5 Small-town business ideas to Make Money (Side Hustles)

5 Ways To Make Money - Side hustle

Small towns are not necessarily known for their booming economies or their fortune 500 companies. But, there are still plenty of opportunities there to make a significant income.

First, let’s discuss the criteria that we used when we compiled our list of side hustles and business ideas. We took the top 100 ideas that we could find on the internet, then we run them through selection standards to filter the best ideas to make money, at the end, only five passed.

Criteria for Selecting a Viable Business Idea

Criteria for Selecting a Viable Business Idea - personal trainer side hustle
Criteria for Selecting a Viable Business Idea – personal trainer side hustle

provide an immediate income

There are some great ideas out there, but they can take months or even years to cash flow. So we decided to leave those things off the list and just focus on things that could create a quick cash flow for you.

require no special skills or licenses

This is one of the reasons why people fear starting a side hustle or an entrepreneurial journey. They think they need some special skills, licenses, or a degree to get the business work. If you need cash immediately you don’t have time to go to barber school so that you can cut hair on the weekends for a little extra money. is that right?

Repeatable Idea

The idea has to be repeatable, side-hustle ideas that include things like selling the stuff you don’t use anymore are not a side hustle idea. That’s a garage sale. It’s a great way to raise a few extra bucks but it’s just not a side hustle idea. Now if you have a way to find items over and over again that you can flip that might be a side hustle.

You should choose ideas that could build long-term cash flow. Things that you could start and continue to do as long as you want.


Scalability is the ability to grow the business beyond your personal labor output. Meaning the ability to get the business to a place where it earns money for you while you’re at home sleeping, eating, on vacation, or whatever.

An example that could describe this criterion is in-person guitar lessons. So if you are an instructor, it takes one instructor to one student. Your income is limited by the number of lessons they can teach in one day.

On the flip side, if you taught those lessons one time and recorded them, and created an online course, you could sell access to that course over and over again.

That online course is now earning you money without you having to do any additional work. That is scalability. Another famous term for this is passive income and that is how wealth is created. You have to get to a place where you are no longer trading your time for money.

flexible schedule

This is a side hustle so you need to be able to work it around your daily hustle or your regular job.

side hustle ideas that you can start right now with very little or no money

These are the top five side hustles Ideas that you can start right now with very little or no money out of pocket, we are sure you’ve heard every single one of these before. It’s nothing new but one thing that we humans are really good at is dismissing ideas based on preconceived notions. So do us a favor and try to clear your mind and look at these ideas as if you’re seeing them for the very first time and that’s going to be hard to do but try.

1. Automotive Detailing

automotive detailing training - Side Hustle
automotive detailing training – Side Hustle

Auto detailing is a broad spectrum of services, it could be as simple as dish soap, a few towels, and a vacuum cleaner, All the way to paint correction and ceramic coatings.

There are a ton of blog articles, youtube channels, and even paid online courses that show the detailing process and discuss all the intricate information of the service. We would recommend watching some of them for ideas.

What are the pros of the auto detailing business?

Income – This can be a ridiculously lucrative business, the charge for a basic detail can range anywhere from $100 to $300. Let’s assume you charge $150 and you do three cars every Saturday that would be an income of $450 per week or $23,400 per year. Guess what? That is one heck of a side income just for washing three cars a week.

Cost of Entry – This is probably the most attractive thing about the automotive detailing business. You can literally start with a bucket, a few towels, and a vacuum cleaner. Granted, as the business grows you’ll want to invest in better equipment so that you can expand your offerings and charge more. But in the beginning start small, bucket and towels.

Scalability – the auto detailing business is very scalable. You might ask us how could you scale this business while you charge people for your time and efforts? Simple, you can just train good people, pay them well per car not per hour, and as long as you’re able to find trustworthy people to help you can grow this business as large as you want. You could be at the beach while other people are washing the cars for you.

What are the cons of the auto detailing business?

