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Boring Business (don’t bother reading)

ChrisV

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Go for it... honestly most of the multimillionaire I know do something dumb like own companies that make straws, or wood chips or sell cantaloupe seeds or something boring. It's not all iPhones and Teslas... those are just the guys who get the most spotlight because they're doing something interesting... most of the money goes to boring stuff
 

CareCPA

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Add in all the other stuff that is consumable - HVAC filters, water filters, etc. All the stuff that people forget when they're at the store, and don't want to make a special trip just for one thing.
 

Rabby

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Around here, Florida, the guys who put in water systems usually offer to deliver salt. But if yours don't, maybe you can make a deal with them for new customers. Or if they do, maybe they would rather have you do it, who knows. I like @CareCPA s idea of other consumables... also, there's a sediment filter on some water systems that keeps the grit out of the resin tanks. You have to turn a (rather hefty) valve to flush it out, and sometimes take the little filter out and clean it with a toothbrush. Might be too much for some people.
 

Walter Hay

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@jpanarra It seems that you have hit on a lovely boring side hustle that could turn into something very lucrative.

I can see you subcontracting plumbers to install your brand of softeners, filters, and who knows what else. Just don't limit prospects of expansion by giving your business a regional name. Think BIG.

Walter
 

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Most businesses are theoretically boring.

If you are at home now just look around the room you are in.

As in literally look at everything.

Boring stuff. That someone has produced and sold. :)

Your idea is nice and simple.

I would go the flyer to neighbour route in conjunction with @Rabby's idea of approaching suppliers.

A good start would be whoever you got yours from as they presumably did not offer you the option as they don't have it as an option.

You would therefore be adding value to the suppliers offerings to their customers without having to sell anything but the idea to the supplier. (Call it a proposal when you phone them)

Dan
 
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jpanarra

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I know its a 'boring' topic, it was a bit of sarcasm on my part.

@Walter Hay good to hear from you again!

I've learned from my business attempts in the past, I've accepted and taken on way too much all at once only to have it all overwhelm me and get almost nowhere with any of it.

I'm noticing that the issue with hunger and motivation is I tend to overindulge instead of pacing myself and doing small wins and trying to compound on it. Right now I'm going to approach this as a small side hustle without investing much time into a website, logo, and digital sales.

I'm going to go at this a bit old fashioned, I'm doing the direct to mail campaign of only maybe 200-400 people. Probably set up a plain landing page for people to sign up, pay and subscribe.
 

Kak

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G-Man

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Love it - when I lived in Indiana my neighborhood had a lot of elderly people, and once I carried water softener salt from the car to the basement for one little old lady, all the rest had my number. Honestly you could even do it delivery route style at first. Drive around with a flat bed full of the stuff bought at wholesale, knock on doors and walk it down to the basement until the truck is empty. You can get customers this way until the book is big enough to do a bi-weekly route.

Add driveway salt starting in late November and give it a sprinkle while you're on site.

I'd start with aging neighborhoods. You can make some money and provide a valuable service to your elders. Sounds like a damn good business to me.
 
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jpanarra

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@Kak good to hear from you again!

Off the bat I'll probably use Costco until I have enough clients that give me enough confidence that its a solid proof of concept which that'll justify the switch over to wholesale and buy a truck/wrap, direct mail with a SBA Loan.

@G-Man great to see you!

Exactly what I'm thinking, I'm going to design/print out a few flyers on the cheap and drop them off in mailboxes on a Saturday in elderly neighborhoods. Probably could target Facebook users over 60 as well with an ad. Goal right now is just to get 10 clients, which is just $320 in for all the salt then i'll walk away with 200$/mo in profit.
 

Kak

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@Kak good to hear from you again!

Off the bat I'll probably use Costco until I have enough clients that give me enough confidence that its a solid proof of concept which that'll justify the switch over to wholesale and buy a truck/wrap, direct mail with a SBA Loan.

@G-Man great to see you!

Exactly what I'm thinking, I'm going to design/print out a few flyers on the cheap and drop them off in mailboxes on a Saturday in elderly neighborhoods. Probably could target Facebook users over 60 as well with an ad. Goal right now is just to get 10 clients, which is just $320 in for all the salt then i'll walk away with 200$/mo in profit.
You might be doing that backwards a little bit. Trying to profit from the salt they are already able to buy themselves is going to be harder. Maybe prove the concept with introductory prices that barely make you anything and then widen your margins with wholesale salt asap.

