Monthly Archives: September 2016

How to Start a Rental Guest House

a Guest CottageThe idea of entering and starting a ‘cottage/guest house‘ rental side business, can operate with success, if done with great marketing and management. If you use your search engine and type in words having to do with cottage rentals, you will find quite a few listings about such places. Such an endeavor can provide an extra source of income. Where do we start?

2nd Income Trends

A trend in the housing industry was recommending to have a ‘guest‘ house built on your property. One could use it for their elderly parent or as a rental income. You would have to do research into local municipal by- laws, zoning laws and regulations about providing such accommodations. Applications and fee’s can be found at the local municipal city hall office. Also, one must get a business license to operate such accommodations.

Cottage rentals have been an ongoing popular operation and source of income, for many years. Those who are able to afford buying their cottage may live in their own primary residence or have a second cottage for personal use. It does take money to begin this project but the long term pay off can be quite rewarding. A successful operation can bring repeat business, continuous bookings, a good reputation and sense of prestige.

Required Skills and Knowledge

Operating a rental business does require knowledge in the hospitality and tourism industry, local Landlords Act along with business management skills. It is IMPORTANT to have these skills therefore I do recommend at least taking a course in these areas. A business plan will help you keep ‘direction‘ and ‘overview‘ of maintaining your business, marketing skills will help you learn to promote, advertise and know your competition, financial skills will help you stay in operation, and, business law will help you be aware of rights and responsibilities ,as an owner and for the customer/tenant. Paper work is involved with this business, as all businesses do have to provide for tax reporting.

The owner of a cottage or guest house will have some steps to follow once skills and knowledge are gained. A first step is having the property, for a cottage or guest house, and figuring out, how to set it up for occupancy. If it’s a two to three bedroom, one can offer a occupancy of three to six people, if functioning as a ‘cottage‘. This is done if you have bunk beds in the bedrooms and/or additional, if there are pull out beds. Furniture would have to be sturdy and removal of ‘personal‘ items done. Keep it to bare necessities as the ‘guests‘ will bring their own. Just think how a hotel room provides for their guests.

A method to deliver keys for the guest(s) would be required. Some may have a ‘lock-box‘ on site, a key pad lock may also be used or just go out and meet them in person, to deliver the keys. A major consideration and requirement for any business, is insurance. Do shop around and meet with insurance agencies who can provide for ‘vacation‘ or ‘rental‘ accommodation businesses, and they provide a good pricing range. Insurance protects you, your property and customers.

Hotels have computerized programs which help them with their booking schedules. As a small owner/operator of your guest house or cottage, you can also find computer software programs to help you with your own booking schedules. One can also offer to add the traditional method, of signing a guest book upon arrival and departure, if you’d like to add sense of ‘vintage‘ to your operations.

The advertising and promotion of your cottage or guest house will create awareness and bring customers. This can be done with attending trade shows related to the tourism and hospitality industry, registering with ‘vacation‘ or ‘rental‘ agencies, creating your own website with option to ‘book‘ a time schedule.

Excellent photographs will also be needed since these will help provide prospective customers with an idea of what they will find. This is also a good time to share available local sights and amenities, available activities and resources (boat, canoe, etc.). It’s suggested with your advertising, that it be done on international, national and regional sites to build and gain a wider awareness of your service(s).

Live in Action

Extra Reading

How to Start a Bed and Breakfast in Ontario

CMHC- Dealing With Problems

Brian’s Backyard Tiny Guest House

Owning a cottage or guest house can provide an interesting and rewarding experience. It can also be handled by a property manager once success can afford the extra costs of hiring. This area of business would be considered part of the real estate industry and why it’s popular. It can provide a source of supplemental or eventual full time income and improve your quality of living. It will take patience to learn all that’s involved along with the costs to acquire such a property but as mentioned, the long term benefits can prove rewarding.

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share with your Friends. Use the ‘Ask a Question’ form and recommend a topic of your own interest, for the next Post! 

Article(C)2009 – current AIC|An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. She is also a Writer available for Hire,  🙂

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How to Earn Extra Cash – Enlarge Photo’s Service

How to Earn Extra Cash – Enlarge Photo’s Service

A corner of your apartment or even a converted closet, can be a suitable work space, to begin your own niche business, offering photo editing services, specifically, enlarging photographs, and earn some cash. How do I start?

The technique described here is to provide yourself with operating a basic service and pricing will be up to you. Just remember to not view customers as cash cows. Your little business service, if done well, will grow over time, as will your income. Treat your customers well and they will return but most importantly, they will send their friends and family. Word-of-mouth advertising, is beyond priceless.

