A service business offers its technical and creative skills to solve a specific problem. And with the right strategy, anyone can be successful. Even if it seems as though service-based businesses are at capacity, there’s still plenty of ways to stand out. So to help, we asked experts for service business ideas you can use.
Here are 25 of the best service business ideas from the pros:
1. Digital Marketing Consultant
Andrew Allen, Co-Founder, Hike
There are more small business websites than ever, and these small businesses need to be present on the main digital channels, but they don’t have the time to do it themselves. These days there are some fantastic software that will guide you through every part of running an agency; from selling (using a platform like betterproposals.io), to delivering SEO (like hikeseo.co) and paid social media (like adespresso.com). These platforms are built so anyone can start driving traffic to a website, so why not use them to drive traffic to someone else’s website via your own agency?
2. Illustrators for Customized Gifts
Alex Kurkowski, CEO, Tellinga
Professional artists and designers can create artwork that turns personal stories into unique gifts. These personalized stories can be one of a kind gifts with customized illustrations through traditional mail. Story recipients can receive professional hand-drawn stories about themselves based on unique preferences. You can start by asking a client to select their story length, rating, and genre. Then upload a photo and add a description of their desired story. Your job then will be to complete the illustration and begin sending a series of unique hand-drawn images every other day in the designated recipient’s mailbox for a fun, dramatic, thoughtful gift.
3. Freelance Writing
Russell Barbour, Owner, Unconventional Prosperity
My favorite service-oriented business idea that many of my friends are making money with this year is freelance writing. Freelance writing can be done from the comfort of your own home and it has almost no overhead costs. It costs almost nothing to start writing for people and it pays very well. One of my freelance writing friends earns $200,000 a year. Freelance writing is a perfect business to start in 2019 because the demand for online documents (eBooks, blog posts, press releases, etc.) is at an all-time high and rapidly increasing. My top tip for starting this business is to invest in a good course and to network on blogging Facebook groups to find clients quickly.
4. Premium Consulting Chat Group
Alex Goldberg, Freelance Marketing Consultant, Finvsfin.com
Premium, members-only chat communities (on Slack, WhatsApp, Telegram, Discord, etc.) are becoming increasingly popular because they allow experts to share information with their audience in real time, and empower members to learn from each other. Since I’m a marketer, I would hone in on an emerging trend (i.e., account-based marketing, or voice app marketing), create a premium chat group, and charge, say, $20 per month for access. In the chat I’ll share content, make intros, expose local meetups, and help members better understand the marketing trend. A tool called chatgroup.io makes it easy to charge for access and manage members to a chat group on any platform.
Marc Prosser, Co-Founder, Fit Small Business
It’s easy for anyone to start a business, but new, and even serial entrepreneurs still look for guidance when starting a new venture. This makes business management a highly in-demand service that you can run in the comforts of your home. Begin with setting up a professional website to welcome prospective clients. Make sure your business plan outlines the role of your website in helping your business succeed, which should include choosing a reliable web host. We recommend using Bluehost for reliable web hosting service to make sure your website is always online. They also offer domain registration and a business email address, all for just $2.95 per month. Check out Bluehost hosting plans.
6. Pavement Marking
Dan Zurcher, President, The American Striping Company
My idea for the perfect service oriented business idea for 2019 is pavement marking and parking lot striping. Think car dealers or department stores. In a good economy we all have work. In a slow economy, businesses will only re-stripe. You can do this part time and work around your day job. There are parking lots in every city and this business is easy to learn and maintain. Once you’ve striped one parking lot, you’ve pretty much striped every parking lot. You can stripe on your days off or after hours. You can start by driving around and find self-standing buildings where the owner or decision maker is inside. Do you think you could re-stripe that existing parking lot, if given the chance?
7. Dog Waste Remover
Geoffrey Bodle, Owner/Founder/CEO, POOP 911
My one suggestion on a popular business to start in 2019 is a dog pooper scooper company. Sounds funny and ridiculous, I know, which is exactly why I chose it. Not only does it stand out with creative poop related names, but dog ownership is on the rise, which means an increased amount of pet waste needs to be cleaned. On top of that, the industry is pretty simple to get into, as there is not much startup cost — which is great for young entrepreneurs and millennials. One tip to start a dog pet waste removal service like this is to be unique and to not conform to what everyone else is doing. Entrepreneurs should not be afraid to be different, get dirty, and do the jobs people don’t want to do (like pick up dog poop).
8. Cleaning Service
Eric Tyler, Owner, Innovate House Buyers
The service-based business that I recommend for starting in 2019 is a cleaning service. This industry is in a boom right now. It has shifted from a service that was predominantly used by the wealthy, to now highly utilized by the everyday middle-class person who doesn’t have the time to maintain their homes. What makes this a great business is the low barrier of entry to get started. You can hire your cleaning teams from websites like Craigslist and Thumbtack, and find clients on these same websites. You can also drive clients to your website cheaply using Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.
