Do you want to start a business without using your own money? If YES, here are 50 best lucrative small business ideas you can start as a middleman or broker. The best way to explanation of what a middleman business is that it is a business where you bring two opposing people together. The two different sets of people need each other and a middleman business puts them together. Many new and valuable startups don’t really make anything.
Instead of cutting out middlemen, they’ve become them, connecting people with specific genres of services or merchants. Successful examples of this include transportation providers Uber and Lyft, and travel rental startup Airbnb. They have all raised huge amounts of money and spawned numerous copycats.
The companies that do it well have two major things in common; they use human input to better serve a narrow market, and actively steer clear of anything that you can’t do in minutes on a smartphone. Whether it’s through intuitive ratings, manually curating products, treating suppliers well, or instantly responding when something goes wrong, successful middlemen use their staff and users to make markets work better.
What a middleman is, essentially he is a broker. Someone who sits in between two parties and brokers the best deal for them and then takes a commission from the agreed price or someone who finds two parties that needs and supplies a certain skill and introduces them for a fee.
There are many ways to do this; you could set yourself up as a business offering to source people to do jobs for your new clients or as we are seeing all over the internet you set up a site dedicated to bring two sets of people together then take a cut from any work and transactions done through your site.
The following are 50 middlemen/brokerage business ideas;
50 Best Business ideas to Start as a Middleman/Broker
Table of Content
- Start-up Capital Brokerage
- Start a Freelance Market Place
- Start a Travel Agency
- Antiques and Collectibles Business
- Bounty Hunting
- Estate Agency
- Freight Brokerage
- Start a Property Market Website
- Human Resource Management
- Marketing Consultancy
- Import-Export Broker
- Start an Export Management Company
- Start an Export Trading Company
- Start a Lumber Brokerage Business
- Start a Mortgage Brokerage Business
- Commercial Loan Broker
- Become a Business Broker
- Online business Brokerage
- Community Delivery Service
- Become a Demographic Data Broker
- Become a Construction Broker
- Art Broker
- Executive Recruiter
- Start an Elderly Recruitment Agency
- Flier Distribution Service
- Become a Mediator
- Become a Prospecting Agent
- Start a Distribution Warehouse
- Become an Artist Agent
- Become a Pawn Broker
- Become a Lease Broker
- Start a Referral Service
- Start a Temporary Help Agency
- Become a Boat Broker
- Online Auto Lease Match Up Service
- Musical Band Management
- Entertainment Booking Agent
- Become an Auctioneer
- Insurance Broker
- Become a Domain Name Broker
- Start a Barter and Swap Publication
- Employment and Career Publications
- Product Sourcing Agent
- Distribution Warehousing
- Customs Broker
- Export/Import Insurance Brokerage
Start-up Capital Brokerage
Raising capital is one of the business challenges entrepreneurs dread most but unfortunately; it’s a nightmare we can’t run away from if any business is to be ventured into. If you can position yourself as a middleman or broker; linking up startup entrepreneurs with venture capitalists and angel investors, then you are in business.
Start a Freelance Market Place
Think of Fiverr.com, freelancer.com, uber, and Elance.com, they are essentially meeting places where people gather looking for work either to be done or to do the work. When two parties agree to a job, the money is placed in the secure hands of the middleman site who releases it to the rightful party once the finished work is accepted.
You can start a freelance market place for any type of work and profession such as writer, data entry experts, copywriters, graphic designers, book keepers etc. You will charge a certain stipulated percentage of commission.
More and more people are getting attracted to this type of small business. The reasons are not difficult to guess. Once again, you can have your own work schedule and work from within the comforts of your home. Then, you also have the freedom of investing as much money as you can easily afford.
That means you can start with small money and expand on finding it profitable. The more you invest in the form of money and time in booking clients, the more is your profit. As a travel agent, you care the link between the client and hotels, airline, restaurants etc. in their destination.
Antiques and Collectibles Business
You would have surely known somebody who loves to collect antiques as a hobby. But do you know that dealing with antiques is a very interesting and profitable business. Antique dealers look for these valuable pieces and sell them at a profit. For dealing with antiques and collectibles, you’ll be required to look for different sources for their procurement, learn to evaluate them and then buy these for selling to your clients.
