Store Management Tips for Busy Entrepreneurs

It’s obvious that running an online shop is a full-time job. However, taking the time to streamline your store management and develop systems can help you make more time, reduce stress and increase revenue. Amazingly, all this without endless to-do lists or sticky notes reminders on your desk.

These are some simple store management hacks and tools that will increase your efficiency and work to your benefit:

Before they ask, answer questions

It is important to not leave potential customers hanging. Instead of monitoring live chat and checking email constantly, you can be proactive and address frequently-asked questions before they are too late.

FAQ page can be your first line defense against unwanted phone calls and emails. It also creates a more user-friendly environment. For more complicated topics, informational blog posts can be a great idea. These could include product and service descriptions as well as software tutorials and return policies. When appropriate, you can link FAQ topics to your blog content.

This helps to keep buyers away from any questions. Customers are more likely to purchase if they can find the answers to their questions easily.

Your store dashboard allows you to manage payments and refunds

WooCommerce payments is an excellent time-saver because you can manage refunds and payments right from your WordPress dashboard. Instead of logging in and out of multiple accounts you can manage your business finances from the same place you handle products, analytics, and other things.

It’s also a great tool to improve your checkout experience. Instead of having to redirect customers to a third party payment gateway, customers can pay directly from your website. You can also accept multiple currencies.

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Streamline your inventory management

Inventory management is a time-consuming task that can make running a business difficult. Automating the inventory update process is better than manually updating your warehouse or physical location inventory.

Scanventory or Square can help you organize your inventory management. It is possible to generate labels and print reports or update inventory in bulk, rather than one item at a given time.

Inventory management is the most important thing that can stop a store from growing. You can forget about those worries if you have the right tools.

One click to print shipping labels

Ever wonder how certain stores can charge such low shipping costs? They’re likely not paying full price.

WooCommerce Shipping allows you to print labels right from your dashboard, saving you tons of time and money. You can save up to 67% when you order domestic or international shipping at specially-negotiated rates with USPS and DHL.

Drop off your prepaid packages quickly without waiting in line at the postoffice. Or have them delivered right to your home by USPS.

Automate emails

Transactional emails can be used to notify customers that their order has been received, shipped or delayed. WooCommerce offers a set of default orders which automatically go to each customer. You can also include tracking information with an extension.

You can take things one step further and create additional automated emails. WooCommerce Order status Manager allows you to create new orders and then send emails as each step is completed. If you make wooden furniture by hand, you might add steps for “assembling” or “staining.” This will keep customers informed and allows them to send emails when each step is completed.

To customize transactional email messages to your brand specifications, you can use tools such as MailPoet and send marketing messages such as abandoned cart emails or newsletters.

Batch social media and blog content

It is amazing how your mind can go blank when you are asked to post on social networks. You can either quit posting or settle with a less-than-stellar plan.

Scheduling posts ahead of time helps you maintain a work-life balance, and lets you take advantage of the creative times. It’s OK if you have multiple ideas for the same thing, such as a customer review that uses a similar image. You can create as many as possible and then spread them over time.

Keep in mind that each post will only be seen by a small portion of your social media followers. If enough time has passed between posts, you can reshare them.

Repurposing content from different marketing channels might be an option. For example, let’s say you have a blog about a product or service you are promoting. You can modify something you have already written about the topic to suit your different channels. Your clever tweet was a hit with your followers. It can be shared on Facebook and turned into an Instagram image. You don’t have to create new content if you already have great content.

Comment spam must be eliminated

While enabling comments on your site can be a great way of building community engagement, it is likely to encourage spam. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to manually manage spam. With tools such as JetpackAnti-spam, you can stay two steps ahead.

It’s not only time-consuming, but it can also be risky. Spammers can be sneaky and you might not be able to identify a fake. Jetpack Antispam is a program that learns from millions and recognizes the signs of spam. It can eliminate comment spam before you have even seen it.

This will save you time and improve your customer experience.

Everything you need to know about cloud ERP and Ecommerce

One wise (and unidentified) man is quoted as saying that “I won’t be impressed by technology until I can download foods from the internet.”

Maybe that day will come, but for now we can order almost everything online.

However, businesses that hadn’t made the decision to do so were forced to reconsider their decision after the COVID-19 crisis. Ecommerce is not a future option, but a necessity for survival.

Statista estimates that retail ecommerce revenues reached 431 billion U.S. Dollars in 2020, according to Statista . The revenue is expected to rise to more than 563 billion U.S. Dollars by 2025. How can ecommerce companies manage the extraordinary growth and meet higher-than-ever customer demands?

IDC is a leading global market intelligence company. It has released a white paper, Best Together: SaaS Digital Commerce Platforms & ERP Help Organizations Move Past Legacy Limitations. This whitepaper states that the solution lies in a combination team effort and the right technology.

The IDC analysts wrote that meeting customer expectations requires team effort. This is dependent on all areas of the organization (e.g. commerce, customer service and financials, supply chain).

The analysts recommend that businesses invest in a cloud ERP and digital commerce system, such as the native Acumatica BigCommerce Connector, to ensure they grow and mature into enterprise-level companies.

Before we get into the details of this seamless solution, let’s first talk about what cloud ERP software actually is.

What is Cloud ERP?

Understanding cloud computing is key to understanding cloud ERP solutions. An Microsoft Azure article gives a clear definition.

Cloud computing simply means that computing services are delivered over the internet (or “the cloud”), including servers, storage, databases and software. This allows for faster innovation and flexible resources as well as economies of scale. Cloud services are typically only charged for what you use. This helps you to lower operating costs, scale your infrastructure more efficiently, and reduce your overheads.

Cloud ERP software, then, is software-as-a-service (SaaS) that allows users to access Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software over an internet connection. A cloud-based ERP system acts as an organizational system of record. Data from financial, distribution, CRM, etc. The ERP synchronizes data from all systems in real time. The ERP is a central repository for all business data. It integrates business processes and serves as an “unique source of truth” for employees. Users can also access the ERP from any device with a browser, and at any time.

A general rule of thumb is that if a company is still using a legacy system or multiple disconnected, poorly integrated systems to manage complex inventory, warehouses and financial obligations, it is time to move to a cloud-based ERP solution.

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Cloud ERP vs Private Cloud ERP

Understanding private cloud ERP is essential to fully comprehend cloud ERP solutions. Let’s take a look at both options.

1. Cloud ERP.

As we know, cloud ERP options allow users to access their business applications via the internet. They run on shared computing resources. Cloud ERP options allow users to easily integrate with third-party apps while still providing the flexibility and scalability that businesses require in a dynamic economy. Cloud ERP vendors are responsible for security, updates, as well as upgrades. Businesses pay a monthly subscription fee depending on how many users or resources they use.

2. Private Cloud ERP.

The only difference between private and cloud ERP systems is the location of the software. The software is installed and maintained at the business’s own facilities. Only the IT department of an organization is responsible for software deployment and the maintenance and security of software and hardware. The initial costs of software licenses and hardware may be prohibitive. Remote access is possible but not always an integrated function. It may be necessary to use a third-party app and device.

Private Cloud ERP: Challenges

All ERP options have their unique challenges, but private cloud ERP challenges are something businesses, particularly small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), should pay attention to.

Private cloud ERP solutions may be more expensive to implement and maintain, with a higher capital investment upfront. Businesses must have a full-time IT staff. Private cloud solutions can take longer to deploy, may require more hardware to accommodate additional users, and may not be mobile-friendly.

Private cloud ERP solutions often have legacy systems that are not modernly integrated. Customers suffer as a consequence.

What makes cloud ERP business sense for an online store?

We now have a better understanding of the differences and challenges in the various ERP solutions, it is time to bring ecommerce into the picture.

Ecommerce platforms are essential for putting their products/services before customers. An ecommerce portal allows online businesses to manage sales, marketing and operations.

According to IDC’s Whitepaper, whichever ecommerce platform businesses choose, it must combine seamlessly and natively with an ERP solution–preferably, a cloud ERP solution.

Analysts at IDC write that the most successful digital businesses have an overarching strategy for digital transformation and select ERP and digital commerce systems that can be tightly integrated or combined. A future-proof digital platform must use modern SaaS systems designed for the cloud.

An online store that uses cloud ERP solutions makes business sense is always a good idea.

Cloud ERP for Ecommerce: Benefits

Cloud ERP solutions are often faster to implement, have lower upfront costs and allow for real-time communication with ecommerce platforms. Businesses can also benefit from cloud ERP solutions that include an ecommerce vertical such as Acumatica’s retail-commerce edition.

1. Flexibility and adaptability.

Flexibility in the face of market fluctuations is a key indicator of a company’s success. Businesses can easily make required customizations with the right cloud ERP system, without having to hire IT staff. They can adapt their back-office processes and workflows as well as their customer-facing apps to change circumstances.

Each merchant also operates in a unique way. Each merchant operates in a unique way. The right cloud ERP solution can be configured and used without code to adapt to merchant’s unique requirements, instead of forcing them to use the ERP software.

2. 2. Improved security

Cloud-based ERP software can be hosted in data centers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. They have the resources that SMBs might not have, including top-notch security. A cloud hosting service offers many benefits:

  • Physical access to the equipment can be controlled.
  • Environmental protection.
  • Protection against unforeseen disasters.
  • Network intrusion detection and prevention.
  • Regular maintenance of your system.

3. Business growth can be sustained

Businesses expect their business management software to grow along with them as they grow. However, this is not always possible. It is difficult for legacy solutions to keep up with technological innovations that are constantly changing.

Cloud-based solutions receive regular updates and upgrades. These updates allow ecommerce businesses remain competitive and provide the opportunity for continued growth.

4. Compatible with many tools

No matter what business offers or what services it sells, integration with key business applications is essential. Acumatica has the technology partner to help a business expand Acumatica’s platform.

BigCommerce allows Acumatica businesses to process orders, manage inventory and set prices. It also facilitates inbound logistics.

Steps to Cloud ERP Implementation

Connecting an ERP cloud solution to an ecommerce platform may sound like a smart decision. There are few steps you need to follow when choosing or implementing a cloud ERP system. While cloud ERP providers might differ in the number of steps and the names of the steps, the end result is the exact same: ecommerce success.

1. 1.

Ecommerce businesses need to take the time and research all options. While it may take time to compare and contrast the various cloud ERP systems available today, rushing this step could result in making a bad decision.

A checklist such as Acumatica’s Business Management System Evaluator Checklist is a great way to evaluate and research options. It allows businesses to compare features and benefits between vendors based upon five categories: Productivity (functionality), Technology (value), and risk.

This checklist, or any similar one, will help businesses to find the right cloud ERP system.

2. Installation.

The second step is to install the software. To complete the installation, you will need to first gather an internal team. This team often includes an Executive Sponsor, a Project Leader (or Project Manager), a technical Lead and Subject Matter Experts.

This step requires you to identify your requirements. Acumatica customers classify requirements as necessary, desirable, not an urgent need, and nice-to-have. This results in a list with features and functions that is affordable and fits the project’s timeline.

3. Migration.

Migration of data from an old system to a new one is complex. However, a checklist can make it easier and more manageable. Acumatica’s data migration checklist is an example.

  • Verify that all customer contact information is current and accurate
  • Correct or remove redundant data (discontinued vendors and contacts not longer associated with the company).
  • Correct or out-of date company data (old part numbers and discontinued products) should be removed
  • Set up your Acumatica database
  • Your legacy ERP data can be mapped to Acumatica’s new fields
  • Transfer the data to your new system
  • To verify that all data from the past has been transferred and is still accessible, test the new system
  • Verify that new data can be added (new product information or inventory item location, customer information).

4. Test.

It is important to test and approve any new product before it is sold to customers. While cloud ERP vendors may have their own procedures and methods for creating a test plan to test the system, most test plans will be able to test every requirement.

These are some guidelines that may be followed during testing:

  • Scope: The purpose of the test
  • Requirement: The specific requirement that is being tested
  • Configuration: System configurations required to conduct the test
  • Step-by-step procedure to perform the test
  • Test Data: An SME can provide this if needed. The test data should be representative of real-world situations
  • Expected Results: The results that are expected to be produced when the system performs according to specifications
  • Pass or fail: This determines whether the test was passed.
  • Comment: Additional observations, system behavior and partial successes
  • Training

Training is an essential step. Users and system administrators who aren’t properly trained from the start may not fully grasp the benefits of the cloud ERP system.

A cloud ERP vendor should offer training assistance, as well as all the documentation and training courses required for a complete training experience.

5. 5.

The deployment is also known as “go-live” and is when the cloud ERP vendor will be available to push the go-live button.

This step involves making the decision about when you want to go live. This usually happens on the day or days that have the lowest impact on the business. Businesses will then need to decide whether they want the new system activated and deactivated simultaneously. Or if they prefer to proceed in a gradual manner.

Whatever activation method you choose, the final result will be a business that uses a mobile cloud ERP system. But there’s more.

6. 6.

After the excitement of a successful launch, there will always be questions or additional assistance. This could include the need to integrate with custom and third-party applications. As the business refines their business processes, and continues to require support, the cloud ERP provider should always be available.

Wrapping up

Ecommerce businesses are enjoying a boom economy, and they expect even more growth in the future. These businesses need to be efficient, flexible and adaptable in order to reap the full benefits of an economy like this. This is possible when they choose the right cloud ERP solution, which natively integrates with their ecommerce platform.

Analysts at IDC write that “Already at an unprecedented high, the rate for change in the global economic system is expected to continue increasing over the next decade.” B2B and B2C merchants require modern, tightly integrated front-office and back office applications to adapt to these changes and remain competitive. These tightly integrated applications offer resilience so merchants can overcome obstacles with agility, rather than waiting for their systems catch up.

Combining the forces of BigCommerce with Acumatica will provide much-needed automation for ecommerce businesses. This will help them streamline their business processes, compete in a growing domestic market, and ultimately succeed in today’s marketplace.

How your Product Catalog is Key to Success in Social Commerce

Millions of people use Facebook every day to connect with their family and friends around the world. However, these social commerce platforms are now powerful sales channels.

The new social commerce is a way to increase sales and reach new customers. It allows them to buy directly from these channels. This allows consumers to move easily between channels, making it imperative that they have access to high-quality catalogs.

It not only helps to drive buyer interest and discovery but also makes it easier for them to consider your product. The first impression of your item is its title and description.

If the products in your Instagram Shops and Facebook pages are in stock, customers will feel more comfortable and have more trust in you. Merchants must have a quality product catalog in order to reach more customers and drive more sales.

If you don’t have a Facebook or Instagram account, this is how to connect.

What’s a product catalogue and why is it so important?

A catalog contains information about products that you sell on Facebook and Instagram. Your catalog data quality is key to creating positive shopping experiences in Shops and ads.

Customers will be able to find your products and make better purchasing decisions if your catalog quality is optimized.

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The benefits of a high quality catalog:

  • Increase your search engine results: The quality of your product directly affects the chances of it being found and allowing you to get more distribution.
  • Drive conversions It is essential that your website and catalog are consistent. Shoppers expect seamless experiences across channels. However, visuals and product information can be added to your catalog to ensure that buyers are able to find the right product information for their needs.

