Friday Free Business Idea: Homeless Helper

November 10, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

Disclaimer: This idea will either be pure brilliance or completely insulting.

I was driving two days ago and saw this homeless guy standing on the side of the road holding a cardboard sign. His marketing skills were weak! He didn’t look “that homeless”, the saying on the sign was hard to read and furthermore it wasn’t catchy. An idea hit me like a punch to the face.

homeless sign

Mass Market homeless signs!

Now hear me out on this one. A team would come up with crazy signs that are legible, funny and inspire people to give out money. They can also be location based depending on where the begging happens. The money is a profit share where the homeless person gets the sign for free and share 10-20%.

Bottomline: I am mostly joking about this idea but it could be a win-win situation for everyone. As always, if you do this idea, please just buy me a burrito:)

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13 responses to “Friday Free Business Idea: Homeless Helper

  1. Jason Reply

    I once read an article about this panhandler that made $40,000 a year tax free by standing on the corner with a sign four days a week for 6 hours. Not bad.

  2. Matt Jaunich Reply

    I’ve had a similar un-PC idea for an online bum: an internet bum would be a pan handling avatar who accepts Pay Pal contributions and credit cards. He could even buy ads on other sites, in the vein of ads on like NY that take over the screen and won’t go away unless you close them. A whole story could be created around these characters. There could even be youtube videos that feature their stories etc.

  3. Mike Sabat Reply

    Here’s two ideas.

    1. I may have stolen this one.

    Bumvertisements. You obviously know a bum when you see one. I consider anyone holding a sign on the street a bum. Why not pay a bum to hold an advertisement for, lets say, Ironic advertising.

    2. I see millionaires on my block walking behind their dogs picking up shit in a plastic bag. I think that every dong owner would be willing to pay fifty cents or a dollar if a homeless guy picked up the shit instead. i think you could easily make 500 a week just walking around Manhattan. And the COGS is 0.

  4. Noah Kagan Reply

    Mike, Thanks for the comment.

    1- I am not sure how many brands want to be represented by homeless people.
    2- There are tons of franchises that do doggy doo-doo pick-up right now. Strange but true.

  5. Berry Reply

    Heck, buy the homeless guy some slacks and a polo shirt. Give him the sign. Pay him. Check up on him. If he does good, hire him again… thing is I bet Jason is right. They may be making more than $5 an hour or whatever.

    Matt J’s idea… heck someone should do that…probably are… they have those online games where you wander around and build and buy stuff. Virtual online worlds- whatever… anyway, build a bum of an avatar and wander around asking for whatever the currency is.

  6. Jason H. Reply


    Bumvertisements. LOL 🙂

    How about PPB (Pay Per Bum) and BumRank–rank by how many BumLinks u have…


    Somehow I see this image of you holding a sign that says, “Homeless, will work for Burritos”. 🙂

  7. Damon Z Reply

    Hum Bum Advertising, Marketers shall not rest until a square inch of ad space is left ad free.

    How about using homeless people to represent your competitor’s brand? Ralph Lauren should fit them with Tommy Hilfiger gear from head to toe and watch his rival’s sales dwindle.

    In the words of Mongtomery Burns “Exxxxcellent…”

  8. Scott Reply

    Bumvertising was and actual company in Seattle. The guy would give each homeless person a care package and a few bucks to include his website address on the bottom of their sign. The dog poop idea is being used to clean up yards here in Salt Lake City by a couple of entrepreneurs. I can’t remember the name of them though.

    In all, why not just start a sandwich board company and pay the homeless to stand at businesses and intersections?

    The idea of labeling homeless Bums sucks though.

    Turning It Over