A bounty hunter is a person who traces criminals that don’t turn up at the appointed court after the bond agency has already posted bail. It’s the responsibility of the bounty hunter to locate and bring the fugitive back to the county where they committed the crime to justice to be awarded. To qualify as a bounty hunter you must get familiar with the laws of the state concerning bail and bonds. Some states demand the bounty hunter to have undergone training and possess a license.
Another profitable and thriving business that an entrepreneur who is interested in being a middleman or broker can successfully launch is a real estate agency business. The fact that real estate business is a very rewarding business does not mean that there are no challenges in the industry.
Starting a real estate agency in the united states of America comes with its own challenges, you would have to abide by the law and also compete with loads of other entrepreneurs who also are interested in making a living and building a business in the US.
If you want to start a business with limited capital, not a ton of licensing and unlimited earnings potential? Why not start a freight broker business? A freight broker is the middle man between companies that need materials/goods shipped and the company transporting them. To start a freight broker business, you do not have to be a rocket scientist.
Start a Property Market Website
One easy way of making money from the real estate industry is to create a website where people can list their properties that are for sale, lease and for rent. It is a simple business to operate in the value chain of the real estate industry because this type of business requires minimal start – up capital and it is a business that can run on autopilot. So if you are looking for a real estate related business to start, then one of your options is to create a website for listing properties that are for sale, lease and rent.
Human Resource Management
The perfect small business opportunity for someone who has some experience in human resource management. The task involves supplying manpower to large number of companies out there.
If you have the quality of convincing and attracting customers, then the best in hand business opportunity for you is to start your own marketing consultancy business that will help new as well already existing companies to growth their customer base.
These people are facilitators for importers and exporters. Import-export brokers interface with U.S. Customs, other government agencies, international carriers, and other companies and organizations that are involved in international freight transportation.
Start an Export Management Company
An EMC handles export operations for a domestic company that wants to sell its product overseas but doesn’t know how (and perhaps doesn’t want to know how). The EMC does it all–hiring dealers, distributors and representatives; handling advertising, marketing and promotions; overseeing marking and packaging; arranging shipping; and sometimes arranging financing.
Start an Export Trading Company
While an EMC has merchandise to sell and is using its energies to seek out buyers, an ETC attacks the other side of the trading coin. It identifies what foreign buyers want to spend their money on and then hunts down domestic sources willing to export. An ETC sometimes takes title to the goods and sometimes works on a commission basis.
Start a Lumber Brokerage Business
Lumber brokers serve as the middlemen between lumber mills and lumber buyers. They are usually experts in the lumber industry who are well connected and possess a firm grasp of both lumber products and the marketplace in general. Although some brokers do business with independent lumberyards, many specialize in providing lumber and building materials for large building projects and major contractors.
Even in harsh economic times, companies and consumers apply for mortgages in order to finance the purchase of real estate, and many do this with the help of mortgage brokers. A mortgage broker business acts as an intermediary between the party looking to buy real estate and the lender, oftentimes a bank, which can provide the funding for the real estate. A mortgage broker business gains a commission, usually a percentage of the loan amount, as payment for its services.
Commercial Loan Broker
Being a commercial loan broker is becoming a popular career nowadays. When you become this kind of broker, you will serve as a middle man for borrowers and lenders. Your main responsibility is to help any person who is going to borrow money in selecting the best loans when it comes to attaining his or her financial goals.
Being a commercial loan broker is not that hard as compared to any other kind of broker. You mainly secure loans for businesses so you are not bound by any institution related to lending.
Become a Business Broker
Business brokers, also called business transfer agents, or intermediaries, assist buyers and sellers of privately held business in the buying and selling process. They typically estimate the value of the business; advertise it for sale with or without disclosing its identity; handle the initial potential buyer interviews, discussions, and negotiations with prospective buyers; facilitate the progress of the due diligence investigation and generally assist with the business sale.
Online business Brokerage
Thousands of established businesses and business opportunities are bought and sold annually in North America, and now is your chance to cash in on the public’s demand for opportunities in self-employment by posting a business for sale website.
