Do you want to earn recurring revenue but you don’t know what business to start? If YES, here are 50 best subscription based business ideas with recurring revenue.
The subscription business has been around for centuries. The aristocracy in sixteenth century Britain used to subscribe to cartographers so they received the very latest maps of the world as the borders of the British Empire were being redrawn. Your grandparents may have subscribed to a regular coal delivery to heat their house.
But these days, the adoption of the subscription business model is rapidly accelerating, with companies like Amazon, HP, Apple and Target joining many of the globe’s most promising start-ups in using the subscription business model.
When most people think about subscriptions, they tend to think about magazine subscriptions or popular consumer subscriptions such as Netflix, dating sites, gym/fitness centers, private online forums, or Spotify. But beyond media and entertainment, there is a growing number of subscriptions available, across industries. In this age of the “subscription economy,” we’re starting to see subscription business ideas everywhere.
Listed below are subscription based business ideas and other business ideas you can run as a subscription based business if you’re innovative and zealous.
50 Best Subscription Based Business ideas With Recurring Revenue
- Grandparent Care
According to AARP, about 8,000 Americans turn 65 every day. Caring for aging boomers will be a big business, and there’s an opportunity to create a subscription business whereby kids and grandchildren send older relatives a surprise box of goodies to let them know people are thinking of them.
Subscription-based coffee companies have been around for a while, but tea is fast becoming the new coffee with product offerings ranging from herbal tea to supercharged high-caffeine blends. This is a very good business to start if you have the passion for it.
- Farm-to-table Eating
Whether they are proponents of the 100-mile diet or fans of organic products, many are seeking to buy produce directly from farmers who grow it. That’s why there’s an opportunity to offer farm-to-table subscription boxes full of fresh fruits and vegetables. You have to however, learn the ropes so that you can launch out loaded.
- Pet Foods and Treats
The humanization of pets is a growing trend that lends itself to the subscription model. Pets need regular feeding so a regular shipment of food could replace a trip to the grocery store for their owners. Pets also might appreciate surprises, which they can get from monthly subscription-box
- Gluten-free Stuff
Recently, health-food junkies have come up with the gluten-free bandwagon. Given the challenge of finding gluten-free alternatives to popular food, you can create a space that is well positioned for gluten-free subscribers. You have to be sure that you have the passion for this kind of business first.
- Haircuts Subscription
Any time consumers have a regularly occurring task, there’s an opportunity for a subscription business but most hair salons cling to waiting for a customer to make an appointment. If a customer needs a regular trim, why not offer a subscription to a haircut provider?
- Home Maintenance
Today’s boomers have been called the “sandwich” generation because they are caring for kids and parents, leaving little time for anything else, especially home maintenance. Your subscription-based home-maintenance service could involve a company offering to care for the house of a busy family.
- Hobby Sites
This is one interesting subscription that can attract people. If you have an obscure passion that others share, then you can build a passion around it. This could be the ideal foundation for a subscription-based membership website where know-how is put behind a pay wall.
- Stationery Subscription
Virtually everyone is becoming overwhelmed with email, so the handwritten note may be in for a comeback. Subscription company operators could curate a surprise box of stationery for people who enjoy sending a personal note. There is a lot to be gained when you start this venture.
- Vitamins Subscription
New research is under way on the benefits of vitamin D and there’s an opportunity to set up a vitamin D delivery business for regular users. You may not limit yourself to one vitamin. There are other vitamins that you can make a focus to start out with.
- Hotel Art Supply
Look closely and you will notice that hotels are virtually art galleries. You will find paintings, prints, and sculptures in almost every room, hallway, lounge, and lobby. Assume that one hotel has 150 rooms, one lobby, two banquet rooms, one lounge, and ten hallways.
The hotel’s art requirements could be as many as 200 paintings or prints alone. Simply supplying one hotel with a complete art decor package can make you thousands of dollars in profits. To activate this business you will want to establish a relationship with at least 15 to 20 different artists who work in various art mediums.
