Here in this article, I am going to show you how to start an apartment locator business. the cost and the necessary things you should be aware of before starting an apartment locator business.
Moving to a new city is never easy. Everyone needs a place to live, but not
everybody has the time to look. This is a problem that is being solved by many businesses in major cities across the world.
What is an apartment locator?
An Apartment Locator is a licensed real estate agent that specializes in apartments, short-term rentals, and rental houses. This is a free service to renters.
Many savvy individuals are launching their own apartment locator websites and are turning quite a profit from doing so.
Your main source of income will be referral fees from rental offices of apartments, condominiums, and other real estate structures. You could also charge a fee for sublets, apartment sharing, and private rental listings.
Requests are sent via e-mail from those seeking an apartment to you, the site administrator, with a description of the desired apartment location, size, necessities, and so on, that the individual is looking for.
You then take the request and find the best possible location to suit the person’s needs. Once you have found a match, you set up a time for your client to view the apartment. You collect a referral fee if the client signs a lease.
Another way to run this type of business would be to set up a searchable database. Those with apartments to rent or sublet would pay a fee to add their listing.
People looking for an apartment would search based on specific criteria such as location, maximum rent, number of bedrooms, etc.
Also Read: How to run a successful business
How to start an apartment locator business
License your apartment locator business
License your new apartment locator business with the state. Obtain a unified business license to operate within the state you will conduct business. Determine a structure for your business, such as a corporation, limited liability company, or sole proprietor.
Contact your city licensing agency to determine if additional permits and licenses are required for your business type.
The skills needed to start an apartment locator business
This business is great for someone with a thorough grasp of the available living space in the local area and basic Web publishing skills.
You should be a clear communicator via e-mail and phone with your clients and the owners of rental buildings so they take you seriously.
The cost to start an apartment locator business
Costs associated with starting this business range from $1,000 to $5,000. Initially, you will have to pay to design and develop your website.
If you want to develop the database, there will be additional costs involved. the amount will be determined by the level of sophistication, the number of fields, and the number of searchable fields.
Additional costs associated with opening this business include online advertising costs and any offline promotion that you may implement.
The number of employees needed to start the business
Typically apartment locator businesses can be run by one individual to start and will increase depending on the volume of referrals. there is no amount of employees needed to start an apartment locator business
Can an apartment locator business go global? Although people from other countries may use this service if they are moving to the country, city, or state that you represent, this business generally has national and regional potential.
E-business model/payment method
E-business level 1 or 2 would be most appropriate for this type of business.
- level 1: if you are providing hands-on services and
- level 2: if you want to go the database route and have the site run itself.
Important business issues to be addressed
Although you want to receive as many referrals as possible, it is important not to let the apartments that you represent take advantage of your website as a free advertising opportunity.
To avoid this problem, don’t list the specific names or addresses of the apartment complexes that you represent.
You can provide pictures and general location information. If you give the specific address of the suggested match, your client may go directly to the apartment without even using your service.
Of course, if you run your website as a database, this will not be an issue as you will be paid upfront for all listings. The collection of referral fees is an important issue.
Ensure that you have contracts in place with the apartment owners and safeguard procedures that help you to keep your incoming fees organized.
Your website has to be constantly updated and maintained.
When an apartment is rented through you, make sure to show this on your website. When an apartment is no longer available, remove it immediately from your website.
Online Marketing Techniques
- Develop links from as many websites and meta-indexes as possible that target your geographic audiences.
- Purchase banner ads on geographically targeted websites (e.g., if you represent apartments in New York, purchase a banner ad on a website about living in New York).
- Participate in sponsored listings with the search engines by bidding on appropriate keyword phrases.
- List your site in the classified ad section of nearby online newspapers.
- Participate in real estate or geographically specific mailing lists with a cleverly designed signature file.
Also Read: Why SEO is important for business
You should consider partnering with businesses that could benefit from your referrals. For example, local moving companies or furniture rental businesses could benefit from your referrals, since you target the same market.
This could prove to be quite profitable for your business. An alternative to this would be selling advertising to these businesses on your website.