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Nit Picking - A Profitable Venture

Weird News

Looking for a business with enormous upside potential, where customers seek you out and gladly pay your fee? Consider becoming a nit picker.

Doing what you ask? Well, you would be… picking nits.

Getting rid of nits (lice eggs) and their spawn is a fast-growing business these days, according to Katie Shepherd, founder of Lice Solutions in West Palm Beach, Fla.

She noted that in the past two years the number of lice removal companies around the country has quadrupled. The reason?

The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that there are about 12 million cases of head lice in the U.S. annually, so even though it sounds yucky, there’s a huge opportunity to help desperate parents while earning a good living.

There’s also less stigma attached to lice infestation, Shepherd says. As people learn that it has nothing to do with hygiene, they are more likely to seek solutions outside of their homes’ shuttered doors and windows.

“Lice treatment businesses are a great opportunity, especially for women,” notes Shepherd, author of Lice Advice: The Shepherd Method of Strand by Strand Nit Removal. “It gives you control of your schedule, and once the business is up and running, it’s not uncommon to earn $50,000 per year or more.”

Many people who go into the business recover their initial investment in a matter of a few months, she added. Treatments average $160, depending on locale.

Marta Alfano, founder of Head To Head Lice Treatment Center in Hawthorne, NJ, recovered her $25,000 startup costs in just six months.

Like many other lice removal business owners, she got into the business after her two children were infested. It took three weeks of tear-and-anxiety-riddled do-it-yourself home treatment to get rid of the bugs and eggs. A typical treatment using The Shepherd Method takes about two hours.

She opened her business in a shopping center in January of 2012. She did very little advertising, but the business grew so quickly she is already planning a second salon in a nearby community.

“I was surprised at how fast the business took off,” she says. “And I love being able to help people.”

Martina Mitchell, founder of Lice Patrol in the San Francisco Bay area, chose a different business model.

She provides a mobile service, which she sees as being more personal and convenient for clients.

Mitchell got the idea for the business after her daughter, eight at the time, got lice about five years ago. The only salon in town couldn’t see her right away, so Mitchell decided to do it herself. After $200 worth of products and three months, they were still fighting the bugs.

Mitchell realized there was a huge need for a lice treatment business in such a large metropolitan area, so she took a leap of faith. While working part-time as a nanny, she used credit cards to fund $10,000 in startup costs, including training. Within seven months she was able to give up her part-time job, and her revenue has steadily increased.

Ideal communities to start a lice removal business are middle-to-upper income ones where there are a lot of children and not a lot of competition, explained Shepherd, who provides a one-week training and certification program for people going into the lice removal business.

Many areas are still wide open, she said. For example, there are no businesses in many states including Montana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota and Utah.

“The lice problem is finally out of the closet,” Shepherd says. “It’s no longer a ‘dirty little secret’ now that people understand that poor hygiene isn’t a factor. Parents want help and are willing to do, and pay, whatever it takes.”

For more information about lice removal techniques go to:  


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