A Telephone Installation Business

How to start and run a telephone service business.

| July/August 1984

Are you one of the many people who are searching for the perfect bootstrap business ... an enterprise that puts you in touch with people, costs less than $100 to start, requires almost no inventory, and has flexible hours? Well, I think I've found it! You see, thanks to the recent divestiture of dear ol' Ma Bell, we've all been offered a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity.

Until January of this year, only folks connected with the Bell firm were permitted to work on your telephone. All that's changed, though. It's now legal for anyone to install and maintain his or her phone—or (and here's the business angle) to hire an independent contractor to do the job. Believe it or not, that free-lance phone-installer could be you!

Let's face it: Few people want to get their hands into the actual mechanics of a telephone, so they're perfectly willing to pay to have someone else do the work for them. With a minimal outlay of cash and time, you can start installing telephones for your friends and neighbors. And the profits can be high. For example, in just 30 minutes you can earn $15—simply by putting in an extension phone. What's more, the work isn't at all hard to do. Anyone who's ever wired a lamp can pick up the art of telephone installation quickly.

Telephone Installation Basics

Telephone service, which is the main work you'll do initially, is divided into two major duties. First, there's the actual installation of phones, which amounts to wiring outlets in a house and connecting the telephones to those components. Whether you're installing new service or simply adding an extension, this procedure will probably account for the bulk of your business.

In addition to installation, though, you'll probably have to do a little bit of troubleshooting ... and occasionally have to make minor repairs when a system won't work. This isn't particularly difficult, nor does it require any specialized knowledge or equipment—as you'll soon discover. Later on, you may wish to expand your horizons by taking on the actual repair of telephones, but this lucrative field will require additional equipment and experience.

How to Install a Telephone

Most of the actual work involved in installing one or more telephones in a building involves routing cables properly. Start by developing a plan with the customer. Find out what he or she has in mind, make suggestions, and develop a mental layout of the arrangement.

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