A tote of liquid weighs ~2500 or so pounds net. So it would be a little less with salt. That is pretty easily towable with a small utility trailer and anything that has a hitch. That shouldn't be that expensive a couple of grand. Hope you have at least a crossover SUV.

I think customer acquisition will be way easier if you were also similarly priced to the DIY alternative for 3 months and then go up to your wider margins. The cool part is Costco is probably making pretty good money on the salt. Money you could be making.

I like capitalizing on their day to day laziness "ah shit I don't want to go to the hardware store and do that today" and getting them to commit to 12 months, 9 of which will be at full price. You could also do first month free with a 12 month plan. That checks it off their list for that month.

Do you know the pricing delta between costco salt and a tote on a unitary basis?
 

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SteveO

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I worked for a company that had a salt route back in 1977. I loaded up a flatbed 1 ton truck every day and delivered the salt to houses and businesses around san diego. I loaded the salt tanks to a certain level and left the remainder in a neat stack next to the system. I would also alert the company if it looked like there was a problem.

I got so good at this that I could open the top of the bags as I flipped them off my shoulder and fill the tank in one motion. It was a fun job.

Soon I was moved into the service department. So I agree with @Walter Hay that this could lead to more.
 

NursingTn

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I love it.

So much good pearls of wisdom from everyone in this thread.

This thread helped me realized I got loads of hardware trash (old phones, batteries, whatever) that I wish I can dispose of in an environmentally friendly manner. I'd have to make a 30 minutes commute to properly recycle them. I wonder how many people are like me, finding it inconvenient, feeling too lazy, whatever? I'd pay for someone to get rid of the crap for me.

Might be a good side hustle.
 

G-Man

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You might be doing that backwards a little bit. Trying to profit from the salt they are already able to buy themselves is going to be harder. Maybe prove the concept with introductory prices that barely make you anything and then widen your margins with wholesale salt asap.

A tote of liquid weighs ~2500 or so pounds net. So it would be a little less with salt. That is pretty easily towable with a small utility trailer and anything that has a hitch. That shouldn't be that expensive a couple of grand. Hope you have at least a crossover SUV.

I think customer acquisition will be way easier if you were also similarly priced to the DIY alternative for 3 months and then go up to your wider margins. The cool part is Costco is probably making pretty good money on the salt. Money you could be making.

I like capitalizing on their day to day laziness "ah shit I don't want to go to the hardware store and do that today" and getting them to commit to 12 months, 9 of which will be at full price. You could also do first month free with a 12 month plan. That checks it off their list for that month.

Do you know the pricing delta between costco salt and a tote on a unitary basis?
It's not just laziness. For elderly people, it's more about the anxiety that certain tasks induce. You're basically selling peace of mind.

@Kak is probably right about not being able to mark up the price though. Salt is a commodity. People are weirdly price sensitive about price on stuff like that even if it's in the context of a value added service.
 

Raoul Duke

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Find out exactly what is needed each month. Find a supplier and buy at bulk. Buy and fill those bags with the salt you just bought. Then deliver.

 

WJK

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There are many good businesses that are just not sexy. So, you've found a good bread-and-butter one. Put on your bland face and do the work. Say, "Yes, Sir" and "yes, 'Mam" to your customers with a smile. And then let yourself smile all the way to the bank. When people ask you how you're doing, tell them you're OK. If you tell them what you do, their eyes will glaze over and they'll stop asking. And that's your advantage. Quietly take your earnings and build your investment nest egg -- while the people around you are out having a good time spending their money. Those "spenders" won't even notice you while you leave them behind in the dust. But, they'll sure be mad when they figure out that you've made your fortune while they weren't looking.
 

Lee H

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Could you offer this as a managed service? You could add on related services such as filter replacement, driveway salting etc. as you grow.

Then systemise the business, have checklists and guides for doing the different elements. Then recruit staff to do the leg work while you run and promote the business.

Once it's working in one area look at options to either expand or franchise.

Turn a simple "dull" business into a CENTS business!
 

NMdad

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Another angle to consider is with some hydronic heating systems (AKA radiant floor heat), the 1/4" tubing in the floors can get clogged with hard water, making the entire heating system less efficient, potentially corroding the tubing, etc. So, plumbers who specialize in hydronic heating systems & boilers could be another sales channel.
 
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jpanarra

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So many ideas to elaborate on this 'boring' topic...

The biggest challenge is not the route you could take, but how to get your first 10 repeat customers.

How can I get 10?

Door to Door Sales? Flyers? Cold Calling random homes?

