One-Page Business Plan Template (with Examples)


November 10, 2022

One-Page Business Plan Template (with Examples)

The first step of scaling a business is planning, and one of the easiest ways to create a scaling plan is to use the One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP). Originally introduced by Verne Harnish in his books Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up, the One-Page Strategic Plan makes it simple to keep everyone on the same page to achieve business goals.

We’ll share with you how to create your own One-Page Strategic Plan, how companies have used these plans to scale a business, and templates to guide the strategy of managing people and processes.

These templates can be used throughout the rest of the Hub articles on scaling a business to help you implement your calling with more success. Let’s start by examining what is included in the One-Page Strategic Plan.

One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP)

One-page business plan document

The One-Page Strategic Plan is normally two pages, but I guess the decision was made to call it a One-Page Strategic Plan because it sounds better. The first page focuses on people and long-term vision, while the second focuses on processes and quarterly results. We’ll look at each page separately.

Download the OPSP. If you print it, please use landscape mode and fit-to-page for the best results. Then use the template to follow along.

Long Term Plan

The first page of the One-Page Strategic Plan is focused on people and is broken into six sections:

  1. Strengths and Weaknesses
  2. People that Drive Your Reputation
  3. Core Values
  4. Purpose
  5. 3 to 5-Year Targets
  6. 1-Year Goals

We’ll look at each of these to help you understand how they help business leaders scale a business for success.

Strengths and Weaknesses (Bottom)

I’ve included the strengths and weaknesses first because the One-Page Strategic Plan (OPSP) was created with the intent for people to work their way from the bottom to the top. The first step of solving any problem is recognizing there is one.

Given that we’re using it to scale a business, you’ll probably want to focus on areas where you are:

  • Struggling to meet core customer demands
  • Spending too much time
  • Reaching a point that you need to hire more people

If your strength is serving customers but you’re spending 20 hours a week performing accounting tasks, your weakness is likely your accounting process. By reducing the time spent on accounting, you can focus more on serving your core customer base.

Take this portion seriously, as it will drive the rest of the plan. While you’re working on it, check out our interview with Mike about writing business plans.

People Drive Reputation (Top)

People are the key to running a successful business. Whether the people are employees, customers, or owners, they can impact the business’s success. Let’s look at each concept and how they affect planning to scale a company.

The creator of the One-Page Strategic Plan intends for you to use metrics that show the company is succeeding, but you need to understand the stakeholder expectations to create meaningful metrics. So we’ll discuss expectations.

Successful business idea words written in puzzle piece

Employees (1st Question)

If the scaling opportunity you are working on only involves certain employees or divisions, you might want to include who they are in this section. You will probably want to consult with employees as you develop the scaling strategy because they will be the key to success during the implementation stages. 

The Harvard Business Review outlines why change management fails—ultimately, all of the reasons focus on the inability of management to get employees to buy into the strategic plan. Include employees early and often to get the most out of your scaling plan.

If it is the whole company, you may want to include information on how you measure success. If you have never created metrics before, the Academy to Innovate HR lists 21 employee performance metrics that help measure employee success. I suggest reading it.

Customers (2nd Question)

Customer service support team

Without customers, there is no company. It’s just a glorified hobby. You’ll want to include customers in various ways when scaling a business. Consider drawing upon customer knowledge and opinion in the following ways:

  • Customer service surveys
  • Beta testing
  • Market research
  • Requests for new product features. Craft.io has a blog on collecting feedback, and it sounds like many product managers love their feedback portals.

If you’re going to include customer metrics in this section, you may want to have ones like Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction Score, and Churn Rate. Check out Hubspot’s 15 customer success metrics to learn more about customer metrics.

Owners and debt holders (3rd-6th Question)

This section was called shareholders in the original One-Page Strategic Plan, but in today’s business world, there are many more potential stakeholders than just shareholders.

Scaling opportunities might need approval for business decisions from:

  • Just you
  • Shareholders
  • Debt holders

You may also need to disclose your new strategies and risks in quarterly or annual reports.

Make sure to include anyone who can help or hinder your scaling strategies. The executive team will be the driver that ties the company’s core values with the brand promises and a Big Hairy Audacious Goal® (BHAG). Without them on board, this powerful tool may not achieve the key results.

Boston Research Group surveyed 60 CEOs to understand what the most important metrics are for new members of their executive teams and found that the three most important measures of executive success are:

  1. Exceeding performance goals
  2. Establishing a reputation as an expert, both within the company and externally
  3. Fitting the company’s culture

The same can be used to establish whether owners provide measurable results to help the company achieve scaling goals that improve revenue and profitability. Keep reading for information on how core values guide a growing firm.

Core Values (Column 1)

Core values of business drawing

Core values are the first column in an OPSP tool because the scaling strategy owners implement should stay in line with the core values and vision. Reminding the team of how the company sees the world is key to keeping the implementation in line with the company’s focus.

If you have a mission statement and values, include them in this column. Also, include behaviors and values the team should and should not emulate as they implement the strategy. Here is an example of an email Elon Musk sent emphasizing how important it is for every team member to keep the brand promise:

Elon Musk company message

Be clear, compassionate, and honest when communicating core values with your company and customers. This column and the next are driven entirely by the small business owners, CEOs, or the executive team.

Keep reading to learn about how the purpose column fits into the one-page personal plan and how it guides the company scaling strategy.

Purpose (Column 2)

The purpose column in the one-page plan focuses on why you are doing what you are doing. It is meant to be inspirational. When originally written, the column was meant to be worked on from bottom to top. It takes an approach where you must build the foundation first and then build upon it. 

Screenshot of ebook on Amazon website

The foundation is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal ®, a term registered by Jim Collins and introduced in his book Built to Last. The next step is how the company wants to measure profits, followed by actions, and finally, the purpose, which is the summary.

An example of what the purpose might look like would look something like the statement below:

“XYZ LLC aims to triple the number of millionaires in the US by providing content that makes starting and running a business more profitable. To drive revenue, we partner with companies with a Trust Pilot score of 4.5 or higher and provide referrals that help clients and partners create better results.

We are looking to scale the company revenue by using AI to identify, apply, and insert referral links into our blogs in meaningful places.”

The above statement summarizes how a company might try to scale revenue from blogging.

Big Hairy Audacious Goal ®

Big Hairy Audacious Goal ® is simply a statement of how you will change the world. An example is Meta’s (formerly Facebook) intended goal “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” It’s big and nearly impossible to achieve fully without merging us all as one.

Most people will create a BHAG using four strategies:

  1. Numerical: Hit a specific revenue, profit, or customer number.
  2. Aspirational: Attempt to be like another company, for instance, become the “Nike” of backpacks.
  3. Market Leader: General Electric once aimed to be one of the top two companies in the industry or exit the business.
  4. Transformational: Change how the industry operates. For instance, Airbnb and Uber changed their industries by making it so that homeowners and restaurants can earn additional income. Both companies’ main asset is tech playing the middleman between consumers and owners.

When you started your company, you probably had a meaningful reason. What was that reason? Write it down on your OPSP template.

We’ve given you a few ideas of what you should include as the foundation, so let’s go to the next section of the One-Page Strategic Plan, measuring profits.

Measuring Profits

Man measuring the word profits

Measuring profits can be done in a variety of ways, but the goal is to give a meaningful way of defining how much profit you want to make from a venture. For scaling a business, the primary goal, as discussed in The Ultimate Guide to Scaling a Business, is to reduce the marginal cost of sales. That means you might want to consider profit metrics like:

  • Profit per Customer
  • Profit per Transaction
  • Profit per Employee
  • Profit per Piece of Content

Once you’ve defined how to measure profits as the company grows, it’s time to look at the actions to achieve success.

Actions

The actions are the changes you make to reduce the marginal cost of increasing revenue. Include the high-level goals of your scaling projects in this section, such as comparing automated accounting, training people on process changes,  and implementing dashboards to monitor progress.

Paul Akers encourages focusing on making improvements that save 2 seconds per task completed. He finds this a great strategy to improve his company and life using LEAN mindsets. Listen to our interview with Paul to hear how easy it is for small improvements to build up.

Once you have some high-level priorities outlined, it’s time to look at what you want the company to look like in a few years.

3 to 5-Year Targets (Column 3)

In this column, you want to get more specific about where you want to be in the next three to five years.  At the top is a box for the date you want to accomplish everything by, the revenue you want to generate, profit margins, market cap, or cash on hand.

This column will consist of brand promises, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure them, primary capabilities, and the sandbox. Start from the bottom and work your way up. You’ll also want to update this section when the execution of the action items is complete.

Let’s look at each.

Brand Promises (Column 3, Bottom)

Brand promises are what you agree to deliver. The specifics will vary by industry, but there are six main ways of differentiating your company from competitors:

  1. Product: Explain your product features, performance, efficiency, warranty, etc.
  2. Service: Explain how your services compare to the industry.
  3. Channel: Explain how you deliver your product or service to the customer.
  4. Relationship: Explain how your customer service differs from the competition. Are you faster or friendlier? For instance, the HVAC company One Hour Air promises “ALWAYS ON TIME…OR YOU DON’T PAY A DIME!®”
  5. Reputation: This can be accomplished through marketing or by combining the differentiation strategies so when people ask about your service, your clients immediately think of you.
  6. Price: Are you a premium brand, a low-cost provider, or priced based on client needs?

