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HOT TOPIC Boring or Terrible Service Businesses that Have the Potential for Fastlaners...

LamboKing

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I see tons of people raving about starting a new digital marketing/consulting business, or an app, drop shopping, affiliate work from home business, but no too much of boring businesses that have the potential to become a fast lane.

I wanted to brainstorm here and see if you lost everything except what you knew today, what type of business what you start or where do you see a lot of ideas that need execution.

Asking because I will admit I’m on the freeway hitting 0-3 mph in the fast lane and trying to get help where I’m failing at. Not trying to start the next Nike or Facebook, but it would be nice to have a business that adds value to a lot of people.
 

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LamboKing

LamboKing

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For example, the dry cleaners I live around have terrible service and ridiculous prices. If someone could come in and make the Netflix of dry cleaners with better prices and courteous service, there would definitely be some competition.

Another field I’m curious in is the landscaping/mowing industry. People are always looking for someone to cut their yard, why not do a better job than yelp and provide them with the best mowers in their area where they can see before and after pictures, rates, and save mowers the time of passing out business cards door to door?

Another I see is school safety. Specifically the bullet proof backpacks I feel are too costly and not as effective for the price? Maybe there could be skewers that could provide a better, cheaper alternative?

These are just some ideas I’m throwing out there but not sure if they have any potential?
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Seems to me a lot of service, locally based companies have poor CS.

In the other thread I mentioned I've been calling around for a surveyor. Only 1 responded promptly. One responded weeks later, and the others, not at all. And it isn't a small job.
 
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LamboKing

LamboKing

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Seems to me a lot of service, locally based companies have poor CS.

In the other thread I mentioned I've been calling around for a surveyor. Only 1 responded promptly. One responded weeks later, and the others, not at all. And it isn't a small job.
Reminds me of when my family ac went out. We called 7 local companies, 4 were too busy/didn’t answer and 3 came over to give a quote. 2 wanted to charge us around $1200 to change a $20 capacitor that takes less than 5 minutes to install. The last one charged a fair price (much less than $1200) and checked/added Freon.

Glad you chimed in. Feel I’m on to something. I could check a few local companies and skew something from those with poor service/CS.

Thanks!
 

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Just about any type of labor could be a candidate. Most of these guys are total hacks, and of those that aren't, are typically bad at business.

More often than not, just being persistent sets you apart. Our landscaper kept leaving cards at the gate. Eventually I called him, and the dude does a good job keeping the yard clean once a month for $50.
 

AlessioLC

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To be honest i do think all local services (not all are bad but there's something to upgrade in each of them) can reach the fastlane, it just depends if you're willing to learn how to market your business (when others are not), to manage the financial side of it, the human ressources (which nowadays is complicated, experience talking)..

I haven't started a service business yet, even more when it's about residencial maintenance, but some friends are working in this space and there's plenty of room to be successful.
Mainly if you start a business that add more value to the employees
 

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I have a friend in the landscaping and property maintenance business. I wouldn't want his business, not because of the poor earnings as it is well paid, but because of all the hassle and grind associated with it. I've had quite a lot of businesses over the years, several in the local services niche.

Yes you can certainly do a better job as you will not have the apathy coming in fresh that someone who has had a decade or more in the business has. But you will run into all the issues that have ground them down to the point where they offer just average services.

The most difficult one of the lot is finding good, solid reliable workers. Those that are good will need paying very well to keep them and are few and far between so get poached. Those that are excellent will set up in opposition to you within 2 years (and take a good percentage of your customer base with them). And all the rest you will wish you hadn't employed in the first place as they will let you down at every opportunity (despite you giving them loads of chances because you are finding it so difficult getting a replacement).

This IMHO is why you see:

tons of people raving about starting a new digital marketing/consulting business, or an app, drop shopping, affiliate work from home business
:smile2:
 
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GSF

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I have a friend in the landscaping and property maintenance business. I wouldn't want his business, not because of the poor earning as it is well paid but because of all the hassle and grind associated with it. I've had quite a lot of businesses over the years, several in the local services niche.

