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Starting a Word Processing Business

Vital Information Start-up Investment: Low - $1500 (personal computer, good laser printer) High - $165,000 (several full-time employees, 3 months salaries, equipment and rent) Break-even time - Two to six months Estimate of Annual Revenue and Profit Revenue $25,000 - $400,000 (solo at low end, with twenty full-time employees at high end) Profit (Pre-tax) - $15,000 - $200,000

If you're looking for a home-based business that's easy to start-or if you want to expand the business you've got-keep your eye on word processing. Word processing is a home-office enterprise that requires only the most minimal requirements for capital outlay and training; demand is great and lasting.

Since it's easy to start a word-processing business, competition for customers can be tough. You either have to flood your market with advertising or find a niche where you can build your reputation.

For a business that's so easy to start and requires little more than a computer and a word-processing program, word processing offers many potential areas of expansion. With a word-processing base, you can offer general clerical, desktop-publishing, or medical-transcription services. And, if you get so much business coming in you can't handle it all yourself, you can hire independent contractors and turn your focus to marketing.

Before you begin this business, it’s important to do your homework. Find out what is the software program of choice in today's business community. You will want your computer system to be compatible with your clients. Next, look at the make-up of your industrial area, an arts community, a thriving business area? By checking out the demographics of your area, you can make a decision regarding the type of advertising you want to use.

One telephone call will be the only opportunity you have to sell your service. If you hesitate when asked a price for a particular project, you'll probably lose the job so do your homework. Call the competition, ask what they are charging.

Keep in mind that there are a myriad of documents that need to be typed: business letters, envelopes, forms, tables, screen plays, resumes, etc. It will be possible to set a basic rate -- a flat rate for double or single spaced pages -- but don't lock yourself in over the phone! Clients may not be accurately describing the type of work they want you to do. Your pricing will have to change as you become more familiar with what your clients demand. You may find yourself doing a lot of list maintenance and merge letters or you may be doing work primarily for doctors, or attorneys. Have a good basis for your pricing but be flexible.

As the demand for your services grows, you will have to make a number of difficult decisions. Do you want to move out of your home and into an office? Do you have the work to warrant hiring a part or full-time employees or use subcontractors? There’s an upside and downside to each of these options. If you opt to open an outside office, you lose the convenience of working at home.

But staying in the home has its own set of headaches. How convenient is your location for your clients? Is there plenty of parking? Where do you put your new employees as you grow? Do you have the capital to provide the additional equipment for the employee’s use? And are you ready to be less available to the occasional client showing up on your doorstep after hours, on weekends, or even on a holiday? When you have an office at home, you may find yourself having a difficult time getting away from your work. You hear the telephone ring after hours, and if you're short of work, you may want to take the call even if it's midnight.

An office outside the home will allow you to separate your work from your home-life, but means you aren't available when the kids come home from school, you have to commute to the office, and you will not have the flexibility to work at odd hours to finish outside a project that is coming due. Also, setting up an office outside the home will increase your overhead dramatically.

So in line with these considerations, conditions and factors, the word processing business still remains to be seen as a lucrative business for you at home. Whether going big or remaining mediocre with your business is a decision up to you. Yet this is a good home business with lot of revenue.

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