If you need more income and another job is not the answer, this
listing was designed for you!
We’ve prepared a selection of up-to-date businesses that can be
operated in or from your home on a part-time basis. Most of
these businesses require no special training and relatively
little investment. The most critical requirements are your:
- willingness to work and
- dedication to your business
Look through these suggestions for subjects that sound
interesting. Consider each as representative rather than
specific. For example, if you know nothing about African Violets
(#01) but are good with roses, by all means substitute roses for
African Violets. And, don’t overlook the possibility of blending
these (or other) suggestions to form the ideal business
When you have decided on your business, check state and local
requirements for licenses, permits and make arrangements for
start-up supplies. You will probably need business cards, a
ledger and a rubber stamp with your company name and address.
Although your beginning supplies should be adequate, they need
not be fancy or expensive. Don’t stock up too much as you will
probably need to make adjustments as you learn the needs of your
market. It is always a good idea to:
- write out your business plan – an outline of what you intend
to do and how you plan to go about it.
- List what you will buy from whom, how much it costs, where it
will be stored, how you will advertise, what price you will
charge, your gross and estimated net profits and when you will
Include everything you can think of that your business will
involve. The action will “force” you to organize your business
(in your mind as well as on paper) and greatly increase your
chances for profit and success.
In this (or any other) business, give careful thought to your
capabilities and your potential market. Select something that
you already know (or like and are willing to learn) and will
stick to – that people in your area will pay for. Your product
or service should be priced competitively, but at the level to
yield a fair profit. This motivates customers to buy and you to
work even harder!
GOOD LUCK IN YOUR NEW BUSINESS!
107 GREAT PART-TIME BUSINESSES
01. AFRICAN VIOLETS. Specialize in the propagation and care of
this popular indoor plant. Nurture, hybridize and sell when in
full bloom. Carry accessories, such as pots, shelves and
lighting. Keep a small but permanent ad in your local newspaper.
02. ALTERATIONS. Replace buttons, let out cuffs, shorten
sleeves, turn collars, repair tears for clothing stores,
laundries and cleaner who don’t already offer this service. You
can work for them or leave a price poster in their store.
03. ARROWHEADS. Collect, buy, sell and MAKE (with deer horn and
clove) Indian arrowheads for hobbyists, displays and
demonstrations. Sell instruction and/or information booklets
and do-it-yourself kits. Offer various types of flint.
04. AUTO PARTS REBUILDING. Work with garages and mechanics.
Specialize in rebuilding one part (carburetors, master
cylinders, electronic ignitions) for one or several makes.
Install kits, ream and/or re-fit and guarantee all of your work.
05. AUTO TOUCH-UP. Repair minor dents, cover rock chips, remove
rust, polish, clean tires. Renew rubber and plastic, deodorize
to help bring the best price or trade-in. Advertise under
Auto/Trucks For Sale, with a price (e.g. “From $25.00″)
06. AUTO PAWN SHOP. Hold cars as collateral for short-term
loans. Hold the title (if clear) or, “buy” the car with a 30
day or so buy-back price agreement or limited power of attorney.
Check laws and obtain legal advice before proceeding!
07. AWNINGS, WINDOW. Design and install permanent and fold-up
fabric and or metal awnings for storefronts, patios, house
windows, trailers and mobile homes. Offer a selection of
materials, colors and prices. Advertise prices and benefits.
08. BABY DOLLS. Create dolls with fine wigs from client baby’s
own baby hair as keepsake dolls. Try to get cloth from baby’s
actual clothes to make similar looking outfits for the doll
(work from a picture if possible). Put in glass case.
09. BARBEQUE. Use a portable (trailer?) meat smoker to take to
fairs, parades and festivals. Have a supply of prepared
sandwiches ready, but always have a fire AND AROMA (throw in a
little suet or sauce) going to attract more business.
10. BELT BUCKLES. Stock a selection of belt buckles for
truckers, workers, etc. Have special designs and insignias made
for local groups. Arrange to offer good prices on leather belts
as well (import some to sell at attractive prices).
11. BENCH RENTALS. Build bus-stop style benches and with city
permission, place them free of cost to the city at various
bus-stops. Pay a sign painter to apply advertisements for
clients who pay you by the month for the ads and space.
