Friday, August 22, 2008


A collection of businesses selected especially for college and senior high school students interested in augmenting their income through free enterprise.

These businesses can be started with minimal training and investment and are virtually certain to produce extra income. Most can be operated by one or a group of students, and can be sold for an additional profit upon graduation.

For best results browse through the enclosed business suggestions and note those that sound interesting. Jot down alternative products and services that come to mind. This list is designed to work with and stimulate your imagination. Only you can possibly know your personal qualifications and interests or the current market in your community. As you compile your list of "possibles", take a good look around your market area. Note what is and isn't available, what is over priced and inadequate that people in your community will pay for. When you find just the right combination for your particular situation, start preparing for a successful business!

The recommended method to prepare for a successful business is to write out a business plan. This is simply an outline of what you plan to do and how you intend to do it. Writing your business plan will force you to organize your business both on paper and in your own mind and help insure your ultimate business success.

Finally, check with city hall or the county courthouse (and school if you operate on campus) on state and local license, tax or permit requirements before investing. Sometimes a minor adjustment at this stage can prevent future headaches!

Finally, familiarize yourself with your subject and start ordering initial supplies (business cards, rubber stamp, ledger). Don't invest too much in initial stock. You will undoubtedly make adjustments as you learn more about your market.



01 - SCHOOL TYPING. Operate a typing/word processing service for other students: type assignments in draft and then in final form. Charge by the page; extra to correct spelling (except for computer spell or Thesaurus) and/or grammar and for rush jobs.

02 - AUTO MARKING Engrave (vibrator or drill bit) or etch (acid creme) auto serial numbers on bottom corners of front and rear window glass as a theft deterrent. Expand to etching custom designs or monograms on windows and around mirrors.

03 - 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.

04 - TEACHER DIRECTORY. Collect and publish names, credentials, photos of teachers in your area or at your school. Include their education, some background, current duties, interests and other qualifications. Sell to educators and the teachers.

05 - CHAIR CANING. Use cane, plastic or other interesting materials to weave chair, etc., 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.

06 - 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 owners to help them avoid future city actions.

07 - MINERALS AND GEMS. Where petrified wood, meteorites, jade or other potential gem minerals are available, gather, sort and process them. Sell finished jewelry and polished or cut stones, create displays, including information cards with specimens.

08 - GARAGE SALES. Buy a variety of bargain priced items at auctions and other garage sales (learn which things sell best). Clean them up (don't repair). Store until sufficiently stocked, then have your own sale " or "joint" sales at various locations.

09 - BALLOON BOUQUETS. Make up and sell balloon arrangements for special occasions. Add other unusual features, such as "talking" strings, delivery in costume or with a song (from a pocket recorder?). Offer extras such as gifts and boxed candy.

10 - TELEPHONE SALES. Call listed or phone book names to sell merchandise, services or subscriptions for a commission or hourly basis. Consider adding your own products where you keep all the profit. Pay fellow students to help on a part-time basis.

11 - BASKET WEAVING. Design, make and sell a variety of your basket creations: plain and decorated (or with arrangements). Include a small descriptive folder with each basket indicating it's lore and the fact that it was made by a student!

12 - CAT FURNITURE. Specialize in furniture and accessories for cats: toys, rug covered scratch poles, inside and outside (insulated) sleeping boxes, leashes, even clothing. Grow (or have grown) and dry your own catnip for toy stuffing and sales.

13 - TUTOR REFERRAL. List teacher specialties and availability for private sessions. Advertise for students and schedule them for tutor sessions. Arrange for student led group tutorials (seminars) for reviews to brush up for exams and tests.

14 - LITTLE LEAGUE CARDS. Take pictures of small fry baseball, etc., players, posed in uniform with their equipment Have printed on cards with name, position and other ''official'' information. Sell in sets with extra copies for parents.

