Overhead costs are those costs that a business incurs to operate. Overhead costs include salaries, supply and equipment purchases, insurance premiums, advertising costs, and rent or lease payments. High overhead lowers the profit margin of a business. High overhead costs are also a barrier to entrepreneurs looking to start their own business. A few good business models are available with low overhead that make start-up relatively easy.
Teaching or Training
One-on-one teaching or training has low overhead. If you already have a certification to provide personal training, you can offer your services at client's homes or rent time in a gym or store front. Yoga trainers require very little equipment to set up shop in a store front. Tutors in music and education can work from their own homes or their client's homes.
Professional Cleaning Services
The first cleaning lady had the right idea when she realized she could utilize all of the items she used to clean her own home to clean someone else's home. Offering professional cleaning services requires basic items that most people already have in your home or in your client's home. Start-up is sometimes as easy as showing up at a client's home with a $2 pair of rubber gloves.
Lawn Care Services
Lawn care is another professional business that utilizes items many homeowners already have: lawn mower, rake, shovel, and trash bags. Other items a lawn-care service uses are saws for trimming trees, trucks and tractors for hauling equipment and gardening supplies. Most lawn-care businesses have at least one commercial-grade riding lawn mower, a significant investment. Lawn care services pass the cost for mulch and plantings directly to the customer so the cost to the business is short term.
Specialized Professional Services
Professional accountants, attorneys, and therapists who are already licensed in their state can easily start a private practice. Since the license is specific to the profession, the professional can start a business from her own home. Formal living rooms can easily be put to use as an office space where clients can be met for consultations.
Pet sitting has the lowest overhead to start. Since clients will provide the pet, the food and the home for the pet, the pet sitter's expenses can be limited to business cards, advertising, and transportation-related expenses.