29 Hands-On Business Ideas

The building and repairs industry is enormous, with almost endless possibilities when it comes to business opportunities. In today’s world, with an ever increasing number of people tied to desks and computers for work, the desire to break free and do more rewarding, flexible, and hands on work is growing.

So much more than construction or mechanical repair, this industry offers a huge array of options that can fit almost anyone’s interests, skills, and availability. Whether you want to launch a full-time career running an auto repair shop or home improvement outfit, or you’re looking to make some extra money on the side repairing bikes or installing home entertainment equipment, there is space in this industry for you.

The building and repair industry also lends itself perfectly to those who have spent years building skills and experience either working for someone else or through a personal passion or hobby. After spending ten years working for an elevator repair business, or a lifetime tinkering with antique clocks in your spare time, you may find you have more to offer yourself and others by starting your own business in these fields.

Whatever your reason for starting a hands-on business, and no matter what level of experience you bring, we have great list of ideas and information to help you get started.

1. Bike Repair Business

Cycling is a popular sport in the United States, with people regularly using bikes for fun, exercise, and transportation. In 2015 alone, 17.4 million bikes were sold in the country. As bikes are used, they occasionally break down -- and most people aren’t well-versed in repairing bicycles. A bike repair business fixes and refurbishes bikes for customers when their rides break down.

Anyone mechanically inclined who is passionate about cycling may enjoy running a bike repair business. Enjoying the sport will help a business owner connect with their customers, and making repairs requires basic mechanical skills.

2. Car Repair Shop

This business employs automobile mechanics who provide repairs and vehicle maintenance to consumers and businesses. The car repair shop might also offer services like custom installation of stereo and alarm systems, window tinting, and aftermarket upgrades.

This business is good for people who are mechanically-inclined. In most states, a license is required to work as a mechanic. Each vehicle manufacturer typically has proprietary processes and service protocols that a mechanic must follow. Because of this, specialized schooling is a practical necessity.

Business owners usually work long hours away from their families.

3. Carpentry Business

Carpentry businesses build, maintain, repair, or renovate residential and commercial buildings. Structural carpentry, such as framework, contributes to community safety by ensuring the structural integrity of homes and businesses. Finish carpentry, such as restoration of historical buildings, contributes to the environmental beauty and increased real estate values of the community.

A carpentry business is ideal for those who enjoy working with their hands and building things. It’s ideal for those who enjoy preserving and restoring historic landmarks as well as creating new ones for future generations. Those who take pride in their work and a sense of satisfaction in helping customers utilize space more effectively will enjoy this type of business.

4. Clock Repair Business

Despite the recent influx of smartwatches, people have continued to show a strong preference for old-fashioned clocks. These are clocks that need regular maintenance and occasionally break down, requiring a professional to fix them.

Clock repair businesses service worn-out and malfunctioning clocks. The industry has traditionally been dominated by older men, who are now retiring and leaving opportunities for young business owners. Many established businesses report backlogs of six weeks up to one year, which shows that there is demand for this type of work.

Anyone who appreciates clocks and is mechanically gifted may like owning a clock repair service business. Having a passion for clocks helps business owners connect with customers and maintain enthusiasm for the work. A mechanical inclination is necessary because clocks that need to be serviced are intricate machines.

 

5. Countertop Business

Countertops are difficult to install. More importantly: They’re heavy. It takes professional skill, planning, and tools to install, remove, or repair a countertop. Because the homeowner decides on a countertop’s style, materials, and installation needs, services geared towards custom schedules are incredibly valued. Normally, countertop business operators are incredibly skilled maintenance workers. They understand home repairs, style needs and safety requirements.

Skilled craftsmen flock to countertop businesses, and for good reason: They’re expressive, they hold many opportunities, and they give contractors the freedom they seek, work-wise. Independent workers who love stone-crafting, interior design, repair work, and hands-on work are fantastic marble and granite contractors. While countertops needn’t be made of fine materials, a lot of countertop contractors love the artistic aspects of installation.

6. Custom Car Shop

This business is needed because of the large demand for vehicle customization. Since all jobs are customized or fabricated on-site, the complexity of each job varies with the customer and request. The market for this business consists mostly of automotive enthusiasts.

