From England comes another clever business plan that may be of some use to my bookkeeper readers.
To come right to the point, we are told that a certain young man started a "mobile bookkeeping service" which turned out to be an immense success. In one year he paid several times more income tax than his former employer. He bought a van or truck, it seems, and had it fitted up as a small office with a desk, chair, books, etc., inside. He toured the town, starting on his former employers, and offered to look after the books and take care of all accounting work for a reasonable fee.
As most small shopkeepers detest the task of bookkeeping, a great many were glad to pay to be relieved of the irksome task. Once they knew they could trust and rely on his service he was offered more work than he could accept. He was soon able to install an automatic machine. Now he runs several vans, and has a number of assistants working for him.
The source who sent this material on to me also canvassed a large number of shopkeepers in England to obtain their views on such a service. The result was 76 per cent in favor, 13 per cent against and 11 per cent noncommittal. Probably just as many for such a remarkable service right here at home! #19
It's called a "Washing-Up Service" and the plan comes from a correspondent in London, England. It would cater directly to the housewife and offer to undertake the washing of all dishes and silverware…probably the most disliked job in any home…on a nightly basis. The articles would be collected and delivered in the racks which are supplied with modern dish washing machines. These racks form a convenient method of stacking and safe transport. A modern dish washing machine will handle about 3,000 pieces of crockery and cutlery an hour and it is merely necessary to push the racks of dishes, etc. in and then operate two levers. Providing the rinse water is maintained at 190 degrees F., the heat causes the articles to dry within a few minutes without the use of drying cloths.
The service could operate out of a regular store or shop, just as many of these washing machine laundry shops now operate. Only instead of letting the housewife run the washing machine (for clothes) at so much an hour, the dishes would be picked up in racks and brought back to the shop in a specially constructed delivery truck and then placed in the dish washing machines…all of the work being done by the promoter and other hired help.
The ice man will make daily trips to your house, even though it is blocks out of his way, and yet you can usually buy ice from him for about the same price as if you picked it up yourself. The milkman makes daily deliveries at very little extra cost to you. The laundry man, the diaper service call several times a week. If these services can operate at a profit, the dishwashing service should be able to provide a much wanted service at a minimum weekly or monthly fee. It seems that the housewife nowadays will accept any new service or delivery that will save her time or hard labor. #20
I like this plan. There are a few kinks to iron out, but mark my words, here is a service that is bound to come. Someone will start it. If you are at all interested in the idea, do some serious studying as to the possibilities in your particular district. I'd like to hear that some of my readers were the first in this field and not someone else.
These plans deal with waste in the photography business and how one could build a business with this waste.
Every photographer knows that his fixing bath contains silver. Every gallon of used fixing bath contains ¾ oz. of high grade pure silver which usually goes down the drain.
A community in Holland where there are a number of photographers furnishes one operator with enough drainage to make his job of collecting it worthwhile! It is claimed that it isn't too hard to get the silver out of the waste "baths". Especially so if all of this liquid is brought to one central point and a system of "mass production" or processing on a large scale is undergone! It would be profitable on such a large scale, but it wouldn't be profitable for each individual photographer to try the process himself, even if he had the equipment.
The same field produces another waste product. The ends of developed rolls of films are usually waste. Every film may have up to an inch of waste. By removing the emulsion in hot water containing sodium fluoride and sulphuric acid, you have a clean piece of film waste that can be sold to manufacturers of glue and nail-polish. You can even start a nail polish enterprise of your own by buying up this waste and dissolving the film in acetone and adding suitable colors.
I can't give any more information about this field because I am not acquainted with the technical terms or processes used. Any photographer should be able to explain the technical end of this business and be of some help to you if you are going into such a "waste" business. #21
Really, this is so good that it belongs in a separate treatise or small book, and I did think about publishing the idea, with more details, as a separate publication.
An item appeared in an English newspaper some time ago and it read as follows: "Coppers by the Ton…. Australians Shipping British Coins Home at a Profit. Included in the cargo of the P. O. liner Mongolia which has just arrived from Australia was a ton and a half of pennies and half-pennies worth 650 Pounds (in English currency)".