Since this is a subscription model-type of idea. Which gives me Monthly Recurring revenue making it easier on figuring out which direction to take based on expenses and ROI. Once I have a steady stream of net positive cash, I can easily justify 80% net income to go towards google/Facebook ads till the cash flow needs adjusting. Before I do that, I must get 5-10 customers signed up.

My Thoughts:
Don't need a website yet, maybe set a Facebook page and make it into a point of contact instead of a phone number(I'm deaf, I'll suck at answering phones).

I have a pretty crappy printer already, picture will come out smeared as F. Kinkos/staples prints out 250 pages of paper for 160$, might as well pick up a printer and paper for that price and print em in black and white and take my bike and drop it off every 250 house over the weekend or something.
 

biophase

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I used to hate buying salt and carrying it home. I hated it so much that I gave my water softener to @SteveO .

As with any heavy product, the buying and carrying it home is the worse part.

I looked into getting the salt delivery service but ultimately I didn’t think my water was that hard that I needed it.
 

Successful Steve

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That sounds like a good idea. I have propane tanks delivered by a delivery company bc I’m too lazy to get my own.
 

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Lee H

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That sounds like a good idea. I have propane tanks delivered by a delivery company bc I’m too lazy to get my own.
Exactly. The OP shouldn't just focus on people who can't do this themselves, but sell the benefits to those that don't want to or can't be bothered doing it themselves!
 
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jpanarra

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@Raoul Duke You got it.

Right now I'm doing some cost breakdowns, market targeting ( which neighborhoods), and designing a flyer that can be printed out in black and white.

I'm thinking about hitting about 250 houses, and mostly in the upper middle class neighborhoods. Where people can justify time saved over a 50$ loss, and there is a tendency of people in their 50-70s in those neighborhoods as well that'll benefit from this.

The timeline although will be starting next Monday because I'm headed out to NJ for a trip to visit family (this has been planned months in advance).

Once I return, I'll be printing out said flyers with a plain home office printer in black and white. Then one day I'll be walking through the neighborhoods with dropping the flyer off with my kid on a bike or something. Haven't settled on a delivery route just yet.
 

Raoul Duke

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@Raoul Duke You got it.

Right now I'm doing some cost breakdowns, market targeting ( which neighborhoods), and designing a flyer that can be printed out in black and white.

I'm thinking about hitting about 250 houses, and mostly in the upper middle class neighborhoods. Where people can justify time saved over a 50$ loss, and there is a tendency of people in their 50-70s in those neighborhoods as well that'll benefit from this.

The timeline although will be starting next Monday because I'm headed out to NJ for a trip to visit family (this has been planned months in advance).

Once I return, I'll be printing out said flyers with a plain home office printer in black and white. Then one day I'll be walking through the neighborhoods with dropping the flyer off with my kid on a bike or something. Haven't settled on a delivery route just yet.
Look into the usps tool. Every Door Direct Mail - Targeted Mail Marketing | USPS
 
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jpanarra

jpanarra

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Oh wow! Massive value in that tool.


I'm looking at pricing for it, I'll be hitting maybe 600 people for almost 300$ and thats the minimum entry investment. This is something of an experiment where I can try to start it from the ground up. I already have 1k sheets of paper sitting at home, I could print them out and just drop them off one by one until i start getting some revenue then the cost of time invested makes complete sense to drop some postcards using the PO EDEM.
 
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SteveO

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The majority of companies that provide this salt delivery service have more to their company. The primary business may be sales and/or service of water softeners. The delivery is a way of keeping in touch. It also allows you to look for problems and test the water. Maybe even be 1st on the list for replacement units.

I worked for a guy and his wife that sold water softeners for a living. They had a few sales reps that worked on 100% commission. The wife manned the phones while he worked as a sales rep or did pr. I did all the installs and service. Seemed like a decent business for them.

I wonder if the salt delivery would be better as a secondary part of the business.
 

Jeff Noel

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I probably won't help you at all, but your "boring business" (which is a really interesting idea) made me think about the de-icing salt industry. I know our city struggles big time during winter, either through mismanagement (salting the streets when there's a foot of snow on the ground) or just lack of trucks.
I've been trying to find a more efficient mix that could reduce the melting/dillution speed of the salt once it's on the ground, so the ice wouldn't form too quickly after application.
 

YoungPadawan

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FYI, don't put flyers into mailboxes. It's property of the postal service and is illegal. Go for the doorway area instead.

Also, have you ever heard about electric water descalers?
 

Veloman

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I used to hate buying salt and carrying it home. I hated it so much that I gave my water softener to @SteveO .

As with any heavy product, the buying and carrying it home is the worse part.
My mind just went to cat litter. hmmm
 

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