Yes you can certainly do a better job as you will not have the apathy coming in fresh that someone who has had a decade or more in the business has. But you will run into all the issues that have ground them down to the point where they offer just average services.

The most difficult one of the lot is finding good, solid reliable workers. Those that are good will need paying very well to keep them and are few and far between so get poached. Those that are excellent will set up in opposition to you within 2 years (and take a good percentage of your customer base with them). And all the rest you will wish you hadn't employed in the first place as they will let you down at every opportunity (despite you giving them loads of chances because you are finding it so difficult getting a replacement).

This IMHO is why you see:



:smile2:
well said, from my experience I agree.
 

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What about bringing modern era / digital technologies to the boring, inefficient industries, without having to get your hands dirty. Instead of fighting the grind of running one of these businesses better than the competitors, what about providing a more efficient marketplace for customers to find the best businesses in those industries?

On this note, an episode of the "Side Hustle School" podcast on an "Uber for Lawn Care" business really stuck with me as a great idea - “Uber for Lawn Care” Mows Down the Competition | Side Hustle School
 

GSF

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Sounds like it's time for industry disruption.
The need and opportunity is huge, people increasingly have less time for house work/ fixing stuff. There's no amazon of home services although someday I'm sure they'll crack it.

I've mentioned these guys before : fantastic services, they went from 0-£25m revenue in 5 years without investment funding doing simple services like cleaning gardening etc in London, franchise model using modern tech to book jobs.
 
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LamboKing

LamboKing

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What about bringing modern era / digital technologies to the boring, inefficient industries, without having to get your hands dirty. Instead of fighting the grind of running one of these businesses better than the competitors, what about providing a more efficient marketplace for customers to find the best businesses in those industries?

On this note, an episode of the "Side Hustle School" podcast on an "Uber for Lawn Care" business really stuck with me as a great idea - “Uber for Lawn Care” Mows Down the Competition | Side Hustle School
That’s definitely where I’m aiming to bring to the table. A better executed idea that provides better service for the consumer.
 

Lex DeVille

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AlessioLC

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The most difficult one of the lot is finding good, solid reliable workers. Those that are good will need paying very well to keep them and are few and far between so get poached.
This is the main problem of this industry, my friend is not well paid and not happy because his boss is a d* with him and his team.

Also, the new generation is much more connected and is more willing to learn to code than to learn a manual skill and launch a business in this field, maybe they think they are too good for this, they're just so much money to do.
It's the same in the food industry, we are constantly searching for new employees, they are not motivated, not willing to do the minimum to earn their salary, only those who have a passion for the craft are staying.

At least if you're not the entrepreneur that want to create the big business, you can create yourself easily a job. (small size business)
 

smithsta

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I started a ‘boring/unsexy’ local service business 3 months ago. Actually I trialled it for 2 months, offered the service to 30+ people for free for 2 months. It’s a unique service business but it’s something we do on a monthly basis, or should do anyway.

In the 3rd month now and I’m working on website/payment system and they’re messaging me asking when I will be around next and when can they sign up.

I’ve actually documented my journey by video, voice recording and journaling. Have been thinking about writing a progress thread.

There’s certainly opportunity everywhere for local service businesses, especially if you can think outside the box and implement technology and systems.
 

Lex DeVille

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I started a ‘boring/unsexy’ local service business 3 months ago. Actually I trialled it for 2 months, offered the service to 30+ people for free for 2 months. It’s a unique service business but it’s something we do on a monthly basis, or should do anyway.

In the 3rd month now and I’m working on website/payment system and they’re messaging me asking when I will be around next and when can they sign up.

I’ve actually documented my journey by video, voice recording and journaling. Have been thinking about writing a progress thread.