The reason for this was that the money exchange in England pays more for the coins than the banks will in Australia. And the same thing applies to the coins of other countries, no matter where you find them or where you take them. By that, I mean that paper currency from foreign lands is welcomed by the banks and you get full value for such paper money according to the rate of exchange, of course.
But, one does not get full value, despite the quoted exchange rate, when he tries to exchange foreign COINS for our own money. Why? The banks or exchanges in this country are not anxious to handle the stuff because it is too bulky and weighs too much. It costs them a great deal to pay the shipping charges on a ton of this silver or copper, and the insurance runs pretty high on such bulky shipments when they ship it back to its point of origin.
So, on an English Shilling (20¢) for example; you would probably lose as much as threepence (about 5¢) when you exchanged it in this country for American money. On pennies or nickel coins, you might lose even more, or 50% of the exchange value! Shillings are silver, while most countries only have coins made out of nickel.
There is a splendid opportunity for someone to buy up all foreign coins here in the United States. There must be thousands of them floating around, or hidden away in many homes throughout the land. Think of how many must be hidden in corner drawers of library tables, desks, writing tables, etc. Many business establishments, stores, banks, venders, traveling international salesmen, etc. must have them. I have a few myself that have been stored away in my postage stamp box for months. I'm too lazy to take them to the bank, and there you are. Duplicate my own case by thousands of similar instances and you have a wealth of coins lying around in the States waiting to be sent back to their point of issuance.
One sailor crew-member of a freighter decided to take advantage of this situation and seems to have worked the idea into a most profitable part-time occupation. He started in a small way, with very little capital. The results were quick. His profits large.
And…he's been working the plan for a number of years so you can imagine how much extra earnings he's been able to put aside!
Being a sailor has made this idea work out extremely well for this man. Naturally, in traveling from one country to another he is in an excellent position to buy coins up…every kind of foreign coin…if he knows that he is going to be in those countries or ports in a few weeks. If he buys up a large quantity of English coins in Argentina, when he arrives in England he can take these coins to the bank and get FULL value, or possibly 50% more than he paid for them from sources in Argentina. This does not apply to paper money, remember that, just coins, and particularly coins made of nickel, although, as we have said, ALL coins can be collected under this novel plan.
A good many of these foreign coins are to be found in seaport towns and cities, although some make their way into every state. You'll find that most people will be glad to get rid of the coins, and will, in some cases, sell them for about 50% to 75% of their exchange value.
Getting back to the sailor…on one of his trips from England to Argentina he decided to test this project out, and upon learning that he could purchase any amount of pesos for one shilling a peso, he thereupon bought ten English Pounds worth of pesos. As the peso is really worth about 1 shilling 6d, he made a profit of 6d on each peso, or a total profit of five English Pounds. With these pesos he bought a quantity of English silver and copper coins, securing coins worth 18 English Pounds 10 Shillings for only an outlay of 15 English Pounds (in pesos) thus showing a profit of 3 English Pounds and 10 Shillings! When added to the above mentioned Peso Exchange profit of five English Pounds, we have a grand total profit of eight English Pounds and ten Shillings. Not bad when you consider that this sailor only invested ten English Pounds at the start!
He continued these transactions on every sailing and often doubled his regular wages by so doing. His dealings were not restricted to Argentina. When he knew, for example, that he was going to Italy, he collected large amounts of Italian coins in England and in other countries he might make port en route. If he was sailing for Norway, he bought Norwegian coins and took them with him back to their home, or Norway, and the same with any other country he might be someday docking at.
It all boils down to this…the profit comes from the simple purchases of foreign coins and taking them back to their places of origin.
Our crewman discovered that a small profit can even be made by purchasing foreign coins from tourists, seafarers, stores, restaurants, etc. and then taking them to the local bank in that country for exchange into the local currency. For example, he would purchase ten shillings worth of English coins in Argentina for 5 pesos and 30 centimes. A peso is worth about one shilling and 6d in English money. So 5 pesos 30 centimes is about the equivalent of 8 shillings. He then took the ten shillings worth of English coins he had purchased to an Argentine Bank. They gave him 5 pesos 60 centimes, thus giving him a clear profit of 30 centimes or 5½d in English money. That's only about a dime profit on a $2.00 transaction, you might say (figuring in U.S.A. money), but it's a profit nevertheless without any investment.
