Thursday, August 21, 2008


A collection of businesses selected especially for retirees who are interested in augmenting their income through the American free enterprise system.

These businesses can be started with minimum training and investment and are all capable of producing extra income. Most can easily be operated by one person or couple and eventually be sold for an additional profit.

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. These ideas are intended to 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 possibilities, take a critical look around your market area. Note what is and isn't available, what is overpriced or 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.

Check with city hall or the county courthouse on state and local license, tax or permit requirements before making your final selection and investing your available funds. Sometimes a minor adjustment can prevent future headaches!

01 - SHUTTLE SERVICE. Use your van to pick up and deliver commuters in cities. Save your customers the cost of a second car or risk of leaving their vehicles untended in parking lots.

02 - COIN SEARCHING. Buy rolls of coins from banks (whatever denomination you can afford). Search for coins worth over face value. Keep these, replace with "regular" coins and trade in.

03 - SEED PACKETS. Collect and label packets of selected wild flowers native to your area. Include picture, instructions and folklore on each package. Advertise in garden magazines.

04 - CROSSWORD PUZZLES. Construct crossword puzzles for local (then larger) markets; Offer variety of subjects, themes and sizes and subjects in different degrees of difficulty.

05 - GENEALOGY. Trace and document family archives. Provide full records to descendants. Offer a package service based on routine checks of information provided by clients.

06 - FLEA MARKET. Set up and manage a flea market at your (own or rented) location. Charge for spaces and booths, sell drinks and snacks. Advertise, provide parking and protection.

07 - GRAPHOANALYSIS. Upon completion of training, offer your services as a handwriting analyst to individuals, law enforcement agencies and attorneys from your office or by mail.

08 - LEATHER HARNESS REPAIR. Specialize in the repair of leather harness and tack (in areas with horses). Go to shows and list with tack stores and advertise in horse publications.

09 - SLIDE SHOWS. With your slides and equipment, offer a selection of narrated presentations to interested groups (PTA, church groups, clubs). Mail ads to prospective customer groups.

10 - MUSIC BOXES. Assemble, finish and install music works in standard models and your own unique music box creations. Sell through ads and displays and to local and catalog stores.

11 - SEMINAR PROMOTION. Conduct business or learning seminars in your area of expertise or hire experts to cover virtually any subject. Lease the hall, promote, sell tickets and snacks.

12 - UMPIRING. Work as an umpire for little league, company or institution teams (any non-professional sports). If necessary, start as a volunteer for experience. Move up when qualified.

13 - ARROWHEADS. Collect and make (with deer horn and leather glove) Indian arrowheads for hobbyists, displays and demonstrations. Give lectures, presentations, hold classes.

14 - PET PHOTOGRAPHY. Specialize in pet portraits: in their home, your studio or in a "natural" setting. Go to dog shows and take pictures of all willing subjects (the losers too!).

15 - NATURE'S PRODUCTS. When in an area with wild products (hickory nuts, maple syrup) that you can harvest, do so! Make sure to clear with health regulations in your area first.

16 - FLEA MARKET BOOTH. Buy one or more categories of merchandise from close-out suppliers and operate a flea market booth. Keep stock safe in a van and drive to and from the business.

17 - REAL PEOPLE DOLLS. Make and dress doll representations of real people (heroes, historical, client/client's kids). Include info card; present in attractive glass display boxes.

18 - GAZEBOS. Build, sell, deliver and install standard and custom gazebos. Design some to sell as do-it-yourself kits, which can either be picked up or delivered to the customer.

19 - ADULT DAY CARE CENTER. Operate a center to look after elderly and/or handicapped people. Offer TLC, refreshments, games activities and assistance, but not "health care".

20 - NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS. Compile, publish and distribute a neighborhood newspaper with local news and opinions. Include lots of names (balance required), sell copies and ads.

21 - DRIVING SERVICE. Drive other people's cars for them: drive second car to their new home, be their vacation driver, deliver car/truck/RV to them at the station and take the bus home.

22 - OPINION SAMPLING. Contract to conduct opinion polls in your area - by phone, door-to-door, or on the street. Work with businesses, media, list with an ad agency, or just place ads.

23 - BOOKBINDING. Set up a bookbinding and book repair service in your shop. Advertise and list your service with libraries, bookstores, printers, schools, literary clubs, collectors.

24 - WOOD NOVELTIES. In your wood shop, make whirl-i-birds, small cabinets, and novelties to sell at flea markets, wholesale to local stores and sales through mail order catalogs.

