15 Startup Ideas You Can Launch for Less Than $5,000

Are you serious about starting a business, but lack the big bucks? Start your own business with th...

Are you serious about starting a business, but lack the big bucks? Start your own business with the lowest investment and get the biggest success. Before you startup and take out a bank loan, consider that you can start a number of businesses for as little as several hundred dollars. We’ve compiled a list of 15 proven businesses that you can start for $5,000 or less in overhead. Some require little outlay, but lots of time; others require more energy; still others don’t require much at all. One of the business ideas below might just be your next big thing. 

15 Businesses You Can Start With $5,000 or Less

 Online courses and tutoring

What are you passionate about? Yoga? Baking? Web design? If you know something inside and out, you can help others enrich their lives by offering virtual classes. Create downloadable instructional packets and videos, or schedule real-time Skype lessons with clients. Another option for aspiring educators is to start a virtual or home-based tutoring service.

Virtual Assisting

Virtual assistants help clients with a variety of projects from their home offices. Tasks may be administrative, but can also relate to marketing, Web design, IT, and other tasks. Virtual assistants communicate with their clients via Internet, phone, or fax.

Your computer, phone system, and Internet connection are your lifeblood in this industry. If you already own the relevant machines, make sure you have the means to pay for good connections on a monthly basis.
Many virtual assistants come from a non-virtual (on-the-job) background. If you’re interested in education and coaching to launch your business, venues such as Virtual Assistance U. charge around $1,500 for complete training.
Also read: 5 Reasons Many Businesses Fail in the First Year

Translation service

If you're fluent in a second language, you can find work converting written and spoken words from one language to another. Broadening international ties and an increase in the number of non-English speakers in the U.S. make this a fast-growing field, with the Bureau of Labor Services predicting 42 percent growth by 2020. You can start your own independent service and market yourself to businesses, schools, hospitals, courtrooms and conference centers.

Taxi Service

With ride-sharing platforms like Uber, you can turn the car you already own into a business today without spending a dollar.
If all goes well, you might parlay the money you make into a regular taxi or chauffeur service.
Of course, once again, your goal if you want bigger profits is to eventually hire employees or sub-contractors.

Also read: Popular Entrepreneurial Ideas that Does Not Work

App Development

Apps are taking over the world! If you have a propensity for Web development, enough skill to work in various platforms (iPhone, iPad, Droid, etc.), it’s time to mine the app craze.
Overhead: $2500-$5000
Many companies now exist that will take your amazing smartphone application idea and develop it into a real, sellable app for download. Upfront costs include a development period where they will work with you to best design the application. Most of these companies charge from $999-$2000 and many keep partial ownership of the application as the developer. But you are also gaining entry into a highly technical marketplace.
Recurring expenses: Ongoing marketing and spreading the news about your app will be your greatest time and money expenditure. You might consider hiring PR or marketing company familiar with getting new apps reviewed. Make sure that your app is included on the relevant blogs and news outlets who report on new apps.

Also read: 25 Profitable Business You Can Start Without Too Much Difficulty 

Tour Guide Service

Again, the Internet has made all the difference in lowering the barriers to starting a business.
Forget about business cards (at least at first) or trying to get travel agencies to recommend your guide service. If you know an area well, you simply sign up with a website like Vayable.com and let them find your customers for a cut of the revenue.
Once you know the ropes and make some money, you can encourage returning visitors to come to you (and your new employees) directly.


If you’re a decent interior and exterior painter–or, better yet, already know the painting business–forking up for some high-grade tools can pay handsome dividends. Residential homes, new construction, and commercial painting are general places to start.
Overhead: $2,000+. You’ll need painting supplies like drop cloths, a ladder, and edges. Marketing and advertising will also be necessary expenses. Add to that any necessary licensure and liability insurance. Your biggest investment at the beginning will be the time it takes to build your network.
Recurring expenses: Replacing supplies. Keeping insurance and licensure current. Constant advertising, at least until you gain enough business through referrals.

Also read: How To Start A Business: 12 Incredible Small Business Ideas

Pet Walking

Like pets? Don’t mind walking a lot, disciplining animals, or scooping poop? Combine the two by becoming a pet walker (this usually goes hand-in-hand with cat sitting, too). It can be a surprisingly lucrative full-time business.
Starting expenses $100-$500. Some dog walkers may be required to have a business license, if walking multiple dogs at one time, for example. Many opt to become insured and bonded as a safeguard for both themselves and their clients. Check your local jurisdiction for rules.
Recurring expenses: Ongoing marketing and client care. Cards, flyers, handbills and networking with local pet centers will help get your message out there.

