Most business ideas can be set up at a low cost, under a £1000, check this list of 31 service business below to see which ideas are a good fit for you.
- What is a service business ?
- How many services businesses in UK ?
- How to find a profitable service business idea
- Content Marketing
- Commercial Photography
- Web Design
- Coding and web developer
- WordPress themes and plugin developer
- Food truck and delivery
- Facebook Advertising
- Other business resources
- Life coaching
- Fashion Designer
- Event planner
- Technical Writer
- Article writer or copywriter
- eBay seller
- Laundry and washing click and collect
- House cleaning
- Gutter cleaner
- CV and resumes
- Repair specialist
- Product reviewer
- Etsy seller
- Tree surgeon
- Garden lawn and landscaping
- Dog walker
- Video creator or editor
- Recruitment consultant
- Last but not least, sales
- To summarise
What is a service business ?
Some people, like me, love the idea of running a business that does not involve sourcing, buying and dealing with physical products.
For other people, they are simply more attuned to providing services as a result of their education or previous experience.
Now, consider some examples of service businesses that involve minimal contact with people in their homes.
How many services businesses in UK ?
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces estimates of the number of businesses in the UK and their characteristics.
There’s an estimated 5.9 million businesses in the UK and the majority are small or micro businesses.
But what percentage are service businesses ?
It is difficult to measure the exact number of services business units in the UK.
As such, ONS does not produce a measure for how many individual services businesses there are in the UK.
But you can form a general overview by looking at the service businesses by industry type.
- Construction – 17.68%
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities – 14.79%
- Wholesale and Retail Trade – 9.33%
How to find a profitable service business idea
When you are looking profitable business ideas, take 4 things into consideration :
- Consider your own experience
- Look at the demand for the service
- How quickly and easy to deliver the service
- Do you have prospects you can reach immediately ?
I’ve 30 years marketing experience and can quickly adapt to new marketing mediums and service industries.
So it would be unwise for me to suddenly become a mortgage broker or accountant; I’ve no experience there.
Look at your own industry to see the demand for services you are considering.
Look at trends in industry publications and websites, see what competitors are doing; use research.
Now, consider how easily and quickly it will be to deliver a service to paying clients.
If this involves a 2 year course to re-train, then think again.
Can you sell your service to people you already know ?
If you don’t, then you will have cashflow issues from day 1 as you build your reputation through other communication channels.
Don’t bother with a business plan or marketing strategy, get clients fast
Until you get those first paying clients there’s really no point wasting time and money with a business plan or a marketing strategy.
Of course you should do you research looking at the market and competitors but until someone puts money in your bank account for services rendered you don’t have a business.
I was working on a fixed marketing contract when a friend of a friend asked me to build him a website.
I got paid whilst still working my marketing contract.
Web design work grew from friends and family referrals then I focused on it 100%.
First up is content.
You can write, yes ?
And you have some experience from your current occupation or previous experience, yes ?
Then the fastest service to provide is content marketing.
What is content marketing ?
Content marketing is a form of marketing and promotion that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and useful content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.
With the objective of driving profitable customer action.
What are the most popular types of content marketing ?
- Data studies and surveys
Now imagine you are bookkeeper, accountant or work in a law firm or medical practice.
You have industry knowledge and know the terminology to write or produce content for other firms.
You simply need the tools to be able to research and produce said content.
- Any keyword research tool
- Google Docs and Forms
- A phone
- A microphone that records voice
- Canva for graphics.
All you need are clients and some proper training on content creation.
Who need content marketing services ?
Any businesses in general needs content marketing services to help them connect with new and existing clients.
But most businesses do not have the time, resources or expertise to produce high-quality content.
Ask those you know; get some work in your portfolio and you have an industry specific content marketing business.
We are all amateur photographers now that we have cameras on our phones.
When you have a passion for taking photographs, it can be hard to be satisfied with just the hobby.
Some people decide to turn their photography into a business after being inspired by others who have done the same thing.
A friend of mine specialises in photography for real estate; sellers and agents want a home to look great on a property or estate agent website.
With some hard work and perseverance, you can learn how to start a photography business and make money from your talent.
