Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Create and market your hand-made candles. This business, along with its closely related cousins soapmaking and plastercraft does not automatically progress from the hobby to business stage without a good deal of planning and effort.

The volume sellers must compete with cheaper, less stylish mass-produced and often imported products. But, with perseverance and ingenuity, it can be done!

Candle making is a highly versatile craft -- one that encompasses unlimited opportunities for creativity. Candles can be dipped, molded, rolled, fused, layered, sculptured or any combination of processes. They may be colored (dyed, painted or tinted) within and without;; they can be scented or can have embedded materials such as beads or shells, coated or whipped (foamed).

An illustration of candle making ingenuity and versatility is hot yellow-orange wax poured over small ice cubes. When the ice melts and the wax sets, it leaves cavities that look like Swiss cheese!


a place to work (it is too dangerous and messy for the kitchen),

adequate storage space for materials,

a relatively cool place to put finished candles (they will sag in hot temperatures),

utensils to melt and blend the waxes, molds and wax additives.
Startup supplies should include wax (sold in sheets or slabs), colors, stearic acid, temperature gauge, double broiler, a heating medium, molds and mold accessories (wick, lead, clay, etc.).

Equipment and supplies to get started at the crafts level should run in neighborhood of $200 from a professional supplier like Pourette (see Business Sources).

The candle making process is not complicated, but does require time and attention to detail for safety reasons as well as product quality.

Melting wax is highly volatile and can catch fire easily (this is why double broilers are used)if one isn't very careful. In the standard molding process, raw wax is melted and brought to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

During this time, certain additives such as stearic acid, colors and scents are added. Meanwhile, the mold is cleaned and sprayed with release (silicon). A wick inserted from the bottom and tied to a stick across the top and the hole in the bottom sealed with clay.

Note that the top of the mold equates to the bottom of the candle, and vice versa! Heavy lead wires (weights) are wrapped around the bottom of the mold.

The mold placed in a convenient position to receive the hot wax. When the wax is ready it is slowly and carefully poured down the side of the mold to prevent bubbles from forming.. The mold is filled to the top.

The remaining wax is kept at ready temperature and used to refill the hollow that forms as the wax shrinks, a natural result of the cooling process.

During this process the mold is frequently placed in cool water to speed the cooling process (the reason for the lead wire). If the candles meant to be hollow (like hurricane candle),, the still molten center is poured back as soon as the sides cool to the desired thickness (about 1/2 inch). When cool, the candle is removed from the mold, the wick trimmed and any final touches made.

Molds can be solid plaster of pairs,metal or metal shells, or flexible plastic. The flexible plastic and metal molds are the most popular. It is difficult to make your own molds for many projects. Most anything can be used for a mold -- from hollowed out wet sand to paper cones.

To make a flexible rubber mold, coat the subject with the commercial silicon formula and paint on successive coats (after each coat dries) of compound until the desired thickness is reached.

Allow your mold to cure and then simply peel it off and start making casts. The procedure for using most molds is similar except that some need to be fastened together (2 or more parts and some need to be supported (in sand, plaster or even water).

There are unlimited variations that can result in strikingly different and very impressive candles.

One is dipping a partially formed candle into vats of different colored wax, then peeling back layers with a knife to reveal the contrasting colors and textures.

Another is filling a cavity in damp sand with wax, which yields a candle with a sandy surface.

One "secret" technique was discovered by accident. A rubber mold was made of a wooden statue purchased in the Philippines. The statue had been made by aborigines who used shoe polish for a "stained" finish.

The heat from the mold curing process caused the shoe polish to break away from the wood and mar the smooth finish. The resulting mold imparted a pitted or frosted type surface to the molded candle -- not desired (and expected) smooth shiny surface.

The candle maker made several black candles and applied bronze. "rub and Buff" and the results were fantastic. The candles looked like they were made of solid bronze and sold like wildfire!

The way to get started is to order supplies and begin as a craft or hobby. Get your wax from as close to home as possible to save on freight (you will need about 50lbs. to start).When you feel confident of your ability and have a pretty good idea of the market, you are ready to consider becoming a business. Make up some samples, take some pictures and sell.

The difficult part is marketing ( due to competition from commercial, import and hobby candle makers). Some suggested techniques are:

Concentrate initially on a few items that you can produce expertly on a fairly large scale for wholesaling to gift stores. Examples: Anniversary or hurricane candles.

Develop an "original" candle or series and market them as exclusives, either wholesale or retail. Examples: Statue of local hero, school emblem.

Visit local retailers and ask what they could use at what price; plan your production with their responses in mind.

Set up a display (rent a window in a vacant store) to show candles you have to offer; include a sign with your number or address.

Organize candle making classes, charge a fee and sell not only the finished products but supplies as well.

Rent a booth at a good flea market each holiday season and "test" the market and sell of any remaining stock.

Have professional pictures taken of your best work, make up a catalog or send the pictures and descriptions (of candles you can mass produce) to catalog houses.
Anyone who works with candles just a few weeks will automatically come up with numerous original ideas and variations.

That is one of the beauties of this craft -- it almost forces you to be creative! Whether you produce a low volume of exquisite, high quality candles or a high volume of easier to produce candles, big ones or little ones is entirely up to you.

One candle may be highly profitable if it is a work of art. Note that candle making does not restrict you to wax only. You can sell other items that are decorated or complimented by candles, such as driftwood centerpieces with candles.

Soap making is very similar to candle making in that they are both molded, colored, and scented.

In fact, many of the molds and ingredients are interchangeable. Plaster craft is also related (the same molds can be used, so long as they are thoroughly cleaned).

For ceramics you use totally different and much more expensive) equipment, though many of the artistic skills are very similar.

The most glaring potential problem area in candle making is the danger of fire from the wax. Don't even THINK of melting wax without a good double broiler and fire extinguisher handy.

If the wax were to boil over, splash onto an open flame (or red heating element) a very serious fire could result. Anytime you are melting wax, make sure it is watched CONSTANTLY and that it is not allowed to get too hot.


POURETTE MFG. CO.,6818 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, 206/525-4488. Candle and soap making equipment and supplies. Old, reliable company.

CAROLINA SOAP & CANDLE MAKERS, Southern Pines, NC 28387. Line of wholesale candles.

K & L CANDLES, Box 322, Warren, RI 02885. Line of religious and 250 other types of candles and related products.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This is a business where a person with no art talent can produce art!

Temple or gravestone rubbing is believed to have originated with the ancient (300 BC) Chinese. It was an efficient method of communicating the "written word" and a forerunner to the printing press.

The Emperors had their laws, slogans and messages carved in stone (that's easy for an Emperor to do) then transformed to parchment by rubbing with colored wax or other permanent dye material. Centuries later, pictures (stone and metal reliefs) were carved expressly for this purpose and today several Asian countries feature large temple rubbings commonly called batiks, which is technically a misnomer.

The name batik more properly refers to designed fabric that is coated with a wax, a design scratched or applied with a heated tool, and dipped in dye. Since the dye only affects parts not protected or by wax, the design remains when the wax is washed out. A marbling effect can be achieved when the dye is allowed (or forced) to seep into cracks in the wax caused by crumpling when cooled.

Although carved stone and metals are the most popular subjects for rubbing, virtually any solid relief surface can yield an interesting rubbing product: medals, leaves, architectural reliefs, cultural, historic, or commemorative plaques.

Most commercial rubbings come from church and courtyard reliefs. Their attraction and value are enhanced by unusual materials, novel rubbing techniques, impressive frames and by novel innovations such as certificates of authenticity.

Perhaps the most interesting source for rubbings is old graveyards -- in any country! The markers and design are not only historical, they are often art works of a bygone age.

Temple rubbings and gravestone rubbings are essentially the same. Generally, impressions of oriental designs are called temple rubbings, while gravestone rubbings are usually from markers and tombs. The two terms can be used interchangeably in the business.

A major market for gravestone rubbings is descendants and genealogical projects. Many family records include information from old markers; some have photographs and/or rubbings of those old markers.. Because some of the stone markers are in soft material like limestone, the photographs may eventually be the only legible record.

Gravestone rubbings from the tomb of an ancient relative might be considered quite a prize -- and not for just for their sentimental value.

The basic tools needed to begin the art of temple or gravestone rubbings are:

A piece of dry sponge, foam plastic or
blackboard eraser and a soft brush to
prepare the surface that is to be rubbed.

Fabric or paper to place over the design
to reproduce it.

A rubbing marker, such as a commercial
lumber crayon, or large flat sided school
crayon to rub over the design.

Tape and twine to hold the fabric in place
--and perhaps a kneeling pad.

For the rubbing fabric, its is best to use white butcher paper at first. It is expensive and will do for learning and can even be saved and mounted.

To make your rubbings look their best, however, it is best to feature an unusual or interesting fabric. One idea is to use marbleized paper, another is to buy or make your own special effect fabric; still another is wallpaper -- fabric or paper with a nice texture.

The fabric and frame should be coordinated and both should complement or contrast with the rubbing itself. A variation is to use a light fabric for the actual rubbing, and contrasting dark color and/or texture for a border within the frame.

Another idea for a marker is to make your own applicator. A pad should be relatively flat, porous and about 4" across (although others sizes might be used for special parts of the job).

One suggestion is to start with a cutout circle of 1/8" plywood, about 3" in diameter. Glue a powder puff to one side and a handle to the other, then cover with a piece of 1/4" thick foam rubber (like wet suit material). Tie the foam material together on the handle side to leave a smooth convex surface on the rubbing side. This "tool" can be dipped in burnt umbra or other wet or dry stain and ribbed in a light circular motion to produce a very smooth, unstreaked reproduction of the relief.

