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Get Started in the Mail Order Business -
How Much Does it Cost?

INTRODUCTION [related books]

This report was written as a service to those individuals who are considering to get
started in the mail order business. To get any business started successfully takes many
ingredients. However, all requirements, more or less, fall into one of the following four key categories: 1. Desire, 2. knowledge, 3. time, and 4. available funds.

This report deals only with the financial requirements of starting a mail order
business. Hopefully it will help the reader to evaluate whether he is financially able to
embark upon a business venture that will bring about success. It is generally true that it
takes substantially less money to get started in many mail order businesses than in a
variety of other businesses. Many a promoter will want you to believe that it is possible to get started successfully for $50.00, $100.00 or $200.00. This is totally false. It does take more than that. How much more depends on many factors which I will try to define as much as is possible here.

Since the mail order business covers a vast number of services and products I would
like to define the contents of this report to deal with the selling of information products. This is where my expertise lies. While the same or similar conditions may apply to any number of other mail order businesses, there may however, be some differences to selling information products such as books, etc.

The following makes a number of assumptions. The most important ones are:

1. The operator (or operators) of the new mail order business is employed or has
other means of income. He will not need to derive any profit from his new business for a period of time. How long will depend on many factors.

2. This is a home based business which has no employees.

3. The business, at the start - until volume reaches $3,000 to $5,000 per month - will
utilize the drop shipping services of a wholesale company.

4. Basic office equipment such as desk, file cabinet, typewriter or computer, etc. are
on hand.

As you are getting started in planning and setting up your new business which in my
experience is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying experiences of a lifetime think and act with caution when it pertains to any expenditures. This is one of the most difficult things to do since you are probably very enthusiastic and want to do everything today. So you need to learn HOW TO CONTROL YOUR ENTHUSIASM or it is going to cost you lots of extra money.

In this state of enthusiasm we tend to think that there is nothing we can do wrong
and since we will be making lots of money in a few months lets get all necessary and often unnecessary supplies and equipment. It would be much better to wait until profits of the business make it possible to acquire what is needed. In the meantime you can make do with less. To be able to do so is a most important quality for the owner of a small business. If you are a parent think of your new business as a child. There will be a never ending sequence of surprises. And as the business grows so will its demands, and yes its expenses.


The below listed expenses will be incurred in the very early stages of setting up your
business. This is at a time when you probably are not sure as yet what you will be selling. You will be writing to different companies for information to come up with the right product selection. Once you have decided what it is you will be selling you have to line up reliable suppliers. This is also a good time to buy a few books to help you with your mail order education. Although most expenses incurred in this phase are relatively small they will add up quickly.

Stationery and envelopes 50.00
P.O. Box rental (per year) 60.00
Postage 50.00
Misc. office supplies 30.00
Educational 45.00
TOTAL 235.00


You have now reached the point at which you have decided upon one or more
reliable suppliers for the product you wish to market. You may also be ready to have some promotional material printed. In addition you may be placing one or two classified ads for testing purposes.

Dealership/distributorship 80.00
Promotional material (brochures,etc.)50.00
Printing (order forms, sales letters,etc)90.00
Classified Ad (national magazine100.00
Business or trade license 30.00
Postage 25.00
TOTAL 375.00

Until now you have only had expenses for your new business. You have not derived
any revenue yet. In the next and final stage of starting your business you may have some revenues. Stage one and two may take from approximately 3 to 6 months.


You have now reached a stage were you will expand your advertising, or alternately
you may go the direct marketing route and work with mailing lists. The comparison of
expenses and revenue results of a direct marketing effort versus classified advertising need to be carefully evaluated. Refer to special report:

Since expenses for a direct marketing effort are generally higher than for a small
advertising campaign, the below listed expenses focus on an advertising campaign.

Advertising -- 3 classified ads 280.00
Postage for several hundred inquiries derived
from adverting effort 75.00
Miscellaneous office supplies 30.00

TOTAL 385.00


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The combined expenses as listed above total just under $1000.00. They are based
on broad estimates and may vary somewhat by area of the country and individual
circumstances. The figures are reflecting a minimum amount. I am sure some individuals may be able to cut expenses further. Since this planning period takes several months the expenses as shown above can be allocated over a period of 4-6 months.

The above figures represent a conservative start. For those who want to get started
more aggressively expenses would be higher. While many of the basic start-up costs would be the same the expenses that would increase would primarily deal with additional advertising, printing and postage expenses. By how much would largely be an individual decision.

Since most new businesses fail because of lack of funds, it would be advisable for
anyone who does not have the necessary funds to get started to wait until he does. In
addition to the basic start-up expenses an individual should also consider that most
businesses will loose money for several months and sometimes for longer than that.
Unfortunately no matter how well you plan, circumstances often change and we must make allowances for those eventualities.

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