105 Service Businesses to Start Today

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.

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.

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.

Carpet Dyeing
For a fraction of the cost of replacing unsightly or stained carpeting, carpet-dyeing professionals provide hotels, community centers, nursing homes and other businesses an attractive alternative. So go ahead, lay the options at your clients' feet . . . and start making wall-to-wall profits.

Hospital-Bill Auditing
There's nothing worse than being laid up in the hospital for a few days . . . except maybe the pile of often confusing bills that follow. The remedy: hospital-bill auditors, who--thanks to their billing savvy and attention to detail--make way for their clients' smooth recovery.

Specialized Staffing
Helping clients meet their workforce needs is a matter of finding a niche and filling it--and keeping up with human resources trends. Work your way up in the industry by developing a roster of specially skilled workers, then use your "people skills" to build your business.

Bookkeeping
Though today's software makes keeping your own books easier, it doesn't make it much less time-consuming. That's why, for business owners with little time to spare, a bookkeeping service is not only a time-saver, but an asset.

Computer Repair
In today's computer-based society, computer "downtime" can be both costly and aggravating. As a repair professional--equipped with some basic diagnostic equipment and technological savvy--you can get clients' computers back up and humming again.

Referral Service
For referral-service entrepreneurs--who act as a "welcome wagon" to newcomers--getting to know new as well as existing businesses pays off in more ways than one. Local companies pay to get their services introduced to newcomers, while these new customers pay for a little friendly advice.

Video Brochure
Make record profits taping corporate video brochures. Just get your video recorder handy, and zoom in on the action. Video-editing skills and special-effects techniques help you pull together the big picture--and reel in the profits.

Executive Search
Take your business to a "hire" level: As an executive-search specialist, help busy clients find the right man--or woman--for the job. Your job involves placing ads and conducting interviews to screen potential employees for clients. Put on your best interviewing suit, and get down to business.

Freight Brokerage
One sack of flour for a dozen eggs . . . Gone are the days of such no-frills, local trade. In their place: a sophisticated global commerce system requiring a thorough knowledge of land, sea, air and rail shipping rates and regulations. Knowledgeable freight brokers are indispensable to this burgeoning scene.

Long-Distance Reselling
By buying time in bulk from wholesalers, long-distance resellers ring up sales by servicing long-distance consumers--often at significant savings. You make the call: Either purchase the telecommunications equipment you'll need now, or rent it and simply focus on the marketing of your service.

Computer Consulting
Tap into a surging market as a computer consultant. Whether you're an expert at Linux, putting together hardware components, or networking, a growing number of computer "newbies" will surely benefit from your services.

Limousine Service
With a limo and some insurance, you could be the driving force behind a new business venture. Stretch your market by adding more drivers and cars to your fleet. Then, once you've established a reliable reputation, start driving home your limousine-service sales.

Language Translation
Falling foreign-trade barriers and improved communication technology translate into success for language translators and interpreters. An ear for multiple languages puts you at the forefront of this global movement.

Office-Relocation Service
Helping businesses get plugged in to a new neighborhood comes easy for office-relocation-service entrepreneurs who, as "locals," know who's who in providing such services as printing, restaurant delivery and equipment repair.

Office Plant Maintenance
Set your roots in a growing business as an office-plant-maintenance entrepreneur. Regular watering, light pruning, and fertilizing are all in a day's work. Though a green thumb is helpful, some clients may also request maintenance of their silk plants. Either way, your business is sure to grow.

Professional Office Consultant
It's one thing to spend a day at the office, and another altogether to run the office. As a professional office consultant, you'll oversee such responsibilities as marketing, insurance and daily operations for professional lawyers, doctors or other specialists--while leaving the rest to the "pros."

Miniblind Cleaning
Put an end to dusty miniblinds in offices, homes and other buildings with your miniblind-cleaning service. Immerse blinds in tanks of gentle, yet effective, cleansing solution . . . and give clients a squeaky-clean new perspective on the world outside their windows.

Office-Support Service
Typing, filing, sorting mail, entering data, and answering phones are just a few tasks an office-support service can perform to help out harried business owners. Hand out business cards to every businessperson you know--and get ready to spend a productive day at the office!

