Do you reside in a big town/city and you want to earn extra income on the side? If YES, here are 50 best small business ideas suitable for big cities. Big cities have one thing in common; noise pollution, high population density, fast paced lifestyle and people who are looking for easier ways to take care of the mundane things of life.
The high population density that is witnessed in big cities makes them the ideal place to start a business. Also, big cities encapsulate an overwhelming number of sectors and all these sectors are enhanced by technological advancements.
If you live in a metropolitan area with lots of residents and resources, the opportunities to grow your business and have an impact are even greater. Of course not every product or service would fly in big cities, that is why we are bringing to your attention businesses that you can start in metro areas and that are able to yield higher returns on investment.
50 Best Small Business ideas for Big Towns & Cities
Table of Content
- 1. Restaurant/food truck business
- 2. Start an antique business
- 3. Errand service
- 4. Translation service
- 5. Start a bookkeeping business
- 6. Dog walking business
- 7. Interior decorating business
- 8. Window cleaning
- 9. Virtual Assistant
- 10. Delve into Real Estate
- 11. Open a Placement Agency
- 12. Niche Blogging and affiliate marketing
- 13. eBay business
- 14. House cleaning business
- 15. Mobile hairdresser
- 16. Pet sitting service
- 17. Start a Spa Business
- 18. Start a fitness Centre
- 19. Become a Massage Therapist
- 20. Hair removal services
Food is a basic need of life, and as such, everyone needs to eat. So what better place is there to start a food service business than a place with tons of mouths to feed? Whether you choose to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant or a food truck, you have a good opportunity to draw in customers with a great menu and the right marketing strategies.
Though startup requirements for this business can be on the high side as you would need to acquire tons of permits, but this business is sure to keep your capital base neat. You should be sure to check your city’s local laws about street vendor laws and permits to avoid legal issues.
Antique items not only bring intrigue into a city that is constantly growing and changing, but it helps remind people of their roots. If you’re educated in fine arts or have a knack for finding items that hold value, opening an antique store in a city may bring excitement and curiosity from all walks of life, local or otherwise. The right mix of items and location will keep people coming back no matter the size of the city.
Between their jobs and carting their children from one activity to the next, most working parents have very little time left to take care of personal errands like grocery shopping, making returns at the mall or mailing packages. You can assist clients and free up their days for the important moments in their life.
Public transportation in cities makes getting from place to place more convenient and less expensive than driving around in a suburban area, so you can keep your overhead travel expenses down. You can easily start this business in a small way from your neighbourhood before you can expand.
4. Translation service
Cities are melting pots of different cultures and backgrounds, so fluency in multiple languages is a big plus. If you have them, you can put those language skills to good use by offering to translate written and spoken words from one language to another for clients.
Broadening international ties and an increase in the number of non-English speakers in the united states makes this a fast-growing field, with the Bureau of Labor Services predicting 42 percent growth by 2021. You can start your own independent service and market yourself to businesses, schools, hospitals, courtrooms and conference centers.
Big cities have one thing in common, and that is a lot of business concerns. You can take advantage of this characteristic to start a profitable business. You can start helping businesses keep their financial records accurate and complete.
Businesses, both small and large need to maintain updated records in case of taxes and other eventualities. Although many software packages are now available for handling bookkeeping tasks, but they never replace the role of a qualified bookkeeper. If you are an accountant or if you have some experience in this area, you can start this kind of business.
With a lot of pet owners in apartment buildings, a big city is a great place for a part-time dog-walking business. City dwellers don’t have yards for their dogs to play in, and if they work long or irregular hours, they may not always have time to take their dogs out for their daily stroll.
Put up flyers in your building, and see if any of your neighbors would be willing to entrust this task to you for a small fee. It’s important to educate yourself on not only the local dog walking market but also proper animal care and handling before starting this business.