What equipment does a photographer need ?
Photography is done with a camera and lens, duh !
Many people prefer to use a single focal length lens because it tends to produce the best photographs.
However, in this era of digital cameras, you can take photos with any lens you can purchase from Amazon or a photography store.
When it comes to lenses, the most popular choice is 85 mm.
Because of its focal length, it allows photographers to get wide angle shots or close-ups depending on your situation and preference.
Check out these other business ideas
Commercial photography is used by businesses to display their products.
It is also a marketing tool that can be used to promote their business.
For example, if you’re taking photographs for an advertisement, it’s recommended to make them look professional; here’s a photography checklist to keep you on track.
Fashion photographers earn good rates by working with ecommerce websites.
Many photographers use Photoshop to tone down the blurring and bumps or scratches that occur on a photograph naturally.
Post production by photographers and stylists is done to retouch issues with backgrounds, the model’s skin and hair.
Web design has become a commodity service so I probably wouldn’t offer this as a service.
Instead offer the full package of :
- Design and brand identity
- Published content
- Domain name
- On Page SEO
- Lead magnet opt in
- Social Promotion
Focus on affiliate marketing, ecommerce websites and lead generation websites.
You will earn a far lot more revenue this way than just offering web design.
Coding and web developer
The field of web development requires knowledge of both front-end and back-end systems.
Front end refers to the user interface that the public sees and interacts with.
Whilst back end refers to the guts of a website that must be built to support the front end.
In order to truly become a web developer one must learn how both work and how to build them together effectively.
How much do web developers earn in the UK?
The easiest way to learn web development from the ground up is simply to do it.
According to ExpertMarket, rates are as follows:
- Junior Developer, 0-3 years experience, £70-£100 per day
- Middle Weight Developer, 3-5 years experience, £250 – £500 per day
- Senior Developer, 5-10 years experience, £500 – £750 per day
The web development open source movement has made it possible for anyone with an internet connection to learn how to build a fully functional website.
There are also many online resources that offer free and paid training in the form of books, videos, and lessons taught by other developers.
WordPress themes and plugin developer
WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) which enables users to easily create dynamic websites and blogs.
WordPress is a free and open source software, which means that its source code is publicly available.
The CMS has an active community of developers and designers who are continuously improving the core software and plugins that extend its functionality.
The latest data from BuiltWith shows over 30 million live WordPress websites.
Look at the GeneratePress theme; used on over 300,000 websites and users pay $59 for an annual licence.
Recently the same team launch Generate Blocks; blocks are pre built components with one click you add to a web page and style to suit.
Food truck and delivery
Michael is a chef who helped me during a food photography shoot last year.
He told me he’d built up a list of customers on a WhatsApp group to sell the deliver healthy food.
I know; incredible.
With a food truck or mobile food vehicle he now serves a wide range of popular dishes including burgers, fish, beef and so on.
He’s gone to places such as cricket clubs, rugby clubs, walking parks and tourist locations.
In spite of lockdown restrictions of indoor dining, Michael has made a real success of his food truck business.
And I’m sure this is a growing industry as people need to get out and experience fresh air and real life.
The cost of investing and running a food truck will be significantly less than owning a restaurant, and you have the additional benefit of mobility and location and timing exclusivity.
Facebook is the second largest search engine and biggest social media site, with over 1 billion users a month.
Advertising on Facebook can be purchased in a multitude of ways.
It can be as cheap as £0.05 per click or as expensive as £1 a click. (£1 per click is not unheard of.)
By bidding on keywords or targeting interests or demographics, you can have your client ads show up next to people’s posts in their newsfeeds, whether they’re searching for those keywords or not (and you pay accordingly).
Don’t sell yourself short billing clients.
Other business resources
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What is a click forecast ?
Estimate customer traffic before you launch your business.
Download sample click forecast
Download and watch a sample business click forecast.
Life coaching can help you organise your thoughts and identify goals, so they can start taking action toward achieving them.
Prospective clients may feel stuck in a rut or unable to take the steps they need to take in order to move ahead in life.
A life coach offers objective advice from someone who has been through what clients are going through, and can help you find solutions faster than on your own.