Best Practices

Merchants have a lot of opportunities through Facebook For BigCommerce. They need to be strategic in creating the best content that converts.

These are our top tips and best practices to make your brand stand out.

1. Use detailed product information.

Customers will be able to find your product by using category-specific attributes. They also enhance the customer experience and increase conversion rates. Different attributes serve different purposes:

  • Discovery These attributes are not directly displayed on your product detail page (PDP), but they help buyers find your product through search. These attributes include brand, gender and age group.
  • Variants – Provide variant attributes for products that have a variation. Color, size and material are just a few examples. Find out more about variants on page 2.
  • Consideration These attributes are listed on product detail pages as variant selectors. They help buyers to consider purchasing your product.

2. You can manage product variants in the catalog.

Variants are variations on the same product that you have in your catalog. For example, a T-shirt with the same size and color in different sizes. Customers will have a better experience shopping for your products when you properly set up variants in your catalog.

You can add variants to:

  • Help customers to find more colors and sizes of a product.
  • Give people more options by showing one version of each product in your shop. People can view the variants of the product they are interested in when they select it to learn more.

3. Keep your catalog current.

To use product tags on Instagram you will need a product catalogue. A robust catalog can make it easier to be successful. Consider the viewpoint of the customer. They will see your post and want to know more. They will see the product tag, and then move to the product detail page.

When updating your catalog, here are some important points to remember:

  • Inventory – Only products that have inventory can be sold. You can sell products by updating your catalog with exact inventory counts. This will allow you to know when items sell and what product categories codes are required for taxes.
  • Product names – Keep product names short and consistent with your Instagram website so that shoppers can easily find out how to use a product.
  • Product descriptions – Include the item description. This includes length, material, and size considerations. Don’t forget to include conversions for sizes that are not available in the US.
  • Sizing – For products that require sizing consideration, ensure details are accurate. Make sure you have enough inventory to cover all sizes of a product. For more information, see here.
  • Pricing – Make sure your price is correct and in line with your website.
  • Shipping Fees You can set different shipping fees, including minimum shipping charges at different service levels. In your Commerce Manager settings, you can set your shipping options.

Pro Tip: If there are not enough images or videos on a product page, shoppers will be unable to make a decision. Make sure you have at least two photographs of the product.

4. Be sure to use product tags often.

130,000,000 people click on product tags every month to find out more about brands they’re following on Instagram. Product tags allow you to highlight products from BigCommerce and provide information for customers.

Product tags are essential to give shoppers an easy way not only to find your brand but also to make it easy for them to purchase. You should make product tags a part your Instagram strategy and use them when you post images of products.

Facebook data shows that merchants who tag more than 5 days per month in their feeds see an average of:

  • Visitors to product pages have increased by 278%
  • Purchases up 231%
  • Sales increase by 216%

Because people spend so much time on Instagram, they use product tags in different formats, such as stories, reels, IGTV and captions, the most successful shopping businesses use product tags often across all formats.

To increase shoppable posts, you can use product tags frequently to reach more shoppers and make your shop stand out.

How to use AliExpress for dropshipping

Once you’ve got your dropshipping store set up, what should you do when you receive your first order?

Dropshipping with AliExpress works in the same way as regular dropshippers. Once you have received an order, click on AliExpress to purchase the item and then enter the name and shipping address of your customer. Rest is handled by AliExpress sellers.

It’s possible to dropship from AliExpress by hand. A spreadsheet with a list all products, their price, AliExpress cost, and a link will help you keep track of the AliExpress listing is a great idea. It will make it easier to track price changes and find the supplier when you receive an order.

 

Oberlo can also be used to handle this. This makes it much easier to place orders on AliExpress, and monitor price changes. This is a much more efficient way to save time, which can be your most valuable resource. This allows you to grow quickly without having to order manually dozens (or even more) of AliExpress products.

 

It works like this: It is as easy as installing the Oberlo app in your Shopify shop, checking your orders in Oberlo and clicking on Order Product next each pending order. Oberlo takes care of the rest. Oberlo will purchase the AliExpress product for you and enter your customer details.

Oberlo can even notify you if a supplier on AliExpress has increased their price or gone out of stock, and will suggest other dropshipping suppliers.

Oberlo can also be used as a dashboard to dropship through AliExpress. It allows you to track all orders and monitor delivery status.

Dropshipping via AliExpress is possible if you let the seller know what your plans are. The supplier will not include invoices or promotional materials in the shipment that is sent to you. You can leave a message to the seller at checkout. It is best to leave a message like “We are dropshipping.” Oberlo will do this for your AliExpress purchase.

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If the supplier is located in China, you can choose ePacket shipping. Many suppliers offer it free of charge. Oberlo makes it easy to choose ePacket shipping at checkout for AliExpress orders.

You will receive an email soon letting you know that your order is shipped, depending on the processing time of your seller.

To view your order, click the link in the email. This will let you see the tracking number.

 

Go to Shopify admin to complete your order. Make sure you enter the tracking number.

 

Oberlo can be used to dropship with AliExpress. Your order will be fulfilled automatically. If you are using Oberlo, skip this step.

That’s all! It’s now time to wait for your customers. AliExpress will email you to confirm that your order has been received. If there are any problems with the product, delivery or shipping, please allow some time for the customer to contact you. You can then contact AliExpress to raise the issue with your supplier, encouraging them in the corrective action and hopefully solving any future problems.

What about returns and refunds?

Many dropshipping suppliers, such as AliExpress and Alibaba, don’t offer returns. You will need to deal with returns and refunds in one way or another. If a customer places an order on your website and it doesn’t arrive or they are unhappy with the purchase, this is usually a sign that there are problems.

If your order is not received, the first case will be dealt with by AliExpress. If this happens, you can contact your supplier to resolve the problem or take advantage of AliExpress’ Buyer Protect.

It’s often a matter of expectations. The customer may not be satisfied with the product they received. If the customer is unhappy with the product, I recommend that they get a refund. Also, you can ask them to review your marketing and see if you can make any adjustments to their order. In many cases, customers may not have understood what they ordered. Ask your customer to take pictures of the damaged product and then send them to AliExpress.

Growing your AliExpress dropshipping company

After you have made your first sales, you can start to look at AliExpress and dropshipping as ways to grow.

You’ll eventually be able to identify reliable suppliers and those who don’t. The best dropshipping tip is to build relationships with reliable suppliers. This will enable you to obtain better prices and faster processing of your orders.

Dropshipping via AliExpress is easy if you use WhatsApp. To establish a business relationship, ask for the seller’s Skype username if you find yourself ordering from them often. After you have proven that you can generate recurring sales, sellers may allow you to put your logo on products and include custom invoices or branded inserts in shipping packages.

Oberlo makes it easy to start a dropshipping business.

Dropshipping on AliExpress has the best advantage: it allows store owners quickly validate business ideas as well as products. Are you unsure if your product is a good fit for sale? You can add it to your shop and start testing it! If it fails, you can easily remove it and test another item.

There’s very little risk in setting up this business because you don’t have to manage any inventory or carry it around. Oberlo is free to begin, as I said.

Dropshipping Fulfillment: Understanding Supply Chain and Fulfillment

The supply chain is a fancy way of describing the journey a product takes from conception to manufacturing and then finally to the customer’s hands. Hard-core suppliers chain experts would insist that a product’s supply chains extend all the way to the extraction of materials (such as oil and rubber) needed to make it. This is a bit intense.

We don’t need too much detail for the purposes of this guide. It is enough to know the three main players in the dropshipping supply chains: wholesalers, retailers, and manufacturers.

Manufacturers. manufacturers create the product, and many do not sell directly. They sell bulk to wholesalers or retailers. Although buying directly from the manufacturer is the most cost-effective way to buy products for resale is the best option, many manufacturers have minimum purchase requirements that you must meet. When selling products to customers, you will need to stock the product and then re-ship it. It is often more convenient to purchase directly from a wholesaler.

Wholesalers. Wholesalers purchase products from manufacturers in bulk, mark them up slightly, and then sell them on to retailers for resale. If there are minimum purchasing requirements, these will be lower than the manufacturer’s. Wholesalers are likely to stock products from many manufacturers, if not hundreds. They also tend to specialize in one industry or dropshipping niche. They sell to only retailers, and not to the general public.

Retailers. Anyone who sells products directly at a markup to the public. You are a retailer if your business fulfills orders through dropshipping suppliers.

Dropshipping is not a job, it’s a service.

Notice that dropshipper is not listed in the supply chain. Why is that? Why? Because any one of these three — manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer–can act in a role as drop shipper.

If a manufacturer offers to ship their products directly to you, this is called dropshipping. A retail merchant can also dropship but its pricing will not be as competitive as that of a wholesaler because it doesn’t buy directly from the manufacturer.

A “dropshipper” doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get wholesale pricing. This simply means that the company will ship your products for you. You want to get the best price so make sure you are working with a genuine wholesaler or manufacturer. This topic will be covered in detail in the next chapter.

Dropshipping in action: How to order

Let’s now look at the process of a drop-shipped order. We’ll show you how an order placed at Phone Outlet, an online retailer that sells accessories for smartphones, is processed. Phone Outlet dropsships all its products directly from Wholesale Accessories, a wholesaler.

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This is an example of how the ordering process might look.

Step 1: The customer places an order with the Phone Outlet

Mr. Allen is looking for a case to protect his new smartphone so he orders one through Phone Outlet’s online shop. A few things happen once the order has been approved:

  • Phone Outlet and Mr. Allen will receive an email confirmation (likely identical to the original order) that the store software generates automatically.
  • The payment of Mr. Allen is automatically captured during the checkout process. It will then be deposited to Phone Outlet’s bank account.

Step 2: Phone Accessory Outlet places the order with its supplier

The next step is to forward the email confirmation from Phone Outlet to Wholesale Accessories. Wholesale Accessories will charge the wholesale price plus any shipping and processing fees to the credit card that Phone Outlet has on file.

Note : Some dropshippers support automatic XML order uploading (a common format to store inventory files), but the easiest way to place an order with dropshipping providers is via email. It’s universally accepted and simple to use.

Step 3: Ship the order to wholesale accessories

Wholesale Accessories will pack the order and ship it to the customer, provided that the item is in stock. Although the shipment is from Wholesale Accessories, Phone Outlet will include the name and address on the return label. The invoice and packing slip will also contain its logo. Wholesale Accessories will send a tracking number and an invoice to Phone Outlet once the shipment is complete.

Please note that dropshipped orders often take less time than you might think. Quality suppliers can usually ship an order within a few hours. This allows merchants to advertise same day shipping even if they use a dropshipping supplier.

More information: Everything you need to know dropshipping and ePacket

Step 4: The customer is notified by phone outlet about shipment

Phone Outlet will email the tracking information to the customer once the tracking number has been received. This may be done using the email interface built into the online store interface. Once the order has been shipped and payment received, and the customer is notified, fulfillment can begin. Phone Outlet’s profit or loss is the difference in what it charged Mr. Allen versus what it paid Wholesale Accessories.

Dropshippers can’t be seen

The dropshipper, despite its vital role in order fulfillment and delivery, is invisible to the customer. Only Phone Outlet’s logo and return address will be visible on the shipment once it is received. If Mr. Allen receives an incorrect case, he will contact Phone Outlet. Wholesale Accessories would coordinate behind-the scenes to send the correct item.

Pros and cons of sole proprietorship

A sole proprietorship can be a business with only one member that has not been incorporated by state filing. There are pros and cons to sole proprietorships. However, there is no distinction between owner and business and no liability protection. While sole proprietorships can reduce startup costs, they won’t limit your personal liability.

No matter how your business structure is set up, it is important to keep your personal and business finances separate. Combining funds can lead to huge tax, accounting, and liability headaches. Chase ranked first in our review of the best business bank options. A $300 bonus is available to new customers.

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Sole Proprietorship: Pros and cons

 

The advantages of a sole proprietorship Cons of Sole Proprietorship
Simple Setup and Affordable Unlimitable Liability
No corporate business taxes There is no ongoing business life
There are no annual reports/filings It is difficult to raise money
No restrictions on the use of formal business structures Inability to take on business debt
Simple Recordkeeping It can be regarded as unprofessional

 

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5 Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship

The easiest type of business is a sole proprietorship. This type of business does not require any formal setup, annual administration, dedicated taxes or formal record keeping. A sole proprietorship allows you to simply sell goods and services. All bills and debts are your responsibility. All income from business is pass-through, and can be filed on your personal tax returns.

These are the five benefits of being a sole proprietorship:

1. 1. Easy setup and low cost

A sole proprietorship does not require you to file any paperwork or complete formal business structures. The only thing you need to do is start your business. You don’t even have to pay any filing fees or incorporation fees. You may need a permit, special license, surety bonds or business insurance policy depending on your industry. However, you don’t have to file any filings with the state.

This ease of setup and low cost of administration/management makes sole proprietorships great for cottage industries and seasonal businesses. It can be very beneficial to start a new venture, especially one that does not have significant liability.

Sole proprietorships are so easy to establish that they don’t require owners to take the necessary steps to incorporate. This would give them liability protection and other benefits. These steps are not required for sole proprietorships, and they also forfeit the liability protection that comes with formal business structures.

You can protect your liability by incorporating as an LLC using a service such as Rocket Lawyer. You can legally seperate yourself from your business by having them assist you with federal and state filings.

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2. 2.

You don’t have to pay 21% corporate taxes on your business profits as a sole proprietor. You simply keep filing personal tax returns, and any income you receive from your business is claimed as pass-through taxes. All income is subject to your normal income tax rate. Solo proprietors often are exempted from the state franchise and excises taxes.

These exemptions make taxes for sole proprietorships much simpler and less expensive than those of C-corps. Revenue is taxed at company level, and then again when dividends are paid to shareholders. The current dividend tax rate is between 15-20% and 41%, meaning you can pay up to 41% on your taxable profits. This does not include income tax that you pay on your salary.

Pass-through tax benefits are not only available to sole proprietorships. Both LLCs and Scorps can be considered pass-through entities. They avoid double taxation as well as the corporate tax rate. However, LLCs can be subject to franchise or excises tax depending on their operations. This means that taxes may still be higher than sole proprietorships depending on the level of profit.

As a sole proprietor, you might be subject to the following taxes:

  • Normal income tax – As a sole proprietor, there is no salary. All profits are instead filed on your personal tax return, and taxed at the ordinary income tax rate.
  • Self-employment taxes – If you own a business, you will have to pay self employment tax on all income earned by that business. This is the employer-portion FICAtax. This means that you will pay 7.65% additional taxes, or 15.3-16.2% FICA taxes.
  • Sales Tax – Depending on the nature of your business, you might need to collect and pay sales taxes if you sell goods. The amount varies from one state to another, but is usually between 6-9%.

3. There are no annual reports or filings

Solo proprietorships don’t need to file annual reports with the state. You don’t even have to file any other tax returns. This is in contrast with LLCs or S-corporations which generally have to file an annual report after they are formed. This report usually requires the updating of managers or members’ lists.