9. Gas Station Bathroom Cleaning
Josh Tolley, CEO, Tribal Holdings
A proven service business idea that we have had our attendees actually use is gas station bathroom cleaning. It sounds disgusting but that’s also why it pays so well. We had one person take that idea and a year later was making over a quarter million a year. It’s important to think outside the box when it comes to business opportunities, especially when they are service-oriented.
Gavin Graham, Editor, Fit Small Business
Even new web designers can begin their career online. You can start small by joining freelancing sites that can match you with prospective clients while you build your portfolio. Website builders like Squarespace can help you keep up with client deadlines without sacrificing the quality of your work. Squarespace allows you to easily create and launch beautiful websites with its elegant, and highly customizable templates. It comes with advanced design tools such as Adobe Creative Suite for editing Getty or Unsplash images so you always produce unique, professional websites your clients will love for just $16 to $46 per month. Click here to design your first website with Squarespace.
11. Dog Walking
Reuben Yonatan, Founder and CEO, GetVOIP
Call me old-fashioned, but I still think there is a huge market for dog walkers in major metropolitan areas. You have reams of millennials with pets who are as cherished as any human child, and these pets sit at home alone all day long. All one needs to do is snap a few pics of their happy pooch out at a park, and you’ll have a loyal customer for life. To get started, doorknob hangers will work wonders — but, leave a personal touch: tape a dog treat to each doorknob hanger, and leave a handwritten note that explains that you really do love dogs. If you can, even leave a picture of you with your pet.
12. Moving Business
Charlotte Ang, Founder, Rentalorry
A moving business is easy to start because it does not require much startup capital or prior experience. With the right equipment and some training, you can easily set up a moving company. In addition, the possibility of this industry being threatened by computers in the near future is low. This is because moving still requires a lot of manual packing for fragile items that machines may not be able to handle still.
13. Adult Day Care
Matthew Ross, Co-Owner and COO, The Slumber Yard
I think there is a major opportunity in the adult day care space. There are some serious macroeconomic tailwinds behind this industry. Most notably, the baby boomer generation is getting older, which means demand is going to continue to rise over the next five to 10 years. Right now, most adult day care centers are owner operated. In other words, there is no Starbucks of adult day care centers yet. By purchasing a couple different centers in the same region, someone could achieve significant economies of scale in terms of cost savings and brand awareness. If you keep an eye on sites like BizBuySell or BizBen, you can often find local businesses for sale at a discount. That would be a good place to start.
14. House Sitting
Diane Huth, The Accidental Career Coach, Brand Your Guide
The reason homeowners offer others to live in their home is for security ― if they are traveling for two months, they don’t want an empty house accumulating newspapers on the driveway, packages left on the porch for weeks on end, swimming pools turning green, and plants withering for lack of watering. And they don’t want to board their beloved pets while they are traveling the world. There are a number of companies that match homeowners with nomads willing to give up their own homes to housesit in a lovely home on a wind-swept beach offseason, an apartment in Paris, or a house in suburbia that is sitting lightly staged while the owners have it listed for sale. Most house sitting assignments include caring for the family dog or cat, so if you love pets, this can be a great way to travel, live inexpensively, and care for a fun pooch or cuddly kitty.
15. Virtual Assistant Service
Allison Lancaster, CEO-Pinterest Guru, Loving Living Lancaster
Looking for an unusual business idea that costs $0 to start? Why not look into the world of virtual assistance? We all have basic skills that online business owners are looking for. From social media management to simple data entry: These are all skills that can be used to create your own virtual assistance empire. You can start by simply writing out a list of the skills that you have, are passionate about, and start capitalizing on those. Reach out to business owners, join Facebook groups, and network. Pretty soon, your business will be on its way to growing into your empire.
16. Mobile Spa or Salon
Samantha Hugo, Chief Executive Officer, Hugomatica LLC
Match up any spa or salon skill with your awaiting local target market. With online, on-demand tools, you can go straight to direct interaction with nearby clients who need your service. In fact, your new business is unencumbered by the old philosophies and costs, so you will have a competitive advantage. Fulfilling that need in the salon market is easy now. Nail technicians, hair stylists, massage specialists, and hair removal experts can toggle on when they are available, so that both loyal and new clients know when they are free. That is the type of unique service that small business owners in the beauty space need. Providing this level of customer service for on-demand users will contribute to a quick profitable business plan and provide a competitive advantage for the early adopters in this industry.
