By Emily Peters
Launching a travel business is more affordable than you might think. The travel industry is unique with the existence of host agencies, companies that create “travel agency in a box” programs to help people become small business owners. With hosting involved, you can easily launch your home based travel business for under $600.
Select the right host agency partner.
The best, most affordable method of launching your own home based travel business starts with joining the right host agency. A reliable host agency will provide you with the core pieces you need to begin.
MTravel’s hosting program is bundled – which means that everything from training to your booking website to E&O insurance more is included, saving you a considerable chunk of change. Inexperienced agents can join at $299 for the entire year. If you’re more experienced, but have a limited budget, start at the inexperienced level and move up when your sales kick in. Cost: $299
Obtain a business license.
Most independent travel professionals start their agencies as sole proprietors, the simplest and least expensive way to structure your business. To make sure you cover your legal bases, you’ll want to obtain a home business license from your city hall. These can typically be obtained for as low as $50 up to a few hundred. Cost: varies, average $200
Snag a domain name.
Establishing an online presence is essential for any home based travel agent. MTravel’s hosting program includes a website, saving you expense of designing your own. All you need is your domain name to complete your site’s professional appearance. Some domains can be as cheap as $3, so you’re sure to find an affordable fit. Cost: varies, approximately $20
Ensure reliable access to a computer, printer/scanner, phone and Internet
Most of us already have access to the above, and special technology isn’t necessary to become a travel professional. No printer? Print as needed at your local library, hardware store, or office supply store for pocket change. No scanner? Apps exist where you can use your phone to take a picture that automatically converts the image to a .PDF. You don’t even need a toll-free number until you start gaining clients outside of your state – just start with your cell phone. Cost: minimal to none
Design a logo.
Designing a logo doesn’t need to be daunting. Ask your design-friendly friends/family to create a few options for you. Alternatively, local college campuses are great for finding students willing to design gratis to develop their portfolios. Not prepared to ask for things for free? Offer to plan their next trip in exchange for their artistry. There are also dozens of websites that let you design a logo for free, then pay only when you’re happy with the result. Cost: minimal to zero
Buy your business cards.
There’s a dazzling array of options for business cards, from Vista Print to Office Depot. Select a ready-made templates or design them from scratch, and be sure to Google for coupons to save a little extra. Either way, a box of simple business cards can cost less than a movie ticket. Cost: $10 and up
Grand total: $539.
Other expenses will factor in as your agency grows. But when combined with partnering with a host agency, you don’t need to wait until you’ve saved thousands to launch a home based travel business. So reach out to the gang at MTravel and get going!
Not sure how much launching your own travel business will cost? We are here to help! Contact us here or call us at 800-870-5799 for help creating a budget. For more info, check out our website at www.MTravel.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.