When people hear the phrase small business, they might picture an underdog.
That’s partially the case. In terms of business size, large enterprises generate most of the nation’s revenue. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean all small businesses are struggling.
What are the most profitable small businesses?
In the small business economy, there are certain businesses that tend to be more financially successful. If you are thinking about starting, investing in, or using a small business, our list of the most profitable small businesses, which is in no particular order, might help you hone in on something worth your while.
1. Handymen or handywomen
The number of people who know how to repair things around the house is dwindling. Luckily, you can hire someone else to take care of it for you. What is even luckier, is if you are the handyman yourself.
If you know how to fix a broken fuse or repair a leaky faucet, becoming a handyman or woman could help you bring in some extra money. All you need is some equipment and the know how.
2. Online education
For some, a bachelor’s degree or high school diploma was enough. Others can’t seem to stay out of school.
Online education is a booming small business industry. Whether someone wants to learn a new language or take a class that will help them with their current job, taking online courses is a convenient way to get there.
Similar to online education, tutoring services have seen a lot of success in the small business world. The human race is competitive and thirsty for success, and they won’t stop to take advantage of extra resources to make them the best they can be.
A key factor in the profitability of tutoring is that there are countless reasons for people to want to learn more in all stages of life. Children learning to read, teenagers studying for standardized tests, and adults trying to master a new language can all benefit from a tutor.
If you already have a background in education and have some time to spare, tutoring might be right for you.
4. Real estate agency
Whether someone prefers buying or renting a place to live or run a business, a real estate agent can help them find it.
If you don’t mind some unconventional work hours, it might be worth your time to start taking real estate agent courses, pass the exam in your state, and begin practicing.
5. Child-oriented businesses
Some people say that being a parent is the most important job in the world… until they have to return to their job that pays the bills.
Parents want their children to have fun and be taken care of, all while growing in the process. Child-oriented small businesses, such as daycare, summer camps, and sports classes, are the perfect fix for parents looking to get some work done without plopping their child in front of the television all day.
Not a lot of people have what it takes to manage children, but if you are one of them, check out what child-oriented options stick out to you.
6. Dental offices
Dental offices are high up on the list of most profitable small businesses. Molar pain is hard to avoid, and not many people are confident walking around with a chipped tooth, making trips to the dentist unavoidable in certain situations.
There are a lot of associated costs that go along with a career in dentistry: education, office, equipment. However, once you get the ball rolling, the salary will make up for it.
7. Gardening and landscaping
Not everyone is blessed with a green thumb, and fewer people are big fans of the labor associated with gardening. Not only does it take a lot of time and energy, but creativity as well. If you don’t have an eye for landscaping but have somewhat of a vision of what you want your yard to look like, hiring a gardener or landscaper might be your best bet to make that vision a reality.
On the greener hand, if you can make sense of turning a boring old yard into a visually appealing garden, gardening and landscaping might be the small business for you. All you need to get started is interest in gardening, some equipment, and a little bit of advertising.
8. Information technology (IT) support
Thanks to IT support, there’s no need to be a technology expert anymore. IT support has been a staple for productivity and efficiency in homes and businesses, providing quick fixes to any technology problem you might run into.
While there is not much overhead for an IT support service, meaning there is no ongoing cost, it is a competitive industry, making marketing and advertising your service that much more important.
Consulting can apply to every small business on this list, as it includes giving advice on how to reach professional goals. In this field, experience is required. You need business knowledge before calling yourself a consultant. Other than that, the market is large, and you could be looking at a decent salary.
New businesses are constantly popping up, all with the mission of creating a brand that sets them apart from their competitors. This can be done with a solid website and logo. Unfortunately, not everyone has what it takes to master the principles of design.
Similar to the creativity that gardening takes, designing a website or logo requires certain skills. Not only do you need an eye for design, but you also need to understand marketing techniques and the industry in which your client works.
Be prepared for some trial-and-error. Chances are your client wants something close to perfect if they are hiring a freelance graphic designer to create their logo or beautify their website.
11. Party planning services
Everybody loves a party, but not everyone has the time to think of every single thing you need to throw a successful soiree. Food, venue, invitations, security, DJ, the list goes on and on. If only there was a service that could do it all.
Oh wait, there is.
Party planning services are flexible and can handle a wide variety of events, such as weddings, business conferences, fundraisers, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and any other event that takes some extra organization.
