A Home Based Business Success Story: Meet Jill Barber

jill barberMeet Jill Barber. Jill owns River City Referrals, a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN®) business based in Virginia. Jill works from home screening and referring local home improvement contractors in her area.

1. What did you do before you launched your Homeowner Referral Network (HRN)?

I worked at FedEx Express.

2. Why did you want to launch a business from home?

I didn’t know that’s what I wanted to do, but I was pregnant and got a very attractive severance package from FedEx, so I left.

3. What attracted you to the HRN business?

I have a degree in Interior Design and wanted desperately to get back into housing in some way, shape or form. I looked at real estate, then realized I’d be working nights and weekends so that wasn’t much better than my job at FedEx where I traveled a lot.

4. How did you know that an HRN would work in your area?

I didn’t. After reading the material Debra Cohen provided, talking with her, and knowing that the Richmond area didn’t have a service like this, I thought it was a risk worth taking.

5. How did you know that an HRN would be right for you personally? (Did you have an “AHA!” moment?)

I was already doing a VERY scaled down version of a referral service for contractors in my neighborhood and enjoyed it.

6. What was your first job?

A Drywall repair that paid a $26 commission….and I was thrilled to get it!

7. What types of services do you refer through your network?

Anything to do with inside or outside the home. Some of the fringe services I’ve referred include masonite siding claims, energy experts, home watching company for vacation, meeting plumbers, etc.

8. What is the biggest job you’ve referred?

$300,000.00

9. When did you turn a profit?

After the 1st year.

10. What has been the most difficult part of operating your HRN?

Dealing with the attrition in contractors and running the business with a child at home. What I thought would be part time until he was in school turned full time very quickly due to the success of the venture.

11. And the most enjoyable?

The empowerment you get from knowing you can do it. I would never had had the guts to “develop” the industry, untried like Debra did, but I will take a calculated risk.

12. What type of response have you received from homeowners?

“Your service was DYNAMITE, Jill! Your follow-up is unbelievable, your level of attention is one that I aspire to in a customer service business, and I’ll definitely use you again. ”

13. And what has the response been from contractors?

I’ve had a very positive response from contractors in my area.

14. How has your business changed since you first started until now?

Much more to running a business than I thought. I’ve had to delegate the administrative and operational parts of the business, so that I can continue bringing the business in.

15. What goals do you have for your business in the future?

Double, then triple my income- totally attainable! The sky is the limit.

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Interested in launching an HRN in your area? Visit www.hrnbiz.com.
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