38 Best Businesses to Start with $10k

Need help choosing a business idea to invest your precious $10K in? Can’t afford to lose it if things don’t pan out?

I know the feeling; I started my first eCommerce business with a $1000 credit card while working construction. Thankfully, it made a $56,673 net profit in the first year.

But it wasn’t pure luck. 

So, how do you know which business to start? 

You choose an idea with low start-up costs and high demand/profit potential.

And $10,000 gives you lots of exciting options. 

Some require experience and qualifications, while others only need your entrepreneurial spirit. 

In this article, we’ll look at 38 best business ideas, their start-up costs, profit potential, and the experience or skill required.  

Let’s dive in, find your new business, and put your $10K to work. 

38 best businesses to start with $10,000

Most entrepreneurs began where you might be today. Working a 9 to 5 with limited resources, trying to find an affordable business idea.

Fortunately, the U.S. Small Business Administration reports that most home-based businesses cost $2000 to $5000 to start, and micro-businesses around $3,000. 

So, $10K puts you in a strong position.  

My list of best businesses to start with 10k has 3 categories, all within your budget and with long-term investment potential.

Certain businesses on our list require licenses and permits (like a food handler’s permit and fire certificate for a food truck business), which vary by state. And you`ll probably need adequate business insurance, so include those in your start-up budget.

Ok, let’s do it:

Under $10K

Under $7K

Under $2K

Food truck

Car detailing business

Freelance writer

Mobile pet grooming

Pressure washing


Home moving

Soft washing business


Inflatable bounce house rentals

Aerial photography and videography

Domain flipping business

Lawn care

Boat heat shrink wrap business

Nonmedical home senior care business

Dent removal service

Window blind cleaning

Vintage clothing reseller

Hauling service


Personal virtual assistant

Landscape business

Home staging business

Social media management

Beauty salon

Lash business

Online transcription

Home inspection business

Home entertainment system service

Online proofreading business

Driving instructor

Carpet Cleaning

Walking tour guide






Online research business



Tax Preparation



Personal trainer


 Personal chef

Quick tip:

Running an eCommerce business is often cheaper than running a brick-and-mortar store, and you can reach a much broader audience/customer base.

But local service businesses are often quicker to establish and just as profitable as you’re about to discover.

Business ideas under $10k

1. Food truck

Food trucks are hugely popular; they cost less than a restaurant, and you don’t need servers, seating, or a passing trade because you go where your customers are.

You can’t buy a food truck for $10k (pre-owned food trucks cost between $30,000 and $100,000-cloudkitchens.com), but you could lease one for $2K to $3K per month until you can afford to. 

To start: Choose your niche, lease a food truck, create your menu, and rent space in a commissary kitchen.

License requirements: Business license, driver’s license, health department permit, food handler’s permit, fire certificate, parking permit.

2. Mobile pet grooming

Pet groomers provide bathing, hair removal, and nail-clipping services, working from their mobile pet grooming truck, but you could reduce costs and begin by grooming pets in your client’s home. 

And with over 70% of U.S. families owning pets, mobile pet grooming is booming.

To start: You’ll need a vehicle, grooming equipment, and a training course

License requirements: State business license and, depending on location, a pet grooming facility license or a regional certification.

3. Home moving

A moving business helps people and other businesses move physical goods, like furniture, from one location to another. You can buy a 2nd hand truck or trailer to reduce your start-up costs and hire a part-time employee to help with larger projects. 

To start: There are no formal education requirements, but you’ll need physical strength, stamina, a strong back, and equipment like a dolly cart and moving blankets.

License requirements: General business license. Depending on location, you might need a moving company license and a U.S. department of transportation (DOT) number. 

4. Inflatable bounce house rentals

Inflatable bounce house rentals are rising (I couldn’t resist). We use them for many events, like kids’ birthday parties, town fairs, school open days, fundraisers, and festivals, so there’s plenty of demand. 

To start: Buy a bounce house ($1000 to $3000), fans/blowers, a generator, tarps, and transportation.

License requirements: General business license and. Depending on location, an inflatable amusement device license.

5. Lawn care

A lawn care business provides services, including lawn cutting, seeding, edge trimming, turf maintenance, fertilization, debris removal, and weed and pest control, to residential and commercial clients. 

To start: You’ll need a small truck or trailer, a lawn mower, and a weed wacker. 

License requirements: General business license. Depending on location, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pesticide permit.