12. BIRD TRAINING TAPES. Make endless or auto-reverse tapes to
teach bird to talk, whistle or sing. Sell or rent the necessary
equipment to mount in or near cages. Charge extra to record the
bird owner’s own voice giving the instructions on tape.
13. BIRDHOUSE BUILDING. Build and decorate fine, scientifically
designed birdhouses and feeders for birds native to your area as
well as those that migrate to or through your area. Make up
little info folders for each model.
14. BIRTHDAY LISTS. Compile birthday (anniversary, etc.) of
people in your area to rent as mailing lists to local merchants.
Or, contract to mail out cards each year on behalf of the
merchants. Have a set minimum, as $25 for 50 mailings.
15. BREAD SPECIALTIES. Bake unusual or otherwise unavailable
varieties of home made breads: oat bran, low calorie, ethnic,
salt free. Keep a small ad in paper, take orders for loaves
fresh from your kitchen and/or deliver fresh to stores.
16. BRONZING. Bronze (or pearlize) baby shoes etc. Make
mementos, awards and trophies. Design plaques and unique bases
with emphasis on local needs such as Chamber of Commerce of
company awards. Arrange for engraved plates on plaques.
17. BRUSH CLEARING. With you truck, tractor and shredder,
contract to clear brush and small trees from lots and acreage.
Haul off excess debris or use a composter to recycle and sell
organic refuse. Offer to drag or level the cleared area.
18. BUSINESS EQUIPMENT. Buy surplus equipment from bankruptcy
sales and auctions. Store and clean-up, but do not repair (let
buyer do that). Advertise bargain prices for qualified buyers
and sell at double or triple your investment.
19. CEMENT BLOCKS. Mold small orders of standard or custom
blocks (building, stepping stones, curbs) in all shapes and
colors. Make molds when necessary of plywood and tin. Take
orders, sell form your “yard” and through nurseries.
20. TRUCK LETTERING. Use pre-cut, self-stick vinyl letters to
produce long lasting, professional truck signs (no art talent
required). Use chalk snap lines to mark lines and center, peel
and press in place. Stock and offer a variety of letters.
21. CEMENT MARKERS. Make “engraved” cement or liquid marble
markers and signs. Mold “backwards” letters into various colors
and textures of plastic-like cement for carved in effect. Polish
molded marker into a professional looking stone.
22. CHAIR CANING. Use cane, plastic or other interesting
materials to weave seats and backs onto casual and picturesque
chairs for clients. Buy old chairs with promise at bargain
prices to re-glue, refinish, re-cane and sell at a profit.
23. CHINA AND GLASS DEALER. Collect and deal in antique and
interesting china and glass items. Buy at auctions, antique
stores, private and public sales and through your
advertisements. Deduct travel expenses for buying trips and
24. CITY LOT CLEAN-UP. Work with the city to learn of lots
that must be cleaned up. Contract to do the required work on
lots they designate (city adds bill to owner’s taxes). Contact
absentee (or local) owners to avoid future city actions.
25. CLIENT LISTINGS. On your computer, input and maintain
customer (or business) information: customer info, purchases,
credit records, employee information, etc. Provide periodic and
custom sorts (including mailing lists) to clients.
26. COLLECTION AGENT. Represent one or more commercial agencies
(don’t tell one about another, though). Solicit delinquent
accounts for collection from local businesses for a percentage
of monies the agencies collect.
27. COIN SEARCHING. Buy rolls of coins from banks (whatever
denomination you can afford). Search through them for coins
worth over face value. Keep all of these and replace with
“regular’ coins and trade back in. Best in small towns!
28. COLLECTIONS. Accumulate collectibles (glass, matchbook,
baseball cards, comic books). Make up (from common specimens)
starter collections to sell to beginners. Sell valuable pieces
individually to collectors (some you got started).
29. CONCESSION BOOTH. Operate a booth or stand at a recreation
area, flea market, shopping mall or parking lot. Sell your own
products and/or consignment items. Carry some attractively
priced items just to attract more customers.
30. CURB PAINTING. With a stencil and fast-dry black spray paint
house numbers on all curbs in a city block then go back and
request a $2-$5 “donation” from occupants. Pass out circulars
the day before announcing your service.
