If you have specialized skills you honed through your career or off hours, you can use them to fuel inspiration for service business ideas.
For more than a decade, the U.S. has been moving toward a service-based economy, with the number of these jobs growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected 9.3 million service jobs would be added between 2014 and 2024, while the goods-producing industries are expected to lose 20,000 jobs in the same time period.
Here is a service business ideas list of the top options for crafting your own company.
What Is a Service Business?
According to Study.com, a service business is “an enterprise composed of a professional or a team of experts [who] deliver work or aid in completing a task for the benefit of its customers.”
Some service business job examples range from restaurant staff to landscapers to hairdressers and home health aides to myriad other roles.
Service Business Examples You Can Do From Home
1. Customer-Service Operator
This service-based business can operate in an office environment or via telecommuting. As a customer service operator, you could handle customer questions and complaints, place orders or provide technical assistance.
This customer-service business idea could have you take on contracts and even build a team of employees to help, all while working from your home.
2. Freelance Writer or Editor
If you have excellent language skills and a passion for words, you can create a lucrative business writing and editing for other businesses. Many organizations can’t afford to hire an in-house writing team, presenting an opportunity for you to lend your skills to them.
3. Business Consultant
If you’ve built your own successful business in the past, use your knowledge to help fellow entrepreneurs expand their own businesses and refer your services to others they meet along the way.
4. Online Translator
If you’re fluent in 2 or more languages, translation can be the best service business to start. U.S. companies with international partners or that serve non-English-speaking customers could use your service-based business to translate documents, correspondence and other materials, including instructions and website content.
While there might be occasions when you need to go into an office, you’ll likely be able to complete this work from home.
Many people find financial management daunting and need to rely on a professional for help, making accounting one of the most profitable service business ideas. Your work could cover a range of services, from bookkeeping to tax preparation. However, before you open your practice, check your state’s laws to ensure you have all of the licenses and other credentials you’ll need to operate.
Small business tip: If you’re considering starting one of these service business ideas from home, check what licenses and permits you’ll need. Many home-based businesses have unique regulations, so make sure to reach out to your local government for more information.
Personal Service Business Examples
There are certain service business examples where client trust is essential to your success. With your own personal service business, you can potentially offer consumers and clients a better connection and more attention than they might experience with chains and other large companies. Some personal service business ideas can be done from the comforts of home.
6. Barber or Hairstylist
Customers tend to be loyal to a barber or hairstylist they trust, so a salon or barbershop could be the best service business to start if you’re hoping for longevity. You can rent or buy a commercial space for your shop, or you can operate out of an extra room or addition to your house.
7. At-Home Child Care
Access to quality, affordable child care can be challenging for parents. Whether in an office space or your own home, opening a daycare can be a solid service-based business if you have the skills. Make sure to check for any special insurance, licenses and permits you’ll need to own and operate your own daycare.
Not everyone has the time or the skill to alter or mend their clothes, so if you have solid sewing skills, add “tailor” to the top of your service business ideas list. This is another service-based business you can operate from the comfort of your own home.
9. Errand Service
Today’s fast-paced world leaves many people without the time to run errands. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the U.S., it became riskier for some people, such as the elderly and those with health conditions, to complete their own errands. If you run errands for your personal services business, you’ll help clients with grocery shopping, dry-cleaning pickup and other tasks — making money while making lives easier.
10. Personal Stylist
Even if you don’t live near any Hollywood actors, plenty of non-celebrities need a guiding hand to get their wardrobes in order. Business executives and other individuals who have public-facing roles or often attend high-profile events employ personal stylists. If you love fashion and helping people look their best, becoming a personal stylist is one of the better service business ideas for you.
11. Massage Therapist
If you have the proper training, you can help clients with massage therapy treatments. Get your licenses and permits in order before you start your business. Although you can see clients at home or in an office, making house calls could help you stand out from competitors.
Whether it’s SAT or ACT prep, college prep or just helping out with a challenging subject, use your knowledge to start this service-based business to earn money while helping students achieve their goals.
13. Music Teacher
Have a musical talent with one or more instruments? Parents pay top dollar to get their kids quality musical training. Adults will also want to learn how to play a new instrument or improve skills they already have, so the list of potential clients for this service business could be quite long.
14. Elder Care
Searching for service business ideas for seniors? You could be an in-home caregiver or daytime companion for local seniors. Job requirements will vary from client to client but can include assisting in bathing or dressing, meal preparation or even transportation to a doctor’s appointment.
If you have a background in nutrition or dietetics, you could start a personal services business as a nutritionist: nutritionists design menus and meal plans based on their clients’ needs and health recommendations. Working as a nutritionist can give you opportunities to work with a range of clients, from individuals to organizations such as schools or hospitals.
16. Personal Trainer
A service business ideas list will always include “personal trainer” as people work toward getting or staying in good physical shape. You’ll work with your clients to develop and maintain a fitness regimen, check in with them and guide them during in-person sessions and, sometimes, via video conferencing.
Digital Service Business Ideas
Businesses are constantly looking to hire freelancers, contractors and consultants to help expand their digital footprint. If you’d rather contract with multiple companies rather than work for a single business full time, use your technology skills to become a specialist that companies always seek.