- Hand-Painted Greeting Subscription
There is large market demand for hand-painted greeting cards and post cards. If you have the ability to produce the finished product yourself, that’s great. If not, there are many artists who will be glad to assist you, for a fee. The greeting and post cards can be wholesaled to retailers or sold directly to companies to give as corporate gifts to clients. If you plan to specialize in hand-painted post cards, you’ll want to sell them in high-traffic tourist areas like airports, tourist attractions and beaches.
- Gun Shop
In spite of the fact that gun ownership is becoming increasingly restrictive due to government legislation in both the United States and Canada, opening and operating a retail business that buys, sells, and trades guns still has the potential to be profitable.
In addition to gun sales, you can also sell ammunition and hunting-related products as well as offer a gun repair service. Promote the business by establishing alliances with gun clubs and shooting ranges as well as with firearm instructors, as these clubs and individuals can refer your business to others.
- Framed Movie Posters
Movie posters can often be purchased for less than $1 each from video stores and movie theatres. Once framed, these valuable pieces of art can be resold at flea markets, mall kiosks and to interior designers for terrific profits. Older movie posters are also in high demand as collector items and this side of the business is best suited for internet sales. You can develop your own website for a small investment and start marketing collectible movie posters.
Next to diamonds, flowers are a girl’s best friend, and starting a florist shop is a relatively easy business to get up and rolling. There are really three important issues to address in order for a florist shop to become successful. The first is business location, and the location must be in a high-traffic and highly visible area to increase walk-in business. The second issue is delivery. The business must provide customers with a fast and efficient delivery service. The third important aspect of the business is national exposure.
- Farmer’s Market
Every community needs a farmers’ market, so why not start one in your community? The business is very straightforward to start and operate. Simply secure leased premises large enough to be subdivided into 30 or 40 ten-foot by ten-foot vendor booths. (Don’t forget about parking spaces for shoppers and access for vendor trucks).
You will also want to work closely with your local government to make sure they welcome the venture and provide the proper permits. Once completed, the vendor booths can be rented to local farmers, specialty food manufacturers, and crafts people.
- Paid social networking sites
Since their inception, social networking sites have become a part. Provide useful and relevant content. One way to do this is to build your social networking site around a focused topic or theme. For example, if you know everything there is to know about dogs and enjoy socializing and networking with others who are interested in dogs, you might choose to build a dog-focused social networking site.
Network with relevant websites. Link to other websites that focus on the same topic as your site. If you mention a particular specialist in the field in a blog post on your site, link to the specialist’s website.
An e-commerce site is the most direct form of online business you can start; with a self-hosted e-commerce site, you will be selling your goods and services directly to your customers, without a “go-between” such as eBay or Etsy (we’ll get to those more later).
The best part about a direct e-commerce site is the level of control you have over your store. You’ll be able to customize virtually all the options when setting up your own e-commerce site, such as the complete look and feel of your store, but this flexibility makes the process that much more complicated, too.
- Business Club Websites
Clubs give individuals with similar interests a way to gather for the purposes of sharing information, ideas, conversations and laughs over food and drink. Social clubs have different structures, with some being set up with free memberships, while others require their members to pay.
An aspiring entrepreneur can create a plan for turning a social club into a small business that generates profit. Determine the type of community need you want to address with your social club. Ideas include a wine pairing association, a women’s community service organization, an investment club, or a networking group for local small business owners. Outline the purpose of the social club, including your mission, visions and goals.
- Cookie Sales
Do your family and friends tell you that you bake the best cookies in town? If so, putting your cookie baking talents to work for you has the potential to make you rich. Mass producing specialty or gourmet cookies is a very easy business to put into action. Simply rent or secure commercial kitchen space, perfect the cookie baking process, design interesting packaging for the cookies and you’re in business and ready to start profiting.
- Private library
Your clientele (readership) is likely more scattered, not clustered in any one geographic location, so rather than a physical library, you may need to rent out your books by mail (or virtually). Also, you can still organize your business as a not-for-profit entity if that makes more sense than a for-profit entity.
Both types of organizations need to have revenue in excess of expenses and can pay you a salary. The difference is that the investors in a for-profit are hoping to make a return on their investment, while the “investors” in a NFP are “investing” for the good of the community.
