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How to Start a Discount Card Business

A discount card business typically involves the creation and distribution of cards that offer discounts or special deals at various businesses or retailers.

These cards are often sold to consumers who then use them to access discounted prices, special promotions, or other benefits at participating stores, restaurants, or service providers.

The discount card company establishes partnerships with various businesses. These could include restaurants, gyms, retailers, beauty salons, and other local or national establishments.

The company designs and produces physical or digital discount cards. Physical cards may be plastic or paper cards that consumers can carry in their wallets, while digital cards might be accessible through a mobile app or website. The discount cards are then sold to consumers.

This could involve direct sales, online sales, or partnerships with schools, nonprofits, or other organizations for fundraising purposes. Some businesses might offer the cards for free as a way to attract customers.

Steps on How to Start a Discount Card Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

Conducting thorough market research is essential before starting a discount card business. First, you will need to clearly outline what you want to achieve through your market research.

Identify the specific information you need to gather, such as potential client demographics, competition analysis, and market trends.

Next, research existing discount card businesses in your target market. Identify their strengths, weaknesses, pricing strategies, and the types of businesses they partner with.

Analyze customer reviews and feedback to understand what consumers appreciate or dislike about existing offerings. Identify potential businesses willing to partner with your discount card program.

Consider businesses that align with the interests and needs of your target audience. Evaluate the attractiveness of your offering to potential partners.

Conduct surveys or organize focus groups to gather direct feedback from potential customers. Ask about their willingness to purchase a discount card, the types of discounts they find most appealing, and their preferences regarding the format of the card (physical or digital).

Conduct a financial analysis to estimate the costs of launching and operating your discount card business. Evaluate potential revenue streams and project whether the business is financially viable in the long run.

Lastly, compile the insights from your market research into a comprehensive business plan. Outline your business goals, target market, competitive analysis, marketing strategy, financial projections, and operational plan.

a. Who is the Target Market for the Discount Card Business?
  • Individuals who are actively seeking ways to save money on their everyday purchases.
  • People who frequently make purchases, both online and offline
  • Students, particularly those in college or university
  • Families, especially those with children
  • Young professionals who are starting their careers and are interested in saving money while still enjoying various services and experiences.
  • Tourists and visitors looking to save money on attractions, dining, and other services during their stay.
  • Seniors who are on fixed incomes and appreciate the cost-saving benefits of discount cards.
  • Small business owners and entrepreneurs who are interested in discount cards that offer savings on business-related expenses, such as office supplies, professional services, or networking events.
  • Individuals who frequently attend events, concerts, sports games, and other entertainment activities.
b. Is the Discount Card Business a Profitable Business?

A discount card business can be profitable, but its profitability depends on various factors, including location, competition, fee structure, customer volume, and operational efficiency.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there are no existing niches when it comes to the discount card business.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • AAA Discounts
  • AARP Member Discounts
  • Senior Discounts Club
  • GoodRx
  • Slickdeals
  • CouponCabin
  • Dosh
  • DealNews
  • Swagbucks
  • Cardpool
  • Groupon
  • RetailMeNot
  • Entertainment®
  • LivingSocial
  • Rakuten
  • Honey
  • Student Beans
  • Veterans Advantage.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Discount Card Business?

Yes, there are several policies, regulations, and zoning laws that can affect the discount card business in the United States.

Discount card is a highly regulated industry, primarily at the state level, and these regulations are in place to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of the business.

Discount card businesses, like any other business, may need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits to operate legally. These requirements can vary at the state and local levels.

Discount card businesses must adhere to federal and state consumer protection laws. These laws govern fair business practices, advertising, and the disclosure of terms and conditions to consumers.

Advertising discount offers and promotions may be subject to specific regulations to ensure transparency and prevent deceptive practices. Businesses must comply with truth-in-advertising laws at the federal and state levels.

If the discount card business collects and handles customer data, it must comply with relevant privacy laws, such as the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) or state-specific data protection regulations.

