20 of the Most Profitable Small Businesses

20 of the Most Profitable Small Businesses

Some businesses are inherently more profitable than others. This can be due to expenses and overhead being low or the business charging a lot for its services or products. Still, all businesses, no matter how profitable they are, can be a challenge getting started.

Most Profitable Small Businesses

If you yearn to run a profitable business (don’t we all), take a look at the following 20 most profitable small businesses.

Tax Preparation and Bookkeeping

Without needing fancy premises or expensive equipment, tax preparation and bookkeeping services come with low overheads. Furthermore, the standard rate for quality tax preparers and bookkeepers is a decent salary to live on.

That said, if you’re not good with numbers, preparing people’s tax and keeping their finances up-to-date, won’t be the business for you.

Catering Services

You don’t need expensive premises to run your own catering business and could even operate your service from home, keeping overhead to a minimum. People and businesses are willing to pay for quality caterers, making this business profitable for those who work hard and have the determination to succeed.

Website Design

Websites have become the ‘windows of every successful business’, hence quality and creative website designers remain in high demand. Again, low expenses and high rates make web design a lucrative business to run, providing you have the creative and technical know-how that is!

Business Consulting

Businesses are willing to invest in quality business consultants who can help them achieve the results they are looking for. They’re also willing to pay hefty amounts for the right advice, which, tied in with low overhead, makes business consulting a profitable business to embark on.

Of course, effective business consultants do require sound business acumen and knowledge, so this isn’t necessarily the right opportunity for everyone.

Courier Services

Other than the outlay of your vehicle to deliver the goods, self-employed couriers don’t have a large overhead. Getting lucrative contracts from the major courier firms can prove profitable. However, in a competitive market, being awarded lucrative contracts can be challenging.

Mobile Hairdresser Services

Granted, you can never charge a fortune to cut someone’s hair but that doesn’t take away from the fact that quality hairdressers will always be in demand. Furthermore, other than a quality pair of scissors and some hair dye, if you run a mobile hairdressing salon, your business expenses are surprisingly low, making mobile hairdressing a profitable business to run.

That said, mobile hairdressers are not difficult to find, so you’ll probably need to spend some money marketing your services.

Cleaning Services

All you need to start your own cleaning business is a vacuum, polish floor cleaner and, preferably, a car. With comparatively low overhead, little in the way of training required and a service which is always in demand, cleaning can be a rewarding business to get into.

So why isn’t everyone doing this? Well, if you’re looking for a more creative way to make a living, cleaning might not be for you.

Online Tutoring

You might be a math genius, a native Spanish speaker or a nifty guitar player. Whatever your talent, offering to tutor online can be a great way to earn an income with exceptionally low expenses.

The only downside to online tutoring… You need to have a skill others will want to learn!

Real Estate Brokering

The profits associated with real estate remain high and if you want to enter this industry one of the most cost-effective ways to do so is to set up a real estate brokering firm.

Real estate brokers act as an intermediary between sellers and buyers and all you need to get started is a brokerage license. That said, finding your own clients can be challenging, given the number of real estate brokers there are.

Logo Design

Got an eye for a great logo? If so, you might be on your way to starting a business where you can charge a tidy sum while not having to fork out on expensive overhead. Though be warned, logo design is a competitive industry, and you’ll have to come up with some unique and inspiring logos to remain at the top of your trade.

Warehouse Storage

Got a spare garage or building that’s not being used? If so, you may want to think about offering warehouse storage services. Providing a place for businesses and individuals to store goods and items can provide a highly profitable and predominantly passive income. Though it must be said, the job isn’t exactly stimulating and therefore isn’t for everyone!

Property Maintenance

There will always be a demand for people who are willing to clean gutters, repair chimneys or pull out stubborn weeds. While the hourly rate for property maintenance might not be the highest, with low overhead and high demand, property maintenance can be a profitable business to enter — as long as you don’t mind getting your hands dirty!

Technology Repair Services

Got a good eye for technology and how it works? If so, setting up your own technology repair business could see you in high demand as the world becomes increasingly dependent on technology.

Repairing people’s much-loved gadgets can pay well and without much overhead, can prove to be a lucrative business. Naturally, those without a knack for technology will want to steer clear!

IT Support

As we become more reliant on IT to run businesses and go about our daily lives, those who offer IT help and support are extremely sought-after. Quality IT support technicians can charge a decent rate for their skills and don’t require too much overhead or equipment to run their businesses. However, IT support is a competitive industry, so you’ll need to efficiently market your services to get noticed.

