Living off of passive income doesn't have to be a pipe dream.
Building a high cash flow business is one great way to build a future where you don't have to worry about money and don't have to spend a lot of time and energy maintaining your business every day.
The best cash flow businesses either need minimal maintenance or are businesses you enjoy and don't mind putting in the work. Best of all, high cash flow businesses make it easier to escape the rat race than other ventures since the steady cash flow gives you more stability.
With the right kind of business model, you can quickly turn a startup into a profitable business and start working for yourself.
Of course, you have to choose the right business model if you want to get healthy cash flow quickly. With that in mind, I'll explore some of the best cash flow businesses you can start and quickly turn into income-producing assets.
What Are High Cash Flow Businesses?
Businesses considered high cash flow are typically businesses that earn a lot of money for the amount of overhead on the business.
A lot of these businesses help create passive income and have positive cash flow much faster than other business models.
That doesn't mean that you'll always have positive cash flow, or that some of these businesses aren't hard work. Just like any business venture, you're shouldering some level of risk when you start a fast cash flow business.
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Best Cash Flow Businesses You Can Start Now
These businesses all offer highly stable cash flow and are a good source of recurring income, regardless of which option you choose. However, it is important to think about how much you're looking to make, how long you're willing to wait for strong cash flow, and how much money you can set aside for your initial investment.
The more money you want to make, and the faster you want to make that money, the higher your initial investment is likely to be. But, more creative business ideas or choosing markets with limited competition among local businesses can increase your cash flow faster.
Vending machines are one of the most popular ways for people to start building cash flow without needing a huge investment.
Individual vending machines usually only cost a couple of hundred dollars, and each vending machine makes an average of $25-$75 a month, after expenses.
The trick with vending machines is that you need to choose your vending stock well and make sure you aren't paying too much to re-stock the machine.
Another drawback is that it can be hard to get higher cash flow from your vending machine, though it is possible if you branch out from just snacks and drinks.
That being said, vending machines give you some of the most regular monthly cash flow of any low-investment low-risk business.
Laundromats are another great way to build passive income. Starting a laundromat usually takes a bit more investment since you need to purchase a space and the machines in your laundromat, but you'll get fairly regular passive income once you've got one.
Laundromats are also a business you can combine with other options, like installing a couple of vending machines, arcade games, or other money-making ventures that make your laundromat more comfortable.
The business model of a laundromat is also relatively straightforward, so it doesn't take a lot of business experience or know-how to get started.
Storage Unit Rental Business
If you're looking for a business with high cash flow and extraordinary income potential, owning a storage unit rental business is for you.
With this business, you'll earn recurring revenue each month from your storage units and you don't have to do any work to maintain them.
With this business, you will need some money upfront to purchase land and build your storage units. However, once you have your storage units built, they will require very little maintenance and can be rented out indefinitely.
This cash flow business has great profit margins and is an excellent option for investors and entrepreneurs looking to make passive income.
Become A Landlord
Becoming a landlord is one of the most popular sources of positive cash flow among the people who can afford to buy rental properties.
The real estate market is really profitable for landlords in a lot of places, and there is a lot of demand for affordable housing.
Being a landlord is usually fairly hands-off, as long as your tenants are paying their rent on time. You'll need to take care of the maintenance on your rental property, including replacing appliances and performing repairs as needed. Lawn care and maintenance can be handled on a case by case basis, which means that you won't have to do anything directly most months.
If you want even less work, you can always opt to hire a property management company to deal with tenants directly – but this can eat into your profits.
As long as your rental rates are slightly above what you're paying in mortgages and upkeep on the home, you're getting easy positive cash flow. Plus, it's simple to turn the profits from one rental property into seed money to help you buy additional real estate.
Car Wash Business
There are a couple types of car wash businesses you can start if you want consistent cash flow.
Because cars get dirty often, a car wash business has high potential to generate repeat customers.
You can start a mobile car wash business or open a brick-and-mortar location.
If you start a mobile car wash business, you will need to invest in a van or truck that is equipped with all the necessary supplies and equipment.
