List of 33 business startup idea under $1,000 or little money

Author: Editor

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The idea of starting a business can often be put aside because of insufficient start up funds. A lot of people find it too risky to cope with a big initial investment. Luckily for them, the service industry presents a lot of businesses opportunities which do not require an initial financial investment over $1,000. Here is a list of 33 Business ideas with an investment under 1,000 dollars or little money.

The most important is to do something you already like and are at least a little good at it. This will improve your chances to persevere, get clients and make money. Start looking around what other people charge for similar services, then do a few test with different prices to see how much you can charge. Can you charge more for have it done quicker? Why not try it. Focus on client convenience and ajust your price accordingly. You could easily charge $20-30 per hour. Not too bad if you do something you like and are good at.

You can start any of these projects on a part-time basis. This mean you can still work at your existing job, or keep looking for one, while working on getting your new income.

Home-based Sales
Selling products from a nationwide company like Avon or Mary Kay while using your home as an office and your friends and family as customers can be an easy and effective way to become an entrepreneur and earn an new income. It’s often only around $10 to sign up with one of these companies and benefit from a marketing and distribution network. They usually pay by commission, so the more revenues you generate, the more income you get.

Roommate Service

Renting out a spare room in your house or apartment can be an easy way to earn a steady income. It can also be an effective way to earn experience as a landlord if you ever decide to expand your activities.

Phone Answering Service

Some companies hire people to answer their phones on their behalf after business hours. This can be done from your home and doesn’t require any specific education, but an experience in customer service is often desirable.

Freelance Bookkeeping

With a basic training, recording data and verifying the financial status of companies can be an effective way to earn revenue.

Blade-Sharpening Service

This business requires a certain skill and some equipment, but it’s a service which is often scarce which makes it a highly profitable activity after the initial investment is repaid.

Bicycle repairs

In some part of the country this may be a seasonal service. The few tools are cheap to get and it’s easy to learn to repair a bicycle (try a local bike club or YouTube videos). Word of mouth works great but don’t forget putting flyers or business cards at local stores. Set up shop in a parking lot or in your driveway on weekends and you’ll see people come by.

Cleaning boats

Another seasonal service in most part of the country but it’s an easy one to start and find potential clients. Walk about or drive around the neighborhood and you’ll see who have boat: talk about easy market research. Going to a marina is another easy way to approach clients, even better offer your service directly to the marina owner.

Candle Maker

This activity can be perceived as a form of art from which you can earn some revenues by selling your products in fairs and in local stores. It doesn’t require much space and once you get some experience with the right technique it gets much more time efficient.

Cleaning chimneys
Starting out is simple, ask someone already doing it if he/she need a hand, then learn the technique, what you need to do and look for over a few days or weeks. Basic tools are not too expensive and you can even add an inspection service after a while when you have some more money to invest into a camera.

Plant Watering Service

This service can be offered to businesses or to large households where the people living in them don’t want to do it themselves. It requires minimal equipment and you can easily reach a high revenue for a few hours worth of work.

Dog walking

This service can go well with the previous, watering plants, service. or picking up mail. Walking dogs services is most common in bigger cities or big apartment buildings.

Ice Sculpting

Usually practiced in winter, in regions where there’s snow, ice sculpting is a form of art which require a certain training and some experience. Once you get good at it, you can earn a high revenue for performing live at events.

Jewelry Designer

Basic jewelry design is easy and doesn’t cost much if you’re using cheap materials. It’s revenue can also be a launch platform to get specific training and equipment to be able to make higher quality products and sell them at a higher price.

Laundry/Ironing Service

A lot of people are living at a fast pace and don’t even find the time to do their own laundry. This creates a business opportunity which requires access to a washer and a dryer or to a laundromat. It’s a low cost service that can also be expanded to businesses.

Magician Service

This requires a specific training and experience which some can be acquired for free by watching videos on the Internet. Some pubs and restaurants like to offer a night featuring a magician to their customers. This activity can also feature at private events.

Makeup Artist

Depending on your experience and specific training, being a makeup artist can be a low profit business or a very profitable one. You have to start at the bottom to get to the top, an offering this service at a low price to start can help you get the experience and reputation to earn more revenue.

Event Planning Service

A lot of people and companies don’t have the skills or the time to plan and set up the events they would like to organize. They would be much more inclined to hiring a resourceful person to do it for them. By starting with a small operation it’s easy to get some experience and establish your reputation as a good event planner. The company hiring you will pretty much cover all of your expenses.
Earn money driving for Uber and Lyft

Got a 4 doors car, proof of car insurance, not afraid to have a background check done, are over 21, have a driver licence, and a couple of hours a day or in a week to spare and have a smart phone?


-> Uber


Then enjoy flexible driving day(s) and time of day with Uber to earn extra money. Uber also partner with some gas station to provide drivers with rebates at the pump.


You get paid every week for each drive + tips. Make money being an Uber Driver


Uber drivers are in demands everywhere even more in places like Boston, New Jersey, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Portland, San Diego. Orange County, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando, Oklahoma City, New York city, Austin, UpState New York and New York’s suburbs.


