20 Promising Home Businesses that You Can Start with Small Capital

The economic slowdown and high living cost had pushed many families to think “outside the box” and find side business opportunities to increase their household income. For a lot of people, the most wanted home businesses are those which can be done with little to no capital, but generate steady profit.

LiveOlive has compiled 20 home business opportunities you can do with a small amount of budget, either offline or online, and could generate a good rate of return on investment (ROI):

1. Culinary Business: Home-cooked Meals or Catering

Home-cooked meals are something that look simple, but never lack of demand. This home business is quite promising because, other than the fact that food is daily staple, high level of busyness also makes people unable to cook at home.

There are many variations of dishes that you can explore, starting from the classic menu that we often find in a cafeteria, traditional menu, to special diet menu or bento lunch box for kids.

If you take care of the whole process yourself using readily available tools and appliances at home, production cost is only allocated for buying ingredients and packaging.

The initial fund needed to prepare 50 portions of home-cooked meals consisting of simple menu, such as one serving of rice, one serving of stir-fry vegetable, one serving of extra stir-fry menu, one serving of poultry or seafood, one serving of fruit, one cracker and a glass of water is around Rp 500,000.

With standard selling price of Rp 20,000 per portion, the return would be:

Price per portion @Rp 20,000 x 50 = Rp 1,000,000
Initial budget                                      = Rp    500,000 -
Profit                                                    = Rp    500,000

With a total of 100% profit, you can get return on investment within one cycle of production.

To start a home catering business, market your products to the nearest communities as trial. After you understand the market’s demand, you can start increasing the portions and variations of menu.

[Example: Catering business that supports “Mayo Clinic diet”, promotes product through Instagram]

2. Culinary Business: Light Snacks and Beverages

Other than home-cooked meals, snacks can also become a promising business opportunity. The reasoning behind this is simple; there is always a demand for this type of food and people always enjoy its presence, whether it is during tea time or being served at a formal event.

The potential food variants that are suitable for this business are:

  • Cakes and bakery
  • Frozen food
  • Chips and cookies
  • Traditional cakes
  • Cold and hot drinks
  • Pudding and ice cream

Snack production usually requires many cooking tools and appliances, such as oven, pan, fryer, freezer, vacuum machine, etc – especially for preparation, packaging or storing process. Therefore, you will need to invest in main ingredients and equipment.

A sample calculation for cookie business with a minimum production of 1 kilogram ingredients is around Rp 50,000 for 3 jars of 500-gram cookies. If the standard selling price is Rp 30,000 per jar, the profit that you can get from 1 kilogram of ingredients is:

Price per jar @Rp 30,000 x 3     = Rp 90,000
Production cost                           = Rp 50,000 -

Profit                                             = Rp 40,000

Without including the starting capital, one can get return on investment after 1-2 cycles of productions. However, if you include the abovementioned cost, with around 40-50% net profit per production, the return on investment will happen after 4-5 production cycles.

The key of running a successful snack business is maintaining taste and uniqueness, appealing packaging, and competitive price. Do not hesitate to offer free food samples to introduce your products.

[Example: Selling traditional cakes by opening a food stall]

3. Fashion Business:Tailor Shop or Boutique

People need clothing not only to protect their body from the weather, but also as a mean to express their lifestyle. Fashion business has a bright future in Indonesia because the population would generate a lot of demand – half of the country’s demographics consist of people under 30.

If you have some sewing skills, you can open a tailor shop or a boutique at home. Sewing cost varies depending on the models. The standard cost for a piece of clothing, excluding the material, is around Rp 100,000-Rp 300,000.

The initial fund to prepare to start this business is around Rp 3 million, which will be used to buy a sewing machine (Rp 1.5 million-Rp 2.5 million) and some sewing equipment like thread, needles, and so on (Rp 50,000-Rp 100,000).

Assuming that you can work on 10 pieces of clothing a month with an average cost of Rp150,000, you could generate Rp 2 million in revenue and your return on investment will happen within 2 months.

In order to be a successful tailor shop owner, one must remain up-to-date with the latest fashion development, both in terms of sewing techniques and popular demand. Consumers will be asking a lot of suggestions from you as they use your service.