You would need to file many additional filings if you decide to use an LLC or LLP, Scorp, C-corp, or other entity instead of a sole proprietorship.

  • When you officially establish a company.
  • Annual filing- Charged in most states to keep you company current
  • You must notify the state if you are changing managers or directors.
  • List members –Many types companies must inform the state when their members change
  • An annual audit – Some companies must submit an audit every year
  • Company tax returns Certain types of companies must prepare corporate tax returns, and pay separate taxes for business profits

It is beneficial that sole proprietorships do not have to file an annual return. This saves time and headaches. However, most states charge a fee of $50-$200 for annual filings. Solo proprietors need only file their annual tax returns.

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4. 4.

Others, which are more structured, have certain restrictions on their operations and must meet additional requirements. These requirements do not apply to sole proprietorships. As a sole proprietor, you are free to make any business decision you like, provided it is legal. There is no approval or formal review.

You can skip certain requirements for other business types if you are sole proprietor:

  • Annual meetings –Companies like LLCs must hold an annual meeting to review the lists of members and managers
  • Board Meetings – Some companies must have certain business decisions officially approved by directors
  • Recorded Minutes –Formal minutes must be kept for these meetings of LLCs and corporations
  • Shareholder votes Any formal actions by the company, such as appointing new managers or admitting members, must be voted upon
  • Formal Reviews – Managers need to be formally re-appointed and certain actions must be reviewed.

5. Simple Record Keeping

An LLC or other formal-structured business requires you to separate your personal and business finances. You run the risk of being open to unlimited liability. This is known as “piercing corporate veil.”

Sole proprietors are subject to unlimited liability so many sole proprietors don’t separate their finances. Sole proprietors deposit their business income directly into personal accounts and pay all bills and debts themselves. They treat the business as an extension to their personal finances. This could make it easier to run a sole proprietorship than an LLC.

Although it is simpler to keep business and personal finances separate, it is often not a good idea. Separate records allow you to monitor cash flow and help you manage your business better. First, open a checking account for your business.

Separating finances in a sole proprietorship won’t protect your assets, but it can assist with bookkeeping, as the business grows. If you choose to change to an LLC, or any other type of business structure, it will make things easier. Chase was voted the best business account by us after we reviewed them all. Bonuses are available to new customers.

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5 Con’s of a Sole Proprietorship

Consider the pros and cons of sole proprietorship. One of the biggest disadvantages to sole proprietorship is that it allows for unlimited liability. The business owner can be held responsible for all obligations. If you are looking to grow your business, it is possible that W2 employees won’t be available (only 1099 contract employees).

The following are major disadvantages to sole proprietorships:

1. 1. Unlimited Liability

You don’t have the limited liability protections that an LLP, LLC or S-corporation offers if you are a sole proprietor. If someone is hurt by your business, a product you sell, or a mistake that you make, then you are personally responsible for any business expenses or debts. This means there is no legal distinction between you and your company.

You’ll be responsible for some liabilities in a sole proprietorship.

  • Your business’s expenses
  • Business-related debts
  • Product-related Liability
  • Property-related injuries
  • Insufficient or inappropriate service can result in civil damages

A sole proprietorship has unlimited personal liability. Customers, vendors, and lenders can seek your personal assets to pay any business obligations. This is in contrast with LLCs, Scorps and C-corps which provide a shield of liability between the business and its owners.

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The personal assets of the company owners are protected in an LLC or Ccorp. They cannot be taken by customers, lenders, or vendors to meet the company’s obligations unless the business owners do anything that would allow the corporate veil be lifted or if the owner signed a personal guarantee. A sole proprietorship may not be the right choice if you are looking to legally protect yourself.

Rocket Lawyer can help you form a single-member LLC. This will protect you from any liabilities that may arise from your company. You can visit them right away and receive legal documents in no time.

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Josh Zimmelman Westwood Tax and Consulting An LLC is a limited-liability company that protects your personal assets from creditors and lawsuits. Others entities, such as sole proprietorships and general partnerships, are unlimited liability companies. These businesses have the same owner and company. Therefore, you are liable for all debts of the business, even if the partner takes them on.”

– Josh Zimmelman, President, Westwood Tax & Consulting

2. 2.

Your business will survive if you set it up as an LLC or C-corp. Your business can continue to exist as long as your business files are current and you have proper licensing. However, if you are a sole proprietor and you have to go bankrupt, it is the end of your business.

There is no way to ensure continuity in a sole proprietorship. A family member or employee may be able to continue working in your business but they would be starting a brand new company. They wouldn’t be sustaining your operations. This makes it difficult to plan for the long-term and make succession plans for your eventual exit.

Sole proprietorships cannot hire full-time employees or W2 employees. Although you can hire 1099 independent contractors to work for you, it is not possible to manage payroll or retain employees over the long-term. You will need to incorporate an S-corporation or C-corp if you plan to hire employees in future.

3. It is difficult to raise capital

If you need to raise capital from outside investors, structuring your business as a sole proprietorship may not be a good idea. Because there is no business to sell, it is almost impossible to raise capital unless you have tangible assets and intellectual property that investors could buy into.

Sole proprietorships do not have equity shares and are not licensed businesses. There is no formal process for reviewing business decisions and approvals. Shareholders in sole proprietorships have virtually no rights. These concerns are why investors don’t usually invest in sole proprietorships.

Even an LLC can make it difficult to raise capital. However, you can elect an S-corp, which makes it much easier. A C-corporation is the best option if you need to raise capital, particularly from angel investors or venture capital firms.

4. You can’t take on business debt

A sole proprietorship is not a company that has been established. Therefore, it is not possible to obtain a loan for a business. All debt, even those you borrow to grow your business or run it, is considered personal debt. Lenders may require that all loans are personally guaranteed by the sole proprietor. This means they have the right to seize your personal assets in the event of default.

Because a sole proprietorship does not constitute a separate business entity, you own the business. You are personally guaranteeing the repayment of any business loans to sole proprietorships.

This may not be the case for other business structures. Even if you are an LLC, you will likely need to personally guarantee any type or loan you get, including an SBA Loan. When you take on business debt, make sure that you understand all of your personal responsibilities.

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5. 5. Perceived lack of professionalism

Customers and business partners often think sole proprietors lack professionalism. This may not be an issue for people who want to start a small business from home or make extra money. It is worth taking into consideration the pros and cons associated with a sole proprietorship when you are deciding on the type of business structure that you would like to use.

C-corporations, which are at the opposite end of the spectrum of sole proprietorships and partnerships, are commonly used by large companies around the globe. They are considered the most professional and well-respected. These entities are known for having the most rigid organizational structure and oversight regulations. However, they offer the best opportunity to raise outside capital and provide the highest liability protection.

Solo proprietorships on the other side do not have any form of oversight or management. A sole proprietorship simply means that someone is selling products or working for themselves. Sole proprietors often receive income from their business. Many bills are paid out of their personal accounts.

You can avoid some of this unprofessionalism by opening a small business checking bank in your business’s name. Many providers allow you to use an “doing business under” (DBA) alias. This will depend on the institution. You can find more information in our article on the Best Checking Accounts.

Sole Proprietorship Examples

The pros and cons of sole proprietorships make them ideal for small-scale entrepreneurs just starting out in low cost, low-liability ventures. This is also a better option for small-business owners with no substantial assets, which a creditor could pursue if the business fails.

These are some examples of sole proprietorships that are worth mentioning:

Amazon Businesses

Amazon businesses are often started by people who white label products. This can be done easily as a sole proprietor. You can find more information in our article How to Sell on Amazon.

Etsy Shops

To avoid the expense of setting up and managing a formal business entity, many sellers using Etsy are sole proprietors. You can find more information in our How to Sell on Etsy article.

Other Personal Business

Solo proprietorships can be used to run a variety of other businesses. Sole proprietorships can also be suited to independent service providers such as massage therapists or consultants via platforms like Upwork.

A sole proprietorship can work well for even a small snow-shoving or lawn-mowing business. In these instances, it is important to change to a business that offers liability protection prior to purchasing trucks and other equipment. For example, moving to an LLC or Scorp would protect you against personal liability in the event of injury.

If their business is only a small, part-time venture or a weekend business, some small business owners prefer to be sole proprietors. This allows them to avoid having to register or manage an LLC. However, those who grow eventually opt for a more formal structure which provides greater liability protection.

Alternatives to Sole Proprietorship

There are many business structures that can be used in place of a sole proprietorship.

Limited Liability Company

LLCs make it easy to create and manage a company. You can create them online in most states in as little as 5-10 minutes for $150-$200. Although LLCs offer limited liability protection for company owners, they require annual filings, up-to-date member lists, tax filings with K-1s issued members, and more formal administration.

Limited Liability Partnership

Limited liability partnerships are not available in all states. They can only be used to practice a licensed profession. They are tax-exempt entities and tax liability is passed to their owners based upon the ownership stake.

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Although LLPs function in the same way as LLCs, they can only be used within certain industries.

S-Corporations

S-corps, closely held corporations, are generally considered pass-throughs and receive special tax treatment in some areas. S-corps owners can pay their own salary, but the IRS doesn’t recognize LLC owners being entitled to a salary. However, they may deduct this expense from the corporate profit.

You can find more information in our article C-corps.

C-Corporations

C-corps are the most stable and expensive of all the business structures. C-corps are subjected to double taxation. Corporate profits are taxed at 21%. These profits are then subject to double taxation once they are distributed as dividends to owners of the company, at the individual income tax rate.

You can find more information in our article Ccorps and S-corps .

Is a Sole Proprietorship Right for

The pros and cons of sole proprietorships are beneficial for new business owners who are just starting out. They should not be entering a risky field or needing a lot of capital. They shouldn’t have to borrow money or be at risk of injury. Ideal would be a cottage industry.

Solo proprietorships work best for those business owners who do not have significant assets that could be taken over by creditors, vendors, or customers as a result of debts or liabilities incurred from the operation. This type of business is ideal for entrepreneurs who are just starting their business and plan to move to a formal structure later.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs

1. What are the advantages of an LLC over a sole proprietorship?

An LLC is a better option than a sole proprietorship because it limits your liability as business owner. The sole proprietor of a business is responsible for all its debts and obligations. An LLC allows business assets to be segregated from personal financial accounts. You are personally responsible for any business obligations only if you give a personal guarantee or do anything that would allow “piercing” the corporate veil.

2. 2.Why is it good to be a sole proprietor?

There are pros and cons to sole proprietorships. They can be very beneficial for small businesses or new ones. Unfortunately, many businesses fail. So it’s a good idea to start as a sole proprietorship until you know if your business will succeed. This is especially true for businesses that don’t require large amounts of outside investment or involve a lot of liability.

3. Are You Required to Register as a Sole Proprietor

You don’t need to register as sole proprietor. Depending on the industry you work in, you may need to register for specific licenses.

4. What is the best way to pay taxes as sole proprietor?

You can structure your business as sole proprietorship and continue to pay your personal taxes. You can claim any income you earn from business operations and pay self-employment taxes. Depending on the location of your business, you may need to collect and pay local and state sales tax for any goods that are sold.

Bottom Line

The sole proprietorship is an informal, great structure for small business owners. It is important to weigh the pros and cons when choosing a business structure. These businesses don’t offer liability protection or make it difficult for their owners to raise funds, but they are easy to set up and manage.

What is Premises Liability Insurance?

What is Premises Liability Insurance?

Premises liability coverage covers guests who are injured on your property. In all states, the law requires that property owners make every effort to ensure that guests are safe.

Understanding what premises liability coverage entails is the first step to understanding why you might need it. Premises liability refers to the idea that businesses are responsible for keeping their premises safe for visitors. The business is responsible for any injuries or damage that occurs on the premises. The business could be sued or subject to claims. Although every state has its own laws regarding premises liability, each state may have their own definitions of coverage. This could include licensing, invited, or trespassers.

What is Premises Liability?

The property is granted permission to both the invitee and licensee visitor. The licensee visitor is invited, but not invited. Legally, the invitation to use the property signifies that you are committing to the property’s safety.

Although they may not be invited, a licensee can still expect reasonable safety. A licensee could be a delivery driver, utility worker or other person who needs to access your property in order to perform their job.

Trespassers have limited rights. If a trespasser gets hurt while on the property they cannot collect from the owner. In most states, however, the property owner must maintain the property in a satisfactory manner and not attempt to harm the trespasser with traps.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. Trespassers should be warned of any non-obvious dangers. This could be an indication for a swimming pool considered “attractive nuisance” by children. In this instance, property owners would be held to a higher standard of care.

It is essential to read the state laws in order to fully understand your state’s liability as a business owner. Visitors, including those who are trespassing on your property, may be liable to you for a high degree of care and safety.

Types of Premises Liability Exposures

When a business is addressing premises liability, there are many types of exposures. Some examples of exposures include but are not limited:

  • Slip and fall accidents: It doesn’t matter if the floors are slippery because of a wax coating or because water was spilled, this can be a liability for the business owner.
  • Inadequate Maintenance: Even something as simple as a railing that needs new bolts could lead to serious injuries or liabilities.
  • Low security: Businesses are liable if they do not have the security measures or personnel in place to stop people accessing high-risk areas.
  • Defective conditions If someone falls from a chair that has been found to be defective and then hurts themselves, the company is liable.
  • Escalator and elevator accidents: A business owner might be held responsible if someone falls off an escalator without warning and is then injured by the belt that feeds back into the system.

How Premises Liability Insurance Works

Premises liability protection protects business owners against claims arising from property damage and premises injuries. This coverage can be purchased separately or as part of a General Liability Policy. The limits can be purchased separately and are often greater than the general liability policy limits.

Important Exclusions from Premises Liability Insurance

Premises liability does not cover all types of injuries or property damage that may be caused on the premises. These exclusions include:

  • Professional negligence: An error or omission in the care of a professional can result in an injury to a person.
  • Premises liability: Employee injuries Workers’ compensation insurance covers them.
  • Own property of a business: To cover losses to their property, a business must have commercial property coverage.

What are the Covered Shared Premises?

Sometimes, a business owner might lease property owned by another company or person. This can complicate premises liability. The business lease generally transfers all liability to the business, and away from the lessor. The business and its customers are entitled to reasonable care regarding the safety and maintenance of the property.

In cases where the business owner expects reasonable care, the property owner is liable. Parking lot maintenance might not fall under the business owner’s responsibility. Therefore, the property owner would be liable. Elevators and escalators are also the responsibility of the building owners.

Premises Liability Insurance vs General Liability Insurance

Although they may be mistakenly referred to as one and the same, general liability insurance and premises insurance are not. Although premises liability insurance is a part of a general policy, it can also be included in broader coverage.

Premises liability insurance protects against claims that a property isn’t maintained properly or a visitor is injured. General Liability Insurance provides greater protection, including personal property coverage and claims that result from business operations. For example, a homeowner might trip on a handyman’s tool bag and get hurt.

Why do you need a standalone Premises Liability policy?

If you require greater protection for your property, a standalone premises liability policy is a good choice. This is often the case with vacant land, or land that will soon be built on. Contractors’ insurance covers other general liability claims. A premises liability policy would include builders’ risk insurance.