-> Uber EATS


Just like the traditional Uber but you deliver thinks (food, packages, etc) instead of people. You may not even need a car: a scooter or bike may be allowed in your city. You need to be over 18.


You get paid every week for each delivery + tips. Make money delivering with Uber


-> Lyft Driver


The “other”, and GROWING, car ride service. Lyft is growing in all states and metropolitan areas, it has the same requirement as Uber plus provide extra insurance on top of your existing one.


Drivers get a $250 bonus after the first 100 rides.


You get paid every week per drive + tips. Lyft drivers are in high demands everywhere!


For a limited time, earn a $250 bonus after 100 rides when you become a Lyft driver.

Shopping Service

A service for which the demand is growing, personal shopping can seem like a easy task, but it requires the skill to know exactly what your customers want.

Dog Walking Service

It’s often hard for dog owners to fulfill their animal’s exercises needs. Offering this service in your neighborhood can lead to an impressive demand. You don’t need any equipment to start this business, you only need a good pair of shoes and a love for animals.

Pet Grooming Service

This business requires some specialized equipment and at minimum a room, which can mean using a spare one in your house. Although there’s a moderate initial investment in material associated with this business, your revenues are mostly profits once that investment is repaid.

Toy Cleaning Service

Parenting is very demanding and all parents want what’s best for their children. That’s why some of them, which do not have the time to do so, may be interested in paying to have someone clean their children’s toys. An investment in non-toxic cleaning products and some cleaning tools is required.

Freelance Photography

Technology is making it easy for anyone to start their own freelance photography business. All you need is a good camera and a computer to be able to offer a moment capturing service at people’s events. You can also spontaneously show up at events, take pictures, and give people your business card with a link to your website where they can later buy the pictures you took.

Bicycle Tours

In cities where there’s a lot of tourism, bicycle tour businesses are booming. Get a share of it by starting your own bicycle tours and show tourists your view of your city. For tourist who often have a limited amount of time Bicycles are a fast, easy, healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around and see a lot.

Bed and Breakfast

Starting a Bed & Breakfast is a way of turning your property into a business asset. It’s easy to advertise on the Internet and with your local tourist information center. A lot of travellers will prefer a more personal lodging experience.

Party Entertaining Service

This is a broad business where you can showcase your own skills or the talents of hired employees. Not all organizers will want the same entertainment. Some will prefer a band over a DJ and others a stand up comic over dancers or acrobats. There are a lot of possibilities, but the more variety you can offer, the more business you’re likely to get.

Home Maintenance

Keeping a clean and organised household is harder than it sounds. Some people do it naturally while others lack the skills or the time do it themselves. If you’re part of the first group, you could offer this service in your neighborhood and earn some extra cash.

Home Repair Service

All you need is a toolbox and some handyman skills to be able to help people in your community while earning some money. Placing adds in local papers or in strategic spots, like a supermarket or a community center, will often give surprising results. Once you build a good reputation, your customers will most likely do your advertising for you by telling the people around them.

Freelance Editing and Writing

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a beginner a lot of publishers are looking to acquire good content. If you have your way with words, there are a lot of business opportunities to create written content for online websites or traditional small business.

Educational Tutoring Service

Helping people, whether they’re young or old, acquire the knowledge you already have is rewarding and can be a very profitable activity. You can advertise easily by telling the people around you and by putting up flyers at schools, your local library, or at community centers.

Mystery Shopper

This activity requires a certain marketing experience and knowledge to be able to fulfill your customer’s needs. A mystery shopper is someone that presents themselves as a customer in a business to test it’s employees respect of customer service guidelines and procedures.

Athletic Recruiter/Scout

If you have an experience in a certain sport, you could turn your knowledge into a business opportunity. You need to be able to spot talent and know a network of people that want this talent in their team or representing their institution. Your revenues are often performance based commissions.

Childbirth Instructor

Some certifications and a very good knowledge of childbirth are needed to help you gain the confidence of your customers. Helping couples or single mothers prepare for giving birth can be a highly rewarding activity while giving you good revenues.

Event Promoter

Some event organizers will prefer focusing on planing and setting up events and leave the task of convincing people to attend to someone else. That’s where you can step in if you have marketing and promotional skills. Your operating expenses like printing flyers and posters can be charged to your customers who will often offer a performance based remuneration.

Reminder Service

It might not seem like it, but a lot of people have trouble organizing themselves in order to remember important dates or appointments and would be willing to pay for a service that reminds them. This business requires a phone and a computer with access to Internet to be able to communicate with your customers.


The important is to start with something you are at the very least a little good at. This way you will provide a good service and may have repeat clients.  This list is not exhaustive,  it’s there to give you idea of what could work for you. We’re certain you are resourceful to come up with your own idea to start a small business.

You may also be interested in the following advices:
– 14 ways to increase your income.
Startup mistakes to avoid.

Next Step:
Learn how to start your business
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