The 19 Best Service Business Ideas for 2023

  • Brandon Boushy by Brandon Boushy
  • 4 months ago
  • Blog
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a group of service professionals with a light blue background

Looking for service business examples to give you the inspiration to start a service business? We’ll provide you with the best small service business ideas to start.

We spent thousands of hours interviewing business owners and analyzing businesses to help identify the best service to sell. You won’t believe which services make the list.

Discover which business ideas service industry professionals need most. Click any of the above links to jump ahead.

What Is the Most Profitable Service Business Idea?

#1. Car Detailing 

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $241,230
∙ Average Profit Margins: 16.1%
∙ Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.8%
∙ Best for: detail-oriented entrepreneurs, gearheads, and car lovers

There were more than
278 million cars in the United States in 2021, with more than 90% of U.S. households owning at least one vehicle. This makes a car cleaning service business one of the most profitable small businesses for entrepreneurs to open. 

Not only are car detailing services in demand, but it’s also a business with low overhead costs. Those costs are even lower if you start a mobile detailing business. Isaiah Barhoum started Big’s Mobile Detailing with just $500, and quickly grew to a revenue of $30,000 per month. 

Along with lower costs, a mobile detailing business is convenient for busy professionals who want to keep their vehicle in top condition. This can also be a great choice for a B2B car detailing business that services company cars or entire corporate fleets.

Car Detailing Pros:

  • High demand with lots of potential customers
  • Low startup and overhead costs
  • High profit potential
  • Doesn’t require any specialized skills or knowledge

Car Detailing Cons:

  • Business can vary depending on the season
  • Work schedule is dictated by customer needs

What Services Are In Most Demand?

Starting a service business isn’t just about your own interests. You’ll have to make sure there’s a market for what you’re offering. Let’s look at the most in-demand service businesses.

#2. Cleaning Services

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $74,880
∙ Average Profit Margins: 6.7%
∙ Startup Costs: $1K-$30K
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.2%
∙ Best for: self-motivated, independent, and detail-oriented entrepreneurs

The cleaning services market is a
$343 billion industry that’s expected to grow at a rate of 6.3% through 2030. Not only is cleaning among the most profitable service businesses, but it’s also an option with very low startup costs. 

Chris Mondragon started Queen Bee Cleaning Services with just a $5,000 initial investment and grew it to $1.5 million in revenue in 2021. He explains how to start a cleaning business step-by-step in his 7-Figure Cleaning Business Blueprint.

Watch our interview with Chris below:

As you start out, your profit margins could be as high as 60%. Learn more about the cleaning business here.

House cleaning is far from the only option in this niche. Commercial janitorial services are also in high-demand, as are exterior cleaning services like pressure washing, roof cleaning, or a window washing business.

Cleaning Service Pros:

  • No training or specialized skill sets required
  • Low startup costs
  • Wide variety of niches that are in high demand
  • Can be start and run from home as a solo entrepreneur
  • Easy to scale revenue by growing a team

Cleaning Service Cons:

  • Work can be unpleasant or labor-intensive 
  • Your schedule depends on when customers need you

#3. Automotive Repair Services

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $268,800
∙ Average Profit Margins: 6.1%
∙ Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: -0.8%
∙ Best for: Automotive experts, mechanically-minded entrepreneurs

Not only do most households in the United States own a car, but people are keeping their cars longer than in the past. The average age of cars on the road was
12.1 years in 2021, which is 44% higher than the average car age of 8.4 years in 1995.

Keeping older cars running requires regular repair and maintenance, so it’s no surprise demand for auto repair service businesses has gone up in recent years, as well. 

There are multiple ways to get into the automotive repair industry. Lucky Sing opened his own repair shop, Lucky’s Auto Repair, and sees an average monthly revenue of about $40,000 today.

Other profitable business ideas in the auto repair niche include a windshield repair business, a mobile mechanic business, or a paint and body shop, just to name a few options. 