If you have an eye for design or a knack for organization, you can start a business helping city-dwellers make the most of their small living quarters. Apartment residents are constantly looking for ways to maximize their storage space and make cramped rooms feel bigger, so there will always be a market for organization and interior decorating services. Opening a physical office is also a great way for you to showcase your skills to potential clients.
In big cities, a lot of business concerns have huge clear windows that help give visibility to their businesses. But these windows need to be cleaned constantly. Starting up a window cleaning business is quick and simple. You also don’t need to invest much money at all.
You simply need a vehicle to transport you to and from locations, and your cleaning materials. Start with small-scale window cleaning service that doesn’t cover tall buildings, and include tall buildings once your business is profitable.
Companies in big cities prefer virtual assistants because they are not permanent employees and companies only need to pay them the price for a job rather than bearing overheads. If you have the experience and can spare a specific time for this you can earn money staying at home. You can always upgrade your skills and then offer your services to a greater company.
10. Delve into Real Estate
Big cities are always welcoming new people who are looking to rent a home and a an appreciable number of homeowners are always looking for tenants. It can be a great business if you are serious and it needs no investment, just a great professional circle.
If you are good at building connections, this business literally doesn’t require any investment. All you need is to have connections with decision makers in the organizations. Get connected with job hunters on LinkedIn and help them get a job and take your commission. This business is great for a city because it has a large number of job seekers.
12. Niche Blogging and affiliate marketing
If you have a passion for exploring a niche, let it be business, travel, beauty, fashion, cooking or anything that you either know a lot about or else love to know, starting your own niche blog can be a great business. You don’t need to invest a penny, but all your efforts.
Start with a free blog and move it to your own dot com when you are earning some cash. One way to speed up the earning process is to also offer affiliate marketing. Here, you get to list products of other companies in your blog and start a promotion on them. When people order these products through your blog, you get to be paid.
13. eBay business
An eBay business is a very popular option for people that reside in big cities, and you can make a great success of your start-up with this. To get started, you need to open an account, then you list the products you would like to sell there.
You can equally list products of other companies so that you can earn a commission. After listing, you then have to promote the products to get clients. You can sell all sorts of products, and the time it takes to set up is minimal as well. eBay or Amazon affiliates can easily be integrated into any good quality website, or a blog.
Another great idea for a big city business is a home cleaning business. This business would thrive well because a lot of people in cities do not have the time to clean their own homes. You can start out on your own and gradually take on more staff. Again, you need minimal investment for this type of startup.
Another thing you can do if you have the necessary training, is set up as a mobile hairdresser. In a city where a lot of people do not have the time to make their hair, bringing the business to them would prove very profitable. You can earn very good money doing this, and all you need is your hairdressing equipment and transportation. To make your hairdresser business a big success, you must have a foolproof hair salon business plan for it.
If you love animals, a pet sitting business in your residential area could be ideal. You don’t need business premises or any equipment – all you need is to build a solid reputation. Many people prefer having someone come and look after their pets rather than going to kennels, so you can take advantage of this trend. Since big cities have a lot more people who are always on the go, you may never be idle at any point in time.
With the stress that comes with living in a big city, people regularly seek where to relax and treat themselves. Spas provide essential skin treatments especially facials which are targeted at removing dead skin layers, while repairing individual conditions that are age related, including reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and breakouts.
A soothing, therapeutic spa treatment accelerates skin rejuvenation by delivering essential vitamins A, C, E and powerful antioxidants/nutrients deeply to help restore skin to its natural healthy balance. Because of the almost essential services spas provide, more and more people are now visiting spas on a regular basis.
Big cities are filled people running 9 to 5 jobs, and who generally lead sedentary lifestyles, thus necessitating them to frequent the gym. The intense sweating that goes on in a gym is very helpful to the skin, tones the body while also helpful in reducing stress levels. Starting a fitness training center or Gym doesn’t require so much hard work; however, it requires a lot of planning, preparation and capital.