The sailor tried this several times just out of curiosity and it always produced a small profit. Interesting, but he thought it best to stick to his policy of taking the coins back to their points of origin and making up to 50% in profit. A much better deal.
But it goes to prove that the average person or businessman will actually sell these foreign coins to the collector for less than what they could get for them at their own neighborhood banks, and even the neighborhood bank gives them up to 50% less than their actual exchange rate!
Therefore if you're going to go into this business, it would certainly pay to get most of your coins from the private individual or the small businessman or shopkeeper. If you go in on the deal on a large scale you may be able to accept all kinds of foreign coins, even from certain small banks, money changers, loan agencies, tourist agencies, travelers agencies, hotels, steamship lines, tourist homes, seaport shopkeepers, souvenir stores, hotels for seafarers, vendors, etc. Remember too that anyone who sells merchandise on board ship or any vendor who goes on board a ship at a port for the purpose of selling to the crew or passengers can help to increase the size of your monthly collection of coins.
Shops or cafes that cater solely to sailors from foreign lands are good sources for all kinds of foreign coins.
By leaving your business card and telephone number with all such sources you can have a steady flow of the coins coming to you daily. Advertising might help to bring in coins from people who had almost forgotten that they had a few.
It isn't easy to get a foreign coin changed into the equivalent in American money. Try it some time. Some banks don't want the stuff. Others will take the money and keep you waiting for a week. Your service would provide quick cash without any red tape.
It isn't going to be so easy to work this project if you aren't a sailor, member of some ship's crew, an international traveling salesman or know some world wide traveler whom you can trust. The most money to be made is in sending the coins back to their origin before cashing them in, and this takes someone you know, or you yourself, to make the return trip.
It might be possible to ship the coins back in large quantities at a cheap freight rate. I'm not sure. The newspaper article about Australians doing just that indicates that it is a possibility. Of course you won't make as much because of the high freight rates, but you might make a decent profit if the amount shipped is large enough.
There are some regulations concerning the taking of large amounts of currency out of a few foreign lands at this particular time, but none that I know of prohibiting the bringing back of any money. In fact, there is a shortage of money abroad and they should be glad to get it back again.
It is highly probable that a good number of my readers will have a friend who is a member of some ship's crew, either freighter or steamship, and through this agent could work the deal, not only authorizing the agent to take the money back to its origin, but also to pick up any U.S.A. coins that might be there for the return trip back here. A two way proposition. You would finance this agent, of course. Might work well as a 50-50 partnership. You to handle the collecting and advertising at this end, the traveling agent to make the delivery and pick up at the other end. If it were worked in this manner it would be wise to advertise in the foreign ports your agent would be sure to stop at sooner or later. Send your ads to foreign chambers of commerce and suggest that they forward them on to suitable advertising agencies, or have your agent place a month's ads in advance when he is in any particular country. The ads will be set in the language appropriate for each country you advertise in. You can suggest that your agent will be in town on such and such a date. There are many angles to this exchange service and it will take a lot of studying and a lot of scheming. Should be a fascinating enterprise to be engaged in, don't you think?
When you make a study of this business remember to look at the papers each night. Note the rates of exchange for all foreign money. Always know how the market stands. Just how many representatives or agents you will have to hire and split your profits with, I do not know. It all depends on how you work the plan. The best way, of course, will be to become a member of some boat's crew. The pay is high, and by working this plan it might be possible to more than double this high wage! But, this is kind of a far-fetched way of starting a business, so I wouldn't advise it seriously. However, if any reader happens to be working on a boat or is engaged in any sort of international travel, here is THE plan for you, without a doubt.
For all others, there are ways to make a smaller profit. See what you can do with this out of the ordinary idea!
Remember again, please, that this project requires very little starting investment and even then the investment is quite safe as your money is still some kind of money and is always redeemable at the regular exchange rate. Remember that it, has been worked successfully for a number of years and finally, that there is no selling. Nothing but buying. And you keep what you buy, in one form or other, so there isn't much risk, if any.
U.S.A. . . . . SUNBURNED GLASS
Her "glass" consists of every kind of carved bowl, tumbler, candlestick, vase, dish, platter and cake dish you can think of.
