Do you have extensive knowledge in a specific field and a strong desire to help others? If so, then starting a service business might offer you the ideal path to entrepreneurship.
Need a hand launching your business online? Create a business website with Wix.
Unlike manufacturing or eCommerce businesses, where you have to make your own products or buy inventory, service businesses carry small startup costs. Instead of selling products, you “sell” your expertise, skills and assistance to meet your customer’s needs.
Get inspired by these 24 lucrative service business examples across eight different categories.
24 inspiring service business examples
In a professional service business, you use specialized knowledge to help clients solve complex problems. Because you’re selling your expertise, most professional service businesses require formal education, such as college degrees, certifications and/or licenses. Some of the most popular types of service businesses are outlined below.
01. Legal and consulting services
If you’re a lawyer or legal professional, you can create a service website that explains the types of representation and assistance you provide. For example, Stephany Cabrera, Esq., uses her website to promote Florida Legal Service, a Miami-area firm that offers family law, immigration law, estate planning and civil litigation services.
If you have specific business expertise, you can open a consulting business and offer companies guidance on topics like human resource management, change management or business planning. Shipra Seefeldt established Strategic Solutions Consulting, LLC to guide family businesses with things like wealth transfer, executive team building and conflict resolution. Her consulting website includes descriptions of her services and client reviews, and her team includes professionals with advanced degrees and licenses.
02. Accounting and financial services
Every business needs talented people who can keep an eye on their finances, balance the books and guide it to profitability. That’s where accounting and financial services come into play. These experts have specialized knowledge in everything from bookkeeping to retirement planning and tax management. To enter this field, you’ll need a thorough understanding of accounting principles and tax regulations, along with related education and certifications, such as a certified public accountant (CPA) designation.
To look at some real-life examples, David McCallister, owner of 3CM Capital Management in Ohio, is a registered investment advisor. He provides numerous services, from wealth management and financial evaluation all the way up to being your personal chief financial officer (CFO).
03. Marketing and advertising services
Businesses can’t grow unless they’re constantly raising awareness about their brand and the products or services they offer. Marketing and advertising agencies partner with these companies to generate buzz, reach their target audience and attract new customers. To offer marketing services, you may need a college degree and/or certifications, though real-world experience can speak for itself.
Within the marketing services industry, you have plenty of room to carve your own niche. BLUstrategy bills itself as an agency that helps “fearless brands seeking limitless growth” with marketing plans and pay-per-click advertising strategies. Meanwhile, Pitschy Media, a full-service media, digital marketing and branding agency, sets itself apart by creating a customer experience it likens to “having your own creative marketing team in-house.”
While professional service companies advise businesses, personal service companies help individuals improve their personal lives, well-being and confidence. Some personal service businesses require licenses or degrees. With others, all you need is a specific skill and a little bit of business knowledge to begin. Let’s dive into a few popular service business examples in this space.
04. Fitness and health services
By obtaining the proper education, license or certification, you can help people achieve their fitness goals, relieve their stress and live a healthier lifestyle. There are a myriad of business options in the space, as evidenced by these health and wellness website examples.
For example, athletic trainers teach clients the proper techniques for lifting weights and working out, while massage therapists use their skills to provide relaxation and a little bit of pampering to their customers. Yoga instructors, another popular profession, help people improve their balance, strength and flexibility.
05. Pet care services
Pet ownership has skyrocketed over the past few decades, with 66% of U.S. households now identifying as pet owners. This creates a pressing need—and amazing business opportunity—for all types of pet services. From dog grooming and pet sitting to dog walking, you can turn your love of animals into a full-time gig. In some states, you may need a license to operate a pet grooming facility, but anyone can be a pet sitter, dog walker or mobile dog groomer.
06. Beauty and wellness services
If you like helping people enhance their physical appearance, then beauty and wellness is for you. You can start a beauty business that offers salon or spa services, manicures, pedicures, skincare consulting and more.
Follow the lead of Brianna Rehm. When the pandemic hit, she realized her dream by opening her own hair salon, Luxe Salon and Beauty Bar. Today, her salon website promotes her many offerings—everything from a simple haircut to full highlights.
Some other great beauty service business examples: El Beauty Station in Colorado offers a wealth of beauty enhancement services, including eyelash extensions, permanent makeup and microblading. And Prestige Salon and Spa in Las Vegas offers what it calls a “full beauty experience,” including facials and hair styling.
Looking good isn’t only reserved for individuals. Businesses also need professionals who can help them create a beautiful and unique brand identity. When you start a business focused on creative services, you can put your talents to use for companies of all sizes. Professionals in these fields often have a college degree in design or a related field, along with extensive experience.
