Low Investment Small Business Ideas for Chicago

28 of the Best Small Businesses to Open Now in Chicago, Illinois in 2021

Home to over 2.7 million residents, the most populous city in the state of Illinois, Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States of America. So, if you’re an entrepreneur looking for an eager crowd, there are tons of lucrative business ideas for Chicago.

Chicago started out as a small trading post on the mouth of the Chicago River and then grew exponentially in the time that followed to become one of the greatest metropolitan cities of the U.S. The city is the focal point of finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation in its state and the country as well.

It is a city with a history—it’s got lots of modern skyscrapers and office buildings, but holds onto its roots. For example, there are still things like mail-order businesses, automated bread factories, and so on. Undoubtedly, it’s a city of innovation and diversity. It’s one of those cities where people come to pursue that American Dream.

 small business ideas chicago

Since the nation’s trading capabilities are always expanding westwards, Chicago is an ideal location to take advantage of the possibilities. Here, we present to you some interesting, low-cost small business ideas for Chicago. Use these ideas to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams!

 small business ideas chicago

The Top Low-Cost Business Ideas for Chicago

1- Tour Guide Agency:

People today don’t want to get in the hassle of tickets and their hotel reservations, they just want to relax and enjoy. If you love to travel and are good at managing trips this is a business idea with great potential. Since Chicago receives almost 50 million tourists which generates around 900 million dollars in tax revenue. With such great leverage, this business idea should be a top choice.

2- Hostel Business:

Along with tourists, Chicago receives a lot of foreigners for their jobs and education. If you have a building in the center of the city near offices and Educational institutes better turn it into a hostel with reasonable rates. Involves little investment with great profit.

3- Paying Guests:

Do you have an extra room in the house, it is time you benefit from it. Remember great services bring extra money. Adding breakfast to the package will bring in more profit.

4- Sports Coaching Centre:

Chicago was one of the candidate cities for the 2016 Summer Olympics but lost to Rio de Janeiro. It is a city with an energetic youth and talent just in need to be polished. So if you are professional in any sports you can start acting as a professional sports coach straight away.

5- Yacht Renting:

The city has navigable waterways which include the Michigan River and Chicago River. If you have a yacht or collection of them why not rent them and earn extra money.

 6- Placement Agencies:

People with a great professional circle can benefit from this idea. This city is home to a lot of industries and companies. You can help people in choosing the best job or providing companies with the best candidates. Just charging a little commission in return for your services will bring you profits with close to no-investment.

7- Elder Care:

Around 10% of the population of the city is over 65 which needs care and attention. You start a business to look after the senior citizens. You can provide an environment like home which they’ll love and their families will also love.

8- Event Management Company:

Some people just love to manage things. With so much happening in the city, there are tons of events which need great managers. If you have a team of dedicated people and experience as well. This business has a lot of potentials. You can make it online to increase your clientele.

9- Catering Business:

No event is complete without food. You also don’t need a formal qualification for this business. If you are great at this just with professionalism and dedication this business will do wonders.

 10- Crafts Business:

You always have an opportunity to earn from the skill you are good at. If you interest in producing crafty things you can display them in the numerous exhibition happening in the city. It will definitely attract tourists. Making it online will attract customers from different areas.

 11- Food Truck Business:

The best thing about this idea is that you can move your outlet to wherever you see more potential and whenever you see it. It involves little investment. Because of the busy routine people of Chicago need something to grab on the go.

Related Reading: Mobile Food Kiosk Design Ideas

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12- Software Training House:

If you consider yourself on being highly skillful in using specialized software packages, such as Adobe Photoshop, Auto CAD, and many others, then you can benefit from it by teaching others how to use them. No doubt there are many free tutorials and other online resources that teach how to use these programs, understanding how they work usually requires one-on-one training. In this city with every other person looking to polish their skills, you will have a great clientele.

13- Mobile Salon:

Most seniors and even stay-at-home moms will always jump at this opportunity to look good without having to leave their homes for the salon. Moreover, people don’t have time to especially avail these services on the Saloon. Providing their required services on the doorstep will make you earn your required money. On top of all this business requires very little investment.