[Example: Opening a Moslem boutique and creating a brand]

4. Fashion Business: Sewing Sequins and Fashion Accessories

Other than sewing, there is a demand to create a sophisticated style in fashion, such as placing sequins and accessories on clothing. Boutique owners, seamstresses or tailor shops usually have very limited time to work on the details themselves. If you have the knowledge and skills, this is your golden opportunity to gain some profit.

Sequin sewing are often needed for kebaya, wedding gown, cocktail dress, moslem wear, hijab style and other items like purses, wallet and shoes. The cost for the work varies depending on its difficulty level and the surface area for the stitching. The market price for this kind of work is from Rp 10,000 to Rp 1 million.

Since this business only requires a small amount of capital – under Rp 100,000 for the sequins – return on investment may be acquired as soon as the work is done. In the beginning, you can offer your service directly to the local tailor shops or boutiques located around your neighborhood. Once it becomes bigger, you can establish your own workshop at home.

[Example: Tutorial on how to sew sequins on YouTube]

5. Fashion Business: Repair Shop for Bag, Shoes and Leather Jacket

Imagine how many pairs of shoes or bags that people have, especially the women. From time to time, those items are damaged and we do not know what to do with them. You can bank this opportunity by opening a repair shop. The need for a service like this is actually quite high and the competition is low.

If you have the skills, you can do the work yourself. Otherwise, you can hire someone who is more experienced. The initial budget for this home business is around Rp 4 million-Rp 5 million, which can be allocated for:

  • Renting a shop (if you have a store)
  • Repair equipment for bag and shoes, such as a basic sewing machine (around Rp 1.5 million), a heavy duty sewing machine for leather or heavy fabric (around Rp 2.5 million), as well as other equipment, such as synthetic leather, glue, canvas, thread, etc
  • Salary of workers (if you need to hire)

Here are some calculations for the profit projection and return on investment:

  • Standard repair costs around Rp 20,000-Rp 250,000, depending on the material and difficulty level
  • Monthly revenue for handling 50-100 products is around Rp 3 million-Rp 5 million
  • Net income is around 40%
  • Return on investment is within 4-6 months

The potential target market for this business mainly comes from middle class and college students. Therefore, choose a strategic venue located around a university complex, suburban area close to a popular hang-out spot or train station.

[Example: Shoes repair at Taman Puring, South Jakarta]

6. Business of Household Work: Laundry

One type of home businesses that has gained a lot of popularity these days is laundry by the kilo, especially in big cities. The main reasons people use this service –for example families who live in an apartment, university students, or busy office employees – are because it is practical, it is helping to ease household work, and very affordable.

The initial budget needed to start this home business is around Rp 5 million-Rp 7 million, which mainly allocated for:

  • Automatic washing machine that can contain up to 8 kg (around Rp 6 million)
  • Drying machine (around Rp 2.5 million)
  • Electric iron
  • Weight scale
  • Washing detergent, fabric softener, large buckets, cloth hangers, etc.

The calculation of profit and return on investment for this laundry business is as follows:

  • Average production using 1 washing machine and 1 dryer per day is around 10-20 kg
  • Market price is around Rp 5000-Rp 8000 per kg
  • Monthly revenue is around Rp 1.5 million-Rp 3.6 million
  • With around 20%-30% net income, return on investment could happen within in 4-6 months.

Washing machine and dryer are the heart of a laundry business. Make sure you use only good quality machines that make clean and perfectly dry clothes to maintain consumers’ satisfaction. As soon as the business is growing, you can buy more washing machines and offer your business to more clients.

7. Business of Household Work: Car and Motorcycle Wash

There are thousands of vehicles roam the roads every day. Certainly not every car or motorcycle owner is willing to spend time washing their vehicle. If you have spare space in front of your house, you can take thisopportunity to use it as your place of business.

If you have limited space, focus on the motorcycles. However, if you have sufficient space, you can provide car wash service, too. The important thing to keep in mind is maintaining water supply as your main asset.