31. CUSTOM CLOTHING DESIGNS. Paint, block print or transfer
unique or custom designs onto items of clothing: smocks,
T-shirts, jackets and fabrics to be made into clothing. Use
designs, illustrations, cartoons, things of interest locally!
32. DESERT GLASS. Collect and sell sun-baked, weather-beaten
glass in interesting colors. Make your own synthetic version by
baking and/or sandblasting suitable objects with inexpensive
equipment. Advertise your materials in hobby magazines.
33. DISTRESS SALES. Buy household items cheap at auctions and
close-out sales. Clean them up and sell as your own right out of
your living room because you need the money (e.g. to pay a
fine), and never because you have new or better things!
34. DOLL HOUSE FURNITURE. Make exquisite, scale furniture for
doll houses. Or, buy inexpensive imported items and upgrade
them. Normally, a little re-enforcing, sanding and a coat of
stain or polyurethane makes all the difference in the world!
35. DRIFTWOOD ART. With sandblaster, power or hand held wire
brush form and finish interesting pieces of driftwood (and other
woods) into decorations, lamps, candle holders and plant mounts.
Use deductible vacations to collect more driftwood.
36. ELECTROPLATING. Offer a chrome (and other) metal plating
service in your shop. Advertise in the newspaper and list with
auto, RV parts stores, auto restorers and body shops. Between
jobs plate items to sell (ornaments, trophies etc.).
37. FENCE INSTALLATION. Install fences for private homeowners.
List with hardware stores and keep a small ad in the paper.
Expand to furnishing the materials for a single bid. Offer a
variety of both functional and ornamental fences.
38. FISHING LURES. Use a fly-tying rig to tie flies and sell by
the dozen to individuals, bait shops, sports and department
stores. Design, manufacture and decorate fishing lures
especially for waters in your area. Then advertise and expand!
39. FLYER DISTRIBUTION. Hire kids or adults to distribute ads,
samples, coupons, announcements door-to-door or on parked car
windows. Charge extra to record occupant reactions. Contract
with individual businesses and advertising agencies.
40. FURNITURE RESALE. Select and buy promising articles of
furniture cheap at garage sales, stores (trade-ins) and
furniture auctions. Clean up, do minor repairs and sell from
your home. Concentrate on items that seem to do well in your
41 COPY-READY MASTERS. With your desktop publishing system and
“laser jet” printer, convert customer’s material into copy ready
masters that can be reproduced locally. Especially good for
small orders (set-up costs are very expensive for these).
42. DOG HOUSES. Build standard (bargain priced) and custom
(higher priced) dog houses in different sizes, shapes and
colors. Include insulation, treated wood on bottom, insect
repellent pillows or storage areas under the roof as options.
43. KITCHEN CABINET REFINISHING. Refinish in-home kitchen
cabinets. Remove old finish; sand, fill dents with colored
putty, stain (or paint), replace worn hardware, apply new finish
and install new external door knobs and drawer pulls.
44. WORD PROCESSING. Produce interim drafts and finished
professional letters, manuscripts and documents for students,
lawyers, writers and businesses. Make provisions for client
editing and subsequent re-writing as a part of your service.
45. TREE SURGERY. With a little training and experience, anyone
can trim, treat, fill and seal tree “wounds”. Start with small
jobs and gradually increase as you build confidence and buy more
equipment. Take large contracts only when confident.
46. ROOF COATING. METAL. Renew rusty and/or leaky metal roofs
with paint, rust killer, galvanizing, aluminized tar or
insulating (foam) toppings. Charge by the square. Tip: use
mobile home coating (aluminum or white) for a durable finish.
47. RENTAL PREPARATION. Prepare apartments for occupancy: paint,
do minor repairs, cover scratches, remove stains, replace bulbs,
mow lawn, fix faucets and drains. Work with individual owners,
rental agencies and real estate companies.
48. SURPLUS SALES. Buy bargain priced items at auctions and
sales. Store neatly in a secure area; advertise to find buyers
who need (and will pay for) them. Open your warehouse one or two
days a week or sell large items by appointment.
49. ROCKING CHAIRS. Make beautiful, durable rocking chairs.
Offer a variety of woods, finishes, sizes and styles to fit
every customer. Charge extra for carving, special styles or
made-to-measure models. Offer specials on Mr. & Mrs. sets.