Custom car shops appeal to entrepreneurs who are automotive enthusiasts and love engineering and designing. As a custom car shop owner, you need to be willing to work long hours, manage a team of technicians, and love working with your hands. You also need to have a passion for the automotive enthusiast community, which tends to have its own unique culture apart from the general population.

Image of Custom Treehouse Business

Since the beginning of time, trees have been used by humans as a form of shelter. In more modern times, treehouses have become fun places for children and even adults to spend their time. Tree house builders design and build treehouse structures in trees. This includes everything from a child’s tree house fort, complete with zip lines and rope bridges, all the way up to small family homes.

Individuals with a sound understanding of tree growth patterns, structural engineering, and a construction background are often a great fit for this type of business. Those who possess this knowledge and who enjoy being one with nature become the best candidates.

Why we like this business:

For an entrepreneur, any business idea that combines passion with skills is an excellent opportunity for success. Treehouse businesses are great because they can bring success and satisfaction to passionate and talented people from a wide range of backgrounds. Carpenters who have spend time working for others can transition to a career that allows them to insert more creativity and fun into their work. Someone trained in engineering who enjoys working directly with people and being outside can bring their skills to the table designing and building treehouses. Artists, too, can find a unique outlet for their creative minds in this field.  Because this is a niche, luxury market, treehouse business owners can truly make their business their own by injecting their personal touch, creating signature designs, and building a portfolio that showcases their specific talents and interests.

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8. Electrician Business

Electrician businesses focus primarily on servicing electrical systems in homes and businesses. Because it is a trade business, it is highly specialized. Furthermore, local and state governments typically restrict non-tradesmen from working on electrical systems. Due to these factors, skilled electricians are typically in high demand.

This business is right for individuals who are good with their hands, have good people skills, are good at solving complex conceptual and mechanical problems, and can work in a variety of different environments. To own and operate an electrician business, you must also be a skilled electrician. Most business owners are master electricians who have studied for many years as an apprentice.

9. Electronics Repair Business

This type of business repairs damaged or malfunctioning equipment such as televisions, stereos, computers, phones, and gaming devices. Repair technicians charge a fixed rate for labor in addition to the cost of new parts.

This business is right for those who enjoy learning about technology and the challenge of restoring damaged items to like-new condition. Professionals in this business help conserve natural resources while helping customers preserve treasured photos and online communications as well as valuable software and digital content such as games, books, and music.

10. Elevator Installation and Repair Service

The elevator industry continues to boom across the country as most public and many small commercial buildings are installing them to better accommodate their customers. Once established, the chance to continually provide service and maintenance for the life of the building can help create a self-sustaining business. The successful owner of an elevator business will be eager to take on a project using engineering, electrical, and business skills.

The owner and operator of an elevator service business will have professional connections among the building trades, unions, city leaders, and state safety inspectional services. You will be highly motivated to continue to expand your area of influence while keeping all your current clients satisfied with your services.

11. Fence Company

A fence installation company contracts with clients to perform a number of services. Contracts are negotiated based on the measurements of the area to be fenced, the materials used, the degree of difficulty, and the amount of time and labor required.

This business is ideal for people who enjoy working outdoors and helping people increase the security, beauty and functionality of their property.

Image of Floor Installation Business

A floor installation businesses services homes and commercial property by installing, removing, and performing maintenance on the area’s flooring. Successful floor installation companies offer a wide range of flooring options, including linoleum, wood and tiles. Covering residential homes, apartments, small shops and—in some cases—large stores, a floor installation business possesses the many skills needed to cover any property’s needs.

Previous floor installation contractors are perfect fits for floor installation management. Someone with technical installation experience, maintenance experience, or electrical experience may find the job to be a good fit. That said, a successful floor installation business owner will have excellent management, financial, and marketing skills. Ideally, they’ll be similarly skilled in governing others, reaching out to potential customers, and handling ongoing projects.