If you open a brick-and-mortar location, you will need to purchase or lease a building, buy car wash equipment, and hire employees.
Obviously, a mobile car wash business is much more affordable than a brick-and-mortar location, but both can be extremely profitable.
Buy A Franchise
Buying a franchise is another great way to get additional cash flow and earn money without requiring a ton of involvement from you. You can directly manage a franchise, but you can also hire experienced managers and supervisors to rake care of your franchise for you.
Fast food franchises are some of the most common, but there are opportunities in other niches as well. Child care, massage studios, and other service businesses often have franchise options.
Like all small businesses, it's important to choose your real estate well, pay attention to local demand, profit margins, and controlling costs. But one of the advantages of being a franchise owner is that your franchise chain may have resources to help you learn to control profit margins and other details about your business.
Start Creating Digital Courses
If you're looking to create a home business that gives you recurring income for your work, becoming a digital course creator is a good way to go.
Digital courses are a reliable way to make money online, and can often give you enough income to give you financial freedom once you have a loyal customer base.
The trick is that you have to have a skill you can teach online, and you have to know how to present that skill in an entertaining and easy to absorb way.
Making digital courses is a small business that usually takes more time and effort up front, but the amount of work you have to do will taper off as you build brand awareness and attract new customers.
Plus, digital courses can have pretty wide profit margins since you'll continue earning money long after you've finished work on any individual course. Check out the video below to learn more about selling online courses!
Start A Youtube Channel
Starting a Youtube channel might not be what most people think of when they think of business ideas, but it is a good way to start earning money online and can provide a lot more cash flow than you might expect.
The trick with Youtube channels is that you're competing with a wide market of Youtubers for the limited time and attention of Youtube's users. That means that you'll need some editing skills, a lot of confidence, and should be willing to produce videos for quite a while before you really earn money.
Good video editing software helps, but isn't a starting requirement for this gig. That said, the more money you're willing to put into crafting your channel's aesthetic and vibe, the more successful you're likely to be.
Blogging is a good way to earn income, once you've established yourself online. The cost to start a blog is low, which makes it an attractive business model for people looking to start an online business.
Being a blogger takes some dedication, and since most of your money will come from ad revenue and affiliate marketing, you'll need to have an audience before you really get stable cash flow.
That said, big blogs earn big bucks, and there's no reason you have to limit yourself to a single blog (I currently run multiple blogs that make money).
Bloggers also have the freedom to try different business ideas, topics, and posting styles until they find a combination that works well for them.
Starting cash flow can be pretty low for most new bloggers. You'll earn a small amount of money to start, and it takes time to build a profitable business by blogging.
For me, it took about a year before I started earning a consistent cash flow from my portfolio of blogs and websites. Today, it is my full-time income and day job and it allows me to work my own schedule from anywhere in the world.
Dividend investing is another popular source of cash flow, though you'll usually need to invest a little more into this business if you want to increase your earning potential.
Dividend investing involves buying dividend stocks, and holding on to those stocks until the company pays out a dividend. Usually, people like to keep their dividend stocks since they provide stable cash flow and are highly predictable.
The more stocks you have the larger your individual dividends will be, but the rates are usually very low per payment. Where dividends really start to add up is that they are consistent and are usually less risky than other kinds of investments.
However, your dividends do depend on the stock market and how your company and the whole market are performing.
You can buy dividend stock a few ways, either through funds that are invested in dividend stock or by buying individual stocks on your own or through trading software.
You can use an investing app like Acorns to invest in dividend stocks and start earning passive income. As a bonus, they're giving new customers $10 completely free. Create your account below to get started!
Start An Eldercare Business
Unlike a lot of the other businesses we've listed so far, eldercare businesses are something you can start doing on your own or with an agency and then branch out and start your own business. That opportunity to gain experience and learn about the best practices in your market gives you a lot more security in Eldercare than many other businesses.
The health care industry as a whole is always looking for new workers and companies that offer high-quality care and do their due diligence. That combined with the fact that the elderly are living longer and come from increasingly larger generations makes eldercare an incredibly important industry.
Companies that specialize in eldercare offer their services to individual clients, senior homes, hospice facilities, and families.