6. Mobile paintless dent removal service

A PDR specialist removes dents and dings from vehicles, restoring the bodywork to a like-new condition at the client’s location in a fraction of the time and cost of a traditional garage. 

To start: Consider a PDR certification course to gain industry-specific skills.  

License requirements: There are no federal license requirements. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

7. Hauling service

Haulers provide a vehicle and labor to load, remove, and discard unwanted items for homeowners, businesses, and contractors. There’s always demand, as most official waste collectors only take certain items. 

To start: Buy a 2nd hand truck or trailer. Learn about your local and state dumps policies/billing rates.

License requirements: General business license. Depending on location, a Federal DOT and Motor Carrier Authority Number.

8. Landscape business

Landscaping is a business you can start small and grow quickly, buying your equipment as you need it and expanding your services to meet demand. 

Services include garden clearance, fencing, paving, decking, lawn installation, planting, irrigation, water features, and lighting. You can start under $10,000 with an old truck or trailer and lease larger equipment as required.  

To start: Choose your niche and services, establish your business, get business insurance, and purchase initial tools and equipment. 

License requirements: General business license. Depending on location, a state license.  

9. Beauty salon

Beauty salons offer a wide range of cosmetic services and treatments, including hair cutting and styling, pedicures and manicures, waxing, body massage, cosmetics, bridal grooming, and makeovers.

To start for under $10K, consider leasing a property, buying 2nd hand equipment, renting booths to hair stylists, and hiring freelance cosmetology professionals.  

To start: Define your salon concept, select the right location, outline your offerings and services, and create a marketing plan.

License requirements: State cosmetology or beautician’s license, salon retail seller Permit, salon business operation license, and a certificate of occupancy.

10. Home inspection business

House inspectors are construction industry professionals whose service reveals a property’s flaws and strengths so buyers can make an informed decision before purchasing. And as most people don’t know what rising damp or dry rot looks like, house inspectors are always in demand. 

How to start: Get certified ATI-Training, liability/E&O Insurance, and a home inspector’s tool kit. 

License requirements: General business license and professional inspection license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

11. Driving Instructor

Driving instructors help new drivers improve their skills to pass their driving test. 

You’ll need a GED certificate or high school diploma and formal training to become one, and you could lease your car to reduce start-up costs. 

To start: Qualifications vary by state but often include 3 years of driving experience, passing a criminal background check, and a clean driving record.  

License requirements: Driver’s license and general business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

Business ideas under $7k

12. Mobile car detailing specialist

A car detailing specialist cleans their client’s vehicles at their location to an exceptionally high standard, leaving them looking like they just rolled off the car lot.  

It’s hard work and requires specific skills, like using an air compressor, pressure washing, washing and drying by hand, polishing, upholstery cleaning, leather conditioning, and wet and dry vacuuming.

To start: Take a detailing course, buy a 2nd hand van/truck, and get your detailing equipment.  

License requirements: A car detailing license/mobile detailing business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

13. Pressure washing

Pressure washing operatives clean their client’s homes, driveways, decks, and walkways at a flat rate based on the time it takes.

As business ideas go, pressure washing is one of the easier ideas to start and run, but with an average flat rate of $250 per job and few outgoings, it’s also one of the most lucrative. 

To start: You’ll need a truck and around $3000 for the essential equipment. Adequate business insurance, such as general liability and commercial auto. And advertise on Graig’s list, Yelp, and Google business listings to land clients.

License requirements: General business License. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

14. Soft wash business

Soft wash is like pressure washing but uses chemicals and low-pressure washing to clean areas like roofs, shingles, windows, and other delicate materials. Any location with properties built using shingle roofs and walls with a high moisture level causing moss, algae, and lichen to form (the pacific northwest) need this service. 

To start: Buy a 2nd hand truck and soft wash equipment. 

License requirements: General business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

15. Aerial photography and videography

Arial photographers take photos and videos using drones. And the sky’s the limit, with numerous private and commercial clients needing this service, including real estate, farming, construction, advertising companies, sports events, films, weddings, and more. 

To start: Buy a quality drone, register it, and get drone insurance.

License requirements: Certificated Remote Pilot license and a general business license. Check your state and federal regulations governing drone usage.

16. Boat heat shrink wrap business

Shrink-wrapping seals and protects a boat from the winter elements, preventing damage and protecting structures like decks and cockpits. 

