Starting a Business With $10,000

Do you dream of starting a business, but you haven’t set more than $10,000 aside to make it a reality? There are countless companies that got started with much less and went on to succeed. The key factors are having the dedication to put in a lot of sweat equity and the ability work with what you already have.

Whether you opt to buy a franchise or form your own company, these low-cost business ideas can put you on the right track toward making your entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Food Cart

Food trucks have boomed in the past few years, which can make the competition between mobile restaurants a little fierce, but if you have something special to offer that attracts customers, a portable restaurant could be the perfect meal ticket. Of course, buying a food truck will set you back way more than 10 grand.

Instead, consider a food cart as a more budget-friendly option. Street kiosks typically cost about $3,000, then you need another $1,000 for the rental space and permits. All things considered, that’s not a bad deal, especially if you have easy access to high-traffic urban areas. If you can afford a little more money, consider a used concession trailer, which is even easier to set up if you have a vehicle with towing capabilities.

If you have your heart set on a food truck, test out your concession trailer for a year or two to establish your customer base. You can then apply for a small business loan to purchase a food truck and the necessary kitchen equipment, food supplies and insurance. Lenders are more likely to approve your loan if you can show you have already established a customer base and are making a profit.

App Development

Are you a problem solver? Do you love technology? App development might be right up your alley.

Successful entrepreneurs need to solve everyday problems, and app development is the perfect niche for doing just that. To come up with your first app idea, consider the problems you encounter in everyday life, even if they’re mundane. How would an app help you resolve these problems or make shortcuts for achieving goals? Once you have a brilliant idea, identify the need for such an app by using the Google Keyword Planner to see how many people are looking for similar solutions.

Every app should boast an exceptional design that sets the tone for how users experience the app. At this point, you will want to hire a designer or developer if you don’t have the skill set to complete the project on your own. There are countless companies willing to take your smartphone application idea and turn it into a downloadable app. Most charge $1,000 to $2,000 and allow you to keep partial ownership of the app as the developer, which is a bargain.

There are also ongoing marketing expenses to consider, and income potential varies, but app development has made many entrepreneurs rich with little effort on their part, so it’s worth a shot!

PC Repair

Do you love computers and have a knack for fixing things? If you’re the go-to person for friends and family when they need their computer repaired, you might want to turn your hobby into a small business.

Everyone has a computer, and rather than replacing the entire PC when something goes wrong, it’s usually more cost-effective to repair the problem. There’s a lot of competition in the computer repair world, but if you’re good at it, offer competitive prices and know how to market your services, your business could flourish.

Obtaining a license and insurance for a computer repair service costs about $2,000. There are also marketing costs to consider, especially when you’re starting out and need to spread the word about your services. Recurring expenses include equipment and software upgrades, fuel for house calls and rent for a separate commercial office space. Still, you can start a PC repair business from your own home to keep overhead costs down.

To really grow your earning potential, offer your services to businesses instead of just residential customers. You could charge as much as $100 per hour depending on where you live and how in demand your skill set is.


There’s a reason so many entrepreneurs start their own cleaning services. Someone always needs a house or business cleaned, ensuring cleaning specialists are always in demand. You can even specialize in certain types of cleaning. For example, you may want to market your services to upscale housing developments, office parks or vacation homes. Another option is to market your business as eco-conscious, using only environmentally friendly products.

No matter which specialty you choose, you will need to invest in a few basics. For starters, you need a vehicle that can haul all your cleaning supplies. Most professional cleaners supply their own equipment, although you may have a deal with the client to use their on-site vacuum. Other things you need include business cards, protective gear, professional invoices, marketing, gas and certifications. You will also need to upgrade or replace your supplies on a regular basis.

For franchise opportunities, consider Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems. This commercial cleaning company offers franchises for as low as $3,300, and you get to focus on a commercial niche.

Pet Walking

If you love pets and don’t mind walking a lot, pet walking can be a surprisingly lucrative business. There are recurring expenses to consider, including ongoing marketing, but you can get started as a pet walker for as little as a few hundred bucks. Many dog walkers opt to obtain a business license and become insured and bonded to protect themselves and their clients, especially if they walk multiple dogs at once, but even those costs make pet walking one of the most affordable services you can start.

Keep in mind, however, that a lot of energy is required to be a dog walker. You’ll also have to scoop poop, which isn’t exciting. Occasionally, you may have to discipline an animal, so it’s good to brush up on training skills. If you’re good at training, you might even upsell training services to your clients.