Weather – Anytime the weather is bad you’re going to be out of work if you live up where it snows you’re out of work for a whole season.

Water Source – You will need access to a lot of water if you aren’t able to work from home, you’ll need to figure this out and maybe that means going to the customer’s house where you can use their water.

Skills and knowledge – The more in-depth you get with your service offering, the more skills and knowledge you’ll need. We would suggest starting small with a basic wash and vacuum and then learning as you go.

Licenses and permits – Some communities (in the US) or maybe other countries may require a special license or a permit. Most of the time smaller towns are more lenient than the more urban areas but you should still check with your community just to be sure.

2. Junk Removal

local junk removal company
local junk removal company

Drive around neighborhoods looking for trash by the street and simply offer to haul it off immediately for the homeowner. A lot of communities offer roadside pickup for yard debris or really anything that doesn’t fit in your trashcan. But those trucks can take weeks to come by. You find homeowners that don’t want to wait for that truck to come by and they’ll pay you a few bucks to haul it off.

Nobody likes an eyesore in their front yard, you could post ads on all the usual online forums like Craigslist, Facebook, or whatever else you could find. You could maybe put up flyers where permitted and just offer your services.

What Are The Pros Of The Junk Removal Business?

Cost of entry – Assuming you already own or have access to a truck or a trailer, then you’re in this business for free. If you don’t then this probably isn’t the side hustle for you. The profit margin is good but not as good as auto detailing.

One other benefit of this one is there’s a side hustle built into the side hustle and that is scrap metal. Flipping items that you’re paid to haul off. Check with your local metal scrap yards and get a list of all the metals that they accept and what they’ll pay you for them.

For example, if you’re paid to haul off a washing machine maybe you have a local appliance store that would buy it from you or that could fix it for cheap so that you could resell it. Nothing better than getting paid twice for something once when you haul it off and once when you sell it.

What are the cons of the junk removal business?

Cost of operations – This business can be a little more expensive to operate. Familiarize yourself with the cost of dumping things at your local landfill. They usually charge by the ton, but you just need to know that for when you’re picking things up. You’ll also have the cost of gas in your truck and the cost of labor should you need help. Most of the time when people call you it’s because they have either something large, something heavy, or a lot of things. And in that case, you’re gonna need help, and help means additional fees. Just make sure to account for all these things when you’re pricing your service and then you’ll be fine.

Weather – again bad weather is gonna sideline most of these jobs unless you’re okay with getting wet. Meaning that’s up to you.

3. Power washing

Power Washing Side Hustle - Power Wash Gutters
Power Washing Side Hustle – Power Wash Gutters

Have you ever power washed something, if so you know how mesmerizing it can be to watch something dirty become clean. And this really makes power washing an easy sell.

Simply ask your prospect if you can power wash a small area of their driveway for free sold, this selling technique almost always guarantees a sell. Most people don’t realize the difference that a power washer can make and when they see it they want it.

What Are The Pros Of The Power washing Business?

Cost of entry – Any hardware store will have multiple options of power washers for under $500, that is if you don’t already own one then you just need to put gas in it and you’re in business. Don’t buy an electric one that will limit the jobs that you can do.

Profit margin – It is super high as long as you can tie into your customer’s water source, your only expense is gas and wear and tear on your machine.

Scalability – It’s easy just to get more power washers and find trustworthy people to run them. You can go to the beach while they power wash. (Just don’t tell them you are/was there)

What Are The Pros Of The Power washing Business?

Weather – You’re going to get wet anyway so what does it matter if you power wash in the rain, still that’s up to you.

Water source – If you stick to residential jobs or to buildings that have an external water source that you can use, you’ll probably be fine most people would be perfectly okay with you tapping into their water supply. However, some jobs may require you to supply your own water. So unless you own a tanker truck or some sort of reservoir that you can haul around on your trailer; you’re probably gonna miss out on those jobs.

