Answer the following questions. For some questions, you may need to
talk to business owners or do some research at the library. Your answers
will help both you and your counselor clarify your business idea. Your
answers are the beginning of your Business Plan and may help your counselor
determine whether you and Vocational Rehabilitation should work together
toward the goal of self-employment.
1. What business would you like to start?
A vinyl siding and rain gutter business.
2. Who will use your service and/or buy your product(s)?
I will target people who own older homes and commercial buildings
and want to make their property look better or protect their investment.
People selling their homes. And people who are building new homes
or commercial buildings.
3. Where are your customers located?
People who live in Valley county.
4. How many customers do you think you will have during the
first year? During the second year?
There is definitely a demand for my product in this area. Estimate
20-30% of all vinyl siding business the first year growing 5% in year
2 to 21%-31.5%. I think that if I charge a fair market price and combine
that with low overhead it will either force the competition out of
business or make them lower their prices.
5. How much money do you think you will make during the first
year? During the second year?
Year 1 gross = $75,000 to $91,000
Year 2 gross = $80,000 to $96,000
6. How will you tell potential customers about your business?
Mainly through the yellow pages. I will also have a commercial made
sign in front of the show house. I might put ads in the Directory
part of the local newspaper. But I think that word of mouth will be
my best advertising.
7. Is there another business like the one you want to open
operating in the area you want to serve? Is it successful? Why or why
There are no other full-time siding businesses in Valley county.
In Valley county there is one person who installs part-time, but his
prices are out of line. My third competitor is about 150 miles away.
They seem to be increasing in degree of need because a conservative
estimate is that about 77% of the people use vinyl to side their houses.
8. Why do you want to start this type of business?
The vinyl siding industry has been growing in leaps and bounds.
Vinyl siding is cost efficient because it makes a great maintenance
free home so it appeals to people. It also has a very good margin
of profit. The major overhead are tools and place of business. Besides
the cost of lumber keeps most people from using it so more and more
are switching to vinyl.
9. What qualifications do you already have for running this
I have experience as a carpenter, have had training in and installed
siding, and have kept current in the changes and improvements for
installation of siding. I have also managed my own Home Improvement
Business and Seafood Business. I was a non-union carpenter for over
10 years, 4 years apprentice union carpenters, 10 years union carpenter,
4 years shop in high school. With my Home Improvement Business I installed
siding and could repair or look at a job that someone else had done
and determine the problem and repair it.
10. What will you need to learn to be able to operate this
Nothing much because I have already owned and managed my own businesses
and I have been a carpenter and have been trained in and have experience
installing siding. I already have good ideas for advertising and serving
11. Will you hire employees? What skills should they have?
How much will you pay them?
At this time I plan on running the business myself with only part-time
help if needed. This help will only be of labor quality and not requiring
to know much of business or installation. There may be a need for
a casual laborer on an as-needed basis when I need an individual.
This would be a minimum wage, part-time position with no benefits
at this time.
12. If you were a potential customer, why would you use this
I will charge less than the only other local person who installs
vinyl siding part time. Iíll charge about $175 less per square than
him. Iíll do a better job too because no one in this area knows all
the correct processes for installing vinyl siding and Iím not sure
if any of them know how to put up soffit or fascia material correctly.
13. If you were a customer, what features would keep you coming
Most of my customers will not use my service more than once, unless
they have rental property, sell a home they already had sided, or
own more than one commercial building. But I think new customers will
buy my product and that some will buy from me again if they need siding
because my product has eye appeal, it is a tough outer shell, which
needs very little maintenance. It will provide greater resale to any
structure. It is very inexpensive, while being a very durable product.
Also my prices will be competitive and I will do a better job than
my competition. I have heard that, in most cases, these businesses
do not install the siding correctly. They do not use steel for fascia
as I plan to. Also at this time they do not use a break for bending
metal to cover trim on windows and fascia. Unlike them, I will provide
warranty of work, advertising, bonded and insured installed. I will
also provide good customer service. Customer service has always got
to be first.
14. Who will do the ordering, customer contact, and bookkeeping
for your business.
15. What hours and days will you operate?
The business would be open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.. Monday through
Friday, with an answering machine for after hours and weekends. Estimates
would be done at the customerís site and selection of colors and ordering
forms started. After return to office, would finalize cost estimate
and availability of product.
16. Where will your business be located?
The business will be located at two sitesĖa show house and a business
location run from my home. I will store my business equipment in the
garage at my personal residence.
17. What equipment will you need? Do you need it right away?
If not, when will you need it? Do you need to own it or can you rent
I already own both the show house, my personal residence where my
office will be located, and the equipment storage garage at my personal
residence. I will need to buy the tools as soon as possible to install
the vinyl siding on the show house and to be ready for paying customers.
I want to buy top quality tools of the trade, which save time and
money and will do a more efficient and professional looking job. I
cannot rent these tools locally. I also will need to buy a professional
looking sign as soon as possible to advertise at the show house.
18. Will your disability pose any barriers to your operating
this business? If yes, what are they? What are your ideas for overcoming
My disability with my left arm is from an accident as a carpenter.
It should not cause any problem with the installation of siding.
19. How much money will you need to start the business? How
much money can you contribute? Who can loan you money? What do you think
are likely sources of money for starting your business?
I estimate that I will need about $10,000 to buy tools to start
the business. Although I own my personal residence and the show house,
I am making payments on them so I donít have the cash on hand for
the tools. I havenít checked into financing yet but I may be able
to borrow some from a local bank. They know me and I have good credit.
I thought I could get help from VR to start my business.
© July 1998, 1st Revision June 1999, 2nd Revision February 2001