Vital Information:Start-up Investment:Low – $2000 (advertising costs)High – $20,000 (includes a van)Break-even time Two weeks to one yearEstimate of Annual Revenue and Profit: Revenue $15,000 – $1 million (solo at low end, with employees at high end)Profit (Pre-tax ) $12,000 – $500,000Food for Thought (and Profit)In this age of two-income families, it is a rarity to find a woman who has time to manage both her career and her home with the finesse that she would like.As the number of frozen meals and fast food restaurants multiply, families are becoming increasingly dependent on them.Consequently, people are consuming substantial amounts of “empty calories”. The result? … obesity. Another? Children with behavioral problems.On the flip side, people are becoming more aware of the value of “whole foods” as opposed to prepackaged.Not only families with busy parents use “Personal Grocery Shoppers, but executives use them also.With technology advancing as rapidly as it is… executives are increasingly required to produce more projects given the same amount of time. They simply don’t have the time to go to the grocery store and carefully choose healthy foods.Don’t forget about the elderly and those with physical challenges. Many Senior’s as well as others who are physically challenged require “Grocery Shopping” services.Also, consider Adult Family Homes and Foster Homes. Often, it is difficult for care providers to schedule in time to grocery shop.I’ve learned that with both Adult Family Homes as well as with Foster Homes, that the care provider’s are required to have a liscenced person remain with clients in the event that the care provider needs to leave the home…Obviously, a hidden cost.Keep in mind that there are NUMEROUS Adult Family Homes and Foster Homes that are run by couples as well as singles. Contrary to popular thought, most of these homes are small operations.You can contract with Foster Homes and Adult Family Homes and do the shopping for them.How can you Cash in on the Grocery Shopping Business?Grocery shopping is one of the newest and potentially lucrative services now being offered to the American consumer. Why not capitalize on this ever increasing industry?
Who, What, Where…There are many different types of grocery-shopping services popping up all over the country. Some are attached to large supermarket chains; a division of the parent company or someone leasing space as a concession.At the other end of the spectrum are homemakers, singles, and college students who Earn a living by doing the grocery shopping for others.Benefits To Owning A Home Based Grocery Business· A Home Based Grocery Business allows for a flexable work schedule. · Can be performed…even if you have young children.· Opportunity to meet people· Low start up· Low overhead· Simple· LucrativeNo matter what form the service takes, the opportunities can be mind-boggling. Even the single enterprising shopper can make a good living for the next dozen years or so… until supermarket chains catch on…Once more supermarkets catch on, it may be possible to present your existing service to the supermarket chain as an established service.By contracting your services with a grocery store chain, you can cash in. Of course, at that point, it’s likely that you will have employees doing the shopping for you.Since there are so few grocery shopping companies around, you will have to decide for yourself what the market will be when setting your prices.You will probably want to break down your prices to reflect the dollar amount of the order, the distance for delivery and whether you can handle several orders at the same time. (For example: $10 for a $50 order within a 5 mile radius).Keep in mind, the bottom line in this business is volume. The more orders you can fill at one time and the fewer miles you have to travel, the more lucrative your business will be.Start-Up Costs For your Grocery Shopping BusinessAll you really need to start a shopping service is customers. You can use word of mouth advertising to start, if money is seriously tight.Investing in flyers and peppering the neighborhoods you choose may be the place to start.Note: Use card sized flyers for low cost advertising. Pay kids to deliver them.Choosing Customers for your Grocery Shopping BusinessYou will want to target your potential area carefully. Look for affluent neighborhoods where both spouses are working, neighborhoods populated by executives, Computer programmers….Foster/Adult care Homes.Note: Get your hands on a Cole’s Directory. Often, you’ll find them in your local Library. You can also lease them directly from Cole’s. Anyhow, within the Cole’s Directory, you can look up addresses within it. The Beauty is that Cole’s lists the average income for the particular neighborhood. Advertising your Home Based Grocery BusinessYou can either hire kids to hand deliver the flyers in the specified neighborhoods or utilize bulk mail to send your flyers to a particular zip code.I’ve paid kids .05 cents per door. Neighborhood newspapers and pennysavers are often an economical place to advertise.You might want to speak with the management at the supermarket you plan to utilize to see if you can post a notice in the store on the bulletin board or pass out brochures or flyers in the parking lot or at the door of the sore.Continue to be warm and friendly but don’t confuse this with friendship development. In other words, don’t make it a habit to hang around too long after your job is done. Keep it light, warm and professional. Don’t become their psychologist.Once you’ve developed trust, ask for referrals. You can design a referral program too.Other than advertising costs, the only start-up cost you will really need is a vehicle (a roomy station wagon or van) that can accommodate your orders.Other Business ConsiderationsIf you don’t have such a vehicle and money is tight, you can explore the possibility of leasing one. If you lease an automobile under your business name, you can write the monthly payments off. Of course you don’t have to concern yourself with auto repair hassles…by leasing.As business picks up, consider adding coolers to keep perishables on ice so that you can lengthen your delivery route.Another thought… turn your baseme or extra bedroom into warehouse so you can stock high profit bulky items like sodas or disposable diapers.This way you can purchase in quantity from a wholesaler or food warehouse, increasing your profits.Designing your Grocery Shopping BusinessSome shopping services ask their customers to place orders on a regimented schedule; one each week or every ten days.
It’s also common that customers are requested to check off their items on a pre-printed shopping list. You can design the list so that “Produce” is in one section, “Meats” in another, and so on.This method guarantees a minimum number of orders per week and allows for long range scheduling.Other services are more flexible by allowing customers to “call in” to order on as-needed basis. This method maybe harder to schedule but could pull in more business because of increased frequency or impulse buying.Because it is not a very good idea to carry a lot of cash around with you, it may be a good idea for your company to pay for the order as you purchase them and then collect a check from your customers upon delivery.You will probably want to choose one particular supermarket in which to do all your shopping. Not only do you become familiar with the location of all the items you need, but you can become familiar with the store’s personnel. A friendly “hello” how are you”, may be the little boost you need to be able to get the best cuts of beef from the butcher or the best produce from the produce manager.Time Is MoneyIf you are only shopping for prepackaged food, you can really move through the supermarket, but if you have to inspect produce, meats, or fish, the time you spend is going to be greatly increased. So, charge accordingly.You may also want to consider shopping in stores other than supermarkets. Customers may want you to stop by the liquor store, deli or carry-out.You may wish to increase your fees for this additional service or charge the same as you do for groceries. It’s up to you.Note: if you base your pricing on the dollar volume for the delivery, the more expensive price tags at those specialty stores will make it worthwhile to make the extra stops.Organizational ability is the key to a successful grocery shopping service. It is a challenge to keep orders straight since you will probably be shopping for several accounts at once.Bridging the Gap between Opportunity and Success,OwnABizToday.com Shawn PriceCopyright 2005 OwnABizToday.com