Is General Liability Insurance enough?

A general liability policy that covers premises liability and other issues is acceptable for most small-business owners is fine. If you feel that the limits of the general liability policy are too restrictive, you can get an umbrella policy or increase them.

Bottom line

You, as a business owner are responsible for providing a safe environment for customers and employees. You are responsible for any injury claims that may occur on your property. However, you could also be liable for any lawsuits brought against you by fraudsters. Premises liability coverage protects you against fraudulent and real claims.

LegalZoom Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up an LLC

LegalZoom, an online legal service, assists you in the LLC (limited liability) registration process. Although you can register your LLC online through the state website, many business owners prefer to have LegalZoom assist them.

LegalZoom may offer you questions or other products that you are unsure about during your LLC registration. We discuss what LegalZoom offers and explain why you should pay.

Before you begin reading the following information, you might find it helpful to visit the LegalZoom LLC registration page. Follow the instructions:

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1. Select an LLC name and confirm it’s available

LegalZoom allows you to start your LLC by entering your business name.

If the name is still available, your LLC registration will be valid. You will need to register another business name if the name is not available.

These are the requirements that you will need to follow when naming a business.

  • Be unique – Your LLC name should not be identical to any existing LLC in your state.
  • Do not confuse customers. Don’t give your LLC a name that is similar to another competitor’s to confuse the public or to try to get customers.
  • Avoid restrictive terms

 

Tip If your business name has not been selected and you want to verify that it is, LegalZoom offers a free service in which they will contact the state government to confirm that it is available. Once they have made their determination, which takes around 15 minutes, a LegalZoom representative will contact you.

 

2. 2.Define the purpose of your LLC

After you have been notified that your business name has become available, you will be asked to answer some questions about when you plan to launch your business.

Is this your first LLC:

And what industry your business is in:

LegalZoom asks these questions to provide you with more relevant information and services throughout the process for your particular business.

3. Indicate whether you’ll hire employees

LegalZoom will use this question to find out more about you and offer additional services. This will not affect the LLC.

4. Identify a Registered Agent

Next, you will need to answer the question: Who should you choose as your Registered Agency (RA). Registered agents are your official contact for legal and other state documents.

You could choose yourself as your own RA. However, if you do so, you or an employee must be available Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to receive a legal document such as a summons or subpoena. If you’re not available during this time, you could lose your LLC status with the state.

LegalZoom can act as your Registered Agent if you are unable to be there or if you prefer LegalZoom to do this for you. Many business owners find that having an outside RA provides them with peace of mind knowing they won’t lose any important documents. LegalZoom acts as your registered agent for $249 per annum.

5. Choose from the Recommended LLC Documents

The LegalZoom LLC sign up process for “Essential Documents”, consists of three parts: the Operating Agreement, employer ID number (EIN),, as well as business licenses.

Here’s a further breakdown of the “Essential Documents” LegalZoom is offering:

LegalZoom’s Essential Documents Best for Additional cost
Operating Agreement Business with multiple owners or one who wants to modify the rules of their LLC $99
EIN and Operating Agreement If a small business plans to hire employees or elects to be taxed like a corporation, it can opt to be subject to the corporate tax. $159
Operating Agreement, EIN, and Licenses Licenses and permits are required for small businesses to be able to operate. $199

Operating Agreement

Operating agreements are used to describe how companies run and can help prevent or resolve disputes. Although most states do not require LLCs for operating agreements to be filed informally, many states require that one is kept on file with your company.

No matter what state requirements, we recommend that you draft an operating agreement for your LLC in order to establish your management structure and remove uncertainty. An operating agreement can be purchased through LegalZoom at $99 when you file for an LLC.

You can still purchase LegalZoom through your online account if you decide that LegalZoom is the right service for you.

Employer Identification Number

The EIN (Internal Revenue Service number) is what the IRS uses to identify your company. The IRS website allows you to request an EIN for free. LegalZoom can help you skip this step if you prefer. The EIN is a crucial legal step in starting a business. Without it, you can’t file taxes.

Business License

LegalZoom can help you determine the right type of permit or license your business requires. This is a great service if you have multiple licenses that your business requires from different government agencies.

 

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6. Select Additional Business Services

The last step in selecting the pricing package for your LLC is to look at LegalZoom’s other business services, Smart Employer or Total Compliance. You won’t likely see Smart Employer services if you haven’t stated earlier that you don’t intend to have employees.

Smart Employer

The Smart Employer legal package includes unlimited legal forms, legal advice, tax consultations, and legal advice. The Smart Employer legal package costs $39.99 per calendar month after a 10-day trial.

If you believe you will have legal questions for an attorney, or if you will need to create customized legal forms, this may be the right package for you. You could use the legal forms for employment, client, or vendor contracts.

Total Compliance

The Total Compliance package protects you from missing renewal deadlines for LLCs. The state may charge a late fee if you miss a deadline. You may also lose your LLC status if your LLC expires more than six months after the renewal deadline.

7. Select an LLC Package and Pay

LegalZoom LLC costs vary depending on the speed you need your documents filed and what your stats filing fee is. The state filing fee is $40 in Kentucky and $500 in Massachusetts.

If you’re already in business and have customers, you likely want an expedited filing to get your personal assets protected as-soon-as-possible. If you haven’t started your business and can wait for your filing, choose the Economy package.

LegalZoom LLC Packages at A Glance

Economy Standard Express Gold
Pricing $79 + State Filing fees $329 + State Filing fees $349 + State Filing fees
Name check and business filing      
Articles of Organization      
LLC Next Steps Guide      
Peace of Mind Review ™      
Lifetime customer support      
Financial Account Authorization Letter      
Deluxe Organizer N/A    
Official Seals and Certificates N/A    
LegalZoom VIP Processing N/A    
Rush Processing with the Secretary of State N/A N/A  
Express Shipping N/A N/A  
Learn More Learn More Learn More

8. 8.

After you have selected your pricing package, you will need to give the final details to create your LLC. Although the information required will vary from one state to another, generally it is your business and personal information. LegalZoom will also ask you for a payment method.

After you have selected a package, LegalZoom will ask for the following information:

  • Your primary business address: LegalZoom will list any state-specific requirements.
  • You can form a Professional LLC if you are a licensed professional in medicine, law, accounting or architecture.
  • End date of your fiscal years. This is usually Dec. 31. If your business receives large amounts of revenue at one time or another, you may need to consider a different date.
  • Dissolution Date: Choose a dissolution day if you have a temporary business, such as one that was formed to attend a particular event. Your LLC doesn’t need to have a dissolution date.
  • Names of the owners: Enter the names of each owner. If you are the only owner, please enter your name.
  • Ownership interests Describe whether ownership is expressed in units or percentages. Next, list the interests of each owner and select the type of consent required to transfer ownership.
  • Management structure: Indicate if your LLC will be managed by one owner or multiple owners. This will decide who can open bank accounts, sign checks, and bind the LLC.
  • Information about your EIN: LegalZoom will obtain an EIN for you LLC. Please provide details about your business. This information will be required if you decide to apply for an EIN yourself.
  • Contact information: Name, phone number and Social Security number for one of the LLC owners, managers, presidents, or employees to the IRS.

Once you have completed the information, hit submit and LegalZoom begins preparing your documentation. Once it is completed, it will be sent to your Secretary Of State. LegalZoom will notify your via email once the application has been approved. After you have received the notification, your LLC has been set up and you are ready to launch your business.

LegalZoom to Form an LLC: The pros and cons

LegalZoom is a great tool to create an LLC. However, it may not be the right choice for every business. LegalZoom is a great tool that can help you save time and money but it doesn’t replace an experienced attorney.

LegalZoom’s Pros and Cons for Forming an LLC

  • Full service LegalZoom’s add on services can assist you with all aspects of your initial filing, including tax, legal and compliance issues.
  • Time-saving: LegalZoom helps you save time by handling all the paperwork required to form your LLC.
  • Less expensive that hiring an attorney. Attorneys can charge between $150 and $500 per hour. LegalZoom can help you save money by organizing your LLC and handling other legal matters.
  • Additional support and reminders. LegalZoom’s add on services can help you recall important filing dates and answer any questions you may have about running your business.

LegalZoom to Form an LLC: The Cons

  • A limited amount of expertise is No one can replace the knowledge and experience of a qualified business lawyer.
  • More costly than other services: It costs $79 to form a LegalZoom LLC, plus filing fees. Similar services are available on other websites for filing fees (as part a trial), or $49 plus filing fees.
  • More time to respond: Although LegalZoom claims a turnaround time of 7-10 business days for their Express Gold package with a fast turnaround, many customers complain about slow service and long processing times.
  • Potentially confusing. LegalZoom’s Add-ons can be helpful, but they can also be confusing if your aren’t sure which services you require to form an LLC. If you choose to add on services such as tax consulting or registered agent, pricing can become confusing.
  • Limited customer service: Customer feedback reveals that customer support can sometimes be difficult to reach or unhelpful.

Bottom line

You will need to be familiar with state requirements and tax obligations in order to set up an LLC. Although you can register your company yourself, the process can be time-consuming and confusing. For $79 to $359 plus filing fees, you can save money by forming a LegalZoom LLC within 15 minutes.

9 Steps to Starting a Food Truck Business

A solid marketing strategy is essential to help build your customer base and create a compelling concept for a food truck. A food truck is an excellent money-making venture idea. Food trucks that are successful can make more than $500,000 annually, and the startup cost is around $40,000.

It takes approximately three to twelve months to start a food truck. These nine steps are necessary:

  1. Find out more about local food trucks and the laws that govern them
  2. Select a name and a concept
  3. Register your company and open a bank accounts
  4. Fundraise for your food truck
  5. Licenses, permits, or insurance?
  6. Get your food truck registered
  7. Equipment and supplies can be purchased
  8. Train and hire staff
  9. Your food truck can be marketed

Let’s look at each step.

1. 1.

Restaurant MBA estimates that the failure rate for food truck businesses is 60% within three years. Planning is often the key to a successful food truck or a failure. It is important to plan your food truck business so that you fill a gap in the market, supply a demand and operate within the law. Do your initial research and find out about the local food truck scene. Also, research local regulations and laws. These facts will help you determine if a food cart is the right business model for you.

Well-targeted food trucks draw big crowds.
(Image by James Frid from Pexels)

Evaluation of the Food Truck Scene

There are many food trucks in different areas. Before you start sketching your menu business plan, it is important to get an idea of the type of food trucks that are available in your area. Local food trucks can be found at festivals, farmers’ markets, and food truck festivals. You can start your search by simply searching the internet for “food trucks” along with the name of your county.

Take note of the following:

  • Cuisine You want to choose a food idea that isn’t being offered by other food trucks around your area. You don’t want to be the only falafel food truck operating in a small community. You also want to choose a cuisine that is popular.
  • Prices If most food trucks in your neighborhood sell food between $5 and $8, you won’t be able to go too far from this price range. If your area has many gourmet-style, higher-priced trucks, you’ll be able to let your imagination run wild.
  • Parking Location This will allow you to see which neighborhoods are truck-friendly and which ones aren’t.
  • Hours of operation: Breakfast or lunch is a popular time for trucks if many people commute to your area for work. It is a smart idea to develop a breakfast or lunch menu. You might prefer a late-night snack or dinner menu if you’re in a college or tourist town.

Take note of the service style and menu sizes at local trucks. Also, take note of where they park and how busy they are. You can also check out their social media accounts to see how well local trucks market themselves. Ask truck owners about their most pressing operational issues. They will be eager to share their experience with a new food trucker. The camaraderie and support from other food truck operators is one of the greatest aspects of most food truck networks.

Investigating Local Food Truck Laws

There are three main categories of regulations for food trucks: health, zoning and vehicle requirements. The health regulations regulate what equipment you must have for your truck, what permits your employees require, and whether or not you need a commissary. Zoning regulations dictate where your truck can be parked for service, in what areas, and how long you can leave it there overnight. You will need to register your truck, get a commercial driver’s licence (CDL), and determine what vehicle type you can use.

Each state, county, or major city has its own regulations for street vending and food trucks.

New York City requires that every person who works on a food truck must have a mobile food vendor license. Los Angeles requires all food trucks to display No Smoking signs on their trucks. All food trucks must have a current contract with the commissary kitchen in many major cities.

The Commissary Kitchen is A commercial kitchen that can be rented by the hour or daily and which supports mobile food operations. The kitchens in commissaries have refrigeration equipment and cooking equipment. They also have storage areas that can be used to meet the needs of local health departments. Many provide grease disposal and greywater areas, truck maintenance areas, and secure overnight parking.

You can usually find your local regulations by making a few phone calls to your county or city health department, and one to your county clerk’s or city department. You should always ask questions when you speak to someone.

  • What permits and licenses are required for a food truck? And what does it cost?
  • Are separate food safety certificates required for each employee or can one safety license suffice?
  • What equipment is required for on-truck refrigeration and cooking?
  • Do all pieces of equipment have to be professionally installed
  • Do I have to use a registered commissary chef?
  • Are separate vending licenses required for each employee or for the entire business?
  • Is there a limit on vehicle size?
  • What regulations must street vending trucks adhere to?
  • Is it necessary to have a commercial driver’s licence in order to drive a food truck?

These questions will impact how much it costs to open a food truck in your area and how long it takes to complete the process.

2. 2.

Once you have an idea of the regulations that you will need to follow and what food types work in your area, it is possible to narrow down your options and name your food truck. While you need to take into account consumer demand, food trucks are well-known for their creative mixes and personal flavour. Food trucks that are successful reflect the owner’s personal interests and experiences. Buldogis is a popular Las Vegas food truck that serves Korean-inflected gourmet hot dog. Its owners are both American and Korean.

These are some of the most popular food truck concepts:

  • Fusion dishes This concept combines two distinct cuisines in order to create dishes that appeal more to a wider audience, such as Tex-Mex and sushi burritos.
  • Regional cuisine: Popular dishes like breakfast tacos from Texas or lobster rolls from New England are always a big hit, especially when they’re in tourist areas.
  • Health and organic foods:Acai Bowls, cold-pressed juice and intriguing salad combinations are just a few examples of trendy health food options.
  • Comfort food: From fried chicken to mac & cheese, grilled cheese and tacos, comfort foods often equal big food truck business.
  • Gourmet sandwiches Who doesn’t like a good sandwich! Use non-traditional ingredients, or a theme to make your sandwich stand out.
  • Pizza: A wood-fired pizza cart is very popular. However, it might require a permit from the fire department.

Name your food truck

Once you have a basic idea of the concept, you can choose a name that best describes your food. The truck name will be your logo and social media handle. It will also be displayed on the truck’s side. This guide to naming a business provides a detailed overview. Our restaurant name generator will get you started.

Here are some tips to help you choose a name for your food truck.

  • Use a unique name. If another restaurant or food truck uses the same name, you risk violating a trademark. To check if your name has been taken, you can use the United States Patent and Trademark Office online search tool.
  • Be descriptive of your name: Your name should be descriptive of your food, theme and concept. This will make it easy for potential customers to understand what you offer.
  • Be memorable in your name and easy to pronounce Food trucks rely heavily on word-of mouth for a lot of their business. Avoid confusing names. Aim for four words.
  • Select a name that is scalable: A business name that is catchy and fun will help you grow your business, whether you open new restaurants, add more trucks or create new menu items.

