There really are no totally easy businesses to startup and run. There will always be inevitable hangups – barriers to entry, licensing, insurance, equipment, and many unexpected costs that will pop up along the way.
The following ideas assume that you have a vehicle and some common sense knowledge about the industry you’re endeavoring into. Read through this guide on SBA.gov to determine all the requirements you’ll need to start and run your small business. It walks you through every step of the process; including determining what, if any permits and licenses you may need to legally run your business.
Liability insurance is also recommended. In order to get liability insurance coverage, you’ll need to have a registered business and may need certification in your chosen field in order to be considered. All that said: with most of the following, you do have the option to start immediately (at least marketing and networking to find your first clients) without having anything but a dream in tow.
5 Businesses Almost Anyone Can Start Tomorrow
1. Cleaning Services ($0 – $200)
At minimum, you’ll definitely want to have a few basic cleaning supplies and equipment: disinfectants, Windex, lint-free rags, mop and bucket, a decent vacuum, etc. All businesses and most private homeowners will also require that you can pass a criminal background check. Banks and many other institutions may require that you have a good credit rating too.
However, if you start out doing residential jobs, chances are that you have most everything you need to start in your home already. In fact, many of your potential clients will have a vacuum and many of the supplies you’ll need in their home that you can use.
Most of the cost of starting a cleaning business will be the time required to market yourself, along with placing ads if you plan to us paid advertising mediums. Even using “free” classifieds like Craigslist and Kijiji, you’ll probably want to spend a few bucks on sponsored links to keep your pitch at the top of the search page.
2. Pet Services ($0 – $200)
Pet grooming, dog walking, taxiing pets to their vet and grooming appointments, feeding animals while the owners are on vacation… There are numberous sub-categories you can enter into when providing pet services to busy people, or to elderly pet owners who can’t give their pets the total care they need, but have the money to pay someone to care for their furry friends.
If you opt out of purchasing insurance (not recommended), you can be in business tomorrow. Dog walking is very easy to move into, particularly if you’re personable and can gain the trust of dog owners quickly.
Pet services requires that people like you as much as, or more than the pets do (i.e., the pets aren’t the ones signing the check!)
3. Junk Removal Specialist ($0 – $100)
Of course, this is a fancy title for someone who offers to haul junk out of people’s yards. Still, everyone has junk lying around their property, and many construction trades out there outsource their cleanup duties when each job is completed. Furthermore, junk removal is a catchall for anything that requires cleanup, including catered events, festivals and get-togethers of all kinds.
If you have a truck or van; you can start a junk removal service with no overhead whatsoever. When working with government and many businesses, they’ll likely require that you have a business license, insurance, and may even require a background check clearance, depending on the nature of the work.
Note: This is for regular trash such as garbage, scrap metal, wood and other reasonably safe items. If you move into disposing hazardous materials such as chemicals, used medical waste, doing petroleum cleanup, etc., you’ll need the proper certifications to legally remove them.
4. Personal Trainer ($0 – $500)
Think you need to be certified to become a self-employed personal trainer? Yes, you do – but not technically. Anybody with knowledge about getting in shape can sell this service without any piece of paper saying they’re a certified professional.
A certification will likely be necessary to get affordable liability insurance. Most insurers will want a certification from an accredited institution, which can cost as little as $100 for a two-day course. Other costs include making up business cards and other advertising materials (including radio placements), building a business website, and networking to find clients.
If you’re marketing savvy and love people, this is a good gig that’s got an extremely high profit potential!
5. Food Services/Catering ($0 – $1000’s)
Catering is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry. The barrier to entry is also very low – if you know how to network and/or are really good at preparing food or coordinating a team to do it for you. To become successful, you’ll need to be able to plan, estimate costs ahead of time, then execute perfect events in order to get repeat business.
If you have a kitchen and preparation/storage facilities already, you can start with zero dollars in your pocket – provided you can get an upfront payment to cover food costs, dishes, cutlery, napkins, etc., and any rental items you’ll need. It’s also important that you’re in total compliance with local health and safety standards required to serve food.
While truly entrepreneurial spirits have been known to start a catering service with nothing, chances are you’ll need both monetary and human capital to start: kitchen, transportation, cooling/heating appliances, rental items, and employees.
Each of the businesses above have their good points and bad, depending on your level of experience with them. Numbers 1 – 3 have the lowest barrier to entry, while personal training and catering will require that you have some upfront knowledge of each industry.
If you want to explore more ideas, please visit our small business idea resource page.
Here’s wishing all of you the best of luck!