The agreements between discount card businesses and their partner establishments must comply with contract law. Clarity in terms, obligations, and the nature of the partnership is essential.

Zoning laws are generally more relevant to the physical location of businesses. Discount card businesses that operate physical storefronts or offices may need to comply with local zoning regulations.

f. Is There a Franchise for Discount card Business?

No, there are no franchise opportunities for discount card business.

g. What Do You Need to Start a Discount Card Business?
  • Business Plan
  • Legal Structure
  • Funding
  • Partnerships with Businesses
  • Discount Card Design
  • Sales and Distribution Channels
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Customer Support Infrastructure
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Pricing Model
  • Technology (if digital cards)
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Systems.
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with.

It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable. Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a discount card are;

Creative Discount Card Name ideas
  • Michael Stevenson© Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Owen Adams® Discount Card Company, LLC
  • Collins Weaver© Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Card Solutions® Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Tricia Paulson™ Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Gillians Andersons ™ Discount Card Company, LLC.
  • Aston Percheron© Discount Card Company, LLC
  • Sol Perkinson® Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Card Trust© Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Cornell Johnson© Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Julian Hallmark® Discount Card Company, LLC
  • John Jamel® Discount Card Company, LLC
  • Jake McNown’s™ Discount Card Company, LLC
  • Bob McInnes© Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Joel Gersham® Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Peter Parker™ Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Julai Williams™ Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Collins Meadow© Discount Card Company, Inc.
  • Debbie Wright® Discount Card Company, LLC
  • Serah Taylor™ Discount Card Company, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Discount Card Business?

Even though there are several options such as sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation when it comes to the business structure of a discount card business, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits.

Note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has any employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below. Most new single-member LLCs classified as disregarded entities will need to obtain an EIN.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Discount Card Business?
  • Business License
  • Sales Tax Permit
  • Trade Name Registration (DBA)
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Home Occupation Permit (if applicable)
  • Special Licenses for Specific Industries (if applicable)
  • Professional License (if applicable)
  • Health Department Permits (if applicable)
  • Sign Permit
  • Vendor’s License (if required in your locality)
  • Zoning Permits
  • Compliance with State and Local Regulations.
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start a Discount Card Business?

No specific certification is typically required for a discount card business.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Discount Card Business?
  • Business Plan
  • Business License Application
  • Trade Name Registration (DBA)
  • Sales Tax Permit Application
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Partnership Agreements (if applicable)
  • Vendor Agreements with Participating Businesses
  • Card Design Samples
  • Marketing Materials
  • Pricing Structure Documentation
  • Location Lease Agreement
  • Business Insurance Documents
  • Health Department Permits (if applicable)
  • Zoning Approval Documents
  • Compliance Certificates with State and Local Regulations.
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

For a discount card business, the need for a trademark, copyright, or patent would depend on the specific circumstances and services you’re providing.

A trademark is used to protect brand names, logos, and symbols that identify and distinguish goods or services. In the context of a discount card business, you might consider trademark protection if you have a unique business name, logo, or slogan that you want to safeguard from being used by others in a confusing manner.

Copyright protects original creative works, such as literary, artistic, and software content. In a discount card business, copyright might apply to written content on your website, marketing materials, software, or any creative content you produce.

Patents are typically not relevant for discount card businesses unless you’re developing a novel and useful process, method, or technology that has a unique and specific application in the field of discount cards.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Discount Card Business?