Startup expenses to become a pet walker include flyers, business cards, invoices and other marketing essentials. Try networking with local vets and animal shelters to spread your message and attract new clients.

Vending Machines

Do you wish you could make money with little effort? Consider investing in a vending machine. Vending machines cost anywhere from $200 to $5,000 depending on the machine you buy, and many owners enlist the help of locating companies to find viable locations for their machines, which will cost extra.

Once you own a vending machine, you need to purchase products to refill it on a regular basis to keep it well-stocked. There are also transportation and service costs to consider, and some locations require a fee for renting the space based on how much money the machine earns.

How much you earn with a vending machine largely depends on its location. If it’s positioned in a high-traffic area, you could be looking at $50 a week. That may not sound like much, but once you have a few vending machines in various locations around town, your income increases exponentially.

Business Waste Disposal

Waste disposal and recycling is a major cost among businesses. Many companies prefer hiring environmental waste consultants to help them dispose of and recycle computers, printers, paper and various other waste to save money. One of the extra perks of waste disposal is that you can strip equipment of valuable copper and gold, giving you another source of income. If you’re a highly trained waste disposal consultant, you could earn up to $2,000 per company.

When you take care of the waste disposal yourself, a pickup truck or van capable of hauling all that secondhand equipment is your biggest expense. You’ll also need to invest funds into marketing, promotion, stripping equipment and a workshop or warehouse space. It’s also a smart idea to join a professional network like Environmental Waste Solutions to appear more credible.

Party Rentals

Bouncy castles and other inflatables are everywhere these days. From kids’ birthday parties to schools and churches, inflated structures provide hours of fun no matter the venue. When you have a party rental service, you’re the go-to source for these portable parties, so you’re sure to be in high demand.

Depending on the equipment you buy, starting a party rental business can cost anywhere from $200 to more than $5,000. Aside from bouncy structures, you may consider obstacle courses, water slides, lighting effects and casino-type games to diversify your offerings. You will also need liability insurance, a blower to inflate the equipment, a dolly, storage bags, tarps, patch kits and a branded vehicle to transport everything to the party site.

There’s a lot of physical energy required for party rental businesses, so be prepared to do the work. You will also need to market your business a lot, especially during the first year, until word-of-mouth promotion starts to spread. As for the income potential, it really depends on how many inflatables you have. Five will earn you around $1,000 per month if you set them up every weekend.

Lawn Care

From business parks and apartment complexes to private homes, everyone needs their lawn cut, so why not be the business providing this essential service?

To start your lawn care service, you will need a lot of equipment, including mowers, weed eaters, seeders, bags and brooms, just for starters. There’s also liability insurance, a business license and a business telephone number to consider, not to mention various local requirements to make the business legal. Even so, you can start a professional lawn care service for as little as $3,000. Just be sure to reserve funds for upkeep and equipment repair.

Once you’ve established your customer base, you can hire summer workers and purchase extra equipment to handle even more clients. If you have the experience, you can even upsell additional services such as landscaping or tree care. Best of all, you’ll spend your days outside enjoying the summer sun, which is a fantastic way for any outdoor enthusiast to make a living.


Are you a jack-of-all-trades who can fix anything from rotten floors to dishwashers? Most people don’t have the time or knowledge to fix essential items around the home, which is why so many handyman services step up to answer the call. If you’re good at what you do and can build up a great reputation, you’ll be the handyman customers call whenever they need something fixed.

To get started as a handyman, you will need to purchase your own tools. Other costs include a vehicle to carry your supplies, ladders and commonly used hardware supplies. In most cases, however, you can investigate a customer’s problem, offer an estimate and go purchase the necessary supplies for that particular job.

Other recurring expenses include equipment repair, fuel costs, upgrades and utilities. Even if you’re not the handy type, you could start a business that outsources handymen, which would require a dispatch service. Many handymen start out earning $43,000 per year, which isn’t too shabby!


Are you a highly organized person who is good with numbers? Starting a bookkeeping service might be the perfect niche. All companies need a professional bookkeeper, but not everyone hires their own in-house bookkeeper to get the job done. As an independent bookkeeper, you work with multiple clients to complete accounting tasks. It’s even better if you have a background in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

As a bookkeeper, you will need to stay current on tax laws, which requires attending conferences and signing up for newsletters. You’ll also need your own materials and software to provide invoices, expense reports, receipts and other necessary forms. Having a fax machine is also a perk.

Starting your own business with $10K or less is easier than you might think. If you need additional financial support to get your company off the ground, consider taking out a loan from an online lender with competitive rates.

Want to dig deeper?