Stress is a part of everyday life, especially in big cities and stress has been known to reduce the appearance of skin by bringing on fine lines and wrinkles. This is one of the reasons why there are a lot of massage parlors scattered all over metro cities the United States of America. These folks have been trained to help stressed out folks ease their tension. You can as well introduce other skin enhancement treatments to your clients.
A lot of people dislike hair on their skin because it reduces the beauty and glow of the skin, and of course it is a fashion no-no for women. Instead of using a razor to remove the hairs, most people like to patronize professionals especially when it comes to removing hair from sensitive areas.
If you think you might be interested in this, then you can start a hair removal business. Before you start the business, you need to get the required training. There are beauty schools that can give you good training on this, and you can do it online if you prefer.
- Provide anti-aging skin care services
As people grow older, the skin starts to lose elasticity, sag and develop wrinkles, and the stress from living in big cities usually accelerates this process. A lot of people would welcome any services that would help them keep aging at bay.
There are numerous products and procedures that help to reduce the appearance of age on the skin. Some of the procedures include; injections, face-lifts, surgeries, and a whole lot more. Note that you would need to get certifications and licenses before you are allowed to start this business.
- Become a Skin Care Consultant
A skin care consultant is someone who works with individual clients to assess their skin care needs and correct them via the use of certain products, a change in diet, various forms of exercise, and the like. Before you become a skin care consultant, you need to acquire the required training and certifications. This area of skin care is very sensitive so you need to be well read in order to be able to solve people’s skin issues.
Big cities are rife with people spotting different types of tattoos. People do get fed up with their tattoos at a certain point in life and they need to get them off, and the same scenario goes for scars. This can lead you to start tattoo removal as a business. If you think you are trained in this field, then you can start the tattoo and scar removal business.
- Start a Mobile Spa
Mobile spa is very popular nowadays because many people would rather have someone come to their homes, offices or hotel rooms to give them the much needed spa services than for them to take a trip to a spa which may translate to stress for them.
For a mobile spa to find success, it is helpful if the services you provide are of a wider range than just skin care, although offering facials, skin care consultancy, microdermabrasion treatments, and esthetician services is a great place to start.
- Steam rooms and Sauna
If you don’t have enough funds to set up a full spa, you can set up a steam room instead. It is believed that sweating cleanses the pores, so steam rooms are very essential for skin care. This is a skin care niche with a lot of prospect, and there is no doubt that you would make a lot of money offering this service.
Cities are usually big because of the number of businesses that set up service there. If you are a tax accountant, you can start offering small businesses accounting service, because it is a fact that most startup businesses do not know how to deal with their tax issues. Tax accountants assist clients with their financial and income tax statements.
They also prepare federal, state and local tax returns for businesses, organizations and individuals. Your clients as a tax accountant would be various levels of government, the financial industry and company payroll departments. Median pay for Tax Accountants in the United States is around the range of $55,000 annually, but it can peak around $77,000 depending on the performance of your business.
Do you have a passion for home brewing? You might be able to turn your love of beer into a business. Urban residents are always looking for local artisans who can offer a small-scale, handcrafted experience, especially when it comes to craft beer. Cities make for a competitive atmosphere, but the right combination of talent, location and interest can make your brewery an interesting must-visit location.
An investment bank is a vehicle that allows a number of separate and unrelated investors, a group of individuals or companies, to make investments together. By pooling their capital, investors can share costs and benefit from the advantages of investing in larger businesses that they would not have been able to handle alone. Big cities have a lot of people that can afford the kind of cash required to start and fund an investment bank.
A venture capitalist is an investor who either provides capital to startup ventures or supports small companies that wish to expand but do not have access to equities markets. Venture capitalists are willing to invest in such companies because they can earn massive returns on their investments if these companies are a success. This business is suitable for someone living in a big city as it would be easier to spot profitable startups to invest in.