You can choose which kind of care you want to provide, and can usually talk with clients before committing to a job.
However, you may need to invest in tools and equipment when you're getting started to make sure you can serve your clients' needs. Those investments can end up costing a large sum, especially when you're trying to start a small business.
Run A Daycare Or Preschool
Starting a small business daycare or preschool usually comes with relatively low overhead and tremendous earning potential.
Daycares are one of the most common home businesses, and demand for effective and affordable child care has never been higher.
Child care professionals do need a certain level of training for parents to trust them, but the costs of child care training are relatively low compared to the costs of other businesses. You'll also probably need to get some additional toys and tools to run a daycare service, and you may want to invest in a little local marketing.
But, once you've but in that work, child care services get regular cash flow and are highly predictable. In fact, child care can feel a bit like other highly regulated industries in that most people who work in child care and can meet the requirements of the industry, will succeed.
Become A Photographer Or Digital Artist
Working as a photographer is one of the better business models in terms of cash flow.
There are reasons for people to want photographs most times of the year, from senior pictures to holiday family photos to prom photos, weddings, and other special events.
But as a photographer, you also have another source of profits.
Taking photos, regardless of the subject of your photography, can help support your cash flow outside of the big photography seasons. Storm photos, cityscapes, landscapes, wildlife photography, and micro-photography are all incredibly popular right now. Prints of those artistic subjects can provide steady cash flow and may even give you a relatively high income on their own.
You'll need a good photo editing program to make artistic photos, but there are plenty of online sites that will let you sell your prints affordably and easily.
Digital artists can take advantage of the same websites to create good cash flow for their businesses. Graphics designed to go on T-shirts, mugs, bags, and other kinds of merchandise are incredibly popular, and cash flow from those products can help pay for your other artwork.
Of course, both artists and photographers have to pay for the raw materials of their trade, and you'll probably need to learn a bit about online marketing to help drive sales and turn your business into a sustainable source of income.
Work As An Event Planner
Working as an event planner is another high cash flow option that's great for organized and outgoing people who love putting on a good spectacle.
Event planners work in all kinds of niches. They can help set up non-profit fundraising events, charity events, weddings, or even private parties and local celebrations.
Event planning takes an organized mind that can handle a lot of moving parts and think about the needs of every event. Good event planning considers how many people are going to be at an event, the kind of atmosphere the event is going for, and how to support the main goals of the event in every detail.
Starting a small business as an event planner can be a little trickier than some options since you'll need to attract your first clients to start learning cash.
However, every successful event has the possibility of high profits, and you may even be tipped cash as an event planner depending on the kinds of events you run.
A good place to start with your event planning business is by reaching out to local companies and other small businesses to see if they need event planning services. Once you've earned a few customers you can usually count on repeat business and word of mouth to help your business grow.
Run A Food Truck
Food trucks are a great way to get your foot in the door of the restaurant industry. Most food trucks are basically niche restaurants on wheels. They specialize in a very particular kind of food and make that food incredibly well, which helps attract more customers to their business.
Starting your own food truck might be intimidating, but if everyone always wants you to bring your famous fish tacos over for pot luck, you might have a good head start.
A good food truck can have almost any kind of food on it's menu, as long as you can make it quickly, reliably, and in a small space.
Once you've got the right recipes and a good menu, the truck to making money with a food truck is choosing the right location. All independent restaurants have to think about their customer's needs, price range, and preferred food types, so this is good training if you eventually want to start in the restaurant business.
Thankfully, running a food truck is usually a smaller investment than a brick and motor restaurant, but it's a great way to build your business skills and start turning a profit.
Become A Landscaper
Becoming a landscaper requires two things, an investment in the right tools and equipment and the skills and knowledge to use that equipment. Starting a landscaping business isn't too difficult, though it's a good idea to do some local marketing to attract your first clients.
Small business landscapers often take payment in a combination of card and cash, which gives you a lot of flexibility with the business as a whole. Some clients may also tip cash for a job well done, or around the holidays for regular contracts.