15 - YARD CLEAN-UP. Clean up yards after winter, evictions or storms. Mow, remove debris, trim shrubbery, water, replant,. fertilize. Place ad after storms for private homeowners; list with real estate and rental agencies for wholesale work.

16 - POMANDERS. Revive this old Egyptian art in your spare time. Process oranges into hardened, long-lasting sachets. Use your own blend of spice mixtures and penetrating cloves. Showcase when finished in attractive, individual (sealed) boxes.

17 - CACTUS CULTURE. Propagate, grow, and arrange native and exotic cacti for retail and wholesale markets. Prepare information booklets about the species for each plant. Expand to hybrids and grafting and unusual specimens for extra profit.

18 - CALLIGRAPHY. Easily learned by an artistic person: work through stationery stores, distribute (calligraphed, of course) cards (display one in local paper). Print graduation announcements, wedding invitations, place cards and theme paper covers.

19 - SHRUBS. Learn to start, train and nurture shrubs that do well in your area. Display the best specimens in proper sized pots and planting mixtures. Include an info folder with each (care, lore, best uses). Charge to deliver, plant and guarantee.

20 - CEMETERY CARE. Contract with cemetery associations or families for small plots to provide care for grounds or specific grave sites. Offer monthly mowing, fertilization, placement of flowers, repair of any damages and periodic checks.

21 - AFRICAN VIOLETS. Specialize in the propagation and care of this popular indoor plant (great for small student rooms!). Nurture and sell when in full bloom. Offer accessories: pots, shelves and lighting. Keep small ad in student newspaper.

22 - CHILDREN'S STORIES. Compose (or adapt) stories (some with "messages") to relate at kid's parties. Create your own props and encourage audience participation (good gauge of acceptance). When story line is perfected, write it for publication.

23 - CHRISTMAS DECORATING. Make up a variety of Christmas (or any holiday) decorations to sell at peak periods. Offer prepared and customized arrangements, for room decorations or to mail home. Buy your supplies in bulk during off season.

24 - COIN SEARCHING. Buy rolls of coins from stores and banks, (or "hoarders"). Get a good coin book (from a coin dealer) and search through them for coins worth over face value. Replace with regular coins and trade in for more rolls, repeat!

25 - CONCESSION BOOTH. Operate a weekend booth or stand at a recreation area, shopping mall, flea market or parking lot. Sell your own products (for the highest profits), but take others on consignment if they will help attract more customers.

26 - CURB PAINTING. Always good for extra bucks! Use a 3 to 4 inch number stencil and fast dry black spray paint to inscribe house numbers on curbs in front of homes. Do the job fast, then request a (usually) $2 to $5 "donation" from occupants.

27 - STAND-IN DAREDEVIL. Advertise your service to perform difficult (awkward, embarrassing or proxy) tasks for clients (break or ask for dates, apologize, pay overdue debts). Charge for your time, mileage and for any actual physical risk.

28 - DAY LABOR AGENCY. Specialize in unskilled or semi-skilled workers for short-term or part-time jobs. Keep list of workers, their job qualifications and their availability. Be able to deliver workers when and where needed for a percentage.

29 - DECORATIVE PATCHES. Design patches, quilted names and sew-on decals for sweatshirts, garden shirts, working smocks, club jackets. Make up models to show (and sell). Offer custom made garments, patch adding service, or do-it-yourself kits.

30 - DELIVERY SERVICE. Contract with local markets, drug stores and pizza parlors to deliver their products on a retainer and/or per-trip basis. Call in for orders or use car phone. Affix appropriate magnetic car signs when delivering for each client.

31 - RENTAL PREPARATION. Prepare apartments and rent houses for re-occupancy. Do touch-up painting, minor repairs, cover scratches, remove stains, replace bulbs, mow lawn, fix leaky faucets and drains, shampoo rug, clean cabinets, fog for bugs.