Check out 6 Ways to Differentiate Your Business by MarketResearch.com to learn more about these strategies.

Screenshot of Market Research website

Once you have established your brand promises, it’s time to create KPIs to measure their success.

Measuring Brand Promises with Key Performance Indicators

Promises are only as good as the emphasis put behind them. To fulfill a brand promise, you’ll need to measure the results across the entire organization using key metrics. Jack Welch once said:

There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow.

No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.

Your business may need more KPIs than employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow to identify whether you are meeting the brand promise. Datapine has a list of over 300 KPIs to consider based on the job, industry, and technology you are using. Find the ones that drive your business to match the company identity you are trying to create.

Screenshot of Data Pine website

Keep reading for information on how to define the primary capabilities of your organization.

Primary Capabilities

Primary capabilities are focused on what you want the organization to be able to achieve. As it relates to scaling, these might be steps like:

  • Automate fulfillment
  • Start using a phone app for employees to input receipts into the accounting system
  • Create a database for customer feature requests

These are also referred to as key thrusts. As long as they align with the core purpose and can be verified with a measurable target, they should help the team complete its business goals.

The owner of Urbanity wrote nearly 100 page business plan and got a business loan without any experience in the boutique business. Find out how below.

Keep reading to learn how the sandbox impacts the ability to scale a business.

Sandbox (aka Target Market)

The sandbox is a term used in Mastering the Rockefeller Habits to describe what we more commonly call the target market. You likely already know the target market because most people looking to scale a business have already reached their ideal customers. The focus here is to remind the team of who the organization serves and who it doesn’t.

Keep reading to define the annual goals of an organization.

1 Year Goals (Column 4)

Fast-growing firms can see over 100% growth per year. An organization growing at this rate will need to define its goals and fast-track them to maintain the customer service and quality control level executives expect. 

The top of the column has space to input the targets for financial targets and should be updated before the beginning of each year. To give even more clarity to employees, I suggest including the percentage change over the last year, which we’ve included in the templates. The picture below shows what direction I would expect each to move.

One year goals table chart

This column includes sections on initiatives, critical personnel goals, and critical profit and loss numbers that the company needs to meet. We’ll look at each to help you create a strategic plan to scale a business.

Key Initiatives

Key initiatives break down the primary capabilities into smaller, more manageable tasks. For instance, you may want to break down fulfillment automation into:

  • Research alternatives
  • Plan layout for implementation
  • Implement a fulfillment automation plan
  • Train employees on the process

Critical Personal Numbers (Columns 4, 5, and 7)

In this section, you’ll want to include critical numbers for hiring to meet your annual revenue targets. Make sure to break it down to the skills, too. For instance, a construction company might want to add:

  • 50 general construction workers
  • Four project managers
  • Two accountants
  • Four delivery drivers

Verne Harnish’s OPSP separates critical numbers into four categories:

  1. Dark green: Meets 100% of the goal
  2. Light green: Can successfully meet the goal, over 75%
  3. Yellow: 25% to 75% of the goal
  4. Red: Under 25% of the way to the goal

You can use the color coding in an online dashboard to help the executive team quickly review the execution of the plan on a routine basis. Don’t check them daily, but weekly or monthly would make sense. You can emphasize action items with your team to meet the critical numbers based on the information in the dashboard.

Critical Profit and Loss Numbers (Columns 4, 5, and 7)

Critical profit and loss numbers

Like the critical number for hiring, profit and loss numbers help identify what has been completed and what should be emphasized to meet future growth. In this section, you are looking for leading indicators that show whether the work is being performed to meet the objectives.

Some examples of leading indicators are:

  • Emails collected
  • Requests for bids
  • Phone calls received
  • The number of people who click on your ads
  • Anything that can be used with other data to approximate the number of sales you can expect

Most industries average a 5% to 10% closing rate. Hubspot industry data shows that a 2% growth in traffic creates a 1% increase in transactions, but analytics will show better estimates.

That concludes the first page of the One-Page Strategic Plan. The second page focuses more on the actual actions to meet future growth expectations. Let’s look at the processes plan.

Process Plan

Marketing team working together on a table

The process plan is where you get into the real details of how to scale your business. It covers industry trends, productivity drivers, quarterly actions, the theme of the quarter or year, and how to measure each person’s success. Create this page before the beginning of each quarter or after you successfully build the processes.

Let’s look at each to see how the One-Page Strategic Plan can help you scale a small business.

Trends (Bottom)

The process plan starts with a solid foundation at the bottom of the page. In every industry, some trends occur. How well you can recognize and respond to trends impacts how profitable the company can be.

List the ones you see going on in this section. If you aren’t already keeping up with the pulse of your industry, I suggest becoming more active on:

  • Trade Organizations
  • Google Trends: Find top and rising searches by industry, including:
    • Location of searches
    • Historical trends
    • Related topics
    • Related search terms
    • Check out the picture below for what comes up with eCommerce:

Screenshot of trends in google website

Keep reading for more information about using a strategic plan to scale an organization.

Productivity Drivers (Top)

The top of the page is broken into three categories that drive productivity:

  1. Make or Buy
  2. Sell
  3. Record and Report

Each of these should be focused on meaningful results that will help drive revenue and profitability during the quarter.

Make or Buy

This section is focused on inventory and manufacturing. You may want to measure metrics like inventory per SKU, turnover per SKU, gross margin percentage, and loss. Remember, the goal is to increase revenue and profit by becoming more efficient.

Sell

In this section, you’ll focus on growth statistics in sales and marketing. You may want to include the sales leads, consultations, and closing percentages. You might also want to have or review metrics like average transaction value, average discount, and revenue per employee.

Record and Report

This section focuses on accounting and should include items like how long it takes for accounts receivable to be paid, EBITDA, and other metrics that show the company’s financial health.

Quarterly Actions (Column 5)

Quarterly actions in column five

Column 5 is focused on the quarterly results. It includes a table with the financial goals for the quarter, followed by your “Rocks” and critical numbers. We discussed the critical numbers earlier, but be aware that each column will have different critical numbers.

Keep reading to learn about what Verne Harnish calls rocks.

Rocks

Rocks are the goals you must accomplish to stay on track. They are things like hiring a new developer, increasing your seller ranking on Amazon, or completing 20 consultations with prospective clients. You will have some goals with which you must succeed. If you fail to meet those goals, you may have to cancel the initiative.

Make sure to specify who is responsible for each Rock.

Quarterly and Annual Theme (Column 6)

The theme needs to focus on helping motivate employees. It consists of a theme name, scoreboard design, celebration, and reward for meeting the goals. Depending on your company size, you might need to have a single theme or a theme for each division.

Theme Name

Your theme name should be catchy to get people’s attention. For instance, if you run a business in which most of the revenue is generated during the summer, you might want to run a quarterly theme in the spring called “Heating Up,” then “It’s a Scorcher” for the summer months. If the reward is specific, you can base the name on that, too.

Scoreboard Design

A scoreboard is a fun way to measure progress and what it should look like as you go. Common methods of showing the progress are with a thermometer scoreboard like the one pictured below. Alternatively, you can use a baseball diamond or a football field if you plan to take the team to a game.

Thermometer scoreboard goals

You can also have a graphic designer and developer create something to view it in the company’s tech stack. Get creative and fun with it for the best results, but don’t spend a lot of time overcomplicating it.

Celebration and Reward

A celebration and a reward are similar but different. A celebration might be a pizza party, while a reward would be a bonus or taking the team to a sporting event. Doing both is a way of thanking the team and each individual. If you do a reward for individuals, try to make it something meaningful to them.

Keep reading for info on the accountability column.

Accountability (Column 7)

Team looking to accountability drawing

Accountability is about the individual and their performance. It should include the KPIs for the team and break them up based on each person. In addition, this section should spell out what each worker’s priorities are. At the bottom, it will include the critical numbers to meet.

Let’s look at individual KPIs and priorities to see how they impact when you scale a business.

Personal KPIs

You’ll want Personal KPIs that are meaningful to each position. As a writer, I might be judged on words per article, affiliate links clicked per blog, or an average Google ranking.

KPIs and priorities should be the basis for your promotions, reviews, and bonuses. Otherwise, they aren’t significant or specific and might easily be overlooked.

Personal Priorities

Personal priorities are the specific tasks to be accomplished for an employee to be successful. When focusing on how to scale a business, an accountant might need to have a personal priority of categorizing all vendor spending within the first eight weeks of the quarter. A salesperson might need to increase sales by 10%.

Closing

Scaling a business means you’ll consistently improve the processes, but that doesn’t mean you need an overly complex business plan to get great results. Once you’ve created the first page, you can use it until you surpass your three-to-five-year goals. Then, you just need to use the second page to plan new and improved processes. If you’re applying for financing you might want to go with a more traditional business plan.

What KPIs do you find most useful for scaling and managing your business?

