Some entrepreneurs seem to intuitively know what kind of business they want to start and how. But for many others, the task of deciding exactly what kind of business to start is daunting. There’s no such thing as the “perfect idea” but there are many good small business ideas that are growing quickly and require limited capital to start up. If you have the drive, determination, and never-give-up attitude but are stuck on an idea, let us offer some options.
Here are good small business ideas for your consideration:
1. Vending Machines
The vending machine industry is great for first-timers or for established business owners looking to add a side or weekend project to their plate. The cost of entry is low; used machines sell for $1,000-$3,000 and are a good investment to learn the ropes before branching out. Additional costs include stocking your machine and whatever overhead you’ll pay in gas, fulfillment, maintenance, etc. The key to success in this business relies almost solely on location. Think of places you’ve used or seen vending machines – schools, office parks, medical centers, dorms, apartment buildings or outside places where food options are limited like hospitals or the DMV. Cold calling can work for smaller locations or somewhere you have an “in”. Your local Chamber of Commerce can provide information about businesses that employ many people as well as how your state governs vending.
2. Mobile Mechanic
If you have experience and skills as a mechanic, you can offer your services conveniently and easily. Many people avoid the auto shop for simple services like oil changes or battery replacements because it’s an inconvenient and annoying chore. Offering your services at your customer’s home or place of work can be a game-changing benefit that customers are willing to pay for. And all you need is your own vehicle, tools, and ideally, a customer base of friends and family willing to spread the word.
3. Mobile Car Washing and Detailing
Like a mobile mechanic, there is a market for people that will pay a premium to bring the carwash to them. Being mobile also cuts down on overhead costs immensely. Auto detailing start-up kits are available online to start. YouTube is a great resource for detailing instructional videos and tips and tricks. There’s even an entire niche of car cleaning videos on social media — a great place to advertise your business and show your most stunning before and after shots.
There’s a gap in the market for experienced people that can do simple jobs around the house, are easy to reach, and available on short notice. Working with contractors, plumbers, and electricians isn’t typically easy. They book up quickly and can turn down small jobs that a handyman could tackle. And when you finally get the work done you may have to unearth your checkbook. If you’re the person your friends rely on for small, odd jobs, consider starting a handyman business. Set up a free, separate Google Voice number for your customers to text you on and quickly respond. Accept payment via PayPal or Venmo and watch the referrals roll in.
5. Cleaning Company
Like car detailing, there’s a corner of the internet dedicated to watching other people clean. There’s something satisfying about seeing a space transform, but a lot of people don’t want to put in the elbow grease to achieve sparkling results. The barrier to entry is low here. You’ll need supplies and a means of transportation to start. Consider targeting small businesses in your area. The amount of work can equal that of a larger home but with higher corporate rates. Another great market if you live in a popular tourist area is vacation rental homes or rooms. Owners book back-to-back stays and require thorough cleaning, fast. Check out the cleaning communities online for the best products and methods and start making your own #cleantok content.
6. Professional Packer
According to a recent survey, 45% of respondents said that moving is the most stressful life experience. If organization is your thing, you can hire your services out to individuals and even businesses moving corporate spaces. Partner with a realtor and/or moving company to share leads and generate business. If the move is local, you can double your services by offering unpacking as well. The best part of this small business is that all you need is yourself. You can factor in the cost of boxes, tape, and other supplies into your rate.
7. Food Truck
Food trucks offer much lower overhead than a brick-and-mortar restaurant and as the past 20 years have shown, the popularity of food trucks isn’t going anywhere soon. In a competitive and saturated market like this, research is key. Contact your local health department to find out what is needed to start a food truck business in your area. Look into your competition to see what might be missing from the food truck scene and scout locations. After years of on and off pandemic-related lockdowns, visiting a food truck can feel like a real treat. Consider reaching out to suburban neighborhood associations or developments. Setting up on a cul-de-sac on a Friday night can bring in as much money as a Saturday at the downtown farmers market with hordes of competition.
8. Postpartum Doula
Last but not least in our round-up of good small business ideas… If nurturing is in your nature, consider making a career of it. Postpartum doulas offer emotional and physical support for families. From light housework to infant soothing, interacting with an older child, and caring for the mother, postpartum doulas serve to ease a family into life with a newborn. While the industry is not formally regulated there are a variety of workshops and certifications you can acquire to legitimize your business. And besides patience and a love of babies, you need little else to get started!