When you think of small business owners, the first thing that comes to mind may not be kids, but there are lots of reasons to encourage your children to start a business of their own. It’s a great way to learn responsibility, flex their creative muscles, and get hands-on experience with managing their finances (it’s never too soon to start).
These kid entrepreneurs prove that age is irrelevant when starting a business—as long as you have the right idea and the motivation. While the latter is up to you, we can help with the former. Just check out these 20 business ideas for kids.
Good Business Ideas for Kids
For young entrepreneurs who want to start a business and make some spending money, there are plenty of options. All of the following business ideas for kids are easy enough to start and manage.
1. Child Care
For generations, kids have been providing child care for younger children—whether during after-school or weekend hours. Knowing there’s a reliable older kid in the neighborhood who can offer to help is a huge relief for many parents. Start your child care business by offering help to neighborhood families and grow your network from there. Child care jobs can pay anywhere between $10 and $25 per hour, depending on the number of children you’re watching at a time.
2. House Sitting
When people travel for work or go on vacation, they want to know that their home is safe and well cared for. A good business idea for kids is offering to house sit. This can be as simple as stopping by every day or two to pick up the mail and water the plants. For older kids, they may even stay overnight in the house to ensure everything is safe.
3. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking
For kids who love animals and want to make some extra spending money, there’s no better business than offering pet sitting and dog walking services. Pet owners want to ensure that their animals receive all the care and love they need, even when they work long hours or go out of town.
Pet sitting services can include feeding the animals, taking them on walks, and playing with them in the house. Dog walking services can be a great after-school job that also gets kids out and exercising. Both options allow kids to make some money while staying right in the neighborhood. Bonus: They get to work while playing with cute animals.
4. Car Washing
With just a small investment in the necessary tools and cleaners, your driveway can become a full-service car wash. And, with a little creativity, you may already have everything needed for your kid to start a car washing business right in your garage.
The beauty of a car washing business is that your kid can offer their services for less than someone would pay to take it to a professional car wash and your customers don’t have to drive out of their way to have their cars cleaned.
5. Lawn Care
Lawn care has been the chore and summer job of generations of kids. This is one of the best small business ideas because it’s so simple to start. Your kid can start a lawn care business and learn all the skills they need right at home. Once they’ve mastered the mower and weed wacker, they can begin selling their services.
While the basic lawn care services are enough to set up a business, there are plenty of other yard maintenance skills kids can learn and offer to make more money, including weeding, planting, tree trimming, and more.
6. Handyman Chores
What could be better than a way to learn useful life skills and make money at the same time? A great business idea for kids is to start a handyman service. By learning to do simple jobs around the house, kids can make some money helping neighbors and learn useful skills they’ll be sure to use for life. Many handyman skills can be learned by watching YouTube videos and doing online research. All that’s needed is time and patience.
7. Seasonal Tasks
While some kids will be pros at balancing school work and business, it’s not true for everyone. Starting a seasonal business that can be operated during the summer when school is out of session or on winter break, can help kids to learn how to manage their time efficiently.
Seasonal business ideas might include:
- Raking leaves
- Holiday decorating or wrapping
- Shoveling snow
- Removing holiday decorations
- Summer lawn care
Even a seasonal business will help kids to learn how to negotiate the rates for their services and learn the value of their time.
For kids who might not want to become a babysitter or offer child care, another option is to provide support to an elder. An adult caregiver might help with housekeeping, prepping food, transportation, or simply offer companionship. Spending time with an elderly person can be highly rewarding for both parties.
While no training is needed to offer basic care services, it might be beneficial for kids to take a CPR and first aid course before beginning this type of business.
9. Errand Runner
Many teens celebrate the freedom they receive from a driver’s license and access to a vehicle. There’s even a way they can monetize that freedom. By offering to run errands for a neighbor who may not have time or the mobility to go to the store, teens can make spending money and spend time practicing their driving away from parents.
10. Sell Baked Goods
One of the best ways to start a side business is to turn a hobby into a business. When you do that, you get to do something you love while also making money. For kids who like to bake, starting a baked goods business is a natural fit.
A baked goods business is a great way to practice something they enjoy and share their delicious treats with the neighborhood. And with tons of options, this type of business will always be fresh, never boring.
11. Merchandise Designer
While designing merchandise might sound complicated, it can be very simple. With a little design skill or talent for drawing, you can make a business by selling designs for different events around town or logos for small businesses.
And, there’s no need to worry about production. You can make the design and upload it to different online platforms that will print the design on T-shirts, canvas totes, and so much more. Check out sites like CafePress for online retailers that will print and ship the products for you. All you have to do is come up with the design.
