There are many people that love to be patriotic, especially during holidays like the Forth of July, Flag Day, Memorial Day, etc. However, life gets busy and some of those holidays come and go without realizing it, or if it is realized, it’s hard to find the time to pull the flag out from the attic. The service provided is the put up at sunrise, take down at sunset of an American flag on the corner of the customer’s yard and storage in between the holidays. This will require some marketing. I suggest door knob hangers that can be left on the front doors of all the homes in a target neighborhood no more than 10 days before a major patriotic holiday like the 4th of July. The flyer explains the service and the fee. (A picture here is great to show them what the product looks like). Orders can be mailed to an address or be available for pick-up upon service (or now days, an electronic pay may be easiest).
Then on each of the chosen holidays (how many holidays you wish to service is up to you, the entrepreneur) you and a partner drive to each of the paying customer and past a flag in the corner of the yard. Near the street works well, that way a few participating houses on the same street looks great from a distance with the flags more visible by the sidewalk. The flags do not cost much. A three foot piece of rebar hammered into the ground stabilizes a 9 foot flag pole (really, just a pipe made of aluminum or some other type of strong metal that has been cut to desired size). The flags can be purchased for less since they will be purchased in bulk. And the flags can be fastened easily to the pole and rolled for storage while still on the pole. At dusk, retrieve all the flags and store them the next holiday.
I suggest targeting a neighborhood that tends to already be festive. We knew of one cul-de-sac near an entrance into one neighborhood that were very festive during the Christmas holiday and knew that participation from them would also act as great advertisement as it was passed often by others in that same neighborhood. Do not get discouraged if the first holiday does not have the expected response. Just be ready for lots of orders the next holiday. As people see their neighbors receiving this service, word of mouth will be your best marketing. You may even want to hang more flyers on door knobs of your customers to be passed along to their neighbors when the inevitable questions about your service are asked. At this point you may want to start thinking of hiring more help.
How I got the idea / found the employment:
After doing this for just a year as a Boy Scout fundraiser, my mom actually pointed out the great chance it would be to continue the service to those that enjoyed the service previously. There are many situations where people are not only willing but wanting to participate in good things (in this case patriotism). However, people get busy and want others to help them participate in these things. We just offered a solution to those with a conflict of desire and time.
Challenges I faced, and how I overcame them:
Starting off could provide a problem especially speaking of finances. Even though the materials are all fairly inexpensive, it does require some money up front.
When purchasing the flags, poles, and rebar, be sure it is from a place that will be around months and even years from the time you start. It is nice to know that whenever you need to increase your stock of flags, or even replace a few, that you can return to the same place of business for materials.
Flags can get damaged, so have replacements ready. You may have to do some on site mending. Also, if the weather is bad, expect to take them down early due to rain. And keep good records! People will be joining at different times.
What I learned:
There is a price to pay in any service offered. Although it was successful and did not require much work, considering you are only working a few days during the year, there are some sacrifices. Many of your holidays (aka days off school) require an earlier start than most school days. Then at the end of the day they must be taken down. So going out of town or to the lake with your friends sometimes has to work around a schedule of work. Also, there is a bit of flag etiquette that I learned along the way.