9 Businesses You Can Start for $400 or Less


Do you want to start a business but don’t have much money to spend? It can be done. Starting a service business is often the answer.  Here are ten business ideas that can be launched for $400 or less in startup funds.

You’ve probably read about people starting their own businesses with very little money and making a fortune. And it can be done — particularly if you’re starting a service business. But a word to the wise: for every success story there are dozens of failures that go unreported. The key to improving your chances for startup success is to be smart. Be honest with yourself about your willingness to work hard and research the business you plan to start before you jump into the new business pool.

The list of business startup ideas below represents just a few of the many different types of service businesses you can start with limited funds. If none of these suit you, think of what other type of service you could provide and start using similar tactics.

  1. Pet Care – pets are a billion dollar industry in the United States, and there is a growing demand for new Pet Care businesses. You can start small, then grow and expand your services as you attract new clients. Some of the pet care services you can offer include: feeding and walking, grooming, or visiting a client’s home and caring for their pet while they are on vacation.
  2. House Cleaning – it seems like everyone is too busy to clean their own homes these days. The demand for good house cleaners seems to grow each year. In this business, word of mouth will be your best advertising. So find your first client (friend, business associate, someone from church, etc.) and start small.
  3. Auto Detailing – this is another business that people are looking for in their hometowns. Professional auto detailers can charge as much as $150 to $250, depending upon what services they provide.
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  1. Freelance Writer – if you have every dreamed about seeing your name in print (and getting paid at the same time), freelance writing might be in your future. Writers Digest magazine is an excellent resource; you’ll find lots of great articles on how to break into the writing industry.
  2. Property Management – many property management companies first started out as house sitting businesses, then evolved as the need arose. Note: property management is a demanding business, and you need very good “people skills” in order to be successful.
  3. House painter – if you like to paint, this business can be a real goldmine for you. Whether you want to specialize in indoor or outdoor house painting, it is another business where “word of mouth” will help you grow.
  4. Handyman – with most families holding down two jobs these days, there is little time for even those small repairs around the house. If you have the skills and a few tools, working as a handyman will provide you with a business that will keep growing.
  5. Landscaping – although this is a seasonal job, for many people it can be a year-round venture. If you like cutting and trimming lawns and bushes, raking leaves and working outdoors, starting a landscaping business is something you should consider.
  6. Party and Event Planner – are you good at organizing parties and events? If so, this business might be worth pursuing. The party business has grown into a billion dollar industry, and people everywhere are looking for help to create “the perfect party and event!
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Before You Leap

Whether you plan to choose one of these 9 business ideas or a business idea of your own, take this little quiz before you proceed. Your answers will let you know if you have what it takes to launch and succeed in a new business:

  1. Do you believe that your business will succeed?
  2. Are you prepared to do whatever is necessary to make your business a success?
  3. Are you willing to work for little or no salary during your start-up phase?
  4. Do you know who your competition will be?
  5. Do you have a sales and marketing plan in place?

Unless you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, you might not be ready to hang out your shingle just yet. Take some time, do some research and then when you are confident you are ready to launch, then go for it!

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Written by Aba Forson

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