07. Graphic design and branding services
If you’re an artist at heart, graphic design can help you express yourself and make money. You can design logos, brochures, advertisements and webpages. You can follow a company’s specific brand standards, or you can help a business develop its own brand rules.
For some real-life examples, Courtney Hatcher uses her decade-plus of experience as a graphic designer and illustrator to help companies with design, branding and strategy services. Meanwhile, James Cummings and his team at Exchange Theory bring cohesive and creative visual design to businesses, government and nonprofit agencies. And Belm Designs specializes in 3D drawings and engineering design for tech clients.
08. Web development and digital marketing services
Websites are the online front door for every company, which is why web developers are in high demand. The best ones today don’t just create websites that look appealing—they also understand the ins and outs of the user experience and apply this specialized knowledge in combining beauty with functionality. In addition, web developers understand how to optimize the front and back ends of websites, and are skilled in optimizing the content management systems that help to bring sites to life.
09. Content creation services
Companies, business owners and individuals rely on content creators to enhance their websites, connect with their audiences and document special moments.
As a writer, for example, you can author blog posts, case studies or social media posts that promote a business’ products or services. As a photographer, you can shoot stunning product images or breathtaking architectural photos for a company, or document someone’s special moment with portrait or event photography. Similarly, as a videographer, you can use your craft to tell a business’ or individual’s story in an engaging and effective way.
If you’re looking for a service busisness idea with a low barrier to entry, then a home service business may fit the bill. These companies help homeowners finish their to-do lists, offering things like professional repairs, routine maintenance and cleaning. While you will need a license to perform some home services, others (such as being a professional organizer) require no license or formal education.
10. Cleaning and organization services
The average American attempts to declutter their house four times a year, but they often don’t finish the job. That’s where house cleaners and professional organizers come into play. You can clean houses on a regular basis (weekly, biweekly, etc.) or offer deep cleaning services to individuals and families who are moving in and out of their homes. Other ideas include specialty cleaning services (such as pressure washing, carpets, windows or upholstery), decluttering and helping people clean out their closets, garages or basements.
Learn more about how to start a cleaning business.
11. Lawn care and landscaping services
While the cleanliness inside a house matters, so too does its curb appeal. That’s where lawn care and landscaping businesses come into play. Today’s top performers go far beyond lawn cutting. They also offer irrigation, gardening and even landscape design. It’s a smart business choice if you enjoy the outdoors, have a green thumb and enjoy transforming an ordinary backyard into a personal paradise.
Learn more about how to start a lawn care business.
12. Handyman and home repair services
When do-it-yourself goes off the rails, homeowners call a licensed and bonded repair person who can help them get back on track. So, if you can fix it, odds are that you can turn your skills into a profitable business. You can offer a variety of services, comprising everything from plumbing and HVAC to electrical repairs, painting and carpentry.
Learn more about how to start a handyman business.
The Wall Street Journal and others have proclaimed that every company is now a tech company. And while that may (or may not) be true, the fact is that all businesses need some sort of technical assistance. Technology service businesses fill in the gap. While many people in this service business sector have bachelor’s degrees, others develop their skills through online learning and hands-on experience.
13. IT consulting and support services
Your IT consulting business can include a multitude of services. You can help businesses assess their technology infrastructure, find improvement opportunities and recommend upgrades. Or, you can focus on integrating new hardware into a company’s existing IT architecture. Cybersecurity, processing help desk tickets and implementing Agile project management frameworks are other potential IT consulting areas.
Yet another angle is to help businesses seize the next great tech opportunity. That’s the focus of Apache Technology Company. It guides companies’ digital transformations by offering services such as cloud analytics modernization, application and platform engineering, and data visualization.
Learn more: How to start a consulting business
14. Software development and programming services
While IT consultants focus on hardware, app developers and programmers carve their niche by providing software-related technology services. You can offer mobile app development, web app development or software integration services. Then, you can level up your business by giving your clients ongoing software-related support.
HB3 Data develops custom business intelligence software applications so companies can access and analyze data quickly and make better decisions. The company also offers mobile app development, internal corporate app support and data center support services.
15. Technical SEO services
Search engine optimization enhances a company’s ability to get its web content ranking higher on Google and other search platforms. While many people are familiar with on-page SEO (embedding keywords into a webpage to increase its search engine ranking), fewer know the technical side of SEO. This includes making changes to improve website speed, creating an SEO-friendly site structure and repairing duplicate content issues. By offering these kinds of technical SEO services, you can give companies—and their website strategies—a boost in this key area.
Education and training services
The online learning market is valued at $399 billion and expected to grow by a 14% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next decade. That’s why education and training services offer a prime opportunity as a service business. If you have expert knowledge and enjoy sharing it with others, you can build a company with tremendous upside potential.
