Business Start-up Ideas For  500 or Less


Tutoring Business.
With college entrance becoming more and more competitive, parents are looking for a way to get their kids’ grades up. This has opened up a wealth of new opportunities for home-based tutors.

Wedding Planner.
While our economic situation has taken a bite out of many areas of the luxury economy, one thing that is almost recession-proof is the desire of women everywhere to throw a perfectly planned wedding. Being a home-based wedding planner is easy – as most of the meetings (with the exception of visiting the venue) can take place inside your house.

Gift Basket Business.
If you are a great gift-giver, why not put that talent to good use? Gift basket businesses feature relatively low start-up costs, can be engaged right from your home and provide a steady source of seasonal work (as well as birthdays, special corporate events, etc).

Few people realize it, but you don’t have to be at a hotel to take advantage of a concierge service. A growing number of people are turning to home-based concierges as a means for helping plan out special events, nights out on the town, and more.

Computer Repair.
If you’re the member of the family who always gets called to fix everyone’s PC or iPod then computer repair is an outstanding choice for a home-based business. Just put a little more time into self-education regarding the inner workings of computer repair and you can gain the skills needed to get started.

Consulting Business.
Let’s say you spent years in a particular industry, but left your job either due to layoffs or burnout. Why not put those vital skills to use by becoming a consultant in your chosen field of expertise? Consultants can command a high billing rate (depending upon the industry) and have the freedom to take on as many or as few clients as they see fit.

Interior Designer.
If you’ve got a flair for home or office décor, interior design work may be your calling. The key to getting started is finding 2-3 core clients, and then doing spectacular work for them. Create a book of photos based on your work for these initial clients – and then use it as a “calling card” for obtaining future work.

Blog Poster.
Many businesses need individuals to help them maintain an active blogging community for their online presence. You could make a supplement and potential decent living by blog posting if you have good conversational writing skills.

Child Care Service Provider.
Finally, child care services make an outstanding home-based business for nurturing individuals who are good with children. While some inspection and accreditation may be required, this can be a very lucrative business for those willing to dedicate themselves to it.



Storm Window Installations

 Starting a business that provides residential homeowners with a service of installing storm windows in the fall and removing the windows in the spring is a very straightforward endeavor to initiate. It probably won't make you rich, but it can provide a great seasonal income of $15 to $25 per hour, with the potential for additional cash if you also offer optional window cleaning and repair services. The equipment necessary to get rolling includes a few ladders and basic tools, such as hammers and screwdrivers. Ideal customers for this service are owners of Victorian and heritage homes as wood storm windows often do not open or provide air circulation in the summer, requiring them to be removed and reinstalled later.


Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Starting a pet sitting service requires almost nothing in start-up costs. You do need some general credentials that will cost little or nothing to acquire. Your list of credentials should probably include personal pet ownership--if not currently, at least in the past--as well as other pet-related experience, including working at a pet food store, an animal hospital or other animal-related business. You will need to spend a little to become "bonded." This is known as "honesty insurance," and ensures your clients that you won't get their house keys and make off with their valuables (or that they'll get their money back if you do).


Experience, training or licensing may be needed.

Many courses exist (many of which, logically, are offered online - and cheap!!!) where you can learn the language of website creation and can learn about the details, like how to set up shopping cart systems, security concerns, etc. You will, of course, need to learn about each company you design for. What is the atmosphere of the company that you need to reflect in the website design--is it wild and contemporary, meaning brilliant colors and fun graphics? Or will more classic colors like black, navy blue and maroon be more appropriate? The bottom line is that if you already have the computer, you can self teach yourself wordpress or other open source web design tools. Many web housing companies like Go-Daddy, actually have online web design systems where if you familiarize yourself with them, you can create highly professional results without ever knowing a line of code. It's an amazing world we live in.


Experience, training or licensing may be needed.

You will need to learn how to work with all kinds of carpet fabrics, from synthetic to wool carpets. This is much easier than one would think. By having a relationship with a janitorial products supplier, they can direct you to the products that will work under each situation.  just be aware of wool shrinkage and ask about the unique effects of each type of real or synthetic fibers or upholstery fabrics. Call local firms to see what the going rates are and advertise your services in Kijiji or Craig's list or similar.  You can also decide whether you will take on specialty carpets when you have gained experience such as valuable antique carpets and family heirlooms; if so, you will want to get specialized training in how to handle these carpets and the specialized ways of cleaning them. Huge money there once you learn specialty fabrics.  Learn how to get tough stains and odors out of carpets--such as dog and cat odors--and your services will be in great demand.  Canvas a neighborhood and book your jobs for the following week then rent the appropriate machine from an equipment rental center for the three or four days you'll need to complete the bookings - then repeat the process. 

