The businesses that you can set up for less than €10,000
though there are signs that the Irish economy is starting to turn a corner, over 400,000 people are still out of work. If you've just lost your job, you could turn your life around by setting up your own business and doing something you love.
In the first of a two-part series, the Sunday Independent asks how you might reinvent yourself after losing your job. If you've got a redundancy payout, that money could give you your first real chance to become your own boss. We asked some top entrepreneurs which businesses you could set up with a redundancy lump sum of €10,000.
If your friends and family rave about your homemade apple pie or jam, you could set yourself up selling your food from a stall in a farmer's market for as little as €5,000, according to Bobby Kerr, chairman of the coffee shop chain Insomnia.
Keeping costs that low, however, requires careful planning and good research in second-hand equipment, said Kerr.
If you set up your own food stall, the main overheads include the cost of your stall or trailer, the cost of renting a space in the market, insurance, and the cost of producing your food.
In some farmers' markets in Kerry, it costs a once-off fee of €20 to apply for a space in the market – and you then pay a daily fee of €10 to trade. In Dublin's Marlay Park, it costs between €180 and €240 a month to rent a space to sell baked goods in the park's Sunday markets, depending on whether or not you need electricity.
If selling hot food, it costs between €260 and €280 a month to trade in the park's Sunday markets. These rates don't include Value Added Tax, but you can write off VAT as a business expense.
If you want to make a living out of a food stall, you will usually need to sell your food at between three and four markets a week.
It is important therefore to choose the right market as the rent costs will add up over a year.
If you trade in a market for four days a week and you're paying €10 a day in rent, your rent for the year will add up to €2,080. If you pay €40 a day rent for your pitch, your rent for the year could add up to €8,320.
If running your own food stall, expect to pay about €189 a year for public liability insurance, according to Conor Lyons, a director with the insurance brokers, First Ireland.
If your stall is in a major festival, expect to pay at least €220 for public liability insurance.
The costs of making your own food will vary – but if you produce food at home, this should keep costs down.
"As long as your kitchen meets certain standards, you'll be able to produce food at home – but you will need to register with the Health Service Executive," said Jackie Spillane, manager of Marlay Park Markets.
If you sell food from a van, you will also have to cover the cost of buying that van – and the running costs, such as motor tax, insurance and fuel. Even with these extra costs, you should be able to set up a food van in a local market for less than €10,000, according to Kerr. "You need to be careful, however, to keep some of your €10,000 for working capital," said Kerr.
If you want to make a living out of a food stall, you will usually need to sell your food at between three and four markets a week
The amount of money you make out of a food stall or van will vary – depending on how popular your food is, and how good you are at keeping your business costs low.
You will have a better chance of making money if your food stall or van stands out from others. "Hot food traders are ten a penny," said Spillane. "We're most interested in hearing from grocery traders, including food producers, home producers or growers."
MAN WITH A VAN
A €10,000 lump sum should be enough to get you set up as a furniture removal man, according to Kerr. You'll need to buy a van and pay for insurance – and you'll also have to invest in promotional activity.
If you can do the job yourself, you can cut out the cost of hiring someone else. You will, however, usually need to get someone to help with the heavy lifting – whether that be a family member or the person who is hiring you to remove furniture on their behalf.
Public liability insurance for a man with a van typically costs between €500 and €600 a year, according to First Ireland's Lyons. Running costs include fuel and van insurance.
If you set yourself up as a furniture removal man, you could easily make between €200 and €400 a day.
Dragon's Den star Ramona Nicholas believes the time is ripe to set up a personal organisation business in Ireland.
"There is only one company doing this in Ireland and there is no competition in this area at all," said Nicholas. "Many large co-operations or families that have working mums and dads will pay to have their space personally organised, rather than doing it themselves – so they can spend time with their family rather than tidying the home."
You could charge between €20 and €40 an hour as a personal organiser.
Nicholas also believes there is a gap in the Irish market for a large cleaning company. "There are no large domestic or commercial cleaning companies in Ireland," said Nicholas. "The opportunities here are massive."
If you're considering setting yourself up as a standalone cleaner, you'll need about €5,000 in working capital and €5,000 to cover costs such as supplies, a van, insurance, book-keeping, fuel and advertising, according to John Green, the managing director of the cleaning franchise, Chem-Dry.
Although you could charge €15 an hour to clean someone's home, building up a customer base as a standalone cleaner can be tough, warned Green.
It could be easier to make it as a cleaner by buying into a franchise. "All of the problems generally associated with starting a business have been ironed out with a franchise," said Green. "You're investing in a proven method of doing something."
Buying into a cleaning franchise can be expensive, however. "You'll need at least €20,000 to €25,000 to buy into a franchise," said Green.
The British domestic cleaning company, Maid2Clean, is offering Irish franchises for €11,735. "There are 20 franchises available in the Republic of Ireland," said Mike Hanrahan, co-founder of Maid2Clean.
If you invest in a franchise, know exactly what your package includes.
Making money out of farts sounds like a step too far. However, a few years ago, the US developer, Joel Comm, made about €8,000 a day after making the iFart app for the iPhone.
If you've a head for computer programming, you could make a fortune out of computer apps. The Limerick brothers, John and Patrick Collison, who became overnight millionaires when they sold their software company Auctomatic about five years ago, clearly believe there is a lot of money in computer apps. Their Silicon Valley start-up, Stripe, recently snapped up the team task management app, Kickoff.
While you can set up an app development company cheaply from home, it is still wise to budget for overhead costs of at least €2,000. One of the biggest upfront costs will be the cost of developing your app.
You will also need to invest in marketing so that the public can hear about your app – and start paying money to download it. Otherwise, you could make very little money out of it. You could also design a free app and leave some space in the app for advertising – so that you get a credit everytime someone clicks an ad.
The entrepreneur and founder of the online design company Tweak, Jerry Kennelly, believes you could set yourself up as a photographer for about €10,000 – and use social media to market your service.
Kennelly says the start-up costs for a photographer aren't that high. Along with good camera equipment (which you may already have if photography is your pastime), you need a colour printer and frames – and you should also invest some money and time marketing your business and displaying your work at exhibitions.
The trick is to produce photos which people will buy – and to have the marketing skills to convince people to buy them. Otherwise you could find it hard to make ends meet.
"Many people in photography are having a hard time making a living now, but at the same time, there are others who are making a good living by having a different point of view," said Kennelly. "It's about spotting a real gap in the market and knowing your game well enough to kick the crap out of anyone who's going to get in your way."