Variations in rubbing pressure, staining material color and consistency, size and shape of the pad, fabric and your rubbing techniques will produce a wide variety of effects. Experiment until you find the ones you want.

Frames can be purchased or custom made. If not covered with glass, the finished rubbing should be sprayed with a protective covering such as Gloss Finish, which is used to spray finished charcoal drawings to prevent smearing (available at any art store).

The higher your asking price, the more important it is to protect and "showcase" your finished rubbing "under glass."

To make your first temple rubbing, select your subject, and a nice dry day. Clean the surface thoroughly with your sponge or brush. Use a little vinegar to for stubborn moss spots (let it dry before attempting to rub). Do not use anything harder or you risk scoring the surface which can damage the subject and lower the quality of your rubbing. Remove as much moss as possible for the best representation.

Next, place the fabric over the design and tape (or tie) it in place. Always use larger sheets fabric so there is plenty of margin to tie or tape without touching any of the surface that is to appear in your finished rubbing.

Peel off the paper from your crayon marker ( or dip your sponge pad) and use the flat side of the marker to gently rub over the raised portions of the design from the center outward all around until you have a light representation of the design.

Reverse directions and work from the outside in, gradually applying more and more pressure until you have just the amount of color, contrast and design that you want.. Study your rubbing form all angles and distances while it is still held firmly in place. Darken desired areas and correct any errors BEFORE removing the tape or ties. Once you move the fabric,, you are finished with that impression!

It should be mentioned here that some "experts" deliberately move their rubbing fabrics slightly during their process. They complete the rubbing in the basic color then move the fabric slightly. The next step is to go over the highlights with a contrasting color -- for a sort of highlight or 3-D effect.

Especially in a foreign country, always check with the proper authorities before attempting any type of rubbing activity, regardless of whether the object is on private, public or religious property.

It is not only good manners, but it can save embarrassment and possibly hard feelings. There could be religious, political, family or cultural considerations as well as property rights.

It is impossible to predict what your temple and/or gravestone rubbing might sell for (somewhere in the $10 to $1,000 range?). The price you realize will depend on the quality of your work, the subjects and their artistic appeal, as well as their frames and the manner in which they are marketed. The highest prices can be realized with glass covered creations in a attractive, contrasting fabric bordered frames and presented in art gallery fashion.

Tip: If your subjects are oriental, you might hire an oriental person to sell market them.

Persons visiting or serving in overseas assignments have a unique opportunity to find interesting and historical rubbing subjects,. But, there are also plenty of "stateside" opportunities as well.

Consider just one specialty: epitaphs. There are some pretty curious examples in some of the old graveyards across the country, including funny sayings, terse explanation of occupant's downfall and not a few with major errors.

In the past, most markers were not carved by professionals or scholars -- many were made by people who hardly could read and knew very little about stone carving. Some have words or letters missing or crammed in at the end of lines. Some even have corrections -- IN STONE! There are some very interesting (and valuable) collections out there -- patiently waiting for an enterprising entrepreneur.


THE KELSEY CO.,Box 941, Meriden, CT 06450, 203/235-1695. Printing and related materials and equipment; type, paper, presses, wood and linoleum blocks, etc.,Old, reliable company.

DICK BLICK CENTRAL, Box 1267, Galesburg, IL 61407-1267, 800/477-8192. Wholesale art, sign, ceramic, sculpture supplies. Old, reliable company.

EL DO PLASTICS, INC.,Box 451, El Dorado, AR 71730, 800/643-1556. Magnetic sign & engraver supplies; has sponge rubber pads (called Davis Daubers). reliable company.

MEYERS PUBLISHING CO.,2135 Summer St.,Stamford, CT 06945, 203/356-1745. Publishes ART BUSINESS NEWS, trade magazine for art and picture frame dealers.

FABRIC FINDERS, 125 Wold Rd.,Albany, NY 12205. Wholesale fabrics (first quality and seconds).

JAPS, 126 7th Ave.,Hopkins, NM 55343. Picture framing supplies; offers framing gide for $3; free catalog.

PICTURE ART INDUSTRIES, 2566 Stirling Rd.,Hollywood, FL 33020, 305/921-6664. Wholesale framed pictures featuring lithograph prints under glass; over 1,000 pieces.

COMMUNICATIONS CHANNELS, INC.,5266 Barfield Rd.,Atlanta, GA 30328, 404/256-9800. Publishes ART MATERIAL TRADE NEWS, "The Journal of all art, craft, engineering and drafting supplies"

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC.,31 East 2nd St.,Mineola, NY 11051. Discount books, clip art, stencils, etc.

QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd.,Lincolnshire, IL 60917-4700, 312/634-4800. Office supplies.

SWEDCO, Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. 3 line rubber stamps and business cards.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Did you know you can get the government to pay up to half of your cost of exploring for 35 different minerals (e.g. antimony, chromite, gold, iron ore, mercury, mica, silver and tin)? To get such help you do not have to be experienced or an expert miner. All you have to do is show ownership, lease, or other sufficient interest in the property to be explored, and that funds are not available from private sources. If you strike it rich, you will have to repay Uncle Sam with a 5% royalty on your production: if nothing is produced there is no obligation. For more information, send for the booklet "Exploration Assistance" available free from: OFFICE OF MINERALS EXPLORATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR, WASHINGTON, DC 20240.


Glass etching is the application of lettering, monograms or designs on glass. this little known business can be started in a garage or shop and work into something really lucrative. Glass etching is accomplished by covering the glass with a pattern, then, with the aid of a special machine, blowing "sand" against the surface.

Wherever the glass is not protected, it becomes "etched" as the sand repeatedly strikes and "pits" the surface. This procedure contrasts with the old metal etching techniques where the surface was covered with wax or resin, a design scratched into it and the material immersed into acid.

Examples of etched glass products are monogrammed glassware, key chains, lettered windows, designed mirrors and numbers or letters applied as identification marks.

Most glass etching today is by the sandblasting method. Two other methods, acid cream and engraving will also be discussed.

In the sandblasting method, a special type of sand is held in a funnel-like holder where a blast of air is forced through it creates a miniature sandstorm.

It works something like a bingo machine. The area to be etched is covered with a stencil made of a material like masking tape in which the design has been cut out.

When the sand if blown against the piece, the masking tape protects areas that are to stay smooth and allows the sand to pit the glass through the stencil openings. When the stencil is removed the etched design remains.

You can buy ready-made etching stencil designs and letter stencils or cut out your own. Gift and hardware stores are prospective wholesale customers for the etched glassware.

A sandblasting machine, some glass, a stencil and a good working area plus some practice is what you need to get started.

The equipment should not be set up inside the house because there is usually a good deal of dust. Unless you are familiar with sandblasting, contact several suppliers to get the best deal equipment and supplies. Then, try your hand at etching some inexpensive items until you learn to produce quality products.

Save some of your better pieces for samples, some of which can be given to retailers if you do wholesale work.

Another form of glass etching is actually engraving -- where the operator imprints the pattern or design on glass with a high speed drill and a fine, hardened steel bit.

The drill can either be used freehand, with the aid of a stencil guide, or to trace over an applied design. The latter technique allows the application of very intricate designs, which can be quite ornate when the engraver has artistic talents.

The glass etching technique is becoming popular in the auto industry, where designs are etched into the glass to beautify and individualize.

One very promising use is engraving the engine or frame number or owner's driver license number on both the front and back windshields as a police identification tool.

Thieves don't like to steal these vehicles because they must replace the glass! This operation alone may become a good business in some areas. One company (Paragrave -- see Business Sources) has developed a rotary drill based on dentist equipment that is specifically designed for this application.

Acid etching is the old fashioned way and is now considered more of an artist's medium -- even though it can be used for virtually any application. It is generally slower and a little more dangerous because of the corrosive chemicals.

Generally, the glass surface is covered with wax or resin and the design traced or scratched on with a stylus. The procedure is a little like carving a linoleum block. Once the design is finished, creamed (to prevent running) acid is applied and left for the prescribed time.

When ready, the acid is wiped off (carefully, to avoid damage to the rest of the design surrounding or applicator). Even though acid etching has disadvantages, it can produce striking results in detail and very interesting effects.

Most custom glass etching is priced on a letter or design basis -- how many and what size letters are to be applied, plus the number of pieces.

Whether the letter is sandblasted, engraved, or acidized, it takes more time and materials to do big letter than a small.

In a shop you would have a few samples of available alphabets and logos, plus catalogs of additional patterns that could be ordered. Custom stencils would of course, be extra whether you made them or special ordered them from companies that support the industry.

It is also possible (smart, too!) to make up items to sell. These can be done in your spare time at first when you have time between custom jobs and wholesale orders.

Shop around for ordinary items like mirrors, drinking glasses and door windows and inscribe interesting designs on them -- like the school or town logo, or something of local interest.

You will soon learn to be on the lookout for both new ideas of what to etch and for bargain glass items that you can decorate. In Texas, a rearview mirror with a small armadillo might sell; in Missouri, try a kicking mule on a glass goblet ( you get the idea)!

Once you have learned the techniques, you might work with a store or two to produce custom etched glassware. This would help provide the volume for practice, yet not require you to do a perfect job on a $100 glass vase.

When you feel you are ready, place ads to etch, monogram or apply designs to fine glassware --both new and pieces already owned. Use your imagination in your ads. Give potential customers something to think about. Have monthly specials: your license number on front and back windshields - $29.95 this month; a small logo on eyeglasses for $5 and up next month.