The starting capital needed to open this business is around Rp 5 million-Rp 7 million, which will be used for:

  • Compressor and steam machine (Rp 5 million)
  • Washing and water container construction (Rp 2 million)
  • Monthly operational cost, e.g. for compressor fuel and electricity (around Rp 500,000)

Say the cost for motorcycle wash is Rp 6000 and car wash is Rp 15,000, and you can wash 10 motorcycles and 3 cars, then the profit projection would be:

10 x @Rp 6000 x 30  = Rp 1,800,000
3 x @Rp 15,000 x 30 = Rp 1,350,000 +
Monthly revenue        = Rp 3,150,000

With 20%-30% net profit, return on investment could happen within 6 months.

8. Pet Sitter and Pet Grooming Business

Busy schedule, holiday plan or strict pet ownership regulations in certain housing establishments gives opportunity for you to open a pet sitter business. Targeting the middle-high economy, this business is quite promising, especially if you like being around cute animals.

Pets that are commonly taken to the sitter are cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters and some reptiles. You can offer various services, from pet sitting, pet grooming – i.e. bathing, combing, cutting nails, to veterinary check-up.

The starting capital needed to open a pet sitter service with a capacity for 10-15 animals is between Rp 5 million and Rp 10 million, which will be allocated for:

  • Renting a space
  • Kennels and treatment facility
  • Food and vitamin

With that calculation, you can generate Rp 2 million revenue for taking 0 pets a week, and charging Rp 50,000 per day. That number does not includerevenue from other treatments.The net revenue for a pet sitter service which has been running for 6 months is around Rp 4 million a month. That means,you have already reached a breakeven point by then. To avoid death or disease transmission risk, it is better to separate animals that show symptoms of disease or got fleas in another room.

9. Health and Fitness Business: Gymnastics Club

Nowadays, people tend to care more about their health and look. This is why businesses related to sports and health care are attracting more members. People are looking for various ways to work out in style, including by joining gym classes.

If you enjoy this kind of activity and have the ability of becoming a gym instructor, you can build a small gym. You can offer classes for aerobics, yoga, Pilates or even pregnancy exercise. For that, you need a space large enough to accommodate at least 15 people at once.

The initial fund needed to run this business is around Rp 10 million-Rp 15 million for:

  • Setting up an exercise room (put mirrors, AC, mattresses)
  • CD player and sound speakers
  • Printing brochures and promotion
  • Hiring an instructor (if needed)

Assuming that in the beginning you would have around 10-20 members and charge a registration fee of Rp 25,000 and one-time class fee of Rp 20,000, the monthly profit projection from 20 working days is:

Registration fee Rp 25,000 x 20  = Rp 500,000
Exercise fee
@Rp 20,000 x 20 x 20 days           = Rp 8,000,000 -
Estimated revenue                        = Rp 8,500,000

The figure is fluctuating as membership is usually very dynamic; it may increase or decline from time to time. With an average net income of around 30%-40%, return on investment could happen within 5-6 months. When your home business has started to scale up and the number of members increases, you can add more gym classes and recruite experienced instructors.

[Example: A former actress who started her own gym business]

10. Health and Body Care Business: Mini Spa

The excessive price of treatments at salons, spa and skin centers had discouraged some women and forced them tomake do however they can at home. GoJek mobile app has extended their services by offering affordable massage and beauty treatment.

You can take this opportunity by opening a home beauty treatment, commonly known as mini spa .

A mini spa provides quite similar services like thoseoffered by exclusive beauty centers, i.e. face and body massage, body scrub, aromatherapy massage, hair mask, or reflexology. By making use of spare space at home, or renting a space, this business can start with an initial fund of around Rp 15 million, allocated for:

  • Setting up spa rooms
  • Placing equipments, such as mattresses, desks and chairs for the waiting room and a cashier, display, tables with big mirrors, shades, etc.
  • Treatment supplies, such as towels, scrub, aromatherapy oil, etc.
  • Electricity, water, marketing cost and employee salary

The average price for a mini spa treatment is Rp 75,000. If you have 3-5 visitors a day, this is what you can get:

Monthly income
@Rp 75,000 x 3 x 30                 = Rp 6,750,000
Operational cost & salary (for 2 staff)        
                                                     = Rp 3,500,000 -

Monthly net income                   = Rp 3,250,000

That way, you can get return on investment within 6-8 months.To bring an elegant spa ambiance, you can choose a simple interior design with neutral colors, such as white or crème, and match the furniture with the same color tone, e.g. light brown bed sheets and batik pattern.

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