If you love kids, this week’s list is for you. These 10 businesses are all about the youngsters and the parents who will pay you to make them happy.
Some will take very little money and experience to get going, and some will require a little more. All in all though, none are out of anyone’s grasp, if you really want to be a kid-centric entrepreneur. The key is that you want that.
In any business, it’s important to be passionate about what you’re doing, but with kid-focused businesses, that’s especially critical. You can have the most brilliant business model in the world, and if you don’t like being around kids, you’ll struggle in a big way with any kid-related business.
So make sure you’re on board with kid-related, then keep reading!
1. In-home Child Care
This is probably one of the first businesses that comes to mind when thinking of working with children as a business. It’s ideal for many people who want to work from home, especially those with kids of their own.
You get to spend all day with your kids and their friends, and you get paid for it! There are some very important considerations when deciding if this is the business for you. For instance, licensing requirements differ from state to state, and even among specific cities and counties, so make sure you find out exactly what you need before starting.
Also, consider your house. Most houses, and even an apartment, will work as a daycare. You just need to make sure it’s a safe, clean environment for kids, and the size of your place will determine the number of kids you can take on.
And if you don’t have a sufficient yard, you’ll need to take kids off-site to a park so they’re not inside all day, which can add another list of due diligence items. Of course there’s a lot more to this business than can be said here, so check out this book for more.
It’s a few years old, but has great information, from planning activities for the kids, to the money side of the business.
2. Tutoring Service
Were you a math or English wiz in school? Even if you weren’t top of your class, your skills in one or more subjects are probably still strong enough to tutor some level of student.
The more you know about the subject, the higher grade level you can tutor, and the more you can charge. Students of every subject are in need of help, regardless of where you live, and their parents are willing to pay to ensure their grades stay up – or get up.
You’ll obviously need to have patience and a knack for explaining your subject in terms a student can understand, and if you have those skills, the rewards can be high. You won’t get rich, but you’ll make some extra cash, and you’ll feel great when the student you’ve been tutoring gets an A on that algebra final! You say, “But I want to get rich?” Ok, it’s actually possible.
Tutoring centers are popping up all over, so if you have some capital, and this is the business for you, go for it! Here’s a book to get you started right.
3. Kids’ Party Planner
Who doesn’t love a party? Party planners make big bucks organizing every detail of birthday parties, graduation parties, bar and bat mitzvahs, tea parties, spa parties, sweet 16 parties, holiday parties… the list goes on.
You’ll need well-honed organizational skills, connections with caterers, party supply stores, and rental stores, and superb people skills to deliver superior service to your often-demanding parent clients.
If you’re creative and as particular as your customers about throwing the perfect party, word of mouth will travel fast, and you’ll be managing a full calendar before you know it. And yes, there’s a book for this too!
4. Kids’ Entertainment
Are people always telling you what a clown you are? Or can you pull a coin out of a stranger’s ear? If you can make kids laugh, dance, or stare in awe (in a good way), then you can make money with a kids’ entertainment business.
You’ll want to hook up with party planners (see above) in addition to marketing yourself online, at the local party store, and through schools and daycares whenever possible. From there, it’s a matter of putting on a great show, whether as a clown, magician, karaoke DJ, or mascot.
If you love kids and making them happy, you’ll have a blast while making a living – and you can’t ask for any more than that!
5. Drop-in Child Care Center
Different from a daycare center, drop-in centers have become a popular alternative for parents all over. These centers allow parents to drop kids off anytime, typically for a few hours at a time.
They’re a great alternative for stay-at-home parents needing to go to a doctor’s appointment, lunch with friends, or just some alone time. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, and these centers are inspected in some states, and not in others.
In any case, you’ll need some capital to lease a space and build it out to accommodate your business. Some centers serve food, and some even offer onsite cafes for parents to sit while the kids play.
Of the businesses on our list, this one will take the most capital, research, and time, but with centers of this type charging as much as $15/hr for each kid, the potential payoff is significant. So if it peaks your interest, check into it.
