Have you ever made a call to a business and reached their answering service? You give your information and phone number to the operator and he or she in turn passes the message on to the party you’re trying to reach.
If you’ve ever imagined these operators working in an office or call center setting, change your mindset and now imagine them working from home.
Many years ago clients would call to retrieve their messages and have it read back to them over the phone. I remember when I worked for at a doctor’s office, every morning we would call in to the answering service to get message from our patients.
That was back in 1991.
Today, technology has breathed new life in this line of business by taking it from a call center to home. And the more I think about the idea of running an answering service from home the more I like it. So I decided to put a guide together to help you start your own home-based answering service business.
Let’s get it going with start-up material.
Starting a home-based answering service doesn’t take a lot to get going. Since you’re doing it from home, you don’t need to rent office space and you don’t need a lot of equipment but you do need to get some stuff up and running before you start taking on clients.
First things first, you should set up a website up to tell the world about your business. This is where you will display your rates, contact information, testimonials, and introduce yourself. You can also start a blog and share helpful tips. Right off the bat, I’m thinking time management and organzation tips.
The next thing you need to do is set up a multi-line phone system to dedicate a line for each client. To save money, start off with 5-10 lines and increase it as your business grows.
Once you’ve got your website and phone lines, you’re ready to go.
Your Target Audience
Finding your target audience is a very important step. Your business won’t be succesful if you’re marketing to the wrong group of people.
To determine who your clientele will be all it takes is a little research. But I can tell you right off the bat your business will appeal to small and online business owners to medium-sized companies who needs someone to asnsewr their calls when they can’t.
Usually this is before and after business hours or during lunch hours.
Marketing Your Answering Service Business To Attract Clients
Social media is free marketing for any business – so get out there and join the socialverse.
Now before you go join every single social network out there, you don’t have to do that. Just figure out where your target audience hangs out and be there. For businesses it’s usually, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Instagram and Pinterest.
Just remember to be mindful of the type of content you’re posting on social media. The way employers peek at personal profiles so will potential clients. They want to know what type of person will be handling their business. So you don’t want to ruin your reputation and business over a pic of yourself shugging a beer!
You can also market your answering service business on free online directories. But THE best way to land a client is through good ole fashioned word-of-mouth.
This can be in the form of a testimonial from one of your clients. And believe me, social proof like that will have potential clients knocking on your door!
But what if you don’t have a client yet? Let’s think about clients and how to get them.
Start with friends and family who are running a business. Let them know you have an answering service business and looking for clients. Ask them to try you out for at least three months and then ask them for a testimonial to post on your site.
You can also use promotional tools like coupons for a discount or introductory rates to attract new clients. Free trials are also effective in landing a new client.
Another way to get clients it to send out pitch letters via email and snail mail. Put a great pitch letter together to tell potential clients who you are, about your business and what you can do for them.
The ‘It’ Factor
You know other small businesses will be competing for clients and customers so you have to have an IT factor. Something that will set you apart from other answer service businesses.
With such a basic job function like taking messages answering service businesses are going the extra mile and taking measures to be the one answering service that is unique from the others. So what would be your “it” factor? What services can you provide that other answering services aren’t?
To get an idea take a look at the competition and see what services they’re offering then brainstorm and come up with something that is more distinct. Think of services such as a virtual receptionist. You can offer your clerical skills to companies who need a temp to replace an absent employee.
Things To Remember
Here are some things to remember when you set up your answering service business.
- Don’t forget to check with your state about registering your business.
- Set up a P.O. Box to receive correspondence
- An business checking/savings or Paypal
- A Stripe account to allow credit card payments
- An 800 number to potential clients can reach you.
- Set up a business email address
Wrapping It Up
The most important thing to remember when starting a home-based business or any business for that matter is to be consistent in your search of clients and with your marketing.
I hope this guide has been helpful and answered any questions you might have had about starting an answering service business from home.
If you still have questions, ask away and I’ll be sure to answer them for you.
Before you go, I would really appreciate it if you would share this on social media so that anyone who has been thinking of starting a business from home can take a gander at this opportunity.
Here’s to your success!