The Most Profitable Service Based Businesses

by | Jan 25, 2024

Service-based businesses are a great way to achieve your goal of financial freedom, prepare for retirement, or even earn more money in retirement. And they’re much easier to get started than you may think!

We’ve already covered the basics on starting up your own service-based business in retirement – including choosing which business may be right for you. You can read that here. 

But we know one of the most common questions associated with starting up any business is: what business is actually profitable?

We’ve taken a deep dive into the most profitable service-based businesses we know of, to help you get the right information before you start yours up!

Business, Management and Administration Service-Based Businesses

  • Accounting and Tax Preparation 

If there’s one constant in life, it’s paying taxes. Everyone pays taxes, yet most people don’t prepare or file them themselves. This area of expertise can generate some really nice profit, especially as many business owners depend on accounting services for tax purposes and to keep track of finances and results. 

This means that you offering this service-based business isn’t just for one-off clients, but for returning businesses with big budgets to spend. 

How to get started: you must invest in proper education, meaning startup costs are higher for this form of small business. You’ll most commonly need an undergraduate degree, and expansion will require a CPA license or an IRS Enrolled Agent certification. 

However, keep in mind that the more qualifications, the higher the income. It’s a very lucrative business, one that’s a great idea to start up if you’re looking for extra cash or a new career direction!

Accounting and tax preparation are profitable service based businesses

  • Business Consulting

We know, consulting is getting really popular. While watching YouTube, we’ve seen over 10 separate consulting businesses advertised to us in the last week. But did you know it’s one of the most profitable businesses today?

There’s a reason why so many people are stepping into this field!

Many larger business owners have internal consultants, with a goal to improve their business plan, function, results and public image. Other small businesses prefer to hire freelance consultants for the same effect. 

Either way, if you’re familiar with any line of work or skill, a service-based consulting business is a great job for you!

All you really need to do is promote yourself in the right networks and you can start a small business in no time!

  • Payroll Services

Live near or in contact with large corporations/businesses? Payroll services may be a great option for you. 

While startup costs are high – considering you may have to purchase payroll processing software – you can easily affiliate with other businesses, promoting their software. If you can earn a commission, it’ll make the process a whole lot smoother. 

Either way, most big companies prefer to hire these services to pay their employees and file taxes. 

It can be one of the most profitable service-based businesses. Especially if it’s paired with any knowledge of accounting or tax preparation. 

Communications and Information Technology

  • App Development

A profitable service based business is app development

In the world of intelligent technology, app development is growing in profitability. Apps have changed the user experience, with big and small businesses alike taking advantage of the movement. 

Besides code-creating, you’ll need to know how to enhance apps and fix glitches. But it’s easier than you think to gain this knowledge through numerous online courses. 

Remember, the app-making business should continue growing for a long time. So if you’re interested in this service-based business? Now might be the perfect time to get started!

  • Graphic Design

One of the most creative and profitable service-based businesses is graphic design. 

Everything in advertising relies on visual aids to send messages, incite action, and develop an overall brand feel.

If you have an internet connection, you can pretty much work from anywhere with this service-based business. There are also several free apps and programs you can use to start with a low investment. 

Take Canva, for example. Its free account is revolutionizing the way design is being done!

As technology is here to stay, this is a great opportunity to step into. Plus, once you build a good reputation, you can even try providing an online course or building revenue through YouTube!

And, if you ever consider stepping into other aspects of marketing, you’ll have no trouble providing an all-in-one service!

  • IT Support, Technology, Consulting and Repair

We all know how crucial technology has become in every aspect of our lives. So when it comes to a service-based business you can rely on success? IT support has the chance of being the most profitable of all!

Know-how is crucial for this business, but if you know tech and have means of transportation, you can start up as soon as tomorrow!

  • Software Development

Software development service based business

When it comes to software development, you’ll need some pretty specific technical knowledge. But, as with most online business ideas, an online course can help you get there. 

