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12 Cash Business Ideas

Written by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Published on August 11, 2022

Updated on November 17, 2022

12 Cash Business Ideas

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12 Cash Business Ideas

A lot of younger people rarely use cash these days, but it’s still just as valuable as ever. The best thing about it is that if you’re looking to start a business and avoid pricey processing fees, cash is the way to go – no fees as far as the eye can see, which means lower costs and stronger profits.

You could get into smoothies, ice cream, candy, or cookies, start your own hot dog cart, coffee shop or food truck, or even produce and sell honey. Most cash businesses deal with food, so you will likely need to get a license. But once you do, you’ll avoid all those pesky fees that plague so many other businesses. 

Check out our list of excellent cash business ideas below to get started.

1. Ice Cream Business

How to start an ice cream business

Did you know that the average American consumes nearly half a pound of ice cream per week? People really do scream for ice cream, and that craving is not going away anytime soon, which is why it’s always a good time to start an ice cream business. 

There are a few key steps to getting started the right way. You’ll need to find the highest-quality ingredients, outfit your kitchen with the right equipment and come up with a few inventive, appealing flavors. And you’ll also need to meet the licensing and safety requirements for food products. But once you’ve got that down, you can offer your goods online, do a bit of marketing and start selling to ice cream lovers around the country, and around the world. Soon enough you’ll be opening enough stores to challenge Ben & Jerry.

2. Candy Making

How to start a candy business

Got a sweet tooth? Then you probably know that candy is big business. The global candy market has seen steady growth of late and will soon be worth a whopping $200 billion. No wonder everybody wanted to get a glimpse of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory! People are crazy for candy. 

If you’re thinking of starting a candy business, it might not be as difficult as you think. In the early days you could run your business from home, sell your candies online and save up to open your own candy store. The key is producing a uniquely appealing product and standing out from the competition in an increasingly saturated market. It could be chocolate, jelly beans, lollipops, jawbreakers or something entirely new! As long as it’s delicious, the sky’s the limit for you and your candy business.

3. Cookie Shop

How to start a cookie business

Are you a baking whiz? Well then maybe now’s the time to turn your incredibly tasty cookies into a money-making machine. The cookie and cakes market is huge and growing fast, in the US and around the world, so you could start your own cookie business, put smiles on a lot of faces and make a good living, all at the same time!

The key, of course, is being able to whip up fantastic cookies, preferably in a variety of unique and appealing flavors. If you can already do that, you’re halfway there. You’ll just need to outfit your kitchen for industrial-level baking and build a website showing off your baked goods and you’ll be open for business. And thanks to the internet, your potential market is billions of people. You could sell to the family around the corner, or college kids on the other side of the globe. So maybe it’s time to get out those cookie sheets and start making some real dough.

4. Coffee Shop

How to start a coffee shop business

Nearly 200 million Americans drink coffee every day, which is why you’ll find a coffee shop or cafe on just about every street. Coffee shops took a hit during the pandemic, but now they’re on the rebound and expect steady growth in the years ahead. You could take advantage of this trend by starting your own coffee shop and providing a pick-me-up to countless people everyday while making a good living. 

Of course, opening a coffee shop will take some real work. The best coffee shops offer excellent pastries and other foods, and create a comfortable atmosphere for people to linger and enjoy. So you’ll need to make smart choices in terms of your product offerings, furniture and overall design, as well as your location. You’ll also want to be careful in choosing your coffee source, to make sure it’s eco-friendly and fair trade. But if you’re passionate about coffee and have the drive to see your business succeed, it can be an incredibly rewarding and profitable experience.

5. Food Cart

Food Cart
Frank Romeo /

Do you love food, and being your own boss? Food trucks and carts represent one of the US’ fastest-growing industries, tripling in size over the past decade. As the pandemic recedes, people are again getting out more and the industry is expecting to expand further in the years ahead. If you have some kitchen skills and enjoy meeting new people, you could start your own food cart business and make good money while providing tasty treats to people on the go. 

It won’t be as easy as turning on the oven. First, you’ll need to get a sturdy cart with refrigeration. Next, you’ll need to decide what will be on the menu. The best approach is to keep it simple and focus on one item, or one group of items. For instance you might offer hotdogs, brats and Italian sausage, or tamales, tacos and burritos, or chicken and pork curry. Once you’ve made a big batch of your dishes, stock up your cart and head to the park on a lovely afternoon. 

As long as your culinary creations are quality, the customers will start lining up — and you’ll soon be moving up to a food truck, and from there to your very own restaurant!

6. Bar

How to Start a Bar

A bar can be a great way to make money, especially now, as US bars and nightclubs come roaring out of the pandemic. The US is home more than 60,000 bars and nightclubs, and there’s still room for more.

There are a few things you have to do before opening your own. Besides making sure that your business is legally compliant, it’s a good idea to be ready to adapt to the latest nightlife trends and shifting consumer tastes. A recent survey showed that more Americans would leave a bar if it gets too crowded or the music is too loud. More Americans are also choosing non-alcoholic drinks, low-alcohol cocktails, kombuchas, and other beverages with low to no-alcohol content. With careful planning and a great marketing strategy, you should be making big profits from your bar soon.