There’s certainly opportunity everywhere for local service businesses, especially if you can think outside the box and implement technology and systems.
You definitely should. I'll keep an eye out for it. Progress threads by people already in action are the best. :)
 

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I read about a girl in Ireland who created a drain inspection service and was clearing millions with a full-blown company a few years later. She had a really effective approach and got the best gear. Basically crushed the few slow old-school competitors that previously had the market.
 

MidwestLandlord

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Pretty much any "blue collar" industry has massive opportunities I think.

Here's an example (gotta be a bit vague to not give away this guy's product):

Business neighbor of mine was a salesman for a service company that does a certain type of manual labor for houses.

He saw that these guys used tools that caused the work to be back-breaking (literally), and the systems in this industry hadn't really changed, well...ever.

So he invented a tool that saves time and the health of the workers back. An amazingly simple device that costs about $10 to make, and he sells them for $74.99

A trade show, some samples given out, a nice website and some youtube videos and he's selling 10+ per day less than a week after going live. 6 months later and he's got a huge bankroll...

Now he's working on getting workman's comp carriers to offer discounts to companies that use his device.

He has now also invented another product for this industry. Again, one that saves people's spines. This one costs about $1,500 to make, and sells for $6,500-$10,000 depending on the model.

He's selling 2-3 a week.

Of course this is an example of supporting the "blue collar" businesses, but there is tremendous opportunity with operating service businesses too, because no one wants to get their hands dirty and lot's of blue collar business owner's have little business sense.
 

minivanman

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I have my hand in several very small businesses. Let's take the lawn care business. The one I'm connected with only does mowing/trimming/edging/blowing. I've brought in right around 1800 calls this year for service.... unfortunately, no one wants to work so we have less than 10% of that many customers. Now mind you, I am not aware of what happens on a daily basis in this business. All I do is bring in the potential customers. No clue what is happening daily. But I do know the guy is nice so it's not because he is being a d!ck.

So let me break it down to you what all that means..... it is a product of supply and demand. When we have 1800 people wanting service but can only service less than 10% of those people, he can get away with not doing the work like it should be done. Now I have NO IDEA if the work is great or if it sucks. Customer retention is great so it must be good, on the other hand, maybe the customers stick with him because he shows up each time. But if he has so much work he can't keep up with hundreds of people waiting in line and 0 good workers willing to work.... what is your solution to that? I'm all for it. I'll go WAY above and beyond my regular $1000 to put in for a business if you have the solution to that problem.

It's the same way in the cleaning business and all the other service businesses.

By the way, the Amazon for this is Thumbtack. But how does something like Thumbtack really help? We had almost 1800 calls yet no workers to service that many people. Getting the customers is not the problem.
 

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LamboKing

LamboKing

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So let me break it down to you what all that means..... it is a product of supply and demand. When we have 1800 people wanting service but can only service less than 10% of those people, he can get away with not doing the work like it should be done. Now I have NO IDEA if the work is great or if it sucks. Customer retention is great so it must be good, on the other hand, maybe the customers stick with him because he shows up each time. But if he has so much work he can't keep up with hundreds of people waiting in line and 0 good workers willing to work.... what is your solution to that? I'm all for it. I'll go WAY above and beyond my regular $1000 to put in for a business if you have the solution to that problem.
Well I would love to have your problem, seems like an opportunity I could solve.

Duplicating his services with individuals or similar smaller companies that will work by providing better incentives (i.e. better pay, more work yet flexible hours, and other incentives that would attract better workers). To ensure the consumer gets quality service, enforce a inspection before payout system similar to vanguard/wsp (i.e. you cut the yard terrible or show up late = reduction in pay). I’m sure this would be trial and error, but it’s a trial I would love to get my hands dirty in.
 
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LamboKing

LamboKing

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I read about a girl in Ireland who created a drain inspection service and was clearing millions with a full-blown company a few years later. She had a really effective approach and got the best gear. Basically crushed the few slow old-school competitors that previously had the market.
This is my goal ^^^

Even though I haven’t executed into business just yet, I followed what MJ Demarco said for lazy asses on the couch lol...smothered myself into sales.