 


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Be prepared when you join a mastermind group: It can help you make meaningful changes and advancements in your professional and personal life. In the business realm, flourishing mastermind group meetings often combine successful business leaders and a group of small business owners focused on bringing their creative ideas to life.

[su_note note_color="#dbeafc"] There are numerous mastermind group options that you should look at to decide whether a given mastermind is right for you. We also talked to a member of the UpFlip team who’s been masterminding for seven years and share her tips and takeaways.

Read our mastermind insights from start to finish, or click any of the links above to jump straight to the mastermind info you need right now.

What is a Mastermind Group?

Concept of an online mastermind group showing a man using a laptop and headshots of his mastermind group members hovering around it

A mastermind group is a small, structured group of people who come together to support and encourage each other in achieving their goals. Mastermind groups typically meet regularly, either in person or online, to share ideas, provide feedback, and hold each other accountable.

The concept of mastermind groups was popularized by Napoleon Hill in his 1937 book Think and Grow Rich. Hill believed that mastermind groups could help individuals achieve success by leveraging the collective power of the group's members.

Mastermind groups can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Increased motivation and accountability: A mastermind group can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Knowing that you have a group of people who are cheering you on and holding you accountable can make a big difference in your ability to achieve your goals.
  • Shared ideas and feedback: Mastermind groups can be a great source of new ideas and feedback. When you share your goals and challenges with the group, you can get valuable insights and suggestions from others who have been there before.
  • Networking and relationship building: Mastermind groups can help you build strong relationships with like-minded individuals. These relationships can be beneficial both personally and professionally, as you can learn from each other, support each other, and help each other grow.

If you're looking for a way to accelerate your success, joining a mastermind group could be a great option. Mastermind groups can provide you with the support, encouragement, and accountability you need to achieve your goals.

A mastermind group might also be referred to as a mastermind event, especially when it is hosted in person as opposed to online.

What is a Mastermind Class?

A mastermind class is a type of educational program that brings together a small group of individuals to learn from each other and collaborate on projects. Mastermind classes are typically led by an experienced facilitator who guides the group through a series of learning activities and discussions.

The goal of a mastermind class is to help participants develop their skills, knowledge, and networks in a supportive and collaborative environment. Mastermind classes can be beneficial for a variety of people, including entrepreneurs, business professionals, and creatives.

Some of the benefits of participating in a mastermind class, which might be a one-time event or more limited in scope than an ongoing mastermind group, include:

  • Rapid learning: Mastermind classes provide participants with the opportunity to learn from each other's experiences and perspectives. This can help them to develop new skills and knowledge that they can apply to their own lives and careers.
  • Enhanced collaboration: Mastermind classes encourage participants to collaborate on projects and ideas. This can help them develop stronger teamwork skills and build relationships with other professionals.
  • Increased motivation: Being part of a mastermind class can help participants stay motivated and focused on their goals. Knowing that they have a group of people who are supporting them and holding them accountable can make a big difference in their ability to achieve their goals.

If you are looking for a way to learn and grow in a supportive and collaborative environment, a mastermind class might be a good option for you.

How to Find Mastermind Groups

Man at a laptop pointing to a clipboard with masterminding tips that read "network", "online", and "aim high"

Mastermind groups can be a great way to accelerate your success. They provide support, encouragement, and accountability to help you achieve your goals. If you're interested in joining a mastermind group, there are a few things you can do to find one:

  1. Talk to your network. Ask your friends, family, and colleagues if they know of any mastermind groups. You can also reach out to local business organizations or associations and inquire about mastermind groups in your area.
  2. Get online. There are a number of online platforms that list mastermind groups. Some popular options include Meetup, MastermindMatch, and Mindmixer. You can also search for mastermind groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
  3. Invest in personal development. Look for retreats and programs that incorporate a mastermind component. You’ll meet people who are committed to challenging and expanding themselves just like you are, and the facilitators will guide you in establishing a well-structured mastermind. This is how one of our team members wound up in her masterminds, which we share more about below.
  4. Aim high. When you're looking for a mastermind group, it's important to find one that's a good fit for you. Consider your goals, your level of experience, and your personality. You want to find a group that will challenge you and support you on your journey.

Mastermind groups can be a powerful tool for personal and professional growth. If you're looking for a way to accelerate your success, I encourage you to find a mastermind group today.

Case Study: Our Editor’s Mastermind Experience

One of our editors, Linsey Stevens, has been masterminding for over seven years and has been working with the same group of mastermind partners—all small business owners—since October 2020.

She was introduced to Think and Grow Rich by her father, a Boeing missile defense site manager, when she was a teenager, but didn’t think much of it until her late 20s when the idea of the “master mind” emerged as a central theme in a series of Personal Transformation Intensive (PTI) retreats she’d enrolled for with award-winning author, artist, and psychotherapist Erick French.

Group members were required to find a mastermind group and participate in a weekly or biweekly mastermind meeting with other members of the PTI for the duration of the five-month program.

Initially, the mastermind group definition threw Linsey a little. She admits that committing to a very specific meeting structure, reading from Hill’s text aloud with the whole group, and working with specific accountability structures “felt a little culty.” As a definite introvert, she was also unsure about whether she could have fruitful discussions with people she’d just started getting to know over a long weekend.

Despite her hesitation, Linsey’s first mastermind wound up being a success that lasted the duration of the PTI and actually continued on for a whole year.

Since then, she’s participated in a group that formed during PTI 2 (another five-month series of retreats open to PTI 1 grads), a Wellness Institute Internship mastermind, and now, her own mastermind comprised of three women business owners with different PTI and Wellness Institute experience.

Linsey’s Top Mastermind Wins

Linsey credits committing to her own group masterminding experiences with

  • Working her way up in her editing career, from accepting a junior editor role (she was a career changer) to earning her target salary as a full-time managing editor
  • Meeting health and wellness goals
  • Joining an invitation-only volunteer board and cochairing (so far) two multiday conferences
  • Doubling her freelancing hourly rate, taking her private editing business from a side hustle to her primary gig, and leaving her 9-to-5 behind

Mastermind Groups, Creative Ideas—Linsey’s Masterminding Nonnegotiables

In Linsey’s seven years of masterminding experience, she’s arrived at some nonnegotiables she shared with us.

  1. The Magic Number: Linsey won’t participate in a mastermind with fewer than three members, and she considers three the ideal number. If someone misses occasionally, a 1:1 meeting of the other two members is fine, but too many 1:1 meetings, and they’ll start to feel like chats. She suggests the best take on Napoleon Hill’s call for “two or more people” is actually exactly three.
    Four members can feel like too many. One of her masterminds initially had four people, but when one of them dropped out of the internship program they connected through, and the others agreed that they needed to proceed without that member.
  2. Definite Purpose: If you’re masterminding to augment participation in a specific program, everyone needs to be participating fully in that program. If you’re forming a business mastermind, everyone needs to be a business owner—or at least be actively working on a business idea. If the mastermind is for personal growth, all members should be involved in personal development activities beyond the mastermind so they bring something to the table.
  3. Biweekly Meetings: Some masterminds meet weekly. That hasn’t worked well for Linsey or the other group members she’s masterminded with, given their busy schedules. Instead, they’ve met biweekly.
    She’s found that monthly meetings aren’t a good fit as too much happens in between, and meetings turn into catch-ups and tend to stray from the agenda.
  4. Confidentiality: Whatever members share—whether it’s financial or personal life struggles, business setbacks, wins, or beyond—members agree that the topics covered and details shared during any mastermind meeting are confidential unless someone gives their express permission to share with others.
  5. Ideal Members: No one person has all the answers to your life and business questions, but you should have confidence that the other members in your group have the temperament and experience to contribute to your growth, especially if you are considering how to run peer led mastermind groups like Linsey has participated in.
    When she formed her first mastermind, the group collectively declined to accept a fourth member who was shopping for a home group because it was unclear how they would contribute.
    Ask questions, go with your gut, and be selective. If you want to facilitate mastermind groups that will last, saying “yes” to avoid hurting someone’s feelings is a no to winning agendas in the weeks, months, and possibly years to come.
  6. The Agenda Belongs to Everyone: An enduring group makes time for everyone. The agenda should be agreed upon by all group members and be predictable each time. Linsey’s current mastermind opens and closes with readings written specifically for the group. They do timed shares with no cross-talk, give feedback, and read through a series of Napoleon Hill’s steps for success, which she prefers to read exactly as they were originally written as she believes they contribute to the very “invisible intangible force” Hill refers to in Think and Grow Rich.
  7. In-Person or Online: Linsey’s first two groups met in person. Her current group uses video conference, and she loves that it means the mastermind can include a member who’s on Vancouver Island while the other two are in the Midwestern U.S. She’s also found that video conference leads to more focused meetings than she’s had at coffee shops, where there are inevitably distractions (like another cup of coffee!).

Think you (and your business!) could benefit from masterminding or mastermind coaching? Read on for the best mastermind groups for business owners, based on our research.

Best Mastermind Groups for Entrepreneurs

The following list of business masterminds is considered the best because they are limited in scope, have longevity, and have proven success records. Anyone can start a mastermind group, but a great mastermind group enhances the results of other business owners by sharing ideas.