50. GAZEBOS. Build gazebos. Display a standard model at a good
price that you can deliver or customer can assemble. Then offer
larger sizes and various extras, such as shape, screens, shingle
roofs, benches. Use only quality materials.
5l. GLASS ETCHING. Custom etch (with acid, engraving bit and/or
sandblaster) glassware for individuals to-order and for
wholesaling to retail stores. Offer monograms, town or company
logo, family crests, art designs and local themes.
52. GOURD CULTURE. Grow and process a variety of interesting
gourds. Make them into decorations, utensils, painted figures,
birdhouses. Retail gourds and do-it-yourself finishing kits.
Retail seed packets with instructions for prize gourds.
53. GOVERNMENT AUCTIONS. Go to major state and federal auctions
and bid on items for subsequent resale. List with auction
authorities to receive notices of pending auctions. Learn and
follow the rules to find the best bargains.
54. GRAPHOANALYSlS. After learning the art and getting a
diploma, offer your services as a handwriting analyst to
individuals, law enforcement agencies and attorneys. Start with
local readings; work fairs for experience.
55. HANGING PLANTS. Specialize in hanging plants (flowers,
ferns, vines) of all sizes and descriptions. Display for sale
when in peak condition in attractive pots, with interesting
holders and hangers. Advertise that you take in trades!
56. HOME HANDYMAN. Perform handyman services for those who can’t
or don’t have the time. Advertise clearly what you do, keep your
appointments and guarantee your work (to the extent of your
hourly wages). Save customers expensive service calls.
57 HOTHOUSE FABRICATING. Build and sell small hothouses, some
with temperature controlled venting. Offer electric heating
systems for use in the cooler climates and be prepared to give
advice on their use. Consider selling seedlings.
58. HOUSE CLEANING. Offer one-time or periodic house cleaning
services. Perform the heavy tasks (shampoo rugs, clean stoves,
wash windows, wax the floors, defrost). Have a check-list of
jobs to be done and agree on price beforehand.
59. HOUSE PAINTING. Contract to paint houses and apartments or
rooms by the job. Have assistance (high school kids?) on hand
when needed. Increase your profit by supplying quality (only)
paint and supplies and bidding on the entire job.
60. INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS. CASSETTES. Make recordings of yourself
or others teaching and demonstrating their specialties. Start
with simple operations (making a will; cleaning a VCR); graduate
to more complex instructions as you learn.
61. INVENTION PROMOTION. Purchase three to six month option
rights on interesting inventions for relatively low fee. Run
test promotions and buy only the successful ones – those you can
sell for a nice profit or successfully market yourself.
62. INVENTORIES. Specialize in taking inventories for area
merchants (at their convenience – usually after hours). Work
alone or have a qualified team on call. Check with an insurance
company to obtain bonding for yourself and assistants.
63. JACK REPAIR. Repair hydraulic jacks (take a course if
necessary) in your garage shop for individuals, garages,
mechanics, retail stores. Buy, sell, take in trades and rebuild
all kinds. Offer special prices to mechanics.
64. JEWELRY BOXES. Make fine jewelry boxes to sell to and
through gift stores, catalog sales and individuals. Line with
velvet, offer lacquered, inlaid, shell or seed covered versions.
Have varied finished and storage arrangements.
65. KITCHENWARE RENEWAL. Specialize in the renewal of fine
cutlery, pans and wood kitchen utensils. Refinish and reshape,
install new handles, reline, make pieces to match missing parts
of sets. Offer personalization service.
66. KITES. Build, sell and demonstrate all kinds of kites and
accessories. Start a program to sell advertising space to
sponsoring merchants during “meets” that you help stage (e.g.
open, between schools, towns). Give away kites as prizes
67 LAPIDARY (GEM MAKING). Operate a rock shop in your garage.
Cut, polish facet, shape and mount gems in commercial and
amateur findings. Sell mounted, unmounted gems and jewelry.
Tumble imperfections and left-overs to sell separately.
68- LAWN MAINTENANCE. Contract to mow lawns by the job or
season. Charge extra to edge, rake, collect and remove
clippings. Refer related jobs to cooperating businesses for a
finder’s fee or commission. Expand your service as you grow.