Marketing Services

Businesses and organizations will always want a quality marketing team behind them to boost brand awareness and bring them results. Marketing agencies can charge a lot for their services and thanks to advancing remote technology and the internet, marketing efforts can be done remotely, keeping overhead low and profits high.

Still, it must be said, marketing agencies are highly competitive and in order to be a success, you’ll have to show you can deliver results.

Personal Training

Those who want to be fitter, slimmer and healthier, insure there will always be demand for personal trainers (PTs). Earning a qualification in personal training is not overly expensive and once you’re professionally qualified, you can offer your PT services. Overhead is inherently low in this industry, making personal training a profitable and sought-after business.

One of the biggest challenges PTs face is building up a network of clients in a competitive environment.

Food Truck

Providing quality food and drink will always be in high demand, though with expensive overhead, running a restaurant isn’t always as profitable as you might think. Serving food from a food truck, on the other hand, requires much lower overhead and can be an extremely profitable business venture. The downside is you have to work out of a van day in, day out, which isn’t everyone’s idea of a rewarding business.

Legal Services

Quality legal advice and support come at a price and therefore those with legal knowledge can earn a tidy sum for their expertise. That said, becoming qualified to provide legal advice takes time and money and the amount of training and education required to be able to offer legal services can put many people off.

A Man with a Van

Got a van and some spare time? Well you’ve got your business already mapped out! With virtually no expenses other than keeping your van roadworthy, helping people move and deliver items in your van can be an effective way to earn an income.

The downside? There’s a lot of competition, so make sure your delivery services stand out.


Gardening is healthy and fulfilling work requiring an element of creativity. People love their gardens and so decent gardeners will always be in demand. Although gardeners require several tools for their trade, overhead is comparatively low, making gardening a profitable business. Though again, to ensure you get the work, you may have to spend some money on advertising your services.

Whichever profitable business you decide to pursue, make sure that it’s a business idea that you believe can solve a specific problem.

Related reading: 51 Business Ideas for 2020

Photo via Shutterstock


Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a professional freelance writer and journalist based in the United Kingdom. Since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".

45 Reactions
  1. Not surprisingly, many are service businesses that don’t require much capital or equipment.

  2. Sit at airport with seniors, Sit at doctor office with seniors.

    • Hi Carolyn,
      Would this serve as a companion business? Do you know how to market this type of client base?

      • Tyra,
        Yes this would be companion/caregiving services. You would want to market this type of service as a companion aid or caregiver with pamphlets/ brochures at dr offices/ medical places

  3. A man with a van
    I’m interested in this business
    I Seek proper guidance

  4. unfortunately local politics is the best self employment in india

    • True sir. Politics is the best way to make money but investment is also huge. Also should loose the self-respect to enter into this..

  5. Hi
    I am interested in a courier service can anyone help with more info on how to start please

  6. Chalanda Sinkfield

    I am trying to start a vape shop. Already found a location but not sure where to go from there.

    • My suggestion is look elsewhere. I know in GA vapes are about to be banned and I can only imagine other states will follow. Also, “vaping” is soooo 2017 LOL. That trend has moved on. It’ll be a risky business if you ask me.

    • Alibaba to purchase directly from ecig manufactures in China. Stick to big brands like Smoke, Sigelei etc. Check out fasttech website to see what devices are popular. The money however is in the ejuice. There are ejuice wholesellers you can buy from. If you live in California go to downtown LA wholesell district, theirs an entire block of ecig wholesellers. I’f not may be worth checking out the wholesell districts at your local big city. But you must know what’s popular and follow new consumer trends like Salts etc. Good luck!

  7. Hi
    I am interested in a courier service can anyone help with more info on how to start please

  8. I am looking to own a maid/housekeeping referral agency. Does anyone have experience in this field?

    • Gwendolyn Brandon

      Try maid right. They are the sister company of janpro and will set you up with clients and supplies for a monthly fee. It’s a n easy way to get started and the prices are high enough that you’re able to quickly make a profit. Alot of people who start their own business don’t charge enough per hour to really get off the ground.

  9. In most states running a catering business from your home kitchen is against the law, based on food health requirements. Real catering equipment is not cheap and a requirement to keep food at safe temperatures.

    • Right you are!

      I own a dessert catering service and it’s far from a cheap business. If you prepare non-perishable food, (candy; cookies, chocolates, etc.) you can prepare them at home, but you do need an inspection of your home to obtain a permit. And they charge hefty prices for each inspection.

