At your service: Convenience-craving consumers are always looking for a way to do things better, faster and cheaper. Often, that means turning to a specialty-services entrepreneur who knows how to get the job done right. Here, we provide some inspiration for aspiring service providers — from adventure-tour leaders to window washers. With 105 ideas to choose from, you have no excuse not to get started today with your own service business.
Once you’ve scrolled through our ideas and gotten a taste of what’s out there, pick from more than 55 industries within Entrepreneur’s Start Your Own series of books and guides.
1. Mobile Pet Grooming
Snip, clip and brush your way to success as a mobile pet groomer. Fido and his owner will both appreciate the convenience of a “doorstep” doggie-grooming service. With the proper training and experience, a van and some grooming tools, start barking up the right tree by marketing your business in your neighborhood and others.
2. Collectibles Search
Collectibles searchers, who carefully canvas swap meets, thrift stores and garage sales, can collect a bundle locating objets d’art for clients. Once you’ve found your niche–be it antique lunch boxes, dolls or grandfather clocks–advertise your services in hobbyist publications, at collectibles stores, in specialty forums on the internet, or on eBay. Soon you’ll be taking up a collection of your own.
3. Diaper Delivery
Whoever said cloth diapers couldn’t be convenient–and user-friendly? Velcro diaper “wraps” replace awkward pins, and pickup and delivery take the dirty work out of diapering. Equipped with a “clean,” propane-fueled delivery truck and some washing machines, you can provide an environmentally friendly alternative to disposables. Talk about a change for the better!
4. Dry-Cleaning Pickup & Delivery
Are you clothes-minded? Then try on the dry-cleaning pickup-and-delivery business for size. Provide pickup and drop-off at a place that’s convenient for busy professionals, then follow suit by arranging with a local dry cleaner to do the actual cleaning.
Read This: Start Your Own Transportation Service by The Staff at Entrepreneur Media and Cheryl Kimball | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
5. Mobile Locksmith
You hold the keys to success as a mobile locksmith. For best results, be ready for 24-hour action with a cell phone and van. With some training and basic equipment, you’ll have this business mastered–lock, stock and barrel.
6. Graffiti Removal & Abatement
Equipped with some paint and other preventive treatments, you’re set to serve residential as well as commercial clients with your own graffiti-removal-and-abatement business. City governments and schools can also benefit from the removal of unsightly “tagging” in their districts.
7. Golf-Club Cleaning
Take your best shot with a golf-club cleaning service. Not only will you be offering golfers a clean edge to improve their game, but you’ll be offering a way to protect their investment from the rusting, pitting and discoloration of dirty clubs.
8. Self-Defense Instructor
You can never feel too safe or secure. People of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from the self-defense skills you can teach them. Get your business jump-started by training others in the disciplines you’ve learned–Aikido, Karate, or simply basic safety-awareness skills.
Read This: How to Start a Business Online
9. Adventure Tours
Got a taste for adventure? Whether it’s exploring South American caves or touring English teahouses, you’re sure to find a fanatic following… so long as you do all the footwork first. Put your service on the road to success by coordinating transportation, food and lodging. Your clients only need to worry about one thing: having fun.
Read This: Start Your Own Travel Business by Entrepreneur Press and Rich Mintzer | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
10. Pet Sitting
When it comes to creature comforts, most canines would choose their own backyard over a kennel any day. Thanks to pet sitters–who take care of pets while their owners are out of town or busy–Fido can have his kibble at home. This business isn’t just for the dogs, however; gear your services toward all creatures great and small for maximum profits.
Read This: Start Your Own Pet Business and More by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen F. Sandlin | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
11. Court-Paper Serving
You can’t beat the legal system . . . as a great resource for business, that is. Private attorneys, who barely have time to do their own invoicing and none for serving summonses to elusive people, often turn to registered court-paper processors. Come judgment day, you’ll be courting success.
Related: 8 Great Time-Tracking Apps for Freelancers
12. Mobile Massage
Success is close at hand for mobile massage providers. Advertise your stress-relieving services at local workout clubs, spas and physical therapists’ offices. Then bring your trained hands–and a portable massage table–to clients’ homes or places of work.
Read This: Start Your Own Hair Salon and Day Spa by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen F. Sandlin | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
13. Mobile Mechanic
As a mobile mechanic, a good knowledge of automobile repair techniques and a list of referrals help you rev up sales. Put your business in the fast lane by bringing your service directly to clients’ homes or places of business.
14. Personal Chef
Cook up tasty profits as a personal chef. Those with culinary competence can likely find a hungry clientele among the ranks of America’s busy working families. Or, market your business to clients for those special occasions when they prefer to dine in–complete with restaurant-quality food and service.
