by Robert Bruce (Senior Writer)

Updated August 8, 2023

Sometimes we think of starting a business as some major, risky, life-changing expense that will require a huge loan or major funding from investors. 

But that’s simply not the case. 

Sure, if you’re opening up a downtown restaurant or a retail outlet, then you’ll probably need big bucks to get off the ground. 

However, there are many cheap small business ideas that don’t require near that amount of investment. With some small business ideas, you can even get started for less than $1,000. 

This might not be a life-changing business at first, but it could be enough to get your entrepreneurial skills tuned up for a long-term business that grows over time. 

11 Small Businesses You Can Start for Less Than $1,000

Keep in mind, you might think you have to go all out and buy brand new everything when you start your own business. But the idea here is to start small and gradually build your business revenue. That’s when you might be able to upgrade your materials and equipment. 

For now, the idea is to use what you already have that fits the job. Then, buy the bare necessities while keeping your costs as low as possible. 

1. Pressure Washing 

The great thing about a pressure washing business is that everyone is going to need it eventually. And it’s relevant for both residential and commercial properties that need clean exterior walls, driveways, decks, sidewalks and so on. There’s also an opportunity to pressure wash commercial vehicles, like semi trucks.

One of the obvious keys to being successful here is a quality pressure washer. Unless you already have one, that will be your largest purchase. A good, commercial grade washer will set you back anywhere between $500 to $3,500 at Home Depot. You can choose from both gas and electric options. 

The only caveat? If you don’t already have a good transportation option, you may need a truck or van to carry your equipment from site to site. That could run you at least a few hundred dollars per month for a truck lease. You might even look into a short-term rental and hustling hard for a week or weekend each month until your business grows enough to warrant a vehicle lease or purchase. 

2. Carpet Shampooing 

One big perk to a carpet shampooing business is that it’s easily mobile. Since you’re working offsite, you really don’t need to invest any overhead in an office space. You simply need space to store your equipment, like a garage or laundry room. 

New carpet extractors aren’t cheap and will run you at least $1,150 but you can also find professional cleaners for around $500 on Amazon. You’ll also need other related tools and cleaning products, so be sure to factor that in as well. 

Pro Tip

Who knows? You might even find a super cheap, commercial-grade carpet cleaner on GovDeals. It’s basically eBay for governments and schools.

Similar to the pressure washing business, you’ll need some type of transportation option. Ideally, you’ll already have a truck or SUV with space. If not, you might need to invest in a used option that could raise your starting overhead significantly. 

3. Handyman

Most neighborhoods have one — the trusted friend and neighbor you can rely on to help with the leaky faucet, the hole in the drywall and the broken appliance. 

If that’s you, then why not make it a handyman business? Since most legit handymen already have their own tools, your startup costs here might be next to nothing. Maybe you need to update some specific tools and spend $20 here and there, but most everything you’ll need is in your garage. 

That said, you might want to set aside a monthly budget for new tools or common items that get used up, like caulking, nails and so on. 

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