Sure, you’ll need to live coastal for this one, and it’s seasonal, but it makes the list because my construction buddy Keith earns $24,000 per season, working weekends two months a year! 

How to start: Buy essential tools like a power washer, fuel stabilizers, antifreeze, boat shrink wrap, and specialized shrink-wrapping tools.

License requirements: General business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

17. Window blind cleaning

Blind cleaning businesses provide a specialized cleaning service cleaning blinds for residential and commercial customers using ultrasonic blind cleaning equipment.

It’s a niche idea within the general cleaning business service that enables you to focus on a specific target audience and establish your business quickly. 

To start: You’ll need a vehicle and specialized blind cleaning products and equipment

License requirements: General business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits. 

18. Locksmith

Locksmiths repair, install, replace, and unlock locks on property doors, windows, cars, and safes. And provide on-call emergency services to help people who lose their keys or lock themselves out of cars and homes.

To start: Complete a certified locksmith training course, and pass a licensing examination.

License requirements: General business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits. 

19. Home staging business

A home staging business prepares a client’s home ready for sale. Services include redecorating, cleaning, and rearranging furniture to maximize the house’s potential.  

To start: Choose your target Market, create your pricing structure, and connect with local realtors. 

License requirements: General business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

20. Lash business

Lash technicians apply eyelash extensions and lash aesthetics, like eyelash tinting, lifting, and perming. You’ll need patience, excellent eyesight, and steady hands, but it`s a rewarding business you can run from home and create your own branded product line to increase revenue. 

To start: Get your esthetician or cosmetologist’s license, buy equipment, and choose to work from home, go mobile, or lease space in a local salon.

License requirements: General business license, sales license if selling products, and zoning permits when working from home.

21. Home theater installation business

Home theater installers specialize in setting up audio and video equipment for private and commercial home theaters. 

Many businesses increase revenue by offering services to homeowners, schools, universities, other businesses, and organizations needing specialized help.

How to start: Take a home theater installation course, register your business, and use local marketing strategies to attract your first clients. 

License requirements: General business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

22. Carpet Cleaning

Carpet cleaners apply stain and cleaning treatments to rugs, carpets, and other floor types like marble and tile, and drying using carpet drying machines. Duties also include moving furniture and, in specific cases, hand-cleaning delicate services; no formal training or education is required. 

To start: You’ll need transportation and cleaning equipment, including a carpet cleaner, commercial vacuum cleaner, stain remover, defoamer, air scrubber, and carpet rake.

License requirements: General business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

Business ideas under $2k

23. Freelance Writer

Freelance writers are self-employed contractors providing services like content writing for blogs, copywriting for sales platforms, and technical writing for product and service industries. Freelancers often work for many clients on a part-time basis. 

To start: Take a writing course, purchase software like Grammarly and Pro writer, use Copyscape.com to check for plagiarism, create a LinkedIn profile, begin creating your portfolio, and find gigs on freelance writing platforms. 

License requirements: General business license. 

24. Dropshipping

A drop-shipper sells other brands’ products, earning a commission on every sale they make. Drop shippers don`t make, store, or ship the products, making it an affordable business model that requires little financial investment. 

There are many eCommerce dropshipping platforms to choose from, many of which also provide the products. Or you can build a website and contact dropshipping suppliers directly. 

To start: Choose a dropshipping niche, sales platform, and supplier. 

License requirements: General business and sales tax license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits.

25. Consultancy

Anyone with in-debt knowledge and experience on a subject can start a consultancy business. Consultants can work off and online for businesses or individuals, charging by the hour, project, or on retainer.

How to start: Choose your subject niche, gain certifications, create a website, set your rates, and begin networking. 

License requirements: General business license. 

26. Domain flipping business

Domain flipping is buying and selling domains, and it can be very profitable. For example, the domain Business.com was worth $7.5 million in 1999 and sold for $345 million in 2007. Many websites enable you to follow, buy and sell domains. 

To start: Learn how to buy, register, and sell domains, and use domain-flipping websites like SpamZilla. 

License requirements: General business and sales tax license. 

27. Non medical senior home care business

Non medical home carers look after seniors without significant medical conditions, helping them with their daily activities. Duties include shopping, cleaning, picking up medical prescriptions, going for walks, and conversing.  

To start: You’ll need transportation, local advertising, and a smartphone. 

License requirements: No specific license requirements. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits. 