Apartment-Prepping
Move in on the housing market with some basic plumbing, painting, caulking and scrubbing skills. Busy landlords and leasing offices can both benefit from your handyman skills, while you, in turn, make some handy profits repairing vacated units for clients' new tenants.

Debt-Collection Service
Money makes the world go 'round: You get paid when your clients get paid by the people who you get to pay them. Sound complicated? It doesn't have to be: As a debt collector, it pays in more ways than one to have some persistence in tracking down clients' delinquent debtors.

Restaurant Delivery Service
When "Let's do lunch" means eating at the office, an ordinary sack lunch doesn't have to suffice. Thanks to restaurant deliverers, busy professionals can order their meals from local restaurants. By collecting a delivery charge and tip, operators get a good taste of entrepreneurial success.

Catering
A caterer's place is in the kitchen . . . cooking up hot profits, that is. So long as your kitchen is commercially approved--and you've got a knack for stirring up some "dough"--you've got the makings for savory success. Service weddings, holiday parties, and other festive gatherings; if you're lucky, clients will have your cake and eat it, too!

Seminar Promotion
If there's one thing consumers can never seem to get enough of, it's information. Give 'em an earful by planning and promoting informational seminars. You don't need to be an expert yourself; just schedule the speakers, reserve a location, promote the event, and get ready to collect the profits at the door.

Window Washing
Business has never been clearer for window washers. Grab your bucket, squeegee, and glass-cleaning solution, and rap at the dirty windows of local businesses and residences alike. Add repeat customers, and you'll soon be on a winning streak.

Valet Parking
Drive right up to entrepreneurship as the owner of a valet-parking service. Restaurants, hotels and convention centers can all use the services of a well-dressed, bonded parking staff. The key is having your own team of drivers to keep clients' customers--and their cars--on the move.

Professional Organizer
Neatniks need apply: If you've 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.

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.

Marketing and Sales
Sales-Lead Generating
Streamline salespeople's efforts by identifying prospects and generating sales leads. Some footwork, market research, and a phone set you on the path to compiling a list of potential customers for your clients.

Public-Relations Agency
A way with words, enthusiasm and persistence are all necessary in this competitive business. Networking--by developing contacts with reporters and other media--is also crucial to helping your clients go public with press releases and more.

Copywriting and Proofreading Service
Wanted: creative writer with a knack for finding typos and misteaks . . . er, mistakes. Writers who help ensure clients' advertising copy is both catchy and fault-free may not win a Pulitzer, but they will have some profits to write home about.

Direct Mail/Coupon
Cash in on consumers' coupon-cutting craze with a direct-mail coupon service. Get started by selling ad space in a direct-mail coupon package to local businesses. When you mail coupons to local residents, your clients will benefit from the exposure and you'll benefit from a first-class business of your own.

Public-Relations Agency
A way with words, enthusiasm and persistence are all necessary in this competitive business. Networking--by developing contacts with reporters and other media--is also crucial to helping your clients go public with press releases and more.

Mailing Services
Post record profits fulfilling clients' envelope-stuffing and bulk-mail-processing needs. Advertise in the business section of your local newspaper, and start looking for your check in the mail.

Sales Training
Don't sell yourself short: With some self-promotion and marketing know-how, you could have what it takes to build your own business as a sales trainer. By sharing your sales savvy with other busy business owners, you not only help boost clients' bottom line, but yours, too.

Welcoming Service
Welcoming-service entrepreneurs--who greet newcomers to town with a package of coupons, samples from local businesses, and other community information--not only provide a welcome service to newcomers, but to local businesses, as well.

Home Services
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.

Handyman Services
If it's broke, you can fix it. Advertise in local newspapers and bulletin boards, then get busy repairing everything from leaky pipes and stopped-up toilets to jammed cabinet drawers and broken windows.

Carpet Dyeing
For a fraction of the cost of replacing unsightly or stained carpeting, carpet-dyeing professionals provide hotels, community centers, nursing homes and other businesses an attractive alternative. So go ahead, lay the options at your clients' feet . . . and start making wall-to-wall profits.

Home-Entertainment Installation
Just watch a novice attempt to connect the wires, cables and other components of their new or relocated stereo and television equipment, and you're likely to view consumer impatience at its finest. But with your sound electrical and wiring expertise, you'll have all systems buzzing in no time.

