Cheapest Businesses to Start in the New Economy

Cheap Businesses to StartWhat is the cheapest business to start that does not require a lot of hard skills? There are many businesses for young adults that they can start with a low investment, and there are also businesses that work well in small towns and for stay-at-home moms.

As an entrepreneur, you have two main avenues to explore: profit or innovation. If you start with innovation and you’re engaged in the Silicon Valley/start-up world, this is the riskier of the two, because a ground-breaking app/invention could become a complete flop due to low consumer interest, rapid obsolescence, or other factors. On the other hand, it could become another Groupon or Uber and turn you into a billionaire.

If you’re looking for a proven business model that will be profitable, you likely won’t end up a billionaire, but you could become a millionaire in as little as a few years. The best way to move in that direction is by starting a small business that services the community in some way, and eventually branching out by hiring other people and/or eventually buying out a competitor and becoming a larger player in your industry. If you want to become your own boss but you have a low investment to start with, there are countless lucrative small business opportunities, and the business you start will depend largely on the economic conditions and other factors in your local area or target market.

With the three example businesses listed in this post, you will only need between a couple hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars in start-up capital. You also don’t need a lot of expertise, and you can learn most everything you need to know about operating the business from the internet. You do need to get a little creative in attracting the right clients, and of course, like with any business, be ready to work hard and pound the pavement, especially during the early months of operation.

These three businesses are relatively low-risk, because these services are in high demand, and will likely continue that way for the foreseeable future. Two of them are in-person businesses that serve your local community, meaning there are a limited number of people that could provide these services where you live. The last of the three is internet-based and can be operated from anywhere and marketed to anyone in the world.  

So without further ado, here are three cheap businesses that just about anyone can start and make money with in the new economy:

Dog Walking Business

Dog Walking BusinessThis can be extended to pet care in general, but dog walking is the most popular variant. Essentially, you take a number of dogs for walks and charge customers by the hour for your services. The hourly fee is higher in wealthier communities, but this service is in-demand everywhere. Many people don’t have time to walk their dogs and they’d rather pay a small hourly fee or a weekly/monthly fee depending on how flexible your rates are. You can start by walking a few dogs for people you know, build up a reputation, then acquire more clients. When you start gathering a lot of clients, consider hiring employees and opening a storefront in your area to promote your services.

There is zero start-up capital required aside from a website and marketing. And in fact, you really don’t even need a website for this type of business – you can get started by placing ads for free on sites like Craigslist. If you want to ramp your business up and beat out competitors in your area, you can market your services fairly cheaply using Facebook advertising. Just set up a Facebook business page, put out an occasional post promoting your services, then boost the post to be seen by dog owners in only the zip codes you target.

Facebook actually has an algorithm that scans for pets in people’s images and immediately identifies dog owners. This way, when you publish an ad and you select “dog owner in [x] city” you can directly market to dog owners in your area.

Obviously, you could expand this by offering care for different pets (you’re not just restricted to dogs), special prices/discounts, dog treats/packages and more. You can get ideas from services like Bark Box. It’s basically a box that contains a few treats/toys for the pet and people pay them $20 a month to deliver a single treat box. You can create packages like that and sell them to your customers for extra income.

Dog walking is among the simplest and cheapest businesses to start that we could find. All you need is the ability to control the dog while on a leash without hurting the dog or allowing it to hurt others. You will need a business liability insurance policy to cover your activities as there is the chance of the dog escaping from the leash and doing damage. Other than that, there is not much else to it. You can run the business from a home office, and collect all your payments by credit card with a smartphone app like Square.

Lawn Care/Property Maintenance

Lawn CareThis requires a bit more expertise and start-up investment, but it’s still surprisingly easy to get started in the lawn care/property maintenance. You can start with simple services such as grass cutting. The only investment/start-up cost here is a lawn mower, and if you are really short of cash, you can get a second-hand lawn mower in top condition for a few hundred dollars. Of course, if you have the money, it is probably best to get a new mower, but you can even get a brand-new model for around $500.

You can start by charging a flat fee for the whole property, or you can charge by the hour if you service people with large properties in rural communities. Why not become the #1 property maintenance business in your community? This doesn’t end at simple grass cutting work, because there is seasonal work for property maintenance such as spring/summer seasonal yard cleanups and snow removal services in the winter. You could also do tree care or even branch out to cleaning cars, which would set you apart from most other lawn care businesses in the area.

Cleaning cars can be a lucrative business in and of itself. All you need is a pressure washer that costs somewhere between $100-200. They can remove hard stains, and most of them work on simple water, which means you don’t have to purchase gas and chemicals for the job.

How do you find customers for property maintenance? The same way you do with dog walking – on Facebook. Facebook allows you to do micro-targeted marketing to ensure you are reaching the right demographic. Just send these folks good content about your service offerings and you’ll have clients in no time. If you don’t have the funds to do Facebook advertising, Craigslist works fairly well for landscaping services, and you can also try Takl, a newer and increasingly popular home services app.

Social Media Expert

Social Media BusinessThis is among the cheapest businesses to start, especially for those who are tech savvy and enjoy being on social media already. Most businesses have an online presence, but some don’t have the time to promote their products/services on all the popular social media outlets. If you can help your local grocery store or plumbing business get online for example, you can charge them a flat fee for the initial work and monthly fees for updates/maintenance. You only need to manage a dozen or so businesses in your area to turn this into a full-time endeavor.

If you can combine social media management with search engine optimization (SEO) services and/or services such as Facebook ad management (that benefit your clients directly), this can turn into a very lucrative business for you. The main advantage here is you don’t have to spend any money on an office or equipment – the business is totally digital and can be run right out of your home. You can also do this from anywhere there is an internet connection. And although you can market your services to anyone in the world, you will likely experience better results if you provide social media and related digital services to businesses in your local area.

These are just a few of the cheapest businesses to start in the new economy. There are numerous others across a wide range of industries, and as the economy picks up steam, there will be more emerging business models that can be started for next to nothing in the years to come. When you are able to start a business cheap, the risk is lower, and the upside potential is greatest. So if you are on a limited budget, this is definitely a good route to explore.

If you have more start-up capital and want a more concrete business plan, you may want to consider a franchise business. Starting a franchise provides several advantages; such as the ability to partner with an established brand, a proven business model that has been tried and tested, and unmatched support from the franchisor. The challenge with franchising is finding the right business to give you the best chance of success.

At National Franchise Business Solutions, we have access to over 600 franchise brands across a wide range of industries. There are traditional options such as fast food, which are more expensive because of the cost of building a restaurant, inventory, etc. There are also emerging industries such as senior care and sales-based franchises where the startup costs are much lower, and the profit potential remains strong.

NFBS provides free, unlimited franchise consulting, and through a unique multi-step process, we work closely with aspiring entrepreneurs to match them with the business opportunity that best suits their passion, skills, and budget.


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