Back-to-School Small Home Business Ideas
INSIDE: As kids go back to school, you can earn extra money with these small-business ideas for stay at home moms.
What!? School’s coming?
It’s true. Any day now, kids will be heading back to class. And many parents who have been at home with their children will begin looking for work. Luckily, the change of season also brings some great new home business opportunities for those with an entrepreneurial spirit.
If you’re looking for something new to do to bring in some extra cash, give one of these back to school themed businesses a try. You never know, one of them may inspire you to launch your own full-time business in the future.
1. School Supply Shopper
Do you know what is more expensive than school supply shopping? School supply shopping with your kids! You have to deal with whining, convince them they don’t need those super expensive notebooks or a bazillion boxes of lead for their new mechanical pencils.
It’s so much easier to just get in and out without the hassle of bringing your kids along. But, not everyone has the availability to go to the store unaccompanied.
If you ask around, you may find several moms in your area who are more than happy to hand over their shopping list and let you pick up everything their kids need. This keeps them out of the store, and probably saves quite a bit of money since there won’t be any temptation to throw some extra items into the cart.
As a local school supply shopper, you can source the best deals. This means you will always know where to go for the lowest prices on items your customers want. Parents will save time, since they won’t be searching through ads or walking aimlessly through the aisles. And, they’ll save money on the supplies with the bargains you find.
Make sure you charge parents for this service. If you charge each one $25 to do their shopping, and can shop for four different parents per trip, you just earned $100.
To market your business, make connections with other parents in your area. Consider hanging up flyers in the local stores and posting a notice on Facebook. You never know who will take you up on your offer.
Many school districts have reduced or eliminated bus services to save money. But, it may not be safe or feasible for children in your neighborhood to walk themselves to school or to the bus stop.
If the local transportation options have recently changed, you might find a few parents in your neighborhood who would love to find someone reliable to drive their kids to and from school each day. They can all pitch in to cover your time and gas.
HopSkipDrive is a service catering to kid chauffeuring with the help of independent contractors. If you live in a handful of major metropolitan areas in the U.S., you can sign up on their website to become a Caredriver. You can make up to $32 an hour driving kids around. Since you will be working with kids, there is a strict background check that will need to be passed before you can start.
We now live in an image-driven age. You only need to take a spin around Pinterest to see there is money to be made in documenting the first day of school through snapshots. Senior picture time will soon be approaching as well. Brush up on your skills through Udemy and check out this list of places to sell your photos online.
To make more money, you’ll need to set yourself apart from other photographers in your area. Do you have access to a beautiful natural setting? Do you love creating personalized props and signs to document important occasions? Allow your creativity to shine as you advertise your business and take photos.
Ensure you have a solid contract in place before releasing photos. You’ll need to decide what can be shared on social media, if your clients have the right to make their own prints, and all the other important details. This way everyone is on the same page when it comes to expectations.
Do you have the patience and knowledge for teaching? There will be many students in need of extra help in all subjects. Now is a good time to offer your services as an after-school tutor.
Check out this post for a list of sites that help connect students with online or in-person tutors.
It’s also a good idea to check your local Craigslist and newspaper ads for listings. Some school districts hire tutors directly, and they often advertise in these venues.
For most tutoring jobs, you’ll need to pass a background check, and prove your ability in the subject you want to tutor.
5. Music Instructor
If you are musically inclined, why not offer to teach those skills as well? Parents are looking for everything from traditional piano and violin lessons to rock star guitar teachers.
You can decide to offer lessons in your home, in a central location (like in a church or community center), or in your students’ homes. There are pros and cons for each location, so think it through before picking the best one for you.
As a traveling music instructor who goes from home to home, you’ll save parents time. They won’t have to worry about driving anywhere or waiting impatiently for lessons to be done. Most parents will really appreciate this. You will also be able to charge more, to cover your time and miles getting to the location.
6. Cold Weather Accessories
It might still be muggy and warm in many areas, but it’s not too soon to be thinking about winter! Handmade is huge right now. If you have knitting or crocheting skills, you may be able to create a nice side business selling gloves, scarves and hats. In addition to online venues, you may be able to cleanup at local vendor events. Those are frequent this time of year.
Kids are always losing their hats, scarves, and mittens, so there’s always a good market for these items. You could also offer custom colors, or create cold weather accessories that match the colors of your local high school. The kids can display their school spirit while staying warm.
7. Clothing Consignment
In order to make room for all the new back-to-school clothes, many parents clean out the closets this time of year. You can offer to pick up those hand-me-downs that are in good condition and sell them online or locally for a percentage of the profits.
To advertise this business, ask permission to put up a couple of flyers in your local clothing stores. You might also consider placing an ad on Craigslist or Facebook. Social media can be a great way to spread the news about your new business ventures.
If you enjoy shopping, you could also do used clothes shopping for your clients. Have them send you a list of specific items they want, and then as you’re browsing you can keep your eyes peeled for these items. By charging a “finder’s fee” for each item, you’ll make money while doing something you love. You’ll be saving parents time and money, which is always a good thing.
8. Head Lice Removal
This one is a little gross, but hear me out. Head lice thrive in schools. Kids are always swapping hats, sharing combs, and doing all the other things they aren’t supposed to do. And as they do them, the head lice get passed from head to head.
Every year, schools send letters out notifying parents of head lice outbreaks in specific classrooms or in the entire school. Professional lice removal is big business these days with companies charging up to $100 per hour. The Lice Place even offers a franchise opportunity.
If you take precautions, you won’t wind up infecting yourself with head lice while helping someone else get rid of theirs.
Another needed area after an infection is cleaning the home. Bedding, stuffed animals, car seats, and much more will need to be properly cleaned to prevent reinfection. If cleaning is something you are good at, consider starting your own business by offering these services. Most parents will pay quite a bit to not have to worry about cleaning up after an outbreak.
9. Coffee Deliverer
Many teachers would love a cup of hot coffee mid-morning to help them get through the rest of the day. But, they can’t leave to go pick it up, so they’re stuck drinking the bland coffee brewed in the teacher’s room.
You can help solve this problem by becoming a coffee deliverer. Once you introduce your services to the local school, you can collect orders and payment at a certain time each day. Then you could go place your order at the local coffee shop and deliver everyone the caffeine they need to stay fueled through the final bell.
Teachers aren’t the only workers who might benefit from this service. Brainstorm companies in your area where workers might be interested in a mid-day coffee boost.
10. Special Lunch Maker
Are you a pro at creating cookies decorated like all the best superheroes? Can you create Pokémon themed rice balls and other Pinterest worthy lunch foods?
If creating special lunches is your specialty, you can create your own business preparing lunches for others. Some parents really want their kids to have a special lunch every day, but just don’t have the time or talent to prepare them. That’s where you’d come in. Parents could place their orders with you the day before, and you could deliver lunches directly to the school.
Make sure you get your food handler’s card and any special permits you need to sell prepared food. Some states will require you to use a commercial kitchen for these services, so make sure to research what is necessary where you live.
These are just a few of my favorite back to school home business ideas to consider starting this fall. Can you see yourself doing any of these?
Published August 2015. Updated May 2021.