However, you could also outsource your software development project to an agency. 

Afterward, selling that software to other companies makes for a successful business indeed. Plus, employment opportunities will grow faster than all other occupations, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics

If you’re looking for an added advantage, you could also focus on creating specialized software for specific niches. We all know the money is in the niche!


  • Tutoring – in person and online 

Being skilled in any school subject gives you the chance to be a tutor. 

Most parents have neither the time, energy or education to help their kids through school. And there are a number of college students that are looking to get a leg up in their studies. 

A hired tutor can help with homework, school projects, understanding a topic, and improving grades. Plus, you can quickly become known and grow your small business by hiring others to work with you. 

You could also study the market in your area and discover what tutors are lacking in your area. 

Plus, if you have an internet connection (which, if you’re here, we’ll assume you do!) the option to work online provides freedom and increases your reach. 

Installation, Repair and Maintenance

  • Cleaning Services

Cleaning services are a great service based business to get into

Did you know that offering cleaning services is one of the best ways to go amongst low-cost business ideas? 

And, since the pandemic, people have worried about cleaning maintenance more than they used to! This goes beyond homes too, workplaces themselves need cleaning services and this usually works on a contract basis. 

So, if you’re an avid cleaner, this could be a great service-based business for you. In fact, in a 2021 forcast, the market for commercial cleaning is expected to grow for a while! Whether you choose domestic or commercial cleaning, there’s profit to be made here!

  • Handyman and Maintenance

Much like cleaning, handyman and maintenance services can be really profitable small businesses. Lack of time, knowledge and confidence makes people retreat from completing simple tasks, but if you know a thing about: plumbing, electricity, painting, etc … You can make good money!

Plus, there’s nothing nicer than knowing you’re helping out everyday people in your community. Some would say it’s the superhero job!

You may have to supply your own transportation and tools, but you can establish a pretty good hourly rate. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary reaches $20.76 per hour.

  • Mobile Car Wash

Low startup and high profit make mobile car washing an outstanding service-based business idea. The investment is much lower than a physical car wash would demand. 

Plus, with a mobile car wash, you can often charge extra for travel. You could even provide them with additional personalized cleaning services, to give them the all-in-one solution for their car care. 

Advertise in your local auto repair service shop or in your local community groups, and you can be on your way to a very profitable business. 

Senior Care

Senior care is in high demand set to grow making it a great service to step into

Life expectancy has been on the increase for a while, which means there is a large elderly population these days. And, as you can expect, many of them lack the necessary support systems. 

A senior care company is one of the most profitable service-based businesses to start. In fact, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment should grow 25% until 2031.

This job requires you to work with housework and medication, additionally, it can also include everyday household chores like plants, pets and other duties. 

You could start as a freelancer, open your own company, or even opt to become a franchisee!

Marketing and Advertising

  • Marketing and PR Services

We all know how lucrative marketing has become, but did you know it’s one of the most profitable service-based businesses?

The internet may be a wonderful place, but you really need to know your way around. No matter how big or small businesses are, they often reach out for help. This means that digital marketing services of any kind are very much in demand. Both digital marketing and PR agencies will be on the rise for a while. 

If you have good social skills and contacts, why not consider starting your own business in this industry?

  • Social Media Management or Consulting

Following up on digital marketing, businesses also need to maintain a consistent online presence. Social Media Marketing is becoming a massive industry, one with a lot of demand. 

And it’s much more simple than you’d think! The main task is posting engaging content, consistently. Plus, you can work from home, and building a strong network can make it easy for you to start up your own online course to help others get into the game. 

While this list is definitely in-depth, you’d be surprised to know there are still so many profitable service-based businesses out there for you to step into. When it comes to wanting to expand your income, achieve financial freedom, safeguard your retirement, or just give yourself some extra cash during retirement, there’s something to everyone. 

We recommend exploring our full range of online articles to learn more about how to earn money – both in retirement, for retirement, and everywhere in between! 
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