Mortgage/Debt-Reduction Service
By explaining alternative payment structures to clients (which can result in a smaller total payment in a shorter period of time), mortgage and debt-reduction-service professionals are helping to relieve America's debt--one citizen at a time.

Pool Services
Make a splash in the pool-services business with little more than some cleaning equipment and a water-test kit. Just load up your tools in your car and make the rounds in your neighborhood. Then dive right into business by marketing your service to homeowners' associations, apartment complexes and individual residences.

Lawn Care
When push comes to shove, you've probably got what it takes to make some "green." Just roll up your sleeves and start mowing, clipping and fertilizing lawns for office complexes and residential clients alike.

Home-Inspection Service
A keen eye for structural detail paves the way to success in your home-inspection service. Start by assessing clients' homes for problems such as structural damage and foundation abnormalities, then refer customers to contractors who can ensure their homes are in good repair.

House Painting
Brush up on your painting skills, and get ready to paint the town red--or white, blue or beige, for that matter. Just load up your truck with brushes, rollers and ladders, and get primed for business!

Local Moving Service
Be a mover and shaker with your own local moving service. This is no business for the faint of heart, however: Make sure you're equipped with some upstanding leveraging techniques . . . as well as brawn.

House-Sitting
Is there a sitter in the house? If so, homeowners can rest assured that, while they're away, their plants and pets will be tended to. Don't wait for opportunity to come knocking; a reliable set of references get you in the door.

Home Decorating
Home in on the decorating business with your flair for design. Work with local furniture and accessory stores, paint shops, and carpet and drapery outlets to coordinate clients' interiors. And remember: The key to getting in the door of this business is decorating your own home, first.

Miniblind Cleaning
Put an end to dusty miniblinds in offices, homes and other buildings with your miniblind-cleaning service. Immerse blinds in tanks of gentle, yet effective, cleansing solution . . . and give clients a squeaky-clean new perspective on the world outside their windows.

Pet-Food and Supplies Home Delivery
Lugging pounds of pet food and supplies from the store each week or so can be a burden on pet owners, but it's certainly not too much for pet-delivery entrepreneurs. Once you've sniffed out some leads, start serving up success by delivering pet supplies directly to customers' doors.

Custom Closet Systems
Calling all closet-organizing fanatics: It's time to come out and show your stuff! With a few hooks and shelves, and a lot of creativity (but checking any fear of small spaces at the door), you've got the makings of a custom closet-systems pro . . . with plenty of room to grow. New homeowners and long-time closet accumulators alike make up your potential clientele.

Window Washing
Business has never been clearer for window washers. Grab your bucket, squeegee, and glass-cleaning solution, and rap at the dirty windows of local businesses and residences alike. Add repeat customers, and you'll soon be on a winning streak.

Residential Cleaning
Not only is residential cleaning a good way to keep a body busy, but it's also a way to clean up some profits while you're at it. Start on the ground floor by mopping, sweeping and dusting one house, and work your way up from there!

Computers and Technology
Computer Repair
In today's computer-based society, computer "downtime" can be both costly and aggravating. As a repair professional-equipped with some basic diagnostic equipment and technological savvy-you can get clients' computers back up and humming again.

Computer Consulting
Tap into a surging market as a computer consultant. Whether you're an expert at Windows 95, putting together hardware components, or networking, a growing number of computer "newbies" will surely benefit from your services.

Internet Research
Practice makes perfect when it comes to surfing the internet. With some search-engine and self-marketing savvy, put information at clients' fingertips--and "net" profits at yours.

Web-Site Designer
With specialized software, creating websites comes easy, so long as you have some basic technical and graphic savvy. Home in on business by helping businesses establish a site; existing clients will need help keeping their websites up-to-date, as well.

Children's Services
Children's Party Planning
Do parents a favor and plan their next children's party. From hiring Sesame Street character look-alikes to coordinating games, decorations and food, you're sure to be the life of the party by allowing parents to relax and have fun, too. Plan birthday, holiday, and religious-ceremony celebrations . . . and let the festivities begin!

Child Care
As a child-care provider, you'll need a state license, plenty of baby-sitting experience, and a lot of patience and TLC. Whether you "sit" at your place or theirs, you'll find busy parents aren't your only clients; many office complexes, gyms and other businesses need quality child care, too.

