Published November 23, 2009

The Big Picture: How to Start a Home Inventory Company with Your Camcorder

Natural disasters are big news. With recent catastrophes such as Katrina still fresh on the minds of Americans, it has brought to everyone's minds the need for insurance. However, it's not just hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods that cause people to lose their possessions. Fires, wind, theft - any of these reasons and more can cause a claim on a homeowner's insurance policy.

However, in order to make a claim on possessions, a homeowner needs to prove that they owned them in the first place. That's where you come in with your camera and an eye for detail.

Your video camera and video experience can not only make you money with a part time business, but offer a valuable service to those who need a reliable means of a comprehensive home inventory.

Skills Required: A steady hand and pleasant demeanor

Operating a handheld camcorder is relatively easy. You just hold it in your hand and press record. However, when you are performing a valuable service to homeowners, you need to have the ability to put them at ease that you will do the job right and get everything recorded clearly.

Practice walking around your home and capturing everything on video in a smooth, clear motion. It should have the feel of a documentary movie. Open cabinets, closets, doors so you can get it all on video.

Startup Expenses: $35-$100, if you already have a quality camera

If you already own a good camera, your startup expenses will only be for the purchase of recording media, gas, and marketing. Video cameras vary in media types ranging from Mini-DVD to Mini-DV tapes, or even HD-tapes.

Marketing your home inventory business can be done on the inexpensive side. Offer your home inventory business services through Craiglist for free. Talk to insurance agents, lawyers, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, financial planners, or anyone who might know the value of a video home inventory, and ask to leave a flyer for their clients.

Monthly Revenue: $250 - $4,000 per month

Fees for video home inventory services usually run between $250 to $500 per full asset inventory. The fees depend mainly on two factors: the demand for video home inventory in your area and the size of the home. High demand areas might be in the Southeastern states where hurricanes are a real threat. Having video documentation from your home inventory business will give homeowners peace of mind that they can use if disaster ever strikes.

Your home inventory business also should look at charging higher fees for larger homes. Create a fee structure for a typical 3-bedroom size home or smaller, but also for homes or businesses that are larger. A homeowner with a larger estate has more square footage and more assets that need documenting, and your fees should correlate accordingly.

Monthly Expenses: Minimal

The typical monthly expenses will be minimal for your home inventory business. All you need to buy are video tapes or other recording media and gas, but these costs are usually recouped in the fees you charge your clients.

People are seeing the need for a reliable source of home inventory. Your part time business performing video home inventories will help them rest easy and help you make extra money on evenings and weekends.