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Popular Businesses to Start With Low Cost

Updated on February 2, 2015


Anyone that has worked in the corporate world long enough can tell you that a layoff can happen at any time. Even if it has never personally happened to them, they have at one point or another seen a coworker be let go. The loss of a job can have a devastating impact on your income, and therefore, life. Though unemployment is never permanent, the necessary expenses to pay can dwindle savings, and even put you in debt.

For this reason, more and more people are diversifying their incomes. One method is to take a second job. Another, more common method in the modern world is to start a side business. A lack of sufficient capital can be a barrier to starting many businesses, especially during times when banks become cautious on lending. These are some popular business ideas that can be started at little to no cost. If you are proficient enough, your business may grow to the point that quitting your day job may even be an option.

The pet sitting industry has grown substantially since the turn of the 21st century.
The pet sitting industry has grown substantially since the turn of the 21st century. | Source

Pet Sitting

In recent years, the pet sitting industry has ballooned to over $1 billion. You could start out with one pet, if you wish, and grow from there. All you need in terms of supplies are food, toys, bowls, and a scooper, or shovel. It has a start up cost of well under $500, however, what is a necessity is space. This is especially true in order to expand. This option is probably not feasible on any large scale if you live in an apartment or apartment style condominium.

Skilled Trades/Home Repairs

If you are handy with a tool belt, there is quite a bit of money to be made in skilled trades. The start up cost will vary with how many types of jobs you are qualified, and willing to do. The more types of work you are open to will bump up your cost, if you do not already possess the tools necessary. From fixing sinks, to floor or wall repairs, to building door frames, this business has grown to over a $100 billion industry.

One unfortunate caveat in this business is that in some areas, certain types of handiwork require licensing or special insurance. A couple examples of this are major electrical work and gas fitting.


With the advent of blogs, online marketing, advertising, and ebooks, demand for this profession is as high as it has ever been, and projected to grow much more. How fast you will be able to break in, and grow, is your ability to market yourself. In the beginning, hustle is just as important as the quality of your writing. You have to make yourself known to people who have never heard of you. Count on writing for less money when you start, until a decent sized portfolio has been built.

Efficient house cleaning has developed into an area of specialization.
Efficient house cleaning has developed into an area of specialization. | Source

House Cleaning

In 2013, 67% of married couples in the United States were two income households. With many people also working overtime, that leaves considerably less time for them to clean their house with regularity or thoroughness. Enter the house cleaning companies who specialize in just that, for your convenience. This may have a higher start up cost than some of the other businesses listed here, with the regular purchase of cleaning products. However, most of the major costs come later if you are able and willing to expand it to the point where you would have to hire help and acquire an office.

Selling on Amazon and Other Ecommerce

In 2012, worldwide sales by ecommerce went over the $1 trillion mark. In North America, particularly the United States and Canada, sales increased by almost 14% annually over the past several years.

Two common methods of ecommerce are reselling, where you would buy something at a thrift store, wholesale, or at a regular store with a sale, and then attempt to sell your goods on Amazon FBA for a profit.

Another business strategy is to attempt to build relationships with goods that are made locally, and become their Amazon representative to sell those goods worldwide, while buying their products at a reduced or wholesale price.

The start up cost for this business can vary widely. The larger initial inventory you wish to buy, the more you will have to spend. However, many people start out learning the trade by selling used items in their own home, those that are already paid for. In that instance, the start up cost would be almost nothing, other than the selling subscription and initial packaging items.

Conclusion and Comments

This list is, of course, not all inclusive, but it covers many of the most popular types. I would say that word of mouth is a very important method of growth in the house cleaning industry. If you do well, friends tend to speak to each other when they find out they are in the market for a house cleaner. The same applies to skilled trades. Your own marketing abilities are more crucial in writing and selling.

For those that work a regular full time job, it is very wise to at least consider picking up a second skill and giving thought to establishing a backup, in case you do not survive the next cutback.


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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There are definitely ways to make money no matter how bad the economy is....and these are excellent suggestions.