Top 11 Most Profitable Small Businesses in America


Starting your own small business can be incredibly rewarding, but it also comes with its share of challenges. The first step to starting a profitable small business that you can run from home is to pick the right idea and make sure it’s going to work out in the long run. This list of the top ten most profitable small businesses in America will help you make this decision. These ten businesses are all affordable and easy to get started with, and they provide plenty of room for growth and expansion as your business grows. So which one will you choose?

Retail – Grocery stores

Grocery stores are so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget how well they serve their customer base. Both as a consumer and an investor, you know exactly what you’re getting when you walk into your local grocery store: food. But think about all of the little things that go into creating that experience for shoppers—carts, scanners, display cases, conveyor belts. Those items cost money and make grocery stores one of our nation’s most profitable small businesses. In fact, 40 percent of our top 100 list is made up of retail businesses like supermarkets and pharmacies where profits are often measured in terms of percentages rather than total dollar amounts.

Real estate

When it comes to investment potential and money-making power, few investments can rival real estate. A lucrative side business idea that you can get into with just a small amount of startup capital is buying and selling homes. Think about how many people are looking for places to live on any given day. There’s a good chance there will always be someone out there looking to buy or sell property—which means there’s money to be made! If you start small (say, by buying up rental properties or house flipping), your portfolio will grow quickly, making it easier for you to expand your activities. Like any other business endeavour, starting a real estate company takes time, energy and dedication—but if done right, it can provide massive returns over time.

Gas stations

According to Oasis Truck Stop, it costs about $4,000 a year for a gas station owner to lease a property and pay for insurance. The business doesn’t need a lot of people to operate it—in fact, each gas station employs an average of five people. And although there are only two major oil companies that own most gas stations (Shell and Exxon), there are opportunities for smaller companies to thrive by offering added services like car washes or convenience stores. This gives small businesses an opportunity not only to survive but also to thrive in today’s market. In addition, research from IBIS World reveals that more than 90 percent of these businesses are run by private individuals rather than corporations.


There’s a good reason why small businesses are joining in on hotels’ high profits. According to The Balance, about 86 percent of single-unit owners make an average of $80,000 a year. However, hotel ownership requires a lot more capital than some other small business ventures. In fact, it’s not unusual for new owners to spend between $700,000 and $3 million on their first venture. That said, once you’re established with a few locations under your belt, your profits will continue to soar well into six figures.


If you’re willing to work hard, restaurants are a great place to start your small business. Owning a restaurant may seem risky, but there’s never been a better time to open one. The foodie movement has expanded rapidly in recent years, and our culture now values authentic food experiences more than ever before. One of the biggest mistakes aspiring restaurateurs make is underestimating how much money they will need to open their dream restaurant; always plan for success. It costs around $150,000 (including licensing and legal fees) to open an average-size restaurant that serves dinner five days per week with lunch service on Saturday; urban eateries often cost as much as $300,000 or more.

Insurance agencies

In 2014, nearly 2.6 million people worked at insurance agencies, working on either a part-time or full-time basis. In general, insurance companies offer plans covering cars and homes as well as life insurance. While an owner runs many agencies independently by an owner, it’s also common to see agencies owned by larger companies like State Farm or Geico. Insurance agents tend to have flexible work schedules and often have a good deal of autonomy over their day-to-day tasks. That’s not to say you won’t be accountable for your performance; most agents are compensated based on how much they sell each month.

Waste collection service

Collecting and disposing of trash may not be glamorous, but it’s a lucrative business—not to mention an environmental necessity. You don’t need to purchase a fleet of trucks or open your own landfill to become a successful waste collector. Some states limit competition in the waste collection industry, so check your local laws first; if you can begin hauling rubbish and trash, here are a few tips for success

Car washes

So many Americans have cars, and so few know how to wash them. As a result, car washes are one of the most successful small businesses in America. What’s more, many locations offer various services beyond just washing your car. For example, for a nominal fee, some offers vacuuming and detailing services (e.g., buffing out scratches), which means a customer might need to visit only once every two or three months depending on usage; it may be possible to strike deals with neighbours or others who live nearby for even more regular business.

Construction companies

Construction is one of those industries that’s been around forever and will continue to be a favourite of entrepreneurs. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s big business, with big risks and rewards—and that makes it an exciting field for people who want to take a gamble on themselves. That being said, setting up shop as a small contractor isn’t always easy; you have to know what you’re doing if you hope to make it through your first year. For example, many contractors (even experienced ones) don’t give proper consideration to how they’ll pay their insurance or payroll taxes from month to month. Even seasoned professionals can overlook something like compliance requirements for their industry-specific licenses.


The #1 most profitable small business in America is Laundromats. According to Entrepreneur, a properly-run laundry operation can generate $200,000 per year or more. You can multiply that number significantly if you open multiple locations. And when you factor in location costs (rent and utility bills), an owner can make as much as $10,000 per month on a single laundry facility with no employees. For more on how to open and operate a successful Laundromats business, check out How to Start and Operate a Successful Laundry Business by Jon Weinberg.

Event Management

With over $3 trillion going to events of all sizes across the United States each year, event management is one of the biggest small business ideas you can get into. Whether you’re planning your city’s annual music festival or corporate conference, if there’s a market for it then you can make money doing it. Do a bit of research and find out what other events are happening in your area before you go through with anything – they might be even better opportunities than yours!


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