Landscaping is also a business you can learn before you start your own small business. Working with a landscaping company is a great way to learn the basic skills and make sure you have what it takes to turn a profit in the landscaping industry.
House painting is another great small business option that doesn't have a lot of overhead and usually has good earning potential. After all, most people don't like painting their own houses or want to have the finished expert look of a professional job.
The trick is, you have to be confident in your house painting services before you hit the market. Word of mouth about bad house painting jobs spreads quickly, so you should probably get some practice in or work with another company before starting your own home business.
House painting can also be fairly seasonal work. Most people don't want to get painting done during the winter months, even on interiors, since it's harder to leave home when the weather isn't very good.
Like other service and craft-based businesses, you should be prepared to accept payment from cash and credit and remember that most clients won't pay your whole fee unless they're satisfied with the work you've done.
Related: How to Start a Painting Business
Work In Remodeling/Home Repair
Remodeling and home repair is usually a bigger upfront investment than some of the other options on this list, but it's also a job that has good cash flow and it's fairly regular and predictable. A lot of people want to improve their home's value in the real estate market by remodeling, and house damage is fairly common and people often need help making repairs.
Both of those things mean that if you're a contractor that can do interior remodeling and repairs, you can get great monthly cash flow turning your skill into a small business.
The problem with this option is that you'll likely need more skills, tools, and certifications than many of the other businesses on this list. You'll also have higher up-front costs for each job than some of the other business models we've discussed.
However, you can also have a higher profit margin.
Like working as a house painter, your rates and what you'll be paid for your services depend entirely on your skill and how happy your clients are with the finished work.
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Retainer Based Businesses
Retainer-based businesses are wide and varied, and they can be some of the most profitable business models out there.
When you work on a retainer you're paid by clients to be available when they need your services, but you might not be working for them all the time. Depending on the business you might be paid more for your services if your customers need more work than usual, which helps make sure your income and workloads are both more consistent.
There are a lot of retainer-based businesses, including lawyers, sales consultants, marketing consultants, and more. Almost any business model can be turned into a retainer-based business assuming you have clients that need your work regularly and are willing to pay for consistent availability in your schedule.
For instance, you may be hired as a retainer-based makeup artist for a wedding planner because then that planner doesn't have to worry about finding makeup artists for every wedding. Makeup artists don't usually work on retainer, but if you find a situation that's mutually beneficial for you and someone who needs your skills you may be able to turn that into a retainer.
Start A Software As Service Business
If you are a programmer or someone who knows your way around software design, another business option might be starting a software and service company.
Software as service is the idea that you can charge a regular subscription price for a piece of software instead of paying a single up-front price. A lot of sales software and customer management software is sold as software-as-service, for instance. Microsoft Office is now also available as a software as service with a monthly subscription.
This idea is hugely popular in a lot of different types of software, ranging from management and organizational tools all the way through to games and fitness software.
The variation of software as service offerings means that almost anyone with a good software idea can make it in the software as service space. You don't necessarily have to work in a specific niche to be able to sell software as a service, and the most ongoing subscriptions you sell the more you can make.
Plus, as long as you keep your software updated and functional, you can create multiple revenue streams simply by publishing additional software.
Invest In Real Estate Investment Trusts
Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs are a way for investors to get into the real estate market without having to invest enough money to buy a rental property or other traditional real estate investments.
Basically, and REIT pools the money from a lot of different investors, like a mutual fund. That pool of money is then used to purchase rental properties, development properties, and other real estate that they can likely turn into a profit for the trust.
When the REIT is earning profits, it pays out dividends to investors. That means that REITs give investors a way to profit off the real estate market without having to directly purchase, manage, or take care of a rental property themselves.
It's also a good way to start getting into real estate with a smaller investment. Most REITs allow investors to invest for less than the cost of a property, making them more accessible. However, the more you invest the more money you can make from future dividends.
Final Thoughts on the Best Cash Flow Business Ideas
There are many businesses you can start to earn reoccurring cash payments.
From lawn care to a vending machine businesses – there's sure to be something on the list for you.
Some of the best cash flow businesses include:
- Vending Machine Business
- Storage Unit Rental Business
- Property Rental Business