When you combine small groups with peer support and a highly successful entrepreneur sharing knowledge, inevitably you should expect to pay more.

We realize that many UpFlip readers may find these groups out of their current budget (many are out of my budget, too). We strongly recommend following these thought leaders on social media, joining any free Facebook groups they offer, and building to where you can afford the benefits of mastermind groups, whether it’s one of these or another offering.

GrowthMentor Mastermind Groups

Price: $49, $99, $249
• Mastermind Groups: 25 City Squads with up to 75 members each
Mentorships: 1-hour call for entry-level plan, unlimited for others
Members: 600+

GrowthMentor is a website that offers three tiers of mentorship and local mastermind groups. The pricing starts at $49 per month and goes up from there. The unlimited calls for $99 is by far the best value.

Note that the calls are 1:1 with expert mentors, whereas the City Squads you can attend in person are GrowthMentor’s answer to masterminding. They also host Slack groups you can participate in between meetings. 

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)

Man in a tweed sport coat standing in front of a screenshot of Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Membership page

Price: Accelerator is $1,750—otherwise undisclosed
Mastermind Groups: 60 chapters in 17 time zones
Mentorships: Yes
Members: 2,375

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization provides peer groups and a year-long accelerator program. This organization dates back to 1988, so there are decades of experience among these group members.

Eccountability

Price: Undisclosed
Mastermind Groups: 17 “tribes”
Mentorships: N/A
Members: Undisclosed

Eccountability lists 17 mastermind tribes that are specialized for accountants, business authors and coaches, consultants, podcasters, marketers, real estate agents, cryptocurrency experts, and more.

Business Network International (BNI)

Price: Free
Mastermind Groups: 10,900 local chapters
Mentorships: Based on your ability to network
Members: 318K

You have to attend a local BNI mastermind group, then go through an interview and reference check to see if you are eligible to join a local chapter. There are also options for members to start a mastermind group.

Dan Sullivan Strategic Coach

Dan Sullivan next to a laptop showing the Strategic Coach Membership Program’s dates, fees, and registration page

Price: $12,500
Mastermind Groups: Hosted online, and in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom
Mentorships: 2-year membership with an invite-only additional 2 years
Members: Undisclosed

The Strategic Coach offers a mastermind group that lasts for years. The first year is focused on developing your time management and vision, then the second year focuses on creating and innovating. If you’re invited, year three focuses on building business culture and preparing for growth.

Those who rock the first three years can enter the 10x Ambition Group. If you excel in the 10X Ambition Group, you may be invited into the exclusive The Free Zone Frontier hosted by Dan Sullivan, a leadership coach with over 40 years of experience.

Vistage

Price: Undisclosed
Mastermind Groups: 7 different mastermind group offerings
Mentorships: Check for executive coaching opportunities in your area
Members: 45,000

Vistage is an organization that leverages mastermind principles and has a diverse array of offerings. It has been around for over 65 years and reports that its members improved their incomes by 4.6% in 2020, while most businesses saw a revenue decline of 4.7%.

In addition to their mastermind groups, they have local executive coaching opportunities, too.

Bright Strategy + Solutions

Price: $500 per session or $750/month with a 3-month minimum
Mastermind Groups: 7- to 10-member mastermind groups
Mentorships: 2- to 5-hour sessions
Members: Undisclosed

Bright Strategy +Solutions offers a general interest mastermind, a leadership group, a women in business group, and a new business and entrepreneur group.

The general interest mastermind is a one-time, five-hour session for $500, while the leadership group is $750 for two hours per month with a three-month minimum. 

The other two groups involve three-hour monthly sessions for $750 per month with a three-month minimum.

John Carlton Coaching’s Platinum Mastermind

Price: Undisclosed
Mastermind Groups: 2-day marketing mastermind group
Mentorships: $1,500 phone consultations
Members: 12 per meeting

The Platinum Mastermind is a two-day marketing mastermind group that focuses on solving your biggest marketing problems. You’ll gain tremendous insights, but prospective participants are screened by phone call, and only 12 are selected to participate.

Lewis Howes Summit of Greatness

Lewis Howes standing in the foreground and a screenshot of his Summit of Greatness 2024 page in the background

Price: TBD
Mastermind Groups: 2-day conference
Mentorships: No
Members: No

The Summit of Greatness replaced Lewis Howes’ previous mastermind group. This is the first year he is hosting it. Given the summit is not until September 2024, the pricing has not been disclosed yet.

Russell Brunson’s Inner Circle

Price: $50K, $150K, or $250K
Mastermind Groups: 3 levels based on income thresholds ($1M, $10M, $25M)
Mentorships: Monthly calls
Members: 100, 14, or 6 per mastermind group

Russel Brunson’s Inner Circle mastermind groups offer access to supportive colleagues at the same level of success you have reached. Before you can join the mastermind program, you have to have made more than $1M in ClickFunnels. This is for the most elite entrepreneurs given the specific barriers to entry and the membership fees.

Young President’s Organization (YPO)

Price: $49, $99, $249
Mastermind Groups: Local and global networking groups
Mentorships: Yes
Members: 34,000

A YPO group member has to be under 45, have reached certain positions, have more than 50 employees (or 25 employees with more than $2.5M in compensation), and at least $12 million in revenue. Get accepted, and you’ll have access to dozens of ways to connect and benefit from high-level mentorship.

Joe Polish’s Genius Network

Genius Network webpage on a laptop

Price: $35K, +$15K, +$20K, for a total of $70K
Mastermind Groups: Undisclosed
Mentorships: I hope so.
Members: Unknown

Joe Polish’s Genius Network focuses on more than just marketing. If focuses on changing your personal life and creating success. A person’s participation starts with a $35K-per-year fee, then you can go to conferences for $15K and purchase a Genius Network membership for $20K.

Indie Brand Builder

Price: Free newsletter
Mastermind Groups: Mastermind group currently has a waitlist
Mentorships: Yes, SEO consulting
Members: 1,250 newsletter recipients

This mastermind group is focused on digital marketing and SEO for entrepreneurs, but there is a waitlist to join. Think a spot could be right for you? Check out Indie Brand Builder today.

More Tips for Finding a Mastermind Group

  • Be clear about your goals. What do you want to achieve through your participation in a mastermind group? Having a clear sense of your goals will help you find a group that's aligned with your interests.
  • Be open to feedback. Mastermind groups are a great way to get feedback on your work and ideas. Be open to receiving feedback from your peers, and use it to improve your performance.
  • Be a contributor. Mastermind groups are a two-way street. Be willing to share your ideas and experiences with the group, and be supportive of your peers.
  • Be patient. It takes time to build relationships and trust within a mastermind group. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Keep showing up and contributing to the group, and you'll eventually start to see the benefits.
  • Know that you may not have to pay ongoing fees. A lot of big-name mastermind groups involve membership and per-meeting fees, but if you form your own mastermind or join one as part of a retreat or training, you may be able to agree to share your time with one another at no ongoing cost.

Who Are Your Ideal Mastermind Group Members?

When you get in a mastermind group, you’ll be focused on improving both your personal and professional life. There may be a mastermind group facilitator, then you and your fellow group members will wind up doing the bulk of the group coaching.

You’ll also normally have a forum, Facebook networking group, Slack channel, or good old-fashioned email thread where all the mastermind members will interact as a peer group between meetings.

Who would you love to join on a mastermind call, and if you mastermind now, what are your top takeaways?

Do you have items you don’t use often?

We all buy items we need and then stop using them. Depending on what they are, you might be able to make great money by renting them out.

We’ve compiled 141 of the best profitable rental business ideas to help you find an idea that works for you. We’ve broken rental businesses into 10 categories so you can pick a rental business idea that’s perfect for your lifestyle and business dreams.

[su_note note_color="#dbeafc"] Click on any of the links below to learn more about the section you want.

Author’s Note

Due to the sheer number of rental business options available, we did not review them all. We list dozens of niche rental markets in 10 categories then share specifics of some of the best rental business ideas below them. We hope you enjoy the way this piece is written; it allows us to provide you with lots of ideas and inspiration without getting too long.

Let’s start by discussing whether it makes sense to start a rental business.

Should I Start a Rental Business?

Hand holding keys over a desk with a stack of notepads and a miniature house

A rental business can be a good side hustle or a small business if you have time and in-demand assets. Rental businesses have high profit margins and are sustainable because they don't need to replenish their inventory constantly.

Some reasons to start a rental business include:

  • Profit margins: Rental businesses can have higher profit margins than traditional retail businesses. For example, bike rentals can have 60-70% margins, while party rentals might have 40-50% margins.
  • Sustainable business model: Rental businesses don't need to replenish their inventory constantly.
  • Asset ownership: Rental businesses own an asset or inventory, giving them control over their primary source of revenue.

You can also automate or provide value-added services to increase the profits of rental business ideas.

Keep reading to learn how to choose a great rental business idea for you.

How to Choose a Rental Business Idea

When choosing a rental business idea, you can consider things like:

  • Demand
  • Competition
  • Products

Let’s look at how each of these will impact whether a rental business idea makes sense in your area.