- Risk Management Consulting firm
Another business idea that can thrive in a big city that has an abundance of businesses is to start a risk management consulting firm. If you are a risk management consultant, then this business is right within your alley. You can provide advice to businesses on not only conventional insurance, but also on topics like self-insurance, claims management, loss prevention and project advisory. Many entrepreneurs who go into business often forget to carry out risk assessment before venturing into the business thus leading to early business failure.
A bureau de change is a place where people change currencies. Because big cities see a lot of influx of international business people, this business would be perfect to be cited there. This business can be started on a private basis but the entrepreneur needs to acquire all the needed licenses and permits because the industry is strictly regulated. If you are setting up a bureau de change, ensure that you choose a location inside an airport or somewhere close to an airport as a bureau de change thrives in such areas due to movement of travelers.
There are companies that specialize in debt collection – especially bad debts. You can set up a firm that collects debts for businesses if you have the required training, and if you are situated in a big city with a lot of businesses. There are loads of people out there who will be more than willing to hire your services once they realize that you have what it takes to help them reclaim their monies from their debtors. In this type of business, you make money by earning commission or percentage from the debts you are able to recover.
This business can be run depending on how much capital you have. But despite how much money you have at your disposal, you can still start on a small scale, and target a particular niche before you are able to expand your services. You can definitely start this service from home and deliver people their morning coffee. I’m sure there are a lot of workers who need their morning coffee.
- Become a Self-defense company instructor
You can build a lucrative self-defense business in your spare time if you have the right training and skills. Right now there are self defense company instructors earning over $80,000 per year, so if teaching an important life skill to people in your community and earning a living while doing it is something you want to do, then jump right in. Note that you should be greatly experienced before you can start coaching a company, and you need to device great marketing skills that can appeal to your targeted audience.
- Identity Theft Protection Agency
With the proliferation of the internet also comes the proliferation of crime, and one of the common crimes on the internet today is identity theft. A lot of people have gotten their identity and personal information hacked and used to defraud them or other people.
This kind of business requires that you provide measures where criminals cannot get hold of a person’s identity either offline or online. Your task will also be to ensure that security firewalls are created so as to prevent critical information from being stolen from computers. This kind of business will require you to be tech savvy; however, with the right amount of determination, you can become a success in this field.
- Start an organic meal delivery service
If you are a chef, there this is still a viable business in the organic line. You can prepare and deliver organic, gluten-free, fresh, and ready to eat meals directly to people’s doorsteps without waiting for them to come to you. To succeed in this business, you should be passionate about using the very best all-natural ingredients to make sure your meals always taste fresh. You can package your meals in microwave and oven safe containers so that your customers have the convenience of eating them whenever they want.
- Start a destination wedding service
A popular trend for adventurous couples is destination weddings, or getting married in a picturesque location. Most big cities are known to host a lot of destination weddings. You can offer wedding planning, or help couples who decide to get married on the spur of the moment during vacation get the necessary paperwork they need including an officiant, a location, photographers etc.
Pests are unwanted plants, animals, insects, or other organisms that interfere with human activity. They may bite, destroy food, damage property, or otherwise make our lives more difficult. Because of the climatic conditions of cities most times, it provides the right environment for pests to breed.
To make sure people who live in cities are comfortable, you can start a pest control service. You can offer your services to households and establishments. Since pest control and extermination services are done from time to time, you would never lack income.
Some people are very independent and would always want to drive themselves around no matter which continent they are at any particular point in time. This set of people would always want to rent cars when they arrive at new cities or towns.
You can start a car rental service to cater to visitors who would prefer to ride themselves. You can make available cheap as well as expensive cars in your rental service and you can as well rent motorcycles and bicycles to cater to every pocket. Big cities have regular influx of people, so you would never lack patronage.
A laundry service is a company which does laundry for its clients, and what better place to set up a laundry service than a big city where a lot of busy workers do not want to be bothered by dirty laundry. You can even print flyers and drop in offices and business concerns where you know you can get clients. You can offer pickup and delivery services in order to further appeal to customers and to stand out from other laundry services.
