For many people, the appeal of starting their own business comes from the prospect of high earnings and independence. However, concerns about substantial startup costs often deter would-be entrepreneurs from taking the leap.
Fortunately, there are plenty of blue collar business ideas that can generate impressive profits without requiring a huge initial investment. This comprehensive guide will walk through the top 15 trades to launch in 2023 that require minimal startup costs yet offer major money-making potential.
From pressure washing services to junk removal companies, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get each business off the ground. You’ll learn about necessary equipment, types of services to offer, pricing structures, and tips for finding your first clients.
Whether you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard or prefer managing a team, you’re sure to find a lucrative blue collar business that matches your skills and interests. Let’s dive in!
#1 Pressure Washing
Pressure washing is one of the best blue collar businesses to launch on a budget. To get started, the primary equipment you need includes a pressure washer and a truck or van to transport your gear. As you gain experience, invest in additional wands and nozzles for specialized jobs along with cleaning solutions.
When starting out, focus on offering exterior residential services like driveways, decks, patios, and home siding. Eventually branch into commercial jobs like parking lots, large buildings, and graffiti removal.
Hourly rates typically range from $50-100, depending on job complexity. For larger projects, charge per square foot. Finding jobs is as easy as driving around and flagging grimy surfaces. Partner with real estate agencies, landscapers, and contractors too.
#2 Window Cleaning
Although overlooked, window cleaning can produce major profits. Low startup costs include squeegees, ladder, cleaning supplies, and a vehicle. Add extension poles and water-fed poles to reach higher windows as you scale up.
Begin with residential homes, sunrooms, and patios. Later, tackle commercial storefronts and multi-story offices. Hourly rates range from $40-75. For big projects, charge per window. Find clients by canvassing neighborhoods for dirty windows and offering first-timer discounts.
#3 Junk Removal
Junk removal holds nearly unlimited earning potential. With just a truck, gloves, and dolly you can get started. But don’t expect to scale without hiring reliable employees.
Offer residential garage and furniture removal first. Later provide commercial office and construction site cleanouts for big money. Price by the truckload based on junk volume, factoring in disposal fees and other hidden costs.
Distribute flyers door-to-door and showcase before-and-after photos online to attract clients.
#4 Moving Company
A moving company leverages manpower over machinery. You’ll need dollies, hand trucks, blankets, straps, and a 14-26 foot box truck. Stick with small residential moves initially. Eventually upgrade to larger trucks and crews for lucrative commercial relocations.
Hourly rates apply for local moves, increasing with more helpers and heavier items. Long distance charges are by weight and mileage. Make more during peak times. Network with real estate agents as a marketing tactic.
#5 Gutter Cleaning
Gutter cleaning provides surprising profits. With just a ladder, gloves, gutter scoop, and transportation, you’re ready for residential homes. Add a pressure washer and employees to later clean large complexes and offices.
Charge $50-100 per hour or by the linear foot for big jobs. Find clients by canvassing neighborhoods and showcasing video testimonials online to build trust.
If you can invest in equipment like sledgehammers, pry bars, and skid loaders, smaller demolition jobs like gutting, deck removal, and shed tearing down are feasible starting points. For larger projects like houses and steel structures, you’ll eventually need heavy machinery like bulldozers.
Charge per square foot, ranging from $4-8. Complexities like hazardous materials can increase pricing. Partner with construction companies and real estate developers. Share before-and-after photos of past projects to attract new clients.
#7 Car Washing/Detailing
A basic car washing business only requires supplies, water access, and transportation. Charge $40-75 per wash. Travel to clients’ locations for convenience.
For a full-service detailing operation with employees, invest in a well-located facility. Offer packages and loyalty programs. Price at $100-250 per vehicle. Manage online reputation carefully.
#8 Tree Removal
This lucrative niche only requires a chainsaw, safety gear, ladder, and truck initially. Add stump grinders and wood chippers as you grow.
Start with residential dead tree removal before expanding into large commercial land clearing. Price from $150-1,500 per tree, depending on size and difficulty. Charge flat rates for bigger jobs.
Canvass neighborhoods for unsightly trees and promote before-and-after pictures online.
#9 Firewood Delivery
Partner with logging companies or wholesalers for leftover wood, or buy and resell for profit. Use a chainsaw, wood splitter, protective gear, and truck. Invest in hydraulic splitters and processors to scale up.
Sell by the cord – 4 feet high, 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long. Research local price rates. Advertise with flyers and high-quality door hangers during winter months.
#10 Cleaning Business
A cleaning business has minimal startup costs. Begin with basic supplies, then add specialized equipment like steam cleaners. Start by canvassing neighborhoods. Grow through word-of-mouth referrals.
Charge hourly, from $25-50 per hour residential and more for commercial. Or price commercial jobs at $0.12-0.18 per square foot. Quality control is critical – employees make or break you.
#11 Lawn Care/Landscaping
Lawn care focuses on grass health and aesthetics through mowing, fertilizing, etc. Landscaping involves overall property beautification – trees, flowers, walkways. Equipment needs vary based on services offered.
Most lawn care is hourly, from $30-60. Labor-intensive landscaping may be $60-100 per hour. Alternatively, charge per square foot for larger projects.
Use door hangers and positive online reviews to attract clients.
#12 Pool Cleaning/Maintenance
Basic pool cleaning requires nets, brushes, vacuums, chemicals, and transportation. Add water testing kits and equipment trailers as you grow.
Charge a national average of $100 per hour, ranging $50-375 based on factors like size and pool type. Maintenance services like chemical balancing cost $20-50. Offer monthly service packages from $80-200.
#13 Pest Control
Start with chemicals, sprayers, safety gear and a vehicle. Eventually invest in thermal imaging and specialized treatments. Offer residential and commercial services.
Charge $50-120 per hour. For larger contracts, charge by square footage. Provide preventative treatments and maintenance packages to increase revenue. Use door hangers and flyers to find nearby clients.
A hammer and nail gun are needed initially, along with a truck. Add automatic gate and laser-guided post installers to boost efficiency. Build portfolios with residential privacy and garden fences first. Later tackle security and barrier fencing for commercial clients.
Charge $60-90 per hour or $30-60 per linear foot, factoring in materials and labor. Partner with home improvement stores to display flyers.
Painting requires minimal supplies – brushes, rollers, tarps. Upgrade to spray systems to expedite projects as you grow. Begin with interior residential rooms. Eventually expand into full commercial office painting.
Price residential by room or square foot, from $3-6. Offer commercial discounts at $2-4 per square foot. Remember to account for all additional costs in your quotes.
Canvass neighborhoods for homes needing paint. Showcase before-and-after photos online.
Starting a profitable blue collar business with minimal startup costs is achievable. This guide covered the equipment, services, pricing, and marketing tactics needed to launch 15 of the most lucrative trades.
With hard work and perseverance, a six-figure income is within your reach. The trades profiled range widely in terms of skill level, physical demands, and growth potential – so you can select one aligned with your goals and abilities.
Remember that learning how to properly manage employees, budget finances, market services, and bid for profit is equally as important as specific trade skills. Invest in your business education as you build your empire.
The time is now. Pick an idea that excites you, make a plan, and start laying the foundation for your booming blue collar business today!