Looking for a Service Business with Low Startup Costs? 26 Examples

Looking for a Service Business with Low Startup Costs? 26 Examples

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Running your own business gives you lots of flexibility. You have control over your income and how much time you work. You can determine your own goals and how you want to achieve them.

No wonder many want to start a business. There are various options that have low startup and overhead costs, but plenty of profit potential.

You can start and run a business from home.‌. That saves money on store, warehouse, or office space rent. You probably already have certain necessary items that you need, including your expertise.

Here, you can find inspiration if you want to start a service business with low startup costs.

Service Business with Low Startup Costs


It takes only a computer, and some specialized software to get started as an accountant.

It helps if you like working with numbers and have some mathematical insight. It is not obligatory, but an associate degree in accounting is useful. Most clients prefer experience in the field.

You can offer different services as a freelance accountant:

  • Preparing balance sheets
  • Making financial statements
  • Maintaining accounting software and filing systems
  • Processing payrolls

Life or Career Coach

You can use your own experience in career, social, and personal transitions as a coach to others.

We all need some positive and encouraging advice, especially when we go through something as stressful as a career change. A life or career coach provides that kind of encouragement and advice where necessary.

The work of life and career coaches is intense and hands-on. They need to be available 24/7 to advise clients. Few will provide that kind of service. As a result, life and career coaches are able to ask for high fees.

Event Planning Services

Event planners are in high demand and there are plenty of business opportunities in this market. People need help to organize charity functions, corporate events, garden gatherings, parties, and weddings. All you need to get started are excellent communication, time management, and organization skills.

It is a demanding and time-consuming job. But it is also one of the most rewarding. Party hosts need to make an impact and are happy to pay you for helping them achieve that.


Consultancy is one of the most popular business ideas, with modest startup costs. The consultancy you offer depends on the skills and knowledge you have. Social media marketing and legal are two examples that are in great demand.

It is worth looking at your resume and seeing what kind of experience you have. Think about what kind of advice people need. Focus on skills that only a few people have, like structuring a presentation for better communication.

You will have better chances if you have a degree and substantial work experience in the field. An extensive network of people that know about your skills are an added advantage.

Cleaning Services

Two things you need to get started in the cleaning industry are motivation and plenty of energy. Cleaning means lots of physical exercise for long periods of time. You can offer general cleaning services or you can specialize in a specific cleaning. Both residencies and offices need cleaning services.

This business idea could be costly, as you need to buy specialized equipment. These costs can be higher than expected. You can make up for these costs by working hard and being efficient.

Gardening and Landscaping

Many people love working in their gardens. Very few garden owners have the time, energy, or experience to design and plan a new garden.

You could offer garden design services for them. Some clients are happy to take it from there and execute the design. Others want you to do the work of turning the design into reality.

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you’ll find that gardening and landscaping is a low-cost business idea. You will need to buy certain tools, but you will quickly make up for those investments.

Working with irrigation and other advanced techniques will require added degrees and certificates. Sometimes it is necessary to first get some practical experience with someone else’s business before offering the skill yourself.

Errand and Concierge Service

Parents with professional careers need to balance many responsibilities. Many find that they have little time for running errands and buying groceries. You can offer your time to do these things for them. Your clients will be thrilled with the time that your services free up for them.

There are different websites that bring clients and service providers together. One such website is TaskRabbit.com. It shows services are in demand and what people will pay for them. Using this kind of platform eliminates the need for doing your own marketing and helps you get started in the business. Later, you can decide to start your own business.

If you decide to start your own errand business you’ll need to determine how to charge for your services. You can charge them by the hour or by task. Do not forget to calculate travel and other expenses your services incur.

Social Media Consulting

This article mentioned consultancy above, but this section focuses on a special kind: social media consulting. It is a great opportunity if you have social media skills and enjoy working with social networks.

Businesses that want to connect with potential clients have an interest in using social media platforms. Often they are looking for a person who can post and share content for them.