Create your Food Truck Logo

business logo is the final piece of your food truck concept puzzle. It should be able to evoke quality food and compete with other food truck operators. Your logo will be used on all marketing materials, including menus, business cards and social media. If you have uniforms or truck designs, it will be the foundation for them.

The impact of your logo on how people approach your truck can be huge. A skilled designer is the best person to help you with this crucial marketing element. This doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Fiverr lets you view portfolios of freelance graphic artists. They can design simple logos for food trucks or full vehicle wraps starting at $5.

3. Register your business and open a bank account

You will need to register your state and create a business entity before you can start a food truck. There are many business structures available, including sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation. An LLC is the best choice for most food truck operators. It protects you and your assets in the event that your business goes under, or becomes bankrupt.

While filing fees can vary from one state to the next, forming an LLC doesn’t have to be expensive. The cost of filing an LLC can range from $40 to $500. You can find all the forms on the state’s website for business offices. However, it can be difficult and complicated to file LLC paperwork. We recommend that you use a legal website such as Incfile if you require assistance. Incfile does not charge additional fees for filing your LLC. They can often process LLC paperwork within the next business day.

Register for a Business Bank Account

A business bank account will allow you to seperate your personal and business finances. The account will contain funds that you have invested in your company and can be used to pay licensing fees, permits, and vendor fees. Once your truck is operational, credit card deposits will be transferred to this account. You will also pay your employees and suppliers from the account. Ask your bank about business banking options. You can also see our list of the best checking accounts .

4. 4.

The cost of starting a food truck company can vary depending on where you live, what type of equipment you use, and what truck you buy. The table below, based on data from mobile–cuisine.com gives an estimate of the estimated costs for starting a food truck company.

Food Truck Startup Costs

Food Truck Startup Idea Estimated Cost
One-time charges
Buying a Food Truck $5,000 to $125,000
Vehicle Inspection From $100 to $500
Retrofitting your Truck to Code $25,000. – $50,000
Generator From $1,500 to $10,000
POS Software System and Hardware From $500 to $1,500
Paint From $1,000 to $3,000
Truck Wrap From $2,500 to $5,000
First Food Purchases 500 to $2,000
Papers, Utensils and Goods 500 to $2,000
Website Design From $500 to $3,500
Initial Office Equipment and Supplies From $200 to $1,000
Advertising and Public Relations 500 to $2,000
Consulting, Professional, and Legal Fees 500 to $2,000
Recurring startup expenses
Payroll (Up To Four Staff Members) From $1,500 to 3,500
Commissary and Commercial Kitchen Rent From $500 to $3,000
Monthly Credit Card Processing Fees The average sales price is 3%
Fuel $250 to $400
Insurance $5,000
Permits & Licensing 50 to $10,000 depending on where you live
Total Estimated Costs $40,000 – $200,000

Write a Food Truck Business Plan

If you want your food truck to succeed, it will need a well-written business plan. A business plan is what you put on paper to show potential investors and loan officers that your food truck can be a viable investment. A plan to become profitable will help you understand how long it will take your food truck turn a profit, and what funding you need to keep your business going until then. The food truck business plan is a blueprint for how your business will start, grow, and run.

These sections should be included in your food truck business plan:

  • Executive Summary: Briefly discuss the current and future prospects of the food truck industry in your area, as well as your concept and theme. Also, consider other markets and industries that could have a direct impact on your business. This should not exceed a page.
  • Competitive analysis Determine market trends and analyze your competitors in the food truck market. Are there other food trucks selling similar food or traditional restaurants serving the same type of food in your local area? This will help you to explain how your truck can appeal to these people by offering a unique take on a favorite dish, or spiced it up with a secret sauce.
  • Organizational and management: Describe how you intend to manage your business. This includes standard operating procedures, staffing and the responsibilities of each key employee and partner. Is your truck only street-side or will it cater to private events? What will you use to prepare and store most of your food? Please describe the layout of your truck. What number of customers can you service in an hour?
  • Product line List your menu and ingredients. Also, list the cost of cooking the food and the price you intend to sell it. Note if you’re sourcing ingredients from a notable vendor or local farm. This section should demonstrate that you are well-versed in food costs and profitability.
  • Market plan: Describe your plans to market your food truck company. Word-of-mouth and influencer marketing are important marketing channels for food trucks. Your marketing efforts can be boosted by attending well-attended festivals featuring food trucks.
  • Financial projections Break down your projected expenses and profits for the first three to five year. You should have a monthly breakdown of busy and slow months if you live in an area with many seasonal changes.
  • Financial requirements: Describe how much money you will need to fund your food truck. When applying for a loan, indicate how much money you require.

Make sure you include every detail when preparing your business plan. In other words, you should list your marketing strategy and explain how each line item will reach the target audience, what it will cost, and how many customers they will bring in. Your product line should include all food items. The ingredients and price of each item must be listed. Include logos and branded menus. Include photos of the truck as well as a rendering by an artist if you have purchased a truck.

Food Truck Funding

Many people don’t have the capital to start a food truck. A key step in financing your business is financing. A majority of lenders will require you to prepare a business plan prior to issuing a loan. Make sure that you have this plan, as well as the amount and credit history.

These are some financing options for food truck owners who want to start their own business:

  • Loan/finance program for equipment: You can borrow money from truck sellers or equipment financiers to buy the truck.
  • Rollover to business startups (ROBS: If you have more than $50,000 in retirement accounts, you can create a ROBS. This will allow you to use retirement funds to fund your business without having to pay early withdrawal penalties.
  • Business credit cards If your ability to pay off debt is a strong point, a company credit card might be a good choice.
  • Personal Loan: This is an option for those with good credit and less than $50,000.
  • Microloan From Small Business Administration (SBA: Although microloans are smaller than traditional business loans, they may still be large enough to cover startup costs for food trucks. For loans less than $50,000, check out the Microloan Program of SBA.
  • Find investors: It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member or a friend, finding investors to fund your food truck venture requires strategy. To convince investors to finance your venture, prepare your business plan and your concept.

Some funding is not provided by banks or big investors. Crowdfunding can help you to cover some or all your initial budget if your friends and family are supportive of your food truck idea. The business plan can be used as a starting point for creating a convincing crowdfunding page. Crowdfunding for food trucks is a great way to get a crowd of people excited about your truck.

Our How to Crowdfund a Small Business guide will provide a more detailed explanation of crowdfunding.

5. 5.Obtain Licenses, Permits and Insurance

Did you do the same research as in step 1? This is the time to take action and get all required licenses and permits, as well as insurance. There are three types of licenses or permits you will need: general business licenses; food service licenses; and vehicle licenses. Most food truck permits and licenses will cost $100 to $500 depending on where you live.

A mobile food vending permit is one of the licenses your truck needs.
(Image from Charleston-SC.gov)

Licenses for general business include:

  • Doing business as (DBA) registration: If you want to operate your truck in a sole proprietorship, or under a different name than the LLC registered with the state you will need to obtain a DBA.
  • Employer Identification number (EIN), This number is given by the IRS to your business and serves as your identification for tax purposes. You will need an EIN if you are going to hire employees. Register for free at the IRS Website.
  • Business license All small business owners need a licence to operate in the state where they are located. The cost of this license varies from one state to the next, but is usually less than $500. Some states combine the process of obtaining a business license with business registrations, but this is not the case in all cases. To find out the requirements in your area, you should consult your state’s business agencies.
  • State sales permit: This license registers you business with the state’s sales tax authority. All food truck sales are subjected to local and state sales taxes. To ensure that you accurately log your sales tax payments, you must register with your state. This permit is usually free.
  • Reseller’s License: This license allows you to buy wholesale goods and resell them tax-free.

6. Get your food truck registered

Many of the licenses and permits you will need depend on what type of vehicle you buy. This step usually occurs simultaneously with your permit process. A food truck can run from $3,250 to $300,000 depending on its condition.

No matter what your budget is, it’s important to invest in the highest quality food truck that you can afford. You can reduce the risk of having to repair the truck later. Look for a local builder to make sure that your requirements are met.

You should ensure that your truck has the latest equipment, such as:

  • Ovens and refrigerators work properly
  • With the right pressure, hot and cold water can be obtained
  • First aid kits and fire extinguishers are available at board
  • Proper food storage
  • Professional installation of critical equipment

Some places require proof that the truck’s gas and electric equipment was installed by licensed professionals. Ask for documentation if you’re looking at a used truck.

BlackForest Food TruckChalkboard Menus are a popular choice for food trucks.
(Image courtesy of Pinterest)
Screenshot of Used Food TrucksUsed food truck come fully equipped with useful features such as awnings.
Road Stoves image
Screenshot of Mercedes Sprinter Van Converted to Food Truck A new Mercedes Sprinter Van can become a food truck.
Apollo Manufacturing Image
Screenshot of Customized Food Truck A custom truck can be used to convert an old vehicle such as this Citroen conversion. Pixabay image by Artem Dmitriev
Screenshot of Vinyl TruckVinyl truck wraps protect your food truck with eye-catching graphics
(Image courtesy Flash Forward Wraps).
Screenshot of Houston Juiceton TruckHouston’s Juiceton Truck showcases handpainted murals.
(Image courtesy Juiceton Truck).
BlackForest Food TruckChalkboard Menus are a popular choice for food trucks.
(Image courtesy of Pinterest)
Screenshot of Used Food TrucksUsed food truck come fully equipped with useful features such as awnings.
Road Stoves image
Screenshot of Mercedes Sprinter Van Converted to Food Truck A new Mercedes Sprinter Van can become a food truck.
Apollo Manufacturing Image
Screenshot of Customized Food Truck A custom truck can be used to convert an old vehicle such as this Citroen conversion. Pixabay image by Artem Dmitriev
Screenshot of Vinyl TruckVinyl truck wraps protect your food truck with eye-catching graphics
(Image courtesy Flash Forward Wraps).
Screenshot of Houston Juiceton TruckHubbston’s Juiceton Truck showcases handpainted murals.
(Image courtesy Juiceton Truck).
BlackForest Food TruckChalkboard Menus are a popular choice for food trucks.
(Image courtesy of Pinterest)

Where can I buy a food truck?

There are many options available for buying a food truck. A seller can sell a used truck on eBay, Craigslist or through an online directory. A fully equipped truck can be purchased for as low as $50,000. However, it will require that you paint the outside and renovate the interior to suit your business.

Here are some good websites to locate used food trucks:

An escrow service is recommended if you buy a truck online. An escrow service will hold your funds until the seller delivers the truck. They will release the funds only when the truck is accepted by you. eBay, for example, offers an integrated option to pay via Escrow.com in order to protect both buyers and sellers.

A manufacturer such as 800BuyCart can also sell a new food truck. Their standard trucks are priced at approximately $18,000. Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and Mercedes-Benz are major car manufacturers. For pricing and other options, you will need to contact your local dealer. Prices for new cars from major manufacturers should start at $40,000 plus any equipment.

Construction of a Food Truck

If you have the funds, custom-built food trucks will set your food truck apart. Northwest Mobile Kitchens, Cruising Kitchens and Prestige Food Trucks are experts in building custom food trucks to your specifications. Custom food trucks can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000. Everything is brand new and purpose-built. It doesn’t matter if the previous owners took care of the truck, or if the gas lines were installed by a professional.

Lease a Food Truck

You might consider leasing a food truck if you are only operating sporadically or have limited funds. Trucks are leased by brands like RoadStoves and Mobi Munch, both based in Los Angeles. Leasing is a good option if there are truck agencies in your area. Leases often include a lot of included services. RoadStoves customers get access to a commissary and truck parking as part of their truck lease. Food truck leases are often between $3,000 and $4,500 per month.

Leasing is not an option because the truck can’t be customized to meet your specific needs. Magnetic decals are a great way to personalize the truck with your logo or menu. You may have to stop your business until you find another truck.

7. Buy Equipment & Supplies

Now that you have your truck, permits, and menu in hand, it is time to set up wholesale accounts and finalize equipment requirements. You will still need additional tools, even if your truck has all the necessary equipment. Food truck equipment includes generators, condiment tables and registers. To avoid sales tax and bulk purchases, you will need to open accounts with food suppliers.

If you use your truck to cater event, you may want to purchase tables and chafing dishes.
(Image from Border Grill Truck and Catering)

Exterior and Truck Wraps

The truck wrap covers those bright trucks with nose to tail designs. Professionals should install a full truck wrap. It can last from three to five year. A truck wrap installation costs anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000, including design and installation. If you don’t have the funds, you can get smaller vinyl decals printed at your local sign shop and then install them yourself. You should not leave any area larger than 2 to 3 feet for the professionals.

Truck wraps can be purchased from a variety of companies including:

You can also paint your truck’s exterior. Although this is cheaper than vinyl wrap (ranging from $1,000 to $3,000), it should be done professionally. Painted decorations may not last as long and are less durable than vinyl wraps.

Your contact information and logo should be displayed on your truck’s exterior. Handwritten chalkboards or dry erase boards can be used to display food truck menus that are subject to change. A professionally printed, professionally designed menu is a good option if your menu changes little from day to day. A menu design can usually be requested from the person who designed your food truck logo. You can also use an app-based menu maker like the one provided by Canva.

Cooking and serving equipment

You may be able to cover most of your primary equipment requirements with your truck or commercial kitchen. You may have to buy additional cooking equipment if you require unique elements such as wood smoke, rotisseries or metal skewers. While commercial kitchens may have blenders, spatulas and tongs that you can use, the supplies available in a shared space are often limited. Cambro containers are a good option to transport your prepared food to your truck. Cambro also sells small equipment such as a food processor and baking sheets. Secure storage is a must in a commercial kitchen lease so that you don’t have the hassle of lugging your food processor from one place to another.

Catering will require you to have a few sturdy, collapsible tables as well as chafing dishes. This will allow you to keep your food warm outside. Most small equipment can be found at your local kitchen supply or restaurant. Sur La Table, a popular cooking brand, offers 10% off to professional chefs. These items can be found through Sysco or other mainline distributors. Table linens are the only type of equipment it is not worth investing in. These can be rented by you or your caterers to match the event’s color scheme.

POS Equipment

Consumers are increasingly relying on mobile wallet, credit and debit payments. Recent restudies have shown that 80% of consumers have used contactless payments in the last year. Up to 70% of millennials use smartphones for payment. Although it technically is possible to run a cash-only food truck you will be severely affected by inability to accept debit, credit and mobile wallet payments. A cloud-based mobile POS system is the best way to accept digital and card payments.

These tools have advanced significantly over the last few years, and are now more accessible to food truck owners. Many of our top-ranked food-truck POS systems are wireless and cellular-network-compatible, and many can be used for free. Square For Restaurants is our favorite food truck POS system. You can download the Apple App Store software and get started taking payments within a few hours.

