Photo Inventory Service

Startup Costs: $2,000 - $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes

Every year Americans suffer billions of dollars in losses due to theft, fire and natural disaster, yet most people have no record of their possessions. When damages occur from theft or natural disaster and the insurance company asks for descriptions, serial numbers and other details, victims are at yet another loss. But if you have a camera and are willing to travel around town, you can save the day with a photo inventory service. You'll take pictures of clients' possessions and mark them with serial numbers and the purchase price or replacement value so that if a burglary or disaster occurs your clients are prepared. The advantages to this business are that you can start part-time on a shoestring, you meet lots of people, and you provide both a valuable service and peace of mind for your clients. Although you don't have to be an Ansel Adams, you do need to know the basics of good photography. You'll also need to know the sorts of details insurance companies are interested in--when you snap a photo of that computer, for instance, you'll want to make sure the model number is visible.

The Market

Your clients will be individuals and businesses of all types. An excellent way to solicit trade is by establishing relationships with insurance agents who can refer you to their customers--be sure to leave plenty of business cards for agents to hand out. Introduce yourself to the detectives in charge of property thefts in your police or sheriff's departments and give them your cards as well. You can also send out brochures in direct-mail campaigns--a good time to do this is when a rash of burglaries makes the morning papers. And don't forget networking and giving talks to professional and civic organizations.

Needed Equipment

The biggest tool of your trade will be your camera. You can go with whatever model you already have on hand, but you may want to invest in a digital camera, a computer, photo software, and a high-quality color printer. Digital models can store hundreds of pictures at a time, which saves on film costs and time spent changing and labeling rolls--and there's no developing involved. Or you may choose to go with a video camera. You should also have a notebook to record the details to go with your pictures and, of course, a supply of pens and pencils.

Photo Inventory Service Ideas

Digital Marketing Consultant

Use your marketing expertise to help others grow their businesses.

Management Consulting and Training

Help other entrepreneurs train top-notch management.

Home Office Planner

Think you have the key to office space success? Help entrepreneurs design their home bases.

More from Business Ideas

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Starting a Business

Zillow Co-Founder Shares a 'Misunderstood' Truth About Starting, Funding and Selling Your Company

Now that he runs a venture fund himself, Spencer Rascoff is sitting on the other side of the table, and he sees what founders get wrong when pitching investors.

Side Hustle

4 Simple Mistakes That Can Crush Your Creative Side Hustle, From an Expert Who Raised $45 Million to Support Independent Workers

Ben Huffman, CEO and co-founder of Contra, became a "power user" on Elance and Odesk (now Upwork) and realized freelancers needed more support.