Again, you should have industry experience before considering coaching as a service.
I’m sure there are plenty of unhappy lawyers, accountants or web developers who need coaching, re-energised or help taking a new direction.
During my one pub visit when lockdown rules were relaxed a friend showed me a new ‘ath-leisure’ range he had designed.
He’s more a visionary and product sourcer.
He’s brilliant at picking the right fashion designer to turn his vision into a range of garments.
His collection will be sold exclusively with one major retailer and directly online.
If you’re an aspiring fashion designer I would reach out to existing online retailers.
These companies are always seeking aspiring designers who are closer to the market and consumer than than they are.
Gain contract work and projects from these clients instead of trying to design, source and sell your own collection; that can come later in life.
An event planner is someone who plans, coordinates, organises and implements special events, such as weddings , corporate events, meetings or online training.
In addition to event planning itself, they may also be involved in related activities like the preliminary research into a special event (e.g., researching venues or possible guests), booking of venue(s), selecting vendors for the event and maintaining budget controls.
They may arrange for catering services and entertainment at the event during downtime between sessions.
Event planners are generally employed by companies that host special events related to travel, leisure, and entertainment.
I used to host and manage 80 events per year when I worked in sponsorship management.
It’s hard work but really fulfilling meeting lots of new people and providing them with a great experience.
And don’t forget online event planning.
There’s Zoom, Webinar Jam, Clubhouse, Facebook Live and YouTube that can all stream live or pre recorded events for brands that all require planning.
Technical writing is a job where you can write about anything.
You can write about science, math, computers, medicine – you name it.
A lot of people who like to write — journalists, novelists, poets and others — want to know how to become a technical writer.
Because they like to write.
The main reason people want to know how to become a technical writer is because they want the freelance freedom that comes with that choice.
Article writer or copywriter
“Well I guess you’ve really got some kind of way with words
Maybe you could be a writer
You could do worse” penned singer Lloyd Cole.
There are no social media posts, no website content, no press releases with an article or copywriter.
Web agencies and business owners struggle with writing; many don’t have the know how or time.
That’s where you come in.
Tap into your existing contacts, colleagues, friends and family and figure out what they need words for.
Estimate customer traffic before you launch a business
A transcription service is a good business for those with a flexible life and can work from home.
In my industry there’s many expert interviews in podcasts, YouTube events and Facebook live events and the copy gets transcribed and added to the host website.
But transcription services are required in many industries.
The average transcription price in the UK is between £1 and £1.50 per minute for interviews and conversations.
I was on an Clubhouse call for an hour recently and I’d love to revisit what was discussed.
So 60 minutes is £60 to £90 per hour for transcription; not bad money.
All you need is a computer, headphones, Google Docs and the audio file delivered to you.
A translation service offers the translation of text from one language to another.
An old friend, Scott, worked as an engineer in Germany for a decade.
When he returned home he was fluent in German and eventually started a translation company specialising in German and English translation.
So if you are bilingual like Scott you have an instant service you can offer.
Fashion websites need product descriptions translated from English to Spanish, French and other language when selling abroad.
But if you have a specialist industry experience you charge more for your services.
- Sound and Music
Translators charge a fee per word, although you can also bill on per project, per page or per hour basis.
eBay was one of the first sites on the internet to do auctions.
it has become so popular that ebay has over 100 million registered users.
What products can you sell on ebay?
You can sell anything you can think of.
A decade ago I worked with a web designer who bought and sold Star Wars collectible on eBay.
He made more money on eBay than through web design services !
There are thousands of other products you can sell on eBay but the best selling types of products are :
- sports items such as jerseys
- instructional sports videos
How to offer an eBay service?
Start selling on eBay from your own home with little to no money down.
It only costs $10 a month to have your items listed.
However, if you want to sell more than a few items you will need to purchase an eBay store.
In order for you to get started, you will need a computer with internet access and products.
Use your selling experience as a case study then reach out to other business owners offering a service to merchandise and sell their products on eBay.
Laundry and washing click and collect
I work with a client who now offers a click and collect laundry service.
He has a website and a small Facebook following.
