If you have ever moved to a new community, there is a good chance you were greeted by a welcome service. These businesses greet newcomers and help introduce them to the local services they may need.
Welcome service businesses earn money through advertisers. Just like purchasing ad space in the local newsletter, many businesses are willing to pay a welcome service business to ensure they are the first in line when a new resident needs something in their industry.
Today we are sitting down with Suzanne D. Meyer of The Welcome Committee to discuss what's needed to start your own welcome service business.
What was your motivation to start a welcome service business?
I had been working for Welcome Wagon for 3 and a half years. When they sold the business name and discontinued the face-to-face welcome visits, I decided to pick up where they left off. The Charlotte region is growing rapidly and there is a need for this service, so we simply filled a need in the community.
What is required to get started in this field?
The tangibles…a computer, a clipboard, a welcome basket and some marketing knowledge.
Where did you find your first clients?
I was very fortunate, my first clients were my former Welcome Wagon sponsors. We all received our pink slips from Welcome Wagon at the same time. They didn’t want to see the personal greeting service come to an abrupt end so they encouraged me to start my own Welcome Service Business to continue marketing to newcomers without interruption.
How much can a new business owner expect to earn?
That depends on one’s work ethic, how many home visits one makes and how many paying advertising sponsors are represented. You get out of it what you put into it. We’re now in our 17th year in business and cover 5 towns. Our first year of operations, we worked part time and grossed $33,000 in sales revenues because we only covered one town back then. I also had three kids under age 5 so I was only working the business part time. When and how are payments collected? We invoice our sponsors once a month for the actual number of visits completed. They receive a newcomer’s prospect list with their invoice so they can cross reference the visits as well as follow-up with the newcomers to offer additional offers and specials.
What tips do you have for those hoping to get started in the industry?
You must have a passion for the business and for people. Good communication skills are important as well as a genuine desire to be an advocate for small business. A marketing background is helpful, but not necessary to be successful in this business.
Any must-have business tools you recommend?
Can’t live without my cell phone and iPad…but who can these days?