14- Social Media Manager:

With social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and etc. growing companies are interested in promoting themselves on this platform as well. You can provide your services to handle the accounts and promote the companies/business with great strategies. In a city like Chicago, there are numerous companies that need promotion on this platform.

Related Reading: How to Start SEO, Social Media or an Online Marketing Company

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15- Used Products Trade:

This is a business idea for those who have the ability to find beauty in old things. In this business, you buy and sell old used products to earn money. You can also repair the old one and sell it at a greater price.

16- Security Agency

Security and safety is a need of everyone today. Starting a security agency is indeed a good business idea. What you need is good security manpower ex-army or trained.

17- Diner:

A great business for the foodies with a reasonable investment. Chicago receives a lot of tourists every year.  Opening a diner with a different cuisine will not only attract the tourists but will also grab the attention of the locals as well in search of trying something new.

18- Organic Food Service:

Providing organic food service is a new but innovative business idea. People are becoming aware of healthy eating habits and Organic foods are the biggest thing in healthy eating right now, even though they come at a premium. With their diet on priority, many rich people are ready to purchase organic food at any price.

19- Taxi Service:

Chicago has an area of almost 237 sq. miles. For people to reach from one corner to another providing a service that approaches with just one call will be liked by a lot of people. You can also make a mobile application to make the whole thing more approachable and user-friendly to people.

20- Customized Products Business:

Everybody loves customized products like t-shirts, mugs, notebooks, magnets, and many more.  You can make an online website to sell such products. It is a home-based business and needs very little investment.

21- Cleaning Services:

With people so indulged in their work and chores. They would find such services a blessing. Not only houses there are numerous places where such services are needed. You just need manpower and professionalism to expand to your clientele.

Related Reading: How to Start Cleaning Business from Scratch

22- Baby-Sitting Services:

If you have some free hours from your routine and you know some working and busy parents desperate to avail your services you can benefit a lot. A great opportunity for students especially.

23- Blogging Business:

It is no more a new that blogging has brought out millionaires right out from the slum. If you have the skill and are determined to express your thought and opinions through words. This is the platform. You can earn money staying at home. For a diverse and rich city like Chicago, there are a lot of aspects you can write about.

24- Dry Cleaning Service:

Just like cleaning and cooking laundry is a tough task for the working population like in Chicago, and they are always looking for someone to help them with this. Picking up laundry and delivering their clean crisp clothes at the doorstep will earn you extra bucks from people. Again a good option with little investment.

Related Readings: 

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25- Real Estate Consultant:

The real estate business is a money-spinner in Chicago. If you have some knowledge of how things work in this lucrative industry, then you should consider taking a plunge. It can be done part-time too; you just need to keep an eye on properties around. Connect the buyers and sellers and have your commission.

26- Waste Management:

If you’re looking for the best business ideas for Chicago, consider the idea of starting a waste management business. Chicago is generally one of the cleaner cities, but that’s because there are businesses that, well, manage the waste. Trash won’t get picked up off the street by itself! Sure, this is maybe one of the less attractive business ideas for Chicago, but it pays well as a result.

If you invest in the right vehicles and start small, you could eventually get a government contract, as most waste management businesses end up doing so. This means that if you do a good job, you could have some great job security and growth potential down the line.

27- Fashion Design:

Now, Chicago’s fashion scene is almost unrivaled. Street fashion, formalwear, etc.—if you’re aesthetically talented and love the world of fashion, why not start your own clothing line? Seriously, if you have a good design, a good logo, and good marketing skills, you could have people wearing your clothes in no time.

The great thing about clothing lines is that the clothes do a good chunk of the advertising for you. If people see others wearing your clothes and like them, it’s only natural that the word-of-mouth will carry a good portion of your profits. So, don’t waste time!

28- Clothing Store:

One of the last business ideas for Chicago, IL on this list is a clothing store. While we just talked about creating the clothes yourself, another good route to take is selling that of others! Less work, technically, but also maybe more of an initial investment. You’ll need rent money and a bit of inventory to start out, but if you choose your niche well you could become a Chicago staple store.

The Bottom Line:

So, we hope that this list of the top business ideas for Chicago helped guide you to the business you want to start. If you have any other suggestions or have found success using one of these ideas, let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading.