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How to Start a Foreclosure Cleanup Business While Still Working Your Full-time or Part-time Job

Feeling trapped in your job, but the anxious entrepreneur is dying to get out, at any cost? Read on to find out how to successfully start your business while still working your job.

Housing industry experts are predicting well over two million foreclosed homes will saturate the market in 2010 and beyond. So many aspiring entrepreneurs want to dive head-first into opening a foreclosure cleaning business / REO trash out business, especially after doing a little research on the industry and seeing the potential for a successful business. But many people desperately need to hold on to what have become their part- time jobs (as a result of cutbacks and downsizing), to just pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads.

Feeling Trapped in Your Job?

Feeling trapped in your job, but the anxious entrepreneur is dying to get out, at any cost? The entrepreneurial bug is like a drug. Entrepreneurs can't help themselves. They're up all night with business ideas, running numbers, mulling over scenarios, and planning the ultimate dive into one of the most rewarding ventures in life: being self supportive, not depending on anyone for a dime, calling the shots, knowing it's all on them, sink or swim.

But they feel trapped and don't know how they can get their foreclosure cleaning business off the ground because they truly need the income from the job they are grateful to have to simply stay afloat.

Deciding Is Half the Battle

As the owner of a foreclosure cleanup business / REO trash out business, I get it. Been there, done that. There is nothing like feeling there is no way out. But there is a way out.

You see, if you've truly decided you want to open a full-time foreclosure cleanup business or smaller property preservation company, you're half way there. Deciding to start a business, deciding to anything at all, is really half the battle.

Do you know how many talk about opening a business and never do a thing about it? You're in the minority by having truly decided.

Realize if you've decided you're going to start this business, you have guts that many people can only dream of. So slow down a moment, and pat yourself firmly on the back. You now KNOW you will open your business full-time, in due time, so roll with that thought, and smile quietly. Take comfort in that decisive feeling and reward yourself for making the choice to own a business one day soon.

Now, reach down and strap your boots on tightly, because in just a bit, it'll be time to rock and roll!

Successfully Starting Part-time

If you have a job, plan to start your business part-time. That's what I did when I started my foreclosure cleanup business. I used personal days from my job to give estimates; vacation time to meet with realtors and prowl for clients; and my lunch time every day to camp out in a conference room at my job to plan my business. My foot was out the door and I knew it -- because I am an entrepreneur to the core, and I had decided it was time to get back out there in business ownership.

Realize that even if you have a "full-time" job, that's only 9, 10, 11 hours out of the day (when you add in commuting). There are 24 hours in a day! That leaves so much time to get your business going.

Using Your Lunch Hour

Most people have at least one solid hour for lunch in the middle of the day, where they can read, learn the industry, research contacts, and plan. Use that time to work on a business plan. And that business plan doesn't have to be for anyone's eyes but your own. It can be your road map to entrepreneurship.

But don't let the formality of a business plan bog you down. The main thing is to plan; rough drafting it for your personal use is just fine.

Visit the Small Business Administration's website for more information on the components of a useful, effective business plan.

Evenings and Weekends

Use the evenings and weekends to do estimates. It's your business, so you can set your estimate-giving hours the way you want them. A job doesn't mean you have to miss out on clients. We'll discuss how to handle scenarios where you can't meet a potential client for an estimate because of your job in a bit.

Middle of the Night?

Middle of the night? Yes, middle of the night. Don't write off the middle of the night to work! You need those hours, when the world is asleep, to really focus on your business' future. You will come up with some of your best ideas when the world is quiet, the television is off, your spouse is conked out, and your children are sound asleep in their rooms.

A successful business owner once told me he only slept three hours a night. I'll never forget when he said, "Sleep is the cousin of death." He said it was an old African proverb.

That statement does not mean you should neglect your health, NOT take care of yourself. It simply means you have to give up something in the beginning to get where you want to be. And sleep is one of the easiest things from which to shave hours.

For example, if you know you will only sleep, say, four hours per night next week because you have to work on planning your business, prepare your marketing material, build your website, start a contacts list, read industry material, etc., you will really use your "awake" time strategically.

Ironically, you will likely get more "solid" rest because you will know when your head does hit that pillow you will have to really sleep before the alarm goes off at 3:30 or 4:00 AM. Don't Get "Stuck" in the Planning Phase

Careful you don't fool yourself into thinking you're working your business by simply planning. Take approximately two weeks and plan your foreclosure cleaning business / REO trash out business. Then, start sending out postcards and emails, saturating your area with fliers, and making cold calls to get your phone ringing.

Your goal should be to have estimates lined up on your calendar. The more estimates you go out there and give, the more versed you will get in pricing and meeting with clients, the more foreclosure cleanup work you will get, and the sooner you can get out of your job.

Growing Too Fast?

Here's a nice dilemma: you're working a job and the calls are starting to come in because you are strategically marketing, pricing right, and growing your foreclosure cleanup business / REO trash out business.

How do you handle that transition period from needing your job, to fielding the work coming in? Simple; you will need help. And that help can be in the form of other companies to which you can formally refer out work.

Those other similar businesses in the area are not your competition; they are your allies, your friends, especially in the part-time, start-up phase. Reach out to them in the beginning to introduce your foreclosure cleaning business. This will do two things:

1) it will get your business name out there; and

2) it will give you the opportunity to discuss a formal referral agreement whereby if you send them work, you will get a percentage of the earnings.

(Always use a formal, written referral agreement.)

Over time, this reaching out to your assumed competition will become a mutually beneficial exchange because these companies will also know they can call on you, too, as your business grows into a full-time operation.

Plan Your Exit

Don't let fear or anybody's job keep you from entrepreneurship. Realize you may have to start part-time, but start you will. If you want this, be smart and simply plan your exit from your job strategically.

Use your lunch hours; use that crucial time after work when you really just want to go home and rest; and use those precious hours in the middle of the night, when the world is asleep, to set up shop.

The Road to Success

The road to success is often built when no one's looking. Your audience will be your blood, sweat and tears. And when you "arrive," your colleagues will wonder how you go there; what magic, luck, what secret weapon, did you have in your back pocket?

But success is no big secret; it's just plain old hard work -- the kind our parents and grandparents used to do; the kind that morphs into something beautiful in the form of control, control of your own destiny, after a little while. And it's there for the taking for anyone who has the guts to grab it.

Rewards Outweigh the Toil

The rewards of entrepreneurship far outweigh the toil. So go for it; start planning your foreclosure cleaning business / REO trash out business, part- time, knowing one day soon you will be running a successful, full-time enterprise.

Much success to you in your new business.

NOTE: Throughout the internet and in real estate industry literature, you may see the names mortgage field services, property preservation business, foreclosure cleanup, foreclosure cleaning, foreclosure clean-outs, foreclosure clean, clean foreclosures, cleaning foreclosures, REO trashout, REO trashouts, field asset services, property field services, field service, and field services used interchangeable. The main thing to remember is foreclosure cleaning and foreclosure cleanup generally refer to smaller entities; while property preservation generally refers to larger companies.

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Article by Cassandra Black, Author of How to Start a Foreclosure Cleanup Business and several foreclosure cleanup industry Guides, Reports and Forms. Sign up as a Premium Newsletter Subscriber. You will periodically receive foreclosure clean-up job leads and consultative advice to help you grow your foreclosure cleanup business!

For more industry information, visit the foreclosure cleanup blog and the foreclosure cleaning newsletter archive.

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