Learned the ups and downs, how to talk to people, closing the deal, copywriting, etc.

For almost a year and a half I have been flipping and selling a variety of items I find. Sold about $25,000 with a 80% profit margin (about 20k). A guy decides to sell their Toyota Tacoma and Tundra parts for $50 because it’s taking too much space, and I end up selling just one of their spoilers for $150.

A lot of customers would tell me that what brought them to my ad or posting was the Title (copywrite), the pictures, and that I answered my phone immediately when they were ready to buy. This has resulted in repeat customers.

Thinking about taking a similar approach with a boring yet potential business.

I don’t bring the best skills to the table or have Twitter venture capital funding, but relentless human capital (myself) to bring to the table. Also pretty good in sales, web design (thanks Fox), and making sure customers have better customer service.
 

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Well I would love to have your problem, seems like an opportunity I could solve.
Looking at this from an outsiders point of view I can see your enthusiasm, however you have yet to experience the sheer frustration of running a business that has great difficulty finding and keeping reliable staff and all the knock on effects this has on time schedules, customer service, complaints etc. etc..

If you are thinking of doing an Uber where you supply the work and subcontractors complete the jobs, then, to me at least, this becomes a marketing/internet business which is what your origional posting is expressly trying to differentiate itself from. Or am I wrong?
 
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LamboKing

LamboKing

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Found some more potential needs/issues in my neighborhood.

There’s a site called next door, which basically connects neighbors together and is like Facebook.

Well after going through many discussions of my neighborhood, I see 3 constant issues pop up:

- “I lost my pet”. Dogs, cats, even a parrot have gone missing and people are frantically searching for their beloved pets. Potential to create a local app that users can post pictures or ads of their lost pets and set rewards that people that who find them could receive?

- “Who can cut my yard”? Another potential idea I and others touched above.

- “There’s a croc at the lake/someone broke into my vehicle”. Safety and concern. Even though some neighbors have ring doorbell, most complain that it’s a catch .22 at times (read a post where someone said last week someone stole loose change in their car, and the ring floodlights were acting up and didn’t record any footage).

Not sure how to tackle this one?
 

RazorCut

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I don’t bring the best skills to the table or have Twitter venture capital funding, but relentless human capital (myself) to bring to the table. Also pretty good in sales, web design (thanks Fox), and making sure customers have better customer service.
Great work. It’s good to get your feet wet and gain some real trench experience.

What niche are you considering? I know a guy that makes very nice coin doing garage clearances. He probably gets between 500 to 1000% on his purchase. Customers love him as he clears the whole garage out and they get paid for the privilege. He goes through all the items and advertises the items on ebay/Craig list/local paper classified ads. Lots of power tools, chain saws, lawn mowers as you can imagine which if they don’t work he breaks down for parts and makes a lot of extra money selling.

There is certainly scope to expand that form of business.
 
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LamboKing

LamboKing

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Looking at this from an outsiders point of view I can see your enthusiasm, however you have yet to experience the sheer frustration of running a business that has great difficulty finding and keeping reliable staff and all the knock on effects this has on time schedules, customer service, complaints etc. etc..

If you are thinking of doing an Uber where you supply the work and subcontractors complete the jobs, then, to me at least, this becomes a marketing/internet business which is what your origional posting is expressly trying to differentiate itself from. Or am I wrong?
I don’t expect it to be easy, but I’m open to the idea of a Uber approach if the market calls for it. IMO feels like it would have to branch off or franchise off to more contractors, yet the service needs to be the same at every home (I.e. just like how a McDonald’s burger is made practically the same at every location). I remember in the Emyth and MJ mentioned awhile back about how getting haircut from a barber should be the same good customer service, and not walking in with a kid screaming or a barber deciding to different off the wall cut.