Large companies have special departments for social media, but small businesses don’t have the resources for that. If you know how to use these platforms, you can offer them your knowledge and experience.

The startup costs are very low if you know how to use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. You also need to know how to use these social media accounts for marketing.

Building Websites

Most people do not know how to build a website and even fewer people know how to make a good one, and even fever know the web building cost. People with website-building skills are thus in high demand.

Web developers have a useful skill set. Small businesses often look for skilled personnel for specific tasks. They may want a new website or only maintenance or technical support. You can try to fill that specific need.

Business owners may have little knowledge or interest in the technical details of building a website. It is up to the web developer to communicate with their clients to help them understand what their digital needs are.

Teaching and Tutoring

Tutoring is a business idea with few upfront costs. You need some materials for your tutoring sessions, such as textbooks and a tablet or laptop. There could also be some marketing costs involved. It is best if you tutor in the area where you have a degree.

A major advantage of offering tutoring services is that you can have a flexible schedule. You can make good money if you can get enough students.


Your success story starts with a scheduling app to streamline your calendar

Staying organized has never been easier.

You can now manage your business and grow your brand with a single, powerful software that keeps all of your appointments in line, your clients organized and your business booming.

Trafft is perfect for business owners who need to streamline their booking experience both for their staff and their clients.


Trafft handles everything for you, even sending automated email or SMS reminders to your clients. No-shows? Not anymore!

The Trafft booking software adapts to different industries for a blissful online booking experience and employee management.

Want to know more? Check out Trafft’s awesome features to see what you are missing.

Personal Chef

The work of a personal chef has two sides: planning meals and preparing them. Some personal chefs only do one of those tasks.

To get started in this business, you need to have excellent cooking skills. Knowledge of nutrition and diets is advantageous. A degree from a cooking school is not necessary, but having some sort of certificate helps.

Often, the job of a personal chef includes grocery shopping, so take that into account. Clients should pay for the ingredients besides the service.

You can expand the service-based business side into giving cooking classes. Additionally, grocery stores and farmers’ markets often hire cooks for cooking and product demonstrations.

Personal Training

Most personal training business owners focus on dieting and exercising. They need to show off the success of their regimes with their own bodies and health. That is an important aspect of their advertising strategy.

Personal trainers develop personalized training sessions for their customers. They combine exercise with the right diet. You will need to have knowledge of how nutrition, diets (such as keto dieting), and physical exercises benefit your clients.

Some trainers offer consultations and sessions in the clients’ homes, and others do it online. To get started, design an Instagram account with original content and inspirational quotes. Add free samples of exercise videos and give ideas for healthy snacks. Make sure potential clients can find their way to your social media accounts.

Mobile Car Wash and Detailing

Another service business with low startup costs is car washing at people’s homes or businesses. You need cleaning supplies, like brushes, cleaning products, a steam cleaner, and towels. You may want some bookkeeping software and money for advertising your services.

There are services like MobileWash that you can partner with. It is a popular platform for getting in touch with people that need this service. The disadvantage is that the platform also receives a portion of your cleaning fee. You can also start for yourself and get all the equipment and marketing materials you’ll need.

Dog Walking and Sitting

This business idea is great if you love animals. You can do this for professionals that don’t want to leave their pets alone while they are at work. You can extend the service to cater to people that are traveling.

The startup costs are minimal. Invest in dog toys, treats, and good leashes for your dog walking business.

The skills are simple as well. You need to know how to care for dogs and be patient and careful.

Translation Services

You can offer translation services if you are fluent in two or more languages. You can translate written and spoken text.

This is a growing field as more and more companies do business in different countries.

You can bring your service-based business to the attention of:

  • Businesses
  • Conference centers
  • Courts
  • Hospitals
  • Schools

To start, you need an email address. A website is optional. You can find many services that let you build a website for free.

Proofreading Business

A proofreader checks text and tries to get the best out of the content. As a proofreader, you need to be meticulous and you need a good eye for details besides a good knowledge of grammar and punctuation.

