Summary: My name is Robert. By nature I’m pretty quiet and even shy. The idea of starting my own Sideline was pretty petrifying – I grew up in a very reclusive family, and have generally not be a joiner. I’m a good student in college, majoring in environmental sciences. I was intrigued from the Sideline List of Possibilities about starting my own home furnace filter repair service: easy to do, minimal contact with people, environmentally friendly, potentially good money. And I have time on my hands since school comes easy to me.
After reading Betty’s Sideline story about Garage Cleaning, and how she put cards in neighbor’s screen doors announcing her service I decided to do the same. My pitch was saying that for $15 every 3 months you can breath easy knowing your household air isn’t full of bad dust as a result of a dirty furnace filter. And I mentioned the furnace would function better. Like Betty I offered a free filter to my first 4 customers who would refer me to at least 3 of their neighbors. I had 10 voice mail messages within 2 days of leaving the note. So I randomly picked among the 10, came over with filter in hand, and changed out the filter within a minute. Here was the surprise: it was fun talking to the homeowners who were amazed and thankful – especially when they saw how dirty were their filters. People just don’t know!
My business was off and running. Within a month I had 16 clients, but realized I was stuck because they wouldn’t need me again for another 3 months, so I had to repeat my card thing to 10 different neighborhoods and that kept me busy, just replacing bad filters with free new ones for the volunteer marketing helpers. Revenue wise I bought filters for $4 each, and charged $15 per install, leaving the bad filter in their trash cans. For nearby neighbors I could do 6 installs in an hour. I averaged 4, with prescheduled email acknowledgments. So my numbers looked like this:
Numbers: 16 installs per month at $15 each I grossed $240. Subtracting $4 per filter I netted $180 the first month for about 2 hours of install. Technically I made $90/hour not counting the marketing time I hoped to have a kid help me do starting soon.
I love doing this Sideline, except for the marketing. I can get help with that using our approach, and for not much money. I believe that within 3 months I can have 20 clients a week and if I net $11 per client that works out to about $220 a week for 3 hours of replacement work or $70 per hour. Could I double or triple my business? I think so, so long as I can keep it part-time, hopefully under 8 hours of time per week.