically the scaffolding of the world wide web, they hold all the information together organically with out having a central nervous system, or data center. The web just IS, it’s a force of nature, and an ever expanding organism and the more links your have linking to your website the more scaffolding you have holding up your site, the more relevant you become for certain subjects.