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How to Start a Dating Service

Written by:

Natalie is a business writer with experience in operations, HR, and training & development within the software, healthcare, and financial services sectors.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Dating Service

Fast Facts

Investment range

$1,650 - $8,000

Revenue potential

$63,000 - $126,000 p.a.

Time to build

0 - 3 months

Profit potential

$57,000 - $94,000 p.a.

Industry trend




Everybody wants to find love, but people are busy these days and don’t always have time to get out and meet people. Thankfully, dating apps and websites have emerged in recent years to make match-making easier than ever. 

Today, the US dating industry is worth $5.9 billion, and it’s grown by 11.3 percent each year since 2017. The number of American online daters is expected to reach 53.3 million by 2025, making now the perfect time to launch a dating service. 

But before you start playing matchmaker, it’s important to learn the ins and outs of developing and starting a business. Lucky for you, this step-by-step guide contains all the insight and info you need to start your successful dating service. 

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

It’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of starting a dating service before deciding whether to go all in:


  • Work From Anywhere – Run your dating service from your laptop
  • Rewarding – Help people find the perfect partner!
  • Good Money – Dating service profit margins are high


  • Member Turnover – Frequent sign ups and cancellations
  • Tech-dependent – Revenue can plummet with website or app issues

Dating Services industry trends

Industry size and growth

dating service industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Trends in the dating services industry include

  • Many dating sites and apps are adding social media features, like interactive trivia games and picture sharing capabilities, to allow users to connect in a more meaningful way. 
  • Niche dating services — such as Biker Planet and Farmersonly.com — are becoming more popular with singles. 

Challenges in the dating services industry include

  • The rise of online dating is an opportunity for scammers, which means users have to be careful and has resulted in reduced trust of these services.  
  • Dating services generally have a high rate of customer turnover. People tend to come and go as they find matches or tire of using the app. 
dating service Trends and Challenges

Online dating site and app usage by age range

Here are the percentages of online dating service or app users by age range. (2020)

  1. 18-29 (8%)
  2. 33-44 (10%)
  3. 45-54 (4%)
  4. 54-64 (4%)
  5. 65 and up (2%)((https://financesonline.com/online-dating-statistics/))
dating service app usage by age

How much does it cost to start a dating service?

Starting a dating service costs anywhere from $1,600 to $8,000. How much you spend will depend on the software and marketing budget. To compete with established players like Match.com and eHarmony, it’s important to spend on smart marketing to stand out from the competition.

To learn how to build and grow a successful dating service, websites like Udemy offer affordable online courses. 

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your dating service, including: 

  • Computer
  • Dating services software
  • Website
  • Logo and branding
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Licenses and permits$100-$300$200
Marketing and advertising$1000-$5000$3,000
Dating Services Software$100-$1000$550
Office Equipment$200-$1000$600
Total$1,650 - $8,000$4,825

How much can you earn from a dating service?

Dating service membership usually costs around $35 per month. If you offer coaching sessions or in-person events, you may be able to charge more. Most of your ongoing expenses will be related to marketing and technology, so expect around a 90% profit margin. 

In your first year or two, your marketing efforts could generate 150 subscribers. At $35 each every month, this would mean $63,000 in annual revenue and a profit of about $57,000, assuming that 90% margin. As you build a reputation and gain referrals, you’ll likely need to hire staff, lowering your margin to around 75%. But with 300 subscribers you could expect annual revenue of $126,000 and an impressive profit of $94,000. 

dating service earnings forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

One of the biggest challenges in the dating services industry is competition. Most of the market share is held by large companies, like Bumble, Match.com and Tinder.

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If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
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Step by Step Business values real-life experience above all. Through our Entrepreneur Spotlight Series, we interview business leaders from diverse industries, providing readers with firsthand insights.

Explore Eric Leonhard’s innovative journey in modern dating coaching, from its challenges to triumphs.

Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a dating service, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research dating services online and in your area to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a dating service for the LGBT community or divorcees. 

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as a dating site specific to your city or for people with a certain interest, such as RVs or with children.

Read how Sam Moorcroft found a niche in Christian dating and gain valuable insights into this faith-based matchmaking platform.

What? Determine your services

When it comes to your dating service’s offerings, you have several options. You could offer all of the below, a combination, or just choose to focus on one. 

  • Monthly membership to an exclusive app or website
  • 1:1 matchmaking coaching
  • Hosting in-person mixers or speed dating events
  • Online courses to develop dating confidence

How much should you charge for dating services?

The average cost of a monthly membership on today’s popular dating websites and apps is $40. The amount you charge will depend on your offerings and subscriptions and other features. After factoring in technology and marketing costs, you should expect a profit margin of around 90%.

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your customers will be singles looking for a partner. This demographic is extremely varied, so it’s important to hone in on a specific niche. Decide on your audience first, as that will drive how you’ll find them. For example, if you’d like to work with older adult daters, chances are they’re on Facebook. Younger daters between the ages of 25 and 35 are more likely to hang out on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. 

