Here’s a way you could set up a perfect small home business, help people find those oh-so-difficult-to-find services like builders, plumbers and electricians – and offer a service that these tradesmen will find invaluable.

Set up a home services agency which links householders needing local services with local tradespeople looking for more business.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Find local companies to include

Start by talking to friends and family. A recommendation from someone you trust is the very best. Then go through the local papers and any flyers you’ve received.

Before you put anyone onto your books, check that they belong to all the relevant trade bodies, also that they have full insurance. Then ask for and check references.

Once you’ve short listed companies you’d like to represent, telephone them to tell them that you’ll get them more customers! Explain that it costs nothing to be registered with you (so they have absolutely nothing to lose) and you will only get your commission if you get them more sales. 5% is a fair commission to charge.

Once you’ve got the OK from a trader, it’s a good idea to sign an agreement with them so everyone knows where they stand.

2. Create a database of local services

Buy a cheap ring binder and keep details of each trader you represent and the type of service they provide. Choose the indexing system you prefer. I suggest alphabetical by type of service (such as electrician, builder etc). You should record their full contact details, working hours and some average charges. When a customer calls you just go through your file to the relevant section and pass on the details.

3. Finding customers

Your service is free to householders and it’s incredibly easy – just one call to you and their problem is solved. They don’t need to waste time ringing lots of different numbers – you’ve already done the hard work for them.

Shop windows and supermarket notice boards. Put your cards in all that you can find. Concentrate on the ones that are on busy streets so that more people will see your card.

Press releases. Write an article about your new service and send it to your local newspapers.

Classified ads. Place small and cheap classified ads. under the ‘Home Service’ columns.

Leaflets and flyers. Drop door to door in your area. Try to make the design as professional as you can.

Profit potential. Although a 5% cut doesn’t sound much, it all adds up. Small jobs such as a £1,500 of floor tiling or say some decking could make you £75 each time. And bigger jobs, such as a new extension costing £15-20,000, could earn you £750-£1,000. To make £25,000 part time income you would just need to broker £500,000 of trade for local businesses a year.