Repair Services Pros:

  • Increasing customer demand
  • High revenue potential 
  • Variety of niches and types of work you can do
  • Ideal for people who like working with their hands

Repair Services Cons:

  • Relatively high startup costs compared to other service-based businesses
  • Will need training in automotive repair  

#4. Accounting and Tax Services

screenshot of accounting and tax from accountingtoday website

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $1.57M
∙ Average Profit Margins: 18%
∙ Startup Costs: $500-$5K
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-3 months (not including time training as a CPA)
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.7%
∙ Best for: CPAs, finance experts, entrepreneurs with strong math skills

Every business needs to maintain good financial records and file their taxes correctly, but not all small business owners have accounting skills. Individuals sometimes need an accountant’s services, too, especially busy professionals who would rather spend their time making money than keeping track of it.

An accounting or tax service business is a great way for people with financial expertise to start their own business. It’s also a very profitable and in-demand industry, with the average income per partner of CPA firms at $521,000 in 2020, an increase of 4.8% over 2019. 

Data from Accounting Today supports the high profit potential of such services. Accounting-related services were ranked first among privately held companies based on profit margins, with an average net profit of 18.4% across the niche.

Accounting and Tax Pros:

  • High revenue and profit potential
  • Variety of services you can provide in the niche
  • Can be run from home by a solo entrepreneur
  • Work is usually independent and flexible 

Accounting and Tax Cons:

  • Requires training and knowledge in financial management
  • Can be difficult to build customer trust as a new firm 

More Ideas For Small Business Owners

Didn’t find an idea that suits you in the lists above? Keep reading for more ideas.

#5. Consulting Business

Laptop on a table with upflip podcast episode screenshot

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $1.4K
∙ Average Profit Margins: 6.4%
∙ Startup Costs: $100K-$3.5M
∙ Time To Revenue: 6-18 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 2.2%
∙ Best for: Teachers and educators, people with niche expertise and experience

Consulting is one of the most adaptable service business ideas because you can be a consultant in any area where you’re an expert. 

If you’re an IT whiz, you can be a systems consultant, advising clients on their tech stack and troubleshooting IT issues. Other services like marketing, business finances, and cybersecurity are also in-demand options for a consulting service business. 

Ryan Gromfin drew on his experience managing 5-star restaurants to start his own consulting business and now makes more money with less stress. You can hear how he got started in this podcast interview:

Consulting Pros:

  • Profit from your unique expertise
  • Affordable to start and run
  • Can be run from home or online
  • High revenue potential and scalability

Consulting Cons:

  • Some niches are very competitive
  • Can take a while to build a reputation and attract clients 

#6. Construction and House Painting

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $696,950
∙ Average Profit Margins: 3.4%
∙ Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: -1.3%
∙ Best for: skilled tradesmen, people who like building and fixing things

It’s common for people to turn to a contractor service business when they need to repair, renovate, or build a home. While contractors do need to be licensed, learning the trade doesn’t take long. Avani Petras was only 19 when he started Petras Homes, and he first learned the trade as a part-time job.

There are also similar service businesses that don’t require licensing. Joshua Douglass makes about $25,000 a month with his house painting business (hear how he started it in this podcast interview).

Construction Pros:

  • Low initial and ongoing costs
  • High demand and profit potential
  • Great new business for people who like physical jobs
  • Variety of projects and work you can take on

Construction Cons:

  • Work is physically demanding 
  • Will need a contractor license for full home construction

#7. Landscaping and Lawn Care

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $272,790
∙ Average Profit Margins: 8.7%
∙ Startup Costs: $1K-$100K
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 8.1%
∙ Best for: designers, gardeners, people who like physical work and working outside

One reason lawn care is among the best service business ideas is that you can start small and scale a ton. You can get started with just a lawn mower and a few basic tools, then add other services as you grow. 

