Steps to take to start a retirement business
The purpose of a retirement business is to earn enough money to supplement our retirement income. It is not to build another business with employees, long hours of work, and risking our capital. That is what a startup business is for younger people. You want to start a retirement business instead. That is different.
We seniors do not have the same physical capabilities as we used to. We also get tired more often and can’t work long hours. Many of us have had our fill of stressful work environments.
You want to enjoy retirement.
You want a small business where you work;
- As few or as many hours that you want
- On those things that interest us
- Where you can choose to work – be that at home, in a garage, at a client’s site, a flea market, or on while on the road visiting relatives
- Without a boss always telling us what to do
- Only enough to supplement our retirement income
When you are retired you want to enjoy your retirement. So keep these points in mind when you start a retirement business:
- Don’t get tied down to working a fixed number of hours every day and every week – so no store front businesses or bed and breakfast hotels
- You don’t need employees that you have to keep busy or manage – if you can’t do something yourself hire subcontractors, agency temps, or another company.
- Start a business that you can open and close when you want.
Topics to consider for your retirement business
- Business Structure
- Business Name
- Business License
- Web Site
- Liability Insurance
- Banking Account
In the United States you can operate your retirement business in many forms such as:
- Sole proprietorship -A business with a single owner. You can use your own name or a DBA (see below). I suggest you begin here.
- General partnership – All partners are jointly and separately liable for the debts of the partnership. You can do this is most states without filing your partnership agreement.
- Limited Partnership – At least one partner, the general partner, has unlimited liability. And one or more partners have limited liability.
- Other Partnerships – LLP (limited liability partnership; LLLP (limited liability limited partnership); LLC, LC, Ltd. Co.; PLLC (professional limited liability company.
- Corporation – These are available in all states with titles like Corporation, Corp. Inc., Co. etc.
The first step is to choose your business structure as it determines your business name.
The simplest form is to simply use your name like “John Smith’s Cleaning Service”. You do not need any special permission from your state government to use such a name.
However, using your own name might not sound very professional. You might like to have a name like “Smallville City Cleaning Service Company”. Since you are not using your name, you should consider checking with your state government to see if someone else already is using this name. If they are, you might be forced later to stop using this name.
Better yet register your name (called a DBA – Doing Business As) with your state which will reserve that name exclusively in your state for you and no one else can use it.
Remember that it a name is also a trademark of someone else, you will not be able to use it. So you can’t have a company called “Microsoft Cleaning Company”.
However, if you hold a franchise, you might be allowed to use the name “John Smith’s ServiceMaster Cleaning Company”. However, I don’t suggest a franchise for a retirement business when first starting out.
Next you might need a business license. This is usually obtained from your local city or county government. The fees for a business license are typically USD $30 up to $1,000 depending on the type of business. Be aware that some governmental authorities will NOT issue you a business license if your address is in a non-commercial area (i.e. your residence). If this is so, consider getting a United Parcel Service postal address. In fact, it is good to have a UPS address in general.
On the other hand many business people who only have a home office don’t bother with getting a local business license at all.
You should get a web site with a name similar to your business name. Even if you don’t plan to sell from your web site, people will “check you out” after hearing about you from a friend, business card, advertisement, or flyer. If your web site looks amateurish or is non-existent, many people will conclude that you are not professional. On the other hand a web site is an excellent, and very cheap, way to tell more about your company’s products and services.
Certifications and other licenses
In many areas you must get special licenses to be, for example, a beautician, electrician, plumber, sell real estate, or handle food products.
Consider purchasing a bond from your local insurance agency. Many customers will ask if you are bonded. A bond is insurance that covers you in case you damage a customer’s premises, furniture or use defective procedures or violate other license laws. It can also cover you for theft or if you have not paid employees or subcontractors. Buy from your local insurance agent. It should be about USD $100 per year or so.
Personal liability Insurance is different than a bond as it a form of insurance that helps protect service -providing individuals and companies from bearing the full cost of defending against a negligence claim made by a client, and damages awarded in such a civil lawsuit. The coverage focuses on alleged failure to perform on the part of, financial loss caused by, and error or omission in the service or product sold by the policyholder.
It is a good practice to open a separate business banking account. Don’t use it for personal expenses. You will also need to accept credit cards so open a Merchant account and / or a PayPal account.
You probably don’t need an accountant starting out but at least invest in some good books and accounting software.
Get to know a good lawyer, just in case.
You should be using a computer with a sales tracking system, appointment scheduler, invoicing, and to-do list to keep track of your business.
To start invest in some good business cards and brochures.
Buy books and take course in your field. You are never too old to learn.
If you are just starting out you will not, of course, have any references. However, you can ask to use the names of friends, neighbors, or relatives. Most customers never call references anyway but want to know that you have them.
NOW tell everyone that you know that you are in business. Give them your business card and brochures. That means every store clerk, dentist, doctor, relative, neighbor, friend, and even strangers that you meet every day.
Take action now and start a retirement business today.
Check out this link for more ideas. Hundreds of Retirement Business Ideas.
For more information check out my books