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Business Start-up Ideas For  5000 or Less

 

DAY CARE
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Perhaps you love children. Perhaps you have children of your own and the idea of taking care of a few more for part of the day appeals to you. Child-care needs continue to soar in Canada and the United States. Many people prefer the option of their child being cared for in a home environment while they are at work, opposed to a more institutional-like setting. These things mean that a home-based childcare business can fill to capacity quickly.

 

CHRISTMAS TREE SALES

If you want to start a Christmas tree farm, you need to plan ahead. It takes approximately seven years for a Balsam fir--perhaps the most traditional Christmas tree--to grow from a small sapling to a 5- to 6-foot tree. Selling your trees yourself is the best option. Consumers come to the property, pick the one they want, and you harvest it for them. The other option is to buy your trees from a wholesaler and sell them either in your yard or in a vacant lot that you rent from mid November to Christmas.

 

BED AND BREAKFAST

Do you have a room that has its own bathroom and is private from the rest of the living space? Are you near attractions such as a tourist area, sports stadium or venue for a large annual event? Or is your home in the country with spring peepers, summer crickets and crisp fall nights that could give a city-dweller a weekend of peaceful living? Say you can rent the room for $100 a night for Friday and Saturday nights 48 weeks a year--that's $9,600 in revenue! Utilize what you have and create a unique experience.

 

MASSAGE THERAPIST
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

You will want to become certified in massage therapy to be able to effectively market your services. Courses that lead to certification include not only information on human anatomy and physiology and the effects that massage has on both, but also on how to make a business out of the field of massage. You could do either a certification program or an associate's degree and stay within the $5,000 budget.

 

LANDSCAPER
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

If you have a knack for this type of work, a degree won't be necessary. Most people want their yards tidied up in the spring, their lawns mowed in the summer, their leaves removed in the fall, and their shrubs and driveways ready for winter snow. You will also want to offer garden work such as spring planting of annuals and perennials; vegetable garden preparation, planting and fall cleanup; pest control and watering. You can offer tree care service. There is plenty to do in the yard that has nothing to do with plants: stone wall restoration, fencing, irrigation system installation.  A truck and a bit of equipment and your off.

 

FENCE INSTALLATIONS

Fences are everywhere. And they don't last forever, so they need to be repaired and replaced with a certain amount of frequency. You're handy and can arrange to buy the materials wholesale or for bulk pricing then add your hourly installation fee and there you have it, a career in fence installation The most common fence material is wood. However, vinyl has become a popular fence choice due to its longevity and relative freedom from maintenance. Wrought iron is another common fencing, especially in urban environments. You can have fun shopping for vintage wrought iron fencing at salvage yards. You will have the best results with sales if you are bonded, licensed and insured.

 

APPLIANCE REPAIR
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Every household has a number of appliances, large and small. You can work on your own or on contract with appliance stores to cover their warranty service calls--or, best of all, you can do some of each. Plan to start slow and build your customer base on recommendations and referrals based on work well done. Consider developing relationships with contractors to be the go-to person to install appliances in newly constructed houses.

 

USED BOOK SALES

Almost everyone has a few boxes of books stashed away in the house somewhere. Why not make a business out of them? In order to gain customers--especially repeat customers--you will need to have some regular shop hours. Make your shop known for something-a specific category (or two) of books, having some first editions for sale, all paperbacks a dollar and all hardcovers two bucks, and/or a swap program. Maps, illustrations, postcards, greeting cards and magazines are good sidelines to include in your shop.

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UPHOLSTERING

If you have a knack for sewing, upholstery repair might be a perfect business for you. One of the best ways to learn how to upholster is to get some discarded upholstered furniture and start tearing it apart. Many books and some videos are available to help you learn this trade. Often furniture ready for upholstering will also need repairs. Have a list available of furniture repair people you can recommend to your customers. Or you can take the piece in, have repair people you work with do this work for you, and add it to the overall cost. You can also learn to do this work, especially minor repairs, yourself.

 

TAXIDERMIST
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Today's world of taxidermy isn't exclusive to preserving real specimens. Taxidermy also refers to recreating a specimen using completely artificial materials. Taxidermy schools where you can learn the trade are located almost throughout the country, typically as courses over several weeks specializing in certain levels of expertise, from beginner to master's level. Like any enterprise, there are taxidermy conventions that you can attend and learn about the latest techniques and materials.

