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How Do I Start a Personal Service Business?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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Starting a personal service business may require government licensing as well as other specialized training or licensing depending on the type of services you will be offering. If you are going to be working with children, food, or animals, you may have to follow and adhere to specific regulations. Service-oriented businesses related to running errands or doing administrative tasks may only require you to obtain a business license. In some cases, such as a work at home scenario or independent contractor arrangement, you may require no special licensing at all.

The first step in starting a personal service business is determining what type of business you want to start. Personal services can run the gamut between personal chefs and childcare services to copywriting and administrative tasks. Determine what your skills and interests are and find a way to make them into a business. Pet sitting, house sitting, errand runner, and personal organizer are also examples of service businesses you may consider.

If you choose to do something such as personal chef or preschool or daycare provider, you will likely need special training before you begin. Not all personal cooks are trained chefs, so if you are a good cook and feel you would do well at providing home cooked meals for clients, be up-front about your training and experience. Additional licensing beyond a typical business license may also be needed for a personal service business involving children or food, and you may have to submit to government inspections and bring your home or building up to code.

Sometimes a personal service business will not require any licensing beyond a business license, and in some cases even that is not needed. Check with your local government agencies to find out what type of licensing your would need for your chosen business. Once this is done, you can begin building your business.

You may need a loan or time to save funds before starting your personal service business. The up-front costs vary widely from business to business. For instance, as a professional childcare provider you will likely need licensing, rented space or a special area of your home for the children, food for lunches and snacks, toys, and infant care supplies if applicable. Jobs which involve administrative tasks or writing often require little more than a computer and Internet connection.

Marketing your business can be done in a variety of ways. You can network with local business owners, via social media, or by word of mouth. You can also invest in various forms of advertising, search engine optimization with a blog or personal website, and by partnering with other businesses which may offer complementary services.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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