  10. In the United States, we have local community colleges and small business development centers that help individuals interested in starting a business. Check in your country what resources are available. Apart from the aspects that are specific to your particular business, all businesses need the basics — legal structure, accounting, regulatory issues, etc. However, the most important aspect is marketing. How will your customers learn about your business and why should they choose you over your competition? Consider finding someone who needs help with their business and tell them straight away that your ultimate goal is to have your own business. Learn the business first, then strike our on your own. Best of luck and success to all budding entrepreneurs!

  11. Why do these lists never include insurance agent? The courtesy of the license is minimal and many have gone on to build books of business that generate millions in lifetime income!

  12. You can still start a catering business…. look for an old restaurant thats closed down…..talk to the landlord about renting the kitchen on a percentage of gross revenue basis..
    Rather than monthly rent….this way you pay more when you’re busy and less when things are slower….

  13. Royce Marie Patton

    Does anyone know how I can find out where Energy Healing, especially Chakra healing falls in this category? I’m trying to find out how much money, on average, is spent on things pertaining to the 7 Chakra System

  14. Hi, I was interested in logo designing

  15. hi, I am interested in possibly starting a service of watching homes while people are away. I am a home owner and want to offer this service to other homeowners or renters in the neighborhoods near me.

    I live in a very busy city on the West Coast and would offer others the security that another home owner would be taking care of their home while away. The service I would like to offer would be an hourly charge based on each client’s specific requirements and those would range from feeding their cat to bringing in their mail/deliveries to watering their plants and moving their cars for street cleaning. I came up with this idea because I had the same issues when traveling and would always have to rely on a friend or relative which was a pain.

    Anyway I would like to talk with someone about how to get this set up and if there area any similar people that do this outside of the typical college student offering house sitting.

    Bob Mone

  16. Madhusudan Dewangan

    The business ideas are really good. One of them is real estate brokering which I am interested in. Is there any post for real estate brokering business.

  17. Hi my self Rajesh I’m searching for to start the new business but I’m not looking for any support plz give any suggestions to start the work…

  18. I’m a cna and I would like to open a business helping kids and adults

  19. I am trying to open a place where young kids and youth can come and play and for the older kids a place where they can come and chill . the place is where all the kids can come for birthday parties or any kind of gathering. Can someone please help me get this started? Any information will help me.

    • hy bro! i loved your idea but both kids and teenagers are not interested in same place to chill so kindly prefer whether you are ready kids or teenagers.if your option is kids then start place like park with snacky stuff otherwise start place like casino place where every one can chill

  20. I am interested in starting a place where adults, children and seniors are able to come to learn skills in crafts, carpentry, technology, etc or if someone just needs the space to be able to do their own creating. There would also be rooms available for parties, showers,etc. I know many skilled individuals who would teach classes or just help someone with hands own help. I could supply supply materials for a small fee and would consider selling projects for individuals for a small percentage. Can anyone give me any ideas or help in how I could go about this type of venture.

  21. i would start with the following:
    1. finding the need in your community (church and or schools) to know what classes to offer
    2. building and location
    3. organizing your helpers
    4. applying for grants
    5. fund raiser

  22. I wanted to start up small business with low budget
    Can anyone one help me out with good ideas

  23. do tou think mini super market is a good business, im currently residing in japan, and im planning to put an asian and latin products since latinos are 2nd to the most population here in japan

  24. I have a lot of retail experience, I love organize clothes exc
    I would like to start a business where I can go to clients house , remodel their closet for them. Can anyone help how I can start that or have experience on that .

  25. I own a hair salon, not mobile. It is not the most lucrative business without being mobile. Now imagine adding travel expenses to it. I’m not sure how accurate this article is.

  26. Check out Facebook. I started a house call luxury pet grooming company and thanks to the groups on Facebook I was really able to build my company into a full time gig. I also looked into doing house cleaning groups (really just to learn cleaning tips) but I still get notifications on posts being made to those house cleaning groups and the information that they share is invaluable. I’d highly suggest looking there first. The have all types of pamphlets documents, spread sheets, contract agreements etc. any thing you need those groups have it. I’m sure they probably have at least half a dozen groups for each small business being asked about above. Had I not found those groups I would have never been able to do what I’ve done.

  27. I think a mini catering service is a good idea for a start from my kitchen since I wouldn’t need catering equipment at this stage. Please can someone offer a tip on how to go about it in my neighbourhood’s?

  28. Khaleefat Uthman Abdulsalam

    My name is kally Abdulsalam. I want to start a catering service and a bakery business. I finished college few years ago and I’m still unemployed. This is because here in Nigeria, there are no jobs for the youth. Baking and catering is my passion and I really want to pursue it. If you’re touched in any way to help me out financially, please kindly reach out to me on WhatsApp 08179906809. Thank you and God bless🙏❤️

No, Thank You