However, POS systems can do more than just pay for payments. A good POS system for food trucks will help you track your inventory levels, alert you when stock is low, count inventory and track cash transactions (reducing the risk of employee theft). Modern POS systems can also be used to log customer information, manage social media accounts, monitor internet reviews, and more.

Setting up Vendor Accounts

Sysco is a mainline distributor. If your food truck is busy, you should open wholesale accounts. You will get a discount on food and beverages, and you can save time driving as many distributors will deliver directly into your commercial kitchen. Once your credit application has been approved, most vendors work on a net 30-system, which means that you have 30 days to pay the invoice. If you wish, you can still pay by check at delivery.

It may be more beneficial to open accounts with local wholesalers than national distributor chains. You should find one that supplies the majority of your food and beverages. The fewer suppliers you have, the less invoices you will need to process each month.

Tip: Create a single sheet that contains your credit application information to speed up vendor account creation. Your name, truck name, address, EIN and banking information should be included.

Best Business Ideas for Making Money

51 51.

  • Start-up costs: $6,500+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $78,000
  • Management Consulting is a broad term. You can make it whatever you want, depending on market, niche and client needs. Some examples of niche focuses include government compliance, new technology introduction, and strategic planning. This industry offers a wide range of services, including marketing and strategic planning. Find the right audience for your problem solving expertise by examining what you know.

52. Mobile Hair Salon

  • Start-up costs: $1,300+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $65,000
  • Mobile technology is a common trend in the world. It’s why we brought the idea of hair salon and automotive detailing to the streets. People expect greater conveniences. This includes the ability to bring the service directly to their doorstep. The startup costs can run up to $1,300 depending on the quality and age of the vehicle and how it is built. However, the payoff can be attractive. To be able to offer cosmetology services, you will need to complete professional training. You can click below to learn more about cutting-edge marketing strategies for your mobile or stationary hair salon.
  • Similar: Top 17 Hair Salon Advertising Ideas (& How To Implement Them), and Hair Salon insurance

53. 53.

  • Startup costs: $2,000+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $26,000
  • It is almost entirely dependent on whether you require a van or truck to start a moving business. The startup costs will be higher if you need a van or truck. The equipment costs for those who already own a vehicle are minimal. Your company will undoubtedly be responsible for valuable assets. You should look into local options for insurance and bonding, as well as workers’ compensation insurance. This is important if your business is to succeed.
  • Similar: 15 Top Franchises

Did you know:

Success in the moving industry is usually defined by economic wellbeing. The economy is expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.8% from now through 2025.

54 54.

  • Startup costs: $650+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $52,000
  • You can also do the packing and unpacking if the vehicle and full-service moving company are not in your budget. Startup costs of about $2,000. This includes the cost of dollies, ropes and elastic cords, furniture belts, tape, boxes, bubble wrap, and tools.

55 Wallpapering / Interior painting

  • Start-up costs: $2,600+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $65,000
  • Even though DIY is becoming more popular, many people still struggle with wallpapering or painting their homes. You will need a vehicle to run this business. However, a personal vehicle can be sufficient. The equipment cost doesn’t have to break the bank. The business will be successful if it does quality work and provides accurate written estimates. You can read our article about insurance for painting companies to ensure your safety.
  • Related: Best Painting Insurance Companies

56 Private Tutor

  • Startup costs: $650+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $26,000
  • You may need to provide both emotional and educational guidance when tutoring children of all ages, from kindergarten through high school seniors. Learning disabilities and learning deficiencies can often be caused by emotional blocks. You can provide this service in person or remotely. Experience or a degree will be of great benefit.

57 Product Development Service

  • Start-up costs: $3,900+
  • Potential for Earning: $33,000+
  • Another broad category is “Product Development”, which can be defined by the market or industry chosen and the niche of the business owner. This could include product/prototype design (see Design of Retail Products), and/or 3DCAD Modeling, as well as the logistics of manufacturing. This is the process of creating a product and making it a reality. It can be done for individuals, small businesses or corporations whose entire business model depends on product development.

Did You Know?

27% of the $12.3 billion annual revenue for the product development industry is made up of CAD and other design services.

58 Property Management Service

  • Start-up costs: $2,600+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $65,000
  • Property managers are not always the job of landlords. It is quite different to owning real estate than managing tenants, collecting rent payments, inspecting properties, and communicating with tenants. This service-based business is great for those who enjoy managing multiple properties. It requires minimal startup costs and can make a good profit. A variety of skills is necessary to be a successful property manager. However, a related degree may not be required. You can read our related article about property management.

59 Restoration Service

  • Start-up costs: $6,500+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $58,500
  • Every year, basements and houses flood for many reasons. People need fast service. This service business deals with damage caused by fires, floods or general water. It doesn’t matter if it’s a storm or a burst pipe, water removal and drying flood damage are essential. These services are highly sought-after, especially during the rainy season. This business may also include the removal of hazardous materials. Make sure to factor in these costs into your overall budget.

Did you know?

In five years, the industry’s total revenue has risen 0.5% to $4.0 Billion. It jumped 3.2% in 2021.

60 Tax Preparation Services

  • Startup costs: $2,000+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $130,000
  • Although tax preparation services can be added to an accounting company as described above, there is enough demand for them to stand on their own. It will depend on the type of service offered to determine if a related degree or credential would be necessary. Check your state’s requirements as prerequisites. However, in order to obtain a valid Preparer Tax ID Number (PTIN), you will need to register with the IRS. Start your application at the IRS Website.

61 Technical Writing

  • Startup costs: 500+
  • Potential for earning up to $98,000
  • A technical writing company is a service that creates product manuals, software documentation, and technical guides. This requires extensive research and time as well as high-quality computer systems. This business requires more than a degree or certification. It requires the ability to interpret complex and technical information into common language and understandable information. This area of work experience will be a benefit to your business.

62 Test Preparation Services

  • Start-up costs: $1,300+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $58,500
  • This business can also be tutored. Clients can interact with you online, in person, at home, or in public places. The best audience for test preparation is high school graduates who are preparing for standardized tests like the SAT, ACT and GRE. This business is also suited for one-on-one coaching and group training classes. It is possible to get a degree in a related field. Some states require a teaching certificate.

Did You Know?

21% represent the total $14 billion industry in Testing and Educational Support.

63 Virtual Assistance Service

  • Start-up costs: $1,500+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $58,500
  • This business has the advantage of being completely virtual. Anyone looking for a Virtual Assistant (VA), anywhere in the world, is a potential client. Remember that the majority of people and businesses who require an assistant need to organize reports, customer Rolexes, receipts, etc. A highly organized communicator is essential for this job. The owner should aim to hire more VAs to scale their business. At that point, business growth will be limited by the demand.

64 64.

  • Start-up costs: $1,500+
  • Earning Potential: $130,000+
  • Web design has a lot of earning potential. Every business should invest in a new website from the start. These are just 129 of the many business industries that require web design services. While a related degree could help credential the company, your best assets are your website (it’s your best advertisement), your programming and marketing experience, and the right software and equipment to create your masterpiece.

65 65.

  • Startup costs: 500+
  • Earning Potential: $78,000+
  • This type of business would include all except technical writing and grant-writing services. It also includes creative writing, copywriting and journalism. This business type is best if you have a relevant degree and experience. Strong referrals are also helpful. Many writers begin by applying online for freelance writing jobs. Develop an online portfolio of writing that shows your skills as a writer. You may need to start with lower rates and get samples of work before you can find higher-paying clients. Many freelance writers start their own business and market their services via a variety of websites such as Upwork and Fiverr.

66. Disability Consultant

  • Start-up costs: $2,600+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $98,000
  • The demand for disability consultants is increasing as the world strives to be more inclusive. Although companies are expected to comply with the Americans for Disabilities Act regulations for their buildings, employee relations, and other areas of their business, they may not know how. This business will help companies with disability claims, reasonable accommodations, compliance, and other matters. This business will require experience and a related degree.

67 Transcription or Medical Billing

68 Personalized Books for Children

  • Start-up costs: $6,500+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $52,000
  • To be able to create and illustrate personalized children’s books on your own requires creativity, artistic ability, creative writing skills, an appreciation of children, and a lot of patience. This may be the right niche for you. It’s great news that you can reuse these beautifully illustrated templates once customers have responded to them. You can also customize the templates by changing their names.

69 Software Developer

  • Start-up costs: $1,500+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $130,000
  • This business is also known as web development, front-end development and software engineering. It can be very profitable. This is not a business you can start right out of school. Experience, as well as training in multiple platforms and computer languages, and the ability communicate technical information clearly and concisely to clients will all be key. Your greatest startup expense will be web hosting, software and hardware.

70 System Integrator

  • Start-up costs: $1,300+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $130,000
  • Entrepreneurs can also make a better living by working independently and almost never run out work. Although advanced and more robust IT systems are a great way to take your business to the next level, integrating these systems across departments, equipment, and individuals requires advanced technical and communications skills. It is essential to have knowledge in a range of software and hardware systems. Training and/or education are a prerequisite.

71. Vacation Rentals Broker/Agent

  • Startup costs: $650+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $78,000
  • Please see the Property Manager listing. A Vacation Rentals Agent or Broker deals in short-term rentals and not purchases. The Vacation Rentals Agent or Broker is responsible for all aspects of renting property to absentee owners. This includes finding renters and writing rental contracts. They also collect rental payments, check for damages, distribute keys, communicate with renters, and generally keep an eye on everything. Your geography will determine how much work you have available. Areas with high renters and a large inventory of homes for rent are more appealing.

Did You Know?

Online advertising and searches on vacation rental websites have led to a rapid growth in the vacation rental industry. The market for vacation rentals is expected to explode at a compound annual rate of 3.4% between 2019 and 2027, reaching $113.9 billion in 2027.

72 72.

  • Start-up costs: $6,500+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $160,000
  • This niche could be very appealing for a marketing professional who is able to identify agriculture, farming, or the food chain of your interest. This is exactly what it sounds like. A farm must sell products in order to make money. However, farming is a full-time occupation that doesn’t require any marketing skills. The business will require the establishment of a supply chain, advertising, sales outlets and product specialists. This unique area would benefit from a background in commodities.

73 Decks and custom outdoor furniture

74. Exterior House Painting

  • Startup costs: $2,000+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $98,000

75 Floral Scaping

  • Start-up costs: $6,500+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $58,500
  • It is rare to refer to flower scaping as anything but a service within the “Landscaping” umbrella. It is a viable business idea, and can be used to grow flowers or flowering plants. This service can be used to supplement existing landscaping and can also serve events. It is a smart move to have a degree in ornamental horticulture or extensive knowledge about flowering plants before you enter this business.
  • Similar: 27 Unusual Landscaping Business Cards Ideas & Examples, and How To Start a Lawn Care Business

76 Junk Removal

  • Start-up costs: $6,500+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $52,000
  • Although this business requires a vehicle, it is not the only one. However, startup costs are minimal. The cost of hauling junk can easily translate into revenue, with a price tag of hundreds of dollars. There are no other requirements or qualifications required to start a junk removal business. Once you have a large vehicle, the biggest hurdle is over.

77 Herb / flower farming and nursery

  • Startup costs: $1,300+ (except if you require land).
  • Potential for earning up to $78,000
  • Your farm or nursery will determine the cost of your startup. The land and seeds can be purchased fairly cheaply if you are only in this business to grow the plants and sell them wholesale to restaurants. If you want to start a business that sells direct to customers and retail access, such as a nursery or garden centre, you will need to invest in shelters, such as greenhouses or shops. This business can offer acres of land, different crops, retail, wholesale, restaurant supplies, or even food delivery with company vehicles. To get your ducks in order, you can check out the USDA Checklist.

78 Food Manufacturing Consultant

  • Startup costs: $2,000+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $104,000
  • You are the food-product equivalent to a product development consultant. Once again, you will be trying to make a profitable, marketable food product out of something you made in your own kitchen. This job is challenging and fun, and covers everything from marketing and branding to production and sourcing. It would be smart to get a related degree and experience as well as an Associate Membership to Foodservice Consultants Society International.

Tip An hourly rate for a Food Manufacturing Consultant is $150

79 Packaging and Labeling Services

  • Startup costs: More than $10,000
  • Potential for earning up to $100,000
  • A Packaging and Labeling Service works in the same way as a Food Manufacturing Consultant to bring a product to market. However, it focuses on packaging and labeling. This service helps to find packaging suppliers and facilities. This service helps customers find packaging that is suitable for the product’s shelf life, attractive, and that meets all legal nutritional labeling requirements. These businesses are often involved in label and brand design for many industries. A good packaging and labeling consultant will be familiar with FDA, FPLA (The Fair Packaging & Labeling Act), and FSMA regulations, and indications.

80 80.

  • Start-up costs: $5,000+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $98,000
  • “Specialty Food Production” refers to a variety of foods, including sweets and cookies, crackers and pasta, nutritional products (shakes and powders), seasonings, sauces and condiments, as well as beverages, sweets and cookies. Every food producer must comply with a variety of regulations, certifications, licenses and permits. This industry is highly regulated. It’s best to get started with the FDA’s Guide to How To Start a Food Business.
  • Similar: How To Open a Juicebar

81. Vending Machine Company

  • Startup costs: $3,000+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $52,000
  • A vending machine business can be started with minimal capital investment. The number of machines purchased, new or used and the stock you keep them in will determine your costs. You should also consider the cost of your vehicle and where you plan to place them. You can keep costs low by purchasing smaller, used machines as well as maintaining them and making inventory.
  • Similar: How to Start a Vending Machine Business

82. Auctioneer

  • Startup costs: $650+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $13,000 Per Auction
  • We are not talking about online auctions in this instance, but traditional auctions, which continue to take place all around us. Even though you may start slow and small, startup costs are minimal enough that you can easily start this type of business part-time with mentorship until it becomes self-sustaining. This is not an easy job, but it’s possible. To learn more, visit Auctioneers.org.

83 B&B or Boutique Hotel

  • Startup costs: $13,000+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $230,000
  • A bed-and breakfast or boutique hotel, not to be confused with , can provide a great opportunity for business owners who are savvy. A piece of property that is well-zoned in a desirable area and that attracts weary travellers time after time is the biggest barrier to entry. This means that you will need to invest $13,000 in the property. You might be interested in the possibility of hosting, feeding and accommodating guests in a beautiful property. There are many resources available to help you further research this small business opportunity.
  • Related: Hotel Marketing Strategies for Increasing Your Bookings

84 Messenger/Errand/Courier Service

  • Start-up costs: $1,300+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $70,000
  • More services are available to help us manage our lives as we get busier. This is good and bad news for budding errand businesses. Although competition is fierce with companies such as UberEats or TaskRabbit, there is still enough demand for niche services to be worthwhile. You can get a piece of this $116-billion industry by offering niche and differentiated services and tapping into technology at every opportunity.

Did You Know?

This industry employs approximately 1 million people. The decline of brick-and mortar stores and the rise of ecommerce will be a positive trend.

85 85.

