Well, I guess the simplest way to start one is to have a pick-up truck and a dream. However, don’t be afraid to let necessity be the mother of all invention. What I’m getting at, and I know from personal experience, is you can start one without a pick-up truck and not even have a dream. You could just be looking for an extra way to make a buck.
If you want to read about how I got involved in the sports-equipment installation business, indulge me and read the About Us page and a few other articles to see how I got involved. Hopefully, there are some potential parallels and I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of some of it.
Keep in mind, I’m focusing this article on the low-hanging fruit of basketball hoops and swing sets for family and friends. The focus is on what I like to call holes and poles and some minor assembly work like ping pong tables or ice rinks. I’m focusing on easy jobs you can do in town and around your neighborhood.
Also keep in mind, I’m not going in to the business side of anything just yet. These are mere suggestions for you doing something on the side to help your family and friends so you can make an extra buck. If you start advertising, growing your business and want to be LEGAL, you will need all the insurances and business registration certificates required in your state. I will address all these items in another post.
Now that we have the inspiration, let’s go down a list of a few items you will need just to get started. I know a lot of entrepreneurial sites and people will tell you that you need a certain amount of “Start-Up Costs”. This is true to a certain extent but the items I’m about to list can often be found in most people’s garages and can also be borrowed. So you shouldn’t need much of anything to get started. This is a bare bones list:
- Vehicle to transport concrete
- Pick-up truck
- Or trailer
- Digging tools
- Spade shovel
- Digging bar
- Post-hole digger
- Wheel Barrow
- Little Giant Ladder- You can get by with a step ladder if you don’t have one.
- Hand tools
- Two adjustable wrenches
- Deep Socket Ratchet Set (Deep set isn’t a must but it’s helpful.)
- Both types of screwdrivers
- Measuring tape
The tools listed above are, as discussed, the bare bones minimum. There are a lot of gear geeks out there (Who I’m sure will comment) that will say you need an auger, jackhammer and twenty different items that they will probably name by brand and serial number. To me, they sound like this scene from Fletch, “A fetzer valve, half quart of antifreeze and a bypass line.” All that other stuff is nice. I’m giving you what you need just to do a job.
So you have the vehicle, the tools and you have the knowhow and skill set to dig a hole and mix concrete. Now what? How do you get work? It’s simple yet difficult. You tell people.
Here’s a helpful tip on what I used to do. Take a piece of paper and a pen. Then take out your phone. Go through your phone’s contacts and write down on the sheet of paper anyone who could possibly cross paths with someone that may need help installing something or know people that may need help installing items. Then go through your social media friend’s list and do the same. Write down the names of any of the following:
- Coaches- They have the athletes and parents ask them for advice. Some may even send an email out for you.
- Well-connected friends
- Local Clubs and organizations
- Friends with kids- They will have the need but not the time or know how.
- Contractors- They deal with homeowners and typically don’t want to do this stuff.
- Deli owners- They know and talk to everyone.
- Personal Trainers- They’re in the pseudo sport’s space.
- Realtors- They deal with homeowners.
- Cosmetic Sales reps- They work with a ton of mothers.
- Beauty Counter
- Rodane and Fields
- And many, many more.
From here, you’re not selling anyone. All you’re doing is either calling or emailing them and saying, “Hey, how are you? I am just reaching out to people I know and letting them know I’m now installing sports equipment. If you here of anyone that may need help installing a basketball hoop or other pieces of sports equipment, I would appreciate it if you can pass my info along.”
I would also suggest posting to social media. Although I believe social media is grossly overrated as a lead generation tool, it’s free and can’t hurt. (I don’t think it’s bad. I just think people become too dependent upon it and you can’t depend on sites like Facebook to not filter other people’s news feed. This if for another post though.)
People, especially family and friends, want to help people. They not only want to help you but they’re going to want to be the person that tells someone else, “Hey, I got a guy.” People eat that stuff up.
So there it is. These are my suggestions on how to get in on the sports-equipment space for next to no money and using common tools you either have in your garage or can borrow from someone.
I will follow up in another post on how to go legit and all legal beagle.
The only thing I will stress on the legal beagle side of things is if you’re going to do any digging, you should have the homeowner call 811 Dig Line. An ounce of prevention is worth thousands of dollars of cure.