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GOLD! 100 Unsexy Business Ideas: Name as many as you can!

Shepherd

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Yeah, we're dealing directly with the owners. They have hog operations throughout the midwest, so we're hoping to maybe eventually be their exclusive haulers if they knew that we only hauled out of their sites only, to avoid cross-contamination and whatnot. We're just helping with the one operation located near us now.

But, one baby step at a time. Lol
If you develop good SOP's with a focus on bio-security, you could probably scale up quickly. Good luck!
 

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Tavinho

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I remember reading some time ago in a brazilian news site that a construction worker found out that construction companies wasted time and material building toilets for the workers and deposits for tools when they started to work on a construction site. After finishing the building, they would demolish those toilets and deposits. The construction worker then came up with a solution, and started a container rental business that serves construction companies in need of toilets and deposits. After some time, he expanded his business into a successful franchise.

I think it's a pretty interesting fastlane story.
 
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minivanman

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I don't know if you could scale it or not but.... buy some key FOBs and learn to program them for each type of vehicle. Advertise on Facebook and all the other social media places. Might be just some extra cash or maybe a business, I don't know. The reason it came to mind is we bought a new van to travel and we want an extra FOB. I'm told there is a guy at a very large weekly flea market in our area that stays busy every weekend selling these.
 

GradyS

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Still thinking along lines of waste, anyone tried a septic tank cleaning/pumping business? Living in a rural area there are plenty of tanks out here.
 

Ksalazar

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a welding / fab shop run by business savvy people relying on the grey beards to create good quotes and schedules
Hello ZCP

Im a welder myself and have the skills to fabricate and weld just about anything. What do you think would be an area to focus on if you were to build a business that was focused on just fabrication/welding? This is something I have put some thought into however I do think the market for repairs is small in my state. However I am not sure how it would work with fabrication. I live in New England any tips you have or suggestions would be appreciated.
 

ZCP

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Hello ZCP
Im a welder myself and have the skills to fabricate and weld just about anything. What do you think would be an area to focus on if you were to build a business that was focused on just fabrication/welding? This is something I have put some thought into however I do think the market for repairs is small in my state. However I am not sure how it would work with fabrication. I live in New England any tips you have or suggestions would be appreciated.
Hey @Ksalazar ! Here is a thought .... find an existing shop (even if you have to change location) that has older ownership. Come in being clear that you want to eventually buy them out and have them teach you all they can about business. That may not be how it turns out in the end, and you will learn a hell of a lot about how to run (and how to ruin) a business......

Get AISC, AWS, BPVC certified. Get titanium, exotic materials cert. Look for shops that have a U or R stamp and work your way in and eventually take over, buy them out, or become their competitor.
 

Ksalazar

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Hey @Ksalazar ! Here is a thought .... find an existing shop (even if you have to change location) that has older ownership. Come in being clear that you want to eventually buy them out and have them teach you all they can about business. That may not be how it turns out in the end, and you will learn a hell of a lot about how to run (and how to ruin) a business......

Get AISC, AWS, BPVC certified. Get titanium, exotic materials cert. Look for shops that have a U or R stamp and work your way in and eventually take over, buy them out, or become their competitor.

A little machiavellian in nature but it is an interesting way to get introduced into the fabrication business especially with the fact that my current employer has millions of dollars worth of contracts sub contracted so they can focus on larger ventures. I like it, appreciate it ZCP.
 
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Jeff Noel

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Teaching elderly how to use computers and mobile devices. That's a HUGE opportunity that nobody takes care of. They also pay good amounts and these people are lonely more often than not... so you get the opportonity to hear and listen at great stories and tales from their life.
 
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GradyS

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Teaching elderly how to use computers and mobile devices. That's a HUGE opportunity that nobody takes care of. They also pay good amounts and these people are lonely more often than not... so you get the opportonity to hear and listen at great stories and tales from their life.
I've toyed with this one several times. I find myself always helping my parents, mother-in-law and brother-in-law with computer and phone issues. Three things always trip me up.

1) How would you charge? Is someone hiring you to go help someone else, or is the person in need hiring you? If it's the person in need, they may need a very basic form of payment (check) instead of paypal or stripe.
2) How to scale? I am assuming you would want people that are tech savy themselves, which could possibly be college kids on breaks or young adults right out of scool. If you are invited to someones home with access to their personal computer, there is a lot of trust there.
3) How to do this with a full time job? I currently work a 40-50 hour a week job and am the main provider for our family. Is this a business that you would want someone to come to your house at night or on the weekends?

