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Start a professional organizing business by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple step guide to starting your professional organizing business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your Business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How long it will take you to break even?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a professional organizing business?
The costs for starting a professional organizing business are minimal as most businesses of these type work from home. In addition to the typical costs of registering a business and getting legal, typical startup costs may include:
- Liability insurance, the cost depending on your area and how much insurance you need.
- Website design and hosting. This cost can range from very low to much more expensive. Since your site will be the main contact point for new customers, it is worth spending more. A budget of $1000 dollars should be more than enough to cover a well-designed site with one year of hosting.
- Transportation. Most likely you will use your own vehicle, so you won't need invest in a new one.
- Computer. Chances are you already have one.
- Education. This is where you will spend the bulk of your startup capital. Professional organizer are not required to have a particular educational background, but certain certificates and education can make you stand out. One of the most sought after program is from the National Association of Professional Organizers whose NAPO University offers courses ranging from free to hundreds of dollars.
- Membership fees in a national organization. Becoming a member of industry organization can help you attract clients and help manage your business. There are several organizations you can choose to join, including NAPO.
What are the ongoing expenses for a professional organizing business?
The monthly expenses are minimal, and usually just include advertising and transportation costs.
Who is the target market?
The best clients for a professional organizing business are people who lack the skills to get and stay organized, those who don't have the time to stay organized, or individuals who hate to organize on their own. Many clients who employ professional organizers are busy professionals who are used to hiring assistants to take care of everyday tasks and are comfortable with handing over control without micromanaging.
How does a professional organizing business make money?
This business makes money by providing organizing services and training clients how to become better at organizing. Most professional organizers charge clients by the hour or per day. Other professional organizers choose to charge on a per task basis.
How much can you charge customers?
According to PayScale.com, the average hourly pay is just under $26 per hour.
How much profit can a professional organizing business make?
The income range for a professional organizer as listed on PayScale.com, is approximately $30,000 to $115,000 a year.
How can you make your business more profitable?
One of the best ways to make your business more profitable is to become a specialist in a particular aspect of the organization industry, such as moving organization. Choose whichever aspect of organizing is the most interesting to you, but it is usually more profitable to specialize in business-related areas.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account (@yourcompany.com). Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC prevents you from being personally liable if your professional organizing business is sued. There are many business structures to choose from including: Corporations, LLC's, and DBA's.
You should also consider using a registered agent service to help protect your privacy and stay compliant.
For most small businesses forming an LLC is a great option, but if you still want to weigh all your options check our our article, What Structure Should I Choose for My Business?
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a professional organizing business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources
Having a concise service contract will only help you. This will minimize your legal exposure to unknown factors, as well as align expectations between you and your client. Your contract should outline exactly what types of organization you will offer your clients, so there is no confusion. Here is an example service agreement.
Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional service agreement for your professional organizing business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.
STEP 7: Get Business Insurance
Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
How to promote & market a professional organizing business
Most clients look for services online, therefore, a website is essential for promoting your business. In addition to a company website, you should have a visible and active social media account. Opening an account on third-party sites like Angie's List or HomeAdvisor can expose your business to more potential clients. Depending on the type of client you are targeting, you may want to advertise in the local newspaper or an industry-specific publication.
Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.
How to keep customers coming back
The main barrier to getting more customers is that most people don't know that the professional organizing industry exists. Use social media and volunteer to give public talks on different organizing topics as promotions for your business.
STEP 9: Establish your Web Presence
A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Start A Professional Organizing Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Starting a professional organizing business is perfect for anyone who is good at creating systems to keep things organized. Successful owners of this type of business love to work directly with a variety of different types of people, and have the ability help others learn new skills. A professional organizing business offers flexible hours, but owners will need to be able to stick to project deadlines without any oversight.
What happens during a typical day at a professional organizing business?
A large portion of the day is spent time working with clients in their home or office. If a professional organizer is hired to organize a business, the work usually revolves around organizing and creating storage solutions for business and financial documents. A professional organizer may also help business clients to find better ways to manage their time and put easy-to-follow systems in place. Meeting with a client at their home can mean organizing just about anything in the home from helping to arrange a functional clothing system to sorting through piles of boxes. When professional organizers are not visiting clients, they are usually promoting their businesses online or communicating with potential clients by email or on the phone.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful professional organizing business?
Of course to succeed in the professional organizing business you need to know how to organize, but that is not the only skill you need. A solid foundation in marketing, especially online marketing is important. There are a variety of companies which offer help with developing the type of skills you need to run a professional organizing business. Try contacting one of the several organizations which support businesses in this organization like the National Association of Professional Organizers to learn more.
What is the growth potential for a professional organizing business?
The growth potential for this type of business is very good due to the increasing demands on people from work. The job of a professional organizer is still quite new, and the market is not yet saturated. There are plenty of potential clients who are not yet aware of this type of service.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a professional organizing business?
Those new to the professional organizing business industry tend to have better luck concentrating on residential clients in the beginning. Unless you have an extensive business background, or are confident in your ability you may want to look for work organizing homes. Try to market your business to families living in your area at first. Volunteering to speak about organizing and productivity at your local library is a great way to drum up business.
How and when to build a team
Many professional organizing businesses are owner operated. It may be feasible to run a business managing a team of professional organizers, but you would need to build up an extensive list of clients beforehand to make it profitable.