A home business ideal for women is the personal greeting service business. As new neighbors move in, the personal greeting business assists in helping them transition to the new area by informing them of products and services available in the vicinity.
What is a Personal Greeting Service Business?
A personal greeting business delivers baskets of goodies welcoming new neighbors to the area. The gift baskets are full of products, coupons, freebies and marketing materials from businesses and advertisers in the area seeking to reach out these new residents. You will then give this packet for free to your new neighbors. Think of the service business as an extension (and personalized version) of the US Postal Office’s envelope of coupons and offers from businesses in the area that is sent to the new neighbor (if they made a change of address request).
“… A word-of-mouth marketing service that connects newcomers and new homebuyers with local business, community, medical and professional services in the four county Lake Norman region. Our personal introductions pair up new consumers with products and services they need, influencing their buying decisions at a critical time in their decision-making process. For business development purposes, our advertising sponsors receive a monthly follow up prospect list of where we have been and to whom their information, coupons and gifts were distributed to. Physicians use the prospect list to track new patients, and businesses use the list to track new customers, or add them to their mailing list.”
The business, though, has experienced significant shifts in the past decades. Welcome Wagon International, the largest neighborhood greeting business in the United States, has stopped the door-to-door delivery of gift baskets to new homeowners in 1998. Instead, they now send via mail a Welcome Wagon Gift Book. With the rise of two income families, they explained that there are lower chances of finding someone at home when the baskets are delivered. With the largest business in this segment no longer personally bringing the gift baskets to new neighbors, this opens up the market for smaller businesses intent on preserving the personal interaction with new neighbors.
The target market is typically a new homeowner to the community who recently purchased homes in the $200K – $2 million price range. As such, it is a business that will work better in large urban areas with middle to higher income families. Urban areas also tend to have more homeownership changes. This business will also work in rapidly changing areas, where the rural landscape is changing to housing developments and rapid urbanization is encroaching.
Meyer explains the benefits of the business as follows:
“It’s a win-win situation for everyone: the new homeowners feel welcomed and receive helpful community information that can ease the transitioning process, while advertisers get to tell the new movers about their businesses.”
What Do You Need to Start a Personal Greeting Service Business?
The personal greeting service business is a “go-out-of-your-house” home business that will work well for those who love social interaction and networking.
There are two aspects to this business: identifying new neighbors, and soliciting local businesses. You will need to subscribe to a database of new movers used by most direct mail companies. It will also be beneficial to develop a relationship with real estate agents and companies in your area so they can alert you when a new house has been sold in the market. You may initially need to drive around the area looking for properties for sale, and then contacting the realtors handling the sale to alert you when the property is sold.
Your income will come from the fee that businesses will give you in order to be in the packet. The more businesses willing to use your gift basket as an advertising vehicle, the more income you can generate from the business. The challenge will be contacting the businesses in the area (no solicitation sign on the doors!), and convincing them to advertise with you.
You have two options to start the business:
- Join an established neighborhood greeting business as an associate such as Welcome Wagon International. Starting as an associate with an established company is a more painless option, as systems have already been developed in place and you have access to their database. The downside, of course, is that you can be removed as an associate or the company may give another associate your same area.
- Start your own neighborhood greeting business. You will have more control, but you will have to build everything from scratch. You will need to develop your network of advertisers. You will need to contact them in let them know that your business offers them another way to reach their target markets in the community.
To succeed in this business, Meyers advises that:
“First, you need to have a passion for what you do. This is a people oriented business, so one needs to be outgoing and sociable, polite and courteous. A sales and marketing background is helpful, as well as customer service experience and good listening skills. But basically, a desire to want to help others by being a “connector” is the most successful ingredient in this business.”
However, a personal greeting service may not be for a solo entrepreneur. It is advisable to have someone with you when delivering the gift basket for security and safety reasons. Plus, the myriad tasks of finding advertisers, tracking new movers and preparing the gift baskets will be especially challenging for a solo business owner.