The main downside of a lawn care business is that work dries up in the winter. You can get around this by offering other services, like holiday displays or snow removal. 

Many landscapers also make enough during the summer to take their winters off. BL Landscapes makes over $50,000 a month, for example, so there’s a lot of profit potential in this industry.

Landscaping Pros:

  • Easy and affordable to start
  • Consistent demand in warmer months and regions
  • Work outside 
  • No specialized training or education needed

Landscaping Cons:

  • Is a seasonal business in many locations
  • Physical and tiring work

Online Service Business Ideas

Dreaming of working from remotely from anywhere in the world? These online businesses are for you.

#8. Graphic Design Business

graphic designer working on a computer

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $123,240
∙ Average Profit Margins: 13.5%
∙ Startup Costs: $500-$5K
∙ Time To Revenue: 3+ months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 2%
∙ Best for: Visual artists, entrepreneurs with creative skills

Graphic design is one of the few industries where the majority of professionals are self-employed, with roughly
90% of graphic designers working independently.

There’s a good reason for this. Graphic design is a profitable service-based business idea with low upfront costs that’s easy to start and run from home as a solo entrepreneur. 

Demand for graphic designers is consistent, too, and there are multiple niches new designers can fit into, from website graphics and logo design to 3D animations for apps and video games. A strong portfolio is key, so if you’re new and haven’t done any paid work yet, creating samples to show your skills can help you attract prospective clients.

Graphic Design Pros:

  • Work hours and location are flexible
  • Low upfront and ongoing costs
  • Variety of work that you can do 
  • Steady demand 

Graphic Design Cons:

  • Less creative than some think since you’re designing to a client’s needs
  • Can be a competitive industry

#9. Virtual Assistant Business

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $35K-$50K
∙ Average Profit Margins: 10.5%
∙ Startup Costs: $100-$200
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.9%
∙ Best for: Outgoing and social entrepreneurs; those with strong scheduling, time management, and problem solving skills

As a virtual assistant, you provide a valuable service to other professionals by helping them take care of necessary logistical tasks, letting them focus on more important things. 

Typical tasks a virtual assistant will do include managing and replying to emails, scheduling meetings, arranging travel, making dinner reservations, or helping manage a person’s or business’s social media accounts. 

If you have other skills, you can leverage them to add value to your services as a VA. For example, some assistants also provide graphic or web design services or help with bookkeeping and managing finances.   

VA Business Pros:

  • Can work from anywhere that you have a reliable internet connection
  • Work is usually independent and flexible 
  • Easy to start and run from home

VA Business Cons:

  • Lots of competition for the best-paying roles
  • May need to work on the client’s schedule 

#10. Digital or Content Marketing

woman holding a laptop with social media icons floating around

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $817K
∙ Average Profit Margins: 6.9%
∙ Startup Costs: $1,800-$16K
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.3%
∙ Best for: Social media experts, writers and content creators, people with search engine optimization (SEO) expertise

Most successful small businesses use social media and other online content to engage with their customers–but business owners don’t necessarily have the time or skills to use these platforms to their full potential. 

This is where a freelance marketer or third-party marketing firm can be a huge asset. Digital marketers help other businesses create and execute a marketing strategy by helping with social media marketing, writing blog posts, creating email marketing materials, and designing other online content.

There are also niches you can explore in this space. If you excel at social media management, for example, you can niche down as a social media consultant.

For those with search engine optimization, graphic design, writing, and data analysis skills, digital marketing can be one of the most lucrative service business ideas. Eric Berman’s digital marketing agency Brandetize averages $400,000 in revenue every month. You can hear how he did it in this podcast interview:

Marketing Pros:

  • Cheap to start and run
  • Work is independent and flexible
  • Can scale revenue by expanding into an agency
  • High demand 

Marketing Cons:

  • Can be difficult to build client trust if you don’t already have a big online presence 
  • Need to stay current with marketing trends

Home Service Business Ideas

If you’d like to stay close to home while running your business, check out the following options.

