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How to Start a Welcoming Service

by Brian Hill, studioD

Welcoming homebuyers to their new neighborhood gives local businesses an opportunity to make a favorable impression. The "welcome lady" used to visit the homeowner with a gift basket of local goodies, coupons and specials, along with information about the area. Now those packages are sent by mail, along with a magazine about the neighborhood. You can make money starting a welcome service by charging local and regional businesses a fee to be part of the package.

Select Geographic Areas

Focus on areas that have the greatest percentage of home sales. For example, a new housing development would be ideal since nearly every resident recently bought her home. Real estate agents have access to a database of sold homes by zip code. With a little digging, that information is found on websites such as Zilliow, Trulia and Realtor.com. Reviewing the home sales over the previous year gives you an idea of the level of activity in that zip code.

Solicit Local Businesses

Businesses receive value because they know the new homeowner has good credit, the wherewithal to purchase a home, and the probable need for services and products. The welcome magazines have a long shelf life because of the descriptions of the businesses, local events, landmarks, important city offices, parks, playgrounds and schools. The coupons entice the homeowner to at least consider the business. Businesses might be hesitant to participate if the magazine has already been printed. Let them know the magazine is only one part of the package. Additionally, you'll be sending out follow-up mailers every three months for one year.

Gather Neighborhood Information

Go beyond what's included in the phone book. Include annual events, such as arts and crafts fairs, Oktoberfest, the local or regional Halloween festival, and public Easter egg hunts, in the neighborhood magazine. For example, contact local religious groups to get brief descriptions of their religious philosophy, schedules of services, and educational and youth programs. Include local membership organizations such as Rotary, Lions and Toastmaster's, and children's groups such as Scouts and Campfire. Your local chamber of commerce may have some of the information pulled together for you. The more neighborhood information you have in the welcome book, the longer that book will be kept and used. That's a selling point when you recruit businesses to participate.

Assemble the Magazine

If graphic design is beyond your skill level, an experienced printer can design and print the magazine for you. You might be able to get the design work done at no charge or for a discount if you negotiate the printer's inclusion in the welcome package.

Compose the Mailing List

Compose the list for mailing out the welcome packages. Home sales are public information available at the county recorder's office. The new owner's name will be included on the deed. The new home buyers' names aren't on the real-estate based websites. While the information is public, you may have to pay a fee to access the list in an electronic download format.


Obtain the required business licenses from the state. Check with the city where your business is located to see if the city requires a separate license. Set up a legal entity for the welcome business. If you're unsure of the advantages and disadvantages among a sole proprietorship, corporation and limited liability corporation, it's best to obtain legal advice. Keep your personal funds separate from the business funds. Register the business with the state and city, if required. Check with the Internal Revenue Service to see if an Employer Identification Number is required.

About the Author

Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."

Photo Credits

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