Expenses for starting a proofreading business are minimal. You need a good internet connection and a well-working computer with text processing capabilities.

Digital Marketing Services

Starting a digital marketing services business is fast, simple, and inexpensive. You don’t even need a background in digital marketing to do it. If you have an interest in this kind of work, you can take a course to develop the basic skills.

At its core, digital marketing is about storytelling and conveying a message. The industry is changing all the time. It’s important to keep your knowledge and skills up to date.

Personal Styling Business

A stylist tries to find out what a person wants to look like. They then use their knowledge of fashion and intuition for what looks good to realize their clients’ dreams.

There are some startup costs, but ongoing costs are small. The major costs involve cosmetic products and clothing, but the client usually pays for them. Considering this, a personal styling parlor is a service business with low startup costs.

This field of work becomes even more rewarding if you can get public figures as your clients.

Nanny Service (Babysitting Business)

Working mothers need someone reliable that can look after their children while they are at work. If you want to get into the business, you need to like children and have a lot of patience.

Overhead costs include rent, company vehicles, and online marketing campaigns. If you work alone, you can expect to earn a little more than minimum wage. Your earnings will increase when your business grows and you can contract babysitters to work for you.


If you own a house, you likely have experience in taking care of minor jobs around the home. Perhaps you have experience because you are the go-to person when your friends need anything fixed.

If so, analyze what kind of work you can do for others and how much you can charge for your service. Ask your friends to recommend you to others.

You can start by offering one skill, like fixing sinks. After getting started, you can expand your skill set and offer these new services along with your initial skill.

You don’t need certificates or diplomas to become a handyman. Neither do you need any special education. Yet, getting licenses for specialized jobs will allow you to do more and charge higher fees.

Painting Contractor

Most local governments do not ask painters to have a special license. By starting with indoor painting, you can cut startup costs. You need some paint rollers, brushes, trays, and painting clothes. Buying those things will cost you about $100. The paint, primers, and other materials are at the cost of the client.

Outdoor painting requires ladders and other expensive safety equipment.

Show off your work with a professional-looking brochure or website. You can include some nice pictures of jobs you have done before. You can find templates for brochures by browsing around on the internet.

Sewing and Alterations

If you have previous experience working as a seamstress, you can start an alteration or sewing business. If you have your own sewing machine, your startup costs will be almost zero. Even the one time investment in a sewing machine is low compared to the return from your sewing jobs.

Furniture Upcycling Business

Old furniture has a lot of creative potential. Furniture upcycling combines the skills of a carpenter, upholsterer, and thrift store expert.

Finding the right used furniture takes time. You need to search thrift stores and similar places. You can restore the furniture to a usable state and add value by giving them a unique personal touch.

Refurbishing old furniture costs money. You need to buy the old furniture, pay shipping fees, and buy materials and tools. Each project may need new tools and materials.

This is a field of work with a lot of potential for making money. You might want to do it as a side job before you immerse yourself into it.


Dropshipping is an inexpensive way of starting a sales business. You don’t need to invest in building up an inventory. You sell online and the manufacturer ships the products to the customers. Some manufacturers even put your logo on their products.

You can use your own website by using eCommerce tools like Shopify. You can also use auction platforms like eBay. Another great option is to build a multivendor eCommerce platform to have a few sellers active at the same time.

Graphic Design

Every company needs a way to bring its brand to the attention of its potential clients. The people who do that best are graphic designers and their services are in high demand.

You would need a computer and a design application like Canva or Adobe Illustrator. As you work, you can build up your portfolio. You can offer general or specialized services, such as

  • Brochures
  • Display ads
  • Flyers
  • Hero images
  • Infographics
  • Instagram graphics
  • Logos
  • T-shirts


As a photographer, you need a good camera, photo-editing software, and some props. You can start a photography business by staging photo shoots for friends and family. You can build a portfolio and ask them for word-of-mouth advertising and referrals.

