10 Businesses You Can Start With Less Than $10,000

If you are planning to start a business but are hesitant because you are concerned about the required capital to get it moving, you would be pleasantly surprised to know not all enterprises need funding that warrant a bank loan. There are a number of businesses that you can start for under $10,000 with the potential for good Return on Investment or ROI.

Here are 10 businesses you can start with less than $10,000:

1 – Photographer. If you have a talent for “capturing the moment” or for translating images into stories without need for words, then a career as a photographer should be in your horizon.


The industry can be competitive; in Australia there are 6,000 photographers who are routinely offering their services for weddings, birthdays, school and sporting events, business functions and glamour photography. But the evolution of digital technology has continued to increase the demand for professional photographers to lend their expertise for special occasions.

Start-up costs are estimated at $9,500 distributed as follows: $3,500 for a camera body, $2,000 on a lens and $4,000 for lighting flash and a studio set up.

2 – Personal Trainer. According to a study by IBISWorld, the personal training industry has enjoyed robust growth the past five years beginning 2009. Demand for personal training services has been spurred on by increased awareness on the importance of physical fitness and Australia’s growing economic prosperity has opened up greater allocation from disposable income.

Having a personal interest in fitness is not enough to become a personal trainer. You need to receive certification from the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers which will cost approximately $6,800. You’ll also have to set up a studio either in your home the equipment of which would depend on your specialization. Suffice to say, $3,000 should cover the basic equipment and facilities such as mats, mirrors, appropriate lighting and ventilation.

As a personal trainer, you should also get insurance which would cost an estimated $350.

3 – Business Waste Consulting. Every month several businesses spend thousands of dollars on waste disposal and recycling. Some companies hire waste management consultants to design waste reduction and recycling systems which could translate to cost savings. With a great deal of research and extensive training, you could be realizing these cost savings.

Before you decide on pursuing this business, it would be strongly advisable to check the prevailing laws in your area of interest. There could be existing provisions and guidelines on waste management and particularly waste disposal. For sure, local government agencies will require you to secure certain certifications as proof of your capability to service clients.

Estimated start-up costs is $5,000 with the truck as your biggest expense item. You would also need a warehouse to process specific types of minerals and chemicals plus facilities to support e-cycling waste requirements.

4 – Website Designer or Software Developer. With today’s increasingly mobile technology dependent consumer, having a website is no longer an option for businesses. If you want to take your business to the next level, you absolutely must have a website.


The website design industry is forecast to grow 4.6% over the next five years beginning 2014-2015. The industry is expected to expand by 4.5% to $3 Billion in 2015. The web design industry in Australia is characterized by a huge number of small businesses and has a low level of market share concentration. There are currently no major players in this industry largely because there are low barriers to entry.

In addition to having the necessary education and advanced training to become a web designer, you must also have the proper tools of the trade and access to the right people for your team. Web design is very labor-intensive but the need for specific skills will depend on what the client wants and what the website is about. Thus, if you are planning to start a Web Design business you must be prepared to subcontract personnel.

Web Design and Web Development are two (2) distinct disciplines that each requires specialized skills and competencies. Not all website designers know programming. And if they do, the skill level may be limited. A Web Developer is an important component of building a website. Make sure you have several website developers in your speed dial. Another area for consideration is software development which is also increasing in demand.

Software development is a more complicated business because design and creation of applications require several positions; each one managed by a person with a specified skill set. But this is a lucrative industry which is increasingly in demand from companies that want to get a head start on their competition.

Your start-up costs should cover a reliable computer, a mobile responsive website plus software which could cost $1,500 to $2,500.

5 – Online Retailer. According to Forrester Research, online retail was estimated to be a $36.8 Billion industry last 2013 with 87% of purchases coming from Australian websites. This number is expected to increase throughout 2015 and beyond as consumers become more dependent on digital technology to transact and manage day-to-day affairs.

In October 2014, there were more than seven (7) billion SIM cards operating in the planet; more than the population of the entire human race. In January 2015, 60% of online traffic came from mobile gadgets finally supplanting the desk top, These are proof that the world and its consumers are widely involved in the Internet. Let us not forget that there is a market of three (3) billion Internet users everyday!

Online retailing is the smart way to start out a business. It is low cost with the potential for high returns.

Start-up costs will include a customized WordPress e-commerce website estimated at $5,000 plus PayPal and Google Adword software for another $1,000. The rest of your budget should go to marketing and promotional activities focusing on customer acquisition.

6 – Accounting services. One of the reasons businesses fail is poor cash management practices. Every business needs to have its accounting processes set up for efficient management of cash and other sources of funding. Setting up an accounting process is simple and most frameworks or work flows can be managed by 1 to 3 people depending on the complexity of the business.

