Home Based Business: How to Start an Answering Service Business

If looking for a home based business, consider starting a home based answering service. Because of high unemployment and mothers wanting to stay home with their children, many people are breaking into the home based business niche. Business to business services have become widely popular, and offer a nice compensation. Here are a few tips and guidelines for setting up and running your own home answering service.

What is an Answering Service?

When operating a home based answering service, business owners obtain contracts from other professionals and agree to receive all of their incoming calls. Often times, professional people are too busy to answer their own telephone calls and filter through junk calls. This is where an answering service comes into play. As people call a specific business, all calls are automatically forwarded to the answering service. The answering service will act as the receptionist, answering basic questions and taking phone messages.

Start-up Cost

The start-up cost for a home based answering service will vary depending on how many clients you choose to service. If looking to keep the operation small and cheap, consider having all calls forwarded to your home telephone number. On the other hand, if the goal is to build a profitable business, invest in additional telephone lines, switchboard, computer, billing software, and fax machine. The majority of the start-up cost will be spent in advertising.

Which Clients to Target?

All types of business professionals are potential clients. This might include physicians or lawyers who operate small practices. Moreover, independent contractors and sales persons will greatly benefit from using an answering service.

Other professionals who run businesses out of their homes may rely on their spouse or home answering machine to take messages when they are away. By using a professional answering service, their clients are able to speak to a live, knowledgeable person.

Before meeting with potential clients, design several monthly packages. There are several ways to charge clients. Some answering services charge clients on a per call basis, whereas others establish a set price for a specific number of calls. Calls that exceed the monthly limit are assessed additional charges. Typical rates include $80 – $100 per every 100 calls.

Gaining Answering Service Experience

Before operating an answering service business, it helps to have prior telephone answering service experience. When meeting with potential clients, inform them of any previous related work experience. This might include working as a receptionist, inbound call operator, telemarketer, or other answering service.
Tips for Marketing Answering Service Business

� List a business ad in local telephone directory
� Place a classified ad in the local newspaper
� Take advantage of direct mailings
� Post ads in online business forums
� Pass out business cards and information packages to local businesses.

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