4. Yard Maintenance Business

Residential Yard Maintenance - Side Hustle
Residential Yard Maintenance – Side Hustle

This is probably the most popular side hustle idea in history but for good reason.

What Are The Pros Of The Yard Maintenance Business?

Cost of entry – It is relatively low. Most of you probably have access to some general lawn equipment but if not you can get started at a very basic level with a $200 push mower. This would definitely limit the jobs that you could take but it would be a starting point. Like every other side hustle on our list, you can purchase more and better equipment as the money begins to flow in

Profit margin – Once you have your equipment the only expense is gas and maintenance. So the margins should be really good.

Recurring business – While all of these side hustles offer some level of return business, this one offers the most. Grass grows fast during the growing season, leaves need to be raked in the fall, and snow needs to be shoveled in the winter. That makes this a year-round business with recurring jobs.

Scalability – Like the others, find trustworthy people and then train them well. You can then focus on finding the jobs while your crews go out and do the work for you.

What Are The Pros Of The Yard Maintenance Business?

Weather – Again, at this point we can all agree that bad weather is not good for our pocketbooks.

Equipment – This side hustle does require some fairly expensive equipment if you want to take it seriously. So, be thoughtful and have a plan before you go out and spend a bunch of money.

Knowledge – Yard maintenance does require a little more knowledge than most of the other things on the list. You’ll need to be familiar with how to trim and cut grass and plants without damaging them. It’s really easy to cut the grass too low and kill it Or to trim a bush wrong and stun its growth. Just make sure that you know enough not to damage someone’s yard before you get started.

5. House Cleaning Service

Professional House Cleaning Service
Professional House Cleaning Service

There are a couple of ways to work this side hustle, you could seek recurring jobs like cleaning personal residences. Or you could solicit realtors or real estate investors for jobs cleaning empty houses before they hit the market or in between tenants.

What Are The Pros Of The House Cleaning Service?

Cost of entry – It’s a very low startup cost if you clean your own house, more than likely you have everything you need to clean someone else’s. And if you need some extra stuff use your income from the first couple of houses to go buy any additional equipment or supplies that you need.

Profit margin – It should be very high because there’s no expense other than your time and effort.

Recurring business – Whether you’re cleaning someone’s personal residence or an investment property there will always be houses that need cleaning. If you prove yourself as a business that got skills, good management and you can get a property ready to rent before a deadline. Be sure, that every time there is some work, you will get a call from your clients (real estate companies). Nowadays, It’s really hard to find someone that’s willing to do a good job.

Weather – For the first time weather hits the pros column. Why? Because you can clean a house when it’s raining outside, it doesn’t matter what the weather is as long as it isn’t a tornado. This may not be a bad side hustle to partner with one of the others, for example, power washing. When the weather is bad you clean inside, and when the weather is good you’re power washing outside. That way you can work no matter the weather.

What Are The Pros Of The House Cleaning Service?

Scope of work – This may be less of a con and more of a warning, but there are many levels of cleanliness. You’ll need to be sure that you and the customer are on the same page and that the appropriate levels of expectation have been set. Outline a detailed scope of work and have your customers sign off on it before you get started. Also, make sure to specify exactly the job that you will do and what they are paying for it. If you don’t do this you may clean the toilets while the customer expected the oven to look brand new and could care less what the toilets looked like. No matter what, just get it in writing.

Final Verdict

Don’t be afraid of hard work, that’s what it takes to be successful and that’s why everyone is afraid of it, so don’t let this opportunity slide. All of these ideas and plenty that we didn’t mention are easily scalable, which means you can build them up to a point where others are doing the physical labor for you while you simply oversee the business end of things. Once that has happened, you are no longer trading your time for money and that is the only way that you can make a substantial income for yourself. That elusive passive income making money while you sleep, while you’re on vacation, and while you’re at home with your family that’s the secret.

We hope you found value in this article and that maybe it’s caused you to rethink a side hustle that you’ve just overlooked in the past.

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