I have always been good at helping people with technology/networking issues, but just not sure how to turn that into something that makes CENTS.

disclaimer: I'm on page 238 of Unscripted and haven't gotten through it all yet, but I'm on my way.
 

Jeff Noel

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I've toyed with this one several times. I find myself always helping my parents, mother-in-law and brother-in-law with computer and phone issues. Three things always trip me up.

1) How would you charge? Is someone hiring you to go help someone else, or is the person in need hiring you? If it's the person in need, they may need a very basic form of payment (check) instead of paypal or stripe.
2) How to scale? I am assuming you would want people that are tech savy themselves, which could possibly be college kids on breaks or young adults right out of scool. If you are invited to someones home with access to their personal computer, there is a lot of trust there.
3) How to do this with a full time job? I currently work a 40-50 hour a week job and am the main provider for our family. Is this a business that you would want someone to come to your house at night or on the weekends?

I have always been good at helping people with technology/networking issues, but just not sure how to turn that into something that makes CENTS.

disclaimer: I'm on page 238 of Unscripted and haven't gotten through it all yet, but I'm on my way.
I'll do my best with CENTS considering I haven't read TMF and I just starter chapter 1 in Unscripted.
First of all: payment. You need to bring some pre-printed receipts with some beautiful letterhead and everything. You have them sign them and accept cash payment. For safety, since you don't have carbon copy paper, you take a picture of it and upload it to a specific folder made for payment receipts.

Trust and safety issue: I think it's the biggest problem. It has to be treated like it would be in an IT Support shop, where people leave you their device with their username & password most of the time. A lot of people could easily abuse the customer's privacy when accessing the computer/device. I never ran a business of this kind, but I worked for a few of them and I've never been told not to do illegal stuff, as it is usually implied when somebody hires you. You cannot prevent criminal actions from somebody else. If somebody you hire is a thief (that has never been caught), you can't find out until it's too late. Most of us have moral values, but some don't.

The best way to make sure the person you hire does a decent job would be to make a guide on how to operate on someone else's device. Of course, things to teach will differ for each customer, but the general guidelines could be "Teach what physical buttons do" "Teach Operating System's main actions" (Start menu, what is a taskbar, etc.) "Teach web browsing fundamentals"...

You could also sell another product to those person which is a monthly maintenance of their devices... $49 or $59/mo with the possibility to opt out at anytime.
 

Lex DeVille

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Anyone do fence repair?

Last time a bad storm came through, several of our fence panels came down.

We put in a work order to have them fixed. Cost like $160 and the guy came out and did it in about half an hour. I also saw a bunch of neighboring houses with fence panels down too.

I dunno what these guys do for work the rest of the time. Maybe fence installation if I had to guess. Or maybe fence repair is enough? Either way, seems like it could be a good offline business.
 

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Bekit

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Here's an unsexy business opportunity I just came across.

"I would like to see a platform created where a company that wants to do a podcast can come to one place and easily buy the rights that it needs to include specific songs in its programming." [Source]

Apparently, there is no easy way for people who run podcasts to play music on their podcast. There is a company set up to offer a "blanket" license for music streaming services like Pandora, but they specifically do not cover podcasts.

If you were the single source on the internet who had figured out how to get podcasters to pay you for the license for any music they ever play, I can see this being very lucrative.

However, the legalities seem convoluted and complicated, even to the lawyers, so I don't know if this is a problem that would cost more to solve it than it would bring in...
 

krod1681

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Everything is a regular job in the beginning, regardless of what it is. You have to put the work in it and once it's grown into a decent sized company that's stable and profitable, you hire people to run it for you and then you can do whatever the hell you want. You only have to check in on it periodically to make sure your managers are doing their jobs properly and everything is flowing smoothly.

I have one of those unsexy businesses and the first two years in business I worked 12 hour days consistently. Now some weeks i work 80 hours, but most weeks I work less than 10 hours, just depends on what I'm doing. The important part is that regardless of what I'm doing, the money still comes in.
If one does not mind being a manager then it's fine. The reason many people get into an online business is less management. Less human resources which take up more time and effort. It's easier to deal with a machine that works constantly and needs occasional tuning up. It's tricky to deal with people that come with fickle emotions.
 

MooreMillions

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Vending machines...
And what I have been thinking about for the past half decade, is vending products that are not normally associated with vending machines, and learning what the eduacational curve would be for consumers to search said products, specifically skin/body/personal care products, outside of the traditional gas station restroom setup.
 

minivanman

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At the park near downtown Omaha, they have I think 2 or 3 machines that are basically a little store. About everything a convenience store has in them. I'm not sure how well they do.
 

maikooo

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Here's an unsexy business opportunity I just came across.