#11. Photography Business

∙ 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: Visual artists and photographers, outgoing and social entrepreneurs

There are a lot of ways to start your own photography business, and many of them can be run from home. You can start a mobile event photography service business, an at-home portrait studio, or sell your photos as stock images for ads and online content. 

Your options expand further if you also do videography. Mile High Productions offers both photography and drone videography, working with real estate agents as well as documenting events and creating photos and videos for commercials and marketing materials. You can hear how they got started in this video:

Check out our interview with a wedding photographer that makes $2 million per year.

Photography Pros:

  • Can be run out of a home or as a mobile service
  • Wide variety of work available
  • Make a living from your artistic talents
  • Meet and interact with a lot of new people

Photography Cons:

  • Photography and videography equipment can be expensive 
  • Schedule and workload are dependent on your clients

#12. Dog Walking Business

cute dog with a leash on its mouth with cbsnews website screenshot

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $34,380
∙ Average Profit Margins: 16%
∙ Startup Costs: $500-$5K
∙ Time To Revenue: 3+ months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.7%
∙ Best for: Pet owners, animal lovers, those who like working outdoors

Lots of people got new pets during the pandemic, with
23 million households adopting a pet in 2020. Now that workers are being called back to the office, that’s driving up demand for people to care for these beloved pets when the owners can’t.

Walking dogs can be physically demanding and require a lot of stamina, along with knowledge of pet care, but if you both love dogs and want a job that keeps you moving, dog walking is among the best business ideas. 

Dog Walking Pros:

  • Make a living hanging out with animals
  • High and increasing demand
  • Stay active while you’re working 

Dog Walking Cons:

  • Less scheduling flexibility than other service businesses
  • Work can be physically demanding or in unpleasant conditions

#13. Personal Fitness Trainer

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $16,867
∙ Average Profit Margins: 10.9%
∙ Startup Costs: $500-$5K
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.6%
∙ Best for: Fitness buffs, exercise experts, people who excel at motivating others

Personal trainers aren’t just for athletes. People who want to lose weight, get healthy, or are recovering from an injury may also hire a personal fitness trainer to help them reach their goals. 

There are many ways you can start your own service business as a personal fitness trainer. You can work with clients in their homes, rent space in a gym or community center, or even have an online business and work with clients through Zoom.

Millionaire Bedros Keuilian has built an empire with programs like his Fit Body Bootcamp. While that’s just one of the revenue streams that generates him over $200 million a year, it goes to show how profitable this service-based business can be (hear Bedros’ advice in this YouTube interview).

Personal Trainer Pros:

  • Help others improve their lives while building a successful business
  • Multiple ways to provide services to clients
  • Very low to no initial investment required

Personal Trainer Cons:

  • Can be physically demanding and exhausting work
  • Often need to adjust when you work based on client needs 

#14. Event Planning

man is explaining an event plan on a whiteboard in front of an audience

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $34,380
∙ Average Profit Margins: 12.2%
∙ Startup Costs: $500-$5K
∙ Time To Revenue: 3+ months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 1%
∙ Best for: Strong networkers, great party planners, outgoing and social entrepreneurs

Planning an event can be stressful and time-consuming, whether it’s a large business conference or a celebration with family and friends. This is why people often hire a professional to take care of the logistics.

One reason event planning is among the best service business ideas is that there are lots of niches you can choose from depending on your interests. From wedding planning to corporate events to a children’s party planning business, there are many ways to get started in this industry. 

Event Planning Pros:

  • Low upfront investment 
  • No specialized training or certifications needed
  • Meet lots of new people
  • Work is varied and interesting

Event Planning Cons:

  • Can be a high-stress business 
  • Often need to work evenings and weekends

#15. Handyman Business

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $204,700 per employee
∙ Average Profit Margins: 5.4%
∙ Startup Costs: $500-$5K
∙ Time To Revenue: 3+ months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.7%
∙ Best for: fixers and repair experts, entrepreneurs who like working with their hands

Unlike home construction, you don’t need a license to offer basic home repair services or take care of odd jobs around a home. Homeowners often need these services, too, putting this among the most in-demand service business ideas that can be started for cheap. 