Demand

Research your local market to determine your area's demand for rental services. For instance, running a beach rental company in a desert doesn’t make sense. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense if you live near the beach.

Competition

Consider the competition in your area. You’ll want to compare how many competitors are in your area to the average for the U.S. population.

For example, the U.S. has 10,360 equipment and tool rental companies, meaning there is one tool and rental business per 32,000 people.

If your town has ten companies and 20K people, it’s probably not a great rental business idea. Meanwhile, you should start one ASAP if your location has a million people and no equipment rental businesses.

Products

You can broaden the scope of your rental products to improve your rental business offerings and create more demand. Just make sure that the products make sense with each other.

For instance, it wouldn’t make sense for a party rental company to start offering construction equipment rentals.

Next, let's look at how some of the best rental business ideas are performing in today's economic environment.

Rental Business Industry Overview

Businessman in a sports coat and jeans smiling in front of a rental car with a cityscape and a jet plane in the sky in the background

The rental industry has grown over the past decade, but its growth has been heavily weighted toward areas like weddings, car rentals, party supplies, and real estate rental businesses.

Each rental industry has different growth rates and revenue. The table below shows some of the main sectors of the rental industry.

Industry Revenue Companies Compound Annual Growth Rates
 Real Estate Rentals  $1,200,000,000,000.00  4,000,000  0.20%
 Weddings  $60,000,000,000.00  336,725  2.10%
 Car Rentals  $58,000,000,000.00  11,135  7.50%
 Party Supplies  $7,900,000,000.00  10,118  3.40%
 Tool & Equipment Rental  $4,600,000,000.00  10,360  -1.40%
 Furniture Rental  $607,300,000.00  371  -3.60%
 Total  $1,331,107,300,000.00  4,368,709  0.62%

It should be noted that the size of real estate rentals is so large that it makes up nearly 90% of the revenue for rental business ideas. Don’t expect rentals to stop any time soon.

Note that we use IBIS World and NYU Stern throughout this blog as references. Both are useful resources for understanding all kinds of industries.

Next, we’ll look at some of the best rental businesses for real estate agents and others who love buying property.

12 Real Estate Rental Businesses

Realtor holding keys in front of a beautiful modern house with a for rent sign in the yard

Property rentals are the most profitable rental business on the planet. They account for 90% of the rental services revenue and 5.15% of U.S. GDP. They include:

1. Long-term house rentals
2. Shop spaces for rent
3. Vacation rentals and Airbnbs
4. Commercial spaces for rent
5. Conference room rentals
6. Garage rentals

7. Storage rentals
8. Office space rentals
9. Rent rooms in a house
10. Venue rentals
11. Campsite rentals
12. Land activities

These are by far the most profitable rental business ideas. Below, we share info and inspiration for getting started in a few of the most lucrative real estate rental niches.

Long-Term Home Rental Business

45.2 million people rent their homes and spend an average of $1,300 each month. That means the long-term rental business industry makes over $700 billion each year, making it the best rental business idea on the list.

The way this rental business works is a little different than many others. You will commonly see a small paper loss (-.76%) until market conditions change. Conditions that improve profits include:

  • Rent increases: The average rental increases 5.77% per year, but in any given year, locations can range from -16.1% to 33.89%.
  • Refinance for lower interest rates and payments: A 1% reduction in interest rates saves approximately $20K per $100K financed over the life of the loan, while refinancing without taking out some of the equity saves approximately $45 per $10K additional equity.
  • Pay off the property: Yields nearly 90% monthly profits.
  • Sell the property: When you sell a property, you can make profits from the difference between the price you sell it for and the sum of the pay-off amount and selling costs.

After making any of these moves, your profits increase substantially. In the meantime, your cash flow and net worth are steadily increasing. Once you reach 10 houses with 20% equity, you’re a millionaire.

This is an ideal rental business idea for real estate agents. Thach Nguyen built his real estate business investing in single-family rental properties. He’s since expanded into multi-family units and apartments and makes around $800,000 in monthly revenue using this business model. Hear his insights in this interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWCzwn3R78A&ab_channel=UpFlip

Shop Space for Rent

When you own a commercial building and rent a shop to a local business, you benefit from the asset appreciation of the building and the cash flow from the shop owners. The margins will be similar to how long-term home rentals work, but you’ll have other factors that impact the rental.

A rental business focused on shop spaces starts with having a commercial space for rent. This can mean a fairly large initial investment compared to other options on this list.

The plus side is that they have a higher profit margin than residential renting—around 30-50% on average, compared to a 10-15% average across the rental market for residential or vacation rental properties.

Bear in mind that renting out shop space doesn’t need to mean someone occupies an entire storefront. Some brick-and-mortar businesses add revenue streams by renting spaces within their store to other small businesses.

For example, a grocery business could offer pop-up booth space to local farmers, or a retail store could rent display space to local artisans. You could also offer short-term shop rentals for a seasonal business that only needs the space for a few months a year. There are various ways to start a successful rental business by offering shop space to another entrepreneur with their own business.

Airbnb Rentals

Average Annual Revenue: $201K
• Average Profit Margins: 8.10%
• Startup Cost: $100K-$3.5M
• Time to Revenue: 6-18 months
• Annual Market Growth Rate: 2.20%
• Best For:
Homeowners, frequent travelers, people with hospitality experience

Airbnb commanded 20% of the vacation rental market in 2023, with a global user base of over 150 million people. It’s also one of the fastest and most affordable ways to start your own rental business and among the top rental business ideas for homeowners.

The variety of business models based on Airbnb is one advantage of this business idea. You can start small and rent out a room in a house, or invest in multiple vacation rentals to manage for higher rental business revenues.

NICASA was started with a single property in 2009 and has grown to 22 properties, generating up to $400,000 a month in revenue. Hear founders Sid and Eva’s advice for those starting Airbnb rental companies in this interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m-MosXlpOE

Commercial Spaces for Rent

Average Annual Revenue: $298K+
• Average Profit Margins: 44.6%
• Startup Costs: $500-$5K
• Time to Revenue: 1-3 months
• Annual Market Growth Rate: -0.3%
• Best For: Strong salespeople and negotiators, entrepreneurs who want a passive income

Shopfronts aren’t the only type of commercial business renting. Other business rental space that you could offer includes:

  • A small warehouse for rent by owner
  • Office space rental
  • Conference room rental
  • Commercial kitchen rental for pop-up or mobile food businesses
  • Storage rental business for mobile construction industry businesses

There are certainly other rental business ideas in the commercial space niche, too. Renting commercial space has the potential to be a very profitable rental business idea.

The initial investment is also typically high, as with any rental business idea today that’s based on owning property or land. That said, the cost per square foot is usually much lower than for residential property, particularly for spaces like warehouses, which can translate to higher profit margins.

6 Wedding Rental Business Ideas

Outdoor wedding ceremony setup with a sign that reads "Wedding rentals" on an easel halfway down the aisle

The wedding industry is full of business ideas that are profitable if you provide quality rental services. Some of the most profitable businesses in the wedding industry are:

1. Wedding dress rentals
2. Wedding suit rentals
3. Wedding decoration rentals

4. Photo booth rentals
5. Tux rentals
6. Venue rentals

Want to learn more about wedding business ideas? Consider the following insights on why photo booth rentals make a great wedding rental business…

Photo Booth Rentals

Average Annual Revenue: $50K
• Average Profit Margins:
7.3%
• Startup Costs:
$1K-$10K
• Time to Revenue:
1-6 months
• Annual Market Growth Rate:
0.3%
• Best For: Photographers and visual artists with strong customer service, communication, and organization skills

If you’re looking for unique rental business ideas, a photo booth rental service could be an excellent option. Photo booths are popular event rentals for school dances, birthday parties, and other types of celebrations, too, expanding your potential sources of revenue.

Since the majority of these events happen on weekends or in the evenings, this is one of those small rental business ideas you can easily run as a side hustle.

That’s how Josh Pather started. Within three years, he was doing over 800 events a year and turned it into his full-time job. Today, he averages $500,000 a month in revenue. Hear how he got started in this podcast interview:

Pro Tip: Check out our interview with a wedding photographer to learn more about the wedding industry.

Next, let’s discuss car rental businesses.

34 Vehicle Rental Business Ideas

Crossover vehicle in front of a screenshot of a Zippia car rental statistics article

Vehicles are among the most commonly rented items. It is estimated that 46.8 million cars will be rented in 2024, and the car and truck rental market is expected to grow by 11% per year through 2025.

These are just the tip of the iceberg for a rental business idea related to vehicles. From a bike rental business to hourly truck rental, construction equipment, or boat rental businesses like canoe and kayak rentals, there are a lot of options in this category. Let’s take a closer look at some options.

