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Service Home Based Businesses in a Bad Economy

written by: John Garger•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 1/1/2011

Entrepreneurs everywhere are struggling with keeping their home based businesses afloat in a bad economy. Learn which service businesses are best when the economy has everyone tightening their belts.

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    Many potential entrepreneurs only think to start up a business when the economy is good. However, just because the current economy is bad doesn’t mean it isn’t a good time to start a home based business. Remember, many home based businesses start out as a means to supplement the primary source of income but grow over time to become the entrepreneur’s primary source of income.

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    Goods, Services, and Home Based Businesses

    Start a Services Home Based Business No matter what home based business you start, you are providing one of three things to your customers. You are selling a good, a service, or some combination of both. Service home businesses are simpler to start because you won’t have to carry any inventory and expenses typically go directly into building the business.

    However, not all services are alike. There are two broad categories of services you should consider before you decide which services to provide to your customers. Services can broadly be categorized as either needs or wants, but there is some grey area of some that share attributes of both kinds.

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    Needs Services

    Needs services are those services your customers cannot do without. When your customers need this type of service, they have no choice but to pay someone else to do something for them. The main reason for paying someone else for a needs service is because the customer is incapable of doing it on their own. Some of the most popular needs services for home based businesses include:

    1. Accountant
    2. Advertising Copywriter
    3. Business Consultant
    4. Computer Consultant
    5. Computer Repair Technician
    6. Copy Editor
    7. Copywriter
    8. Credit Card Debt Consultant
    9. Financial Consultant/Planner
    10. Income Tax Consultant
    11. Internet Marketing
    12. Locksmith
    13. Notary Public
    14. Personal Finance Consultant
    15. Pet Grooming/Services
    16. Resume Writing Service
    17. Tutoring
    18. Vacation House Sitting
    19. Website Design
    20. Windshield Repair
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    Wants Services

    Wants services are typically those kinds of convenience services that customers could do for themselves but find it more convenient to pay someone else to do it. People with greater amounts of disposable income are more likely pay for wants services than people who live on a budget. Some of the most popular wants services for home based businesses include:

    1. Answering Service
    2. Blind Cleaning Service
    3. Carpet Cleaner
    4. Cleaning House/Apartments
    5. Closet Organizer
    6. Cooking Lessons
    7. Daycare Services
    8. Dog Walker
    9. Dry Cleaning Pick-up/Delivery Service
    10. Errand Services
    11. Family Tree Research/Services
    12. Food Delivery Services
    13. Grocery Shopping Service
    14. Hauling Services
    15. Home Organizing Services
    16. Housekeeping Services
    17. Landscape/Lawn Services
    18. Shopping Services
    19. Snow Removal Services
    20. Typing Service
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    Needs, Wants, and the Economy

    When the economy is bad, the average consumer has less disposable income. Hence, some of that consumer’s spending has to be reduced or eliminated. Typically, the first things to go are the non-essentials and that includes the types of services that are wants and not needs.

    For example, someone who needs computer repair is almost as likely to hire someone to fix his/her computer in a bad economy as in a good one. Snow removal from a driveway is one of those jobs that most people can do for themselves but are more likely to hire someone to do it for them when they have more disposable income. Essentially, demand for needs services is less elastic than demand for wants services in a fluctuating economy.

    When you think about becoming a service entrepreneur and wonder which type of service to offer your customers, keep in mind the differences between needs and wants services. Starting up a home based service business in a bad economy can be profitable if you consider both your customers and the demand for your services in the current economic climate.