These specials will illustrate the various types of work you can do and perhaps stimulate potential customers to think of something they would like to have etched. Other areas to mention in specials might be holiday motifs, family coats of arms, company logos, etc.

In addition to being careful about dust and acid (if you use that medium), be especially careful to get the correct wording on the ticket and on the glass. A mistake on either means you have just etched a piece of junk.

On phone orders, repeat the copy back slowly and use phonetics for any possible mistakes.

On written orders have the customer check and initial the desired copy. You will certainly have to "eat" some mistakes -- but glass is not good for you, so try to hold them to a minimum!


JUPITER ENGINEERING CO., Box 1666, Jupiter, FL 33548, 305/746-3984. Sandblasting equipment and supplies.

LEEDS MANUFACTURING CO.,2620-8 Tyler Blvd.,Mentor, OH 44060, 216/951-1412. Sandblasting equipment and supplies.

GRAPHIC INDUSTRIES, Box 3512, Alliance, OH 44601, 216/821-0654. Sandblasting equipment and supplies; also hot stamp dies.

COOPER GRAPHICS, Box 3485, Toledo, OH 43607, 419/531-2609. Sandblasting masks (stencils),letters, monograms, logos, etc.

TIP SANDBLASTING EQUIPMENT CO., Box 646, Canfield, OH 44406, 800/321-9260. Sandblasting equipment and supplies.

EBEL-DOCTROW PUBLICATIONS, INC.,Box 2147, Clifton, NJ 07023, 210/779-1600. Publishes GLASS,, CHINA, TABLEWARE, trade magazine for glass giftware dealers.

TAPEWAY MARKETING CO., Box 4072, Fullerton, CA 92631. Offers business in etched glassware sales (alternate supplier?).

WHITEMORE-DURGIN GLASS CO.,Box 2065, Hanover, MA 02339. Glass working tools and supplies. Free catalog.

PARAGRAVE, 155 West Center, Orem, UT 84058, 800/624-7415. Offers "engraving" business as low as $65 per month. (High speed drill and patterns).

MEISTERGRAPH, 3517 Wendover Ave.,Greensboro, NC 27407, 800/222-2600, ext 166. Portable Etch-Master equipment to monogram fine glassware.

QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Scheleter Rd.,Lincolnshire, IL 60917-4700, 312-634-4800. Office supplies.

NEBS, 500 Main St.,Groten, MA 04171, 800/225-6380. Office supplies.

IVEY PRINTING, Box 761, Meridan, TX 7665. Letterhead: 400 plus 200 envelopes - $18.

SWEDCO, Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. Rubber stamps.

ZPS, Box 581, Libertyville, Il 60048-2556. Business cards (raised print - $11.50 per K) and letterhead stationery. Will print your copy ready logo or design, even whole card.

WALTER DRAKE, 4119 Drake Bldg.,Colorado Springs, CO 80940. Short run business cards (250 - $3, stationery, etc. Good quality, but no choice of ink or color.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Silk screen or screen printing (technically, Serigraphy) is a long used process for mass producing signs and designs economically.

Going into this business may require a little more time (to learn), effort (to set up) and money (equipment and supplies) than some, but it is a business that could virtually explode into something REALLY BIG!

The basic idea in silk screening is to create a master screen through which paint can form designs on a large number of duplicates.

You draw, trace or photograph a design and transfer it by means of a crude photo process to a thin, fine grain, photo sensitive gel coated cloth (or "silk"), which is tightly stretched over a wood or metal frame..

When the gel is exposed, the part that is exposed to light "cures" (hardens), while the unexposed portion remains soft.

When cured, the soft gel is simply washed away, leaving a "negative" image of the design. The mesh of the silk (synthetic silk these days) is open (like fine screen wire --hence, the name "screen", so that ink (paint) can pass through the unexposed (where the gel was washed away) portions only -- like a stencil.

The frame holding the designed silk is placed against the object to be printed, ink applied and a squeegee (like the one you clean your windshield) pulled across to force a small amount of paint from the top, through the screen, onto the receiving item (T-shirt, coffee mug, etc.).

The screen printed object is removed and set out to dry and the next object is inserted. Obviously, literally thousands of prints can be made from a single screen at a very economical price.

When additional colors are desired, a separate screen must be prepared for each color (much like the color separation process in normal printing). Most screen printers have drying racks -- designed for the size and type objects the operator does most.

For example, if most of their jobs are real estate signs, the racks will be build to accommodate at least 100 18" by 24" masonite type signs.

If you do not have a separate drying room, it would be wise to have fans to draw air across the drying signs and expel it, perhaps through a vent in the roof to reduce fumes.

The silk screen frames fit into hinged holders that keep the screens aligned, and a jig (possibly just wood strips and clamps) is et up to hold the receiving objectives uniformly) -- so that each succeeding color gets exactly in the right place. It takes only a few seconds to "screen" each item, pull it out and place it on a drying rack.

The biggest (and most costly) job is setting up the design or copy on the screens.

This is why a job of 20 signs or posters costs almost as much as 200.

The first sign bears the cost of setting up; the rest represent only the receiving item's raw cost plus a fraction of a cent for the paint.

Some printers store "used" screens when they expect additional orders of the same signs (like real-estate signs); otherwise, they wash them out when the job is completed and use them again for the next job -- one screen will often last for years.

Usually, customers are charged at set-up fee and a price per item, such as $50 set-up plus 41 apiece for 100 or less; 75 cents for 500, etc. Since printers are not required to tell customers when they save a silk "master," they are free to charge a new set-up even if they don't have to set up the next order. This fee is also an incentive for the customer to order as many items as possible at one time.

Of course, there are many different levels and variations of screen printing -- from a small, hobby operations to an "octopus" looking affair, where up to four different colors can be applied in rapid fashion, using special, fast-drying inks.

Although it is easy to find very expensive equipment for this business, it is also possible to build much for your own equipment --for a fraction of the "store bought" versions. There are many books on silk screening in most libraries that can give you some excellent ideas if you want to build some or all of your own equipment.

The total cost to set up a small silk screening studio should be in the neighborhood of $500 to $2,000, depending on the size of the operation and the amount of homemade equipment.

For example, a light frame (for developing) can be fashioned from six two bulb fluorescent light fixtures in a homemade frame.

This produces a 12 bulb developer light source for well under $100. Profits in this business are excellent, unless you have a problem spelling (hopefully, that is a joke).

You should make at least $25 an hour for your time, and considerably more with efficient equipment, streamlined operating procedures, and good sales effort, as you take on larger and more complex jobs.

Screen printing jobs include printing name tags (on plastic or metal holders), bumper stickers (on self-stick paper), two foot letters on banners (buy them blank), designs on flags or ensigns (also purchased blank), political posters, (paper or plastic), street signs (for the city) and truck signs (fleets), souvenirs, advertising stands -- and thousands of other possibilities.

Some screen printers specialize in one or two phases of the art (depending on the market), which allows them to keep mostly one size of screens, holders and drying racks.

As a screen printer, you will be able to judge which jobs in your area could be most economically produced by screening --all you have to do is show potential customers how you can save them money and give them a better product!

To get started in the screen printing business, start accumulating your equipment, learn to operate it efficiently (ruin some materials), read about the art and if possible, visit one or more screen printing plants.

When you are ready, know exactly what you can and cannot do (DO NOT experiment on your customers -- there is too much to lose) and seek only those that you can do well.

Note that the types of jobs you know you can do well will grow rapidly as you gain experience. Start contacting businesses that could use your services -- show them samples and prices.

tell them how long it will take (since you are local, this will be one of your strongest selling points), but be sure to deliver when you promise! Place ads in the local paper, and always leave a business card so people can call you to bid on jobs.

Some business people make it a point not to patronize new services until they show they are there to stay, so make it a point to call back in a month or so on businesses that didn't sound interested the first time. This time, you can tell them about jobs around town that you did.

Keep the normal business records, but especially keep a copy of what the customer approves to go on his order. Have the customer review AND INITIAL the order sheet showing exactly (spelling, layout, color) how the products are to appear -- ask the customer to please check carefully for any errors BEFORE you run off 10,000 copies! this little extra care will save you time, money and many headaches.

In this business, you have an additional option -- something you can do instead of commercial jobs, or in addition to, or between jobs. That is buying and printing your own objects for resale.

Examples are glass mugs with the school or town emblem, ceramic tiles with scenes, fancy keep off the grass signs, or even something to hang on a small suction cup in the car (AGGIE ON BOARD?).

If your business has a lot of drop-in customers or you think there might be a market, you can also augment your "line" with stock signs from really large operations. They can produce "for sale' signs at incredibly low wholesale prices, because they buy the blanks "by the ton" and screen print literally tens of thousands at a time. That means more profit without more work -- is that OK with you?


ST PUBLICATIONS 407 Gilbert Ave.,Cincinnati, OH 45202. Publishes SIGNS OF THE TIMES, trade journal for the sign industry -- subscription recommendation for those in the business!

DICK BLICK CO.,Box 1267, Galesburg, IL 61407-1267. Silk screen (and many other) supplies and equipment. Old, reliable company.

MOCK SCREEN SYSTEM, 200 Emerald Ave.,Lake Wells, FL 33853. Sells a plan for "look alike screen printing manual" for short runs -$39.95.

SCREEN PRINT, 7740 E Redfield, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. Offers a screen printing mail order kit for custom caps and T-shirts.

EL DO PLASTICS, INC. Box 451, El Dorado, AR 71730, 800/643-1556. Screen print paints (same as those used for magnetic signs). reliable.