 

SOLAR ENERGY CONSULTANT
Experience, training or licensing may be needed
Has expansion possibilities

As a solar consultant, you can basically conduct a home inspection and give clients a report on their solar options for their particular home and site. This can range from full-fledged general solar installations that generate electricity to simple solar walkway lighting. You might want to start by working in a solar products company to become knowledgeable in the solar energy field. However, to be a consultant, it is often best not to be affiliated with any one company or product and be able to recommend products and options across the field of solar energy.

 

SMALL ENGINE REPAIR
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Most community colleges offer some level of engine-repair courses. Another way to learn would be to take a part-time position at a repair shop or a rental facility where you could learn on the job, although you will want to be open about your plans. You should be prepared to work on push-behind lawn mowers, riding lawn mowers, generators, garden tools such as rototillers and edger's, chainsaws, wood chippers and snow blowers. You need to decide whether you'll want to take on bigger jobs, such as tractors, snowmobiles and ATVs; space may be your decision-maker.

 

JEWELRY MAKING
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

There are many different ways of getting into the jewelry business and many different types of materials with which you can work. Working in metal will probably require the most in the way of specific tools. You need to be able to heat the metal to manipulate it, and you need metalworking tools to cut and engrave it. But there are many other materials that you can work with to make jewelry--glass, plastic, beads, feathers, even wood, to name just a few. This is one of those businesses where creativity is required more than a large budget.

 

INTERIOR DECORATOR
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Market your talents to building contractors. People purchasing new homes can often be overwhelmed with the choices and possibilities in home decorating. Design some questionnaires for each major element and each major room in the house. Find out how the homeowner will use the home--are there children? Pets? Does the woman of the house wear high heels? Do the home's residents neglect to remove shoes? How will each room be used? Where might task lighting and ambient lighting be most appropriate?

 

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HOME INSPECTION
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

In order to be successful, you will want to establish contacts with real estate agents who can recommend your services to customers. The home inspection field is one where you will need to do constant updating of your education and knowledge. New products are constantly coming out on the market--if you only know about decks made of wood, you will not know how to inspect and assess the new materials on the market, such as composites that are made to look like real wood. Also keep apprised of all safety updates of materials and issues with things like off-gassing, carbon monoxide production, and other chemical precautions.

 

HOME ENERGY AUDITOR
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

All homeowners are always on the lookout for ways to save on their utility bills. You can come to their aid by providing them with an audit of their house and giving them a breakdown of how they could accomplish real savings in heating, cooling and electrical use. You can go one step further and do the implementation and installation of some of your suggestions in their home yourself. Do a complete appliance audit, with efficiency ratings and calculations based on the age of the appliance. And don't forget the water heater!

 

GOLF COACH
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Let the local public courses know about your coaching business. Cultivate relationships with the staff and encourage them to recommend you as a coach. Another place to look for customers is the corporate world. Golfing is a game that business people use to develop relationships outside the office. You do need to be a better than average golfer to develop a reputation as a golf coach. You also need to be a good teacher, know how to be motivational and be willing to work with many different types of people.

 

FINANCIAL PLANNER
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

To start, you should go through the certification process so that you can label yourself a CFP (Certified Financial Planner). Your certificate shows that you have expertise and credibility, and this differentiation will help people choose you as their financial planner.

 

ELECTRONICS REPAIR
Has expansion possibilities

This business is similar to the computer repair business, but you will take on all sorts of electronic equipment besides just computers. With smaller electronics, you will need to be prepared to have customers bring their repair projects to you, as you would have difficulty recovering the cost of driving around picking up broken equipment and returning it. You may also want to encourage people to give you their old electronics so you can use them for parts.

 

CLEANING SERVICE

There are many directions you can take this business. If you want to work during hours when no one else does, you can focus on office clients. You can focus on retail businesses and keep your customers clumped into one or two blocks. Restaurants are in great need of daily thorough cleaning and can be a great source of steady clients. Perhaps you would be more interested in house cleaning. Many times with cleaning services you don't have to spend lots of money on advertising or marketing because your customers will come by word of mouth.

 

HEAVY EQUIPMENT & BOAT CLEANING
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Large Industrial Equipment needs the power of a portable power washer and industrial degreasers.  Boats that are hauled out of the water for the winter or even just for mid-season repairs will need the hull cleaned. And depending on the type of boat, it is a good time to give a major cleaning everything else too--the decks, the sleeping quarters, the head, and the holds. Start by approaching homes that have a boat sitting in the yard. Or you could market your services to the Industrial areas of your location. Mount the unit on your truck and your home based pressure washing business is ready to go.

 

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