32 - POPCORN PRODUCTS. Make up, seal and market various popcorn base products. Give your recipes unique, exotic names. Create colorful holiday, special occasion and "message bearing" containers to attract attention and show off your product.

33 - DOG HOUSES. Build and sell plain, fancy and custom dog houses in different sizes, shapes and colors. Offer a selection of extras: insulation, treated wood on bottom, air vents, insect repellant and storage space under hinged roof panels.

34 - DRIFTWOOD ART. With sandblaster, power or hand wire brush, form and finish interesting pieces of driftwood (and similar specimen woods) into decorations, lamps, candle holders and plant mounts. Collect more driftwood on trips and vacations.

35 - CHILD PICK-UP SERVICE. Pick up and deliver client's kids after school theater, games and concerts. Deliver and pick them up from parties. Offer reduced rates for more than one child per family; extra to stay until parents return home.

36 - LAWN DISPLAYS. Make and sell painted plywood holiday displays for lawns (Santa, religious, bunnies, characters). Offer lighted versions; charge extra to deliver and set up or pick up. Use Outdoor plywood (preferably signboard) quality.

37 - AUTO DETAIL APPOINTMENTS. Go to client's home by appointment to wash, wax and vacuum their car. Charge extra to scrub tires, renew plastic and rubber, to pick up the car and have it serviced. Offer polymer wax protection as an option.

38 - BABY SITTING SERVICE. Accumulate a list of qualified, bonded sitters and advise them of your rules. Advertise your service and rates. Deliver and pick up sitters if necessary. Pay sitters a percentage of the fee (they keep any tips).

39 - GARAGE CLEANING. Contract to clean out garages, sheds and attics for individuals, rental agents and absentee landlords. Charge by the hour or bid on the entire job. Get paid for the work and keep anything of value as a bonus.

40 - COMPUTER TUTOR. Go to client's home or office and instruct them to use their equipment and operate their programs. Advertise your consulting service to prospective buyers of equipment and programs. Offer a line of shareware programs.

41 - GARDEN PREPARATION. Offer digging (Rototill) service, with options to treat and fertilize gardens for customers. Plant, cultivate, weed, maintain (water, spray), even harvest for extra charges. Very good in rural areas for senior citizen customers.

42 - ANT FARMS. Collect ant colonies and construct glass cases to display them. Learn about ants first so your colonies will survive! Include info cards with each case on the type of ant and its history. Sell to pet shops, schools and individuals.

43 - GOPHER CONTROL. Contract to rid yards and gardens of these pests. Clean up hills (smooth, water down). Set traps, use gas "bombs", gas engine exhaust or treated bait. Guarantee your service for 90 days; re-do if gophers re-appear.

44 - GOURD CULTURE. Grow or process a variety of interesting gourds. Make them into decorations, utensils, painted figures, birdhouses. Retail finished gourds and do-it-yourself finishing kits. Sell seed packets with instructions to grow gourds.

45 - HOLIDAY, SPECIAL EVENT BASKETS. Prepare holiday and special event baskets of fruit, flowers and other "goodies." Have a retail display and take custom orders. Offer local stores baskets on consignment: let stores take orders for you for a commission.

46 - 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. Make money while saving your customers an expensive service call.

47 - HOME STUDY COURSES. Sell/rent new and used home study courses. Buy new courses on sale (when available) then buy them back from students (when in good condition). Consider giving tests and issuing a diploma upon successful completion.

48 - HOSPITAL GROOMING. Assist patients with nail, hair, skin care in hospitals and nursing homes. License may not be needed when you help patients to "do it themselves". Make appointments for this service or visit on a scheduled or route basis.

49 - HOUSE PAINTING. Contract to paint houses and apartments or rooms by the job. Have assistance (other students?) on hand when needed. Increase your profit by supplying quality (only) paint and supplies and bidding on the entire job.

50 - PET SITTING. Feed, water, exercise, clean up after and check on pets twice a day (or as agreed) in their homes while owners are away. Offer additional services, such as checking the mail. Call owners or veterinarian if there are any problems.