NATIONAL BANNER CO., Harry Hines Blvd.,Dallas, TX 75234, 214/241-2131. Wholesale banners, flags, pennants, both plain and custom printed.

FRANZ SIGN CO., 8 Glover St.,Portsmouth, OH 45662, 614/353-1470. Manufacturers and wholesales stock signs.

JOSEPH STRUHL CO., 195 Atlantic Ave.,Garden City Park, NJ 11040, 800/552-0023. Wholesale stock signs.

THE KELSEY CO.,Box 941, Meriden, CT 06450, 203/235-1695. Printings and related supplies; paper, presses, wood blocks, etc. Get their prices on blank poster board and self-adhesive paper.

UNIVERSAL SCREEN PRINTING CO.,Box 12657, Gastonia, NC 28053. Wholesale custom printed hats, jackets, T-shirts. Large outfits like this can sometimes handle orders you can't.

SIGNCRAFT PUBLISHING CO., Box 06031, Ft Meyers, FL 33906, 813/939-4644. Publishes SIGNCRAFT, trade magazine for sign artists and commercial sign shops.

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC., 31 East 2nd St.,Mineola, NY 11051. Discount books, clip art, stencils, etc.

QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd.,Lincolnshire, IL 60917-4700, 312/634-4800. Office supplies.

NEBS, 500 Main St.,Groton, MA 04171, 800/225-6380. Office supplies.

IVEY PRINTING, Box 761, Meriden. TX 76665. Letterhead: 400 sheets plus 200 envelopes - $18.

SWEDCO, Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. 3 line rubber stamps- $3; business cards - $13 per thousand.

ZPS, Box 581, Libertyville, Il 60048-2556. Business cards (raised print - $11.50 per K) and letterhead stationery. Will print your copy ready logo or design, even whole card.

WALTER DRAKE, 4119 Drake Bldg., Colorado Springs, CO 80940. Short run business cards (250 - $3), stationery, etc. Good quality, but no choice of style or color.


This is the business of driving other people's vehicles (cars, trucks, vans, RV's) for them.

Examples are: part-time chauffeuring, driving and delivery service of and with the customer's vehicles, transporting vehicles, taking people shopping or any combination of these and many other services.

It can be delivering people to the airport and picking them up when they return (in their car), running errands for them in their vehicle (with or without them along), delivering their car to another destination, and of course, driving your customers in their cars on trips, or to and from the hospital.

It can also be a service to drive senior citizens in their own or their children's automobiles to go shopping, visiting or to visit a relative. This kind of service can not only be handy for your customers, it can save time and/or money, speed up their activities, enable them to do things that would not otherwise be possible and improve their lifestyles.

A good example of how you can save them money is when they must be out of town for a few days.

They can, of course, drive themselves to the airport, but then they must walk from the parking lot to the terminal, which means they must go there early and carry their luggage a good distance.

Then they have to leave their car in the airport parking lot for the duration of their absence where they not only have to pay a pretty stiff parking fee but also take a chance of having someone break into it.

Your service would deliver them to the airport door, return their car (or your) garage, where it would be safe, the go back and pick them up AT THE DOOR when they return. You could even have it washed and serviced in the interim (at their request). That kind service is worth a few dollars to lots of people!

Other examples are taking people shopping, picking up the kids after the movies, going after packages, delivering their car to a relative's house, driving them on a tour or trip,, being available to drive elderly or disabled persons.

Note that there are many elderly people who have cars but are not really qualified to drive them on the highway or in big cities. Wouldn't it be nice for an elderly lady with poor eyesight to have a "younger" lady drive her on shopping trips --or to her doctor?

In most states you will need a chauffeur's license and insurance to cover any liability you might incur. It is very unlikely that you would drive a car with no liability insurance, but with your own, your insurer will "represent" you in case of any problems -- saving you worry and the cost of a lawyer.

While you are at it, check on bonding -- for yourself and any employees you might hire. This is not expensive and can be an excellent selling point: "our drivers are bonded!"

You will need your own transportation -- to get to and from the jobs, but probably not use your vehicle in the business (that requires additional insurance and gets into another, more complicated area like taxis and buses.

Once you have your business established, look around for several possible assistance or employees that you can hire by the hour or on a commission (sub-contract) basis.

Have them bonded and make sure they are good, safe drivers and that they have the proper credentials. Then, they can be on call for when people call in for drivers.

College students or retired seniors would be ideal for this kind of work. Make sure some of your standby drivers are able to make overnight (or longer) trips on short notice!

Advertise your service. Wear something that will identify you and your drivers as drivers (hat, monogrammed shirt unique colored windbreaker, etc.) because you are serving your customers, not accompanying them!

Place notices in airports and depots, hospitals, nursing homes, retirement centers, condos, or wherever there might be potential customers.

Always stress that your drivers are safe, trained and bonded -- and that your service is available on a 24 hour basis (if you want to thrive). Your ads should also suggest some of the benefits of using your service -- to get them thinking "right."

For example, you might compare the cost of renting a car to drive to a city a few hundred miles away. Compute the mileage, time, insurance and other charges and compare that to what it would cost to hire your service and use their own car. Your rates will look much better when compared to renting a large car from Hertz or Avis for a few days!

Set your rates by the hour or mile (with a minimum charge of course) and provisions for overnight travel and return trips (like if you deliver their car and return by bus).

For example, 25 per mile for local trips ($10 minimum); 8 for out of town trips the same day ($25 minimum), the same for longer trips, but with a $50 minimum plus expenses (return fare,meals, motel).

In your consideration of this type of business, you will surely have noticed where there is a need. This need should be investigated thoroughly, so you can plan just what type of service would be best, how it should be set up,, and how much you can expect to make from it.

If you live near a large airport, you might concentrate on that to begin with... Work out plans to offer pickup and delivery service to commuters. If there are a lot of retired people in your area you might want to figure how you could best serve their needs. In either case, talk to potential customers and ask them what they would like -- then plan accordingly.

When you and your assistants drive your customers, take extra pains to be careful drivers. Make up a set of rules for your drivers and make sure they understand and agree to abide by them. Always be neat appearing, courteous and helpful. Open the door for the customers, help ladies in and out; carry the baggage, etc.

You can use the exercise after driving a while and these little extras will make all the difference in the world to your customers -- and probably ensure your success.

Startup costs for this business are very low, just a chauffeur's and adequate insurance. Try it for a while by yourself, and when you have learned the ropes, hire (or sign up) and train (don't forget bonding) active and on-call employees,

The biggest advantage to commission drivers is that technically they pay you a fee to obtain a driving job for them. They are responsible for their own withholding and social security taxes.

Also you might check into driving cars for dealers, towing travel trailers on trips or for dealers, and chauffeuring the owner's or even rented motor homes on vacations (register with the RV rental places). These jobs would not pay as well as private parties, but might be great as well as private parties, but they might be great to fill in between private jobs.

Perhaps the biggest possible problem area is to get the reputation as a bad driver, although poor service would be a close second.

Make sure any contract drivers you hire know that they are not only expected not to cause accidents, they are expected to see that they don't happen!

This means they must be good defensive drivers. Several large corporations that employ drivers have a standing rule -- one accident and you are out!

Also, don't take it for granted that your drivers can handle the customer vehicles: be sure they are qualified to handle a manual transmission, pull a trailer or drive a 26 foot motor home BEFORE sending on these jobs.

Have them complete a course or at least demonstrate to you that they can safely and professionally operate vehicles they are to drive for YOUR CUSTOMERS!

Wouldn't this be a great business for a group of college students! They could even provide safe (sober) drivers for party goers.


DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC.,31 East 2nd St.,Mineola, NY 11501. Discount books, clip art, stencils, etc.

QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd.,Lincolnshire, IL 60917-4700, 312/634-4800. Office supplies.

NEBS, 500 Main St.,Groton, MA 04171, 800/225-6380. Office supplies.

IVEY PRINTING, Box 761, Meridan, TX 76665. Letterhead: 400 sheets plus 200 envelopes - $18.

SWEDCO , Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. Rubber stamps and business cards.

ZPS, Box 581, Libertyville, IL 60048-2556. Raised print and letterhead. Will print your ready logo or design, even whole card. Good prices.

WALTER DRAKE, 4119 Drake Bldg.,Colorado Springs, CO 80940. Short run business cards, stationery, etc. Good quality, but no choice of ink or color and mass-produced layout.

By Home Business Publications, 1993

Friday, January 25, 2008


Mail out coupons, circular and ads for up to 30 clients at a time on a cooperative basis. Contract to print (have printed or use provided) and mail out coupons to area residents and/or businesses on a cooperative, non-competing basis.

Although you mail offers from several clients at any one time in the same envelope, you guarantee that only non-competive offers are contained in any one mailing.

For example, you would not include a 5 cent discount coupon for potatoes from store A, and another 7 cents from store B (store A would never do business with you again). But you could include a free oil change coupon from a service station with either.

Generally, it is best not to include two of the same type stores or merchants in the same mailing --even though the products themselves are not competitors, the merchants are.

Most businesses find it difficult and expensive to send out their own flyers (advertisements, coupons, etc.), much less work out the details of coupon discounts.

It requires know-how and is consuming to design a coupon program and even more so to set up a workable mailing program for one store.

Most merchants are not particularly talented or experienced in this department, which makes the job all the more difficult for them.

The cost of envelopes, manpower to stuff and address them, rent for the mailing list and postage can quickly add up to 50 cents or more for each piece mailed!

This is why so many local merchants use newspaper inserts, despite the fact that they are very expensive and not everyone sees their ads there -- it is cheaper and a lot less work than trying to do it themselves.