If you have a knack for planning and enjoy the excitement of parties, consider making a career of it.
12. Accounting and tax preparation
April 15th, what a dreaded day. You aren’t alone if you put off doing your taxes until the last possible second. You also aren’t alone if you pay someone else to do your taxes for you. Because taxes and personal finances are unavoidable, accounting services are highly sought after.
If you are good at balancing and making sense of numbers, it might be worth offering some of your time to people who aren’t. Keep in mind that there is also no overhead in this field. However, there are some barriers. To be a successful tax preparer, higher education and a CPA license are recommended.
13. Personal trainers
Swimsuit season. A scary thought. However, thanks to personal trainers, it doesn’t have to be.
A personal trainer is an exercise expert that can give you the tools and information you need to get in shape. One of the great things about personal trainers is that they work around your schedule and can come to you if need be.
While it is good for you, exercise is nothing to mess with. When pushed too hard, clients can hurt themselves. Because of this, personal trainers need to have a background in exercise, nutrition, and overall health to safely provide results. If you have that background and are interested in helping others reach their fitness goals, personal training is right up your alley.
14. Food trucks
Foodies are always looking for a unique dining experience. How about buying food out of a truck?
Food trucks are a big hit in the small business world. They are mobile, the service is quick, and they provide a one of a kind experience.
If you already own a restaurant or have a recipe you want to share with the public, all you need to do is get the right permits and find a vehicle that supports this venture.
15. Auto Repair
Car trouble? Whether you need a tire replaced or some headlights changed, an auto repair service is your best bet.
If you are experienced in handling a variety of car-related emergencies, offering auto repair services should be at the top of your list. There are certain situations where people have no choice but to call someone when they have car trouble, and if you market yourself correctly, your phone will be ringing off the hook.
16. Marketing services
A lot of businesses could benefit from some form of marketing. While marketing techniques can be attempted by anyone, an inexperienced marketing team can lead to wasted time and resources.
Marketing professionals can brainstorm and execute strategic methods that will help businesses gain recognition, attracting new customers and keeping the interest of existing ones.
If you have an eye for recognizing the wants and needs of an audience and the know-how for showing them how a certain business can provide them, marketing might be the right small business venture for you. Thanks to technology, a marketing career can be done from just about anywhere with no extra cost.
Along the lines of marketing is copywriting. Just like businesses need marketing materials like brochures and billboards, they also need written materials.
Solid copywriting is especially necessary as online tools like content marketing and a company website continue to grow in importance. Take for example Keyword Tool and Content Optimizer. The tool shows instantly lots of keyword ideas & topics insights that you won't find elsewhere, plus a chance to optimize your piece of content and improve its rankings. If you have a marketing background but enjoy the writing aspect the most, offering copywriting services can be as simple as creating a portfolio and looking for a business in need.
18. Legal services
There are certain things an amateur can do, but dealing with the law is not one of them. This makes legal services one of the most profitable small businesses.
Whether you get into some trouble with the law or you are trying to score some worker’s compensation, using a professional legal service is your best bet.
Law is a good field to consider working in if you have the time and money to go through the necessary education and training.
19. Storage units
Storage units and warehouses are great outlets for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of space at home. If you have some extra space at home or at a different location, consider renting it out. The best part is that there is little to no work involved. All you do is give them the key and collect the money.
20. Delivery services
Everybody can get lazy from time to time. Whether you are ordering a pizza or buying a new computer, delivery services make it possible for it to be brought right to your doorstep.
21. Pet handling services
There is a special bond between humans and their pets, and when they go away for a while, or even just for a day, they want their pet to be well cared for. Enter pet handling services.
Caring for pets is a solid small business venture, especially if you have a place to board the animals. All you need is some experience with pets, a website, and a creative way to market your service.
Notice a trend?
There is a particular trend among the most profitable small businesses: services and marketing. While the services above might be the most profitable small businesses to start, invest in, or use, they can’t all be successful. According to the Small Business Association, half of the businesses started will fail within the first five years. The current economy breeds competition, so if you are thinking of starting a small business venture, first consider what makes you stand out and how you can market that unique trait to consumers.
Mary Clare Novak is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 in Chicago, where she is currently exploring topics related to sales and customer relationship management. In her free time, you can find her doing a crossword puzzle, listening to cover bands, or eating fish tacos. (she/her/hers)