HOW TO START A ROOMMATEFINDING SERVICE

    With the price of rent rising dramatically across the country, single workers are
    finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the mounting expenses of an apartment
    or home by themselves. A large number of singles are looking for roommates to
    share the expense of housing. Sharing an apartment or house not only lowers the
    monthly expenses, but can bring the rental of a nicer quality apartment within
    reach. Best of all, a Roommate Finding Service is a business that you can start
    with an absolute minimum investment. Practically anyone who lives in a city
    anywhere in the country can expect to do well, and with a bit of imagination you
    should be able to create a fantastic and satisfying money-making business!

    This is an ideal absentee owner business. Most of those operating such services
    on the West Coast have a woman doing the managing; sometimes as just the
    manager, and sometimes as the owner-manager. This apparently has something
    to do with the naturally trust people will place in a woman seeking to find the right
    roommate for them. However, gender is no barrier. Men have been equally
    successful at establishing thriving Roommate Finding Services.

    This type of business can be established in a small storefront office, preferably in
    a neighborhood with several large apartment complexes close by. Small
    strip-malls that often feature a convenience store, washeteria, and other
    neighborhood businesses are excellent locations. You'll only need a small amount
    of office furniture such as a desk and chair, filing cabinet, telephone, several
    comfortable chairs or a sofa, and perhaps a small counter at which clients can fill
    out their forms. Decorate the walls with several inexpensive paintings and place
    some large plants out to give the room a comfortable feel, and you're in business.

    It is suggested that you charge a registration fee of $15 for those who already
    have a home or apartment and are looking to take in a roommate to share or
    defray expenses. You also explain that when a suitable roommate is found, an
    additional $50 fee is charged. You may wish to take this fee in advance and hold
    the check for deposit, or take the customer's credit card information and charge
    this expense when the roommate is found. The new roommates can then arrange
    to split the cost of the fee between them if they desire.

    The party seeking to take in a roommate will fill out a card listing or checking off
    from a list printed on the card the qualifications they are looking for in a
    roommate: male or female, age bracket, approximate monthly costs, smoker or
    non-smoker, etc. A brief description of the apartment or house may also be
    included. This card is either filed in a Rolodex - system or, if a computer system is
    available, the information is entered into the computer for easy retrieval later by
    calling for key words or descriptions.

    When people enter your office who are seeking a new roommate with whom they
    can move in, you have them fill out a card asking for the same information, but you
    will charge only the $15 registration fee. You may want to have them fill out the
    information on a card of a different color than those who have a room to share.
    This will make it easier to keep track of those with rooms and those without. With
    all the information, you then go through the records looking for people who might
    be compatible. As mentioned above, a computer database listing the registration
    information would make the search much more quickly, but it isn't absolutely
    necessary. When you have identified several potential roommates who meet the
    basic qualifications of the current house or apartment tenant, call them on the
    telephone and give them the name and telephone numbers of those who match
    their needs. Let them make the calls and discover whether or not the two parties
    can be compatible. Check back in the next day or two and see if they found a
    roommate. If so, get both the names, remove them from your open files, and
    process the finder's fee of $50. Your work is complete. You have made $80 for
    just a few minutes work!

    To get started, you'll want to establish a commercial bank account and, if
    possible, the ability to process charges to your clients' credit cards. This will allow
    your clients greater flexibility in how to pay for your services, and will allow those
    strapped for cash to make use of your services that they cannot pay for up front.
    Have an ample supply of registration cards printed up in two colors, along with a
    simple business card and supply of business stationary. You'll also need a
    responsibility disclaimer, which can be combined with the applicant's
    agreement-to-pay contract.

    Good advertising will be the most important part in getting this business off the
    ground. Make up a good circular or flyer detailing your service and listing your
    phone number and address. Get these flyers on as many bulletin boards in your
    area as possible. Place them in grocery stores, barber shops, community
    colleges, beauty salons, bowling alleys - anywhere people needing a roommate
    might see them. Another idea is to set up "Take One" boxes in as many
    apartment complex offices as you can. Many managers will find your service to be
    an aid in renting larger, more expensive apartments. Don't overlook the value of
    placing your flyers on car windshields - particularly around apartment complexes
    and in the parking lots of area colleges. You might even pay the downtown
    parking lot attendants to slip one under the windshield wiper of each car he parks
    on a Monday. If you do a good job with the make-up of your flyer, and use your
    imagination in getting them into the hands of your prospective clients, you'll have
    no trouble moving your new business into the black quickly.

    You will also need to run regular ads in your area newspapers. The best headings
    to run your ads under is the Personals or Roommate Wanted column. Your ad
    might read, "Need A Roommate? We'll find the ideal roommate for you!
    Everything handled on a strictly confidential basis. For details, call Jan, Mary or
    Carol, 123-4567."

    In the final analysis, once you have your business under way, your further success
    will be limited only by your imagination. You could run the entire operation by
    telephone to cover a larger area or several cities, accepting payment solely by
    credit card. The ball is in your court. Take this basic idea and turn it into your
    personal success story. Good Luck!

I hope this information helps you in your business endeaver.You may copy and print this article. For more information read Reynold Jay's book    How To Think Small Business For Big Profits  and Born To Be Rich for business motivation. (CLICK for more information.)