You can stimulate word-of-mouth advertising by maintaining a Facebook page. Tag your clients on your page. The tagged picture will end up in their friends’ newsfeeds and your work and fame will spread quickly. Ask your satisfied clients to leave a testimonial on your business page.

Again, there are no formal requirements for starting a photography studio. Still, there are many photography courses available. Taking courses is highly recommended.


Becoming a freelance video producer is a great career move. Companies, Youtubers, and other influencers use videos. Many of them want to make professional videos but lack the know-how or equipment. If you have experience and a portfolio, you can offer your services as a videographer and editor.

Of course, you need to have the equipment, which is quite pricey but good equipment adds value to your services. Promote your work by maintaining a website where you show samples of what you can do.

FAQs about service businesses with low startup costs

1. What are some examples of service businesses that require low startup costs?

Dog walking services, house cleaning services, tutoring services, freelance writing or graphic design services, social media management, and virtual bookkeeping are a few examples of service businesses with inexpensive initial expenses.

2. How can I determine the minimum amount of capital needed to start a service business?

Depending on the sort of service given, the minimal amount of cash required to launch a business might range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. The projected launch costs can be ascertained through market research and the development of a thorough business strategy.

3. What are some effective ways to market a service business with low startup costs?

Using social media channels, building a website, providing referral incentives, going to networking events, and collaborating with related firms are all effective strategies to market a service business with modest initial expenses.

4. How can I ensure that my service business maintains profitability with low startup costs?

Maintaining low administrative expenses, pricing services competitively, and concentrating on gaining repeat business are essential for ensuring profitability. High-quality service provision and process optimization can both boost productivity and cut expenses.

5. What are some common challenges that service businesses with low startup costs face, and how can they be overcome?

Establishing confidence and trust with potential consumers, controlling cash flow, and growing the customer base are common issues for service firms with cheap initial expenses. These issues can be overcome by employing effective marketing, sound financial management, and providing top-notch customer service.

6. What legal requirements do I need to comply with when starting a service business with low startup costs?

State and local laws governing service businesses differ, but generally speaking, they must obtain the proper licenses and permits, register their business with the relevant agencies, and adhere to tax regulations.

7. Can a service business with low startup costs be scalable? If so, what are some strategies for scaling it up?

A service company with cheap initial expenses can scale by increasing its clientele, hiring more employees, and providing more services. Using technological solutions, increasing operational effectiveness, and considering collaborations are some scaling-up strategies.

8. Are there any disadvantages to starting a service business with low startup costs, and if so, what are they?

Low startup costs for service businesses could have the drawback of limiting the range of services that can be provided. Without making large investments in marketing or branding, it might also be harder to stand out in a competitive industry.

9. How can I find the right target market for my service business with low startup costs?

It’s crucial to undertake market research to comprehend client demands and preferences in order to identify the ideal target market for a service firm with inexpensive startup expenses.

This could entail developing customer personas, interviewing prospective customers, and researching competitive products.

10. Are there any financing options available for service businesses with low startup costs, and if so, what are they?

Personal savings, small business loans, crowdfunding, or partnerships may be used as financing options for service enterprises with cheap launch expenses.

It’s critical to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each financing option and select the one that best suits the objectives and financial status of the company.

Begin a Service Business with Low Startup Costs – A Summary

Starting a service business with low startup costs is a dream for many.

Success depends not only on the starting investment, but on knowledge of the market, prerequisite skills, and a solid business plan. Don’t focus on making money immediately, but on how to build a strong business that will provide a steady flow of income.

Low startup costs will take away some worries about investments. Instead, you can focus on finding customers. These business ideas for low-cost startups will help you get inspired.

If you liked this article on service businesses with low startup costs, you should also check out this one with service business websites.

We also wrote about similar topics like how to market a service business, how to scale a service business, how to sell a service business, service business vs product business, how to run a service business, and services landing page designs.

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Milos Timotic
Milos Timotic

Technical Lead