  • Start-up costs: $6,500+
  • Earning Potential: As High as $130,000
  • Individuals with experience and education in international trade can make a lot of money by facilitating the transportation of international goods within and outside the country. There are many commodities available, including office supplies, packaging materials, fashion apparel and fine art. For those interested in entering the industry there are many trainings, certifications and textbooks. However, the best place to begin is to browse the SBA’s Office of International Trade Online Resource Center. Next, locate your local Trade Assistance Center within the SBA resource network.
  • Similar: 20 Best Profitable Items to Import From China

86 Life Coach

  • Start-up costs: $2,600+
  • Earning Potential: up to $100,000
  • Life coaches focus on holistic, sustainable, holistic personal improvement for clients. They also help with career and health. A life coach needs to have basic technical skills, such as listening, people, organization, communication. Also, general liability insurance is recommended due to the serious nature of their work. International Coaching Federation Credentials are also helpful in establishing expertise.

87 Personal Shopper/Stylist

  • Startup costs: $650+
  • Potential for earning: up to $45,000
  • A personal shopper, who acts as a coach and shop-only, is an interesting addition to life coaching. It could be shopping for clients’ clothes, gift shopping or picking up groceries. As with life coaching and courier services, finding a niche is key to your business model. You must also be different from other businesses like Stitch Fix. To ensure you are compensated fairly for your time, skill, and transportation, it is a good idea to calculate and set your hourly rate.

88 Personal trainer

  • Startup costs: $130+
  • Potential for earning up to $85,000
  • This industry offers attractive opportunities for small businesses, with low startup costs and barriers to entry, high earning potential and an expected annual growth rate (+3.2%) through 2025. A certification is a great way to be a nutrition and fitness guru. You can find our complete article below that provides a detailed guide to starting a personal trainer business.
  • Similar: How To Start a Personal Training Business [With a Plan]

89 Photocopying Service

  • Start-up costs: $6,500+
  • Potential for earning up to $78,000
  • On average, you can charge 49 cents per copy for full color or black and white copy services. Additional services that you could offer include faxing, shredding, computer terminals and faxing. You only need to have good visibility in your chosen area, high-quality, high-capacity equipment, and a large number of customers. This type of business will require rent costs and a large inventory of high-quality, top-of the-line equipment.

How to become a real estate agent

A real estate agent can be someone who is legally licensed to represent sellers and buyers in property transactions. Although the licensing requirements vary by state, all agents must comply with state requirements. You will need to pass the exam, take prelicensing classes and find a sponsoring agent before you can submit an application to the state’s real estate board.

These are the steps you need to take in order to become a real-estate agent.

1. Review Real Estate Requirements for Your State1. Review Real Estate Requirements for Your State

Before you register for classes or take the licensing exam, make sure to check your state’s requirements regarding real estate licensure. You can do this by visiting the website of your state’s realty commission and researching your state’s minimum licensing requirements. The following state-specific guides can help you navigate the licensing process:

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California
Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia
Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington Wisconsin Wyoming  

To be eligible to transact real estate within their states, applicants must be at least 18 years old, have US citizenship, complete coursework and pass a licensing exam. Some states have reciprocity agreements that allow you to do business with other states without the need for a secondary license.

Reciprocity laws permit licensed agents from one state to legally practice real estate in another without needing to satisfy additional licensing requirements. Our complete guide on real estate reciprocity.

2. Complete Real Estate Prelicensing Coursework

Once you’ve determined your state’s licensing requirements, you can visit the website of your state’s real estate commission to find out which prelicensing courses you need and whether you can take them online. Although not all states allow you to take your prelicensing courses online, most do. This makes it an attractive option for people who prefer the convenience of internet-based learning and the flexibility that comes with self-paced instruction.

Find out more about the top online real estate schools, and how they compare to each other. Once you have found the right online school for your needs, sign up through their website to complete the course requirements and exams. Each school will give you proof of your coursework completion that you can attach to your license application.

To find the best school for you, take our quiz:

Which Real Estate School is Right for You?

We’ll match you with the right product for your business by asking you some questions.

Question 1

Which is your main reason for pursuing a real estate course?

Question 1 of 3

1 minute approx

  

Question 2

Question 3

 

3. Register for & Pass Your State Real Estate Licensing Exam

Register to take your real estate exam via your state’s website. A proof of completion of prelicensing coursework may be required. You will also need to pay a $50-100 registration fee.

To fully prepare for the licensing exam, you might consider taking a exam prep course. A course can provide valuable study tools such as flashcards or practice tests. You can take the exam once you are confident in your knowledge of licensing topics.

4. Locate & Join a Sponsoring Agent

After passing your exam, you will need to find a sponsoring brokerage before the state issues you a license. Mentoring, training and work experience can all be provided by a sponsoring broker. To discuss sponsorship, find brokers in your local area. Prepare a list with questions for the broker to be asked during the interview.

Next, compare the pros and cons of each brokerage. Consider benefits such as mentorship, training, and team support. After you have made your choice, contact them to ask if they are willing to sponsor you. Find out how to select a realty company you want to work for.

5. Submit Your Real Estate License Application

Once you have successfully completed the courses and passed the exam, you can submit your license application. You can go back to the website of your state’s realty commission and fill out an application to obtain a license.

Some states require you to submit fingerprints and a criminal background check in order to complete your application. You will be required to pay $125 for a background check. Also, your fingerprints must be submitted for review.

You will need to wait for up to six weeks after submitting your completed application to be notified that the application has been approved. Some states will send you an email notification of approval for your license so that you can notify your broker quickly, but most states will only send official notification by mail.

 

You can find more information about these five steps in our step-by–step guide How to Get a Real Estate License.

How to Market Your Real Estate Business

Although a realty license will allow you to be identified as a salesperson or agent, it is not enough to become a successful agent. Still, you will need to develop and implement a marketing strategy that is focused on building trust and relationships. This will allow you to find your first client and increase the number of leads that are sent your way.

Networking is the key

As a new agent, networking is the most important thing. You can introduce yourself to people in casual settings as an agent. You will build relationships with local people and become a respected agent. People will find it easier to reach you for help with property issues.

There are many opportunities to network, whether you’re online, in person, or at events. The National Association of Realtors is the largest professional association for real estate professionals in the country. You will also receive the title of Realtor. This is a mark of professionalism and trustworthiness that many clients consider to be a sign of expertise.

To join, go to the NAR website and fill out the application. You will also need to pay the $150 annual fee. This fee covers your admission to networking events at local and national levels, continuing education classes that will help you improve your marketing and sales skills, and the designation of real estate agent.

Select a farm area

Your license as a real estate agent allows you to assist clients in buying and selling properties within your state. It will take too much time and effort to reach all potential clients in your state.

Your marketing efforts should begin with identifying the geographic area you wish to target. This is your farm region. You can build strong relationships and a strong reputation by focusing your marketing efforts on a single location.

Utilize Real Estate Lead Generation Tools

Although organic outreach and networking within your farm are the best ways to generate leads, there are many other lead generation tools that you can use to bring potential clients to your door. One such tool is a real estate website.

You can select from many high-quality lead generator website builders specifically designed for real estate agents. Many of these site builders can be integrated with a CRM tool to manage customer relationships. Your website builder can help with follow up and client communication. Some examples of the best website builders include:

Real Estate Lead Generation Software Best for
Real Geeks (Best Overall) Agents looking for an easy-to use website with CRM and managed marketing
Zillow Premier Agency Agents who need an IDX website with a CRM to manage Zillow leads
BoomTown Teams looking for IDX websites that offer lead assignment and follow up tools, as well as a live client concierge
Zurple Agents looking for a customized IDX website to suit their needs
  Agents looking for IDX websites that have intuitive CRM and enhanced search filters
  Agents in real estate are looking for an easy, affordable IDX website to generate leads.

You can also refer to our guide on top methods to generate real estate leads for more ideas about how to expand your influence and gain more clients.

Tools & Resources for a New Real Estate Agent

Although networking and organic outreach are the best ways to generate leads, there are many companies that offer tools that can help you save time and money. Ask your coworkers about their preferred CRM, lead generation tools, and marketing platforms.

Here are some best lead generation companies to help you get started.

ProspectsPLUS ProspectsPLUS! ProspectsPLUS is an online direct mailing service that offers a variety of templates and mailing options. Brochures and postcards ProspectsPLUS allows you to quickly get printed materials at a fraction of the cost.Contact ProspectPLUS!

Real Geeks Real Geeks is our top pick for a lead generation tool because it includes a website builder and CRM. This provides everything agents need to start selling. Pricing is customizable, but prices start at $250 per month. Real Geeks also offers managed services starting at $300 per month. Prices will vary depending on whether you have a budget for Facebook advertising or pay per click marketing (PPC).Visit Real Geeks

Zurple Zurple is real-estate lead generation software that brokers and agents love to work with data. It allows you to create a website for real estate that targets a particular farm area. However, it also offers lead capture. For $399 per month, the software will automatically create a search profile that gives you additional insight into when leads are most likely to be engaged.Visit Zurple.

BoldLeads BoldLeads provides buyer and seller leads for only $399 per month. This is an excellent option for brokers and agents who want to be in a position to test their marketing strategies using A/B test pages.BoldLeads

Zillow Premier Agent (ZPA). Agents looking to advertise on Zillow.com can use ZPA’s IDX website and CRM. Leads range from $20 to $60 depending on where you are located and how competitive the market is.Zillow Premier Agent

Zoho CRM Although Zoho CRM is not a real estate-specific software, it offers a free CRM plan that allows up to three users, a real estate management add-in and workflow builder. This makes it an excellent choice for new agents. This can also be integrated with social media tools so agents have the ability to track and monitor their interactions with potential clients via LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.Visit Zoho CRM

CINC CINC is a powerful tool to generate leads for real estate agents who are more comfortable in front of clients on their phones than behind a desk. Its fully integrated mobile app, digital concierge service and monitoring and qualification of leads for you allows you to be faster than your competitors. You can also get marketing assistance for $500 per month, plus the cost to advertise.Go to CINC

ProspectsPLUS ProspectsPLUS! ProspectsPLUS is an online direct mailing service that offers a variety of templates and mailing options. Brochures and postcards ProspectsPLUS allows you to quickly get printed materials at a fraction of the cost.Contact ProspectPLUS!

Real Geeks Real Geeks is our top pick for a lead generation tool because it includes a website builder and CRM. This provides everything agents need to start selling. Pricing is customizable, but prices start at $250 per month. Real Geeks also offers managed services starting at $300 per month. Prices will vary depending on whether you have a budget for Facebook advertising or pay per click marketing (PPC).Visit Real Geeks

Zurple Zurple is real-estate lead generation software that brokers and agents love to work with data. It allows you to create a website for real estate that targets a particular farm area. However, it also offers lead capture. For $399 per month, the software will automatically create a search profile that gives you additional insight into when leads are most likely to be engaged.Visit Zurple.

BoldLeads BoldLeads provides buyer and seller leads for only $399 per month. This is an excellent option for brokers and agents who want to be in a position to test their marketing strategies using A/B test pages.BoldLeads

Zillow Premier Agent (ZPA). Agents looking to advertise on Zillow.com can use ZPA’s IDX website and CRM. Leads range from $20 to $60 depending on where you are located and how competitive the market is.Zillow Premier Agent

Zoho CRM Although Zoho CRM is not a real estate-specific software, it offers a free CRM plan that allows up to three users, a real estate management add-in and workflow builder. This makes it an excellent choice for new agents. This can also be integrated with social media tools so agents have the ability to track and monitor their interactions with potential clients via LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.Visit Zoho CRM

CINC CINC is a powerful tool to generate leads for real estate agents who are more comfortable in front of clients on their phones than behind a desk. Its fully integrated mobile app, digital concierge service and monitoring and qualification of leads for you allows you to be faster than your competitors. You can also get marketing assistance for $500 per month, plus the cost to advertise.Go to CINC

ProspectsPLUS ProspectsPLUS! ProspectsPLUS is an online direct mailing service that offers a variety of templates and mailing options. Brochures and postcards ProspectsPLUS allows you to quickly get printed materials at a fraction of the cost.Contact ProspectPLUS!

What Characteristics Make a Real Estate Agent Successful?

The education and legal aspects of representing sellers or buyers in property transactions is all that you need to learn before becoming a real estate agent. Agents who are successful must also be able to communicate effectively, efficiently, organize, and engage their clients. To be successful in real estate, you need to look beyond the professional aspects of real estate agents.

These are the top characteristics of a great real estate agent.

  • Selling skills: The ability to present a compelling case for a purchase is the backbone of any career in real estate.
  • Sales and marketing knowledge: To succeed in real estate, you should be familiar with the basics of real estate advertising, copywriting, public relations, and marketing.
  • Time management expert: To manage their busy schedules, real estate agents must have great time management skills.
  • Outgoing and extrovert: Assess your social and listening skills. If you are able to pick up small details and have people confide in, you may be a good agent for real estate.
  • Learn There are many states that require a lot of education after licensure to maintain and renew your real estate license.

It is more than just education that makes a successful career in real estate. Trustworthiness and approachability are essential for building relationships with potential buyers and sellers. Ask for help from other agents if you have any problems. Ask fellow agents and brokers for their advice on managing agent-client relationships.

 

Learn more about How to Be Successful in Real Estate.

How to Become an Agent in Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

What is the cost of real estate school?

Prelicensing courses in real estate are typically $200-$1,000 depending on the state. Some states, like Texas, require 180 hours of coursework. This can vary depending on the package you choose and the real estate school. Others, such as Florida, only require 63 hours of coursework and cost $99-$435 depending on the study aids.

Are there any online classes in real estate?

It all depends on your state’s requirements. Many states allow real estate agents to take classes online through an accredited school such as Real Estate Express. Click here to find out if your state permits you to take classes online.

How much does it cost for a real estate license application to be submitted?

The fee for a real estate license is $300 to $400. It should be sent directly to the state real estate commission. Additional $125 is available for states that require fingerprints or a background check in order to approve a real-estate license.

What is the average salary of real estate agents?

Based on experience and whereabouts, a full-time agent in real estate can earn between $40,000 to $75,000 per year. The health of the local housing market, the amount of time that an agent invests in the business and the average home sale price in the area all impact these estimates. Learn more about real estate agent salaries.

What is the difference between prelicensing and exam prep courses?

Your state will require you to complete prelicensing coursework in order to schedule your licensure examination. Exam prep classes, which are not required by your state, help you to master exam materials.

Bottom line

The first step in becoming a real-estate agent is to research your state’s licensing requirements. This will lead to obtaining a real license. But that’s just the beginning of your real-estate career. We’re always generating new content. For more information on how to improve your career as an agent, you can subscribe to our free newsletter.

How to start a blog in 7 easy steps

How to start a blog in 7 easy steps

How to make money with a blog is as easy as seven steps. Although you can launch a blog within a day, it will take three to six months for your blog to gain traction on Google and become profitable. These steps can help you accelerate the success of your blog.

You will need to select a platform for blogging and a hosting provider. Bluehost is a great place to host your WordPress blog. It costs only $2.95 per month.

Visit Bluehost

To start a blog that makes money, you only need to follow seven steps:

1. 1. Decide what type of blog you want to start

First, decide what topic you want to blog about. Perhaps you already know what your blog will be about. You need to be aware of the basics to make sure you choose a niche with real earnings potential.