Why we like this business:

Floor installation businesses can be an excellent way for contractors who have spent years working in the industry to break out on their own, and for those new to the field to build a career in a growing market. Though the market has a great deal of competition, there is always a demand for reputable local businesses when customers are exploring their options. Further, with home improvement projects on the rise, there is great growth potential for those able to build a solid reputation for high quality craftsmanship and service. Floor installation businesses also serve a large variety of customers, as flooring is needed in new home construction, home improvement, and damage repair. Depending on the size, scope, and location of your business, you can choose to market yourself in several ways to garner the most success.

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13. Garage Door Installation and Repair Business

Garage door installation and repair businesses specialize in new garage door installations and replacement and/or repairs of existing systems.

Those individuals with experience in residential and commercial construction, retail sales of garage doors, or any combination of these attributes will find themselves at an advantage in this industry. Additionally, physical strength and agility are important, as well as the ability to talk to customers in a professional and personable manner.

14. Graffiti Removal Business

A graffiti removal business removes unwanted graffiti from a variety of surfaces and buildings. This is most commonly done via pressure washing and repainting. Even in smaller towns, graffiti is everywhere. Your removal business will be hired by business owners, school boards, city managers, and other authority figures to remove this unwanted graffiti.

While experience is not a prerequisite, this job is great for someone who has extensive experience painting various surfaces, as repainting is a major part of the removal process. Similarly, experience with a pressure washer can help you be more efficient when you start. Otherwise, the business is ideal for those like to work alone—aside from your brief interactions with clients, much of your actual work day is spent by yourself.

15. Handyman Business

A handyman business offers a variety of home repair services, based on their skill set and the customer’s needs. This can include, but is not limited to, both interior and exterior trade skills, maintenance, and repair.

If you are in great physical condition and are ready to take on a career that allows you to set your own hours and be your own boss, starting a handyman business might be the perfect fit. In addition to having the knowledge and skills to repair and replace household items, a passion for helping others would help ensure your new career takes off.

16. Hardware Store

A hardware store typically sells hand and power tools, building materials, fasteners, keys, locks, hinges, chains,electrical supplies, plumbing supplies, cleaning products, housewares, utensils, and paint. They’re designed for DIY consumers and handymen (as well as tradesmen) who need a place to source supplies for projects.

This type of business is usually attractive to handymen, tradesmen, and those who enjoy home improvement activities. The owner should be able to advise customers on purchases and have experience with the products being sold in the store.

Long hours aren’t always necessary, but weekends might be. Having a flexible schedule helps, especially during the first few years of operation.

Image of Home Theater Installation Business

A home theater installation business specializes in setting up the assorted audio and video equipment for individual home theaters. Many such businesses branch out and offer their services to organizations such as schools, businesses, universities, and churches that may also need such specialized assistance. In this way, such a business can almost immediately assert itself as a vital component of the community.

Obviously, this business is great for individuals who have a love and an aptitude for setting up things like big screen TVs and surround sound theater systems. It's also good for a “people person,” as you will be working with members of every demographic within your community. Finally, it's good for those who often shop for these kinds of materials online: being able to make recommendations for where customers can buy equipment they want at competitive prices can really help set your business apart.

Why we like this business:

With a home theater installation business, there are virtually no startup costs beyond advertising and insurance. You can easily run the business as a part-time job or full-time endeavor. This business can also generally thrive in any area and with any customer base. If you live in or near a high-income area, your business can focus on setting up personal in-home theater systems for individual clients. If you live in a city or near a high commerce area, your services may be required by large companies, government agencies, or universities looking to set up sophisticated audio-visual tools. Finally, even those living and working in a more modest suburban setting can find business among schools, churches, and within the community. With little to no risk involved, starting a home theater installation business can be a fantastic way to build a flexible, lucrative career right out of your home.

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18. House Painting Business

A house painting business owner has the opportunity to utilize a great many skills and perform a wide variety of duties. Responsibilities include estimating the cost of jobs, scheduling, creating contracts, advertising, and providing customer service. Depending on the terms of the contract, a painting contractor might also be expected to choose materials and mix colors. Depending on the size of the business, they may also either manage employees or engage the services of other independent contractors.