- Payment processing website
The Internet provides a convenient and versatile gateway through which countless different types of businesses can market and distribute their products and collect payments from consumers. However, due to security concerns, some consumers are hesitant to give their payment information over the Internet, while others may not follow through with a purchase due to over complicated payment procedures. Setting up such online payment collection methods can also be a technical barrier for entrepreneurs.
Looking to start a website, but constantly putting it off due to the fact that you have no clue where to start or what niche you would even want to get into? This is the case for a lot of different online business entrepreneurs out there, especially if you are in the service providing industry and have been thinking about moving towards something different – like affiliate marketing per say. You can start an online learning center/virtual learning sites like Udemy, Lynda, etc
- Art Supplies website and Store
Millions of people enjoy creating art as a hobby. It is a great way to be creative and reduce stress. All of these people require art supplies to be able to enjoy their hobbies, and this fact creates a terrific opportunity for a start-up art supplies retail store.
The store does not have to be large, just well stocked with all the popular art supplies. You can also conduct painting and sculpting classes at night to earn extra income. The investment required to start an art supply store will be in the range of $25,000. However, the profit potential is very good as art supplies are often marked up 100 percent or more.
- Art Prints website and store
Whether you’re the artist or someone else has created the original art, there is big money in art prints. Art prints are relatively inexpensive to have produced and can retail for as much as $1,000 for a popular piece. Once you have chosen the works that will be reproduced, you can begin to sell the art prints. Set up a website and a sales kiosk in a mall on a busy weekend or rent a booth in a high-traffic flea market.
Jewellery boxes can retail for as much as 10 to 20 times of what it costs to build them, making this a potentially very profitable home based manufacturing venture. This is the type of manufacturing business that will let you be very creative in design and in the materials selected for the construction process.
Or in other words, ‘think outside the jewellery box.’ Consider using materials that normally would not be used for building this product, like recycled items, seashells, glass, or plastic.
If you’re the type who goes nuts at holidays and birthdays, choosing oh-so-special gifts and then dressing them up in creative packages, you’ll get all wrapped up in a gift basket business. You can give gifts all year long and get paid for doing it! This is one of the hottest businesses going, with recent annual sales of $800 million.
If you set your creativity on high and develop your own special niche, you can be very successful. Gift basket entrepreneurs buy gifts and tuck them into baskets, decorative tins, boxes or bags for their customers to give to that certain someone.
Here’s a high-tech option for starting a grocery delivery service. Develop a website that features grocery items for sale. To start, offer only the most popular grocery items, like milk and bread, and as the business expands, so can your product line.
Contract the delivery aspect of the service to people in your local community seeking to earn a part-time income. The operating format for the site would be very basic and easy to establish. Customers would simply log on to the site, select the items they wish to purchase, enter payment and shipping information and wait for their groceries.
Calling all home based seamstresses. If you are searching for a unique way to profit from your sewing talents then look no further than starting an online business that sells custom made-to-order blue jeans. Blue jeans are an American cultural icon worn by millions of people every day, and for many people the search is never ending for a pair of jeans that fits properly and comfortably. Get started by creating a website that features the capability of letting visitors design their own blue jeans.
- Online Organic Food Sales
The time has never been better than now to start a business that specializes in organic food sales and home delivery, as organically grown foods have become so popular, growers are having a hard time meeting consumer demand. The first step to establishing the business is to build alliances with organic food growers to supply the inventory needed for the business. The second step is to create and distribute a catalogue featuring all the organically grown food products that the business sells and delivers.
- Online Seafood Sales and website
Take local seafood sales and delivery online, and open your business to consumers from around the world. This enterprise is very straightforward. Develop a website that features seafood of all sorts for sale. Customers will simply select the seafood they wanted to purchase, enter in payment and shipping information and wait for delivery. Commercial fishermen in virtually every country can supply the seafood featured on the site. They catch it, you sell it and they ship it your customers.
- Online Store for the Disabled and information website
People living with physical disabilities often find even life’s easy tasks to be frustrating. Starting a business that specializes in selling products aimed at making life easier for people living with physical disabilities is not only a wise choice for a new business venture, it’s also a business that can assist people in leading a better life.