A little of your own investment for equipment will be needed, as follows:

  • Computer
  • Scanner
  • Paint.net (Free online photo editor to download)
  • Printer + ink cartridges
  • Photo paper (optional)
  • Flash drives (optional)

Let’s begin, here are the steps :

1. Take your photo that needs enlarging.
2. Place into scanner, usually face down, set or save, as a PDF. Some scanners will auto-open while others may require to save the file. Remember the NAME of the file!

amom90sa

Should look like this when opened with Adobe Reader. Good job! (Is that me? Yes, back when I was young and sporting that metal, rock and alternative rock gal, image). Be ready to have a couple windows, and programs, open.

3. Open your Paint.net program and have it ready.
4. Once your PDF photo is open, tap your PrtSc or Print Screen key. This will capture an image of your PDF photo.

agetpicbttn

5. Go to your Paint.net program and under Edit, scroll to Paste. Your image should now appear. Again, you may want to SAVE this new file. Close your Adobe Reader program. Your Paint file should look like this image, with the dotted lines.

aenlrgpic5

6. Move your cursor to the bottom right dot. A little hand should pop open. Click on that corner dot, and HOLD your mouse and DRAG the corner, to enlarge your photo. Do your best to keep it’s original shape. ( Yes, that’s a different photo I captured).

7. Once you have it to your desired size, click on IMAGE then scroll to ‘Crop to Selection’, and click. Save your new enlarged photograph. Again, remember the NAME of your new file. Unfortunately, your photo size is limited to what you can see in Paint.net program. My photo’s are about 4”x3” but you can paste into a word processor program, enlarge again and print.
8. The size of your new file can be found under Image, scroll to Resize. A box pops open and right at the top will tell you the size. (My own enlarged photo is 1.8Mb).
9. All you have to do now, is transfer the NEW enlarged photo to the Flash drive for your customer. They can either purchase a Flash drive from you (meaning you will need a few on hand) and will bring in extra cash! or they can bring their own. All other image and pdf files can be stored in your customer file.
10. You can use your Printer and photo paper to offer customers a print-out of their new larger photo, one or more copies, again, for extra cash, price fairly. Ensure you adjust your Printer for Photo’s since you can print one or more. Do your best to not waste your Photo paper.
11. Another method of delivery to your customers is by email. Attach their new photo to the email and send.

A few notes to think about in providing this service. Some digital photo’s appear to blur as they are enlarged whereas a photo from 35mm cameras (yes, those old photo’s stored in photo albums) can keep it’s appearance along with any ‘age spots’ but they do remain clear.

Other services you can provide with your new found business, is offer people services to ‘digitize‘ their photographs or important documents. Again, save it on a flash drive or send by email to a cloud service (Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive, etc.), where customers can download them. This is a service so be sure you charge a fee.

Marketing can be simple such as posters, stating your business name and services with contact information on tear away strips, such as this image.(Psst!  Do your best to have yours looking spiffier than my example).

acornrsmplpstrPlace these posters in high traffic areas where people will NOTICE them. Apartment buildings, free boards, laundromat, food store, etc. Other promotional methods include :

  • Tell your friends and family to pass the word along.
  • Business cards, hand them out to store owners, restaurants, etc.
  • Network at community events with elders, parents, pet owners. Give them your business card.
  • Use a T-shirt iron on transfer with your business name on it. Print your business name services and contact information on transfer paper, iron on t-shirts.
  • Check your newspaper, to post a free ‘Announcement‘ about your business.
  • List your business online in business directories.

Operate your business with utmost security, of confidential information about your customers. Respect and friendly service will help build word-of-mouth advertising and repeat customers. You can go online and learn about the special effects the Paint.net program offers, and add these skills to your services, and then graduate to the professional programs such as Adobe Photo Shop suite.

Learn about as many photo editing programs as possible and how to use them. Some are free and others will require outright purchasing. An article by FroKnowsPhoto writes that the Adobe Photo suites is offered as a ‘subscription‘ only with prices ranging from $20 – $50 per month.

Learning in Action

Extra Reading

Money Home Blog

Canada Business Network – Online Marketing Info

Small Business + Start-Ups Forum 

The end of the day, this little niche business service may not be totally glamorous but does offer the opportunity for a little ‘extra income’,  work at home and consider yourself an Entrepreneur. Learning from this little service business may help towards launching, adding more services, or entering, a larger business. Nothing wrong with dreaming about the infinite possibilities available.  What’s your dream?

Article (C) 2009 – current AIC|An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. She is also a VEA available for Hire and includes Writing too! 🙂

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How would you like your Bill served?

customer relations, billing, marketing incentives
how would you like your Bill served?

A business owner and customer sit down together for a meal and moan about their bills, each from their own perspective. They agree about the joys of receiving their monthly bills whether by snail mail, or email, if you’ve gone the paperless route. So many bills! Telephone, mobile phone, vehicle, satellite dish, internet, mortgage, insurance, etc., and the list goes on! Well, for those who can afford these ‘privileges’, will see these bills every month. What if a change occurred in delivery of our bills?

