How To Start An Estate Inventory Video Service
You Will Get Referrals From This Business!
Estate inventory video service is the business to get into with your video camera, editing software, and web site to start making money.
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The purpose of this business is to inventory personal property and valuables for insurance purposes.
If a robber occurs, the owner has a video documentation of the missing valuables for law enforcement and insurance agents.
Your primary prospects for this service is upper-income families and businesses that specialize in high-ticket items or have a high investment in equipment.
The first thing you should do to operate your estate inventory video service is meet with your area law enforcement agencies to find out what regulations, if any, they have.
Remember, you will be going into other people’s houses and will have knowledge of their valuables.
If you have endorsement from the law, your customers can feel comfortable that you won’t use this knowledge for the wrong purposes.
The person you want to meet with would be he one in charge of neighborhood watches or community services.
Normally, police agencies are enthusiastic supporters of services like this; as it makes their job easier.
Others to meet with include:
- Insurance agents
- Private detectives
- Fire officials
Not only will you gain valuable information from them, you will be building up a network for referrals.
Be sure to keep a good record of whom you meet so you can send them business cards, brochures and periodic reminders of your services.
While meeting with insurance agents, take care of your insurance requirements.
You should carry liability insurance, and you should also get bonded.
The extra expense is worth it; as it will both help to get business and protect you and your customer.
Your service will be ripe for publicity, so prepare a good press release.
You should be able to find a good book or two on publicity on Amazon.
Get these releases to every daily and weekly newspaper in your area, as well as local business magazines and television stations.
When your service gets written up in the papers, keep a clipping of each article to use in your marketing materials.
Send a copy to all the insurance agents, attorneys, private detectives and law enforcement agencies in your area.
You WILL get referrals from this effort.
Another idea for publicity is to set up a boot at local home and garden shows, preferably in the home protection areas (alarms, etc.).
This will establish your name in the minds of consumers.
If you don’t mind on-camera public speaking, create a short seminar on home inventory protection and how your services can help preent theft.
You can prepare one presentation video that can be duplicated for numerous different community-related functions and locations, such as country clubs.
LOGISTICS OF YOUR SERVICE
When you set up an appointment with a customer, make sure they know you will be charging by the hour; so it will be to their advantage to have things such as jewelry, China or antiques laid out and ready to be recorded on video.
Take your video camera with extra batteries, an instant camera, engraving tool, forms for listing valuables, and a three-ring binder for the forms.
When video recording valuables, be sure to get a clear image of them, including any distinguishing characteristics.
Also, be sure to fill out your forms completely, listing special features or characteristics, such as type and weight of gems, etc.
Jewelry is probably best photographed with your instant camera, as are any small valuables.
Large antiques and other primary household items are easily video recorded.
And, be sure to clearly video any brand names and model numbers.
After videoing the individual items, walk through the house to capture any electronics and video equipment, phones, TVs, art and other items that would be t empting to thieves.
Engrave the client’s drivers license number on the back or bottom of items that won’t be damaged by doing so.
Record all this on the forms, including the location of the engraving and all serial numbers.
You can make your own forms that indicate the information the client needs.
If the home is burglarized and the police recover the stolen items, this will help the client get their valuables back quickly and easily.
Don’t forget to video the outside of the house, including patios, walkways and landscaping.
This can help the client es tablish value in case of fire or vandalism.
In businesses, video the office equipment, as well as the offices, inside and out.
In specialized businesses, be sure to video any special equipment.
It is also a good idea to provide window stickers for your clients that tell potential thieves that items in the house have been marked and video recorded.
These stickers can be purchased or printed.
You local law enforcement agencies may even be able to provide these to you at low cost.
When through video recording, give the video a quick assessment to be sure everything is recorded.
Edit the video file and send a copy to the client along with copies of photos and forms.
Encourage them to store the encrypted file and inventory forms in secure locations, away from the house or business, in case of fire.
HOW MUCH TO CHARGE
A typical mid-sized to large home should take two hours, at most, to video if the owner has prepared everything ahead of time.
You can charge anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour, depending upon what your local market will bear.
A good price to start with might be $75 per hour.
Your earnings from this business could add up quickly.
In your marketing materials, stress the fact that your charge is a small price to pay, considering it is a crime determent, and will result in far less stress and time on the customer’s part if a mishap does occur.
You can feel good that you are providing a service, which will h elp people in bad times.
Remember to be professional while in the client’s home.
Refrain from making comments, which could be construed in negative ways.
Stress the safety and reliability of yourself and your service.
Finally, never forget to ask for referrals.
People with valuable property typically know others who could use the same service, and a personal recommendation is usually well received.
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