6. Second-hand Kids’ Clothing
If brand names like Baby Lulu, Chicken Noodle, Baby Gassy Gooma, and Naartjie mean anything at all to you, then you are likely into kids’ clothes.
Reselling gently used brand name baby and kids’ clothing is big business, and you can get started for very little. You can start selling on eBay or Craigslist and build your business as big as you want.
There are lots of sources for your inventory, from Goodwill and other thrift stores, to your neighborhood garage sale. Keep an eye out for clearance sales as well.
Just because your local chain store is having a blowout doesn’t mean they are in another state or that your customers were able to get what they wanted there. If you buy right your markups can be 300% or more, and you get to shop a lot as part of your work!
7. Toy Kiosk
We’ve all seen them. Whether at the mall or as a booth at a fair or event, people all over are making a living selling toys and games to kids and parents passing by.
Some of these booths specialize in a single toy, like the ones selling the Styrofoam gliders, while others have a variety of toys or games, from tiny remote control trucks, to educational lines.
Inventory costs are far less and turnover faster than in a full-fledged store, and if you start out with a booth, you won’t break the bank on rent.
If you decide to move up to the mall scene, you’re looking at significant lease prices and a possible long-term commitment, but enough folks are making this work that it appears to be a winner.
8. Instructional Classes
When it comes to learning stuff (stuff they want to learn), kids are sponges. A popular trend in cities from coast to coast is offering kids opportunities to learn to cook, paint, craft, scrapbook, and more.
Then there are all the traditional instructional classes, like martial arts, cheerleading, swimming, and dance, to name a few.
If you have a knack for one of these areas and like the idea of expanding kids’ minds and skill-sets, consider imparting your knowledge and making a business of it at the same time. While it doesn’t cover all the possibilities, check out this book for some great ideas.
9. Kid Taxi Service
Soccer, football, band, cheerleading, and piano practice, dance, karate, and swimming lessons. These are just a few of the activities parents have to bring their kids to and from daily. Add after-school study groups, orthodontist appointments, and their own work schedules, and it’s a wonder any parent can keep up.
Help them out by offering a taxi service for their kids. These services have become popular in many parts of the country, and there are still huge areas of opportunity. You’ll need a van, and you’ll want to check local licensing requirements, and you’d better be great at staying on a schedule while listening to gaggle of kids in the background.
If you can meet all of the requirements, you’ll find a large customer base to market to, and you might be expanding before you know it. Want to know more? Doris Tommie, founder of Kids on Wheels, has been doing it for the past 15 years and wants to help you do the same.
10. Amusement Rentals
You know those giant inflatable slides, castles and bounce-houses you see at fairs, festivals and kids’ parties? They’re wildly popular among kids of all ages, and they can be the makings of a great business that takes no special training and not much capital.
Add a cotton candy machine, dunk booth or hotdog cart to your rental repertoire and you’ve got a great business, and all you have to do is deliver and pick up. Or, stick around as an attendant, and add some extra profit to your bottom line.
Unless you get really big, all the equipment will fit in your garage, and no single piece is that expensive, so you can start small and grow quickly as demand for your service increases. If you want to see how far you can take this business, check out this site.
So, there you have it – 10 businesses aimed at making kids (and their parents) happy. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our lists of 10 Online Businesses, and 10 Home-based Businesses. And be sure to watch this space for more business ideas each week, culminating in our full list of 100 of the best business ideas around!
And, if you have kids in your life and you want to help get them started on the entrepreneurial path, check out Kidpreneurs: Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas.
The 2010 NAPPA Gold Award winning book stokes a child’s desire to get involved in business early by fueling their curiosity in simple, engaging, creative, and safe ways.
It defines entrepreneur and other key business terms; breaks down the complex concepts to the practical, creative, and ethical sides of the business world; and articulates the important facts of modern business using colorful illustrations, fun facts, stimulating quizzes, and sample business plans. For more information, check out kidpreneurs.org.