Your local market is the immediate market you will serve.
When you are deciding the area you will serve, it could be a 1-hour radius from your home base or a geographic section of town with defined streets set up as a border around a specific area.
Be prepared that you will receive requests outside these areas so consider how you will respond to these requests. If you choose to service them, you can schedule them on a day when you are in the vicinity or add a surcharge for travel outside your zone.
If your business is a virtual one, you may want to still start your marketing focus in an area close to you.
When choosing and identifying your market area be aware that sitting in a vehicle traveling to a site to work is not revenue generating time. The further you go, especially in the beginning when you do not usually have a large customer base could see you driving 2 hours to generate 1 hour of work. This suggests that you may need to consider having a minimum charge or minimum value of services to make the trip cost effective. For some businesses like home housecleaning they have a minimum 3 hours of house cleaning per trip to make the service. This also explains why trades people have a minimum 1 hour billing with each service call that may take them 5 minutes to repair.
In this area, there may be city limits or town boundaries, and these should be clearly spelled out by a map with your service area highlighted. Will you provide service to the surrounding catchment area? Some businesses have proved successful with this strategy as uncovered by market research… rural areas can be under serviced, and residents will pay a premium for services. Within a geographic area, there exists a demographic profile. This profile is made up of things such as the numbers of the following: owned single family homes, rental high rises, low income housing, families, retired folks, average income per person or family and average education level. Another part of demographic profile is the composition of the number and type of industries. All of this information is part of this topic.