The site will have to be indexed into numerous sections that represent various businesses for sale and opportunities like manufacturing, distributorships and so on. In exchange for a $100 posting or listing fee, clients would receive a six-month posting on the site that describes their business or business opportunity for sale along with contact information.
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.
Become a Demographic Data Broker
Once a business determines who their target market is for a product or service they’ll be selling, they have to know where the target market is, how many potential customers are in the target range and what the trends in terms of their target market are. Starting a demographic data brokerage service will enable you to fill the demand for corporations, organizations and small-business owners for demographics information.
Become a Construction Broker
The idea is to apply what works in selling apartments, where brokers facilitate transactions. The renovations broker’s role is to manage process, representing the homeowner. This person would be skilled in renovations so he or she can speak language of contractor and skilled in client management so he or she can speak language of homeowner.
This person would visit the construction site regularly, updating the homeowner on the one side and helping the contractor on the other, solving problems representing the homeowner’s interests.
An art broker facilitates the sales of artists’ works to collectors and museums by agreeing to represent artists, show their work, and negotiate sales either in person or through an auction house. In addition, because an art broker has the opportunity to give artists more exposure by arranging for exhibitions of their work and bringing it to the attention of critics and collectors, he can play a key role in the development of artists’ careers.
Becoming an art broker requires both a love and knowledge of art, as well as sound experience in the art world and a network of both artists and collectors. In addition, you’ll need excellent business skills and available capital to become an art broker.
If you’ve got sales and people skills in big supply, then this could be the business for you. As an executive recruiter, you’ll match job candidates with potential corporate employers. Sometimes you’ll start with an executive looking for a new position; on other occasions a company with a slot to fill will initiate the search.
While an employment agency generally works with lower-echelon prospects, executive recruiters–as the name implies–concentrate their efforts on higher-level posts, filling management, and professional and technical spots. You can specialize in a particular industry or you can be a generalist.
Ask any older person seeking employment what the most difficult challenge they face is and, 9 times out of 10, the responses will be their age. Opening an employment agency geared toward helping aging members of our society find gainful employment may just be your opportunity to build a successful and profitable business.
No special training or education can replace good, old-fashioned experience, and this can be your most powerful marketing tool for recruiting small business and corporations to become clients and post job openings within their firms suitable for elderly people with your agency.
Flier Distribution Service
Not only is a flier delivery service a very easy business to start, it also has the potential to generate a fantastic annual income. Companies have used promotional fliers for decades as a low-cost highly effective advertising method. Starting a flier delivery service requires no more than a telephone and a good pair of walking shoes.
Currently, flier delivery services are charging delivery rates in the range of 7 to 15 cents per hand-delivered flier. As a method to increase your delivery workforce, consider hiring retirees and students to deliver fliers during busy times.
Become a Mediator
In most areas of the United States a mediator is not required to be licensed or have certificate training, making this an excellent choice for a new business venture. The duties of a mediator are to bring two opposing sides together and find common ground. A mediation service should not be confused with an arbitration service as a mediator does not rule in favor of either party, but remains neutral.
Become a Prospecting Agent
In a nutshell, a prospecting agent generates and qualifies sales leads for their clients. However, the service should not be confused with a telemarketing service, as a prospecting service never attempts to close a sale or go beyond qualifying a sales lead for their clients. Prospecting agents are paid for each lead they generate, and the higher the value of the client’s products and services, the larger the fee for supplying qualified leads.
Additionally, some prospecting agents also generate sales leads first and then sell the leads to the highest bidder. An example of this would be a prospecting agent that sets up a display booth at a home and garden trade show and collects names, addresses and contact information from people that are considering a home improvement renovation.
Start a Distribution Warehouse
Home based businesses and the internet have created a booming market for distribution and warehousing services. Why? Because home based and cyber ventures generally don’t have the infrastructure required to store and ship their products that are being sold.
Starting a warehousing and distribution service means you can act as a warehouse, shipping and receiving agent for as many as 20 or 30 different companies. This business venture does require a great deal of research and investment capital.