A person in the coupon business will soon become quite knowledgeable in this type of advertising, which means they can fulfill a definite need for the merchants in their community.

This business involves showing merchants in your area how you can print AND mail their coupons, flyers and ads to an up-to-date, qualified local mailing list for 3 to 4 cents per item! Not only will you relieve them of the requirements to invest a good deal of their (non-expert) time and money, you will save them as much as 90% of the cost. If you were a merchant, wouldn't you listen?

You can help design coupons, offer standard models, or use the client's design -- the possible varieties are endless.

One plan would be to offer one or two color coupons for "Windy Bucks" (in Chicago) coupons for discounts and free introductory services such as 10% a permanent or a free soda with a meal, two dinners for the price of one, or a free car wash with a lubrication job.

This is where YOUR imagination needs to "catch fire" -- write down all sorts of ideas and have them ready to suggest when you need them.

For example, you could have the basic Windy Bucks printed with black ink on light green paper and then pay the printer a little extra to insert specific client information red ink (their name and offer) in red. You could use different colored paper for several different clients, or even offer an "exclusive" design or border (at an extra price, of course).

One "buck" could be printed with a five and become $5 towards the purchase of $50 at Jones Hardware; the next, worth a free shampoo at Sally's Salon and so forth.

You must promise to mail our a certain number of coupons to bona fide residents (and/or businesses) within a specified period of time (say, 30 days) and inform your clients that although there will probably be others in the same mailing, there will be NO COMPETING offers OR BUSINESSES (this is VERY important).

Your printing should be based on your costs, including printing, postage, paper and of course, your time.

Be sure to scale your offers so the larger the order, the cheaper the price, AND work out "specials" to offer -- combination orders of either different products and offers or future mailings.

For example, 1,000 Windy bucks with their info printed in red, mailed out might be $45 per M; 3,000 - $39; 5,000 - $37, etc.

Then, a combination of 3 different offers might be offered at the 3,000 price -- or a contract for 1,000 per month for five months might be offered at the 5,000 price. These are just a few examples of many possible ways to offer discounts that encourage larger orders -- which is your objective because you not only make more profit; you get better rates on larger orders too.

One thing you might need is a good mailing list, which is a viable alternative to the "occupant" approach. You can rent or purchase one or start accumulating your own.

If you live in a rural or small town area, you can build a pretty good mailing list from the phone book (use the prefixes to help determine the zip code).

If you have a computer, you can get a program with ZIP codes -- or you can look them up in the post office directory (assuming you don't want to buy one).

Some merchants will have their own mailing lists -- and may allow you to use them. If so, you could combine theirs with yours to eventually build a pretty good list. of course, you can also purchase club and organizational listings, voter registration lists and keep all addresses of anyone answering mailed out offers.

A fairly important decision might be necessary in a promotion like the Windy Bucks example -- you will need to determine if you want to emphasize your company and idea or simply promote whatever the clients desire.

Of course, the client's wishes always come first and you may not have a good promotion idea (yet). If you do, you will be able to offer some pretty good prices as well as a chance for merchants to "get on the bandwagon" -- join in a program that is working. Otherwise, you (and your company name) stay behind the scenes as an advertising agent that helps design, print and disseminate your client's materials for their promotion.

In either case, the longer you are at it and the more qualified will you become -- and the more merchants will want to take advantage of your experience and services. As the saying goes: "the harder you work, the luckier you will get."

Before signing up any clients, work out arrangements with a printer (unless you can do your own). Find out all the "shortcuts" price breaks and cost of different paper, ink, color combinations, as well as what sizes the printer can accommodate and what type of cuts or logos are available (at what price).

Normally, standard cuts (borders, pointing fingers) are provided at little or no charge and custom cuts are so much per square inch.

Note that you can usually save money by having more than one made at a time. Standard coupons should be in the 3 x 8 inch range, but always sized so that you can get as many as possible on a single sheet of standard or legal sized paper (to save $$).

Your cost for printing good quality single color coupons should be in the 2 to 5 cents per page range (depending on quantity, how many prices you check and how well you bargain).

Using colored paper and inks can increase the effect without much extra cost (in comparison to two colors of ink or color printing).

Mailing list addresses run about a half cent each; envelopes one to 7 cents each, postage 10-13 cents, and your bulk mailing permit about $50 over year after the initial permit.

Printing costs can be lowered by designing and keeping general formats and merely substituting internal copy for clients.

One color ink is cheaper than two; black and white is much cheaper than color, colored paper and/or various ink colors are cheaper and almost as effective as two color printing (which requires two "runs" through the press).

Some local printers are quite expensive, while others will want your business enough to "deal" (The more business you can bring them, the more "clout" you will have).

If you have or can hire a desktop publishing system,, you can prepare "camera ready" masters that can be reproduced inexpensively by a photo offset printer (small runs can be handled by copy services).

Note that some of your clients will provide their own material (from their home offices) -- either to copy or ready to mail. You may also be able to save by compiling your own mailing lists (see B235).

Finally, you should offer "exclusive" mailings, where you mail out client's material -- for a significantly price of course. It may be worth it to a client because you have the know-how, production facilities and the bulk rate permit.

They certainly don't want to believe their product is not good! Your advice should always be honest in the sense that you first advise them on how to be effective; second, how to save money, and third, according to your profit margin.

You also should be extremely careful not to get in between rival clients or appear to be favoring one over the other.

Never discuss one client with another (if you talk about one, you will talk about all of them). Just "steer" them away from advertising or layouts that would appear to compete directly through your services.

Finally, be especially wary of "distress orders." Many businesses, when they are on the brink of disaster will try to bolster their position through heavy advertising. trouble is that if it doesn't work, the advertising is added to their list of unpaid bills. Don't be their "last resort."


BIG CITY LITHOGRAPH, 550 N. Claremont Blvd.,Claremont, CA 91711. Photo offset printer.

THE PRINTING FACTORY, Box 27, Nesconset, NY 11767. Printers of mail order materials.

GRAPHICS ARTS TECHNICAL, 4615 Forbes Ave.,Pittsburgh, PA 15214. Printing supplies for the home printer.

TURNBAUGH PRINT SUPPLY, 104 S. Sporting Hill Rd.,Mechanicsburg, PA 17055. 717/737/5637. sells new and used printing presses and supplies.

EMPRINT, 329 Gunkel, Dayton, OH 45410, 513/2523-1452. Small used offset printing presses.

DOT PASTEUP SUPPLY CO., Box 369, Omaha, NE 68101. Free catalog of paste-up supplies for making newsletters, advertisements, flyers, etc.

DUPLIPRINTERS, INC., 222/226 Broadway, Newburgh, NY 12550. sells kits for in-home printing; sales and dealerships. Starter kit - $72.

COUP-PAK, 585 Stewart Ave.,Garden City, NY 11530. Information on an advertising coupon business without investment.

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC., 31 East 2nd St.,Mineola, NY 11051. Discount books, clip art, stencils, etc.

QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd.,Lincolnshire, IL 60917-4700, 312/634-4800. Office supplies.

SWEDCO, Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. 3 line rubber stamps - $3; business cards - $13 per thousand.

ZPS, Box 581, Libertyville, IL 60048-2556. Business cards (raised print - $11.50 per K) and letterhead stationery. Will print your copy ready logo or design, even whole card.

WALTER DRAKE, 4119 Drake Bldg.,Colorado Springs, CO 80940. Short run business cards (250 - $3), stationery, etc. Good quality, but no choice of style or color.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Rubber stamps are one of the necessities of a mail order business. You need
to have at least a rubber stamp with your name and address on it, not only
for envelopes, but also for commission circulars and ad sheets that you copublish.
Other rubber stamps you may want to have on hand are ones that say,
in large block letters, things like "SPECIAL!!!," "ORDER NOW!," etc. If you
read ad sheet and mail order publications, you may see dealers selling rubber
stamps. How are they doing this?

There are three ways to sell rubber stamps. The first, and easiest, is to
act as a broker for a rubber stamp producer. This is similar to being a
printing broker, outlined in an earlier report in this series. Contact a
stamp maker in your area, and outline your plans for selling rubber stamps
by mail. Explain that this will add business for him that he wouldn't

otherwise get. The stamp maker should offer a commission to you (or free
stamps) for taking orders. Then, advertise your stamp-making business in
ad sheets and other publications that mail-order dealers regularly read.
When you receive an order, take your commission off the top and forward the
rest with the order to the stamp maker.

The second way is to produce the stamps yourself. This is something you
can set up in your basement or a spare room. Spread the word around the
printers in your area that you are looking for used rubber stamp making

equipment. If you can, find someone who is currently in the business who
is thinking of getting out. Learn the process from them, and you can

probably get good terms on the equipment.

The third way can be done if you have a computer and laser printer, or
access to one. There is a company called Grantham's Polly Stamp (418

Central Avenue, East Grand Forks, MN 56721 218-773-0331) that sells a
machine called the Polly-Stamp. This machine makes rubber stamps from
your laser printed artwork. Anything you can print on your laser printer

can be made into a stamp in 20 minutes. It uses a light sensitive rubber
-like liquid resin and is very easy to use. As of this time (July 1994),
a new unit costs $1095, but you can get a good refurbished unit for under

Rubber stamps are a vital tool for mail order dealers. If you offer this
service, you will greatly expand your customer base. Be sure to send your
latest and best offers with the customer's stamp, and you'll get even more

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Flexible hours, Promising salary.Holidays negotiable. Be your own boss. No experience necessary.