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
dating service idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Dating Service Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “online dating” or “match-maker”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “DateMate App” over “Speed Dating Solutions”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
  • Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Dating Service Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary: A concise overview of the dating service business, highlighting key points such as its mission, target market, and financial projections.
  • Business Overview: A detailed description of the dating service, including its mission, vision, values, and the problem it aims to solve in the dating industry.
  • Product and Services: Clear delineation of the dating services offered, such as matchmaking algorithms, profile creation assistance, and event planning for singles.
  • Market Analysis: Examination of the dating industry, including trends, demographics, and potential growth areas, to identify the target market and assess market demand.
  • Competitive Analysis: Assessment of competitors in the dating service sector, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to formulate a competitive strategy.
  • Sales and Marketing: Strategies for promoting and selling the dating services, encompassing online advertising, social media presence, and partnerships to attract and retain customers.
  • Management Team: Introduction of key personnel, their roles, and relevant experience in managing and growing a dating service business.
  • Operations Plan: Details on the day-to-day operations of the dating service, from customer onboarding to service delivery, ensuring efficiency and quality.
  • Financial Plan: Projections of the dating service’s financial performance, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow forecasts, to attract investors and guide financial decisions.
  • Appendix: Additional supporting documents, such as market research data, resumes of key team members, and any other relevant information that enhances the dating service business plan.
what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to dating services. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your dating service will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Angel investors: Reach out to your entire network in search of people interested in investing in early-stage startups in exchange for a stake. Established angel investors are always looking for good opportunities. 
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a dating service. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.  

types of business financing

Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a dating service requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your dating service as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.  

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as WPDating, SkaDate, or iDateMedia to manage memberships, accept payments, and develop a dating app.


  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using website builders. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 


For your dating service, your marketing strategy should focus on showcasing your personalized approach to matchmaking, the success stories of your clients, and your commitment to confidentiality and trust. Emphasize the quality and thoughtfulness of your matchmaking process, the expertise of your team in understanding client preferences, and the positive outcomes achieved. Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

Kickstart Marketing

  • Professional Branding: Your branding should communicate trust, discretion, and connection. This includes your logo, website, and marketing materials.
  • Direct Outreach: Network with singles through social events, offer free dating advice sessions, and engage with potential clients at community events and online forums.

Digital Presence and Online Marketing

  • Professional Website and SEO: Develop a website that outlines your services, shares success stories, and offers dating tips and advice. Implement SEO best practices to optimize your site for search terms related to dating services and matchmaking.
  • Social Media Engagement: Use platforms like Instagram for sharing dating tips and success stories, Twitter for sharing dating trends and insights, and YouTube for informative content on building healthy relationships.

Content Marketing and Engagement

  • Dating Blog: Publish informative articles on dating tips, relationship advice, and trends in the dating world.
  • Client Success Stories: Highlight successful matches and testimonials from satisfied clients.
  • Webinars and Online Workshops: Host sessions that offer value to your target audience, such as how to create an engaging dating profile or effective communication in relationships.

Experiential and In-Person Engagements

  • Singles Events and Speed Dating: Host events that allow singles to meet in a relaxed and organized setting.
  • Networking Events: Regularly attend or host networking events to build relationships with potential clients and partners in related fields like wellness and lifestyle.

Collaborations and Community

  • Partnerships with Lifestyle Brands and Consultants: Collaborate with lifestyle coaches, fashion consultants, and local businesses to offer a comprehensive dating experience.
  • Community Outreach: Engage in community programs to promote healthy relationships and safe dating practices.

Customer Relationship and Loyalty Programs

  • Personalized Matchmaking Services: Offer personalized consultations to understand client preferences and create tailored matches.
  • Client Support and Coaching: Provide ongoing support and coaching for clients to help them navigate the dating process successfully.

Promotions and Advertising

  • Targeted Advertising: Utilize digital advertising platforms to target individuals looking for dating and relationship services.
  • Email Marketing: Develop a targeted email marketing campaign to nurture leads, share dating advice, and promote your services.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your dating service meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your dating service could be:

  • Where busy entrepreneurs go to find the perfect match
  • The best dating site for bi-curious singles
  • A stress-free way to meet soulmates over 60
unique selling proposition


You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a dating website, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in the online dating industry for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in dating services. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. You might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a dating service include:

  • Software Developer: Build and manage your dating app, troubleshoot issues
  • Customer Service Associate: Onboard new members, answer inquiries
  • General Manager: Bookkeeping, event planning
  • Marketing Lead: Manage social media accounts, business development

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Dating Service – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

App dating has skyrocketed over the last decade, and it’s only continuing to grow. People of all ages and interests will always be searching for their better half, which means there’s great opportunity in this market. With your own dating service, you could help people meet their true love while carving out your own piece of the lucrative dating industry pie.

Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to put on your matchmaking hat and create your dream business!

Dating Service FAQs

How much can I charge for my dating services?

The typical dating website or app has a monthly membership fee of between $20 and $60. The amount you charge depends on how customized your services are and how many members you have on your platform.

Is a dating service profitable?

Yes, dating services can be extremely profitable. However, it’s important to spend time differentiating yourself from the competition. Consider focusing on a specific niche market to see the most success.

Do I need any special certifications to get started?

No specific certification is required to start a dating service. However, if you are interested in offering dating coaching services, you may consider enrolling in programs offered by the Matchmaking Institute.

How can I offer a safe dating service?

To offer a safe dating service, prioritize user safety by implementing verification processes, moderating user profiles, protecting privacy, and providing reporting and blocking features. Educate users about online dating safety and provide resources to help them make informed decisions.

How do I attract a diverse and engaged user base to my dating platform?

Attract a diverse and engaged user base to your dating platform by targeted marketing efforts tailored to specific demographics or niche markets. Create a user-friendly platform with a visually appealing design and intuitive navigation. Foster an active and inclusive community by encouraging user interaction through features like chat, forums, or interest-based groups. Promote inclusivity in your marketing and messaging, and collaborate with influencers or organizations to expand your reach.

What risks are there when using online dating services?

Risks associated with using online dating services include encountering fake profiles or scams, potential privacy breaches, and meeting individuals with dishonest intentions.

What are the different monetization strategies for a dating service?

Monetization strategies for a dating service can include subscription plans with different levels of access or features, offering premium add-ons or virtual gifts, displaying targeted advertisements, partnering with related businesses for promotional collaborations or sponsored content, or organizing paid events or dating experiences.


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How to Start a Dating Service