7. Knife Sharpening

How to start a knife sharpening business

The knife is considered the most important tool in the kitchen, which is why mastering basic knife skills is among the first tasks given to aspiring chefs. Keeping the knife sharp is another. With popular cooking shows inspiring more people to prepare their meals at home, demand for knife sharpening services is expected to increase. The US knife sharpening services market was estimated at $70 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at least 6% per year through 2028. If you’re looking for a profitable and practical way to earn money, then consider starting your own knife sharpening business. 

A knife sharpening business is something that you can do from home and requires minimal investment. But you will need to know all the knife safety rules to avoid injuries. You will also need to research the various methods and materials used to sharpen knives. If you choose carefully, you’ll be able to ensure the long-term health of the knife and minimize the risk of accidents.

8. Boba Tea

How to start a bubble tea business

Coffee, tea or boba tea? Boba tea, also known as bubble tea or milk tea, is increasingly popular among younger consumers. This Taiwanese cold drink is made by blending tea with milk, adding tapioca or boba pearls, and shaking vigorously. Starting your own boba tea business is a great idea! The US boba tea market is worth about $1 billion and still growing.

Starting a boba tea business requires compliance with various regulatory requirements. On top of the FDA regulations, there might be federal, state and local requirements that you will need to meet. Check with your local authorities before you launch your business. 

You will also need to choose a good location for your boba tea shop, one with high foot traffic volume or anywhere close to your target market. With a reliable supplier and an excellent marketing strategy, you can be on your way to owning a successful boba tea shop.

9. Honey (Beekeeping)

How to start a beekeeping business

With more consumers choosing to use natural sweeteners over sugar and artificial sweeteners, the global market for honey is expected to grow modestly and approach $12 billion by 2028. The US is a leading importer of honey, which means local production is not enough to meet the demand. You can take advantage of this opportunity by starting your own honey business. Honey is a delicious, healthy, and versatile product that’s also quite popular.

There are some things you need to know before getting into honey. Make sure to comply with all federal, state and local regulations, from processing to packaging to labeling. The label should include the honey grade and color designations, among others. Keep in mind that labeling regulations differ by state so be sure check your state’s regulations. If you’re raising the bees yourself, you will have to comply with beekeeping regulations. Once you’ve met all these regulations, create a strong marketing plan and you’ll soon be enjoying sweet sweet success.

10. Food Truck

How to start a food truck business

Who doesn’t love food trucks? They seem to be everywhere these days, at parks and street fairs, music festivals, beaches, private parties and community events. Industry revenue in the US tripled in the years before Covid-19, and now food trucks are coming back strong as the pandemic recedes. As a result, now’s a great time to start your own food truck and provide your community with delicious meals while grabbing a share of this growing market. 

The first step, of course, will be settling on a menu. The possibilities are endless, from burritos to barbecue, from burgers to sausages, and from smoothies and milkshakes to pad thai and pizza. You could even go seasonal and offer frozen desserts in summer and gourmet soups in winter, and be able to draw a crowd year-round. The next major hurdle will be acquiring the necessary licenses and permits, which are absolutely crucial for any food-related business. 

Last but not least, you will need the food truck itself. It’s sure to be a significant investment, but you might be able to find a reasonably priced used truck to keep costs low. With a little luck, soon enough you’ll be up and running and making a nice return on that investment.

11. Shaved Ice Business

How to start a shaved ice business

What’s more refreshing than shaved ice on a hot summer day? Not much, which is why snow cones, also known as shaved ice, have experienced strong growth in recent years. They’re sold in parks, along the street and at big events, and popular among all ages. Considering there’s always demand for it, starting a snow cone business can be fun and financially rewarding. 

Before you get started, you need to understand that competition is tough. Snow cones have leveled up from being sold in stalls and are now being offered in restaurants and bars. Many versions have also been introduced, some with local ingredients and others with a splash of liquor. To compete you’ll need to innovate and come up with unique, appealing flavors. If you play your cards right, your shaved ice business can provide you with a steady source of income.

12. Smoothie Bar

How to start a smoothie business

Do you love smoothies? If so, you’re not alone. Eating healthier is a key part of the current American fitness craze, and for millions of people that means smoothies. They work as breakfast, snack, dessert or even a lunch alternative, and can be made with everything from almond milk and yogurt to ice cream, pineapple and cucumbers (though not all together!). The industry is worth $2.5 billion and expects to see strong growth in the years ahead. So if you enjoy whipping up healthy treats, you could start your own smoothie business and put smiles on countless faces while making good money. 

Beyond creating a unique and appealing menu, one key hurdle will be finding a great location for your smoothie shop. It needs to have steady foot and car traffic, or you won’t do much business. It also needs to be affordable or you won’t make any profits. One option is to rent a food truck and start out with a mobile smoothie business, then use that to build a reputation and save money for your smoothie shop — which will hopefully be the first of many.