You need to narrow down a niche you are able to serve well. This will allow you to significantly reduce your competition. It is better to provide content that caters to your specific needs than a generalized piece of content at any given time. Nerdfitness, for example, was a blog that became very popular quickly despite the fact that there were many fitness blogs. It appealed to nerds who wanted to be fit.

— Ted Chong, Blogger, Digital Senior

Types of blogs

There are many different types of blogs that you can create and each one appeals to a specific niche audience. A blog where you are already proficient in the topic or have deep knowledge and experience is the best.

These are some of the most popular blogs:

  • Food blogs If you are passionate about cooking and creating new recipes, you might consider starting a food blog. This niche is very popular on the internet.
  • Wellness and health blogs: If your passion is for fitness and health, you might want to start a blog about it.
  • Business blogs These blogs are focused on a specific set of business interests and needs, such as leadership or entrepreneurship.
  • Start a Travel Blog if you are passionate about adventure and travel.
  • Lifestyle blogs A popular niche in blogging, lifestyle blogs discuss a set of lifestyle choices, interests and unique tastes from the blogger’s perspective.
  • Craft blogs If you find the idea of sharing your craft knowledge appealing and there is a large demand for DIY craft ideas, then you might consider starting a blog.
  • Finance blogs: These blogs discuss how to save money, invest your money, live within a budget, as well as other topics related to personal and business finances.
  • Blogs about sports: If your passion is for the game of football, you might want to create a blog about it.
  • Mommy blogs These blogs are focused on parenting, homemaking and personal challenges that mothers face.
  • Entertainment blogs You may blog about movies, television and music as well as theater and celebrities.
  • Beauty and fashion blogs: These blogs usually discuss fashion trends, hair, makeup, and other beauty products.
  • Hobby blogs You have the option to blog about any hobby you choose, including model trains and gardening.

It is entirely up to you what type of blog you want. You can make money blogging by choosing a niche you are comfortable with.

Lifestyle blogger Joanna Goddard talks about a variety of topics on her popular blog

Keyword Research

Because people are searching for these topics most often, you want to write about them. This will help your blog get more traffic. If people don’t find you blog, you won’t make any money.

It is important to research keywords if you want your blog posts to rank on the first page in search engine results. You can also research keywords to find out how competitive the terms you are targeting.

Google’s Keyword Planner is the best tool to do keyword research. Although it is simple to use, you will need to create a Google AdWords Account to access the Keyword Planner tool.

Blog posts that are focused on high traffic terms and low competition terms can improve the likelihood of your posts ranking highly in Google’s search results. is our guide to the best ways to rank highly on Google.

Google’s Keyword Planner helps you discover volume and competition levels for keywords

2. How to make money with your blog

Many new bloggers make the biggest mistake of not deciding how to monetize their blogs. Before you launch your blog, you need to plan how you will generate income.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most successful ways to make money blogging. You can add advertisements to your website, sell products or services, or get paid sponsorships to promote your blog posts.

You don’t have to sell anything on your blog if you are not selling products or services. If you want to monetize your blog in six months, however, you should have something to sell within six months.

Alexis Mathews - how to start a blog Bloggers don’t necessarily need to have a product to market in the beginning. However, it is a good idea to have a product or service you can launch within six months to avoid making a hobby out of blogging. From the beginning, a clear revenue stream is essential. It is very competitive in the blogging world so it is important to do your homework early on to ensure that you are successful.

— Alexis Mathews, Marketing Strategist & SEO Specialist, Premier Executive Media

You can read our popular article How bloggers make to learn more about how you can generate income blogging. These ideas will help you get started with your money-making blogging endeavors.

3. Choose Your Blogging Platform

There are two main types of blog platforms. You can have your blog hosted on a different website. Although this is often free, there are significant restrictions in blog design, monetization and visibility in search engines. You can also create a self-hosted website with a content management software (CMS), and a hosting company for as low as $2.95 using BlueHost. The best way to make money online is to create your own blog.

Create Your Blog on another Website

Many free blogging platforms are available, including WordPress.com and Blogger. These websites connect you to other bloggers.

Hosting your blog on another site has its downsides.

  • No custom domainSince you don’t get your own custom domain name (ex: yourbusiness.com vs yourwebsite.wordpress.com). This could lower your authority as an authoritative blogger.
  • Monetization issues: Your blog won’t be fully monetized. There are strict guidelines for making money on free blogging sites.
  • You have limited control. You don’t have complete control over your website. Your personal blog will also disappear if the website hosting it is shut down.
  • Lower search rankings: SEO may not be as easy to control, which can negatively affect your page rankings on Google.
  • Design limitations for blogs: These sites have design and HTMLcoding restrictions. You won’t be in a position to design your blog exactly the way you want it to look.

If you’re not serious about building a blog, or just want to have fun sharing your thoughts and experiences with others, then consider creating a blog on another website. You can open a blog account free of charge on WordPress.com. This site also has many upgrade options that will help you grow your blog.

The WordPress.com dashboard lets you customize the look of your blog

Create Your Own Blog

Self-hosted blogs offer great flexibility in site design and monetization. A self-hosted blog is the best way to make money from your blog. Remember that every company needs a website. A blog should be part of your business plan.

These are the most popular self-hosted blogging sites:

  • Bluehost and WordPress: WordPress has become the most widely used blogging platform. Bluehost is a low-cost option for hosting a WordPress site. It costs only $2.95 per monthly. Bluehost is quick and easy to set up your blog.
  • Squarespace is an all-in one website platform that includes hosting. Squarespace’s easy-to use website-building interface makes it possible to create beautiful blogs. Prices start at $12 per month.
  • Wix This all-in-one website creator is well-known for making it easy to create a blog. Wix sites can be started for just $13 per month. Compare Wix and WordPress .
  • DreamHost and WordPress: DreamHost is another hosting provider you can use with WordPress. Plans start at $2.59 per month and don’t require a year commitment.

You can also consider other blogging platforms. These options will help you get your blog up and running quickly.

4. 4.

You will need to choose a domain if you decide to host your own blog. Bluehost offers a free domain during the first year of hosting.

Your hosting vendor can also sell your domain separately at sites such as Namecheap and Hover, where the average annual domain cost is $8 to $15. Domain renewal rates tend to be lower with domain-registration sites than with hosting providers.

These are the essential elements of a domain name:

  • Description for your blog: People will be able to identify what you’re writing about by simply looking at the name of your site. minimalistbaker.com, for example, is a food blog that features recipes with less than 10 ingredients.
  • Keywords You want people searching Google for information related to your expertise to find your blog. People who search on Google will see your primary keyword in the domain.
  • A domain that is easy to spell and pronounce If your website is difficult to spell or pronounce, it will make it more difficult for people to remember. When choosing your domain, be clear and use standard spellings.

It may take some time to find a domain name with millions of blogs online. You have a better chance of acquiring the domain name you desire if your blog name is unique.

You should immediately purchase a domain that you find. Domain registration websites are well-known for monitoring domain search queries and increasing the price for those that were not purchased.

5. 5.

After you have completed steps 1 through 4, it is time to design your blog. This will depend on which platform you use. Squarespace and Wix offer standard themes that you can customize your website.

You will need to install WordPress if you decide to use a WordPress website. Bluehost makes it easy. Navigate to the BlueHost dashboard and scroll down to the website section. Click “Install WordPress” to follow the instructions.

Bluehost makes it easy to install WordPress from its dashboard

Personalize your blog with design and personalization

You can choose from the many templates available through SquareSpace and Wix. These templates take care of key design elements for you so you don’t need to be a designer to launch your blog.

Because of its stunning modern templates, Squarespace is a popular choice for bloggers. Squarespace is an excellent choice for bloggers with minimal design skills who want to create a beautiful blog. SquareSpace has 21 templates families, which means that there are 92 designs available. This is a list of top free Squarespace templates.

When creating a blog on SquareSpace, simply choose a template and start designing your blog

The Wix ADI will assist you in designing a website based on the answers to a few questions. Wix also offers a variety of templates. Wix offers more than 300 templates. Be careful, however, because you can’t change templates once your blog is live.

Wix is one of the most user-friendly blog platforms. Wix is a great platform for people with little technical knowledge.

Wix offers more than 300 different blog templates

You will need to choose a theme to your website if you opt for a WordPress blog hosted on your own server (WordPress.org). This is the best option for bloggers looking to make a profit. A WordPress theme is a template or design framework that allows you to customize your website. There are many WordPress themes, many of them free. Premium themes offer more design options and flexibility than free themes.

Bluehost allows you to access a variety of premium and free themes when you host your blog. It’s quick and easy to install and you don’t have to stick with one theme. You can also change your theme at any time.

Example of a responsive WordPress theme available through Bluehost

Divi is a premium theme that offers more customization options to your blog’s design. It comes from Elegant Themes. Divi is not only a theme but also offers a page builder that’s easier than WordPress’s default post editor. Divi’s page-builder tool makes it easy to create beautiful pages that are customized. This is why Divi is so popular among non-technical bloggers. Divi is $89/year for annual access.

You can also hire a web developer or designer to design your blog. Fiverr makes it easy to find the right freelancer to help build your blog. Fiverr freelancers can be found for almost any budget.

Example of a website design freelancer on Fiverr

6. Develop Blog Content

After your website is built, you can start to add content to your blog. This is the most important step in starting a blog. Content marketing allows you to give your audience something valuable, build trust and convert customers into readers.

Types of blog posts

To engage your readers and make money, there are many types of blog posts that you can add to your site. For maximum appeal to new and returning visitors, the most successful bloggers mix their content.

These are some popular formats for blog posts that you can add to your site.

  • How to posts: Show people how to do something. These are the most common how-to posts.
  • Expert roundup post: Get input from experts on a particular topic or about a particular theme. Post all the expert responses in one post and add your own perspective.
  • Reviews:Choose one product or service to review and provide an objective assessment. Compare features, options, price, etc. Next, tell blog readers whether you recommend the product or service and why.
  • Success stories: Everyone enjoys a success story. Please share a story about a successful experience and the factors that led to it. This is a great way for blog readers to be inspired.
  • Interview postsInterview other people on a topic that interests you. Interview experts in your field, or anyone who has an opinion about what you are writing and wants to share their views.

You’ll quickly discover which posts are most popular and which convert visitors into buyers by experimenting with different types. Take what you have learned and use it to improve your posts.

Example of a roundup post on Fit Small Business

Other types of blog content

Your blog will not only contain blog posts. A page about you, strong calls for action (CTAs), as well as some lead magnets-based email capture devices will be important. You may need to add more content depending on what type of blog you have. The best blogging tips are not just about content creation.

Your “About Me Page”

Your blog needs a strong About Me page (or About Us). Your About page will likely be the most popular on your site. Make sure to include compelling content to show visitors why they should stay on your blog.

Your About Me page is likely to be the most popular on your website. You want it to greet your visitors and confirm that they have found the right blog. Keep it conversational and original. Your visitors should know why you created your blog and what it can do for them. Give your visitors a glimpse into your past and experiences to increase your credibility.

Strong CTAs

Strong CTAs should be included in all of your pages and blog posts. CTAs tell your visitors what they should do next. You might send your visitors to a “pillar” post. This is a post that best describes the purpose of your blog.

A second step you might want site visitors to take is downloading a resource or tool you offer. These resources and tools are known as lead magnets and can be a great way to build your email list.

Lead magnets

It doesn’t suffice to bring new visitors to your website. You need to retain them once they are there. Although email marketing is a great method, you must have an email list in order to effectively do so.

Bluehost offers a free business email account. You will need to set this up. This is an important step, since getting an email from [email protected] will look more professional than getting an email from [email protected].

Here are some ways to get email addresses from your business once you have it set up.

  • Create an electronic book or PDF: Make an ebook or a PDF that contains information not found on your website. Before sharing the information and resources, ask people to enter their email address.
  • Send out a weekly newsletter to people. To get people to sign up for your newsletter, you can either have a pop-up on your site or a box at your top asking them to subscribe to your weekly tips.

You are motivating people to visit your site by sending them regular emails about the latest updates on your blog.

Example of an email capture form featuring a lead magnet from the Minimalist Baker blog

Other site content

Your site’s other content will contain any additional information you wish your visitors to see. Images and links to products or services that you wish to promote, ads, and affiliate promotions are all examples. You can also include videos, infographics, links to related social media channels, testimonials and other content. It is a good idea to have content that helps site visitors and leads to sales.

Bri Seeley - how to start a blog “The best advice that I can give new bloggers is consistency, consistent, consistency. As a blogger, I’ve seen bloggers who desire immediate results. After posting several blogs, but not reaching a million views, many bloggers quit. You can set a posting schedule, plan your strategy, and then batch your content. Share it with everyone, more than anything, and keep going!

— Bri Seeley, Entrepreneur Coach

7. Get more traffic to your blog

In Step 6, we mentioned that creating an email list can be a great way of generating high-quality traffic to your blog. A great way to make money is to learn search engine optimization (SEO), and then implement SEO strategies on your site.

SEO strategies can be used to optimize your blog so search engines like Google recognize your pages and rank them high in search engine results. Your blog will get more traffic if you rank higher on Google’s search engine pages rankings.

Yoast SEO, a powerful plugin for WordPress that integrates with your site, is highly recommended by top bloggers. Yoast offers both a premium and free option.

A popular way to increase blog traffic is to post on social media, directing people to your blog. Facebook and Twitter are the top platforms for driving blog traffic.

Make sure you are targeting the right visitors to your blog with all traffic-generating methods . This means that you are only attracting people who are interested and qualified to use them. A website that attracts traffic to your blog from people not interested in it will increase its bounce rate. This is the number of visitors who leave your site immediately after they have finished reading. Google page rankings suffer from high bounce rates.

How to start a blog Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

What is the cost of starting a blog?

You can start blogging free of charge on many sites like Medium and WordPress.com. Self-hosted websites are popular for people who want to make money with their blogs. With Bluehost, you can create a self-hosted website for as low as $2.95 per month.

How can you make money from a blog?

Sites like Squarespace and Wix are great options for starting a blog. Affiliate marketing, selling products and creating sponsored posts are some of the most popular ways to make a living blogging. You can make the most of your blog by choosing a profitable niche that has enough demand over time.

How much money do bloggers make?

Bloggers make an average of $100 per month, but this is only because they don’t have sites that are optimized for making money. Smart blog monetization strategies can help even new bloggers earn between $500 and $3,000 per month. Bloggers who are successful earn anywhere from $10,000 to six figures per month. Some blogging statistics indicate that marketers who concentrate on blogging are 13x more likely to see positive returns on their investment (ROI).

Can I create a blog without paying anything?

WordPress.com Medium, Blogger, Wix, and Wix are the top places to start a blog for free. Although you can create a blog without paying for hosting, the best bloggers make their sites through WordPress.org or DreamHost.

Bottom line

A blog can be a great way for you to share your passions with other people who are interested in the same topic. If you are passionate about the topic, your blog could become more than a hobby. It can even be a source of income.