Anytime someone wants to get a passport, a single passport-size photo is required with the application. In the United States, the passport photo should be 2 by 2 inches in size. The photo should be taken on a white or neutral background, with the full head and top of shoulders visible. Since all potential passport holders need a photo, you can expect to get customers when you start your own passport photo ID business.
Write a business plan so you can brainstorm in terms of how you will market your business and make it successful. Business plans typically contain an executive summary, details on the business you want to start, financial data for the business and supporting documents. The U.S. Small Business Administration's website has a template for creating your business plan (see Resources).
Use your savings, a credit card or a loan to purchase the equipment and supplies you need for the business, if you do not already have the items. If you must borrow money to start the business, you can use your business plan to show the lender what you will be doing and how you plan on being successful. Things you need include a camera and photo printer (such as the Sony UPX-C300 passport and ID system), a photo cutter, lighting and a neutral backdrop.
Get a federal tax ID number, also called an employer identification number, from the Internal Revenue Service for your business. There is no charge.
Apply for a license or permit in your local municipality. License and permit requirements vary by state and area. By visiting your local county courthouse and inquiring about license and permit requirements, you can learn if you need additional state permits and licenses. If required, you can apply for those through the secretary of state's office in your state. Prices vary for business permits and licenses.
Secure a location for your business. If have space in your home, you can run the business out of a spare room or garage. Otherwise, your options are to buy or lease a space. If you are on a budget, you can look for businesses in the area that may be able to lease you a space. This can work because you will not need a lot of space for your equipment. When buying or leasing a commercial space, you typically need to have a large down payment. With leasing, you must also sign a contract to lease the space for a specific period.
Price your services by visiting local passport-photo ID shops in your area to see what they are charging. You may not find any stand-alone shops offering this service. If so, check local photography and travel agency shops.
Advertise your business in your area. Do this by placing ads in the local newspaper and any other local publications. If you are Web-savvy, you can create a website for your business. Otherwise, you can look for Web designers in your area to design the site for you. If there is a local college with a Web design program, you could ask a student to do the work for you.
Jamie Lisse has been writing professionally since 1997. She has published works with a number of online and print publishers. Her areas of expertise include finance and accounting, travel, entertainment, digital media and technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.