17. Web Designer
Many businesses don’t have the in-house talent to build high-level websites. A web designer is one of the most profitable service business ideas. You can earn top dollar designing websites on a freelance or contract basis for businesses large and small.
18. Graphic Designer
Business owners are looking for ways to make their websites, logos and advertisements look great. Your artistic skills as a graphic designer could prove valuable to small businesses.
19. Digital Marketing Specialist
Some small business owners can’t afford to keep a digital marketing specialist on the payroll and might not have the time or knowledge to focus on it themselves.
A digital marketing specialist gets paid for creating social media, search engine optimization, content marketing and email campaigns. Rates vary, but you can charge more as you gain experience.
20. IT Consultant
Every office demands an information technology (IT) staff member or team to solve everyday hardware and software issues as well as update and maintain the company’s operating systems. In this service-based business, some tech issues can be resolved from your home, or you can handle multiple businesses on a mobile basis, traveling from office to office.
21. Computer Repair
Computer equipment (desktops, monitors, copiers and printers) isn’t indestructible. You can offer mobile services or have hardware dropped off at your home for repairs.
22. Virtual Assistant
Many clerical duties don’t require you to be in an office. You can be paid to perform data entry, document creation and calendar management from your couch.
Mobile Small Business Ideas
You can set yourself apart from the competition by going straight to the customer’s home or office to provide a service.
23. Home- and Pet-Sitting
Vacationers and business professionals may need their house maintained if they’ll be gone for a while. You can earn money by collecting the mail or package deliveries, watering plants and looking after the pets.
24. Mobile Dog Grooming
Mobile dog groomers are a convenient option for customers and one of the more unique service business ideas. There may be some overhead with renting a van or purchasing equipment.
25. Moving Company
Few enjoy hauling their belongings when they have to move. If you can gain solid online reviews and offer fair prices, you can make a lot of money helping people move. If you decide to pursue this service business idea, check with your insurance company to learn what kind of coverage you’ll need.
Home and Repair Service Business Ideas
Home repair or improvement companies are among the best service businesses to start. Some homeowners either don’t have the time or knowledge to perform a lot of household maintenance on their own.
Having the skills and know-how to perform these jobs can lead to a profitable business with room for growth.
26. Home Repair
Certain jobs require skills or a physical ability that homeowners don’t have. These can include repairing drywall, unclogging drains or installing lighting.
You can set your own hours, but you’ll likely work outside a traditional 9-5 schedule. You can also advertise yourself as on-call — available whenever a homeowner has a problem.
If your own home exterior is pristine, landscaping could be the best service business to start. Depending on your region’s climate, you could find seasonal or year-round work helping residential or commercial customers maintain beautiful gardens and lush lawns.
28. Pool Cleaner
Maintaining a clean pool takes time and effort. The right equipment and manpower can let you clean multiple pools in a day’s work and bring in a lot of revenue.
29. House Painter
Painting homes’ interiors and exteriors can be a lucrative business. As you optimize your process, you can book multiple clients a week for high-priced jobs.
30. Flooring and Carpet Installer
When considering a service business ideas list, flooring and carpet installation can net a good number of customers. While some homeowners take the do-it-yourself approach to flooring, it’s a labor-intensive job, and most people turn to a professional for this important piece of their home decor.
31. Home Entertainment Installer
More and more homeowners are investing in high-priced surround sound and home theater systems that are difficult to install. A working knowledge as an electrician and some home theater training could make this a most profitable service business.
32. Interior Designer
Have a knack for home decor? Customers pay thousands to have interior designers furnish their homes with the latest styles. Maintain an engaging social media account (e.g., on Instagram) to reach potential clients and share “before” and “after” photos of your latest projects.
Food Service Business Ideas
From satisfying fast-food cravings to preparing fine gourmet meals, customers have literally an ever-present appetite for the foodservice industry. Here are foodservice business examples you could start.
33. Personal Chef
As a personal chef with accreditations, you can work in the homes of your clients, providing fresh, delicious meals for people on the go.
34. Meal Delivery
With the rising popularity of meal prepping for fitness-minded consumers, a delivery service business can provide nutritious, diet-minded meals right to your customers’ doorsteps.
Catering meals for corporate outings, parties and other events can keep you busy and generate consistent revenue.
36. At-Home Bakery
Running a brick-and-mortar bakery can be costly, sometimes dragging down the success of a talented baker.
As an at-home baker, you can take orders and fulfill them from your house, then ship or deliver cookies, cakes and pies directly to your customers.
Event Service Business Ideas
Love a good party, have great organizational skills and a sense of flair? There are a wealth of service business ideas that can assist event hosts in ensuring their gatherings go off without a hitch.
37. Party and Wedding Planner
Whether it’s a bar mitzvah or a wedding, hosts have a lot to do for their special day. This can potentially be the most profitable service business by creating an efficient process that maximizes entertainment and gives your customers an unforgettable experience.
If you have a passion for music and an outgoing personality, try becoming a disc jockey to have fun and make money. You may need to invest in basic equipment to start.
39. Party Supplies Rental
Outdoor events need structures to keep the focus away from the elements and on the party. You also can rent out chairs and tables, inflatables and other party equipment to be a one-stop-shop for hosts of any event.
40. Photographer and Videographer
Let your artistic interests go to work by helping customers capture every moment of their parties, weddings and other events. You’ll definitely need to hone your skills and purchase equipment.