"I would like to see a platform created where a company that wants to do a podcast can come to one place and easily buy the rights that it needs to include specific songs in its programming." [Source]

Apparently, there is no easy way for people who run podcasts to play music on their podcast. There is a company set up to offer a "blanket" license for music streaming services like Pandora, but they specifically do not cover podcasts.

If you were the single source on the internet who had figured out how to get podcasters to pay you for the license for any music they ever play, I can see this being very lucrative.

However, the legalities seem convoluted and complicated, even to the lawyers, so I don't know if this is a problem that would cost more to solve it than it would bring in...
I have been wondering about this! I know for example, that in order to host your podcast on LibSyn and having it published on Spotify, you gotta have all your content "PodSafe". However, I have been listening to the Tropical MBA podcast recently and they have all these famous song snippets in there. Not sure how they do it.

In the past, I heard about About Us | Epidemic Sound, but not sure what kind of music they have in there.

It's a mess indeed. I remember having to pay for a podcast intro music license 4x per year because the basic license covers only a certain amount of episodes or has to be renewed per year.

I think it would cost more to solve than it would bring it. Podcasters usually pay somebody to custom create it for them with a full buyout or use these pay monthly, use forever type of music services. Might be wrong though.
 

ExaltedLife

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And what I have been thinking about for the past half decade, is vending products that are not normally associated with vending machines, and learning what the eduacational curve would be for consumers to search said products, specifically skin/body/personal care products, outside of the traditional gas station restroom setup.
Dude what? This is an amazing idea, you should spend all day tomorrow figuring it out. I'll give it a shot right now. Heres one - tampons at music festivals. The key thing is matching the place with the product. There was this kid who killed it with medical supplies in vending machines at theme parks - the need in a place like that is urgent and staff are hopelessly swamped with their duties.

So - urgent need, crowded place, insufficient staff. How about computerized vending machines that give pain meds to registered patients with ID cards in hospitals? Limited supply by prescription, like only enabling one dose every 4 hours. Best not malfunction though.

What are other urgent needs? Clean underwear in a bad food market? Hahaha. What about appealing to vanity? Where are people: A) Most likely to have a wardrobe or cosmetic malfunction, and B) Most concerned about their appearance? Do we have any overlaps?

Based on what those answers are, what product can meet that need from a vending machine?

Off the top of my head.

A) Out at a bar, at a restaurant - for that matter, anywhere near food/beverages and drunk people at the same time. Or any time somebody is emotional and wearing makeup.

B) Any important event accompanied by peers, family, colleagues, etc. Weddings spring to mind. Birthday parties, speeches, etc.

Okay so the first need that jumped out to me is: women who cry at weddings and ruin their makeup.

There are probably better ways to go - I don't think vending machines have exhausted their potential. Personally I'd love if they stocked nootropics and amphetamines but society might not be there yet...hahaha
 

MHP368

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Got a few more

Duck farming

Delicatessan pork rinds (made from acorn fed orgqnic yadda yadda , you get the idea , charge whatever you want , no one else is doing it)
 

MHP368

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Couldnt find this already posted with the searh function but

Renting and cleaning out portable toilets (porta pottys)

Nymag had a recent longform about this subject. Quite lucrative in the right area (dense cities or cities with lots of events)

Also you can niche down and sell apparently high falutin beveely hills luxury portapotties to wedding and things for 3k a night
 

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Ernman

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I don't know if this has been said already, but if you own a landscaping company why not start up a christmas light removal service? I'm under the impression in the winter time it's difficult for landscapers to get decent business, and everyone has christmas lights they really don't want to take down. Another potential idea in the same vein is getting ahold of your regular contracts and offering snow removal services as well.
I have a friend who runs a mosquito spray service here in Florida. During the winter they decorate/undecorate your house for the holidays.
 

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Dude what? This is an amazing idea, you should spend all day tomorrow figuring it out. I'll give it a shot right now. Heres one - tampons at music festivals. The key thing is matching the place with the product. There was this kid who killed it with medical supplies in vending machines at theme parks - the need in a place like that is urgent and staff are hopelessly swamped with their duties.

So - urgent need, crowded place, insufficient staff. How about computerized vending machines that give pain meds to registered patients with ID cards in hospitals? Limited supply by prescription, like only enabling one dose every 4 hours. Best not malfunction though.

What are other urgent needs? Clean underwear in a bad food market? Hahaha. What about appealing to vanity? Where are people: A) Most likely to have a wardrobe or cosmetic malfunction, and B) Most concerned about their appearance? Do we have any overlaps?