Coffee cafés do well in big cities because a lot of people are almost addicted to coffee. This is a good business an entrepreneur who is looking towards making money can start. The key thing for this kind of business is location; you would have to be located in an area where you can easily be accessed. However, if you do not have the finances for a brick and mortar building, you can start a mobile/cart coffee shop business. You need to endeavor to serve different brands of coffee if you want to get and keep your customers.
Private escort firms provide security for individuals most especially tourists and other kinds of visitors who would want to move from one location to another with valuables which could involve cash, jewelry, art and other sorts. Before you start this business though, you have to make enquiries about the various licenses and permits you would need. However, this is a business that is guaranteed to bring you good income.
A water park is an amusement park that features water play areas such as swimming pools, water slides, splash pads, water playgrounds, and lazy rivers, as well as areas for bathing, swimming, and other barefoot environments. People are always busy and stressed in big cities and they would appreciate where they can go and ave fun with their families. Though setting up a water park can be very capital intensive, but you are sure to recoup your investments in a short while if you properly market your park and if your park has loads of really entertaining water facilities.
Thousands of tourists are drawn to big cities every year, which inevitably means there are many people who return home with gifts for family and friends. Opening an gift shop is a sound business idea, and it is even a needed service. Try to differentiate yourself from other tourist shops by offering authentic merchandise instead of only selling generic items such as T-shirts, key chains, and mugs.
If you can, offer items made by local artists and crafters like artisan jewelry; postcards made from art prints by local artists; music CDs of local bands etc. To add more revenue to your business, launch a website where customers can buy more gifts later. By selling your merchandise online, you can reach people all over the world, and market your business to future tourists.
Maybe you have used an old hot air popcorn popper to roast coffee for your friends and family, and it turned out good. You can indeed make the jump from being a hobby home roasting enthusiast to a full blown small scale production roaster, all from your home.
To get started, you can select and purchase a not-so-expensive roaster, invest in some sort of packing and packaging equipment, make some space in your home, and select the right green coffee.
You should also know where you can get specialty green coffee. If your coffee is of good quality and you roast them to perfection, you would not have much problems selling your products. Your selling point in this business would be freshness, so you should only roast the ones you can sell off at a time.
Maybe you enjoy cooking, but you don’t want to take on the large task of serving a group through catering, you can consider becoming a personal chef. Busy families often don’t have the time or desire to cook, and they usually hire others to create well-balanced, healthy meals for them.
Many personal chefs cook in bulk, leaving a week’s worth of food with their clients. Some cook at the client’s home, while others cook in their own homes and deliver. You can consider specializing, as well. For example, you can cook for families with special needs, such as allergy-restricted diets.
- Prepare and sell home-cooked, heat and eat meals
Do you know that making heat and eat meals out of a home kitchen is allowed in some states in America? You first of all have to check if your state laws allow for such. If they do, then know that this is a simple way for you to make money in a busy city.
You will have to prepare and package your favorite meals in microwaveable containers, while also adding heating instructions. You would have to deliver them by hand or have customers come around to pick them up at a designated place on their way home from work. You can as well target office complexes with this business.
You have to go around first and distribute your simple menu selections to all of the employees and then take their order which you would then prepare and bring back. You can also take orders and payments over the phone or online. This can even turn into an ongoing relationship.
Do you enjoy cooking a variety of foods for people who are hosting events? You can use this love to start a small business. Although catering can be a big task, but many caterers got their start working on smaller events; and because you are cooking right out of your kitchen, you should stick really small events for now, such as catering business meetings.
In fact, you might consider specializing in a niche, such as a type of event or specific foods. The odds are that you will need a few extra helping hands on the day of the event to ensure all items are prepared and ready to be served at the allotted time.