25 - GREETING CARD MAKING. Design and print (have printed) standard and custom greeting and all occasion cards. Include personalized, area, school and "company" oriented versions.

26 - CRAFTS INSTRUCTION. In your own craft shop (or the public library), conduct do-it-yourself craft courses and projects for pupils. Don't overlook special projects just for children.

27 - ELDERLY TRANSPORT. Provide scheduled "taxi" service for elderly and/or handicapped. Run regular daily routes with side trips and shopping "sprees" in between scheduled runs.

28 - PASTE CRAFT. Glue unusual fabrics onto hard surfaces (trays, dishes) to sell in craft shops. Sell finished items and also the materials. Teach the art and sell do-it-yourself kits.

29 - FIREWORKS. Put up a lockable stand and big sign in a prominent (legal) area. Sell fireworks in season and lease the booth and BACK of the sign between fireworks seasons.

30-APPRAISALS, HOME. Make official residential appraisals for home owners who want to sell, insurance companies, lending institutions and prospective buyers. Give written certificates.

31 - BALLOON STAND. Set up your booth or table with an air tank (helium) and supply of balloons and accessories. Display and sell them at parades, fairs, flea markets, wherever kids are!

32 - HOME HANDYMAN. Perform handyman services for those who can't or don't have time. Make it clear what you do and get paid for your time, not fixing things. Save customers money!

33- REPORTING, LOCAL. Gather information and write items about your neighborhood, club or town for your home town paper. Make your articles interesting to potential readers in the area.

34 - JEWELRY BOXES. Make fine jewelry boxes (lined, lacquered, inlaid, shell covered). Sell them to gift stores, catalog sales and retail. Offer music box works as optional extras.

35 - LAPIDARY (GEM MAKING). Operate a "rock shop" in your garage. Buy rough semi-precious material and fashion them into beautiful stones. Sell mounted, unmounted gems and jewelry.

36 - HOME SITTING. Agree to stay in OR look after houses, apartments while owners are away (water flowers, remove papers, turn on lights). Call the owners in the event of emergency.

37 - RAG DOLLS. Make and sell rag, sock and similar stuffed dolls in your own unique fashion. Attach your own label and offer on consignment to stores in your area and nationwide.

38 - STAMP DEALING. Buy, sell and/or trade postage stamps of the USA and/or world. Buy in bulk, sell packets, mixture sets and singles to beginning or intermediate collectors.

39 - CANDLE MAKING. Turn a hobby into a profitable business. Design your own line, offer custom styling, scents and special effects. Between orders, make a variety of items to display.

40 - PICTURE FRAMING. Make or assemble unique picture frames for stores, artists and clients from driftwood, scraps and unusual fabrics. Set up jigs in your shop for standard sizes.

41 - KITCHENWARE RENEWAL. Specialize in the renewal of fine cutlery, pans and wood kitchen utensils. Refinish, install new handles, reshape, make pieces to match missing parts of sets.

42 - OWNER'S AGENT. Check on and report condition of absentee owner's property (whether rented or vacant). Recommend (and arrange for, when authorized) necessary repairs or maintenance.

43 - DRIFTWOOD ART. With sandblaster or wire brush, form and finish pieces into lamps, candle holders, plant mounts to sell. Spend deductible "vacations" collecting your driftwood.

44 - COLLECTIONS. Accumulate collectables (glass, matchbooks, baseball cards, comic books). Sell starter collections of lower priced items and higher priced items as individual pieces.

45 - HOMEOPATHY. Specialize in natural remedy products and related folklore. Provide information on "reputed" remedial properties, but be very careful not to represent as "cures".

46 - WOODEN TOYS. Set up an assembly line to mass produce native wood toys from your shop for large markets. Rent booths at shows to help locate big buyers; contact mail order houses.

47 - WILDFLOWER SEEDS. In your travels, gather wildflower seeds. Seal and label, then take home and cultivate to produce seeds for your wild flower packets "from around the nation".

48 - BRONZING. Bronze (or pearlize) baby shoes, etc. Make mementoes, awards and trophies. Design plaques and unique bases. Arrange for engraved plates on your plaques.

49- FURNITURE RESALE. Select promising articles of furniture cheap at garage sales and auctions. Clean up, do minor repairs and sell from your home (as your own) for a nice profit.

50 - AUTO SECOND OPINION. For a fee, check customer's car to determine repairs needed and probable cost. Provide your expert and UNBIASED opinion. Offer list of several repair shops.

51 - RESIDENTIAL POSTCARDS. Take pictures of picturesque or well-kept homes and make into postcards. Mail to homeowners with offer of additional copies at a "special, reduced" price.