Based on what those answers are, what product can meet that need from a vending machine?

Off the top of my head.

A) Out at a bar, at a restaurant - for that matter, anywhere near food/beverages and drunk people at the same time. Or any time somebody is emotional and wearing makeup.

B) Any important event accompanied by peers, family, colleagues, etc. Weddings spring to mind. Birthday parties, speeches, etc.

Okay so the first need that jumped out to me is: women who cry at weddings and ruin their makeup.

There are probably better ways to go - I don't think vending machines have exhausted their potential. Personally I'd love if they stocked nootropics and amphetamines but society might not be there yet...hahaha

Tissue machines at funeral homes.

I’m going to hell. :blank:
 

GradyS

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The more I think about it (and read both threads on the topic) the biggest barrier is entry. I think we could all crush it on the customer service/technology side, as well as business practicies to scale. It's the initial investment of equipment that most of the services would require that makes it difficult.

Maybe these people just watch craigslist and local facebook marketplace to see some piece of equipment that goes on sale, and then that's the business they run.
 

jon.M

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There are probably better ways to go - I don't think vending machines have exhausted their potential. Personally I'd love if they stocked nootropics and amphetamines but society might not be there yet...hahaha
Go on trendhunter.com and search for vending machines. There are high-tech ones where you can get a freshly baked pizza in 3 minutes. Apparently fresh food is becoming more popular. Meats etc.
 

minivanman

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The more I think about it (and read both threads on the topic) the biggest barrier is entry. I think we could all crush it on the customer service/technology side, as well as business practicies to scale. It's the initial investment of equipment that most of the services would require that makes it difficult.

Maybe these people just watch craigslist and local facebook marketplace to see some piece of equipment that goes on sale, and then that's the business they run.
And for example, if they are asking $10k for it..... ask if they still have the item. This gets the conversation going. Then tell them that you wish them luck in selling it and if you had more money, you would buy it but you only have $3700. They might counter or they might say ok.... see ya. Then in a 4-8 days, tell them that you've been thinking a lot about this and as wondering what the lowest price they would take. Let's say they come back with $9k. Tell them ok, thank you, I can probably round up $5k right now but I'll keep trying. Now let another week go by..... if they still have it, that means no one is wanting to pay their price BUT.... now you aren't just someone that is shooting them a price, they kinda email/text know you now. Now tell them you've come up with $6k, are they willing to go down any? And just keep working it.

Ernman, Is your friends name George?
 

Duane

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Anyone do fence repair?

Last time a bad storm came through, several of our fence panels came down.

We put in a work order to have them fixed. Cost like $160 and the guy came out and did it in about half an hour. I also saw a bunch of neighboring houses with fence panels down too.

I dunno what these guys do for work the rest of the time. Maybe fence installation if I had to guess. Or maybe fence repair is enough? Either way, seems like it could be a good offline business.

Fencing is a very hard business, but the money is insanely good if you can get through the initial struggles. I have several close friends with fence installation companies and I dabble in it as well on the side. $160 is a pretty cheap repair fix, I typically won't send a crew out for anything fence related if it doesn't meet a $500 minimum. Repairs are okay money, but fence installation is where the money is at.

As the installation company, an average job is $5k ($2-3k profit) and takes less than a day to do. There are two problems though: One, being big enough to get a steady stream of clientele and two, if you don't pay your crew well, they will without a doubt quit pretty quickly because the work is tough.

The big installation companies sub-contract out all of the installation process to small fence companies though. They make their money off the material. Buy it in huge quantities for pennies, then sell it at retail and let the sub-contractors deal with all of the headaches of installation.

Big companies typically have over 20 sub-contractors installing for them, and they give all the sub-contractors discounts when they buy fence material from them as well, so where do all of these guys go to buy material for their other jobs? Yep, to them.
 

Neng Her

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Anyone do fence repair?

Last time a bad storm came through, several of our fence panels came down.

We put in a work order to have them fixed. Cost like $160 and the guy came out and did it in about half an hour. I also saw a bunch of neighboring houses with fence panels down too.

I dunno what these guys do for work the rest of the time. Maybe fence installation if I had to guess. Or maybe fence repair is enough? Either way, seems like it could be a good offline business.

I'm in contact w/ a bunch of independent contractors and ppl who do fence repairs and much more on the side. 50% of them are employees but they also do their own work on the side. I'm in progress of trying to work with them and bring them more customers for free.
 

oskuounaa99

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just looked out of my kitchen window and saw a guy collecting his dog's poo from the ground.

Does anyone do dog poo collecting for business
 

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