16. Tutoring and academic services
Learning happens inside and outside of the classroom. A tutoring and academic service business offers homework help, test prep and academic support. You can deliver these services in-person or online. To begin, you will need a teacher certification, prior teaching experience and/or a degree.
To look at a real example, Mindsprout carves its niche by offering services that cater to homeschooled students. It additionally offers free educational assessments and provides its services both in the U.S. and overseas.
17. Language learning and translation services
Parlez-vous français? Language learning and translation services enable people to overcome language barriers in many walks of life. You can help a budding world traveler learn a new language for an upcoming trip, or help a company’s sales team master the dialect they’ll need to use in an emerging market. Alternatively, translate documents into multiple languages for individual, educational or business use.
18. Professional development and training services
When workers want to stay up to date with the latest industry trends or obtain new skills, they seek professional development and training services. These can take the form of workshops and seminars, online courses or technical training. You can start your business by offering a few classes or building an online course on your very own website. With a Wix site, you can take advantage of Wix Bookings to create, customize, schedule and price your online courses.
Social and nonprofit services
Sometimes the best service business ideas have nothing to do with making a profit. Social and nonprofit service businesses exist for a greater good, such as addressing important social issues or enhancing the well-being of specific populations. All you need to get started is a strong mission and a giving heart—but you must file the appropriate paperwork if you choose to operate as a nonprofit, such as filing for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
19. Community outreach and support services
When you identify an unmet need within your town or region, you can start an organization that fills in the gap. You could, for instance, start a community food bank for people struggling with food insecurity, or you could create an organization that offers STEM education to underrepresented groups. For example, Kode with Klossy creates learning experiences in tech fields for young women and gender-expansive youth.
20. Environmental and sustainability services
If you want to raise awareness about important environmental issues or help people practice sustainability, you’ve found a unique service business opportunity. Environmental and sustainability services can include restoring natural habitats, protecting endangered species or advocating for conservation efforts.
The Clean Power Initiative, for example, promotes and advances the widespread adoption of solar power as an alternative energy source. It helps individuals and companies analyze their energy use, perform a cost-benefit analysis and maximize alternative energy credits.
21. Nonprofit and charitable organizations
These organizations exist to make a difference in the world. They’re often started by individuals who believe strongly in a certain cause and dedicate themselves to giving back.
ARTE Justice was formed to educate young people about human rights and empower them to create meaningful change through the visual arts. Kristina Filler founded Hold Your Fire after her father, a Hoboken-area teacher, was killed in a school shooting more than two decades ago. The organization dedicates itself to raising awareness and funds to prevent gun violence.
From graduations and weddings to parties and corporate events, celebrations bring plenty of business opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. An event service business might be right for you if you’re highly organized, have connections in the industry and know how to throw a party that will be remembered for years to come. You don’t need a formal education to start.
22. Wedding photography
A happy couple will always look back fondly on their wedding day. That’s why wedding photography remains in high demand. This job will keep you busy—you’ll need to work on weekends, evenings and holidays (times when weddings happen most frequently). Once you get your business started, be sure to post samples of your photography and testimonials on a photography website and share them on your social media channels.
23. Wedding and corporate event planning
Weddings and corporate events take months of advanced planning, and it’s overwhelming for most couples and companies. As an event planner, you can guide your clients by assisting them with everything from choosing a venue and sending invitations to planning the menu and hiring a band.
For a real-life example, Anne Katherine Whitehead founded Whitehead Weddings and Events to turn people’s wedding dreams into reality. She packages her service offerings, which include wedding day and rehearsal dinner assistance, bridal luncheons and bridal or couples’ showers.
24. Event catering
Food is a part of almost every kind of event. With a catering business, you can prepare delectable dishes that will satisfy guests and drive repeat business. You can focus on full-course meals with hors d’oeuvres and formal dinners, or you can specialize in scrumptious desserts, such as spectacular cakes for weddings or festive cupcakes for gender reveal parties.
5 quick tips for running a successful service business
No matter which type of service business you choose to launch, you’ll need to dedicate yourself to continuous improvement so you can succeed long-term. Five quick tips:
Define your value proposition: Determine which elements will make your business stand out from the competition, then communicate them clearly in your marketing. This could be things like competitive pricing, excellent customer service or unique branding.
Understand your target market: Research trends to learn where the current needs for your business exist, and determine the types of individuals or companies who are more likely to rely on your service.
Put your customers first: It’s a service business, after all, so customer service must be your top priority and number one goal. Ask your customers for feedback and respond quickly to any concerns.
Promote your business: Use your website, social media, email marketing and online advertising to spread the word about your services.
Stay flexible: Today’s business needs change rapidly. Keep an eye on trends so you can grow with your clients and pivot your services as needed. This way, your business stays relevant.