1. Race car trailers
2. Antique car rentals
3. Electric car rentals
4. Exotic car rentals
5. Golf cart rentals
6. Horse carriage rentals
7. Racecar rentals
8. RV rental business
9. Boat rentals
10. Trailer rental business
11. Truck rentals
12. Trolley car rentals
13. Racecar trailer rentals
14. Food truck rental
15. Bike rental business
16. E-bike rentals
17. Mobile bar rentals

18. Mobile solon rentals
19. Snowmobile rentals
20. Moped scooter rentals
21. Motorcycle rental business
22. Limousine rentals
23. ATV rental business
24. Kayak rentals
25. Canoe rentals
26. Electric scooter rental
27. Fishing Boat Rentals
28. Horse trailers
29. Jet ski Rental
30. Pontoon Boat Rentals
31. Sailboat rentals
32. Scooter rentals
33. Segway Rentals
34. Yacht rentals

Car Rental

Average Annual Revenue: $5M+
• Average Profit Margins:
6.8%
• Startup Costs:
$100K-$3.5M
• Time to Revenue:
6-18 months
• Annual Market Growth Rate:
2.0%
• Best For: Mechanics, car experts, and collectors

Car and truck rentals have seen steady growth in the past few years as business travel rebounds and vacationers cooped up during pandemic lockdowns get back on the road. This makes 2024 a great time to start car rental businesses.

The main downside of a car rental business is that it has a relatively high initial investment. Car rental companies also often have fairly high ongoing costs for things like insurance and storage of the rental fleet when it isn’t in use.

The flip side of this is that car rental can be very profitable—one of the reasons it’s among the most popular rental business ideas. Ronnie Danelian started Legends Car Rentals in 2015, and today their fleet of exotic cars brings in around $175,000 a month in revenue. Hear how he built his business in this YouTube interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_01eckETe0

Bear in mind, too, that you don’t need a whole fleet to get started. Car collectors and car owners who only use their vehicles occasionally can rent out the vehicles they already own. You can find more tips in this blog post on how to start a car rental business.

Boat or Bike Rentals

Average Annual Revenue: $285K+
• Average Profit Margins:
6.8%
• Startup Costs:
$100K-$3.5M
• Time to Revenue:
6-18 months
• Annual Market Growth Rate:
2.0%
• Best For:
Mechanics and vehicle repair pros with excellent sales, marketing, and customer service skills

If you’re looking for a vehicle rental service that has a lower initial investment, boats and bikes are an excellent way to go. This is the best rental business to start for individuals who are mechanically inclined and can handle the maintenance and repair of their fleet themselves, reducing the potential expense of running this type of business.

The cost to start rental business ventures involving boats or bikes varies largely depending on the type of equipment you plan to rent out. For instance, a kayak rental business at a resort or campsite requires lower startup funds than a luxury yacht charter company.

If you live in a large urban area, a bike or scooter rental business can be a profitable idea. Last-mile public transportation is often lacking in these markets, and your company can be very successful if you can fill that need.

You can also combine these vehicle rentals with related services to add revenue streams. For instance, you can offer a fishing rental service as an add-on to boat rentals, or provide guided tours as an extra service for visitors renting bikes or scooters.

10 Party Rental Business Ideas

Woman in a sequined dress holding a glass of champagne in front of a party bus

A lot of the things people need to throw a great party aren’t items they’ll just find around their homes—and aren’t things they’ll use very often (if ever again). This is what makes a party rental business a smart investment: you’re providing equipment that many people won’t have reasonable access to otherwise.

Just like there are a lot of different types of parties, there are many ways you can make money with rental equipment or a party supply rental business. This includes things like furniture rental of chairs and tables for dinner parties, fun items like karaoke machines or bounce houses, or the space where people host gatherings as an event rental business. Here are our top party rental business categories:

1. Bounce houses
2. Party bus rental
3. Party tent rental
4. Costume rentals
5. Margarita machine rentals

6. Holiday decor rental
7. Masquerade costume rentals
8. Popcorn machine rental
9. Prop rentals
10. Inflatable rentals

Party Bus Rental

Average Annual Revenue: $689,656
• Average Profit Margins:
8.8%
• Startup Costs:
$1K-$100K
• Time to Revenue:
3+ months
• Annual Market Growth Rate:
0.7%
Best For: Outgoing and social entrepreneurs, people with event planning and party planning experience

For those who want a unique and profitable party rental business, a party bus fleet is a strong contender. For one thing, there are multiple revenue streams built right in. You can rent out just the bus, or provide full service with snacks and drinks for an extra fee.

Along with this, it offers a lot of flexibility. There’s the potential for passive or side income if you put effective processes in place. More hands-on and extroverted entrepreneurs can put their people skills to work, hosting party games or other activities while the group is on the go.

The initial investment to start a party bus rental business is also lower than you might expect. If you don’t have a ton of startup cash and are mechanically inclined, you can repurpose used school buses or similar vehicles and save on that initial expense. 

23 Equipment and Tool Rental Business Ideas

Construction worker in a hard hat and orange vest pointing to construction rigs in the background

Construction equipment is expensive, and the average person only needs it occasionally. This is what makes it ideal as rental equipment, particularly for avid DIY-ers or construction pros who already have the tools and want to make a bit of extra profit from them.

Compared to something like a home or car rental business, an equipment rental business has a lower initial investment, even if you’re starting from scratch.

While construction equipment offerings like crane, dump truck, or mini-dumpster rental involve more sizeable initial investments (and require more storage space), renting out smaller gear as a power tool rental business or camping equipment supplier can make for excellent equipment rental business ideas.

As camping rental businesses prove, a tool rental business doesn’t need to be focused on construction projects. There are lots of other categories that can be very profitable. Depending on where you live, a business in ski and snowboard rentals, fishing equipment rentals, or similar outdoor adventure gear can be very profitable.

Another growing category is a medical supply rental business, which can help older adults stay independent longer or be a godsend for people in recovery from illnesses or injuries.

The bottom line is, the equipment rental industry is broad. Here are some ideas within the niche to get you started:

1. Power tool rentals
2. Crane rental business
3. Dump truck rentals
4. Dumpster rental business
5. Fishing equipment rental
6. Forklift rentals
7. Generator rental
8. Heavy equipment rental business
9. Hunting gear rental
10. HVAC rental
11. Landscaping supply rental
12. Lighting rental

13. Medical supply rental
14. Moving equipment
15. Music instrument rental
16. Construction equipment rentals
17. Porta Potty rental
18. Portable sink rentals
19. Scaffolding and ladders
20. Small equipment rental business
21. Camping equipment
22. Beach gear rental
23. Catering equipment

4 Furniture Rental Business Ideas

A furniture rental business is among the top businesses you can start with what you already own.

Short-term furniture rental includes things like tables and chairs for events. You could also rent out furnishings on a more long-term basis, for example, to furnish a short-stay apartment or during the infancy of a new child. Here are some of the most lucrative furniture rental options to consider:

  1. “Furniture rental near me” businesses
  2. Animal crates and haulers
  3. Artificial plant rentals
  4. Baby equipment rental

Baby Equipment Rental

Average Annual Revenue: $2.1M+
• Average Profit Margins:
3.9%
• Startup Costs:
$500-$250K
• Time to Revenue:
3+ months
• Annual Market Growth Rate:
2.7%
Best For: Moms, childcare professionals, organized and system-oriented entrepreneurs

Items like cribs, strollers, and playplaces are must-have equipment for parents. That said, they’re also items with a fairly short useful life, and not all new parents have the money (or the space) to buy a bunch of stuff their kids will grow out of in a few months.

A baby equipment rental business can be an especially smart move for parents looking to make some side income. As your kids outgrow their gear, you can clean it up and rent it out to other parents who need it. If you want to grow the business, you can use the profits from these early rentals to invest in new gear and grow your revenue potential.

8 Tech Rental Business Ideas

Top down shot of drones and camera equipment arranged on a table next to a chalkboard sign that reads "Tech rental"

Similar to construction equipment, high-tech gear can be costly. It also becomes obsolete fairly quickly, which makes it a poor long-term investment for individuals.

Individuals or businesses who have a short-term need for professional recording equipment, drones, or other technology often see it as more cost-effective to rent than to buy. That creates an opportunity in the rental market for people who do own this gear to make more profit from it.

Here are some tech rental business categories worth considering:

1. Online broadcasting
2. Audio rental business
3. AV equipment rental
4. Camera & lens rentals

5. Dehumidifier rental business
6. Drone photography rentals
7. Lighting rental
8. Photo booth rentals

Drone photography rentals

Average Annual Revenue: $50K
Average Profit Margins: 7.3%
• Startup Costs: $1K-$10K
• Time to Revenue: 1-6 months
• Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.3%
• Best For: Photographers and visual artists, tech-literate and creative entrepreneurs

Drone photography has a lot of applications. It’s a great way to get shots of outdoor events like festivals and concerts. Many event planners also use it to record events like weddings, while realtors can use drones to document properties for potential buyers to see online.

This variety of potential customers is what makes drone photography rentals a smart business option. You can focus exclusively on drone photography, or have this as an additional service to a broader camera rental business.

Mile High Photography has made its name working with everything from marketing and advertising professionals to party planners, and they bring in more than $35,000 a month in revenue. See how they built their business in this YouTube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUcv1HAAbns

9 Clothing Rental Business Ideas

People don’t like buying things they’ll only use once—and that applies to things they wear, too. From tuxes to prom dresses and Halloween costumes, here are some of the best types of clothing to start a rental business:

1. Clothing rental
2. Costume rental
3. Designer accessory rentals
4. Handbag rentals
5. Evening gown rentals

6. Fine jewelry rentals
7. Formalwear rentals
8. Fur coat or faux fur rentals
9. Prom dress rentals

23 Experience Offerings Perfect for Rental Businesses

Your business doesn’t need to stop with renting equipment out to use. Offering services and experiences related to that equipment creates new ways to earn revenue from it.

