10 cheap business ideas to start for under £5,000

If you’re looking for cheap business ideas with bags of potential, take a look at these...

10 low-cost business ideas

1. eBay business
2. Wedding planning
3. Childcare and babysitting
4. Tutoring
5. Editing and proofreading
6. Market stall
7. Sports coaching
8. Handyman business
9. Cleaning business
10. IT support and repairs

Childcare and babysitting

What does a babysitting business involve?

If you've occasionally babysat for your friends and relatives, and think this is all the experience you need for a full-time business, think again. The babysitting market is very congested; there are hundreds of companies out there, each offering their own unique and tailored service.

Boutique Babysitting, for example, specialises in looking after children at music festivals; its service amounts to a full-scale mobile crèche. If you want to compete with these companies, you need to put in hours upon hours of research and concept development, to ensure there's a gap in the market for your service, and you're capable of meeting the expectations of the parents in your area.

How much does it cost to start a babysitting business?

Whether you're doing everything on your own, or wish to enlist the support of other babysitters, it's a good idea to get a criminal records bureau (CRB) check. Although there is no formal requirement for a CRB certification, many parents will expect that you have one, as you are offering a professional service in this area. Checks can cost up to £60, depending on the umbrella company you use, so it can get expensive if you're planning to employ large numbers of staff.

If you're planning to employ other people, it's also worth thinking about the type of people you're going to hire.  Selina Cope, co-founder of Boutique Babysitting, said that “it (babysitting) is a profession these days, although teenagers can still do it for cash in hand.

“All of our staff are childcare professionals, they're all NVQ trained, and we have teachers as well. We would ask for a minimum of two years' experience, and first aid training is preferable.”

If, like Boutique Babysitting, you plan to open a crèche or activity group, you'll need specialist insurance for these ventures.

How much can I earn as a babysitter?

Babysitting rates nationally tend to fall between £6 and £10 per hour; however it's worth noting that a large portion of the industry is still made up of casual teenagers, and as a professional company you should be able to charge more.

Selina Cope says that, “for babysitting we charge between £10 and £15 per hour, per person, per family. For kids' club, our children's activity arm, we charge £10 per hour per child in the day, £15 at night.”

What sort of skills and personality do I need?

You need years of experience in childcare; ideally, you'll have worked as a nanny or run your own childminder business for several years, and you'll know the business inside out. You also need to be prepared to do a lot of paperwork, particularly regarding CRB checks.

Top tips for babysitting success

  • Understand that a babysitting business is actually a lot of hard work.
  • Research your competition, and find out if anyone is offering a similar service in your area.
  • Expand and diversify to meet the particular needs of parents in your locality.

Ready to get started? Find out everything you need to know about how to start your own business here.