Products could include wheelchairs, medical braces, canes and walkers. The business can focus on both brick-and-mortar style retailing, as well as developing a website for online shoppers.
If you have a particular talent or interest, it may just end up being a great idea for an online magazine. Check out publications like: The Magazine (yes, it’s real), How Stuff Works, Small Business Trends, Wired, Style Bistro, and Zimbio. They’re all household names today, but each started with an idea and humble beginnings. Even if your niche is already heavily covered online, it doesn’t mean that you can’t offer something to the existing and future readership that isn’t valuable – perhaps way more valuable than the existing competition that exists.
The first step in starting your own bicycle courier service is to check and see if a courier license is required for your vicinity. If a license is not required, or you can secure one easily, the second step is to begin marketing your new bicycle courier service.
You can charge similar rates for envelopes and small parcels as the motorized couriers charge, with the benefit being your overheads will be a fraction of theirs. One person can easily operate a bicycle courier service with a cellular phone for incoming delivery inquiries. The business can be expanded to include multiple bike couriers with a central dispatch system.
- Stock / forex trading alert services
Some people consider joining the sometimes volatile stock and forex trading market to be somewhat risky. But, if you start out small and keep researching until you gain knowledge and experience in this arena it may be worth your while. In fact, once you get the hang of it, you can potentially earn a sizable profit from exchanging foreign currencies and stocks. The goal of any successful trader is to recognize which currencies and stocks are more likely to increase or decrease in terms of value.
- START A LISTICLE BLOG
A really simple idea that would only take up to 1 hour of your time a week and about $20 in costs. Over time it could make you quite a bit of money. Sites like Viralnova.com and Fukarf.com create compelling content by finding funny, emotional and inspirational stories on Reddit, Facebook and Imgur, rewriting the content, adding some more detail and publishing the content on their own site.
With a bit of promotion on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Stumbleupon and eventually organic traffic, within a couple of months you should be pulling in 30K to 50K unique visits a month.
- Creating Surveys and Questionnaires
Creating Surveys and Questionnaires As well as giving opinions it’s important to guide companies on how to collect them. Research design is therefore a key component of any research process. It includes formulation of survey texts and questions (e.g. textual, multiple choice, drop-down, Likert scale, ranking, file/image questions etc.). The surveys sometimes also need to be integrated with a website, database or mail marketing service provider (e.g., Mail Chimp).
- Community Delivery Service
Equipped with nothing more than a cell phone to handle incoming and outgoing customer calls, coupled with reliable transportation, you can offer clients in your community fast and convenient delivery and/or pickup services for dry cleaning, spirits, fast foods, medications, event tickets, groceries, pet foods, flowers or just about anything else imaginable. The business is also easily expanded simply by putting your marketing and management skills to work.
- Outsourcing website
How about setting up a business that focuses on outsourcing? Most successful service providers on the internet find that they need external help at some point. They might have a blogging client that requires logo design. They might have a guest posting service client that needs web design. Instead of actually providing the services personally, you could outsource and take a profit margin of your choice! Make sure you learn how to outsource first!
Starting a telemarketing business gives you the opportunity to earn money making sales calls on behalf of your clients. In order to launch with a bang, you’ll need experience in the telemarketing industry and the right equipment to ensure you can provide clients with an efficient, cost-effective service. Marketing is essential to the survival of any business.
Without a strong marketing plan and execution strategy a business could just die down in the face of competition. There are many ways to market a product — from advertising by putting up signage and billboards for the public, sending direct mails, to participating in expos and trade shows. Sometimes to make advertising effective, a study of market preferences and demographics is done by businesses.
- Errand website and Service
Let’s face it; today’s busy lifestyles mean that a lot working people just don’t have time for even the simplest of errands, such as taking the family pet to the veterinarian for a routine check-up, buying Aunt Sue a birthday present, or picking up the kids after school.
This is great news if you’re a multitasker looking to start your own simple, inexpensive, yet potentially very profitable business. An errand service can be operated with nothing more than a cell phone and reliable transportation.
- Information product creation
Creating information products is one of the most profitable and promising Internet business ideas. This is basically the advanced form of running a coaching business. You educate others by creating online courses, checklists, a tutorial series or guides.
