Most Profitable Small BusinessesWhile 2013 is still relatively new there is no better time to get on with it and start that small business you’ve been considering for so long now.

Small businesses are the heartbeat of the United States economy and are a path to independence.

Sure there are many headaches and heartaches that small business owners must endure.

But for those that stick it out and survive are left with a freedom that many desire.

The only question remaining is what small business should you start?

Here are seven suggestions of the most profitable small businesses that you may find interesting.

Catering Service

Catering businesses can often be started right in your home and you may already have a lot of the equipment you need.  When considering a catering business branch out from the traditional weddings and parties.  Think about services for busy people who want a good meal at home but don’t have the time to do it themselves.

You don’t need to be a chef to run a catering service. You must be a good cook or at least able to follow a recipe.  The most important skill here is time management. If you wish to expand your knowledge then a course in restaurant management would be a wise investment. You will need to invest in equipment for keeping the food warm and serving it but after this initial investment your profits are yours. As you grow you may need to add employees and vehicles.

Caring for the Elderly

Elderly care is constantly making headlines with horrific stories of nursing home abuse of the elderly.  While there have been strides to stop nursing home abuse, including the soon to be implemented Affordable Care Act, many families are still hesitant to put their loved ones in the care of nursing homes.  Many people want the option for their elderly family members to remain in their homes but do not have the time to devote to caring for them.  In this way many elderly aren’t able to maintain their independence and stay in their homes.

Basic domestic skills are the demand here.  The ability to help people clean, organize, shop, and possibly cook is essential.  Courses in business management would be a wise investment for this business.  Many localities require background checks and licenses to operate this type of business. You can pass these fees to any employees. You will likely need to invest in vehicles, insurance, and supplies. Your profit is built over time via monthly contracts.

Language Tutoring or Translation

If you speak a foreign language your services could be in high demand.  The globalization of the economy means that more and more people are doing business overseas.  Some businesses want documents translated while others are looking to have their employees taught the foreign language.

Certify your language abilities through fluency tests offered by many private testing organizations. If you have a gift for languages invest in learning additional languages to increase your income potential. The beauty of this is that you probably have most of the necessary equipment in your home. With the exception of some small technology upgrades and investments the fees will go straight into your pocket.

Courier Service

Many local businesses need packages and documents delivered across town in a timely manner and do not want to go to a store to have this done.  Offer 24/7 service that picks up from the client and ensures same day delivery across town and you will likely see a large profit.  To grow your profits even more, couple that with a filing service where you file legal documents for law firms and mortgage firms.

The most important skill here is business management.  You need to be able to run the business properly and legally. You may also need certifications to file legal documents depending on the laws in your area. Unless you are delivering in a large city and can get away with bicycle deliveries you will need to invest in vehicles and insurance.  This business has many recurring customers with long term accounts and they help to increase your profit margin and offset your investment expenses.

Gardening Services

Gardening service has gone far beyond the basic lawn mowing and trimming service.  Many people want flower and vegetable gardens in their yards and lack the time or skills to plant them.  If you have a green thumb you can enjoy large profits from planting and maintaining these gardens for clients in your area.

Classes in horticulture or landscape design would be a wise investment here.  Even if you have that proverbial green thumb you need to know how to place and plan the garden in a way that is pleasing to the eye.  Business management is also an essential skill to have. A heavier investment is required for tools and equipment. Maintenance of that equipment is also a cost to consider.  The recurring demand nature of this work makes it profitable.


Most people are experts at something if they have spent any time in the work force.  Business downsizing means that consulting opportunities are going to continue to grow well into the future.  Put your expertise to work and you could enjoy large profits.  The fields for consulting are open from accounting and marketing to security.

Certifications are the key to success in the consulting world.  Spend the time and the money to have your skills tested and certified by professional organizations and associations.  Classes in public speaking will also help you.  Aside from training and some business equipment the investment here is relatively small.  Consultants are normally paid a substantial fee for their services so the return on your investment is maximized.

Still Not Sure What Small Business to Start?

If you are still not sure about a business, do not fret, there is hope.  Business News Daily has a great business idea generator on their website.  This 21 question quiz is easy and quick and the results were surprisingly accurate.

There has never been a better time than now to start a small business.  Large companies are downsizing and outsourcing and there is a drive throughout the nation to keep business local.  If the thought of starting your own business has always sounded great but you don’t know how to start, read up on tips to starting your own business.  Look around your community and find a need that is not being met or that you can meet in a better fashion.  You will likely find something that you enjoy, provides you independence, and makes you some healthy profits.

(Photo Source)

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.


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Comments | 9 Responses

  1. says

    These are great and viable ideas. However, do not forget the legal, tax and liability aspects. Most business can be exposed to lawsuits so to protect against personal liability some corporation needs to be employed. There are many choices such as C, S or LLC corporations. Anyone starting a business needs to know more about these and tax issues so meeting with corporate/tax counsel is advisable. I have many business articles at my website for those who want more insight and details.

  2. says

    Nice post, Jeff! Well, I am starting a consulting business from the ground up utilizing all the knowledge I have accumulated over the past X years. I hope you are right! By the way, I too am in In-N-Out addict..but I live on the East Coast!!

  3. says

    Starting an online business is real easy too, with free sites like It doesn’t even have to be an online business, a website for any business is a must these days. A friend created a website for her bakery business (very talented college freshman) and my son built a website for his tire painting business (you’d be surprised how many “gearheads” paint their rims all kinds of crazy colors!).

  4. says

    I find it interesting that you added elderly services. I have been following this industry for a few years now and plan to really focus on it going forward. There are many franchises that are popping up from in home care and visiting nurses that should see substantial growth as the baby boomers continue to retire and in turn age well into their 80’s. This train can be riden via opening these small businesses in areas of need but also investing in stocks and REITs who control these types of business and land/buildings.

    • Nabou says

      Hi , I am very interested about opening an day care for elderly but I don’t know how to start. Also lot of people are telling me that there is lot of suing going on. Can you help me about how to start?
      Thank you.

      • says

        @ Nabou Wish I could help but you have a lot of research ahead of you to start such a business. Every state has it’s own laws and I’m sure you’ll need initial capital to get the business going.

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