28. Vintage clothing reseller

Quality vintage clothing always stays in fashion, often gaining value as it ages. It takes a knowledge of quality brands and where to find them, such as consignment stores, local thrift shops, eBay, or Craigslist.  

How to start: Purchase items, buy a quality camera, join a sales platform like Etsy or eBay, and start selling.  

License requirements: A general business license and a business resale license. 

29. Personal virtual assistant

Virtual assistants are self-employed individuals who offer administrative services to clients from remote locations, like a home office. Duties include scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, taking phone calls, and managing email accounts.

How to start: Choose your niche, take a V.A. training course, and create your online presence. 

License requirements: General business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits. 

30. Social media management

Social media managers create and publish content, develop strategies, monitor engagements, and mentions, interact with users, grow communities, use influencers, and analyze their client’s accounts on social media. 

To start: Identify your niche, choose your services, develop your strategies, start networking, and build a following. 

Licenses requirements: Local business license.


31. Online transcription

Transcription services convert speech (recorded and live) into written text for legal, medical, and business purposes.  

To start: Select your niche, set your prices, and find clients online using websites like indeed.com.

License requirements: Local business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits. 

32. Online proofreading business

Proofreaders review text before printing or publishing to ensure it’s correct. It’s a growing industry with many clients, such as bloggers, students, and academics. 

To start, take a proofreading course, and invest in a quality laptop, headphones, and proofreading software

License requirements: Local business license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits. 

33. Walking tour guide

Aspiring entrepreneurs who live in locations with tourism can provide guided tours to tourists. Local tour guides take groups on guided explorations to see famous sites and areas of interest while providing their knowledge in an exciting and informative way.

How to start: Find a demand in your area, identify your target market, create a tour theme and itinerary, select your route and attractions, create your tour map, set prices, and advertise on local tourism websites. 

Licenses and permits: Requirements vary by state; learn more by visiting the SBA’s website/state licenses and permits.

34. Candle-making business

Many successful candle-making businesses begin from home without expensive equipment, learning the process online, selling locally, then scaling their business to suit demand. And it’s lucrative, with profits between 200% to 300% per candle that anyone with an imagination and a good sense of smell can start for under $2K.

To start: Take a candle-making course, and learn from online classes and YouTube videos

License requirements: General business license, sales tax license, and check with your city or county clerk’s office regarding permits. 

35. Online research business

Online researchers work for businesses who need to evaluate their marketplace before investing in a new service or product, or marketing firms looking for data on specific products before running ad campaigns. 

Your role as an online researcher involves condensing information to generate accurate data your clients can use quickly and concisely. 

How to start: You’ll need a computer, high-speed internet, and office supplies. 

License requirements: General business license. 

36. Tax preparation

Tax preparers assist businesses and individuals with tax returns by calculating and filing them on their behalf.  

Your primary goal as a tax preparer is to reduce your clients’ tax liabilities while adhering to all regulations. Tax preparers also provide bookkeeping, accounting, and payroll services. 

To start: Pass the IRS’s suitability check and apply for a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). And register with the IRS before starting your business.

License: No specific license. Contact your county clerk’s office to learn more about local licenses and permits. 


37. Personal trainer

Personal trainers provide guidance in physical exercises to various client types based on age and physical condition to help them achieve their fitness goals. Personal trainers can provide their service by leasing space at local gyms, visiting clients’ homes, or running outdoor group sessions.  

To start: Get a personal trainer certification from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

License requirements: General business license.

38. Personal chef

Personal chefs are self-employed freelancers who prepare their clients’ meals in their homes or other chosen locations.

You might provide the equipment and food depending on your client, though clients cover the cost. In contrast, other clients prefer to provide all the food and equipment and employ you solely for your cooking skills. 

How to start: Get a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in culinary arts and a food and safety certificate.

License requirements: General business license. 


With 38 best businesses to start with $10K or less, I hope you found one that suits you. 

But, if not, no worries because your business idea could be in my other post, 43 Great Small Business Ideas to Start in 2023.

And whichever business idea you choose, remember Warren Buffett`s wise words:

“The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself. The more you learn, the more you’ll earn.”


Terry is a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience building businesses across multiple industries – construction, real estate, e-commerce, hotelier, and now digital media. When not working, Terry likes to kick back and relax with family, explore Taoism’s mysteries, or savor the taste of fine Italian red wine.