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How to Start a Telephone Answering Service – Sample Business Plan Template

Are you interested in starting a telephone service from home? Do you need a sample telephone service business plan template? If YES, then I advice you read on. Business owners and other professionals are becoming more aware of customers’ preference to talk to a live person, rather than a telephone answering machine especially when they call a business or company.

Most customers find it annoying when they call a firm to make some enquiries, but are welcomed by an answering machine with a prerecorded message. This alone could cost a business some of its customers. As a much better alternative to the use of answering machines, business owners are now turning to forwarding their calls to a telephone answering service, which handles calls from customers after normal business hours, during lunch breaks, on weekends, on holidays, and during other times when no one is available to take incoming calls.

A telephone answering service receives incoming calls and answers basic questions asked by customers, takes messages to the business, delivers feedback to callers, clarify intent of calls, and even arrange meetings with customers. The personal touch offered by a professional telephone service can mean the difference in obtaining or keeping a client.

If you have excellent communication skills and a pleasant telephone manner, then starting a telephone answering service can be a smart way to start your own home business. With little startup capital and no formal qualifications required, you have few hurdles to scale when venturing into the business. And with a few companies on board, you can earn a living from this small, home-based business. Here are the steps involved in starting a successful telephone answering service:

Starting a Telephone Answering Service – Sample Business Plan Template

1. Define your services

You need to figure out which services you will offer through your telephone answering business. For example, you may simply answer calls and take down customers’ enquiries and messages, or you may take your services a step further by providing answers to basic questions on behalf of your client. You may also decide to include email and fax answering services.

2. Write a business plan

Writing a business plan is one of the most important steps to take when starting a new business. Your business plan will detail everything about your business, including mission and objectives, startup plans and costs, services and packages, pricing structure, marketing plans, growth plans, management summary, and so on.

A business plan gives you a clear outline of what you want to do—to start and run your business successfully—and how you are going to do it. It also helps you gather your ideas together. And it can come in handy when you need funding from third parties.

An important decision that will go into your business plan is the type of business structure you will be creating–whether it’s a sole proprietorship, a partnership, corporation, or LLC.

3. Fulfill all legal requirements

You sure don’t want to run into problems before or after starting your business. So, it’s very important that you follow all rules and regulations regarding starting a telephone answering service. File all the paperwork needed to create your business. Register your business with the appropriate local agency. And obtain all permits and licenses.

Since legal requirements for starting a business varies by state and country, you need to contact your local agency to find out what applies in your own locality. Better yet, involve a seasoned attorney if you don’t know how to go about this aspect.

4. Find a good location

Your ideal location is one that free of distractions and background noise. This could be either your home or an office.

5. Get the needed equipment

Set up your office. You will need basic office facilities such as a computer, printer, desk, office supplies, and so on. But more importantly, you will need phones and lines. You should also purchase or lease an answering service system that allows you to accept calls for multiple clients. Then, you can have each client forward his calls to you during answering service hours.

6. Set your working hours

Most businesses will hire you to answer calls that come in after normal business hours, during lunch breaks, on weekends, on holidays, and on other times their offices are closed. You must bear this in mind when setting your working hours.

7. Prepare contract and client files

You need to prepare contracts that include details you and your client agree to, such as days and times you will answer their calls, whether you will only receive calls or also answer customer’s questions, how much you will charge your clients, and so on.

You also need to create files that detail each client’s requirements for taking and delivering messages and the hours during which they want you to answer their phone calls. You will place copies of all correspondence, including the messages you take for them, inside this file.

8. Market your business

It is important that you use multiple strategies to attract clients to your telephone answering business. Print and distribute business cards and fliers. Advertise in local newspapers, on bulletin boards, and on online platforms. Send direct mail adverts to business owners, and use cold calling to attract clients.