Recession-busting home businesses ideas

Times are tough for everyone at the moment and many South Africans are looking for ways to boost their income with after-hour (or full-time) home businesses, says Claire Cobbledick, head of Marketing for Gumtree South Africa.

“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in home businesses as belts are tightening. Demand for these services has also increased, because home-based businesses are able to offer their services at a decreased price as overheads are much lower. It’s a great solution for stay at home moms or pensioners that do not want to re-enter the formal workplace or entrepreneurs who do not have the means to rent a premises.”

Doggy day-care/grooming
If you love dogs and have a lot of patience and skills, you may want to look into doggy day care. “Dogs require companionship and can become quite destructive if left at home all day, which is why many working pet owners are happy to pay someone to look after their furkids while they are at the office,” says Cobbledick. “If you have plenty of garden space (and neighbours who are willing to oblige) this is a great line of business. Dog groomers (particularly mobile ones) are also in vogue – it saves the stress of going to a parlour and is usually a bit cheaper.”
Just make sure that your business isn’t too disruptive. “A big pack of dogs can create a lot of noise and your neighbours will be within their rights to lodge a complaint about your business if they bark all day or if you let hygiene slide. Make sure that you are able to walk the pets in your care and preferably warn the postman!”

Cash injection potential: R50-R250 per day for day-care / R150-R200 per grooming session

Housesitting is another popular business on Gumtree, particularly for pensioners and students who have free time during the holidays. “It might be a little harder to get started with this business – it requires a lot of trust from the home owner. Make sure that you have contactable references and a great ad. It helps if you are able to perform services such as pet sitting and minimal gardening. Once you’ve been going for a while, you’ll soon find lots of repeat business and recommendations.”

Cash injection potential: R150 – R250 per day

Mobile salon and beauty treatments
A lot of people simply do not have the time to make it to their local salon during business hours, which is why savvy and skilled beauty and massage therapists and hairdressers are making a killing after hours with their mobile salons. “Many beauty parlours and salons require that you purchase your own products anyway, so this is a good way of supplementing your income and using your skills to your advantage. It does require a bit of capital to build up products, but once you’re set up, your running costs are fairly low. You can work from home or meet clients at their homes and businesses. Make sure that you calculate your travel costs carefully and charge a surplus for outlying areas to keep your profit margins healthy.”

Cash injection potential: R120 – R850 per client depending on treatment

Driver for hire
Applying for a Professional Driving Permit (PDP) enables you to act as a driver for hire – for any occasion. “Good drivers are always needed for parties, rugby matches, the school run or errands. If you have a roomy car and a professional driving permit, you are good to go. New Year’s is a particularly lucrative day, but you have the potential to earn money year-round for this.”

Cash injection potential: Dependent on distance and duration

Anyone who has ever guiltily relegated a “project” to the corner of the house will testify that sometimes it’s just easier to get a handyman in to do the little jobs you’ve been meaning to get to. “Hanging pictures, changing plugs, fixing up skirting boards, painting and all the other odd jobs that we end up putting off because we don’t have the time or the right tools call for a home handyman. If you have some plumbing or electrical skills on top of DIY work, you will never be short of clients. Don’t forget to charge for materials and wear and tear on your tools though!”

Cash injection potential: R150 per hour plus call-out fees and materials (more for plumbing/electrical jobs)

(If you are looking for on call plumber in Fairfield, check the website of Silver Water Plumbing)

Cobbledick says that Gumtree has thousands of home-based services listed on the site, which is why it’s important to keep your business top of mind. “Pay to bump up your ads every now and again. Include pictures and examples of previous work. And always respond to queries in a timeous fashion – downloading the app provides access to instant messaging, which literally allows you to respond to a client in seconds.”

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