Business Plans and Tools

A business development and management course I had taken taught putting together a business plan. One of the steps requires annual cash flow projections showing a slight increase, of prices each year and keeping up with potential of rising inflation and/or our competitors. This helps to see, and/or, realize the potential success, of the business project at hand aka the financial forecasting exercise.

Research is done by marketing firms and businesses to check out ‘trends‘ and/or discover new customer insights. These reports are tools that help businesses adjust and improve their own marketing efforts, to their existing, and/or, for new customers yet still make a profit, to continue operations of their business. It is a great practice and tool, for all business owners.

Customers Collective Buying Power

Now, at the other end, we have our customers. As a customer myself of different services, I have come to realize that many businesses earn over the top profits, with the amounts of monies paid each month. Our governments have control over infrastructure and delivery of some of these services, such as Hydro and we know that our electricity bills, are skyrocketing, least in Canada. This adds a financial burden to many struggling to stay afloat of homelessness, unemployment, etc., since wages aren’t keeping up. What is up with that? Oh! Got to love this quote.

J.O.B.
Just Over Broke

A business needs customers to operate. The monies from every customer especially when gathered together, and drawing upon a customers ‘collective‘ buying power, add up. We are the ‘target market‘. Prices continue rising and we continue paying even though we’re at the edge of broke. I must add another quote that’s awesome, bear with me please. 🙂

I’m not Greedy if I ask for only $1 from the whole population

Examining that quote about not being greedy, can you imagine how much money can be gathered, from the whole population? For Canada, there’s near 34 MILLION people. Now, reassemble that number with the amount of one of your bills but lesser number of people, say, 12,500.  Business planning requires answering the question about ‘market share‘ meaning, how many customers needed, to make a profit? Do you see the amount of monies a business can collect from their ‘target market‘?

Oh! the Businesses will cry Foul!

Can you hear the business owner protesting? Alright, yes, the business owner has bills and financial responsibilities of his own. S/he will have to pay off equipment costs, business loan debts, staff, business licenses, rent, memberships, equipment maintenance and/or replacement, insurance of one kind or other, etc., and it adds up. One beauty about business plans, is they can pinpoint, to almost the nearest dollar, what exactly a business will be required to spend aka ‘expenditures‘. They can’t foresee all future obstacles, that may cause disruptions, of their services and/or products but it’s recommended, to be prepared.

Fair, Unfair and Outright Greed

The prices of many of our gadgets, utilities, services and needs will vary. As customers, we constantly seek out the lower price, to free up and further our own spending power. Some people say the government enrich themselves, off the backs of the People, paying themselves with the Public tax monies, using Public tax monies to pay for ‘government business needs‘ (airplanes, chauffeurs, hotels, meals,rent) always wanting more, raising taxes, creating claw backs, Greed just seems to runs rampant in government office these days, yeah?

Customers don’t just stop at governments either. They will look at business owners and discuss the outrageous price hikes of various products and conclude, greed is the driving factor. The struggle to keep food on the table, heat, water, daycare, telephone, satellite dish, internet, the costs keep rising. Do business owners genuinely appreciate their customers these days?

The many businesses that exist, looking to improve their operations and/or, to attract more customers, can just look at their own ‘personal emotions‘ about bills, to find an opportunity, to change their marketing efforts. We can create our own ‘mover and shaker‘ experiences for customers.

A few simple ‘incentives‘ a business owner could offer customers and build ‘popularity‘ could be, the following

  • offer a one year FREE service for sending in referrals (but no conditions, such as must be new paying customer, that’s asking for unrealistic guarantee )
  • offer one month HALF price or FREE month (i.e., Christmas month)
  • offer a ‘once-a-month deduct your bill‘ customer day
  • offer once a year billing

The point is to realize, customers are struggling to make ends meet too. Rather than viewing them as a ‘money tree‘ and ripe, for harvesting them for every dollar. Take a step back and see, how can a business make their life easier, and, grow loyal customers?

Learning in Action

Extra Reading

Giving Incentives for Referrals 

13 Tips: Getting the Most out Attending a Trade Show or Trade Event

10 Online Customer Attraction Techniques You Should Zone in on in 2015

I hope you found this article informative and gained some new insight. Please feel free to share with others! Use the ‘Ask a Question’ form to make a request on a topic of your own interest. I hope you visit again for more informative articles coming soon.

Article(C)2009 – current AIC| An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills and development, health, science, technology and society, and enjoys advocating for social justice, security, and, a better world for all of us. She works as a VEA to help businesses operate more effectively.

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