17. Professional Home Organizing Service
Melisa Celikel, Organizational Consultant and CEO, Make SHT Happen
Starting a professional organizing business is relatively easy and cheap to get going. Free ads can be placed in local communities, plus social media and apps such as Yelp, Nextdoor, Thumbtack, and Task Rabbit can be used to easily spread the word about a service-based business launch. I recommend setting up a simple website and a small batch of business cards once a business name is identified. Offering services to friends and family can be a great way to drum up word-of-mouth referrals and get you on your way to organizing the homes of downsizing divorcees, scattered shopaholics, busy moms, and frazzled executives. Everyone can use a little more organization in their lives and if you’re naturally gifted at organizing, it’s time to monetize your talents.
18. Self Defense Instruction
Peter Tay, Head Instructor, Gotham Jiujitsu
We all want to think everyone will do the right thing and respect each other regardless of sex, gender, etc. Reality is violence can occur at any moment. It’s best to be prepared for any dangerous occurrence by knowing how to utilize your body as a self-defense weapon. Self-defense experts can teach clients how to use their body to defend, recover, retaliate, and escape from any attacker regardless of strength or size.
19. In-Home Child Care
Erica Mackey, Co-Founder & CEO, MyVillage
Did you know that the United States is experiencing a crisis-level shortage of high-quality early childhood education providers? A majority of U.S. residents live in so-called child care deserts where the ratio of children to licensed providers is 3:1 or higher. This drives up the cost of existing quality providers, making some working parents choose between their careers and staying home to care for their own children. In-home child care services allow parents to have a meaningful career educating children at home while also making a great living.
20. Online Insurance Agent Service
Michael Quinn, Owner and Director of Marketing, Life Insurance Blog
Becoming an online insurance agent can easily be done with a budget of $1,000. To get started, you would need to get licensed in your resident state, get a web domain, web hosting, and an online life insurance quoter to generate your leads. All of this can be completed for less than $1,000. You can then begin generating leads by blogging (free) or with Pay Per Click (cost). With Pay Per Click, you can spend as little or as much as your budget can handle.
21. Property Management Firm
David Pike, Founder, New York Trolley Company
Start a property management firm. Contact local buildings and offer to provide property management services for them. What does this mean? You would prospect for tenants for the building. You would collect rent from current tenants. You would also handle all the repairs and maintenance issues in the building. Start by contacting local buildings and offering your services. If they already have a provider, offer to bid on the contract. Have a good network of contractors to complete the maintenance work. Build a website and print business cards for marketing.
22. Business Coaching
Devin Beverage, Business Strategist, Dev Bev Co.
Become a business coach and create video courses, or coaching in addition to your course would be an ideal. It’s a good idea because it doesn’t require much experience beyond whatever you have expertise in, and you just have to be able to provide enough value on the topic to be considered an expert. It also doesn’t require crazy resources, as you probably already have a resource to record video, can get great screen capture software, and any little accessories that might be helpful for less than $300. Most of your investment will be time. Decide what your course will be about and create a plan for the course. You want your course to take around three months to finish. This is important because if the course is too short, your customers will feel they got done too soon and request a refund. Too long (like any more than three months) and they may get discouraged and also ask for a refund since it takes “too long.”
23. Tour Guide Services
John Hirsch, Founder and CEO, mJob Market
A part-time tour guide or tourist consultant can be a great part time business. Many people like to know the best places to eat, to have fun or to stay when traveling abroad. You can offer tour guiding or consulting services to help design itineraries. This doesn’t require you to learn any new skills, and you have fun while earning money.
24. Package Forwarding Service
Jan Bednar, CEO, ShipMonk
Global ecommerce has grown significantly throughout this decade, and it is only going to grow to comprise a larger share of commerce in general. Even so, many smaller ecommerce companies still are reluctant to ship internationally. For this reason, package forwarding services still make sense. Starting one is simple: Find a domain, register your LLC, and advertise yourself online as a package forwarder. People will start shipping products to your location, and you will be responsible for shipping them internationally to their final destination. One massive caveat: Be very careful about fraud and develop a process to screen questionable orders.
25. Assistants Provider
Lindsey Nickel, Wedding Business Coach, Lovely Day Strategy
A great start up would be an app or company that supplies a list of qualified assistants for the wedding industry. These people would have profiles with their photos, experience, areas of expertise, etc. I’m a wedding planner and constantly looking for assistants and help. My colleagues all say the same thing, from florists to designers to caterers everyone talks about how difficult it is to find reliable, honest, and hardworking people. To start the business a website would be needed where assistants can create a profile, provide a photo, resume, references areas of experience, area they live in and availability. Businesses would be able to post jobs or gigs they need help with, where they are located, etc. This model could start in one city and easily be replicated across the country.
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier to learn new sets of skills or improve ones that we already have and turn them into a lucrative service-based business. Consider our list of service business ideas from the pros and try our tips to help you on your way to attaining more financial freedom.
Do you have more service business ideas to add to our list? Share them with us in the comments.