69. LIBRARY RESEARCH. Use your talent and the public library to
provide research data, technical details and background
information for clients who need their “homework” done. Charge
by the hour, page or a flat fee for your time and effort.
70. LIGHTING SPECIALIST. Design, sell, service and install
lighting systems for external residence and business buildings.
Use inexpensive 12 volt systems among shrubs for security and
beauty; colored spotlights for unusual effects.
71. LITTLE LEAGUE CARDS. Take pictures of small fry baseball
(etc.) players and print on baseball-like cards, complete with
their names, position and other “official” information. Offer in
sets with extra copies for proud parents and relatives.
72. MAGAZINE. SUBSCRIPTIONS. Sell a variety of magazine
subscriptions from your “office”. Use “gimmicky” ads, give
credit for leads and prizes for multiple sales. Do lots of
telephone canvassing. Have a special every time you call.
73. MAILING LISTS. Compile mailing lists from various local and
wider area sources (buy voting registration lists, check on
buying tax and license lists). Sell names to brokers or keep
current and rent them yourself (on self stick labels).
74. MARBLE CASTING. With “synthetic marble”, cast, finish and
market figurines, ashtrays, office (pen bases) and commercial
(trophies) items for wholesale accounts (stationery stores,
etc.). Make one or two special items for local retail.
75. METAL FOUNDRY. Operate a small metal foundry in your garage
workshop. Cast parts as a sub-contractor, custom items or your
own products. Buy or pick-up scrap metal to melt down. Examples:
dresser knobs, door plates and trophy bases.
76. METAL RECYCLING. Pick up, sort, process (dismantle, clean
wires) waste metals from any source. Accumulate into lots, wait
for periods of high prices and haul to salvage yards. Advertise
to buy surplus metals (at lower rates of course).
77. MINIATURE GARDENS. Create various sizes of garden-like
display containers of live plants for hospital sick rooms, boxes
for balconies, rooftop planters, offices and residences. Include
instructions for care to make your products last.
78. MOSAIC TILE. Buy patterns or create custom designed pieces
and install in an exclusive design for each customer. Offer
exquisite kitchen and bathroom designs, as well as spa and even
swimming pool arrangements. Charge for tile too.
79. MOSQUITO PATROL. With a sprayer mounted on your vehicle,
contract to drive through neighborhoods on an established route
and spray for mosquitoes (normally with a light malathion
mixture in diesel). Work with city or county authorities.
80. MOVIE MAKING (SHORTS). With your 16MM or VCR camera and
related equipment, make custom instructional, informative
(company introductions), promotional and advertising clips. Use
for board meetings, briefings and for cable advertising.
81. MOVING ASSISTANCE. With your truck HELP clients move (versus
“move” them – to stay legal). You can help them pack load, move,
unload unpack. Have stand-by crew ready to assist. Charge for
your time and expenses, not the move.
82. NATURE’S PRODUCTS. When in an area with wild products
(hickory nuts, maple syrup) that you can harvest, do so!
Process, package and sell then as genuine products of nature.
Clear your operation with the local health department first.
83. WINDOWS AND SCREENS. Repair windows: replace glass, repair
frames, renew or rebuild screens. List with hardware stores and
keep an ad in the paper. Fix one broken pane or bid to renew
windows and/or replace all screens on the house.
84. NECKTlES. Make exclusive, hand made ties from exotic
materials from all over the world. Offer a selection of designs,
attach your exclusive label and advertise in men’s magazines.
Try local stores first then try larger markets.
85. NEEDLECRAFT. Make your own style of homemade items (pot
holders, bonnets, towel rings) to sell on consignment, to
catalog companies, or at a booth at fairs or flea markets.
Present them in tasteful fashion with your label attached.
86. NElGHBORHOOD NEWS. Compile, publish and distribute a
neighborhood newspaper (or newsletter) with local news, opinions
and interesting features. Include lots of names; sell space for
opinions, announcements and advertisements.
87. ON-CALL CLERK. Register with several stores to be called
for temporary or emergency fill-in (for the store or an
individual), for clerical or sales situations. Should pay more
than normal wages and could lead to a permanent job.
88. PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT. Build and install (and maintain)
playground equipment: forts, slides, climbing/monkey bars,
sandboxes, swings, teeters, circle rides. Use commercial
patterns or design your own. Check on liability insurance.