Honest work that pays well  and if you're courteous and do a good job for them, your customers will happily give you referrals when asked.    Nothing sells better than a fresh referral!


Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Making money as a photographer can be done in a number of different ways. You can specialize in one area, the most common being weddings. There are niches you can explore for photography: portraits of people and their pets, families, and homes; photographs of holiday events, birthday parties or Christmas cards; the possibilities are endless. Now more than ever, digital Cameras has made professional quality results available to anyone with a good eye and a decent camera available through future shop or the like.





Experience, training or licensing may be needed

You want to stick to the instrument(s) you know, but you may be a skilled enough musician to offer lessons on several different instruments, or those in a particular class, e.g., stringed or woodwind.You can decide to take on individuals or classes, depending on space and availability of instruments. Public schools are continually reducing their commitment to art and music classes for students, so you can try to work with the public school system to supplement their efforts in those areas


MOVING SERVICE or Hauling service

Lots of people who are moving want to hire someone to do the heavy lifting for them. You can leave the large-scale, long-distance moving to the big moving companies. Your work can be the local, moving-across-town or to the town-next-door jobs. These are the ones that people start off thinking perhaps they could do themselves, and it will be your job to convince them otherwise. Your signs around town will tempt them to let you take care of that part of the move, while they are busy taking care of those other 500 items on their list.



There's lots in it because it's always required.  There franchise co's like just junk or 1800-got-junk have a great idea but they also have the fees that you don't have to the parent co. If you have a truck and a smart looking pair of overalls, you can easily fill your days with trips to the dump if your in a center of reasonable population.



Create an arsenal of cleaning products that can clean almost every kind of product (paint, chalk, markers) from every kind of surface (cement, wood, pavement). The best way to conduct a graffiti service is to offer a subscription-like arrangement. Once a month or whatever interval makes sense for your clients, go around to their property and clean off the graffiti. Charge them a monthly or quarterly fee and make it simple for everyone--they don't have to think about graffiti, and you just do your job.


Has expansion possibilities

Finding a niche is the best way to start out in the gift basket business. Are you a dog lover, horse lover, or exercise guru who could put together baskets that hold the things that people with this interest would like? Do you already create a product that a gift basket could be built around? Have you made your own soaps for the past 10 years? A gift basket that included one or two of your soaps, hand lotion, a scrub brush and manicure kit could be a lovely basket to receive.





Experience, training or licensing may be needed

So you have a computer. Despite the proliferation of the internet, print media is here to stay for the foreseeable future! Fliers, newsletters, magazines, information sheets, letters and advertisements are just a few of the types of print media that business hire freelancers to create for them. Websites and online advertising need graphic design services as well. Even if your expertise is only in design, offer the works for potential clients, including the editorial creation and the printing and even mailing of the final piece. You can line up regular freelancers for those parts of the job you can't do.



You will need to be up-to-date on wedding trends and fads, dress styles, color trends--almost everything under the sun! Offer your customers an ala carte menu of services, from helping pick flowers, the wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses to picking the venue and hiring the caterer. Before you open your business, shop at all the wedding shops, and even pretend you are a bride-to-be to see what kinds of services the wedding gown shop provides and how they treat potential customers. You need to know every detail of the business to give the accurate impression that you are the 'go-to person' for anyone planning a wedding.




Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Most tax preparation franchises offer courses, seminars, and training to get you ready to work for them. You will learn a lot about tax preparation while working for them before going out on your own. There is a lot of educational support out there to learn tax preparation and all its complexities. And there are lots of individuals and businesses willing to spend a few hundred dollars a year to have someone else prepare their taxes and keep watch for tax breaks or tax burdens on their behalf.



Your job, in the case of rental units, will be to make sure the property is running smoothly. For seasonal properties, you will most likely spend your management time making sure the property is ready for seasonal visits and well-maintained when no one is around. If the owners go away for six weeks in the winter, the property manager makes regular checks on the property. You will be the contact number if the security system operator needs to contact someone about a breach in security.


Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Advertise your services in places where everyone goes, like restaurants and grocery stores. Having a website is a good idea--people want some privacy in their decision-making when it comes to getting fit. They can go to your website and determine if your approach to personal training is an approach that would work for them. It is important to emphasize the safety aspect of using a personal trainer. You can help clients get fit and avoid injury.