If you spotted the above ad in the Help Wanted section of your local newspaper would you laugh, "Too good to be true"? But it is true! Have you always said, "I'd never have the money or the skill to start my own business." But you do! One of the easiest businesses to start and operate requires very little money. The only necessary skills are patience, time, and lots of love. The business? Pet-sitting!

Jackie McDonald owner of Jackie's Pals in Houston, Texas, started her pet-sitting business after working eight years in a doctor's office. "I wanted to do something I enjoy," she says. "I love animals and I find this work is very calming." Mcdonald spoke with other pet-sitters in her area and discovered how busy they all were. She felt her neighborhood could support another pet-sitter. She was right. Mcdonald just completed a very busy and successful holiday season.

Pet-sitting involves going into someone's home and caring for a pet when when the owner isn't available. The service can include plant watering and mail and newspaper pick-up. The focus, however, is on the animal. Pet-sitting saves a client and the animal the aggravation of dealing with a kennel. Clients expect a variety of services: feeding, watering, liter box cleaner, pill giving, and especially some Tender Loving Care for a lonely animal who misses its master.


Owning a pet-sitting business has many of the same advantages of owning any business--you are your own boss, you set your own hours (depending on the number of clients you serve per day), and your paycheck will be limited only by your willingness to work. McDonald especially enjoys the flexible hours. "I also work out of my home," she says, "and that's a big advantage," Another advantage of pet-sitting is the opportunity of getting to know some real characters: Missy, the cat that only eats facing north (a real example, believe it or not), or Rufus, the blue-footed Amazon parrot who refuses to stay in a cage. Your list will be endless. McDonald describes the pleasure she finds in meeting both pets and their owners, "Ninety-nine percent of the people are very nice. Most are concerned about their pets or they wouldn't call me. And the animals love me no matter what."

As with any business,pet-sitting has a few disadvantages as well. If the business is to succeed, long hours and hard work is necessary. "this is not a get rich-quick scheme," McDonald says. Holidays will be especially busy. Servicing fifteen pets, each two times a day is not an unreasonable expectation. This doesn't leave much time for football viewing on New Year's Day. Unless you're a real animal lover some of the tasks can be unpleasant: Who wants to clean a litter box twice a day for two weeks? But that wildly wagging tail or the purr of a lonely animal that greets you at the door does make it worth the trouble. So do those paychecks at the end of the Christmas holidays. "you must truly love animals," McDonald advises, "or you won't enjoy this business."


Start-up costs for pet-sitting business are small. Expenses can be divided into three categories: marketing, insurance, and transportation. Initial outlay can be as little as $200 or as much as 4300 if you choose to pay for a visit to an accountant. That isn't a bad idea. An accountant can explain tax laws and policies governing this type of business. In some states, for example, he or she will tell you not to charge sales tax because you perform a service that is not taxable.

Although most clients will come your way by word of mouth, invest in a few marketing tools. Business cards are essential. Costing anywhere from $25 to $50, business cards can be placed anywhere pets are found--pet shops and vet clinics. Because most vet clients have kennel facilities, some may not allow you to place your card with them. Establish a relationship with a vet in your area, though, and he or she will begin to recommend you when the kennel facility is full. Design a flyer and place copies on community bulletin boards, church bulletin boards, at the grocery store, and any other place you can think of. "Welcome-to-the-community" associations may be willing to give your card to new residents, too. Keep trying to get your business known. People will be delighted with this service when they hear that you are a top quality pet-sitter. If you can afford it, buy an answering machine. Once your business is booming, you'll need one to take all your business calls.

Clients will ask if you are bonded. This means that an insurance company finds you trustworthy and is willing to put this in writing. An insurance policy protects the homes you enter. If something is broken while you are there, your policy will cover it. Being bonded, however does not protect against damage to pets while in your care. With this type of policy, your premium increases as your business increases. Initially your coverage cost $100 per year. As you client list increases, you can pay as much as $500 per year. Being bonded, however, is worth the expense. Clients are more likely to use your service if they know you're backed by an insurance company.

Keep a log of business miles traveled in your car. Also keep track of gas and auto expenses. These are all tax deductible.


What are the mechanics involved with pet-sitting? When a client calls, arrange a meeting before his departure. This gives you an opportunity to see the pet, familiarize yourself with the routine, and get a key. The client also gets to check you out and give instructions. Appear professional. Have a printed instruction sheet ready for the client to complete. Include space for emergency phone numbers and vet information. Also include a section on pet preferences. A pet whose routine has no disruptions is a much happier one when his master returns. The master will be satisfied and you'll reap the benefits by gaining a repeat client.

"Suggest that clients limit changes to a pet's routine," McDonald advises. the pet will be happier and easier to care for. Provide references to all clients who ask. When you're just starting out, ask a neighbor whose cat you've fed once or twice if she'll be a reference. Most clients won't call references, but will be wary if you've got no one to vouch for you. An important note here: ask clients to be specific about when they'll returning. Have them call you when they do get home. Avoid the disaster of one pet-sitter who clients was three days delayed and whose cat went unfed for that time. When you return your clients key you pickup your payment.


Determining a fee is a personal matter. McDonald consulted other pet-sitters in the area to determine an appropriate charge. fees range anywhere form $5 to $10 per visit. Some pet-sitters charge more for initial visit and less for subsequent visits. The fee will also depend on the number of pets involved and the amount of trouble they will be. Obviously the household with three cats, a turtle, two birds, and a hamster should be charged more than the one with a single dog. Decide in advance what your limits are, too. If you don't care to feed, water, and brush a horse each day be prepared to say no. Once your business takes off, one turned down request won't affect you.

A wide variety of people will use a pet-sitting service. Certainly vacationers will be a number-one market. Therefore, holiday times will be extremely busy. Some people own pets but have little time to spend with them--couples who both work fulltime, and singles who travel.

A few words of advice and notes of caution:

Be prepared for a mess. Bored animals are messy little things. They knock over plants, break vases, and chew furniture. Although yours is not a house-clenaing service, your clients will appreciate your efforts to tidy things up.

Follow your client's instructions to the letter. Even if no one but you knows Fido ate exactly at 6 P.M., do what is asked. Owners can detect when a pet's routine has gone wary.

Pregnant women should be aware of a condition known as toxoplasmosis. caused by a parasitic organism found in cat feces, toxoplasmosis can cause severe damage to a fetus. Pregnant women should use extreme caution when disposing of cat feces or else wait until after the baby is born to start a pet-sitting business.

Expect a few complainers. Most clients will love you. Some, however will be annoyed that Fifi's nails grew too long while she was in your care, or that Bucky seems listless since their return.
A pet-sitting business is an easy one to start. The only requirement is a real love for animals. You will find that people are quite interested in your service and are more than willing to pay for it. McDonald sums it up this way: "this ia a very time consuming business. But I really enjoy it and I've learned from it. You're certainly compensated and it is very satisfying."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Here's a beautiful idea that's sure to put a lot of cash in your pockets! It's an idea that definitely fulfills a need, and has tremendous market potential virtually anywhere in the whole world.

As you probably already know, our ever-improving standard of living is giving everyone more and more leisure time- time to play, and enjoy doing the things that bring them happiness.

You can capitalize on the abundance of leisure time, the challenge of the game, and man's determination to do better the next time out than last time, with Personalized Bowling or Golf Scorecards. The only investment needed will be a little bit of your time, and then your ideas should just about perpetuate itself. Here's how to get organized and started...

Make several Xerox copies of the "Personal Score Card" given as a part of this report. Paste these "copies" onto light weight card stock.

Make a list of the sporting good stores in your area, particularly those in the areas of your bowling and golfing establishments. In fact, if you have several, it would be best to group each list of sports stores with the bowling or golfing facilities by area.

With your example of the "Personal Scoring Record," call upon the owners or managers of these bowling and/or golfing outlets. Using a low-keyed sales approach, explain the workings of your product, and sell them on the idea of putting up the money for the basic supply of cards and printing. (This will enable you to reap 100% profit from the sale of advertising on the cards.) These facilities benefit from an advertisement on the "front page" of each score card.) Your sale to the bowling/golfing facilities managers should be for the provision of one to five thousand of these cards, which they'll make available to their patrons free of charge at their cash control counters.

You can either sell the advertising space on the card yourself, or hire commission sales people to do the selling for you. It would be best to do your own selling for you. It would be best to do your own selling, because once you've got the card sold, you'll not have to do any reselling--just call on your advertisers about every three months to perpetuate their contracts with you. It will be important, though, for you to "drop in" on your advertisers at least once a month to check to see how things are going and if they're pleased with your advertising. If you don't drop in on your advertisers except at renewal time, you will find it very hard to sustain them as advertisers.

You should charge each advertisers at least $100 for exposure of his "one by one" display ad on 5,000 of your cards for 3 months running. With space for a total of twenty such ads, which the advertiser supplies for you, each bowling or golfing facility that you set up with these personal score cards should mean a couple of thousand dollars in profits.
6)When you've sold your advertisers, and collected the ads they want to run on your scorecard, take the"sample card" with your printer---any quick print shop will do have him help you with the "paste-up" and tell him to print 5,000 for you, and to finish them by folding them for you. Your costs should all be absorbed within the money received from the bowling or golfing establishment you first sold the cards to...When your cards are ready, simply take them to the original bowling or golfing manager, exchange a few amenities and leave them with him for handing out to his patrons or customers.

From start to finish, the whole project shouldn't take you more than a couple of weeks. And if you only sold one card every three months, this would/could mean a very easy annual income of $12,000... Of course the ideal situation is go on selling these cards, using the same principle, to go to as many different blowing and golfing centers as possible. In small towns with only one or two such centers, travel to the surrounding towns and sell the idea to them. In the Seattle Washington area, the people are grossing more than $150,000 a year while working only one month out of every three!