The startup cost for a discount card business is not uniform, there are some factors that can influence the cost. But basically, a discount card business will cost from $2.5 million to $ 5 million or more to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Discount Card Business
  • Business Registration Fees – $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits – $2,300.
  • Marketing, Branding, and Promotions – $5,000.
  • Business Consultant Fee – $2,500.
  • Insurance – $25,400.
  • Rent/Lease – $150,000.
  • Other start-up expenses including, commercial satellite TV subscriptions, stationery ($500), and phone and utility deposits ($2,800).
  • Operational Cost (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $250,000
  • Working Capital – $2.8 million
  • Store Equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $4,750
  • Website: $2,500
  • Opening party: $7,000
  • Miscellaneous: $5,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Discount Card Business?
  • The size of discount card business
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost of hiring and paying a business consultant and attorney
  • The cost of branding, promotion, and marketing of the discount card business
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the discount card facility
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • The cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost of the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost for the grand opening of the discount card business
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

Actually, it is not compulsory to build a new facility for your discount card business. As a matter of fact, you can operate your discount card business from a shared office, or even from a kiosk.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Discount Card Business?
  • Ongoing expenses for advertising, online promotions, influencer collaborations, and other marketing efforts to attract and retain customers.
  • Costs related to maintaining and updating the digital platform, including website development, mobile app maintenance, and data analytics tools.
  • Fees paid to partner businesses for participating in the discount card program, securing exclusive discounts and promotions for cardholders.
  • Salaries, software, and infrastructure costs associated with providing responsive customer support to address inquiries, concerns, and feedback.
  • Ongoing expenses for day-to-day operations, including rent, utilities, office supplies, and administrative staff salaries.
  • Costs related to managing and updating the inventory of discount offerings, including negotiating new deals with businesses and adjusting existing partnerships.
  • Investments in cybersecurity measures to protect customer data and ensure the secure functioning of the digital platform.
  • Ongoing training programs to keep employees informed about the latest industry trends, customer service techniques, and technology updates.
  • Expenses associated with managing and promoting subscription-based membership programs, including perks and incentives for subscribers.
  • Costs for legal services to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, protecting the business from legal issues and disputes.
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $125,000 Per Year
  • Chief Financial Officer – $100,000 Per Year
  • Operations Manager – $85,000 Per Year
  • Technical Officer – $70,000 Per Year
  • Business Development Officer – $55,000 Per Year
  • Customer Service Representative – $36,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Discount Card Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Bob McInnes® Discount Card Company, Inc. is a dynamic venture poised to revolutionize the consumer savings landscape in New York City. Leveraging strategic partnerships with local businesses, our company aims to provide residents, students, and tourists with a powerful tool to access exclusive discounts on a wide range of products and services.

Bob McInnes® Discount Card Company, Inc. is poised to make a significant impact on the consumer market in New York City.

With a commitment to customer satisfaction, strategic partnerships, and innovation, we are confident in our ability to reshape the discount card landscape, providing tangible value to both consumers and local businesses.

b. Products and Service

The discount card business offers a curated selection of products and services designed to provide consumers with exclusive savings and benefits.

Through strategic partnerships with local and national businesses, the discount card unlocks access to discounts on a diverse range of goods and services, including but not limited to dining, entertainment, retail, and essential services.

The offerings aim to cater to the budget-conscious, families, students, and tourists, providing them with a cost-effective solution for their daily needs.

Both physical and digital card options may be available, enhancing accessibility and convenience for modern consumers.

The discount card business is dedicated to delivering unparalleled value, fostering community engagement, and reshaping the consumer experience.

c. Mission Statement

At Bob McInnes® Discount Card Company, Inc., our mission is to enrich the lives of individuals in every community we touch by providing a gateway to unparalleled savings.

We are committed to creating a seamless bridge between consumers seeking value and businesses eager to connect with their local audience.

Through strategic partnerships, innovative solutions, and a relentless focus on customer satisfaction, we aspire to redefine the discount card experience.

Vision Statement:

Our vision at Bob McInnes® Discount Card Company, Inc. is to be the leading catalyst for positive change in the consumer landscape.

We envision a future where our discount cards become synonymous with value, trust, and community connection. Through relentless innovation, technological excellence, and ethical business practices, we strive to expand our reach and impact.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals of our discount card business are to forge strategic partnerships with diverse local businesses, offering consumers exclusive savings on a broad spectrum of products and services.