Read This: How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Personal Chef Business by Carla Rowley and Lee Rowley | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
As a seamstress or tailor, sew your way to success altering clothing and/or creating new apparel from scratch. Spread the word about your service at local boutiques and dry cleaners, plug in your sewing machine, and start stitching.
16. Porcelain Repair
Rub a dub, dub, a porcelain-repair entrepreneur in the tub: Fixing unsightly chips and cracks in tubs and other porcelain accessories puts entrepreneurs in business. With a porcelain-repair kit in hand, sinks and tubs are made like new again.
Related: The 15 Most Popular Online Payment Solutions
17. Cover Letter/Resume Service
Not everyone knows how to look good on paper. With your editing and basic layout skills, a laser printer, and some high-quality stationery, you’re set to start showing clients how to put their best foot forward in their resumes and cover letters–and how to get in the door of potential employers’ businesses for an interview.
Read This: Start Your Own Consulting Business by Entrepreneur Press and Eileen F. Sandlin | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
18. Mystery Shopping
Now, you can shop till you drop . . . and get paid for it! Just put on your shopping shoes and put service personnel to the test as a “mystery” shopper. Rate local retail stores’ employees on attitude, friendliness, and overall quality of service, then report back to your store-owner clients, helping them to ensure their service really is number one.
19. Tax-Form Preparer
One thing is certain: There will always be a need for tax preparers. Come tax season, businesses and individuals alike need help preparing numerous tax forms and understanding the latest tax regulations. Equipped with some specialized computer software, start scheduling your career as a tax preparer this fiscal year-and get ready for some returns on your time and investment.
20. Wedding-Guide Publishing
For photographers, bakers, caterers and florists, wedding bells mean big business. Help them get a piece of the action by publishing a wedding guide with space for local advertisers. Include some basic wedding-planning articles, and you’ll find June brides aren’t the only ones to benefit from your premarital publication.
21. Mobile Car-Wash and Detailing
Take your business on the road, and clean up on profits as a mobile car-wash and detailing pro. Let a little soap and water do wonders… along with a few rags, brushes, and elbow grease; then drive home sales by marketing your services to car dealers, rental fleet owners, and corporations.
Read This: Car Wash Business 101: The #1 Car Wash Start-Up Guide by Buzz Glover
22. Used-Car Inspection
Sometimes, it takes a little more than a kick of the tires to evaluate a used car. With some basic diagnostic equipment and mechanical know-how, however, used-car inspectors can help steer clients away from “lemons.” Developing a roster of appreciative customers puts you on the road to referrals–and success.
23. Professional Organizer
Neatniks need apply: If you’re got a knack for neatness, why not help the organizationally challenged? Messy closets, home offices and commercial offices alike could benefit from a more efficient setup. Put some order into others’ lives, and arrange yourself some pretty profits.
Thought your proficiency in high school algebra was all for naught? Think again: As a tutor, you could help others bone up on their studies. Whether it’s reading, writing or arithmetic, help your students reach the top of their class with a little experienced guidance and support.
Read This: Start Your Own Tutoring and Test Prep Business by Entrepreneur Press and Rich Mintzer | Amazon | eBooks.com | Barnes & Noble
25. Power Washing
Oily driveways, mud-caked semi trucks, or barnacle-ridden boats… you name it, and entrepreneurs equipped with specialized power-washing equipment can probably clean it. For spotless results, target commercial as well as residential customers.
26. Windshield Repair
To find potential clients for your windshield-repair business, simply canvas local parking and used-car lots for cars with cracked, chipped windshields. A basic repair kit enables you to offer clients what is clearly a better alternative to costly glass replacement.
27. Private Investigation
Blaze your own entrepreneurial trail while following others’ footsteps-literally. As a private investigator, make your mark in the industry by keeping a keen “eye” on other people’s activities. Clients include attorneys gathering evidence for a case or to collect payment, or individuals seeking information about a significant other.
28. Business-Plan Consulting
Not only is a business plan crucial in obtaining bank financing, but it’s an invaluable tool for anticipating–and tackling–a business’s inevitable ups and downs. With your writing skills, spreadsheet know-how, and general business savvy, show clients how to present their best-laid plans… while accomplishing your own.
29. Packing and Unpacking Service
Packing up to move to a new home or office–not to mention unpacking on the other end–is enough to leave one feeling upended. Thank goodness for packing and unpacking entrepreneurs who, with their hassle- and time-saving services, make moving seem like magic.
30. Business-Travel Management
Make the skies even friendlier for business travelers–and less costly for business owners–as a business–travel manager. Help book low-price tickets, keep expense records, manage frequent-flier miles… and reap the high-flying rewards.