52 - SEWING CLASSES. When qualified, hold sewing classes in your home. Offer full courses and special "how-to" seminars for specific techniques. Sell material and supplies to students.

53 - BUSINESS EQUIPMENT. Buy equipment and supplies from bankruptcy sales and auctions. Store until qualified buyers are found, then sell at double or triple your investment.

54 - HANGING PLANTS. Specialize in hanging plants of all sizes and descriptions. Display only when in peak condition in various types of attractive pots, holders and hangers.

55 - MERCHANDISE APPRAISAL. When qualified, offer a "certified" appraisal service to prospective buyers, sellers, insurance companies and market surveyors in your field of expertise.

56 - QUILTING. Make and sell beautiful homemade quilts from "scraps" in your "spare time". Take color photographs of each quilt, attach your label and make up a "catalog" to show them.

57 - EQUIPMENT RENTAL. Rent out your tools and equipment (after retirement?). Expand your rental inventory by looking for bargains at sales and buying large items for rental contracts.

58 - CHILD PICK-UP SERVICE. Pick up and deliver client's kids after school, theater, games. Pick-up, deliver to parties, but charge if you have to stay with them until the parents return.

59 - CANE MAKING. Gather promising green hardwood pieces (like hickory) and bend and shape into interesting canes. Look for unusual shapes. Add tips, special effects and a nice finish.

60 - UNDERCOVER CRITIC. Evaluate restaurants, hotels as a patron. Report findings to owners, head office, or compile info for your own column or dining and accommodation guide.

61- ANTIQUE DEALING. When qualified, buy and sell bona fide antiques from your home showroom or gallery. Visit antique auctions regularly. Keep ads in paper to buy and sell.

62 - HERBAL AND SPICE TEA. Blend and sell different blends of herbal teas. Include leaflets with history and folklore in each package. Use uniquely decorated, preferably tin containers.

63 - REAL ESTATE ADVISOR. For a one-time fee, represent and advise either the real estate buyer or the seller (real estate agents represent neither really, they just want the sale).

64 - RENTAL AGENCY. Represent homeowners or real estate agents. Place ads, show properties, collect rents, have repairs made, check on renters; have units readied for new tenants.

65 - COLLECTION AGENCY. Work with one or more professional collection agencies; solicit delinquent accounts from local businesses. Earn a percentage of monies they collect.

66 - COOKBOOK PUBLISHING. Publish a cookbook of your own favorite recipes (usually a catchy, interesting subject collection). Promote and sell through appearances, ads and stores.

67 - HOME LIBRARY SERVICE. Go to homes (businesses) with large book collections Set up system for clients to maintain, or provide librarian services on a periodic basis. Sell kits!

68 - HERB HOUSE. Grow, process and sell herbs that grow well in your area (or greenhouse). Package products separately and in blends (pickling preparations, sausage or chili seasoning).

69 - NEEDLECRAFT. Make and sell homemade items (pot holders, bonnets, towel rings). Attach your label and sell on consignment, to mail order catalog companies, or through parties.

70 - CHAIR CANING. Use cane, plastic or other interesting materials to weave chair (etc.) seats and backs for clients. Buy old chairs; re-glue, refinish, re-stain, re-cane and sell.

71 - HOUSEHOLD INVENTORIES. Conduct official independent inventories and evaluations of personal collections, valuable furniture and family assets for insurance or probate needs.

72 - TOUR ORGANIZER. Arrange for a bus, refreshments and agenda; sell tickets (cancel when not profitable). Offer guides, musicians, box lunches; package rates for out-of-town events.

73 - TOWN HISTORY. If none exists, "publish" a booklet about your town. Sell direct or offer to merchants to sell or give away as goodwill (consider including paid advertisements).

74 - PET TOMBSTONES. Mold concrete markers for pet graves. Place reverse "epitaph" letters into the mold, pour in your mixture, remove and polish into an "engraved stone".

75 - CONSUMER ADVISOR. Advertise your free advice by phone of what and where to buy products for best values. Select from a list suppliers who pay you a fee to be recommended.

76 - RESIDENCE RECIPROCAL. Arrange for home/farm/condo owners to swap homes for vacations. Charge membership plus a small amount for matches. Advertise for members in travel magazines.

77 - BRIDGE LESSONS. Give Bridge, etc., lessons in your home when you are qualified. Charge by the lesson, or course. Hold tournaments, award prizes. Publicize your student's achievements!

78 - VENDING MACHINE. Buy, fill and place coin operated candy, gum, cigarette, drink or postage machines in strategic locations. Maintain, refill and collect coins on regular route.