For instance, if you have experience as a construction professional, you can rent out your power tools and teach classes on how to use them. That’s twice the revenue potential from the same gear.

Guided tours are another way to leverage your knowledge and equipment in tandem. For example, offering curated fishing excursions, or renting the camping gear to participants in a wilderness retreat.

Here are some ideas for rental experience businesses:

1. AR experiences
2. Dolphin experiences
3. Manatee experiences
4. VR experiences
5. Curated adventures
6. Dive tours
7. Hand gliding rentals
8. Horseback riding rentals
9. Hunting excursions
10. Kiteboarding rentals
11. Skilled trade lessons and power tool rentals
12. Paddleboard rentals and tours

13. Parasailing
14. Scuba lessons
15. Skydive excursions
16. Snorkeling excursions and rentals
17. Sunset cruises
18. Surfboard rentals
19. Tubing rentals
20. Water activities
21. Windsurfing
22. Flyboarding rentals
23. Ski and snowboard rentals

12 Random Profitable Rental Business Ideas

Camping guide wearing a day pack in front of an RV rental

Just about anything can be rented for a profit if there’s someone else who wants to use it! Here are some final random ideas you could turn into your own rental business:

1. Booth rental business ideas
2. Camping trailer rentals
3. Float rentals
4. Hobie cat rentals
5. Hunting equipment rental
6. Kiteboarding rentals

7. Kombucha stands
8. Lawn sign rentals
9. Movie projector rental
10. Sporting goods rentals
11. Toy rental
12. Tubing rentals

1 Rental Business Idea to Avoid

Do not start a movie rental business. People can watch as many movies as they want on streaming services for a small monthly fee, making a movie rental business a dead business model.

Rental Business FAQs

What are the most profitable things to rent out?

The most profitable rental business category by far is renting out property. Like we mentioned earlier, these account for 90% of rental industry income in the United States. In terms of profitability, commercial space tends to have higher margins, though home and apartment rentals are also a very profitable industry.

How profitable are rental businesses?

Rental business ideas can be extraordinarily profitable. For instance, an Airbnb can be profitable as a rental business idea with as little as 50% occupancy.

While the average Airbnb may lose money (a little bit) on paper, ultimately, it has the potential to increase in value. Profit margins can approach 50% or higher when the property is owned outright.

What profits should I expect from an equipment rental business?

An equipment rental business idea will have different profit margins depending on the economic environment and the equipment.

U-Haul has had gross profit margins of 28% to 40% and net margins of 1% to 20% since 2009. Meanwhile, United Rentals, the largest equipment rental company in the U.S., has gross profits between 25% and 43%, with net profits between -4% and 22% during the same periods.

What are the most profitable rental business ideas to make money in 2024?

While property rentals tend to make the most revenue, equipment rentals can have a higher profit margin. This is because there are fewer ongoing costs to maintain and own them. This is particularly true of durable, long-lasting equipment like power tools.

Which Rental Business Will You Choose?

There are numerous rental businesses to choose from. You just need to decide which is right for you. Consider what you already own, the network of people you know, and the value of the items before choosing which to pursue.

Then you need to create the business and start marketing your rentals. As you start making money, reinvest in other assets to rent, and you’ll build an empire in time.

So which rental business will you start?

Did you know that 69 million vehicles need to be towed each year?

That’s nearly 190K people who call up a towing business every day.

We talked to Vanice and Vincent Serrano, founders of ASAP Towing, to find out how to start a tow truck business that makes more than $10M each year. They provide insights on how towing services make money, how to hire employees, how to become a tow truck driver, and more.

[su_note note_color="#dbeafc"] We’ll share insights, strategies, and tips. Click on one of the links below to learn more about starting a tow truck business, or just continue reading.

Tow Truck Business Case Study: ASAP Towing

Vincent grew up working in auto repair shops owned by his dad, but he wanted to have a business to call his own. They already owned a tow truck and had land, so they decided to start a new tow truck company.

The business venture was mostly Vanice and one employee during its first year. About 18 months in, Vincent had to quit his day job and work at ASAP full time because it was making $250K per year.

The local tow truck company offers towing services for breakdowns, lockouts, accidents, impounds, and more. Check out our interview with Vincent and Vanice below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2GNPp07jPo

Learn About the Towing Industry

Before we discuss how to start a towing company, it’s important to learn all about towing and how the industry operates. We’ll discuss:

  • The cost to start a tow truck business
  • The amount towing vehicles makes
  • Industry profit margins
  • Major players
  • Industry outlook
  • Legal requirements
  • How to get a tow truck driver license

How much does it cost to start a tow truck business?

Vincent told us starting your own towing company requires around $10,000 to get a truck, licenses, and towing equipment. We’ll discuss individual costs more in other sections.

How much do tow truck drivers make?

ASAP towing owner gesturing to a webpage about average tow truck driver salaries in the U.S.

As of January 26, 2024, the average salary for a U.S.-based tow truck driver is $44,198, with a range of $38,820–$50,211, and an average hourly rate of $18.54.

You’ll normally want to pay yourself this salary in addition to some profits from the business when you are an owner-operator.

Your location, experience, employer, skills, and education may impact the pay for tow truck driver jobs. Some drivers will also get bonuses and tips.

According to Indeed, the tow truck driver salary is highest in the following cities:

  1. Milwaukee, WI
  2. Sacramento, CA
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. Austin, TX
  5. Las Vegas, NV

How much profit can a towing business make?

Transportation businesses normally make 30.59% gross margins and 5.91% net margins. Some people who own towing companies make up to 33.65% profit, which means that the Serranos are likely bringing in somewhere between $700K and $4 million in profits.

Who are the major players in the towing business?

Because many tow truck businesses are privately held companies, it is difficult to find accurate revenue numbers for the largest towing businesses. Along with ASAP Towing, some other large tow truck businesses include:

  • United Road Towing: Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) estimates United Road Towing’s annual revenue to be $99M.
  • Jamie Davis Towing: ZoomInfo estimates annual revenue is under $5M for this towing company.
  • Certified Towing: Revenue is estimated at $1M, according to D&B.

What is the towing industry’s outlook?

IBIS World values the U.S. towing industry at $12.5B and expects it to grow around 2.9% in 2024. They expect it to continue growing at a faster rate after inflation settles down.

Any industry that exceeds the GDP growth in the U.S. is a great one to enter as a business owner.

What are the requirements for a tow company?

Business man in a suit standing in front of a tow truck holding a clipboard with a paper stamped with the word "Requirements"

Before starting a tow truck company, you will need various tools, permits, and licenses. Consult your local small business office, the DMV, or a lawyer who specializes in tow truck businesses.

A tow trucking company will normally need:

  • Drivers with class B driver’s licenses
  • Business structure as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation
  • Comprehensive auto insurance with uninsured motorist insurance and higher limits than the state minimum (no less than $250K, but $1M is better)
  • Business insurance
  • High physical damage insurance
  • An oversized vehicle permit (depending on what you will be towing)
  • Indictment management permit (if towing without consent)

How to Get a Tow Truck License

To drive a truck with below a 26,000-pound towing capacity, you only need a regular driver’s license. You’ll need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for anything bigger.

That means you’ll need to take a CDL course, which takes about a month. Then you’ll need to pass the DMV test.

Next, we’ll look at how to start a tow truck business.

How to Start a Tow Truck Business

Starting a tow truck business requires special considerations because of the nature of dealing with vehicular accidents and repossessions. You’ll want to follow the process below to start a successful towing business:

1. Identify your target market.
2. Research local regulations.
3. Create a business plan.
4. Consider a startup loan.
5. Register your business.
6. Get the required licenses and permits.

7. Buy equipment and tools.
8. Develop a marketing strategy.
9. Get liability insurance.
10. Open a business bank account.
11. Provide excellent customer service.

Keep reading to learn how to start a towing business.

Step #1. Identify Your Target Market

RoadsideAmerica.com article on a desktop computer

Tow truck companies use multiple business strategies to bring in revenue. An indispensable strategy is identifying your target market. Potential customers include:

  1. Insurance companies: Companies like AAA and Roadside America need towing and roadside assistance for their customers.
  2. Government agencies: These entities impound cars and need someone to tow them. Not that there may be minimum truck requirements.
  3. Banks and lenders: Repossession services work with banks and lenders. Learn more about repo laws on the American Recovery Agency website.
  4. Motorists: Towing businesses can also work with civilians to tow vehicles when they break down or are otherwise immovable.
  5. Subcontracting: Many businesses outsource their towing needs.
  6. Automotive companies: A towing business might also work with car dealerships and auto auctions to deliver cars to dealerships or customers.

Step #2. Research Local Regulations

Every towing business needs to understand the local, state, and federal laws that the automobile towing industry operates under. Make sure to check the regulations for all levels of government based on the towing services you provide.

