10 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than $10,000

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Not all startups are glossy tech companies. At some point, every business was starting up.

Following are some businesses you can launch — even without much money — and expect to turn a decent profit. (Of course, during the coronavirus pandemic, entrepreneurs should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for face-to-face interactions with clients.)

1. Pressure washing

Pressure cleaning a house
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You need little more than a pressure washer and insurance for this business. And the pressure washer should pay for itself after day one.

You can buy one for less than $150, while the average pressure-washing job pays more than $300, according to Angie’s List.

2. Tutoring

Woman tutors a student
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Many teachers already tutor for extra cash, but those who don’t teach professionally can jump into tutoring as well. If you are experienced in something — whether it’s Microsoft Excel or chemistry — you can teach others for profit.

According to Care.com, a website that can connect you with potential clients, tutors charge anywhere from $30 to $85 an hour.

3. Dog walking

Two women walk a group of dogs
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PayScale says dog walkers typically charge around $14.74 an hour. So, consider this if you’ve got the time and an easy relationship with canines.

Again, your costs should include little more than some marketing. The website and app Rover can also connect you with potential clients.

4. Landscaping

Landscaper working in a yard
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Landscaping laborers earn a median hourly wage of $12.50, according to PayScale. But landscape contractors can do even better.

You’ll need some basic yard tools and a lawnmower to start out, as well as a way to transport them around. Other costs may include those associated with getting licensed, bonded or insured. Check the requirements of the municipalities and state where you wish to operate.

As is the case for many businesses on this list, you don’t need a brick-and-mortar office or other dedicated facility.

5. Pool servicing

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Just cleaning a swimming pool can net you $50 to $60 an hour, but doing minor maintenance and repairs on pool equipment can lift you into the $150 to $200 per hour range, according to SpringBoard Pool Route Brokers.

Expenses include insurance, transportation costs (such as gasoline) and pool chemicals.

6. Photography

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Photographic equipment can run you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. How much you earn as a photographer varies. But as long as you’ve got a good eye for composition and detail, you can rake in cash.

If there is a major celebration happening, chances are people will want professional photography to remember the event.

7. Transcription

productive remote worker
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From speeches to medical records and audio files, there is a need these days for transcription services. Medical transcribers average $16 an hour, according to PayScale.

If you already have a computer with the right software, your startup costs should be negligible.

8. Translation

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Translators and interpreters pull in an average of around $20 an hour, PayScale says. You can earn even more if you’re fluent in certain languages, including American Sign Language (ASL) and Arabic.

And, provided you’ve got the necessary skills, your business costs should include little more than perhaps some advertising.

9. Alterations

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Some call this being a seamstress or a tailor. But whatever you call it, if you’re handy with sewing, you can make around $14 an hour altering clothes for folks, PayScale says.

Aside from a sewing machine and thread, your startup costs should be negligible.

10. Home cleaning

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If you know enough people who don’t like to clean their homes, you could start a housekeeping business. Workers earn a median hourly wage of about $10.77 an hour, according to PayScale.

If you’ve got a car and your own supplies, you won’t have many expenses to start this kind of business.

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