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