Below is an interview with Debra Cohen about how she was able to earn a living on her own terms with a homeowner referral network business. This is a home business idea that I thought sounded really cool and different, and I knew many of you may be interested in learning more about how this works. Debra also offers training to teach other aspiring entrepreneurs how to get into this line of work for themselves.
I hope you enjoy the interview we did with Debra to learn more about the homeowner referral business model, it's earning potential, and other details.
Tell us a little about why and how you got started working from home.
After the birth of my first daughter, I left a career in Corporate America and after a few months of full time motherhood our bills began to pile up and my self esteem plummeted. At the same time, my husband and I had just purchased our first home and as new homeowners, we quickly realized how difficult it was to find reliable home improvement professionals.
I'm a networker by nature with a passion for decorating and home improvements and I decided to try and create a business that would fill this need in our community.
Tell us a little about your business — what you do, how it works, etc.
Home Remedies is a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business that pre-screens and refers a network of more than 50 home improvement contractors (i.e. painters, plumbers, carpenters, General Contractors,architects, etc.) to local homeowners. Contractors in my network pay a pre-negotiated commission for work secured which means that my service is free to homeowners.
Can you share with us a little about the day-to-day aspects of your job?
- I do 90% of my work from home.
- I never go to a job site.
- Contractors receive payment from the homeowner and then pay me a commission.
- I have signed agreements with each of my contractors and detailed invoicing procedures.
What are the best things about working from home, helping other entrepreneurs launch their own businesses?
By far the best part of working from home is flexibility. I wanted to be home to raise my daughters but also wanted to have a rewarding career so I created a business that allowed me to do that. I structure my day around my family's schedules, going to the gym and even grocery shopping. If I'm out of my office, I call forward my business line to my cell phone.
And the best part of helping other entrepreneurs is watching them achieve the same work-life balance and fulfillment from running their own business as I have.
Is the homeowner referral network business model proven to be fairly lucrative?
Yes. In my first year of operation I made $29,000 working part-time. By year three I had broken the $100K mark. There are HRN owners operating nationwide that are making even more than that. The best part of this business is that there is no overhead and the operating costs are minimal.
Is it a hard industry to break into?
I had no home improvement experience at all when I started. While I had worked in Corporate America, I had never run my own business so I had to build my business from scratch. That's why I decided to document my business model for others to duplicate. I knew first hand how challenging it can be to start a business on your own and wanted to provide a roadmap to follow and support.
I've helped hundreds of people launch successful businesses like mine and most of them are up and running within 3 months.
Can you provide any general tips for gaining clients with a business like this?
This is a very big “word of mouth” business so many homeowners find out about my business through their friends, neighbors, and people in the community. I also have a direct mail campaign to local homeowners, a website, an e-newsletter and I'm a very big proponent of PR. Sharing your story with the media is a great promotional tool.
As for my contractors, I never advertise to find them. I get all of my contractors through networking.
What sort of training and qualifications would others need to get going with this?
I provide all of the training but I've found that the people who are most successful operating HRN's are networkers by nature, organized and have a passion for helping people. Having any type of real estate, sales or construction experience is a plus!
Are you interested in starting your own Homeowner Referral Network Business and Debra's training?
If so, you can go here to learn more about the training Debra offers to get you going.