Become an Artist Agent
An artist agent is the same as any other industry agent. You simply represent the talents or skills of an individual or group of individuals. Remuneration is by way of a commission charged on work sold; generally the commission rate is between 10 and 20 percent of the total selling value of the art. Why would an artist seek to be represented by an agent?
There are many reasons why artists would need and require professional representation, including greater exposure and recognition, negotiation experience, privacy, marketing abilities, contacts and various other resources that may not be available to the artists themselves.
Pawnbrokers sometimes get a bad rap, and unfortunately it only takes a few bad apples dealing in stolen merchandise to give the industry a bad name for all operators of pawnshops. However, like any business venture, eventually the bad business operators will disappear and the good operators will flourish.
Starting a pawnshop business is a good choice as a business start-up for a few reasons, such as no special business skill requirements, relatively low initial investment, and excellent profit potential.
Become a Lease Broker
Working as an independent or franchised leasing broker, you can help business owners lease the equipment they need to start, operate, and expand their businesses, including everything from computers to machinery to heavy equipment to specialized tools and lots more.
The duty of a leasing broker is to bring together three parties; business owners and managers wanting to lease equipment for their businesses, equipment manufacturers and retailers wanting to sell equipment, and lending companies willing to purchase the equipment and lease it back to the business owner.
Start a Referral Service
If you’re the one everybody in your circle calls for help when they’re trying to find a good doctor, attorney, plumber or cleaning service, and if you love being on the phone, then a referral service could be the business for you. You can specialize in one area or several, depending on your preferences and the size of your town.
You might run an attorney referral service, matching callers to specialists in family, real estate or criminal law; a physicians’ service matching up potential patients with pediatricians, cardiologists and other health-care specialists; or a homeowners’ network, referring consumers to plumbers, painters, and cleaning and lawn care services.
Start a Temporary Help Agency
Outsourcing, downsizing, and consolidation are keywords in today’s business world, and all have helped to make the placement of temporary workers a thriving industry. In short, when businesses and organizations need temporary or seasonal help, many turn to the services of a temporary help agency to fulfill their manpower needs. It often costs less and is more convenient than having to run help wanted ads and interview candidates.
In starting your temp help agency, we suggest that you specialize in supplying qualified workers in one particular industry or area of expertise, such as the construction industry, retail sales, home care, domestic work, office work, or warehouse staffing.
Become a Boat Broker
Highly ambitious entrepreneurs with boating experience have the potential to cash in big on the boating boom by starting a boat brokerage service. However, before you get too excited at the prospect of selling boats, you should know that some states require boat brokers to be licensed. At present, though, there are no across-the-board regulations, and each state has its own regulations.
Generally, boat brokers or boat sales consultants charge a 10 percent commission upon the successful sale and transfer of the boat to the new owner. The commission rate can be as high as 25 percent for boats with a value of less than $5,000, and as low as 3 percent when selling boats in the million-dollar price range.
Online Auto Lease Match Up Service
Thousands of new and used cars are leased each year as opposed to being purchased. A quick glance through the automotive classified section of your local newspaper will tell you that there are a lot of people seeking to get out of their automotive lease agreement.
This fact creates a fantastic business opportunity for the enterprising entrepreneur to capitalize on by starting a service that matches automotive leaseholders with people who are prepared to assume their lease.
There are a few approaches that can be taken in terms of starting a musical band management service. The first approach is to start and operate the business on a part-time basis from home and perhaps only represent one or two musical bands or solo musical performers.
The second option is to start a full-time management agency that represents multiple bands or solo performers at one time. Both approaches to establishing and operating the business have their pros and cons, however, careful research will determine the best approach for you.
Entertainment Booking Agent
If you’re looking for a business opportunity that could prove to be both fun and profitable, look no further than starting a business as a freelance entertainment booking agent. A booking agent is a person that actively seeks out opportunities in the entertainment industry, such as booking music bands for nightclub performances, theater groups for stage performances and just about any other type of entertainer for live performances.
Generally, an entertainment booking agent doesn’t represent or act as management for entertainers, but merely builds alliances with entertainers and retains a portion of the performance fee paid to entertainers for work the agent has secured.