A house painting business is a good choice for people who enjoy home improvement projects and prefer a greater degree of physical activity than many jobs provide. Preserving and restoring buildings to their former beauty is a valuable and highly appreciated community service. Flexible hours, low overhead, and the opportunity to develop new skills while earning as much as your own energy level permits are all factors that make this a desirable business choice for many people.

19. Musical Instrument Repair Business

Musical instrument ownership in the United States is high. According to a 25-year-anniversary report from the International Music Products Association, about half (52 percent) of U.S. households have at least one instrument-owning musician. Of those that have a musician, about half (48 percent) have two or more family members who play something.

Although this report is from 2003, instrument ownership has remained high since the report was issued. Lots of people in the U.S. own instruments -- and some of those instruments break down.

Musical instrument repair businesses service and repair instruments when they need routine maintenance or break. With so many people owning instruments, there is high demand for repair work.

Anyone who enjoys music and is mechanically inclined might like running a musical instrument repair business. Business owners regularly interact with people who are passionate about music, and fixing instruments is a hands-on, mechanical process.

20. Plumbing Business

The plumbing business is a necessary business because consumers and businesses generally are incapable of maintaining their own plumbing systems. Plumbers ensure that potable and sewer water pipes are well-maintained and up to local building codes. Customers are usually living in residential properties. However, some plumbers obtain corporate or commercial contracts and work exclusively with businesses.

This business is ideal for individuals who enjoy working with their hands, aren’t afraid to get dirty, and have flexible work hours. Some plumbers are called into a job site on emergencies and must work late or even work on weekends. Plumbers, and a plumbing company, may also have to work on holidays.

Image of Pool Installation Business

A pool installation business builds pools for residential homes, commercial properties and living communities. Some also conduct pool repairs, check-ups and removals. Today’s pool installation businesses use a wealth of tools, skills and methods to install, repair and even remove pools. Primarily serving households, pool installation businesses also build pools for larger communities. They’re capable of creating custom pools while adhering to community and city guidelines to ensure the safety of those using the pool.

A pool installation business is ideal for any worker who enjoys working with their hands, conducting services outdoors or who loves swimming pools. Any hands-on contractor who’s had work as a pool technician may wish to take matters into their own hands, making money while installing high-demand luxury items in homes and communities alike.

Why we like this business:

A pool installation business is great because it offers a high profit potential in a large and growing industry. For those with contractor and pool maintenance experience who have a strong attention to detail and ability to solve complex problems, starting a pool installation business can be an excellent and rewarding way to take their career to the next level. You can shape your business around your personal interests, talents, and experience by choosing to offer standard pool design options or creating unique custom designs to liven up your clients’ properties. No matter where you’re located, there is likely a market for your business. Suburban areas can offer a spread of clients in a variety of income levels, allowing you to offer a range of options to meet their needs. More urban or newly developing areas may be looking for pool installation services for hotels, apartment and condo developments, or schools. If you market yourself well for your area and offer a quality product, this business can make you a considerable income over its lifetime.

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22. Remodeling Business

Your remodeling business might be a one person show where you personally complete kitchen, bathroom, bedroom remodels or additions to homes and businesses. In another business model, you could serve as a general contractor and hire employees or subcontractors to help complete jobs in a more efficient manner.

A remodeling business is a great investment for the person who has a passion for home improvement, with extensive knowledge of multiple construction skills and enjoys a background of business and accounting.  Dedication to completing work thoroughly with close attention to detail while providing superior customer service is also required.

23. Roofing Company

Just about every structure requires a roof, whether it is a house, business, school, or government building. Roofers have a consistent flow of work as roofs do not last forever. In general, the typical roof lasts about 15 years. However, roofs require periodic inspections, maintenance and repairs after installation.

If you like to work with your hands, desire to be your own boss, and want a consistent flow of work, the roofing business is for you. Aside from making plenty of money, opening a roofing business will provide homeowners and business owners with a much-needed line of defense against the elements. The roofing business requires climbing ladders to access roofs. If you embrace the opportunity to work high in the air on angular surfaces, the roofing business is right up your alley. This business also requires overseeing a team of workers who perform the majority of the manual labor. The best roofing business owners and managers understand how to properly delegate duties, communicate with clarity and lead employees in an effective manner.