Handymen make more than you might expect, too. North Seattle Handyman makes an average of $1,000 a day working as a solo entrepreneur. Hear his story here:

Handyman Pros:

  • Easy to run from home as a one-person operation
  • High demand for services
  • Doesn’t require licensing or training
  • Work when and how often you want to

Handyman Cons:

  • Physically demanding work 
  • Work can be inconsistent

4 More Unique Service Business Ideas

#16. Personal Chef

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $129,000 per employee
∙ Average Profit Margins: 51.7%
∙ Startup Costs: $500-$5,000
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-6 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 0.9%
∙ Best for: Cooks, chefs, bakers, and other culinary experts

This is one of the top service business ideas for culinary experts looking to get out of the notoriously high-stress restaurant industry. A personal chef prepares meals for individuals or small groups, so you can still profit from your food expertise without the demands of restaurant life. 

Personal Chef Pros:

  • Less hectic than a restaurant
  • Doesn’t require formal licensing or training, but is helpful

Personal Chef Cons:

  • Less demand than a restaurant
  • May have scheduling conflicts if you serve multiple families

#17. Life Coach

two people sitting on a chair while having a conversation

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $63,400
∙ Average Profit Margins: 10.5%
∙ Startup Costs: $500-$5K
∙ Time To Revenue: 1-3 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.5%
∙ Best for: therapists, productivity experts, people who love helping others

With a life coach service business, you offer your personal services and expertise to clients who want to improve their lives. The most difficult part of getting started is establishing yourself as an expert. While you don’t need to be a licensed therapist, organizer, or other professional, that can help build client trust to attract those early clients. 

Life Coach Pros:

  • Build-once-sell-to-many business model
  • Multiple streams of revenue
  • Great for charismatic people

Life Coach Cons:

  • Differentiation may be challenging
  • People become immune to strategies
  • Many social media platforms will cancel people’s accounts

#18. Mobile Veterinary Services

veterinary van emerging from a smartphone screen illustration

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $72,390
∙ Average Profit Margins: 11.5%
∙ Startup Costs: $1,000-$100K
∙ Time To Revenue: 6-18 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: 1.1%
∙ Best for: Veterinarians, animal care experts

A mobile vet service is a convenient way for pet owners to get their four-legged loved ones the care and attention they need. This is another service business idea that will require extensive training to start. However, if you’re a trained vet and want to start your own business, it’s a great business idea.  

Mobile Vet Pros:

  • Lower cost of doing business than renting or buying stationary space
  • People love the convenience
  • Premiums can be charged for non-traditional hours

Mobile Vet Cons:

  • Less space to work
  • Inclimate weather
  • Mileage costs 

#19. Fingerprinting Business

∙ Average Annual Revenue: $132,700 per employee
∙ Average Profit Margins: 9.1%
∙ Startup Costs: $500-$250K
∙ Time To Revenue: 6-18 months
∙ Annual Market Growth Rate: -0.6%
∙ Best for: detail-oriented entrepreneurs

Some industries require fingerprinting for employees, so this isn’t just a service used by law enforcement. You can learn how to start a fingerprinting service business in the
podcast interview below.

Fingerprinting Pros:

  • Crime never stops
  • Some businesses require fingerprints

Fingerprinting Cons:

  • Working with criminals is dangerous 
  • Businesses will need less fingerprinting during recessions

Start Your Own Business

After you’ve chosen the type of service businesses that work for you, it’s time to do some market research.

Then you’ll need to write a business plan and a list of business services. After you’ve written your business plan, then you can get started.

What are some good service business ideas that you want to start?

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