Accounting services are a component of back office solutions. Since 2009; which coincided with the Euro Zone crisis, several companies worldwide started outsourcing their back office operations including accounting. By outsourcing accounting, companies can divest themselves of non-essential tasks, generate cost savings and focus resources on its core business.

With an accounting business, you can capture clients within the domestic market as well as the international market.

Start-Up costs would be estimated at $1,500 to $2,000 which include a reliable computer with the latest accounting software such as QuickBooks which offer affordable monthly subscription plans.

You would also need to register as an agent with the Business Activity Statements or BAS which costs $100 every three (3) years and personal indemnity insurance estimated to cost $400. You would potentially have to hire personnel. The workflow for accounting is agent to Quality Control to accountant.

7 – Wedding Planner. There are 100,000 weddings in Australia every year and each wedding will cost $30,000. Most couples are work and have barely enough time in a day to allocate for wedding planning. Weddings are life milestones but can be very stressful especially for the bride. So they turn to professional wedding planners for assistance.

This is a low-cost venture with a high upside in revenues. Definitely, you should invest in building a mobile responsive and interactive website which may set you back $1,500 to $3,000 but the bulk of your expenses will go to networking activities. In addition to clientele, you should have a data base of suppliers ready at your beck and call. These include florists, caterers, photographers, videographers, transportation services, distributor of giveaways, print shops and wedding day assistants or coordinators.

As a highly-competitive industry, you should also set aside funding for marketing and promotion of services. You would need to do both traditional marketing and digital marketing strategies. Traditional marketing which would include brochures, calling cards, flyers, posters and banners could cost around $300 to $500.

For digital marketing, you have the option of hiring a Digital Marketer or just an assistant who will do the postings on social media for you. A good Digital Marketer can be sourced at any online job market platform. Cost for a Digital Marketing campaign can range from $500 to $5,000 depending on the scope of work.

8 – Landscaping Gardening. In 2010, IBISWorld predicted that there will be an increase in demand for landscaping and gardening services in Australia due to the proliferation of home improvement shows. The landscaping industry is expected to generate $6 Billion over the next five years.

Initial investment would include a basic website plus a vehicle, tools and payment for various licenses and insurance. You should also allocate some funding for marketing and promotional activities. Landscaping is best marketed and promoted within a contained geographical area; perhaps a radius of 5 to 10 kilometers so word of mouth advertising will have a strong influence.

Start-Up capital is estimated at $5,000. Depending on the extent of the project, you may have to contract additional workers.

9 – Pet Care. Whether it’s because of Cesar “The Dog Whisperer” Milan or Jackson “My Cat from Hell” Galaxy, there has been an increase in the demand for pet care services which has grown into an $8 Billion industry.

well know Cesar hugging a dog

Here’s some interesting trivia for you: Did you know that Australia has one of the highest populations of pet owners in the world? Over 63% of Australian households own pets. Dogs are the most popular at 39% with cats a far second at 29%. There are a total of 4.2 million dogs in Australia or 19 dogs for every 100 Australians!

Based on the 8.1 million pet population in Australia, it seems that owning a Pet Care business is a viable idea.

Due to increased awareness and stricter monitoring by interest groups such as animal rights activists, people are more involved and invested in the health and welfare of their pets. Dog walking has become an occupation that requires dog walkers to carry and present certifications upon request. Pets are basically considered part of the family, so great care and expertise is required when handling these animals.

Start-Up costs are estimated at $7,000 which includes a website, a mobile truck, grooming tools and equipment. You may have to contract one or two assistants to handle grooming and pet handling as well as a few veterinarians on call.

10 – Cleaning Services. Most families in Australia are dual-income earners and have little time to do household chores. Eventually these accumulate to become major cleaning projects.

cleaning services

In addition, Australia’s regulatory agencies are strict in observing proper hygiene procedures in restaurants and office buildings. In fact, almost every other industry has demand for cleaning services; even for crime-scene law enforcement agencies.

According to a study conducted by IBISWorld, the commercial cleaning services industry has remained stable. The market for this type of service is composed of companies that have decided to outsource in order to cut costs, improve efficiency and allocate more funding to core functions. The commercial cleaning services industry generated $8 Billion annually and is expected to grow at a rate of 1.8% over the next 10-15 years.

The largest service segment in this industry is interior building cleaning services which accounted for 42% of its revenue from 2014 to 2015.

You will need a car or a van, basic cleaning supplies including chemicals and solvents, protective gear and disposal systems. All told, $5,000 should help you get started in the cleaning services industry.

Before you start any business, always remember to conduct thorough research on the industry and assess your degree of commitment on the project.

After all, the success of a business is not purely contingent on the money you invest in it. More importantly it is your time and level of dedication that spells the difference between success and failure.

Author bio

Felix works with OutsourceWorkers and helps entrepreneurs save money by outsourcing tasks to virtual assistants. Connect with him on Twitter.

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