24. Tile Business

A tile store sells, repairs, and sometimes installs tile. Tile comes in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be used as flooring, as counter tops, a wall surface, and in bathrooms. It is generally sold by the box, with square footage dimensions listed to assist in determining how much product is needed for a project.

Entrepreneurs with experience in home maintenance and repair, tile installation, and flooring are best suited to manage a tile store. Owners should have an eye for beautiful, quality tile and should understand what tile pairs best with other household surfaces.

Image of Tiny House Business

Tiny houses are all the rage. These uber-small homes have just enough space for a minimalist individual or small family. A tiny house business builds, sells and/or rents tiny houses to those looking for a place to live or stay.

If you are interested in architecture, construction and/or real estate, this business is perfect for you. It is also quite appealing to those who pride themselves on staying up to date with the latest trends.

Why we like this business:

A tiny house business is an excellent way for someone with contractor and/or home building experience to break out on their own into a trendy and growing industry. This business can be appealing to a wide range of people, from those looking to put their own unique spin on home building to those hoping to contribute positively to the environment. There are multiple niche groups who are becoming interested in tiny houses, so you are likely to find a customer base regardless of your personal style and preferences. This is also a great business opportunity because the nature of tiny house building means you can complete and sell many houses in a much shorter time than with standard home building. With a smaller team and higher turn-around rate, not only is this a fun business but one with a great profit-making potential.

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26. Watch Repair Business

Watch repair shops fix watches, repair batteries, repair watch faces, and overhaul inner watch mechanics. Offering simple and complex repairs alike, watch repair shops can fix mechanical and digital watches alike. A lot of watch repair shops have watch parts, too. Some may also sell watches.

The ideal watch repair shop owner loves watches. They also have a passion for clockmaking, watchmaking, and the history of watches. Watch repair shop owners are good with people, and they also honor the world of repair.

Because watch repair is very specific, general repairmen may not be fit for the watch repair business. Those who’re experienced with repairing small mechanical items, however, may find watch repair to be incredibly fun. Those who enjoy collecting watches and clocks, too, may enjoy the art of watch repair. As a business owner, a watch repair shop owner will need to have a good handle on management, accounting, and marketing.

27. Welding Business

A welding business repairs, restores, and assists building metal-based items. Welding and fabrication services include flux core welding, aluminum welding, plasma cutting, metal fabrication, dump truck box repair, and more. A high-quality welding business can fix most things made out of metal, assisting numerous projects in the span of a year.

A welding business should be run by individuals who’re experienced in metalworking, welding, and fabrication. It’s a solid business plan for workers who love excavating projects, fixing mechanical items, and performing general maintenance. A lot of welding projects are custom, giving project managers a lot of control over the services performed. A high degree of investment takes place, too, making it a good business for individuals who enjoy completing ongoing repairs, installations, and upgrades.

28. Window Installation and Repair Business

Window installation and repair businesses outfit residential and commercial structures with new or replacement windows and related parts. Especially for today’s energy conservative and efficient world, new windows are essential to maintaining a low carbon footprint. Either as an independent business entity or as a sub-contractor for larger window retailers, the bulk of the business will revolve around new window installs and replacements.

If you have construction experience or have worked in window sales, you may be an ideal candidate to open a window install and replacement business. Having knowledge in the product, the installation process, and necessary carpentry skills, or all three, will help a new entrepreneur immensely. Good customer service and personability is also an important trait for a successful start up business owner.

29. Woodworking Business

Wood, being both beautiful and practical, has always been a popular material to make products from. Today, many people continue to seek out -- and pay good amounts for -- wood products. A woodworking business specializes in producing such products, carving furniture or other items from wood.

According to IBISWorld, the wood product manufacturing industry is a $6 billion industry that continues to grow. The top 50 companies in the sector command only about 30 percent of the market, leaving plenty of opportunities for new and smaller wood shops.

Anyone who is detail-oriented, decent at math and skilled with their hands may be well-suited for running a woodworking business. These skills are necessary when carving wood and building products.

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