We aim to become the go-to platform for cost-conscious individuals, students, and families, fostering a community-oriented approach to smart spending.

Our objectives include establishing brand recognition, developing user-friendly digital platforms, ensuring regulatory compliance, and achieving financial sustainability.

Through innovation and customer-centric initiatives, we aspire to reshape the discount card landscape, providing tangible value to both consumers and businesses alike.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Operation Manager
  • Technical Officer
  • Business Development Officer
  • Customer Service Representatives.

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Established collaborations with a diverse range of local businesses, creating a robust network.
  • Invested in targeted marketing campaigns to build a strong and recognizable brand in the competitive market.
  • Utilizing user-friendly digital platforms to enhance accessibility and cater to modern consumer preferences.
  • Focused on customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty through tailored offerings.
  • Starting and maintaining a discount card business requires a significant initial investment in licensing, equipment, and staff.
  • The financial services industry is heavily regulated, and maintaining compliance with changing regulations can be complex and time-consuming.
  • The company operates in a competitive landscape, facing competition from established financial service providers and potential newcomers.
  • Relying heavily on technology for operations could lead to disruptions in case of technical issues or cyber threats.
  • Explore opportunities to expand operations to new geographic areas or demographics.
  • Seek partnerships with a wider array of businesses, catering to varied consumer interests.
  • Introduce subscription-based models to create recurring revenue streams.
  • Evolving financial regulations could impact business operations and require adjustments to compliance procedures.
  • Economic downturns or financial crises could lead to reduced customer transactions and revenue.
  • The financial industry is prone to security breaches, fraud, and cyber threats, which could damage the company’s reputation and customer trust.
  • Increased competition from existing financial service providers and new entrants could put pressure on market share and profitability.
b. How Do Discount Card Businesses Make Money?

Discount card businesses generate revenue through the sale of their discount cards to consumers. Customers purchase these cards, either through one-time purchases or subscription models, gaining access to exclusive discounts and deals offered by partnering businesses.

The discount card company negotiates agreements with local and national businesses, receiving a fee or percentage of each transaction made by cardholders.

Additionally, some discount card businesses may explore advertising partnerships, allowing businesses to promote their products or services directly to the cardholder base for an additional fee.

The combination of card sales, transaction-based revenue, and potential advertising collaborations constitutes the income stream for discount card businesses, creating a mutually beneficial ecosystem for consumers and participating businesses.

c. Payment Options
  • Online Payment Portal
  • Credit and Debit Cards
  • ACH Bank Transfers
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • Check Payments
  • Wire Transfers
  • Mobile Payment Apps.
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Use traditional methods like flyers, posters, and newspaper ads to reach local communities and inform them about your discount card services. Consider placing ads in local newspapers, community magazines, and neighborhood bulletin boards.
  • Leverage digital platforms such as social media, search engines, and email marketing to target specific demographics. Create engaging social media posts, optimize your website for search engines, and run targeted online advertisements to reach potential customers in your area.
  • Establish partnerships with local businesses that share a similar customer base. For example, collaborate with payday loan providers, convenience stores, or retail shops to cross-promote services and reach a wider audience.
  • Participate in local events, fairs, and community gatherings to raise awareness about your business. Set up booths or stalls where you can interact with potential customers, distribute promotional materials, and answer questions.
  • Encourage your existing customers to refer friends and family members by offering incentives, discounts, or bonuses for successful referrals. Word-of-mouth recommendations can be powerful in local communities.
  • Run limited-time promotions or discounts on discount card fees to attract new customers and incentivize repeat business. Advertise these promotions through various channels to create a sense of urgency.

