Work-life balance reigns supreme with these home-based businesses
If you’ve been putting in less time at your company’s offices and enjoying life more, then you’re not alone. When cases of Covid-19 dropped this spring, employers began summoning workers to return to their cubicles – and many employees balked. Some negotiated a hybrid schedule or permission to continue working from home full time; others are considering alternative career opportunities.
Is this enough to be considered a workplace revolt? Yes, according to a recent survey by Stanford University, the University of Chicago and the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM). The survey found that while about 58% of workers said they would return, another 35% said they would go back but immediately search for a work-from-home job. About 6% said that if ordered to return, they would quit even if they didn’t have new jobs lined up.
The survey also revealed that almost a third of respondents wanted to work from home full time, and about 36% more wanted to work from home two to four days per week. (About 22% preferred to work at company offices, and 10% would be satisfied with one WFH day per week.) If you’re one of those folks in the former group, that whopping majority of around 68 percent who want to work from home two or more days per week, you might find a fit in one of these home-based business opportunities.
The pet industry set a record with sales of $103.6 billion in 2020, according to the American Pet Products Association. So you may want to get aboard this gravy train. Franchises provide just about every type of pet service imaginable, from training, dog-walking, yard/litter box cleaning to home visits and overnight care. To build your business, you might network with pet organizations, veterinarians and pet shops. But office and phone work is a breeze from home, and recurring business is big plus. Franchisors often take care of scheduling via their websites.
Franchise options include Fetch! Pet Care (founded in 2001; services range from overnight care by background-checked sitters to taxi services for pets) and Dog Training Elite (shown above, founded in 1980; all types of training from obedience to personal protection).
With a property-management franchise, you’re only a phone call or mouse click away from signing up a new property owner or a guest needing quarters for a night, a year or something in between. After a meet-up (virtual or in-person), property owners sign a contract that guarantees you a fee for keeping their properties occupied and tended.
The industry is booming. As housing prices soar, people pivot to renting long-term rather than buying. Throughout the pandemic, hotels’ popularity has sagged while short-term rentals of private properties has soared. Many people first sampled that experience last year, enjoyed it and are primed for a repeat. (With short-term rentals, it’s a boost to operate in or near a “destination” such as athletics, beach, fishing, skiing and nature experiences like birdwatching, hiking and photography.)
You’ll need to visit properties, handle maintenance (perhaps doing simple things yourself but hiring skilled trades as needed), screen potential renters, and make sure check-in and billing go smoothly. Depending on your location, a real estate license might be required; prep courses (many available online) for licensing can streamline the qualifying process.
Two options are Keyrenter (founded in 2007; began franchising in 2014) and Grand Welcome (shown above, founded in 2009; began franchising in 2019).
MOBILE FOOD TRUCKS
Food trucks made quite a splash even before the pandemic, and their popularity has multiplied because there’s no worrisome dine-in for patrons. Mobile restaurants cut costs for staffing, furnishings, maintenance, property taxes, mortgage/rent and utilities. And if you opt for a franchise model, headquarters has already figured out what works and what doesn’t. You can take care of front-office work from home.
Yes, there’s a good chance you will have to be out and about during primetime for your menu offerings, but you can go where the customers are, instead of waiting for them to come to you. One unique food truck option offers its operators an especially flexible schedule: Kona Ice, founded in 2007 and now with some 800 food trucks operating around the country. Thanks to their signature lobster rolls plus an appearance on the hit ABC show SharkTank, Cousins Maine Lobster food trucks (above) are wildly popular and command long lines wherever they go. Founded in 2012, the company now offers brick-and-mortar shops in addition to food trucks.
Owners of businesses, particularly small- to medium-size ones, always seek ways to quickly solve problems and simplify day-to-day operations. The lion’s share of a business-to-business franchisee’s activities can be home-based, although networking is essential to sign and keep clients. Recurring income is a major plus.
Options to consider are ClaimTek (founded in 1993; does medical and dental billing and coding) and InXpress (1999; facilitates domestic and international shipping of almost anything – from documents to crates).
A franchise consultant advises people who are looking into owning a franchise. Franchise consultants help clients by exploring their interests and strengths, narrowing the options to a manageable number, plus helping them evaluate those franchises and make their purchase if they opt in. A franchise consultant explains the requirements and responsibilities of franchise ownership as it pertains to each brand. A franchise consultant may even help clients find start-up capital.
One option for training as a certified franchise consultant is the International Franchise Professionals Group (IFPG), founded in 2012 and offering ongoing training and lead generation.
These diverse franchises let you confirm and/or schedule jobs and do any necessary office work (invoicing, payroll, ordering) without leaving home. You’ll definitely do networking and marketing outside your home, and you may need to go on-site to handle some work yourself or to check that work is done properly with a happy customer. Recurring business is a huge plus of the category.
Franchisors give necessary training for the provided services and software to manage your operation. Most franchises are low-cost, and many can be started quickly.
Here are six that might jump-start your search: Dryer Vent Wizard (founded in 2004; prevents fires and improves clothes dryer efficiency); ecomaids (founded in 2014; comprehensive home cleaning using the company’s environmentally-friendly, non-toxic products); Midtown Sweeps (2014; cleans residential and commercial chimneys, repairs chimneys, cleans dryer vents); Molly Maid (1979; regular and occasional residential cleaning and move-out services); Mosquito Squad (2005; creates a mosquito barrier that lasts up to three weeks); Shack Shine (2014; home detailing such as window and gutter cleaning, power washing, holiday light installation/take-down).