Answering Service Business Idea

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callcentercross 7/24/2008

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Business Summary:

Meet the growing needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses by starting an in-demand home answering or call service company. A home answering service receives telephone calls on behalf of business clients who do not have the resources or budget for office or reception employees. There are a wide range of potential customers for a home answering service, such as small businesses like independent physician’s or real estate agents. With the right marketing campaign, you can form your own home answering service and add thousands of dollars to your monthly income.

Home answering services generally take calls on behalf of their clients and provide any or all of the following services:

  • Message service
  • Order taking
  • Call forwarding
  • Appointment setting

Small businesses may have a need to accept phone calls from customers during normal business hours, ranging from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, as well as potentially extended hours into the evening. These businesses rely on the assistance of a home answering service to manage the inflow of customer communication.

Start Up Cost: $100 – $10,000

Can Be Home Based?: Yes

Can Be Operated Part Time?: Yes

Skills Required:

Excellent customer service and phone manners are essential for an answering service to be successful. Since you are answering calls on behalf of your client(s), you will need to extend a friendly and congenial demeanor to their potential customers.

How Much Can You Earn:

What you charge for your answering services depends on how many clients you have and the number of calls you take for each client. Generally, a home answering service can charge a small business $30 to $100 per month, depending on the additional services you offer and the call volume. The amount of income you can generate annually depends upon how many clients you accept, but you can expect to make anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000 annually.

Understanding Customers:

Marketing Strategy:

A home-based answering service can thrive in a metropolitan area, but there is a need for answering services in small communities as well. You can place ads in newspapers, the Yellow Pages, and community and online bulletin boards.

You can also offer your answering services to businesses directly. Think about the specific type of businesses that would need this niche service. Business owners who often work away from the office would be great candidates, such as electricians, contractors, or painters. Medical offices are also great candidates for clients, as they all require after-hour answering services.


The basic needs of an answering service are a separate phone line and a telephone for each business for whom you offer answering services. You can contact your local telephone company for discounted installation and service for additional phone lines. Or, for a more affordable option, you can choose a VOIP, which is an internet phone that can be programmed for different numbers and phone lines.

If you have several clients, such as ten clients, then you would be wise to invest in a reliable, top of the line telephone switchboard system, or a similar system for your computer. This makes the management of inbound calls easier.

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