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?
Direct Card Sales:
  • One-Time Purchases: Prices for individual discount cards can range widely. They might be priced at a fixed amount (e.g., $20 per card) or could vary based on factors like the duration of validity or the range of discounts offered.
  • Subscription-Based Memberships: Subscription fees can vary from a few dollars per month to annual plans that might be more cost-effective for customers. These fees often grant continuous access to a variety of discounts.
Partnership Fees:
  • Businesses partnering with the discount card program may be charged a fee to participate. The cost can vary depending on factors such as the size and popularity of the discount card program, the demographics of its customer base, and the perceived value of the partnership.
Royalties or Commissions:
  • Some discount card businesses may negotiate a percentage-based commission on sales generated through their platform. This could range from a fixed percentage (e.g., 5% of each sale) to a tiered structure based on performance.
Subscription Renewals:
  • Subscription renewal fees for customers are typically consistent with the initial subscription fees. Businesses often offer incentives, such as discounted rates for annual renewals or additional perks, to encourage customers to renew their subscriptions.
b. How Much Profit Does Discount Card Business Owners Make a Year?

The profit that discount card business owners can make in a year can vary widely depending on several factors, including the location of the business, the volume of transactions, the fee structure, operational costs, competition, and the overall economic environment.

It’s important to note that there is no fixed or guaranteed amount of profit, as it can differ significantly from one business to another. On average, discount card businesses typically aim for profit margins ranging from 10% to 20% of their total revenue.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the discount card business
  • The types of related service offerings
  • The location the discount card business is covering
  • The management style of the discount card business
  • The business approach of the discount card business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the discount card business.
  • The number of years the discount card business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Discount card Business?

The profit margin of a discount card business is not fixed. It could range from 10 percent to 20 percent.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?
  • First Fiscal Year: $1.3 million
  • Second Fiscal Year: $3.2 million
  • Third Fiscal Year: $5 million.
  1. Set Up your Shop/Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for a Discount Card Business?
  • The demography of the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and the residence of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of discount card businesses, and related discount card businesses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking, and security et al
b. What State and City is Best to Open a Discount Card Business?
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Palm Beach, Florida
  • San Francisco, California
  • Washington DC
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Los Angeles, California
  • New York City, New York
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Discount Card Business?
  • Computers and Laptops
  • Printer and Scanner
  • Design Software
  • Website and Online Platform
  • Point of Sale (POS) System
  • Office Furniture
  • Communication Tools
  • Security Systems
  • Payment Processing System
  • Storage Solutions
  • Networking Equipment
  • Mobile Devices
  • Packaging Materials
  • Marketing Materials
  • Record-keeping Software.
  1. Hire Employees

Hiring employees for a new discount card business is essential for operational efficiency and growth. Employees contribute diverse skills and perspectives, enabling streamlined daily operations, from card production to customer service.

Employees can also play a crucial role in forging and maintaining partnerships with businesses, expanding the network of discounts offered.

A well-structured team can enhance marketing efforts, drive sales, and handle administrative tasks, allowing the business owner to focus on strategic planning and overall business development.

  1. Launch the Business Proper

No discount card business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening party if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the discount card business, you will officially inform people in your city that your discount card business is open for business.

a. What Makes a Discount Card Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location and reliable processes to launch the business
  • Partner with leading financial institutions, and other institutions
  • Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
  • Throw an open house grand party before officially opening the discount card business
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your discount card business
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your discount card business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Discount Card Business?

A typical day at a discount car business involves a dynamic blend of strategic activities. Our team initiates the day by engaging with local businesses to forge and strengthen partnerships, ensuring a diverse array of exclusive discounts.

The technology team continuously monitors and optimizes our digital platform for an enhanced user experience. Marketing efforts span social media, email campaigns, and collaborations with influencers to amplify our reach.

Customer support remains responsive, addressing inquiries and feedback promptly. Collaboration with retail partners and hosting events in the local community adds a personal touch.

c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Discount Card Business?
  • Financial Services Knowledge
  • Business Management
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Customer Service
  • Financial Literacy
  • Risk Management
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Team Leadership
  • Technology Proficiency
  • Industry Networking.