5l - WOODEN NAME TAGS. With template, scroll or jigsaw, fashion desk signs, name tags, door names, etc., from various types of ordinary and expensive wood and plywood. Apply exotic finishes and use quality bases. Native woods may be popular.

52 - EXERCISE COMPANION. Serve as a walking, jogging or aerobics companion for company, morale support and extra protection (good in cities). Carry any necessary (legal) protection (e.g., canes). Help client stick to their exercise schedule.

53 - 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.

54 - 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, school emblems, popular themes.

55 - LIBRARY RESEARCH. Use our talent and the school library to provide research data, technical details and background information for clients who need subject "homework" performed. Charge by the hour, page or a flat fee for your efforts.

56 - LIGHT HAULING. Use your pick-up or van to pick up groceries, haul off used bricks or deliver a large doghouse. Advertise with magnetic truck signs, in the yellow pages and paper. Hire helpers when jobs require; even others with trucks.

57 - REPORTING, LOCAL. Gather and write items about your neighborhood, school, town for local or home town paper. If necessary work free (at first) to gain experience and "name." For early acceptance, write articles about local people.

58 - MACRAME. Make and sell a good selection of hangers and hangings. Take orders for custom work. Find (and keep secret) good sources for materials, make up and sell do-it-yourself kits. Place your creations on consignment in local stores.

59 - 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.

60 - ERRAND SERVICE. Run errands for individuals and businesses: go to the corner store or across the country. Deliver and pick up messages, important papers, messages. Use helpers (on percentage basis) when needed to ensure prompt service.

61 - CHILDREN'S TOWN HISTORY. Write a booklet about your (or their) town just for kids. Include photos or drawings to stimulate and hold interest. Sell copies to doctors, dentists, hospitals and banks (to use in their offices or give away).

62 - METAL RECYCLING. Pick up, sort, process (dismantle, clean wires) waste metals from any source. Accumulate into lots, wait for higher prices and sell to salvage yards. Advertise to buy surplus metals from individuals (at lower rates).

63 - PAPER ROUTE. Operate one or more newspaper routes. Large routes can be operated with a car, especially with two people. More than one paper can be handled when schedules don't conflict (just don't tell either about the other).

64 - SIGN RETOUCHING. Use quality regular or luminous paint to re-touch painted signs (no special talent needed!). Charge much less than sign painter and provide results that spruce up your customer's image and save them a good deal of money.

65 - PEN PAL CLUB. Advertise for members. Categorize by age, interests, sex, background, educational level, political persuasion, etc. Charge an initial membership fee and then for a newsletter and/or for addresses of "matches" from your files.

66 - PET CAGES. Build standard and custom cages for birds, cats, hamsters. Offer a line for travel and/or shipping as well as models that can double as a place to keep the animals while the family is on a trip. Include cage covers and accessories.

67 - SHOPPING SERVICE. Go grocery shopping for busy or housebound clients. Get their list, buy and deliver. Use your shopping and pricing knowledge to get clients the best values for their money. Charge a percentage of the bill for your services.

68 - POOL AND SAUNA CARE. Provide regular or on-call cleaning and regular maintenance for home and commercial swimming pools and sauna systems. Work with distributors or place ads for your service. Refer repair work for finder's fees.

69 - DISK JOCKEY. With your music library, equipment and talent, take charge of the music at parties, business banquets and weddings. Offer a selection of music and package deals. Agree on the type of music and length of time you are to play.

70. TEMPLE RUBBINGS. With a large lumber type crayon and large sheet of rugged paper, copy stone or metal relief designs. Place the paper over the design and rub with the crayon to form a rustic representation. Seal (spray), frame and sell.

71 - PUPPET MAKING. Create your own puppets (cartoon, caricatures or custom faces). Give shows at children's (or young adult) parties. Train both "actors" and puppet makers. Charge for your shows. Make and sell puppets, skits and accessories.