A tow truck operator will normally be governed by federal law in two scenarios:

  1. Maximum towing capacity for different types of trucks
  2. Interstate commerce laws, which come into play when commercial vehicles cross state lines

States and local governments will often have laws and regulations that govern the tow truck industry, including minimum tow truck insurance and CDL requirements.

Step #3. Create a Tow Truck Business Plan

You don’t have to write a towing business plan, but it won’t hurt. It will help you keep track of how your towing company is progressing toward its goals. Tow truck business plans should follow a process similar to this:

  1. Find customers.
  2. Get your permits and licenses to drive a tow truck.
  3. Start your company.
  4. Buy a tow truck.
  5. Start towing vehicles.
  6. Follow a marketing plan to take on more work.
  7. Buy more trucks.

Download our business plan template, then check out our interview with Mike Andes on how to write a business plan below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Seac5PbUZXk

Step #4. Consider a Startup Loan

Starting a towing business isn’t cheap. With the cost of a flatbed truck, tow truck insurance, commercial auto insurance, and small business insurance, you can expect to spend $10K to start a towing company. Other sites estimate the tow truck business startup cost can range from $62 to $2M.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers free courses on financing options and funding programs. For info on using personal funds to start a business, check out this article from The Hartford.

Step #5. Register Your Business

Registering a tow truck business will require you to:

  1. Choose a business name: You’ll want a tow truck business name that is available as a website domain name, social media handle, and registered business name with your secretary of state and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Check domain availability on GoDaddy.
  2. Create a business structure: You’ll want to get either an LLC or a corporation when starting a tow company. You do not want to get a sole proprietorship because it will expose your personal assets to a lawsuit if you get in a wreck with the tow truck.
  3. Apply for an EIN: An employer identification number (EIN) is required to file taxes for business entities on the IRS website. It is also used to associate employee payroll taxes with the correct company.
  4. Acquire a sales tax permit: Most states have a sales tax, and you need to adhere to their requirements. This blog isn’t the place to discuss the permits for all 50 states, but Avalara has a guide on sales tax permits. Check it out.
  5. Labor law posters: All employers must display workplace posters that signal they’re following labor laws. You can download them from the Department of Justice website. You must also follow all hiring laws.
  6. Unemployment Insurance (UI): You’ll have to pay about $420 per employee on a federal level plus any state UI. Check the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for more information.

Step #6. Open a Business Bank Account

Having an open bank account for your business is crucial to keeping your personal finances and tow truck business finances separate. If you have a limited liability company or a corporation, you’ll also need it to get business loans and personal liability protection.

If you have a business bank account, you can also get a business credit card and potentially commercial truck financing.

Step #7. Get Tow Truck Business Insurance

Insurance inquiry form on a laptop

You’ll want a variety of insurance policies when you own tow trucks. You’ll want:

  • Auto liability insurance: covers the vehicle owner if one of their tow truck drivers gets in a wreck
  • Uninsured motorist insurance: covers your flatbed truck and your employee if an uninsured driver hits the vehicle
  • Workers compensation insurance: covers the medical fees and lost work if employees get hurt or killed on the job

When you own tow truck company assets, you’ll also want various types of business insurance, like general liability, a business owner's policy, and commercial property insurance. Try Simply Business to get quotes from many of the best business insurance companies.

Step #8. Get the Required Licenses and Permits

As stated, tow trucks may require you to apply for additional permits and licenses. We suggest anyone who wants to tow vehicles reach out to a local business law attorney to verify that they have complied with all laws and regulations.

Step #9. Buy Equipment and Tools

One of the major business expenses for a successful towing company is the cost of flatbed trucks for hauling wrecked vehicles. Some of the places you can find the different types of tow trucks include:

Step #10. Develop and Implement a Marketing Strategy

You’ll want to focus on marketing when starting a tow truck business. Vincent suggests using the following marketing for tow trucks:

  • Website
  • Google Ads
  • Instagram and Facebook
  • Videos platforms

Launch a Website

ASAP Towing owner gesturing to a smart phone showing a new towing company website

Creating a website helps people get the information they need about the services you offer, how much they cost, and where your business is located.

Some services you might list on your website include:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Repossession services
  • Impounding and storage
  • Vehicle auctions
  • Heavy-duty towing services

Tow places should optimize their website for search engines for search engines. For example, adding a Google Map location to their website’s footer can help it show up higher on Google.

Vincent told us he has one company that does his videos, another that does search engine optimization, and a third that does social media. You can find all-encompassing services, as well.

Google Ads

Your business budget should include some expenses for advertising on Google. Vincent told us:

[su_quote]We’re spending a little over $1,000 per month on Google right now.[/su_quote]

Instagram and Facebook

Vincent told us that he is fairly new to Instagram, but it is starting to provide some returns. He said he has found success on Facebook.

Videos

Like many business owners, Vincent is starting to get into video marketing.

When you start a tow truck business, you can create videos about the common types of calls a tow operator gets. You can also explain how to do things like change a battery, replace a tire, and what to do in an accident—but make sure not to give any legal advice.

How much should a towing business spend on marketing?

ASAP Towing owner pointing to a screenshot of a YEC article on how much business owners should spend on marketing

Established tow truck companies should spend between 2% and 10% of desired revenue on marketing, depending on whether they are marketing their towing business to businesses or consumers. Business-to-consumer companies normally spend more on marketing.

According to entrepreneur Thomas Minieri, new companies should spend up to 20% of their target revenue on marketing to help them grow faster. You will normally want to spend between 15% and 20% of your budget on advertising costs.

Despite the suggestions, many small business owners spend much less on marketing. For instance, both Kenneth and Vanice spend less than 1% of their revenue on marketing.

Step #11. Provide Great Customer Service

Tow companies need to provide great customer service. Whether you’re towing for law enforcement, a business, or people in need of repairs, you should try to be compassionate.

Towing companies often provide emergency roadside assistance, but some partner with other businesses to transport vehicles that are (often unintentionally) parked illegally. When someone gets their car towed, remember they may not have known that their car was parked improperly.

Now that you know how to start a tow truck business, let’s look at some frequently asked questions about the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ll start with the question on everyone’s mind:

How much do tow trucks cost?

There are a few different types of trucks:

  • Flatbed tow truck for sale
  • Ramp trucks for sale
  • Wrecker truck for sale
  • Integrated tow truck for sale

In most cases, expect to spend $25K or more.

How can I start a successful tow truck business with no money?

Concept of a tow truck owner in an orange vest with a crossed out stack of cash hovering over his shoulder

You have to start somewhere. Kenneth suggested the following solutions:

  1. Can you finance?
  2. Can you get a lease on a truck?
  3. Can you ask friends and family?

He also told us:

[su_quote]I went looking for a loan so I could buy a tow truck and found out that you can’t get a loan to start a business unless you’ve been in business for two years.

I wound up going into it on a lease, rent to own. The truck sold for $50,000. By the time I’m done paying for the truck, it’ll be $106,000.[/su_quote]

He went on to say:

[su_quote]The benefit of leasing is you can get into a vehicle with a limited amount of money. The downfall of it is, if you don’t find the right leasing company, you’re gonna be paying them to double whatever the original amount was. So do a little diligence and find out. If they say there’s no puny penalty for prepayment, make sure that the amount is going to be adjusted.[/su_quote]

There are more ways to fund a towing company.

Common funding paths include:

  • Personal funds or personal assets
  • A loan from family or friends
  • Funds from a business partner
  • Government programs

The SBA offers free courses on financing options and funding programs. For info on using personal funds to start a business, check out this article from The Hartford.

Running the tow truck company is what you will spend most of your time doing. This includes aspects like hiring employees, helping customers, keeping inventory in stock, accounting, and payroll.

Hiring Tips

Kenneth had a lot to say about hiring drivers. He said the most important aspects of drivers are:

  1. Do they have the required licensing?
  2. Do they stay in communication with the owner?
  3. Do they have mechanical experience, or are they willing to learn?

Without the required licensing, they won’t be able to earn money. But the other aspects are more important to focus on for the bigger picture. Here’s what he had to say about communication:

[su_quote][An employee is valuable] when they stay in contact with you and they keep you aware of what’s going on with your vehicle. If they’re having any problems, just tell me what your problem is. And I will give you the answer, ’cause my job is to help you.[/su_quote]

He also emphasized the importance of being mechanically inclined:

[su_quote]I’ve hired three people in the last month. I had to fire one quick because I explained to ’em, you know, the truck needs maintenance. I can’t be driving 16 hours a day and work on my truck, your truck, and everybody else’s truck.

It’s just not gonna happen. You have to take care of the truck. So, if you don’t know how to be a car mechanic, that probably is a tough spot to begin with.

I’m even willing to teach you what you need to know. I don’t have a problem with that because we succeed together as a team or we fail as a team.[/su_quote]

Top Towing Influencers

Find out what other people in the industry are doing:

Conclusion

We’ve covered how to start a tow truck company; now it’s your turn to get the licenses and permits, find some customers, get a truck, and start towing.

If you’ve already started one, what has been the most challenging part of starting an independent towing service?


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