Are you thinking about starting a small business but don’t have a big budget?

You might be wondering what to do if you want to start a business but have no money. The solution may be to focus on a service business. There are many options for businesses in the service industry that can be launched for less than $500.

You have undoubtedly heard of people starting businesses with very little money and making a fortune. This can certainly be done, especially if you start a service business. Take heed, though, that for every success story you hear there are several failures you don’t hear about.

It is vitally important to be smart when starting a small business. You need to be willing to do your research, work hard, and have a solid business plan before you launch your startup.

Service Business Options

Below we list some options for service businesses you could start for $500 or less. This list represents only a few of the different types of service businesses out there. If none of those listed works for you, think about others that may suit your needs.

1. Pet Care

People love their pets. They are also willing to pay quite a bit to take care of their pets. There is a growing demand for pet services. It might be a good idea to start small and expand your services as you grow your customer base. Some pet care services you could offer may include feeding and walking, grooming, or pet-sitting in clients’ homes while they are on vacation.

Here are some pet-related businesses you can start with little money:

  • Dog walking service
  • Yard cleaner
  • Pet boarding service
  • Doggie daycare
  • Animal blogger. Check out my post on how to start a blog to learn more. As a blogger, you can earn money in several ways. You can make money selling advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts. You can also create your own products like books, courses, etc.
  • Animal toymaker
  • Pet sitter
  • Youtube training channel – You could start your own Youtube channel, giving advice to pet owners. Once your Youtube channel grows in popularity, you can make money from advertising and sponsored content.
  • Pet photographer
  • Pet portrait artist
  • Pet clothing designer

2. House Cleaning

House cleaning is one of the least expensive businesses to start. Most of us already have the equipment needed. There are many households these days that just don’t have the time to clean their own houses. There are also those households that don’t want to clean. The demand for housecleaning services is high, and you can easily take advantage. Word of mouth advertising may be your best bet with this type of business. Given that, you can start with just one or two clients and allow growth to happen gradually.

Here is how to start a house cleaning business with little money:

  • Get a business license – Make sure you read my article on how to start a small business.
  • Set your prices – A great way to set your prices is to call your local competition for price quotes. Just because you are just starting your business, it doesn’t mean that you should undersell your services, from the very beginning set market prices.
  • Learn from the competition. Study where and how your competitors market their businesses.
  • Network – The least expensive way to market a service business is through networking.
  • Market – Focus on neighborhoods that can afford high-end cleaning services. Focus on one neighborhood, so you don’t have to waste time on traveling to far away locations.
  • Ask every client for referrals. If you want to grow your business, you can’t be shy about asking for referrals.
  • Hang flyers in your target neighborhoods.
  • Consult with an insurance professional on the types of insurance you should have for your business.

3. Auto Detailing

You can start an auto detailing business with very little money. This is another service that people are willing to pay for to avoid doing themselves. Professionals can charge as much as $150 or $200, depending on the services provided. Training and experience can also increase your rates.

Things to consider when starting a car detailing business:

  • Get the right insurance for your business. Consult an insurance professional about what insurance you should have for your business.
  • Focus on the right target market. It is best to focus on an upscale neighborhood. You could also focus on a business district where you offer your services during the business day.

4. Freelance Writing

If you have the skills, freelance writing is one of the cheapest businesses to start. With the sheer volume of websites and publications requiring content, freelance writing is a very viable business for anyone skilled in the language arts. It is much easier these days to realize your dreams of seeing your name in print and getting paid to do it.

5. Property Management

Several property management companies began by offering house sitting services and grew from there. It should be noted that property management is a demanding business that also requires good social skills.

6. House Painting

This is another business where skill and experience will take you far. You can specialize in outdoor or indoor painting, whichever you prefer.

7. Handyman

With a few tools and an arsenal of skills, you can meet the demand for basic handyman services that so many households don’t have time to do themselves.

8. Landscaping

Depending on where you live, this business may be seasonal. Landscaping involves cutting lawns, trimming bushes, raking leaves, and pruning flowers. If you love working outdoors, this may be a great venture for you.

9. Website Designer

There seems to be a huge demand for quality website designers today. If this is one of your talents, it could be a very lucrative business for you.

10. Party or Event Planner

If you excel at organizing events, this might be a worthwhile business to pursue. Party planning has grown recently into a billion dollar industry.

Whatever industry you decide to pursue, make sure you take the time and effort to research and plan before starting a small business. Remember, this is not an exhaustive list, but will hopefully give you some good ideas for your own company.

photo credit: London, bubbles in Bow Street

The following two tabs change content below.
George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.

Latest posts by George Meszaros (see all)