12. Popsicle or Lemonade Stand
There’s no kid-friendly business idea more simple than starting a lemonade stand. This timeless classic is still a great business option for kids of all ages to learn how a business operates. They learn about finding the right location, purchasing supplies, and how to calculate profit after paying for supplies. If you want to give it a more updated twist, consider freezing your lemonade into popsicles for a sweet frozen treat.
13. Party Entertainer
For kids who love to perform, they can start a business as a party entertainer. Their creativity can lead the direction of this one, but some common examples are a magician, balloon artist, juggler, clown, movie character, and more.
14. Selling Candy
This business idea can go in a couple of directions. First, if your child is gifted in the kitchen, they might start making and selling homemade candy to friends and neighbors. However, they can also learn some basic business principles around the power of buying in bulk. Buying candy or other kid-friendly snacks from a wholesaler like Costco and reselling them individually could create an easy profit.
15. Reselling Cans and Bottles
This business idea for kids will depend on the state in which you live. If you have a bottle return in your state, you’ll get a small amount of money in return for recycling your bottles. Not only can you encourage your kid to manage the recycling process in your own home, but you can encourage them to expand it to the whole neighborhood, either by offering to turn in cans and bottles for neighbors or by collecting them from public spaces. They make some money and do something good for the environment.
Just as you’re never too young to start a business, you’re also never too young to teach someone else. This is a great business idea for kids who have a high aptitude in specific subjects. They can offer to help other students who are younger or who may not be as strong in a certain subject.
17. Website Builder
With a little know-how and patience to learn new skills, kids can learn how to build websites. With that knowledge in their arsenal, they can offer to build simple websites for local small businesses. This can be an easy way for kids to make some spending money and learn a skill that will serve them for years to come.
18. Tech Lessons
For kids who are tech-savvy, they have a built-in marketable skill to leverage into a profit. As technology changes more and more rapidly, there are many people who would pay money to be taught how to use their phones and computers. Tech-savvy kids can save older adults time and money by coming to them to give tech lessons or to fix simple problems with their devices.
19. Live-Streaming Gamer
Honestly, could there be any business more desirable for a kid than to make money by playing video games? This business is a dream come true for many young kids. With sites such as Twitch.TV becoming more and more popular, kids really can start a business and make money by live-streaming as they play video games.
20. Retail Arbitrage
For kids who want to learn about business finance and the basics of how a business works, retail arbitrage can be a great lesson. The idea behind retail arbitrage is simple. You buy something at a lower-than-market price in one area and then sell it for a higher price elsewhere. One way that many people do this is by buying at garage sales and then reselling those items on websites such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
What Makes Something a Kid-Friendly Business Idea
Kid-run business can be just as much work for the parents as it is for the kids. If you’re going to help your kid start their own business, you want to think about what makes a business idea great for kids in the first place.
1. Low-Cost Initial Investment
Most kids are interested in starting their own business to be able to make spending money. That means that they likely have little savings on hand to invest in the business. One of the many important aspects to consider when choosing a kid-friendly business idea is to think about the initial investment and what financial burden the business will have on your household.
Many of the small business ideas for kids above require no initial investment. For those that do need materials or tools to get started, there are low-cost options. For a taste of the real world, consider offering kids a business loan. Make sure to draw up a contract and to include interest on the loan for authenticity.
While older kids might not think they need parental support for their business ideas, the ideal situation is a business idea that’s for kids and parents. In all likelihood, parents will end up as a partner of the business. Whether they’re funding a loan, offering capital, providing the necessary tools, giving emotional support, or acting as a driver, parents will play a role in this business, so they should consider what they’re willing and able to do, as well.
3. Flexible Scheduling
For kids who go to school, they have a set schedule, just like adults. The ideal business ideas for kids will offer flexible scheduling so kids can go to school, do extracurricular activities, complete homework, and still operate their business. Building a side hustle is challenging, but rewarding.
4. Easy-Access Location
One of the many factors that can determine whether or not a business idea is kid-friendly or not is its location. Most kids can’t drive, which means that location is an important factor in operating their business. Luckily, many good business ideas for kids are online and location-independent or can be operated in a small geographic area that’s accessible by walking or biking.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for great business ideas for kids, this list should provide you with a lot of different options, one of which is certain to fit the interest and skills of your kid. Starting a business is a great way for kids to learn life skills, get a better understanding of finances, build confidence, and become more independent. Though they’ll likely need help from parents in getting their business started, there are plenty of options that they can operate mostly on their own.