I connected him with a great graphic designer who created his key marketing materials; vehicle signage, shop branding and promotional flyers and letters.
The customer places an order online, chooses a time slot and the client goes to the customers home, picks up the laundry and returns it washed, dried, folded.
Now commercial laundry machines run into the thousands of pounds but you can lease commercial machines.
And typically a commercial laundry machine is 3 times larger than a domestic machine.
Profit margins are huge.
Then consider the commercial laundry for hotels, restaurants, cafes, bed and breakfasts and so on.
I recall my mother telling she hired a company to clean her house.
She needed a major spring clean.
The company charged around £60 for an hour and motored through the house doing the bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms.
House cleaning may not be the most glamorous service but as a friend once said “there’s money to be made cleaning up other people’s shit“.
The following houses need cleaned :
- Holiday let
- Pre sale houses
- Rented apartments
- End of tenancy property
I know many roofers don’t want to clean or repair gutters.
They don’t think it’s profitable work.
So therein lies the opportunity.
Get a pair of ladders, a power washer and get some experience under your belt, and you have a business.
Costs are low.
In addition to insurance, you need a few tools:
- power wash and special detergent
- Hat, gloves
The average cost is £150 per day for around 4-6 hours of work depending on the scope or state of the guttering.
CV and resumes
CV is short for Curriculum Vitae; Americans call it a resume.
A CV contains all the information about your outstanding qualifications and skills, impressive academic background, your professional and teaching experiences, your research interests.
It will be used to provide longer descriptions of the information contained in your resume.
Your CV should give a full description of yourself to show how you are qualified for the job and assesses the relevance of your background to the positions you have applied for.
You should target your services are people in your industry and offer a CV writing and LinkedIn profile service.
Recently my own accountant paid a specialist to rewrite his CV and update his Linkedin profile because he’s not a great writer nor has the time to do this
Data suggests there are 1.5 million tutors in the UK and a market worth £6 billion.
I paid for my son to be tutored in Maths and English 6 months before his exams.
Kids don’t get full attention in class and that’s what a tutor offers.
My son said he now needs a music mentor; he’s making music but need a sounding board; someone with experience.
So tutoring or mentoring exists as a service that you can monetise.
There are industry marketplaces for tutoring; start there first.
Then build up income and a repuation.
Then when you branch out, you can start to promote and communicate your services.
If you’re really handy people household items repaired.
- Lights repaired, energy saving light bulbs
- Ring doorbells and security cameras installed
- Wifi and broadband speeded up
- Kitchen sinks and tap repairs
- Toilets unblocked
- Drains unplugged
- Interior and exterior walls repaired, painted
- Radiators drained
- Driveaways and paths fixed
I watched a YouTube video last night from another marketer; after a minute it twigged he was reviewing a service.
I was rather disappointed he didn’t pay for the service as it would have made it more genuine.
Consumers turn to product reviews before deciding what to purchase because they are unsure; they feel the risk of buying is too steep before commiting.
So if you’re good on camera, buy a product with a good commission, review it, film your review and post your sales link in the description box below.
You could compare and review 2 similar products.
I searched Google and YouTube for 2 microphones and wanted to know which one to choose.
You aren’t going to make money overnight with product reviews.
I would be inclined to reach out to brand owners you know and negotiate a commission rate as Amazon profit margins are really low.
Etsy is a website where you can sell your handmade or vintage items, art and craft supplies.
Your shop can be anything from a small business to a hobby if it’s handmade, vintage or supplies.
You can pretty much do whatever you want as long as it’s legal and no adult only products are sold.
Pictures of items are the most important aspect of selling on Etsy.
The pictures should be as close to perfect as possible, which means they should be in focus and clear with good lighting.
how much does Etsy cost ?
There are a few types of accounts on Etsy.
There is a free one, which you can start with and then upgrade to an “Upgraded” account if you want more features.
The “Basic” account costs from $5/month to $50/month.
An Etsy business account costs from $9/month to $95/month.
A Pro account starts at $25/month but it allows for some features such as bulk listings that aren’t available to the free or basic users.
What are the best selling products on etsy?