72 - RAG DOLLS. Make rag, sock and similar stuffed dolls in your own unique fashion. Attach your label and offer to stores in your area. Offer to place them on consignment at first. When satisfied they are ready to sell, advertise nationwide.

73 - ROOMMATE REFERRAL. List and "match" singles, etc., desiring company and expense sharing help. Consider apartment needs, proximity to job or school, finances AND personalities. Good part-time project for person with a computer!

74 - SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHY. Specialize in class, team and school group photography. Sell picture packets, trading photos, graduation photographs, prom and homecoming photos plus pictures of students involved in school events (games, honors, etc.).

75 - SEED PACKETS. Collect, sort, label and sell packets of selected wildflowers or plants native to your area. On small, retail packets, include a picture of the grown plant, instructions, history and folklore to help stimulate buyer interest.

76 - PLANT INSTALLATION. Work with nurseries. Deliver, properly plant and prune new trees and shrubs. Provide initial watering and starter chemicals. Leave verbal and/or written instructions with customers on how to properly care for their shrubs.

77 - SHUT-IN SERVICE. Call and/or visit temporary or permanent shut-ins on behalf of absentee or working relatives. Take books and magazines, play games, read to them, listen to them, and be their friend. Report any problems to the relatives.

78 - SNOW CONE STAND. Sell shaved ice cones from your stand or van: with as many flavors as possible. Have a large sign with enticing illustration. Include other products to augment sales: candy, popcorn, hot dogs and coffee for cold days.

79 - SNOW REMOVAL. Use your shovel or snow blower to clear walks on a one-time basis or by the season (retainer plus time basis) for private residences and/or business locations. Sell and apply chemicals to help keep waIkways clear.

80 - STORM WINDOWS. Advertise each spring and fall to put up and take down storm windows. Expand to a complete winterizing service: caulking, weather stripping. Carry a small supply of needed materials to sell to customers.

81- SCHOOL PERFORMANCES. Record (tape or VCR) school band, plays, recitals. Sell complete copies as well as selected "up close and personal" shots that features one person or a small group. Sell these to proud moms and dads (or the students).

82 - BALLOON STAND. Set up your booth or table with an air tank (helium) and supply of balloons and accessories. Sell at parades, fairs, flea markets, ball games, wherever the kids are! Booth can be a light trailer that unfolds, ready to set up.

83 - TELEPHONE CANVASSING. Contract with salesmen or businesses to obtain leads for them or customer info from your telephone operation. Charge by the number of leads provided. Hire assistants as needed; graduate to selling your own line.

84 - TOWN HISTORY. If none exists, "publish" a booklet about your (or any) town. Sell or consign to merchants for resale. Or, show merchants a draft, sell ads and let participating merchants give them away as "permanent" advertising. Or, both!

85 - TRASH CAN HOLDERS. Improve the environment: offer several models, colors and price ranges of dog-proof but eye pleasing trash can bins and holders with covers. Arrange to sell new trash cans that fit the holders for an extra commission.

86 - WILD BERRIES. Pick preserve and sell wild (only) blackberries, gooseberries, etc. Prepare different forms, but emphasize that they are genuine wild products. If local laws prevent retailing, sell direct to stores, bakeries and fine restaurants.

87 - MOTHER NATURE'S SEEDS. In your travels, gather (pick, buy) wildflower seeds. Seal and label, then take home and cultivate carefully to produce seeds for nature's plants "from around the nation." Sell in individual and mixture seed packets.

88 - BIRDHOUSE BUILDING. Build and decorate fine, scientifically designed birdhouses and feeders for native birds as well as those that migrate to or through your area. Make up little info folders for each model listing its application.

89 - BIRTHDAY LISTS. Compile birthday (anniversary, etc.) mailing lists to rent to merchants. Or, contract to mail cards out each season on their behalf, with their return address. Get info from tax and voting lists, from drawings and contests.