This is the idea...It's very workable anywhere in the world..It's been proven to be a fabulous money-maker in Seattle, Washington... The next step, and the rest is up to you!

Monday, January 21, 2008


Selling flowers at strategic locations has become a highly profitable retail business for many enterprising individuals. These entrepreneurs are taking advantage of a market that is, for the most part, impulsive in nature. Many people buy flowers on the spur of the moment, and the presence of a flower vendor is usually their inspiration.

Often, men on their way to a date will see a roadside flower vendor, and suddenly find the idea of taking flowers with him quite appealing. The same holds true for many men heading home from work. If they're married, these men will often purchase flowers from roadside vendors for their wives. The flowers are attractive, not as expensive as an arrangement from a florist, and the buyer doesn't even have to get out of his car.

Women are also potential customers for flower vendors. A woman will buy flowers to add color and decoration to her house or apartment, or sometimes, just to cheer up a friend. In any case, the purchase is usually made on impulse, brought about by the availability of a flower vendor.

Starting a flower vending business is not difficult. No previous experience is necessary. There's only a minimal initial investment required, and you won't need a lot of equipment. What you will need is an adequate supply of fresh, attractive flowers, a good location for selling, and a cheerful disposition. After all, you will be dealing directly with people, so a good disposition is a necessity.

You can begin as a home-based operation with an investment of as little as $300. If you live close enough to the market you want to reach, your own garage can serve as storage space as well as your preparation area. Your operating expenses will be minimal, and you'll have the opportunity to realize a high margin of profits.

Depending on the size of your investment (both time and money) and the size of your trade area, a flower vending business could net anywhere from $10,000 to $75,000 per year. It can be an extremely high profit business, if you choose your selling locations wisely, and offer only fresh, attractive flowers.


Successful operation of any small business depends on several key factors. Perhaps the most important is the ability to be a good business manager. Although no experience is necessary to start-up a flower vending business, some small business management training could give you the edge needed to insure success. Most community colleges offer night school courses in small business management and, if you are unsure about your business knowledge and/or management skills, enrollment in such a course would be a good idea.

Here are other basic steps involved in the successful operation of a flower vending business:

(1) Know your market. Proper knowledge of your market will enable you to set-up at the best locations. You'll need to know the high-traffic areas as well as the time of day traffic is at its peak in order to take advantage of a roadside operation. You'll also need to investigate other potential locations such as restaurants, malls, local festivals and flea markets.

(2) Obtain a dependable source for fresh flowers. Your business depends on the quality of your merchandise. And since you are selling flowers, they must be fresh and attractive. You should locate a quality wholesaler and establish a sound working relationship. You should also have some knowledge of the types of flowers people are most likely to purchase from a vendor.

(3) Establish a workable preparation area. Ideally, your preparation area should be centrally located within your sales territory. The space needed should be adequate for storing flowers and materials used for the preparation of bouquets, as well as for the preparation itself.

(4) Hire the right help. Unless you plan a one person operation you'll need to hire some dependable helpers. The people you hire should be outgoing and trustworthy with the ability to deal with customers in a professional and courteous manner. If your flower vending business is to be successful and highly profitable, you'll probably need to have other people helping you. One example is a successful flower vendor in Washington State who employs young people, pays them minimum wages, and enjoys a brisk business at several key locations.

(5) Advertise and promote your business. Effective advertising and promotion can help generate sales and profits. Knowing how to advertise and promote your business, especially in the beginning, is a key step in the success of any business operation.

All of these steps can be taken with a relatively small initial investment, and your flower vending business can be in operation, and realizing a profit, in just a few weeks. However, prospective entrepreneurs should also be aware of, and comply with, any rules and regulations that apply to this particular business in their area.

Depending on the location(s) of your flower vending business, you may need a license to operate. If you plan to setup a flower vending stand on a city street, or any roadside operation within city limits, you'll most likely need to get a permit. The best thing to do is consult a trusted attorney, or contact the business-license department in the city your market covers to find out what licensing requirements you must meet.

If you plan to sell flowers in restaurants and nightclubs, it is usually not necessary to have a license. Also, if your roadside operations fall outside the city limits, you probably won't need a license because most counties don't issue them. Again, you should check with your attorney, or the proper licensing authorities in your area before you start selling flowers.

Another consideration for a new business owner and employer is taxes. As an operator of a business you will be responsible for collecting and sending in various state and federal taxes, as well as certain taxes you will have to pay yourself. If you are not familiar with your tax responsibilities as a business owner, consult a qualified accountant or contact your local IRS office to get the information you need.

You should also consult with an accountant as to the type and arrangement of bookkeeping and record keeping best suited for your flower vending business. Records of your business operations are, of course, helpful in the successful management of the business.

These records need to be as accurate and permanent as possible in order to ascertain any tax liabilities. They should include business income, deductions, credits, and any employee information. As well as any other information required by federal, state and local regulations.


Since a flower vending business does not require an abundance of sophisticated equipment, start-up costs can be kept to a minimum. The basic equipment necessary should not cost more than $200 and can usually be found at a wholesale florist supply house. You can also get your supplies and equipment from several firms that cater to florists. You should be able to find a complete directory of such firms at your local library. You can also contact several florists (not necessarily in your market) and obtain this information.

For the preparation of your flowers and floral arrangements, you'll need stem cutters and a supply of cellophane or florist's tissue. You will also need several plastic buckets to keep the flowers in water and fresh while being transported as well as on your selling sites.

To prepare the flowers for selling, you will need a preparation area. This area should be cool and shady to help keep your flowers as fresh as possible. As mentioned earlier, a location central to your area of sales is most desirable. If your own garage fits that description, you won't have the added expense of renting space.

Your preparation area will require several storage containers and a table. Some refrigerated coolers may be necessary, but since most flower vending businesses pick up their flowers on a daily basis, and sell them as quickly as possible, that sort of storage requirement should not be excessive. However, during the summer and winter months, you may need an air-conditioner and portable heater to keep your flowers in salable condition. If you don't already have these items, you can count them as a business expense and they are tax deductible.

Your inventory will consist of flowers. You can purchase these from wholesalers found in most major cities. You can find these suppliers by looking in the Yellow Pages of your area's metropolitan phone directory. Look under "Florists, Wholesale."

Since you will probably have some flowers left over after each day's sales, it is essential that your inventory be fresh when purchased from the wholesaler. You can check the freshness of your flowers by examining the heads of roses to see if they are tight to your touch. Also, if the blossom appears purple around the edges, the flower is probably too old. When buying carnations, look to see if they are firm and heavy-stemmed. If carnations are somewhat discolored, don't buy them, because they probably aren't fresh.

The largest part of your inventory will most likely be roses. Roses are the most desired flower, and they are expensive. Prices will vary with the season and area of purchase.

Carnations will also make up a substantial portion of your inventory. These flowers, while very attractive and popular, are much less expensive than roses.

Other flowers you may want to add to your inventory are gardenias, tulips, daffodils, and orchids. Some of these flowers are expensive and usually appeal to an older set of customers, so don't go overboard when dealing with your supplier. Roses and carnations will be your best sellers.

Your best sales months will be during the holidays so you will have to make sure you have an adequate supply of flowers. You'll also want to have a supply of appropriate flowers to match the specific holiday, lilies for Easter, poinsettias for Christmas and so on.


Once you have a marketable inventory, you will need to setup in a good location. If you choose the wrong location your business will not be successful. For flower vending, the two best selling locations are restaurants and roadsides/street corners.

Restaurants are good selling locations if they attract large lunch and dinner crowds. Especially good restaurant locations are those with specific themes. French, Italian and Mexican restaurants are usually profitable locations for flower vendors. You'll also find successful flower vendors in upscale lounges and taverns.

In general, restaurants and lounges with a quiet and romantic ambience, are usually conducive to flower vending. Many restaurants are attracted to the idea of flower vending at their places of business because it offers an extra "romantic" touch to their service. Usually, the management of a restaurant will charge the flower vendor only a nominal fee. In some cases, the fee may simply be a few flowers to arrange and display throughout the restaurant.

For street-selling locations, freeway exits and stoplights on main streets are preferred. These areas represent the highest amount of traffic therefore, the largest number of potential customers. Ideally, your locations should be along streets, highways and exits that feature a great deal of late afternoon and/or early evening rush hour traffic. These conditions are ideal if you can find an area where the traffic must come to a stop, or at least has to slow down. Your location must be plainly visible so that oncoming drivers will be able to see you in enough time to get out of traffic and pull off the road.

It is important that you stay away from roadside locations that could limit the ability, or desire, of your customers to reach you. Never set-up at dangerous intersections, along steep hills and other areas that could be hazardous. You could lose a lot of business if potential customers don't stop because they fear getting struck by other traffic.

When selling on city streets the most desirable locations are those that take advantage of both automobile traffic and pedestrians. You should try to find a spot in an area of heavy pedestrian traffic as well as vehicle traffic. Business will usually be better when people are on their way home. If you know which side of the street is the "going-home" side, that's where you should set-up.

Operating a flower vending business allows you more flexibility than many other businesses have. You won't have to stay in one location, if it proves unprofitable. You can move around as often as it takes to find the locations that afford you the most success.

You may have to experiment in the beginning. Simply keep a record of the number of flowers sold at each location and the number of hours at each spot. From these records you'll be able to determine the most satisfactory locations for your business. You will also have a better idea as to the actual inventory you need so you can cut down on the amount of excess that results in spoilage.