89. PET PHOTOGRAPHY. Specialize in pet portraits: in their home,
your studio or in their own “natural” setting. Offer a package
price for so many of each size. Go to dog shows and take
pictures of willing subjects (the losers too!).
90. PICNIC TABLES. Build standard, custom and deluxe model
picnic tables Offer a variety of sizes, styles, finishes and
colors. Expand to folding model and sets with umbrellas. Offer
matching chairs, end tables and child sized pieces.
91. PICTURE FRAMING. Make unique picture frames for stores,
artists and clients from moldings, scraps, unusual fabrics. Set
up jigs for the standard sizes. Between orders make standard
sized frames that can be finished in a variety of ways.
92. PIES AND COOKIES. Take orders for or contract for your
specialty baked goods. Deliver to wholesale customers in
containers that appear to be full and have your name and logo
imprinted on the cartons. Give retail customers pick-up time.
93. PILLOWS. Make and decorate designer, fancy, or “down home”
pillows. Sell to boutiques, fairs, through party plans, sales
catalogs and advertisements. Offer a variety of sizes, shapes
and covers. Do custom work for client’s decor.
94. PLANT SCULPTURE. A profitable specialty: braid trunks, shape
into interesting forms. Trim, bend, graft, to create valuable
sculptures that bring premium prices. Use pictures in your ads;
sell each plant as an individual creation.
95. PRODUCT REPACKAGING. Buy bulk products (nails, beans,
vinegar) by the ton or barrel. Re-package into neatly labeled
packets, pints or boxes a sell for much more. Check with a local
attorney on any restrictive laws in your community.
96. PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY. Take flattering, descriptive pictures
of merchandise, clothing and satisfied customers for
advertisements, catalogs and brochures. Send sample brochures to
prospective manufacturers, distributors and retailers.
97. PRODUCT REPACKAGING. Buy bulk products (nails, paint
thinner, beans, vinegar) by the ton or barrel. Purchase and
re-package into neat (and full) packets, pints, boxes. Consider
using your own label (with legal advice) on containers.
98. PROOFREADING. Review manuscripts and printed copy and
advertisements for accuracy and grammar. Get considerably more
to review for content quality and technical accuracy. Work with
editors, writers, publishers and educators.
99. PROPERTY PORTFOLIOS. Prepare photograph and property
description folders. Make up folios for private parties (to make
sure their property is shown in the best possible light), and
for real estate companies to use in sales presentations.
100. RE-UPHOLSTERY SERVICE. Recover overstuffed chairs and sofas
for clients in your shop (sell fabrics). Buy good furniture that
needs recovering cheap at auctions to re-upholster and resell at
a nice profit. Take trade-ins to re-do.
101. YARD CLEAN-UP. Contract with homeowners, Realtors and
rental agents to clean up yards after winter, evictions, storms.
Mow, remove debris, water, replant, fertilize. Use periodic ads
in the paper, especially after winter or stormy weather.
102- TOY MANUFACTURING. Create, manufacture and market unique
toys that you can make in your shop possibly made in part by a
“partner” seamstress. Market to local stores, catalog sales
houses or by mail. Go to and have your own booth at fairs.
103. WRITE FOR CHILDREN. Write poems, Sunday school stories,
puzzle explanations, riddles, etc. for children. Sell to local
papers, children’s book publishers or in your own booklets.
Check Writer’s Guide in Library for more information!
104. GAG WRITING. Specialize in one liners and short funny
situations. Sketch your ideas, list each on a separate card and
file by subject matter. Offer your collection to cartoonists or
comics. Get their addresses from Writer’s Guide in the library.
105 – SCHOOL DESK SALES. Buy old school desks at sales and
closed rural schools. Refurbish and decorate into nostalgic
furniture, plant stands and children’s furniture. Sell restored
items individually, wholesale to stores or finish to order.
106 – PROMOTIONS. Organize community and commercial promotions:
order bumper stickers, posters; arrange for news releases,
interviews, photo sessions. Plan agenda, schedule workers,
coordinate events for a fee or percentage of profits.
107 – PEN PAL SERVICE. Advertise in both home and overseas
publications for correspondees. Charge for addresses or for a
subscription to your club news with paid advertisements placed
by those seeking penpals. Sell names to mailing list brokers.