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Starting a Service Business

We’ve talked previously about starting your part-time business, and we’ve primarily focused on businesses that sell physical items. But an equally valuable (and sometimes easier) idea is to start a service-based business.

What kind of service business could you start?
There are many possibilities, and you are sure to find something that suits you and your talents! Here are just a few options:

Pet care:

  • Dog walking and pet-sitting
  • Mobile pet grooming
  • Pet food and supplies delivery

Delivery services:

  • Dry cleaning delivery and pickup
  • Groceries delivery
  • Diaper delivery and pickup
  • Food delivery
  • Personal shopper and delivery


  • Limo service
  • Airport transportation to-and-from the airport
  • Valet parking
  • Children’s transportation service to-and-from school and activities
  • Household or office moving services

Cleaning and repair services:

  • Housecleaning
  • Handyman
  • Office cleaning
  • Office plant watering
  • Golf club cleaning
  • Porcelain repair
  • Mobile car wash and detailing
  • Power washing
  • Windshield repair
  • Mini- and plantation-blind cleaning
  • Furniture refinishing
  • Window washing
  • Pool service
  • Lawn care
  • House painting
  • Property management

Computer services:

  • Computer repair
  • Training classes in popular apps and programs
  • Internet research
  • Website design and/or maintenance
  • Computer training for kids

Event services:

  • Reunion organizing
  • Videotaping
  • Photography
  • Birth and wedding announcements and invitations
  • Event planning
  • Disc jockey
  • Musician
  • Event cleanup


  • Tutoring and test prep
  • New mother and infant home care
  • Baby proofing
  • Activity or enrichment classes
  • Party planning and services
  • Child care

And that’s just a small selection of service businesses you could start!

What kind of service business suits you best?
Anyone can start a service business. The trick is to choose a business that interests you, and for which you have talent. Are you handy with cars? Start a mobile care repair business!

What skills or knowledge do you have that can be sold as a service? Do you know every tourist site in Honolulu plus all the hidden gems? Maybe you should consider a tour service! Your skills, experience, and knowledge are your most marketable assets. Every person has one or more skills for which other people are prepared to pay.

Don’t worry if you don’t have specific business, accounting, or office skills—you can pick those up easily.

Depending on the time you have available, you can operate your side business full- or part-time; seasonally or year-round; weekdays, weekends, days, or evenings.

The advantages of a service business
Service-based businesses may be a bit more unconventional than a business that sells a physical product. But they have many advantages:

  • Low-cost startup investment and expenses
  • Flexibility, in your work schedule, but also: no red tape, or layers of bureaucracy.

Focus on these to build your new business

  • Pricing: Do your research so you know what your competition is charging, but also don’t undervalue yourself. If you are uncomfortable with a single rate, offer a menu of price packages: Prices for specific tasks, an hourly rate, a retainer rate, or prices for packages of specific services. Think of a menu of massage services and pricing: X amount for just the massage, X amount for a couples massage with champagne and roses, X amount for a massage plus a facial.
  • Marketing: You have to get the word out in order to attract customers! See what your competitors do to market themselves. Understand social media. Explore what works and what is available in your area or market.
  • Make yourself and your business stand out: Always offer EXCELLENT customer service and communication. Provide an extra value: A complimentary bandana after a dog grooming, a small vase of flowers after housecleaning, a car wash after a car repair. Another idea is to publish an e-book or guidebook to your area of interest. Do you offer a tour service? A small memento guidebook will be a nice keepsake for visitors. Include a coupon for a local café or shop!
  • Meet regulations: Make sure you are following any city and/or state regulations for your business. For example, if you are offering a car service you will need appropriate insurance and driver’s license, and a massage therapist will need certification and licensing. However, there’s no red tape for most service businesses. Check here for more details.

Start thinking about your talents and skills, get organized, scope out the competition, set up your office “space”—a closet or desk will do, and put your experience to work in your own side-hustle part-time business.

This entry was posted in Financial Education, Second Income, Small Business and tagged , , , , , , , by sandynight. Bookmark the permalink.

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