My point was kind of looking for that boring or business that could be improved or done much better, and avoiding these hot new trendy business a new guru proposes (buy my $999 social media agency program and in two weeks you’ll have 200k a month, or download profit bandit and make 10k/month FBA amazon).

I want to avoid those “$1 gets me in to make millions with ease” business, and get into a business that needs work, but is possible to change and improve the lives of others. It could be as simple as walking dogs for a busy owner, but If someone is willing to give $15-20 dollars an hour to walk their dog, then I’m game for it.
 

minivanman

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Well I would love to have your problem, seems like an opportunity I could solve.

Duplicating his services with individuals or similar smaller companies that will work by providing better incentives (i.e. better pay, more work yet flexible hours, and other incentives that would attract better workers). To ensure the consumer gets quality service, enforce a inspection before payout system similar to vanguard/wsp (i.e. you cut the yard terrible or show up late = reduction in pay). I’m sure this would be trial and error, but it’s a trial I would love to get my hands dirty in.
Let's do it. What business do you want to start today? I can bring in the customers. You have the worker problem figured out and I have the customer problem figured out so within 2 years, we should have this thing rollin! Just like anything else though, we need to do it today. I have anxiety so it gets to me to wait.
 
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LamboKing

LamboKing

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Sounds good to me! I suffered a similar issue (analysis paralysis and constantly wondering if it’s a business I should pursue), but any idea with 0 execution = no execution.

If I could start a business today I would love pursue the school safety problem. Creating gear that would could potentially reduce injury during an shooting, etc. Could bring in parents as customers or provide discounted rates for school districts.

Or pursue a similar business like the lawn business mentioned above (similar to Uber approach, but acting small while appearing big). Bringing consumers and customers together or handling customer service for these blue collar or unappealing fast lane potential businesses.

Let me give you an example:

We are Top Notch Survey and Landscape Inc. We carefully screen and monitor the performance of the landscapers and surveyors that join our business, making sure they are licensed and bonded, and highly reviewed.

MJ gives us a call...

We answer, find out what MJ needs are and we find the best surveyors in our Rolodex of surveyors...

We go a step above and ask MJ does he mind if we send 2-3 surveyors to his home.

2-3 surveyors visit his home within 2-3 days, survey the land, upload pictures to our database of MJ’s home (sq feet, estimate of how long it will take, etc), and we handle the customer service side.

Us: Hi MJ, we wanted to follow up with you and ask are you interested in “Unscripted survey r us” or “Slowlane Landscaping” for your project?

MJ agrees to Unscripted Survey R Us and commits to a deposit which we release to contractors once they complete xyz

We handle the customer service side, providing a time window of progress every step to MJ. We send pictures (even though it’s his home), updates, and and issues along the way.

MJ calls and says “I’m going to be at the fast lane summit in 3 days, don’t come on a Wednesday”. The messages is delivered to the contractors.

MJ has a concern about the service. He doesn’t get a secretary that tells him everyday the manager is in a meeting. He gets a response the same day.

He doesn’t get a press 1 for this, or a annoying fax machine beep. An actual person responds or handles the emails appropriately.



Basically providing customer or product service is my goal
 

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You've solved customer service, but you're not hearing what people are telling you about having trouble finding quality workers. Yes, excellent customer service is a weak spot for many of these types of jobs, but that could be because the business is already operating at capacity.

@minivanman has specifically mentioned 2-3 times now that he has 1,800 customers but only capacity for 180 of them. Why doesn't the business he partners with hire more people to handle the rest of the available customers? They can't.

If you could tell a business "I can promise you a reliable worker who will show up on time, every day, and stay with you for at least a year" you'll have people knocking your door down. Solve that problem, and you can serve every niche. Maybe technology solves that problem (so 1 person can do the job of 3), or maybe employees need better benefits and pay, better training, and more flexibility with their hours.

Some businesses struggle to find and retain clients. You don't want to serve them - they can't afford you. You want to find the business who has more customers than he can handle and help him figure out how to scale up effectively.
 

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