People are funny about money. If they have been receiving something for nothing and then they are told that they will have to be charged for it, don’t expect them to be your paying customers.
Instead of being grateful for the services or the accommodations that you had been letting them use for free, more often than not, they will be offended that you are going to charge them for the same things that you were letting them have gratis.
It’s one thing to open your home to friends and strangers and let them enjoy your hospitality, but it’s another thing to start charging them for it.
When they are your guests, they can be very complimentary about you, your home, your furnishings, your refreshments, and/or your services. And why not? They aren’t paying anything for it. But someday you might get tired of playing hostess with the mostest and you might want to get paid for something that, up until this point, you’ve been giving away for free.
This is when you discover whether what you have is worth something to the people who have been enjoying it. That’s not to say that what you have been giving away isn’t of value; it’s more to say that people don’t want to pay for something they have gotten for free.
Before the Internet came into our lives, most people bought books or borrowed them from the library. Nowadays, you don’t have to pay a penny for your books because thousands of books, on any subject and any genre, are offered for free on the Internet. Some of them may even be by your favorite authors or bestsellers that are given away as promotions or borrowed as part of a membership club. But once people get into the habit of not paying for something, it’s next to impossible to get them to start paying for it.
Small town newspapers may be the exception. They have been known to get their start by not charging anything for the first year, getting people in the habit of wanting to read their newspaper before charging them for it. And it worked for most of the newspapers.
But personal services and home entertainment are different. It’s almost like being on a celebrity’s A-list for years and then being demoted to their B-list. People take it as a personal offense and would rather go somewhere else, even if it’s less desirable, than part with a single penny to give to you.
Before you go to the expense of making home improvements in order to start your home-based business, start charging people for the things they’ve been receiving for free. Get a realistic assessment of your customer base and your future finances before you spend a lot of money on renovations.