- an ideal "work-from-home" solution

Meet Robbie Meyer

In June of 2002, I received a call from a woman in Michigan who was interested in launching a business from home. Robbie Meyer was 52 years old at the time and had worked for more than 35 years in various administrative and management consultant jobs. She had also done the bookkeeping for her husband's remodeling business for many years. But, when her husband took a job as a Building Official for a nearby township Robbie started to look for something else to do. She still had children at home and was also caring for an elderly mom so working from home was a must.

Robbie had learned about the HRN business after doing some research online and the idea of starting a business that would match homeowners with pre-screened home improvement professionals appealed to her.

"The HRN business was one of many businesses that I reviewed. It seemed a good fit because I could work from home and have scheduling flexibility and it would produce income. Additionally, I could use our home office which was already fully functional."

Robbie also recognized the need for an HRN in her community.

"Thirty percent of my husband's work was correcting errors made by other contractors so I knew there was a contractor issue in our area. Further, it seemed that we were always getting calls from people looking for all types of contractors so this was another clue."

Three months after Robbie and I spoke by phone, she launched Homeowner Referral Service of Michigan, LLC and in less than 4 months, she was able to cover her monthly overhead including a bi-monthly paycheck to herself. And within her first year of operation, Homeowner Referral Service of Michigan generated enough revenue to allow Robbie to repay herself for all of her initial start-up expenses.

She recalls, "My first job was a chimney sweep for $65.00 and I netted a big $6.50 commission!" After that most of her jobs were kitchen, bathroom and family room remodeling projects, roofing, painting, cement work and repair jobs.

Robbie worked approximately 25-30 hours a week to launch her business and most of her job referral requests were generated by a small article which was published in her local paper announcing the launch of her business. In addition to phone calls and website inquiries from homeowners, Robbie's article was also noticed by a local television station. Intrigued by her service, the station decided to profile Homeowner Referral Service of Michigan on the evening news generating more than 125 contacts in three days following the broadcast!

According to Robbie, "Customers referred other customers and the ball rolled pretty steadily after that"

Robbie's words of advice for others considering the launch of an HRN:

"It can get out of hand very quickly. Homeowners were referring other homeowners, contractors were referring other contractors, etc. and pretty soon I was operating out of four counties. My options were to either hire staff and move into another location or cut back. I decided to cut back so that I could just handle things myself. Had I been even 10 years younger, I would probably have gone the other route."

And, she says that "the most enjoyable aspect (about this business) is how easily it flows once it is set up in addition to the positive feedback from homeowners and contractors. As long as you keep up with the phone calls and paperwork, this is a very easy business to operate."

The feedback from contractors and homeowners has been positive as well. "I had one homeowner who called me before the painter was even out of his driveway and told me that I had made his life easier. And, contractors love it because it promotes their business. One contractor told me that I was his biggest source of jobs all year!"

For more information about how to launch an HRN in your area, visit the HRN website at


3/11 - Renovations, Remodels & Referrals
2/11 - Will Home Improvement Contractors Pay a Commission?
1/11 - Reinventing Your Career
11/10 - HRN Success Story
6/10 - Financing a New Business
5/10 - Busy Home Improvement Season
4/10 - Tax tips
3/10 - Your Way To Work At Home
2/10 - HRN Operating Costs
1/10 - Tips for Success
12/09 - HRN Success Story
10/09 - Work at Home Resources
9/09 - Running Your Business On The Go!
7/09 - Opportunity In Your own Backyard
6/09 - Starting a Home-based Business
5/09 - Finding the Right Home Business
4/09 - Good News
3/09 - HRN Success Story
2/09 - Pitfalls of Working From Home
1/09 Home Improvement Spending Increases
Winter 2009 - Recession Proof Business
Fall 2008 - What's in a Name?
Summer 2008 - Typical Day for an HRN Owner
Spring 2008 - Value of Prescreened Professionals
Winter 2007 - Top Ten Home Based Businesses
Fall 2007 - Finding Good Contractors
June 2007 - Misconceptions About HRN Business
Winter 2007 - Home-based Business Self Evaluation
Fall 2006 - HRN Business Fills a Contractor Need

For more information about starting a Homeowner Referral Network in your area, you may:

Fill out our online form to request more information. Or, call Debra Cohen at (516) 374-8504.

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