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6 small business ideas with low startup costs

Nov 6, 2022 · 6 minutes to read

Not every small business idea is expensive to get off the ground. There are many businesses with low startup costs in the trades and services industries that are also potentially profitable. If you’ve been dreaming about becoming your own boss, you might want to consider some inexpensive business startup ideas.

For some of the ideas below, you may need a trade or general contractor license to work in your state. But once you have the necessary permits and licenses, you might be ready for business! Here are six cheap startup business ideas for trades and service workers.

1. Handyman

If you know a lot about general home maintenance, you might enjoy running a handyman business. You’ll be helping people who are short on time or lack the skills to do odd jobs around the house on their own. You could offer your services to individual homeowners and renters or work with building managers to service an entire apartment building.

In general, you don’t need a special certification or education to become a handyman. However, there may be licensing requirements in your state or city to do certain types of work. A basic set of tools (such as a hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, cordless drill, sandpaper, and a level) is likely all you need to get started. You can invest in more expensive power tools as your business grows or rent them as you go.

You may want to consider different types of handyman insurance to protect your small business. General Liability and coverage for your tools and equipment are often purchased by handymen.

2. House Painter

Have a steady hand and eye for color? House painting is another small business idea to consider. Interior and exterior painting is often a bigger job than many people want to take on themselves. You could offer residential painting services to homeowners or commercial painting services to other businesses.

No formal education or training is generally required to work as a painter, though there may be licensing requirements in your area. All you really need to get started are essential painting tools and supplies, such as paint rollers, brushes, trays, drop clothes, painter’s tape, stirring sticks, and a ladder.

Recommended reading: Painter Contractor License Requirements in Florida

General Liability insurance is one type of coverage that you might consider to protect your painting business. If you use any power tools, such as a paint sprayer or heat gun, you may want to buy insurance for your tools as well.

3. Cleaner

Another service that busy homeowners often enjoy is professional cleaning. You might offer general cleaning services or more specialty ones, such as ovens or windows. Commercial cleaning services may also be in demand by local business owners.

You may need to complete some training to work as a cleaner in your state. This may include instruction on handling and disposal of hazardous materials, depending on the cleaning supplies you use. A good quality vacuum might be a sizable investment, but other supplies are generally inexpensive (such as mops, dusting clothes, buckets, gloves, etc.).

Cleaner insurance, such as a General Liability policy, may also be a consideration since you’ll be entering other people’s homes and businesses.

4. Landscaping & Gardening

If you have a green thumb and love the outdoors, becoming a landscaper or gardener could be a profitable business idea for you. Helping others keep their outdoor spaces clean and tidy is an in-demand service in many areas. You could offer your services to individual homeowners, take care of a small apartment complex, or maintain the grounds of commercial spaces.

Some states require a special license if you’ll be working with fertilizers or pesticides. As far as the tools you’ll need, more costly investments may include a lawn mower, weed whacker, and electric hedge trimmer. However, other tools are relatively cheap, such as a rake, hoe, handheld clippers, wheelbarrow, ear protection, safety goggles, and gloves.

Landscapers and gardeners might consider General Liability and tool coverage to protect them from common risks they may face.

5. Security Services

Homeowners and business owners might want a security system to protect their property. Specializing in security services—chiefly selling, installing, and repairing security systems—could be a great business idea in your area.

An electrician’s license may be necessary to install systems in your city or state. Security systems can be expensive, but these are generally ordered after the customer has made a first payment or deposit. What you’ll really need to get started are the tools necessary to install the equipment once it arrives.

You might consider different types of electrician insurance to protect yourself. General Liability and tool coverage are essential for many security system providers. You might also buy Professional Liability to protect against mistakes in your work or claims of negligence.

6. Car-detailing Services

Many people don’t have time to wash and detail their cars. They may appreciate you bringing this service to their homes so they don’t have to drive to and wait at the car wash. This could be a profitable business idea, as people generally pay for this type of convenience.

Depending on your state, you may need to be licensed or registered to offer car-detailing services. You may also need to complete training in the proper use and disposal of hazardous materials. However, the tools and materials you need are minimal. You may need a hose, buckets, washcloths, car wax, and window cleaner to start.

General Liability insurance may be a wise purchase, as it protects against potentially expensive property damage claims from your clients.

Protecting your small business

No matter what type of business you open, insurance could help you protect it. As we’ve discussed, policies like General Liability coverage help shield you from the financial fallout of expensive claims and lawsuits. As your business grows and changes, you might consider other types of coverage, like a Business Owner’s Policy or Workers’ Compensation, to address other risks.

Ready to buy business insurance but unsure where to start? BizInsure is here to help! We make it fast and simple to compare policies from A-rated insurers and get covered instantly. We’ll even send your policy documents right to your inbox.

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As with any insurance, coverage will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.
The number of quotes provided varies between products, occupations and other underwriting factors determined by the insurers.
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