Child-Identification Program
Safety first: When it comes to keeping tabs on children, there's no excuse for kidding around. By offering parents a complete child-identification program, including information files, fingerprinting, identification tags and photos, you not only set parents' minds more at ease, but provide a safety net for our next generation.

Children's Fitness
If there's one thing that never seems to run out, it's a kid's supply of energy. Tap into that vast resource with a children's fitness program. Put your knowledge of children's education and physical fitness to the test by renting a location, then coordinate activities such as tumbling, dance, gymnastics and karate. And hop to it!

Children's Transportation Service
For working and nonworking parents alike, transporting junior to and from school (as well as to after-school activities) can become, well, taxi-ing. By providing a reliable children's transportation service, you give busy parents a break-and keep their busy kids on schedule.

Baby-Proofing
Stairs, cabinets, electrical cords and outlets-they're all potential baby hazards. New parents, grandparents, and even baby sitters could all benefit from a more kid-friendly house. So grab your tools and be prepared to get down on your hands and knees (it helps to view things from a baby's perspective).

Computer Training for Kids
Reading, writing, arithmetic . . . and computers. Though it seems like kids today are born speaking computerese, they've got to start learning somewhere. Teaching them the basics early on is sure to put kids at the head of their class . . . and you at the head of your own business.

Nanny Placement
For busy parents, finding a good nanny isn't child's play. Nanny-placement agents-who screen applicants, check references, match personalities, and set schedules-provide clients an invaluable service by saving them considerable time and worry.

New Mother/Infant Home Care
Make new babies' homecomings from the hospital less tiresome for parents by providing the in-home care and support they need. Preparing meals, diapering the baby, and providing light housekeeping are all a great relief to proud-but occasionally exhausted-new parents.

Tutoring
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.

Event Services
Photography
With your eye for photo opportunities-at weddings, parties, special events and more-you could be zooming in on profits as a freelance photographer. Be prepared to work weekends and evenings (when many clients will need your services) and to hire an assistant to help you juggle your photo paraphernalia.

Errand Runner/Personal Shopper
Calling all shopaholics: Here's one business where you can truly shop till you drop . . . without spending a penny of your own! Personal shoppers-who may also perform other errands, such as picking up prescriptions or buying groceries-can never complain about a lack of things to do.

Family-History Video
Money can grow on trees . . . family trees, that is. Family-history videographers are hitting home by filming personalized accounts of weddings, births and other memorable occasions. Should a customer's other family members give the film a thumbs up, you may be looking at future generations of customers.

Mobile Disc Jockey
As a mobile disc jockey, weddings, parties and other events are all music to your ears. Start jammin' with a collection of compact discs, a CD player, and a speaker system, then pass on the word about your services to wedding and event planners.

Wedding-Planning Service
Getting married isn't always as simple as saying, "I do." There's a caterer to be contracted, a location to be rented, and flowers to be ordered. So when it comes to making matrimony a more harmonious event for the new couple and their families, wedding planners take the cake.

Event Planning
If your life has been, well, uneventful until now, we have a solution: Be an event planner! Whether it's a party, wedding or convention, you're sure to be at the center of all the action when you coordinate everything from room rentals and speakers to decorations and food.

Limousine Service
With a limo and some insurance, you could be the driving force behind a new business venture. Stretch your market by adding more drivers and cars to your fleet. Then, once you've established a reliable reputation, start-driving home your limousine-service sales.

Photo Birth Announcements
For birth-announcement producers, business is booming as fast as the population! Some basic desktop-publishing software, scanning equipment, and the names of new parents put you in the starting blocks; from there, create fanciful photo-cards, including those all-important details: name, birth date, time and weight.

Videotaping Service
You may not win a producer-of-the-year award, but you'll win the appreciation of your clients when you capture their weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays and more on videotape. Keep the film rolling at special events, then edit a final version for clients' own special screenings.

Reunion Organizing
Reunite 'em 'cause it pays so good: Whether it's one big happy family or one big high school class, reunions can be a joyful-and lucrative-occasion for reunion organizers. Schedule the accommodations, coordinate the catering and entertainment, send out the invitations, then sit back and let it all "come together."

Guen Sublette runs her writing-and-editing-services business from her home in Redondo Beach, California.

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