In order to be successful in the flower vending business, it may be necessary to hire help. If that's the case, not just anybody will do. As the owner/manager of the business you will have to hire people who are right for the job of selling flowers. Although this may seem difficult, there are some guidelines that many flower vending businesses follow quite successfully.

Students and people seeking part-time jobs are the most likely candidates for employment in the flower vending business. Your interviews with such prospective help should be designed to ascertain if they are trustworthy and dependable. You also need salespeople who are outgoing, enjoy interacting with other people, and who are well-motivated.

In most cases, if you are selling flowers in restaurants, attractive young women are the best salespeople. Usually these women are dressed in a costume that serves to identify your business. The most basic sort of identifying costume, or dress, would be a white blouse and dark skirt. As the business "blossoms" you may want to invest in more elaborate costumes depending on the image you want for your business as well as the particular restaurant theme.

Usually, an employer can find adequate part-time help simply by placing a catchy ad in the help-wanted section of the classifieds of the local newspaper. The ad should allude to making "good money" for "enjoyable" part-time work. Response to the ad should be such that you can be selective in hiring the help you need. You should also get excellent response with an ad in college newspapers. And you can try placing the ads on school bulletin boards to elicit even more response.

Once you begin interviewing prospective employees, it is imperative that you have them fill out an application form and supply you with at least three references. And don't just read the references -- check them out. You should know as much as you can about your help before you hire them.

Once hired, make sure all employees know exactly what their duties and responsibilities are, as well as their salaries. You should also plan to review each employee's performance on a regular basis. These reviews, or evaluations, should be shared with your employees so they will know how they are doing and how they can improve, if warranted.


Operating a flower vending business does not require hours of strenuous physical labor. However, that does not mean flower vendors lead a life of leisure. With any business there are demands that require time and effort. The flower vending business is no exception. You and/or your employees will need to be well organized from the time of preparation until the day's selling is done.

Preparing flowers for sale is an essential part of a flower vendor's work day. In order to be salable, your flowers must appear fresh and colorful. Also, every bouquet you plan to sell must be arranged in an appealing fashion. Therefore, you should allow enough time for preparation so that the job is done right. But, don't overdo it. If you spend too much time on flower preparation, you could be cutting into valuable selling time.

The actual preparation phase should take as little time as possible without sacrificing quality of work. To be as efficient as possible with your preparation time you should organize the process. You can do this in a step-by-step manner.

First of all, you should plan to remove many of the thorns from each rose stem. About half of the thorns, beginning at the bottom of each stem, should be removed. Then, you will need to clip a small portion from the bottom of each stem. This will allow the flowers to absorb water and retain their freshness and color. You can do the clipping with a sharpened knife.

Once you have de-thorned and clipped your roses, you will need to place them in relatively warm water. The water temperature should be about 105 degrees. You can leave them in the water for up to two hours and they will be refreshed and colorful when you are ready for the day's vending. All your other flowers must also be properly cared for and prepared so that your entire inventory is appealing to your customers.

Your preparation process should not involve much "decoration." People buying single flowers usually won't expect frills such as ribbons or bows. However, you should have such adornments on hand at your selling location in case some customers request them. It's also a good idea to supply your sales team with pins, if corsages and/or short-stemmed flowers are part of your inventory.

Any bouquets you sell should be wrapped in tissue or green cellophane. Not only do the flowers keep better wrapped, they also appear more attractive and are more appealing as gifts. Unwrapped bouquets do not have a particularly neat appearance, and they probably won't stay fresh and colorful as long as they would if wrapped.

How much time should all this preparation take? Well, most successful flower vending businesses spend no more than two to three hours a day buying and preparing flowers. It will probably take a new business a couple of months to become organized and experienced enough to cut buying and preparation time down to two hours per day. That will happen once you learn how to utilize the early morning hours, after the flowers have been purchased from the wholesaler, for preparation of the flowers and organizing your salespeople.

The best times to sell depends on location. Street corner and roadside vending hours are most successful during the late afternoon and early evening hours when most workers are heading home. Most people are more apt to take the time to make such a purchase as flowers on their way from work than they are on their way to work. Weekends have also proven very successful for many flower vending businesses that operate all day on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you are selling in restaurants, the most profitable time will be during dinner hours. In some cases, lunch crowds will buy flowers, but usually the evening diners will be your best customers in a restaurant. Your salespeople should plan on up to three seatings of diners each evening in a popular restaurant.

Between seatings, your salespeople can canvass the immediate neighborhood for other potential customers, and then return for the next seating at the restaurant. This type of selling will take some practice and experience, but a good salesperson will soon learn how to make the most of his time and inventory.

It is important that you and your sales team be as poised and as professional as possible when selling at any location, especially in restaurants. In restaurants, a low-key approach is much better than an extremely aggressive sales pitch. Be polite and friendly, and utilize flattery as an effective tool. Approach the man in a couple and in a casual and friendly manner ask if he would like to compliment his lady companion with a beautiful flower. Most men will then buy a rose for their dining companions.


A flower vending business is unlike many small and part-time businesses in that the usual forms of advertising -- newspaper, radio, TV, and so on -- are not really effective. Since your selling locations may change from time to time, and since buying flowers from a flower vendor is usually done on impulse, you'll need a more immediate form of advertising. It should be something that draws attention to your business as your customers approach your selling location.

For street corner and roadside vending, signs are the best form of advertising. All that's needed is something to let potential customers know you are there, and that you are selling flowers. Seeing your sign, many people will act on impulse and stop to see what you have to offer.

The sign(s) should be hand-made rather than professionally painted. You don't want to appear like a big business. And a hand-made sign will give the impression of a small, family-type operation which usually means more reasonable prices.

In some cases, a new business can get publicity from a local newspaper. If you are selling flowers at a restaurant, you can try getting such publicity by alerting the local newspaper. Most local newspapers use information of this sort as fill, and it could prove valuable to your business.

If, as part of a special promotion -- a grand opening, or a special day such as Valentine's Day -- you will be selling flowers at a business location, send the information to the editor of your local newspaper. You may also want to include a picture of you and/or your sales people. The paper may not decide to run the story, but there's a good chance they will. Either way, you have nothing to lose, and a bit of publicity to gain.


Eight contributing factors are measured on a 1 to 10 basis (with 10 being excellent) based on analysis of this opportunity.

Time Investment 7

Start-up Costs 9

Gross Income Potential 8

Net Income Potential 8

Income in Relation to Investment 10

Stability 8

Overall Risk 9

Potential for Growth 10
Overall Potential for Success 8.63


The profit you can realize from a flower vending business depends on several factors:

(1) The size of your market. Obviously larger metropolitan areas supply the greatest source of potential customers, therefore profits. However, your expenses in these larger markets will probably be greater, because of larger inventory needed and a bigger sales team to cover the market adequately.

(2) Good selling locations. Even if your market has a large selection of potential customers your profits will be, at best, minimal if you are not selling in the best locations to take advantage of impulse buying. You have something that practically everyone likes, flowers. But most everyone who buys flowers from a vendor does so on impulse. To be successful, a flower vending business must locate in areas of high-traffic, increasing the possibility of impulse buying.

(3) Consistently marketable inventory. If you try to sell flowers that are too old, wilted and faded, don't expect to do much business. Make sure your entire inventory is always flowergarden fresh and attractive. Also, price your flowers at reasonable rates. That way, both you and your customers will be happy.

(4) A professional sales approach. Whether you are running a one-person flower business, with yourself as the only salesperson or have several salespeople, a friendly, low-key sales approach is essential. After all, you are selling flowers, not used cars. Most people who buy flowers from a vendor are buying them for a special person, and a friendly, non-aggressive salesperson has a good chance of making a sale.

(5) The size of your investment. This does not just apply to the amount of money you invest in the business. Your investment also includes the time and effort you expend on making it a success. As a weekend business, or operating on a daily basis, a flower vending business will require a certain amount of your time and effort above and beyond your monetary investment. The amount of success and profits you can realize depends, in large part, on how much you are willing to put into the business.

Some flower vending businesses have reported netting as much as $75,000 a year. That kind of income usually requires a sales team of half-a-dozen or more people working in a large metropolitan area. Smaller markets should expect a net profit of $10,000 to $20,000 per year.

The thing to keep in mind is that there is always a large market for a flower vending business because flowers make personal gifts year-round. Obviously, some months featuring special days such as Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas will be better than others, but this is not a seasonal business. You should be able to realize a healthy profit every month.

Your initial investment can be as low as $300, or as much as $1,500, depending on what you can afford and the size of your operation. It will most likely take several months until you get adequately organized, and until you discover all the best selling locations. But within a year you should be realizing a nice profit with an efficiently operated flower vending business.


A flower vending business is one of the best small businesses you can get into, if you are short on investment capital. Very little equipment is needed. You can use your own garage or utility room as a preparation area and for storage. And you can sell your inventory on location, from the back of your own car, van or pickup. You may want to invest in a business management course, if you are uncertain about your management knowledge. But no practical experience is necessary to get into this business.

The biggest expenses will be in inventory, which a good month's sales will recover, any extra personnel you decide to hire, and in any licensing fees you encounter. Advertising costs for a flower vending business are extremely low.

Since flowers have universal appeal, there will always be a sizable market for a flower vending business. If you operate professionally, offering fresh, appealing flowers, establish a good business relationship with dependable wholesalers, find the best selling locations, and hire dependable, competent help, there's every reason to be confident that a flower vending business can be highly profitable.



The Encyclopedia of Floristry by Violet Stevenson