September 13, 2004

Local In-Home Eyeglass Representative

Sorry… been away longer than ususal from blogging. I have been moving not only my home but my office as well. All at the same time and still trying to get work done in the process. What a nightmare.

This latest business idea of mine came to me during my move. My glasses broke a few days back. They were over 4 years old, so they were ready to be replaced anyway. I went in for an eye exam and the doc mentioned I should consider getting bi-focals this time to sharpen my closeup sight. After falling out of the chair with a heart attack (bi-focals are for old people, right?) I took his advice and checked into them.

Turns out, glasses are REALLY expensive. Especially ones that preserve your dignity and hide the bi-focal line (called progressive lenses, for all you, ahem.. youngsters.)

So, after having another heart attack upon seeing the prices we’re talking about, I thought I would take to the internet to see if I could find some proverbial hole-in-the-wall with lower overhead that could supply me with some glasses at a significant discount. Turns out, you CAN get glasses online for cheaper than your average eyeglass store in the mall… etc. HOWEVER, and it’s a big however, eyeglass purchasing is a decidedly hands-on task. You want to try on a million pair to make sure none of them make you look like your grandpa or something.

Plus, all the measurements of your nose bridge, the space between your beady little eyes… etc, etc, etc.

As is usual for me, I immediately started brainstorming how I could use this difference in eyeglasses cost between the internet and the local prices to support a business of some sort without giving up the service you get with a local store.

Here’s what I came up with. I’m sure my clever readers can expound on my idea.

Get in contact with several of these online eyewear outfits and see which of them can give you the best deal if you resold their products. Offer to be a local sales rep for them. For instance, I live in the Portland, OR metro area. We have about 1.2 million people in the entire metro area. I could offer to cover this entire area for them. Essentially, I would get from them a sample of each frame they offer. I would carry them in some sort of portable case (this would have to be researched and perhaps designed specifically for this use) and then you would go to people’s homes and allow them to try on all the pairs they want and do their measurements… etc. They place their order with you and you send it along to the company. The company sends the eyeglasses either directly to the people or to you and you can come back to do the fitting.

I saw the difference in prices to be almost 50% off the local eyeglass stores. I’m sure there’s plenty of profit to pay yourself nicely and still provide a cheaper price than the local stores. Remember, these places in the mall have to support a LOT of overhead, so you know they have a HUGE margin on their products.

If you partner with the right company, you can go on to do the same thing in other cities, setting up more reps selling their products and perhaps become a part of their field management team, setting up reps in cities across the US… etc.

This is also a PERFECT local keyword search business. You use google and overture’s local search pay per click engines to get your business. When someone from your local area searches for “eyeglasses” and all the other keywords associated with the business, you can have your ad say, “Cheaper than the local stores and we come to your home for a personalized fitting” or something like that. If you quoted cheaper prices than their local stores (which they would have already checked out, believe me) and they still get the nice service of being fitted and being able to try on a million pair to see how they look… etc, you’d get a TON of business, believe me.

The important part of this is the numbers. Can they support this type of business and still be able to undercut the local stores? I think the answer to this question is a resounding yes.

As a tack on… you could become an affiliate for 1-800-CONTACTS and make sure if your customer is wanting contact lenses that you turn them on to them through your affiliate link and get a residual commission each time they order, for life. That will add up over time as well.

Oh, and you’d get a ton of referrals with this business opportunity after doing it for a bit. It’s just the type of thing that people love to talk about… “they came to my home, let me try on everything, took my order there, delivered it and it was STILL cheaper than Lens Crafters (or whoever.)

As usual, remember me when you get rich with this idea! :-)

1 Comment »

  1. Hello, I find what you did very interesting. Well if you don’t mind me asking, what company did you go through to get your glasses? I hope to hear from you! Thank you for your time.

    Kathy

    Comment by Kathy Gendron — May 22, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

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