Stickers, jewelry, home decor items, stationary items, vintage items and handmade.
How does Etsy compare to ebay?
Etsy is similar to ebay in that you can start an account and have your shop up and running in about half an hour.
Etsy has a policy of no false advertising within the context of the definition found at Etsy’s website.Via the site, an item can be offered for sale, while preventing it from being sold by someone who intends to sell it.
Is Etsy an alternative to selling from your own online store ?
Yes. Etsy is an alternative to selling items on your own website or through your own online store.
How can i compete with professional sellers on eEtsy?
There are many professional sellers that have been selling for many years and have a successful business on etsy.
Many of them started out by listing their items on Etsy and then they grew their business larger than they could handle with the help of the site and other sellers.
Further down the line you can offer Etsy services; seo, photography, merchandising, fulfilment.
A tree surgeon is a skilled professional with advanced training and education in the art of tree surgery, usually involving the use of powered tools to perform specific operations.
In the United Kingdom, two educational routes are recognised by INSETA (The Institute of Tree Surgery): higher level apprenticeship (awarded by NVQ) and degree/postgraduate diploma in arboriculture (awarded by BTEC).
What does a tree surgeon do ?
A tree surgeon is considered a certified arborist who has completed at least four years of post-high school education, including coursework and supervised apprenticeship.
Tree surgery involves an understanding of biology, botany, horticulture and plant physiology as trees are living organisms that require care and knowledge similar to that of a human being.
Trees grow and extend into a neighbours garden.
The routes of trees can grow under footpaths and pavements causing dangerous walking and cycling surfaces.
That’s just 2 of the main problems tree surgeons solve.
Garden lawn and landscaping
A qualified professional gardener can usually tell the client about the plants’ upkeep but usually only in general terms.
For example, the qualified professional gardener may say that “pussy willow requires an average amount of care and watering” but wont be able to say what amount is needed or when, because this requires a specialised knowledge of each plant’s needs.
- provider of lawn care services is also known as a grounds keeper
- a provider of landscape design services is also known as an arborist ( which refers to the care of trees in an urban environment )
- some landscape design service providers also provide garden care service as well .
A dog walker is someone who leads dogs on a leash in public.
They are usually hired by dog owners that want to keep their dogs as pets but do not have enough time to spend with them.
Some people hire dog walkers because they can no longer take care of their own pet due to work or extensive travel schedules.
And there’s good money to make in dog walking.
The average rate per hour for dog walking is between £10 and £20; but bear in mind you could be walking 4 or 5 dogs simulatenously.
But you will need a air conditioned transit van that is suitable for transporting pets to and from their owners.
You’ll need experience in animal first aid, animal care and behaviour.
And if you are going to look after dogs overnight you need a boarding licence from your local council.
And make sure you a good payment and invoicing system; you don’t want to chase customers for payment.
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Video creator or editor
Nick invested in a video editing service to help business owners make their videos look brilliant.
The service includes :
- A custom animated introduction
- Correcting the colour and lighting
- Enhancing the audio so the video sounds crisp to listeners
- Making expert cuts and transitions to keep the viewers attention
- Adding video transcription and subtitles
- The prices start from $199.
There’s very few people who have video editing experience and a huge market considering the explosion of video consumption; on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
A recruitment consultancy is a business that employs the services of a consultant to find job candidates for clients.
The consultant is usually an independent contractor, called a “salesperson” or “account executive” who is paid on commission, but some companies will pay salaries.
How to start offering recruitment services ?
- You should be experienced in an industry
- Pick a niche especially one that offers high commissions eg: financial services, creative industry
- You should have extensive client contacts
- You should have access to sourcing candidates by using services such as LinkedIn, Monster and Indeed.
Last but not least, sales
Target people in industries you know with a sales service.
Not this isn’t necessarily just calling up contacts cold.
Sales can mean setting up joint ventures to profit share.
Adding services after a sale has been transacted
Bryan sells a service in the form of training and mentoring for people who sell online training.
And Bryan ain’t cheap; he sells his service for $10,000 teaching people how to find joint venture partners.
I hope these service business ideas were useful; also check out my online business ideas guide.