This business is for someone who is supremely efficient and has the ability to make things happen. People who hire you will expect things when they want them and you need to be able to come through with not only what they want, but with a personal touch and a smile on your face. The most likely clients for a personal concierge service are top executives who find themselves at the office by 7 a.m. and are there most nights until 9 p.m., leaving them very little time to do all those things that often need to be done during those very hours.


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.


Has expansion possibilities

You can choose either to do the organizing work or to come in to a home and consult on the things the homeowner could do to better organize. Have a portfolio of different organizational scenarios in different rooms in the home and talk with the homeowner about the style he or she likes. Create checklists and questionnaires to understand how the family uses the home. Are the kids wildly busy with after-school activities? Or are they usually home after school and want access to their toys? Do they share rooms? All of these things will help you tailor an organizing plan and become the family hero.


Has expansion possibilities

People love to spend weekends rummaging through tables full of other people's unwanted items, looking for treasures. Make sure to change your layout and put new stuff out for sale often. You want people to come back time and again to see what's new. You don't even have to have that much new stuff to make things look new. Just moving an item from a table to the top of a bookshelf might get it noticed, even though the item has been in your inventory since you first started having sales.


Experience, training or licensing may be needed

One way to make money in this field is by being an expert witness yourself. If you have an expertise that could be useful in legal cases, you can market yourself to attorneys to act as an expert witness. Another way to be active in the expert witness field is to play a sort of matchmaker, matching attorneys up with expert witnesses for their cases--either for the defense or for the prosecution. Expert witnesses for big money cases can be expected to fly anywhere to testify. There's no reason your database of witnesses can't be from all parts of the country.

Has expansion possibilities

One of the first things you need to do is visit every potential event location with which you plan to work. Work with the marketing manager to tour each site and learn what is available at each location. Start a database that will allow you to sort venues by varying features--the number of people each site holds, if there is AV equipment available on site, will you need to arrange for rental chairs, etc. Then when you are beginning to plan an event with a client, you can find out what the key parameters are for the event and easily pull up the three or four sites that meet the basic criteria. and engagement parties, etc.

Has expansion possibilities

Here are some of the editorial services you can provide from the quiet of your own home:



Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Study the main types of software that system users will want--word processing, photo manipulation software, mail merge, spreadsheet, design and especially security software. Investigate all the components--monitor types in all their varieties; keyboards, from wired to ergonomic to wireless; mouse types; as well as peripheral components like printers and scanners. Become completely familiar with all the ISPs (internet service providers) available in the market area you plan to cover. Establish yourself as the guru who can meet the needs of the personal computer user, the small business or a larger corporation.



Learning to be a chimney sweep may mean nothing more than apprenticing with someone already in the business. By becoming a chimney expert, you can combine a chimney sweep business with a chimney inspection service--covering more than just whether or not the chimney needs cleaning but whether the chimney is in good working order or in need of repair.


Has expansion possibilities

Offer a soup-to-nuts business plan, including market research, the business plan narrative and the financial statements. Plan your fee around the main one that the client will want and offer the others as add-on services. You can give clients an electronic file and allow them to take it from there, or you can keep the business plan on file and offer the service of tweaking it whenever necessary. Have business plan samples to show clients--and make sure to include your own!


In many parts of the country, this business tends to be seasonal, but you can find ways around that. Rent a storage unit and offer to store people's bicycles over the winter after you do a tune-up and any needed repairs on them. If you want to cater to the Lance Armstrong wannabes, you can have business all year round. These road race riders are training through snow, sleet and dark of night. Some of them work on their own bicycles, but many of them don't, so you can get their business all year. And if you keep Saturday shop hours, you can be sure you will have a group of enthusiasts coming by to talk all things cycling.

ACCOUNTANT -  Bookkeeper
Experience, training or licensing may be needed

Create a flier outlining your services. Before you do that, you need to know what those services will be. Do you want to simply do bookkeeping for a small business? A more involved level of accounting would be do actually work up balance sheets, income statements, and other financial reports on a monthly, quarterly, and/or annual basis, depending on the needs of the business. Other specializations can include tax accounting, a huge area of potential work. Many business owners don't mind keeping their own day-to-day bookkeeping records but would rather get professional help with their taxes.



HOW TO Start Virtually Any Business....             

You'll find an endless supply of   ~  How-to's ~  through a carefully worded Google Search.

eg.:     how to become a professional dog walker  >>>>  

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