Just like any other business, your offer needs to serve others and enrich their lives. You need to deliver information that truly helps your customers.
In order to create a profitable information product, you need to share knowledge that helps others. This can be a skill you acquired in your latest job. Or a hobby you excel in. Or a personal experience you’ve made in a situation that many people have to face.
- Advice offering website on Packaged Herbs and Spices delivery
Here is a great little business opportunity that can be started on a part-time basis right from a home. Purchasing herbs and spices in bulk, repackaging the product into smaller quantities, and selling the herbs and spices through local retailers via point-of-purchase (POP) displays. The main objective is to ensure the packaging you create for the products is unique, as well as ensuring that the POP displays are located in highly visible areas of the retail stores you secure distribution rights with.
Study the main types of software that system users will want–word processing, photo manipulation software, mail merge, spreadsheet, design and especially security software. Investigate all the components–monitor types in all their varieties; keyboards, from wired to ergonomic to wireless; mouse types; as well as peripheral components like printers and scanners.
Become completely familiar with all the ISPs (internet service providers) available in the market area you plan to cover. Establish yourself as the guru who can meet the needs of the personal computer user, the small business or a larger corporation
- Dog Information website
Pets are phenomenally popular in the U.S. While many people are willing to adopt from animal shelters, others are looking for a specific breed. Purebred dogs are more popular than ever and can command large sums of money. But becoming a dog breeder is serious business catering to savvy consumers with high expectations of their pet purchases. You will need to establish yourself as a conscientious breeder who cares about the health and welfare of the animals you bring into the world.
Start a courier service specializing in envelopes, small packages or large shipments, or combine all package types and sizes to maximize profit potential. The least expensive way to get started in the courier industry is to subcontract your services to an established courier company, meaning that you supply the transportation and yourself to pick up and deliver parcels.
But this option also leaves you with the lowest profit potential and ability to grow the business. A better option is to start your own courier service outright, and hire other owner/operators on a revenue-sharing basis to make deliveries, while you concentrate on marketing, managing and building the business.
- Candy Maker
Starting a business that creates chocolate candies and treats is a great new enterprise to initiate, and the business can easily be formed as a joint venture with an established catering service or restaurant. The purpose of forming the joint venture with an established business is to greatly reduce the amount of start-up capital required to get the business rolling. A joint venture can enable you to utilize the partner’s commercial kitchen, and in some cases the existing employee and customer base.
- Import and export specialist
If you don’t already have work experience with importing and/or exporting, you will have a longer learning curve. You can start by learning the basics and hosting educational sessions to teach others what they need to know to get started in import/export. That alone would probably gain you your first couple of clients. If you keep going with educational seminars and expand your reach to outside your immediate region, you could probably develop a sufficient and ongoing customer base very quickly, but be careful not to outpace your learning curve!
- Online selling of Pre-packaged Vegetarian Foods
Calling all vegetarians: Do you find it difficult to find pre-packaged meals at your local grocery store that can be prepared quickly and conveniently, and don’t contain meat or meat by-products? If so, perhaps you should consider starting a business that makes and packages vegetarian meals that can be sold on a wholesale basis to grocery stores and specialty food retailers.
If this sounds appealing as a business opportunity, that’s because it is. There are an estimated 20 million vegetarians in the U.S., and this number continues to grow on a yearly basis as more and more people are starting to understand the benefits of a vegetarian diet.
When it comes to protecting your family, most people think that they can do more. And if you have a special knack for knowing what can make a home safer, then you can make money with a home security business. You don’t even have to be an expert or have a background in law enforcement to be successful.
A home security business is much like a business consultancy service. You meet with a family to assess what they want for their home and try to figure out what you can do for them. Example of niches under the subscription model include:
- Security consultancy
- Security guards services
- Executive protection services
- Security alerts/update especially for those living in places designated as high risk areas
In summary, the industrial era, the space age and the information age all brought massive changes and had implications for consumers and businesses alike. With shift from the transaction economy to the subscription economy, it is a great opportunity for you to make a name and legal cash from this booming industry.