79 - BASKET WEAVING. Design, make and sell a variety of your basket creations: plain and decorated (or with arrangements). Sell various fibers, plans and do-it-yourself instruction kits.

80 - CAT FURNITURE. Specialize in furniture and accessories for cats: toys, scratch poles, inside and outside sleeping boxes, leashes. Grow, dry and package your own catnip for toys.

81 - ALTERATIONS. Replace buttons, let out cuffs, shorten sleeves, turn collars, repair tears for clothing stores, laundries and cleaners who don't already offer this service.

82 - HOME SECURITY. Provide clients with thorough check of their homes/businesses. Recommend specific security measures and procedures to eliminate or minimize risks and exposure.

83 - BUILDER'S CLEAN-UP. Work with contractors to clean up after construction jobs. Sweep out building, pick up and haul away all debris and salvage leftovers as bonus.

84 - APPRAISAL SERVICE. Make certified appraisals of assets in your area of expertise and provide written evaluations. Schooling or state licensing required in some situations.

85 - VIDEO WILLS. After determining legal requirements in your state, use teleprompter and script to record client's official will. Offer update services. Combine with inventory service?

86 - BROMELIADS. Specialize in culture of these beautiful pineapple relatives with their hauntingly beautiful bloom. Sell growing on driftwood arrangements for highest prices.

87 - POMANDERS. Revive this old Egyptian art: process oranges into hardened, long-lasting sachets. Use spice and perfume mixtures and penetrating cloves. Package attractively and sell!

88 - BULLET CASTING. Cast and sell custom made ammunition for unusual or special purpose weapons. Build an inventory of popular sizes in spare time; sell kits and supplies.

89 - WINDOW BOXES. Build cedar or waterproofed wood flower boxes for windows and to hang over railings. Use rustproof screws or nails. Offer various sizes and tin lined models.

90 - BOTTLE STRETCHING. Make unusual vases and figures by heating, stretching and sometimes cutting various bottles in your ceramic kiln. Do custom "stretching" of client pieces.

91- ARTIFICIAL PLANTS. Make (or buy) your specialty artificial flowers and plants. Sell a selection of arrangements, baskets and special occasion creations; take custom orders.

92 - ART GALLERY. Display selected art items tastefully in your gallery. Offer your own creations plus those you buy to resell. Accept consignment products to round out your assortment.

93 - WELCOME WAGON. Visit and personally welcome new arrivals on behalf of stores, professionals, organizations and officials in your community. Deliver coupons and complimentary offers.

94 - CACTUS CULTURE. Propagate, grow, groom and arrange native and exotic cacti for retail and wholesale markets. Prepare information cards about the species to include with each plant.

95 - FUND-RAISING. Help local organizations raise money. Plan, promote, organize and manage their efforts. Receive commissions from suppliers plus a percentage for your expert management.

96 - CERAMIC FINISHING. Apply your expert finishes, designs and/or details to ceramic ware for retail or wholesale clients. Make items to retail, display or wholesale between jobs.

97 - AFRICAN VIOLETS. Specialize in the propagation and care of this popular indoor plant. Nurture, hybridize, put in attractive pots and sell when in full bloom. Sell accessories.

98 - CEMETERY CARE. Contract with cemetery associations, authorities or families for small plots to provide care for grounds, or specific services for individual graves.

99 - GOVERNMENT AUCTIONS. Go to major auctions and bid on items for subsequent resale. Take the time to learn both the value of the merchandise and auction procedures to get the best bargains.


100 - DOLL CLOTHES. Difficult work for expert seamstress, but pays well. Work with doll makers, collectors, sell at fairs and through advertisements in doll related publications.

101 - DISTRESS SALES. Buy household items cheap at auctions, garage and bankruptcy sales. Clean them up and sell as your own from your home because you need the money. Keep other out of sight.

102 - DECOY FINISHING. Buy "carved" bird decoys and hand-finish to resell or custom finish for particular clients. Specialize in one specie or offer a variety of birds. Make some into lamps!

103 - FISHING GEAR REPAIR. Repair fishing rods, reels and nets. Sell replacement parts. List at boat basins and lakes; advertise in fishing guides, store bulletins and a large sign by the lake.

104 - SHUT-IN SERVICE. Call and/or visit temporary or permanent shut-ins on behalf of absentee relatives. Take magazines, play games, read to them. Learn something about them: be a friend.

105 - BUSINESS TUTORING. Teach your skills to others, either in classes or individually. Help others get jobs, land accounts and get promotions. Good for retired managers, executives.

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