- Start an ice cream store
In initiating an ice cream store, proper business plan or project plan is required. Ice cream comes in many different qualities, so you need to decide which ones you want to sell. Decide the store space, products, and marketing plan. You can start your ice cream store business in two ways.
One is through buying the franchise of an established brand or by having your own store. If you are starting the business with no experience, then buying a franchise would be the most prudent decision. Calculate your monthly fixed overhead cost and make a financial planning with ROI calculations.
The sale will increase as per the location you choose and which target audience you select. Make sure that your location will be a crowded place such as playgrounds, malls, offices, and markets etc. You equally need to hire experienced people who have either worked with an ice cream company or who know a thing or two about the business. With a city crowd, you are sure to run a profitable business.
- Drone rentals
Now that the Federal Aviation Administration has finalized regulations to integrate drones into the national airspace, the industry is now set to take flight. The demand for recreational drones is on a steady rise, followed by scientific research and surveillance drones. Drone rental is now ripe to be considered when thinking of a new business to start in a big city. Drone flight instruction and certification are also other ways to make a tidy income off this niche.
One thing that is common with most big towns and cities around the world is that accommodation are either too expensive or they are scare. One of the first challenge people who are relocating to big towns and cities face is how to secure an accommodation that suits their budget and taste.
So in essence, one of the businesses that are highly suitable for big towns and cities is the real estate business. Although it is capital intensive to invest in real estate especially in big cities, but the returns on such investment is amazing.
52. Law Firm
Another business that is highly suitable for big cities and towns is law firm business. If you are a lawyer and you are looking towards opening your chambers, it is important that you consider the population of the city or town that you intend opening your business. The truth is that, in big cities and towns, the need for the services of lawyers is very high.
53. Taxi Business
One thing that is obvious in big cities and towns is the movement of people from part of town to another and also the ever busy traffic and activities around the city. If there is any place a cab drivers makes huge returns on their investment, it is in big cities and towns.
They are always busy round the clock. Either they are involved in transporting business executives from home to office during the day or they are transporting people from one night club to another night club at the dead of the night.
54. Cinema Business
Cinema business is yet another fantastic business idea that will do pretty well in big cities and towns. The truth is that most people in big cities and towns most often are busy and they take advantage of spare time to relax and catch fun and one of the places people goes to relax and catch fun is the cinema.
So if you are looking for a business idea to pursue in big towns and cities, then you should consider starting your own cinema, just ensure that is located in a nice location where people can easily access.
People in big cities and towns have easy access to airports and that is why a business like ticketing and reservation is highly suitable in big cities and towns. So one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can pursue in big cities and towns is ticketing and reservation business.
56. Daycare Business
Daycare business is yet another fantastic business idea that is highly suitable for big towns and cities. One thing that is common in big towns and cities is that a good numbers of adults are employed or run their business hence they are always busy.
Some of this people have babies and it is a daycare that is suitable to care of this babies. If you intend starting your own daycare in a big city or town, ensure that is situated in a place that is either close to a business district or residential quarters.
Dry cleaning business is another business that is highly suitable in big towns and cities. This is so because most working class doesn’t have enough time to handle loads of domestic stuffs including dry cleaning hence they contract it out. Once you are able to strategically position your dry cleaning business, you are likely going to get more clients than you can handle.
58. Casino and Bar
Casino and bar is basically one of the businesses that can’t survive in smaller towns and cities. Most casinos and bars are established in big cities and towns; a place with healthy night live et al. if you make the mistake of setting up this type of business in a small town or city, you are likely going to struggle to attract the required numbers of customers that will guarantee you make good daily income.
59. Fast Food Business-: Fast food business is one of the business ideas that were designed to fit into the fast life in big cities and towns. If you are looking for a business to setup in a big city or town, then you should consider starting your own fast food business.
60. Interior Decor Business-: Interior decor business is one of the businesses that can’t survive in smaller towns and cities. If you have the intention of starting your own interior deco business, then you should consider starting it in a big city or town.