Answering Service: A Low Investment Home Business

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The ubiquitous and almighty telephone has been a part and parcel of our existence for almost a hundred years. First there were strictly mechanical telephones served by nosy and inquisitive operators who would often listen in on party lines and chime in whenever they felt like it. Then came the touch tone telephones with first nationwide and then international direct dialing service. We live in a cellular age today in which a phone can practically do everything for you except book breakfast. A lot has changed since then.

Setting up an Answering Service Business at Home

There are hundreds of home based business ideas that tend to stay afloat, some with major investment and others with little or no upfront investment. An answering service falls in the latter category. Until as recently as two decades ago, establishing and operating an answering service business involved an investment to the tune of thousands of dollars. This was primarily because there was no caller ID service in those days and if you wanted to provide a personalized greeting to your customers, you would have to work closely with Ma Bell and arrange for additional equipment and services. Moreover, there was keen competition from companies that provider beeper services—a service that was aggressively promoted within the medical profession. Today, you can set up your own answering service home business for less than a hundred dollars.

Answering Service from Start to Finish

You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to figure out how to set up your own answering service home business. All you need is a telephone with caller ID that is integrated with a phone book. You should invest in two such phones one of which needs to be a cordless phone. Your investment in both telephone instruments won’t exceed $100 tops. A little competition analysis, some advertising that lands your first customer, and you are in the business of running a home based business.

Dual Service Model for Customers

Answering service companies usually offer two service models. In the first model, customers are billed on a monthly basis for a predetermined number of calls. In the other model, customers pay as they go on a per call basis. You should offer both models since some low volume customers are sure to graduate to high volume status which is when they will begin subscribing to a monthly service plan.

Customer-friendly Schedule that does Justice to you

So that you do not have to entirely surrender your independence, offer your service initially as an “after office hours” service, between 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Greet every caller warmly, jot down the message and communicate it to your customer. You can give them the option of either a phone call or a text message in order to communicate the message. If you have a personal computer, transmitting the message via e-mail is a third option.

Home Business Logistics

Your phone instruments should be located in a separate room far from the din of television and other audible distractions. Carry your cordless phone with you when you feel like rushing to the refrigerator for a quick late night snack. Telephones have a canny tendency to ring at most inopportune moments.

The Drudgery of Paperwork

You will also need to organize your accounting, billing and invoicing. Be regular and ask for a small initial deposit in order to protect yourself. Like every type of business, home based businesses too take time to blossom. Remain both patient and persistent, advertise regularly within your community and hopefully, some day, you will be able to transition to an impressive official set up that will make you and your family proud.

If you are planning to set up a home based business with little or no investment, an answering service home business just might be the right thing for you. This is one type of home business in which patience and persistence is sure to pay off.

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