Further to our new feature described in our article Â¡Â§Do you have any good IT business ideas?Â¡Â¨ IÂ¡Â¦ll start the ball rolling by describing a business idea that I have though of. I donÂ¡Â¦t intend to do anything about it, but someone might.
I also donÂ¡Â¦t know whether the idea has any merit or not, so IÂ¡Â¦ll ask our readers what they think about it.
LetÂ¡Â¦s call this business ChurchSpace.
Has anyone tried to rent space for meetings or conferences, or simply for training? It is quite expensive to rent space in normal times in central areas. If you were renting space in Central London for instance it can set you back quite a bit. There isnÂ¡Â¦t that much cheap, suitable space in central locations anywhere in normal times.
Or is there?
I have noticed that there is one lot of people who have lots of space available in central locations, and they are normally looking to hire it out. However, not many people take them up on this.
They are often in prime spots in city and town centres and rent out space very cheaply, but few people take advantage of this facility.
So, who are these people with all this space available in good locations?
Why, it is the churches.
Many of them are in prime central spots. Most of them have space in halls available which they use for their own functions or hire out.
However, businesses, for the most part, donÂ¡Â¦t take advantage of this. There seems to be some sort of taboo about Â¡V or perhaps they have just never thought about it, or considered that the space might be available to them.
ThereÂ¡Â¦s also the fact that you wouldnÂ¡Â¦t expect that those selling the space would be amongst the countryÂ¡Â¦s top marketing experts.
Most times the space is just rented out for christenings or funerals or for golden weddings etc.
However, churches are always on the lookout for some extra cash. From what I know, all the selling of the space is done at local level. In fact when I say Â¡Â¥selling of the spaceÂ¡Â¦ I mean that someone has to enquire about it. The local church certainly doesnÂ¡Â¦t have marketing campaigns to sell their available space and hiring slots.
However, that is not to say that they wouldnÂ¡Â¦t want to hire it out for some extra money for the Church Roof Fund or the Missions Effort etc. etc. etc.
So what would it take to make a good business out of it?
Not very much, I donÂ¡Â¦t think.
What You Need to Do
First of all you would have to make deals with the various churches. Some are organised more at a national level and some are pretty much financial entities in their own right (I know they do other things tooÆ’Âº ).
You could simply call up, or arrange to meet, some local vicars, ministers or priests (or whatever) and get a contract to supply any booking slots that they canÂ¡Â¦t fill themselves (for 20% to 25% of the booking fee).
You could also contact them at national level to tell them about the opportunity and to ask them to pass the details on at local level.
However, news of something like this, if it was successful, would spread like wild fire. They are quite a close knit community and if one parish was getting good funds for its restoration programme others would get to hear about it quite quickly.
Computer Booking System
You would also need a computer system to manage the bookings and the slots available. This is basically a booking and system and IÂ¡Â¦m sure that there would be packages available. It wouldnÂ¡Â¦t be too difficult to create one if you wanted a bespoke system.
The churches might even need to buy themselves some equipment, e.g. overhead projectors etc. but it neednÂ¡Â¦t amount to much. It might even be a great (and cheap) place to run a training site, especially if computer equipment wasnÂ¡Â¦t needed. Out of work contractors with a skill could even book the space to train up other out-of-work contractors for a modest fee.
Obviously, you would have to give the local church the say-so on who could book the hall and who couldnÂ¡Â¦t. After all you wouldnÂ¡Â¦t want to be booking in a stag party with lap dancers would you?
It might be smart to give the local vicar or priest access to their part of the site so that they can handle their own bookings.
No Cheating on Deals
It would have to be in their contract that any customers that you found for them would continue to be your customers and could not come back direct next time. I donÂ¡Â¦t think you would have to worry too much about them cheating you.
So then, what do you think? Would this work? Would it make money? Are there any pitfalls that would scupper it?
It sounds like a nice small business that wouldnÂ¡Â¦t need that much effort to set up and maintain. It may even be a big business. It doesnÂ¡Â¦t sound like anyone else has thought of it before though.
www.Churchspace.com Â¡V I wonder if the name has gone!