Become an Auctioneer
Have fun and make lots of money by starting and operating an auction service. The first thing you have to know about becoming an auctioneer is that training is required, and each state and province has its own criteria for auctioneer licensing. However, with that said, there are dozens of auctioneer schools across the United States and Canada.
Auctioneers are more than just fast talkers; they are also expert marketers who have an excellent knowledge of the products they sell, the demand for these products, and the target audience of buyers. Starting an auction service also requires relatively deep pockets unless you contract your auctioning services to other auctioneers.
Insurance brokers act as intermediaries between clients, who can be either individuals or commercial businesses and organizations, and insurance companies. They use their in-depth knowledge of risks and the insurance market to find and arrange suitable insurance policies and arrange cover. They act in the interest of their clients and offer products from more than one insurer to ensure that their clients get the best deal.
A wholesaler is the link between a manufacturer or producer of a product or service and the retailer or reseller of the product or service. There are many different types of products and services that can be sold on a wholesale basis including food items, computers and software, telecommunications services, and even public utilities.
Starting a wholesale business is somewhat more difficult than starting a traditional retailing business. Not only do you have to source companies to buy products and services from, you also have to source companies to sell the same products and services to.
If you are interested in finance and think that managing other people’s money may be your bag, then you may be cut out to become a stockbroker. And while this challenging field requires a broad skill set coupled with a willingness to work long hours in order to succeed, the rewards can be enormous for those who make the grade.
A stockbroker is a regulated professional individual, usually associated with a brokerage firm or broker-dealer, who buys and sells stocks and other securities for both retail and institutional clients, through a stock exchange or over the counter, in return for a fee or commission.
Become a Domain Name Broker
It is estimated that 93 percent of words in the English language have been incorporated in some fashion into a domain name. As corporations and small business owners race to register or purchase cool and effective dot-com names, the resale price goes up. In some cases, it skyrockets into the seven-figure range.
While a great deal of effective dot-com names have already been registered, many of these same names are now for sale or soon will be, and this fact creates a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on the worldwide race for the perfect internet address.
Start a Barter and Swap Publication
Barter and swap publications have become very popular in the past decade, as people seek more creative ways to get rid of items they do not want or need, and trade for useful items they’d like to have. Herein lies an outstanding opportunity to start a community barter and swap publication.
The publication can be published on a bimonthly or monthly basis and in addition to featuring thousands of barter and trade classified ads, the paper could also feature puzzles, games and facts on local history or trivia. Revenue can be generated in three ways.
Employment and Career Publications
Starting a desktop publishing business that specializes in producing a monthly employment and career guide newspaper is a fantastic new business venture to set in motion. The business can be operated from a home based location and even has the potential to be expanded nationally on a franchise or license-to-operate basis once established.
The paper can be distributed throughout the community free of charge and supported by charging companies advertising fees to list their employment and career opportunities in the paper. Additionally, the paper should also include useful information and tips for readers on subjects and topics pertaining to securing gainful employment. The tips could include information, such as how to prepare for a job interview, ten secrets to a winning résumé and more.
Since the advent of the internet, many businesses have had online presence, which have helped their offline business in immense ways. There’s no denying that ecommerce is a powerful Business model. However, who wants the hassle of storing and delivering all the products necessary to create an ecommerce business?
If you like the concept, but aren’t a fan of the actual business, you might want to consider a dropshipping partnership. This way you get to focus on specific aspects of the business you enjoy instead.
Product Sourcing Agent
As a product sourcing agent you can conveniently plug into the export value chain. What a good way to build up a successful exportation business from nothing and have fun doing it? Not only does it require little financial investment to start you don’t need previous experience in the field to get started, but you should have a good head for organizing and paying constant attention to little details.
As a product sourcing agent, you will need to make contact with exporters. You can register with some trade portals where you will have access to their chosen commodities, specifications and contacts details. You can also send a mail to them and inform them that you can meet their requirement.
