Businesses with low start-up costs

Start-up business ideas

Starting a business can be a long and stressful process that can end up costing a large sum of money.

Statistically, a start-up is more likely to fail than succeed in the UK, and there is a very long list of business ideas that have been unable to get off the ground.

Many fail due to just having a concept and not enough planning behind it; with many failing to take advice from an accountant, seek legal advice or even have enough information on what sector they are entering.

With the rise of ‘gig economy’ companies, such as Uber, Deliveroo and AirBnB, there are new markets for business to enter.

Coming up with a business idea is hard, and so BLM has a list of 20 ideas with low start-up costs.


Do you think you are a good cook? Do your friends and family say you can make money from your culinary delights? If so, a catering company is an excellent start-up business. If you can handle providing for the masses, and accept the initial costs can be vary on the quality of produce, then selling food from your home is for you.

Please note that licenses are required for selling food in the UK.

Pop-up food stall and mobile catering

An advancement on the catering idea. Rent out a small shop or outlet on a high street and sell your produce to passers-by. This is a vastly emerging food market for major cities across the UK and competition is fierce.

A strong branding/identity is needed, as well as a visual social media presence.


The exact same principles to the cleaning business. Whether internal or external, there is a burgeoning market for this, due to rising house numbers in the UK.

Pet services

Excluding fish, there are around 20 million pets in the UK, with over 50% of households claiming ownership of at least one pet.

That is a huge market and many business opportunities.

Pet sitting, dog walking, grooming and cleaning services are just a few places where a start-up idea can grow.

House cleaning

Simple, yet affective. All you need is cleaning products and a way of transporting yourself around the local area. The costs at the start of the venture would include designing, printing and distributing flyers as well as a advert through a local media outlet.

Window cleaning

Major towns and cities across the UK have many houses, apartment blocks and businesses that need their windows cleaned. Everyone has them!

Similar principle to house cleaning – flyers and transport are needed. The rest is down to hard work and networking.

Make and sell products online

Do you have a creative spark and like to design and make different products? Then mass producing them and selling them online is an easy start-up.

Promotion via your own site or third party sites like eBay are key to this, as well as a strong social media presence.

Business consultant/public speaker

This is especially prevalent for experienced business people who can offer their wise words of wisdom to people just starting out.

Whether you were a CEO, lawyer, accountant, chef, sports coach or author – there is always going to be people searching for help with their business ideas.

If you are confident in what you know, then offering seminars can also be a prosperous business idea. Rent a conference room and sell/promote tickets.


Similar principle as a business consultant but with a more personal and bespoke approach. This can also be used for teachers and knowledgeable people for any idea.

People of all ages, genders and backgrounds are looking to improve their knowledge and understanding – if you have something to offer, then this is the route for you.


Turn your passion into a money-making business. If you own a good quality camera and editing software, then selling your photographs to media outlets and event’s organisers can be very lucrative.

Mobile phone repairs

If you are a tech-savvy engineer then offering a mobile phone service repair is a low-cost start-up. Buying the tools can be pricey, but the rest is down to self-promotion and networking.

Scaling up can be done by renting a small shop or outlet.


Are you a trained hairdresser? Then you don’t need a salon/barbers to operate out of. A mobile hairdressing service is easy to promote and very convenient for many families and people who cannot get their hair cut during working hours.

Massage therapist

Same as above. If you are a qualified therapist, then there are many opportunities to start a business here.

Personal trainer or fitness instructor

Again, same as above. Health and fitness are an ever-present part of modern society and many people are looking to get the best out of their time in the gym.

Personal shopper

You would be surprised at how much money can be made spending your day shopping.

Many people living with disabilities or those of an older generation need help with this and so offering a collect and distribute service can be easily done at a very low cost.

Furniture refurbishing

What’s old is new.

People love to fill their homes with antiques and recycled furniture. Items can be bought at low-cost, fixed-up and flipped for a profit.


Simple. Buy a printer and paper, and mass produce flyers for companies and anyone who needs it.

Hand out flyers

Events, rallies and promotions need to get the word out. Help them with their distribution!

Bed & Breakfast

Have your kids grown up and flown the nest? Are their old bedrooms not being used? Offering out your rooms as part of a B&B service can be a lucrative business, that is literally run out of your home.

…become a YouTube/Instagram celebrity

Admittedly, this is through a mixture of luck, good content and making a mark in an ever-crowded marketplace.

Think you have what it takes? Then offer you opinions, views, photos and videos to the world.

Gain followers – make money and sponsorship.

Read here for the top ten mistakes that entrepreneurs make!