90 - FLYER DISTRIBUTION. Hire students 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.

91 - RESIDENTIAL POSTCARDS. Take flattering pictures of well-kept homes (business fronts, too!) and have printed as postcards. Mail sample postcards to homeowners with an offer of 2 dozen or so additional copies at a "special introductory" price.

92 - LOCAL HEROES. Research and write items about local citizens that qualify as heroics (police, scouts, lady pioneers, ancestors, office holders). Sell to local publications, subject's family. After writing several, publish as a collection.

93 - PET PHOTOGRAPHY. Specialize in pet portraits: in their home, your studio or in a "natural" setting. Offer a base price for a portfolio. Go to dog shows and take pictures of willing subjects (don't forget the losers!). Sell to proud owners.

94 - SAWDUST MOLDING. Use free sawdust (yours or from mill). Mix with glue, sand, pumice, etc. Mold into figurines, lamp bases and other products. Develop your own sawdust, glue, coloring recipes. Make molds with rubber mold compound.

95 - MINIATURE GARDENS. Create various sizes of garden-like display containers of live plants for hospital sick rooms, boxes for balconies, rooftop planters, offices and apartments. Include instructions for plant care so your products will last.

96 - BUILDER'S CLEAN-UP. Clean up nails, wrappers, wood scraps after construction jobs. Sweep out building, pick up and haul away all debris. Salvage leftovers as a bonus. Work with contractors in your area - call them and offer your services.

97 - TEXTBOOK EXCHANGE. Buy, sell trade and rent textbooks, reference books and clean workbooks in demand near educational institutions. Offer your service by mail to new students. Advertise that you take in trades (last year's subject for this).

98 - SCARECROWS. Create interesting and authentic scarecrows for gardeners and garden displays. Sell do-it-yourself kits, complete with frames, straw, old clothes, frames, hand and face parts. Design and offer wind-driven movements as extras.

99 - HOUSEHOLD PACKER. Work on-call with moving companies and/or advertise your services to self-movers (list with truck rentals). Find a source for packing materials and make an extra commission on them. Help customer move for an additional fee.


100 - ESCORT SERVICE. Supply (legitimate) escorts for social events, official and business functions. Advertise for on-call escorts. Interview, qualify and have bonded. Have strict rules on conduct with signed employee contract agreements.

101 - EDUCATIONAL CASSETTES. Make, duplicate and market cassettes: technical studies, bible readings, children's stories, educational lectures (with permission), textbook chapters, language declensions, etc. Sell to stores or rent to students.

102 - BUTTON MAKING. Make and sell buttons and badges for promotions, special events and elections (both sides!). Work from a corner in your home; travel to and set up booths at fairs. Prepare buttons in advance for games, causes, celebrations.

103 - AUTO THEFT PROTECTION. Offer a variety of devices, systems and price ranges that you can install (and maintain) to help prevent your customers' cars from being stolen. Work with security supply houses and/or design your own deterrents.

104 - DAMAGE REPAIR. Restore property damaged by vandalism. Hire fellow students to clean, paint over graffiti, make minor repairs, replace glass. Provide owners with itemized list of duties performed and supplies utilized (for insurance).

105 - LAMPSHADES, PHOTO. Make lampshades from translucent, heat resistant materials with family or fellow student photos (with school emblems, pretty coeds, football heroes). Use client's pictures or take them anew to adorn the custom lampshades.

106 - COPYRIGHT FREE BOOKLETS. Advertise and sell unprotected booklets from government/state/university printing facilities. Reproduce them (most are copyright free), but do not claim authorship. Offer a selection to customers answering your ads.

107 - ETHNIC ARTIFACTS. Buy/create and market one category of products (Indian, Black heritage, German). Focus your advertising and expertise on a specific market segment. It's cheaper than "shotgun" advertising and undoubtedly, more profitable.

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