To start a home business, starting an answering service can be a relatively inexpensive way. With some companies on the board and a telephone for each operation, you can earn income by providing a service to customers. You can establish your own business by answering the phone and recording messages of each company. Follow these steps to learn how to start an answering service.
Write your business plan. A business plan can give you a clear outline of what you want to do and how you are going to do it. It can help you to gather your thoughts together, fix the idea of your business, and if necessary, can help you to save money.
Especially for answering a service business, you need to determine the type of business structure you are making, whether it is a proprietary, partnership, LLC or a corporation. You should mention your services, packages and pricing structure so that you can determine how much capital you will bring and how many customers you have to book to get yourself in the profit margin.
Check all local, state and federal guidelines for establishing a telephone answering service. Follow the rules, and enter any necessary paperwork to build your business. For example, do you live in an area where working from home is legal? Are there any special guidelines that you should follow to work from home in your area? Are there any other zoning worries?
Open a bank account only for your business funds. Use this account’s money to buy equipment for your business and pay for your utilities. Do not make any personal purchases with this account. Deposit all business income in this account, and withdraw the paycheck from place in your personal account.
Invest in phone and phone lines. Start small, because you do not want many lines and there are not enough customers to fill them. Find a phone that provides the ability to move back and forth from one line to another, so that you can get messages from different locations for different customers. When you can not reply to them, your phone system should accommodate several different mailboxes to capture messages for calls.
Set up 1 phone line for each business. When you run out of the room for the phone or your phone company says that you can not have any other lines, then there is enough expansion for the need for office space and additional staff in your business. It is easy to manage a line per business compared to many lines for the same customer. Starting with 1 line and 1 client, you will be able to determine your workload as to what you can handle.
To determine whether they are interested in your services, contact different businesses through telephone or email. An ideal place to start medical business is because their patient time often makes it hard for someone to be available to answer the phone. Use your business plan to pitch your pricing, service offerings, and hours of availability.
Create a file for each business. To capture and distribute the files, you must give details of each company’s requirements and the hours that you want to answer the phone. Keep copies of all correspondence including the messages that you took inside this file.
Set your working hours and work accordingly. Be brief in each message, and make sure to include any important details to deliver your message to your customer. Send the message to the customer via email or fax. Allow the customer to choose the agree-method to receive messages.