Social Media Management

Businesses need help managing their social media presence.
In particular, they need to tweet on Twitter and post on Facebook in order to raise awareness of their companies and promote their products. You may already know how to use these and many other social media platforms.
Learn a little more with online tutorials on how to become a social media consultant. Then contact everyone you know to see if they need this valuable service. Scaling up will require hiring others at some point, so you can focus on getting new clients.
Startup cost? Zero.

Business Waste Consulting

Many businesses spend thousands of dollars a month just on waste disposal and recycling. With a little bit of training, you can become the person they turn to in order to save money. Companies hire environmental waste consultants to build recycling and waste reduction systems that will save them money. Naturally, a part of those saved expenditures goes to you, the consultant.
Recurring expenses: Upkeep of your equipment and marketing costs to gain new clients.

Computer Repair

Got a knack for fixing PCs or Macs? Are you the person your family and friends always call when they have computer trouble? You might consider turning your skill into a small business. Everyone has a computer, and 99% of us panic when something goes wrong. Being the person to save the day can reward you handsomely. Bonus points if you can fix mobile devices.
A license and insurance could set you back up to $2,000. Also consider marketing costs, especially when you’re just starting out, and any hardware and software you need to troubleshoot other peoples’ computers. A dedicate space with a repair bench and tools also helps a lot.
Recurring expenses: Software upgrades, equipment upgrades and maintenance, rent if you have a separate office, fuel if you do house calls.

Event planning

If you're a highly organized, detail-oriented individual who loves putting parties together, you might have the right personality to launch an event-planning business. Working for weddings, birthday parties and class reunions, event planners make it easy for others to host an exciting party. LinkedIn, cold calling and planning a few pro-bono events will help give you the proper experience. This will also help you build up a solid database of vendors and contacts so you can help your clients orchestrate the event of their dreams.

Party Rentals

Ever been in a bouncy castle? It’s fun, right? Kids in churches, at birthday parties, at schools, and anywhere else there’s a party love bouncing around in inflated structures. If you happen to be the party rental service that provides inflatables and other party essentials, you have for you. For a small initial investment, you can bring your portable party everywhere.

Starting expense $200-$5,000+, depending on the type and amount of equipment you buy (besides bouncy structures, you can get water slides, obstacle courses, casino games, lighting/special effects…the opportunities are endless). For example, for an inflatable, you’ll also need a blower to inflate your equipment, liability insurance, and preferably a company-branded vehicle to carry your equipment. Budget money for accessories like a dolly, tarps, storage bags, and patch kits.
Recurring expenses:
big ones in this business—you want everyone to know about you, so you want to be visible in the phone book, online, and at functions. Also factor in liability insurance and fuel costs.

Lawn Care

Everyone needs their lawn mowed, from private homes to big business parks. Why not be the company that does it for them? Lawn care can be a lucrative proposition—and that summer tan doesn’t hurt, either.
Overhead: $3,000. This includes the cost of mowers, trimmers, bagging, seeders, brooms other and assorted items. In many cities you will need a city tax affidavit, liability insurance, a state tax number, and a business telephone. If you plan to spray lawns or provide sprinkler service, you will need to check with your county for the proper license.

Recurring expenses: Upkeep and repair on your mechanical items will be essential to keeping your business running. Once you have built a solid customer base, you may think about replicating your team (buying the equipment and hiring summer workers) to handle more clients. Of course, marketing and networking whether by flyers, cards, brochures or handbills will be required each spring to gain new customers.

Also read: 50 Best Online Business Ideas for Female Entrepreneurs 


If you’re a jack-of-all-trades who can fix anything from roof beams to toilets, consider making a killing off your hobby by becoming a handyman. Many people don’t have the time or know-how to even fix the little things in their homes. If you make yourself visible and seal a good reputation, you can have customers for life.
Even if you can’t swing a hammer, you can create a company that outsources handymen. People call you for a handyman, you find the specialist who best suits their needs, and the handyman does the work as a contractor for you. This role might be a little more overhead-intense, as it helps to have a central office, a good computer system, and other office equipment.

Start your business today!

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