All of this glass has been exposed to the rays of the desert sun for many years. The result is that the sun has changed many of these pieces into perfect jewel-like pieces of glass with a jewel-like hue to go with it. Seems that the sun has the power to produce, over a period of years, a beautiful amethyst color to almost any piece of glassware.
She started way back in 1931. Discovered many such pieces of glassware hidden away in deserted ghost towns, deserted homesteads and even abandoned mine dumps which are to be found in her part of California. Occasionally she did find such a piece which had been exposed to the sun for years, and when she did find it, it was like finding a diamond because this "sun-colored" glass is worth plenty!
Starting this business required a lot of patience. She had to wait years before her own "garden" of glass bloomed under the desert sun. Only certain kinds of glass will turn amethyst. Some turn amber, which has little value, while others will not change at all. She had to learn by experience.
She has a small shop in the rear of her home, but fronting on the main road. At the start she handled other tourist novelties besides the glassware on a spare time basis, working at another job in town. The sun-colored glass became so popular…and profitable too…that she eliminated her other items, quit the job, and definitely went into business in a large way.
To give you an idea of the profits, she readily sells a set of water glass, for example, for $15 and up. A pair of candlesticks bring $7.50 and up. A little whiskey jigger goes at $1.50. Ordinary glass ash trays sell for $4.50 or more!
She doesn't rely entirely on her own garden of glass, but also has her friends scouting around in the mountain and desert land nearby, and she makes periodic hunts for the stuff herself. Then too, old time glass reacts more favorably to the sun's rays, so she and her friends are constantly on the lookout for the very old glassware that can be picked up for a fair price.
The margin of profit is large because most, if not all, of her cost for the merchandise itself is measured in time, not money…the time necessary to color the glassware by desert sunlight. All she has to do is to wait and wait for the miracle that nature brings about.
In the same state we find "The Old Man of the Mountains" operating a "Mountain Museum" in which one of the main pieces of merchandise offered for sale is the above mentioned glassware. "The Old Man of the Mountains" has scoured the deserts and mountains for thirty years to get together a collection of these "blue bottles" as he calls them. He "raises" them too, letting them stay out in the desert sun for years, constantly turning them so that they get an even "burn". The tourists buy these "blue bottles" for high prices, and his multicolored rocks too.
Setting all alone in the desert on one of the desert highways, this "museum" stops many a tourist. Inside and out you'll find an odd assortment of saddles, gold pans, curios, wagon parts, relics, odd rocks, totem poles, minerals, Indian relics, old-time mining equipment, ancient Indian clay pots, rare Indian gods, etc. The result of thirty years of collecting! Everything is for sale.
A huge three-foot plaster skull is displayed on the outside of the museum and probably slows down many a rushing motorist, enough so, that he can put on the brakes and stop for a visit when he gets abreast of the place.
His post office address is simply "Happy" and the name of the town and state. Without a doubt, this legendary character is at peace with the world and well named! #161-162
Montevideo, its capitol, has a population of 700,000 people and is quite modern. It is the "resort" capitol too, for this small nation. Only 38 hours by air from New York, and less hours from New Orleans, Uruguay should have great appeal to the American people. It is one of the most economical countries in which to live in South America today! A perfect place to start an American enterprise, in my estimation.
The Uruguayan peso is worth about 55¢ in our money, and generally will buy more than it would in the U.S.A. The cafes are unusual in that they do not allow any tipping. All charges are added into the bill, which seems a sensible policy that some new enterprise here at home could follow. A "no tipping" policy would be good showmanship and good advertising!
The wine in Uruguay sells for around 40¢ a bottle and some restaurants allot one bottle of wine to each of their regular customers, holding it over for the next meal, if there is any of it left. This is an unusual idea that anyone starting a restaurant here in the States could use to advantage. A label could be placed on each bottle with the customer's name thereon. These rows of bottles could be placed in the window for showmanship purposes, or placed on shelves inside where they could be seen…or, perhaps, hung from the ceiling, all over the place. A restaurant in New Orleans follows a similar practice (see "Discovered—505 Odd Enterprises"). They allow the customers to hang dollar bills, etc., to the ceiling (to pay for future meals) with their names attached. The place is a sight to behold and does a great business. That restaurant has "personality" no matter how silly the idea may seem to some.