Starting a warehousing and distribution service means you can act as a warehouse, shipping and receiving agent for as many as 20 or 30 different companies. This business venture does require a great deal of research and investment capital. However, with careful planning and exceptional organizational skills, this type of business venture is capable of creating a six-figure income per year, all within a very short period of time for the enterprising entrepreneur.
A customs broker facilitates the exporting and importing of goods with foreign nations that are subject to customs restriction and inspection. These commodities shipments could be small or large and include both perishable and non-perishable products. Some brokers work as independent contractors who render services for different companies.
Customs broker companies and international freight forwarders are usually considered the most employers of professional customs brokers. However, customs brokers also usually work for trade authorities, shipping firms, and export and import companies.
Export/Import Insurance Brokerage
Export shipments are usually insured against loss, damage, and delay in transit by cargo insurance. For international shipments, the carrier’s liability is frequently limited by international agreements and the coverage is substantially different from domestic coverage.
Arrangements for cargo insurance may be made by either the buyer or the seller, depending on the terms of sale. Exporters are advised to consult with international insurance carriers or freight forwarders for more information. Damaging weather conditions, rough handling by carriers, and other common hazards to cargo make marine insurance important protection for exporters.
The process of buying foreign exchange, stocks, bonds, and other commodities in one market and immediately selling them in another market at higher prices. This is another business idea for you if you have the means and knowledge.
Starting a middleman or brokerage business is not a new venture but it is a profitable venture. It has even become more profitable with the proliferation of the internet and the expansion of technology through different gadgets. With the right skills and the capital, you can venture into any of the above businesses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Middleman Marketing And Why Is It One Of The Most Profitable Business Models Today?
Middlemen marketing are those marketing functions individuals or businesses who specialize in performing the duties of middleman leverage to enable the purchase and sale of goods as they are moved from producers to consumers. In various sectors of business and finance, the middleman role can take on different forms and encompass different responsibilities.
However, aside from providing the customer with a product, the middleman business model does much more; it sells something even more desired. The real value these businesses sell is convenience, particularly in the retail sector.
2. What Industries Or Sectors Of The Economy Either Online Or In The Real World Would Be Ripe For A Middleman Stepping In?
Middlemen tend to play the role of an intermediary in a distribution or transaction chain to help facilitate interaction between the involved parties. Industries and sectors of the economy that would really need the expertise of a middleman include;
- Automobile makers
- Retail products.
3. How Much Capital Do You Need To Start This Business?
Your start up costs may include:
- Industry License – $1,500
- Office lease deposit – $3,000
- First month’s rent – $2,000
- Utilities, Telephone, Internet – $500 per month
- Office signage – $2,000
- Marketing expenses – $3,000 per month
- Employee expenses – (depends on the number of agents)
4. What Can You Do To Be More Than Just A Middleman Marketplace?
The best and easiest way to find out the expansion to make or service to add to your present crop is by asking your current customers. They know you, know what you offer and hopefully have a level of comfort with your business.
However, as someone in the middleman marketplace already, you can sell advice/consulting packages to start-ups/SMEs on best practices (choosing the correct space, negotiation, what type of leases, issues to watch out for, when to look for more space, etc).
5. What Are Some Good Business Ideas For Working Professionals?
If you are looking for ideal business ideas as a working professional, here are options to consider;
- Graphic Design
- Web Design
- Web Development
- Tax Preparation
- Commission-Only Sales
- Online Courses
- Instagram Marketing.
6. What Is the Sniff Bite Pattern between VC, Middleman, and Entrepreneur in a Startup?
It is almost necessary for venture capitalists to always ‘sniff’ the deal, as part of their due diligence process before investing. Since a good number of them have numerous start ups to look at, they try to split the work and let the middleman do all the due diligence.
But since the venture capital industry curates millions of dollars of transactions, and being discrete is very vital, and any information leak can jeopardize millions of dollars, many organized venture capital, and angel investor firms prefer to do all the due diligence themselves and have teams that focus on various aspects.
7. What Are Some Of The Best Middleman Business Ideas To Earn At Any Age Without Investing?
- Real Estate
- Client representation
- Ticketing hotel and tourist packages
- Match making
- Tuition or coaching classes
- Service providers