The internet has become a significant resource for finding information, replacing printed phone books.
It helps customers to quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer.
The internet levels the playing field. With a well-designed site, your small business can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company. And remember, even if you don’t have a website, your competition does.
A well-designed web site can instill confidence in your business by representing your image and professionalism to your customers.
You are open for business 24/7, providing information about your services and the around-the-clock opportunity for sales.
Your website will allow you to attract new customers that may not have otherwise known about your services. A website providing a continuous source of new customers means increased revenue.
According to the Pew Research Center (http://www.pewinternet.org/), in 2009:
– Over 74% of US adults are online
– 81% of research products or services they are considering buying
– 75% buy a product or service
If you can drag and drop, you can set up a free website (with advertising – nothing’s really free) at :
If you don’t want to advertise on your website, some great resources for inexpensive hosting, domains, and web page templates are:
- GoDaddy.com offers great prices on domain registration and economical hosting for single site owners.
Lunarpages.com offers economical hosting with more unlimited resources for owners with multiple sites.
These are links to websites that are free to submit your business listing to so you can get phone calls coming in and traffic to your website.
You have to join to submit listings to all of them, but they do generate free leads.
- Manta is a business directory that gets high search rank on Google. This link takes you to the “Add Company” page, or you can get to it from the main page.
- Merchant Circle is another directory of business listings that gets high search rank on Google. Enter your phone number on the home page and it searches to see if your business is already listed, then takes you through the steps if it isn’t.
- Yellow Pages Superpages – yes it’s free! It also gets high ranking on Google, but people just go here directly to look up stuff like they used to in the phone book. If you click on “Advertise” from the main page, it takes you to SuperMedia. From there, you need to enter your telephone number in the “Claim Your Business Listing” box on the left to get started.
- Google Places can be accessed from the Business Solutions link off the Google main page. It’s free, and when you first sign up you will show up in the listings, but it requires a review before your listing becomes permanent (which may take several weeks!). Google Places listings are those ones with the maps that show up at the top of a Google search, and are the businesses listed when you search under Google Maps.
- Yahoo Local can be accessed by going to the Yahoo main page, clicking on the “Local” link at the top, and entering your business type and your location, then clicking “Search.” This will take you to a local page, where you can “Add a New Business” from a link at the bottom, or just click here. There is a review period for Yahoo also, but it’s only 3-5 days.
You are going to need business cards, invoices, etc., to manage your business professionally.
Online resources have basically changed everything from researching and troubleshooting repairs, to generating leads, to printing services.
We have found some good cheap, excellent service online sources for the fundamental printing jobs you will have in the appliance repair business.
Many of these resources have ready-made templates you can use to design your business cards and invoices.
- Business cards: nextdayflyers.com has great prices for full color, coated, two-sided business cards, great customer service and they’re FAST!
- Invoices: carbonlessondemand.com has great prices for your invoices.
- Stickers: sheet-labels.com for putting service date labels in your serviced appliances
- Door Hangers: cheapdoorhangers.com – one of Uncle Harry’s marketing tips is using door hangers to generate customers.
A low-cost toll-free number can give your company a professional and credible appearance.
Toll-free numbers encourage your clients to call you, especially if you live in a rural area where long distance charges are frequently incurred.
The toll-free number can be forwarded to your cell phone with a code indicating it’s coming from your business line.
The automated receptionist sounds professional, and voice mails can be emailed to you so you can listen to them.
We use Ring Central, which is very economical for a startup business with one line.
Some of the features they offer for only $9.99 a month are:
- 100 local, long distance or toll-free minutes
- 4.9¢/min additional minutes
- 10 Extensions
Additional FREE features:
• Internet Fax
All of their plans include:
- Use with any existing phone system
- The toll-free or local number for voice + fax
- Voicemail with free email delivery
- Internet fax – send and receive
- Advanced call forwarding
- Cloud-based PBX with multiple extensions
- Flexible answering rules
- Call queues
- Mobile phone integration
- Keep your existing number, at no cost
This kit will fix 3/4 of what you find in a house and it’s all you need to carry in with you (according to Uncle Harry):
- Philips tip long shank screwdriver
- Flat long shank screwdriver
- 1/4″ nut driver
- 5/16″ nut driver
- 15 torx driver
- 20 torx driver
- insulated cutters
- needlenose pliers
- large channel lock pliers
- wd 40
- stubby Phillips
- stubby flat
- stubby 1/4″ nut driver
- stubby 5/16″ nut driver
- adjustable open end wrench
- wire stripper and crimper
- medium Phillips
- electrical tape
- razor knife
- cable ties
- knee pads
- work light
- clipboard & invoices
- promotional stickers, pens, refrigerator magnets
Harry also has a video on special tools you want to keep in the truck.
Free training can backfill your paid training, but it’s hit and miss unless you know where to look. Here are some good resources:
- YouTube Videos (search on “appliance repair training”)
- Repair Forums (try appliantology.org)
- Free Online Service Manuals (a good free source is appliancejunk.com)
- Parts Sites (repairclinic.com has videos & partselect.com has DIY installation advice)
You may also want to consider some paid training because it can cut MONTHS off your startup time. Take a look at Free Training vs. Paid Training to review some of the options available out there.