The fact that some of the advertised domestic wines in this country may cost two or three times the price of a bottle of Uruguayan wine shouldn't stop one from using the plan. Simply sell the wine AT COST, when a meal is ordered. Make your profit from the meal, consider the wine as advertising expense.
If some of my readers already have cafes and would like to surprise their customers and their competition with a few South American dishes, why not serve Asado? This is a steak or barbecued pig grilled over an open fire. A claret sauce (light Uruguayan red wine with a kick) is served with the dish. Or you could offer some special empanadas or Uruguayan meat pies and top it off with a cup of South American Tea (mate). One unusual restaurant in Montevideo NEVER CLOSES and specializes in CHIVITOS. This is most popular in Uruguay and might go over with a bang in the United States. Folks here are always looking for new hamburgers and new concoctions. We have fishburgers shrimpburgers, nutburgers, cornburgers, cheeseburgers and so on. Why not a filet of steak on a roll that's midway between a hot-dog roll and a hamburger bun. That's a Chivito and it only costs 17¢ in this particular cafe. Of course, special sauces and added attractions are put in the bun too. I'm told that they are so good that folks tasting them for the first time are inclined to make pigs of themselves!
Another unusual restaurant in this same city serves the same thing, but also features a POOLROOM, of all things. Just another example of giving the customers something "extra". #24-26
U.S.A. . . . . NOAH'S RESTAURANT
The boat-shaped "Ark" was built out of two old army barracks, or rather the cabin section was, while the outside deck and sides of the Ark were added, using a redwood type of lumber. A gangplank leads up to the deck. In fact, the whole thing gives one the impression that "Noah" has just sailed into shore. Life-size animals can be seen coming over the top of the bluff that stands directly behind the Ark. There are two Giraffes sticking their heads out thru the top of the cabin. Huge animals dot the hill…a lion, an ape, a zebra, an ostrich, a camel, and an elephant. At night all of these animals, and the ark too, are lit up. Traffic on the highway approaching the ark can see it a quarter of a mile away, especially the life sized animals on the hill.
Out in front of the Ark there are two large animals holding signs, one of them an alligator, standing on his hind legs holding the sign with its front legs; the other a wolf, dressed to kill with a bow tie, spats and straw hat. He's standing on his hind legs too, holding a sign in the same fashion.
Of course the animals are all dummy animals, but nevertheless, the artificial menagerie is most startling and interesting to say the least!
The interior of the Ark is decorated with murals of the animals on the walls, and their heads painted on the backs of the counter stools.
Eventually car service will be available, but at this time most folks seem to want to "go on board" and look around.
So far the project has caused much comment by passersby. The elephant on the very top of the hill attracts the most attention. It is the largest of the group, measuring 15 feet in height. Lighted up after dark, the whole set-up presents quite a picture, an authentic duplication of the march to the Ark.
Signs are all over the place, the "Welcome Aboard", "Ships Mess" and "Galley" particularly noticeable. A register book is available to all first-time customers who are urged to sign in advance in order to procure space on board when "the flood comes".
The bow of the Ark has an outdoor deck with tables where folks may eat. Inside are two counters where one can order the usual "drive-in" foods. However, this place specializes in huge ice cream sundaes. I tried one of their Giraffe Specials and it was very good. Other popular sundaes are the Zebra Special and the Bear Special. Animal crackers, of course, are served with all ice cream dishes. Three Decker Hamburgers, "Hippo" Sandwiches, "Noah's Special", etc., are all a part of the menu.
When the place was being built, the intention was to build an ordinary roadside lunch stand. It just so happened that a traveler happened to be passing by at the time and was struck with the beauty of the spot, the high bluff and the ocean. He stopped, expressed a few opinions and finally gave the owner some ideas. Most of these ideas are now a part of the "Ark". This chap evidently had a great imagination, some truly fine ideas, and the owner was wise enough to accept them…not to laugh at them…and make use of them! The result, a profitable business. And a business that his customers, movie stars or just plain people, will enjoy with him! What a glorious set-up! Remember this when you are thinking, perhaps about starting an ordinary humdrum type of business. #27
FOUR LEAF CLOVER PLANTS
Note: To account for inflation, multiply prices by 8 to 10.