The first rule of any start up is, don't do it on the cheap. I know people who have tried to start this business cheaply, and well, it doesn't work in this business or any business. Do it right. Having your own business has enough challenges without adding additional time and frustrations. Yes?
Investigative Databases are probably your main ongoing cost. You cannot be in business without them, just like you can't drive a car without wheels. Please trust me on this. By investigating, you'll find judgment debtors and screen them. I use two databases every single day to investigate. One is enough, though. A database will run you about $250 a month depending on the database and usage. If that's too much, then it's not yet time to start the business. Or any business.
I once had someone say to me, "Oh, I'll get the databases after I make some money." Which is like someone saying, "I'm starting a restaurant and I'll buy some tables after I sell some food."
(Oh, and if you'd like to screen-share with me and see how I investigate using databases, I'm happy to. Just give me call, or email me.)
Some of your expenses you've probably already paid for: a good computer, High-speed internet, Microsoft Word or equivalent program, A good black and white printer.
Also, you'll need:
Separate business phone (at least for start-up)
Business name and license (Plan on $100-$300, one time charge, depending on your state and county. (In most cases you won’t want an LLC or Inc.)
Professional Website (Price will vary depending on your provider, and whether you do it yourself or hire someone. My business website at www.Judgment-Trackers.com costs me about $12 a month. It's simple. It's one page. It's enough.
Oh, and a one-time expense-- some of these investigative databases will come out to check your home-office for security. Plan on about $100, again, a one time cost.
Other Operating Costs you'll run into:
These will typically be court filings and sheriff costs, and the fee will vary by state. The cost in your location is available on line. Just Google your state name and “court fees” and “sheriff fees.” Look for “Enforcement” indicators such as “writ” or “Fifa,” “Levy,” and “Garnishment.” (Call me about questions regarding this, if you have do have questions)
Oh, and advertising, if you choose to -- Social Media Campaigns, Linked in, Facebook, etc. I partner with a marketing pro and can hook you up. Advertising is up to you. I did it for awhile, and also sought my own cases on the databases.
The above is very Realistic. (If you hear differently from someone else, please be wary) Every business costs money, and I know of no honest professional business that costs less to start. The hard work and diligence is up to us then. That's what each of us brings to the business. And of course, you'll use the resources and help that I offer too. Those are also important.