The next few weeks we are going to be talking about unique home business ideas. There are so many opportunities beyond freelance writing and web design.
Some of the upcoming small business options may border on the line of weird, others will likely have you saying, “Why didn't I think of that?!” Regardless, we have sought out those we feel have a low level to entry in terms of both startup investment and skillset. Many you should be able to get started on today should you so choose.
Our first guest is Kristin. Several years ago she started a diaper delivery service to meet the needs of new mothers in her community. Though Kristin is no longer known as The Diaper Queen, she has agreed to discuss the profitable home business she started from scratch and recently sold.
Tell us a little about yourself. What was your motivation to start a diaper delivery service?
I have four children ages 16, 13, 3, and 18 months. When I began the diaper service, I had two children (13 and 10) and was pregnant with my third child. We moved from Asheville, NC to Spartanburg, SC when I was 4 months pregnant. I wanted to get a job, but it was impossible to get hired with my big belly, so I was looking into taking my tax check and starting a business. At the same time, I was looking into using a diaper service. I used cloth diapers for my first two children and really wanted to use a service for this go round. I found one about 40 minutes from my house, but she was going to charge extra to drive that far, so I decided we needed a service in my town. She actually ended up closing about 6 months after I opened, at which point I started serving that county as well. As it turns out, there are only two in the entire state of SC. The other is in Charleston. I had people calling me from 1.5 hours away.
How did you get started? Where do you find clients?
I reached out to all the local midwives and doulas and childbirth educators. I put up flyers everywhere. I posted on a host of mama groups on fb. Eventually, I hosted a big event and was able to get some PR from that. It's all about marketing and getting the word out. You have to stay on it, and you have to be patient. It's slow at first, and it's helpful if you're not really depending on this as a source of income initially. I always kept track of where my clients came from, and it was almost always internet search, but spreading the word puts it out there to people who didn't realize diaper services still exist. There are a lot of people who want to use cloth but don't want to do the washing. They are educated, often working outside the home, and have a decent amount of disposable income. So you have to target your marketing there.
How much can someone starting a similar business expect to earn?
You can expect to break even pretty quickly after your initial investment, but that's about it for a while. It all depends on how much you put into marketing and of course how much you charge. I strongly recommend doing a thorough business plan, including financial projections so you're not tempted to charge too little for all that hard work! At 20 clients, you can be making around mid-20K per year.
What tips do you have for those just getting started?
I can't overemphasize the importance of a business plan. Even if you're not looking for investors, it's the best way to think through all the things you need to do and have. It is also infinitely helpful in planning financially. There's also a Facebook group for diaper service owners that is invaluable. The Real Diaper Association and Real Diaper Industry Association are incredibly helpful, and there is a kit for starting a diaper service from them that contains much of what you need to know. Get a retail license even if you're not planning to do any retail because you can get the supplies you need at wholesale cost.
Any must-have business tools you recommend?
Gloves!!! Of course you also need a reliable vehicle, a good washer (I prefer top loaders), a hot water heater that goes at least to 160, a nice, professional looking website and a Facebook Page. Some kind of organizational system is really useful – a place to store diaper, covers, and other supplies.