5 home-based businesses you can start now

home-based businessesFor many stay-at-home parents, getting a job outside of the home seems impossible. But that doesn't mean you can't find ways to earn money by setting up shop in your home. Skip the envelope stuffing, crafts assembly, and other dicey work-at-home schemes out there to avoid wasting time and money.

Check out the following five suggestions for launching a home-based business. All of these business can be done with kids in tow if necessary.

  1. Pet care. About 63% of U.S. households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. Despite the recession, spending on those pets rose to $45.5 billion in 2009 from $43.2 billion in 2008, and the APPA projects that spending will rise another 5% this year. If you enjoy pets, consider starting a pet sitting, grooming, day care, cleanup or other pet-related business.
  2. Errand service. Many people have trouble finding enough time during the day to accomplish household chores and errands in addition to their full-time jobs. Let your neighbors know you are available to pick up their dry cleaning, wait for the cable guy, shop for groceries, or do other errands.
  3. Chauffer kids to activities. Do your neighbors' kids need transportation to soccer practices, ballet classes, or other events? Make sure you have appropriate insurance on your vehicle (preferably a van) and that everyone buckles up. Do not start a kid taxi business if your nerves are easily frayed by loud, rambunctious children or you cringe whenever something is spilled or dropped in your car.
  4. Yard work. Fresh air and lots of physical labor are involved with this business. But if you enjoy spending a lot of time in the outdoors and enjoy lawn care and gardening, this might be the business for you. Consider offering specialized services such as starting vegetable gardens, chopping wood, or power washing.
  5. Clean up garages. You can't be afraid of dirt and dust with this business. But if you enjoy cleaning and have a knack for organization, a garage clean up business could work for you. In addition to offering cleaning services, offer to set up and run a garage sale to clear out all the junk.
All of these businesses can be started right away by handing out fliers, contacting community organizations and letting people in your neighborhood know about your start-up. However, it's important to check with your local government to make sure you are in compliance with any laws about running a home-based business.

To get more information on starting a business, check out Loral Langemeier's book, "Put More Cash in Your Pocket: Turn What You Know into Dough."
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