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50 Best Recession Proof Business ideas and Industries

Do you want to start a business that thrives even in a recession? If YES, here are the 50 best lucrative recession-proof business ideas & opportunities.

One of the situations most entrepreneurs dread is a recession just like the case of the global financial meltdown and the CoronaVirus (CoVid-19) pandemic. It cripples businesses and reduce the morale of entrepreneurs to undertake new business ventures.

During recessions, many people lose their jobs, as businesses lay off many of workers in a bid to cut costs. As a result, job security is always the number one priority during these hard times, and workers flock toward the so-called recession-proof businesses.

Recession-proof businesses, as the name implies, are businesses that are not affected by an economic meltdown. Such businesses either continue to thrive magically or survive unscathed, at least. Now if starting a business and staying strong during a recession is a way to go for you; then here are 50 proven recession-proof businesses that will guarantee job security when the economy goes grim.

Best Recession Proof Business ideas

1. Food and beverages

The food business is very lucrative because no matter the economic situation; people must eat. But I am not talking about pooling your hard-earned money and starting a restaurant business; although if that seems like a feasible thing to do, it just might work.

However, going into the restaurant business still has its risk, and a very high one at that. Instead, you might consider going into a food and beverage business by focusing on offering healthier stuff. These days, going into a recession is even a better excuse to eat healthy because it encourages people to cut down on their consumption and avoid unnecessary purchases.

2. Bakery

People will always take snacks and fast foods, regardless of the economic trends. So, if you start a business that produces cookies, bread, pastries, cakes, and so on, you will have a steady stream of business. Even if you are not good at baking, consider hiring one or two individuals for a start.

3. Laundry services

Even in tough times, people want to look clean and good. And they will manage to squeeze out some bucks just for that. So, starting a laundry business is a very good idea, as it is also immune to the harsh effects of economic meltdowns. To start this business, you will need a washing machine, dryers, pressing irons, etc and you may need to hire one or two people.

A laundry business, also known as a dry cleaning business can be an easy and profitable business to start. There are many aspects of laundry businesses that you can engage yourself in, which includes dry cleaning franchises, home-based laundry, etc. Knowing how to begin a laundry business usually starts with selecting the right type of service you will offer.

4. Security services

When the economy is grim, people get frustrated. And out of desperation to get some quick bucks, they indulge in various forms of crime, especially burglary. Even when the economy is smiling, homeowners and owners of other valuable property hire security guards to protect their assets. And this becomes even more necessary during recessions.

So, the demand for security guards is always high. With the increasing security challenges in the country, there is a need for private security guards, bodyguards, and executive protection agencies because the government security forces and agencies are overwhelmed.

5. Vet services

Most people love pets and could spend any amount to keep them healthy. So, starting a business that renders veterinary services is a good way to make a steady profit. Even if you are not a vet, you can hire one to work with you.

No matter the economic climate of the moment, we don’t pinch pennies when our furry family members are sick. Spending on pets was one of the few areas of consumer spending that grew every year through the recession. We spent $14.3 billion on veterinary care in 2013. That’s expected to hit $15.3 billion in 2014.

6. Healthcare services

Regardless of the times, someone somewhere will always be in need of good, professional health service. This is an industry that has experienced some significant growth over the last few years.  And it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down any time soon.

If you have the resources, training, manpower, and capital; then becoming involved in a business that offers health services will assure you of a comfortable market.

Consider businesses that focus on offering affordable preventive solutions to people, alternative healthcare and home health. The healthcare industry is an ever-growing billion-dollar industry, mainly because the need for sound healthcare increases with age.

7. Contraceptives

Couples enjoy sex all the time even though they don’t want babies most of the time. Similarly, teens and young adults engage in casual sex all the time. These are the reasons why there’s always a huge demand for contraceptives; whether or not the economy is fine.

So, if you start a business that focuses on selling contraceptive devices and pills, you will never feel the impact of a recession.

8. Cosmetics

People apply cosmetics religiously. In fact, some people apply their facial treatments and make-up several times a day. Of course, recessions are no excuses for anyone to look ugly. So, people will always pay the price for retaining their good looks.

Cosmetics business is, therefore, a money-spinner anytime. Have you heard of the Lipstick Indicator? The theory is that lipstick is an “affordable luxury.” Instead of buying the $200 sweater in a time of financial uncertainty, women will opt for the $20 cosmetic instead.

9. Funeral services

Yes, this is a recession-proof business, morbid as it may sound.  It deals with an inevitability, which means you will never run out of customers. Funeral services get a steady stream of business no matter how the economy is performing. While the wedding industry takes a great blow during the recession, the funeral businesses actually survive much better.

The general folk will definitely still be looking at a grand send-off for their loved ones and death wouldn’t wait for the recession to get over, right? People die every day, and the only way for people to give their dead ones a befitting burial is to engage the services of funeral homes. So, the economy doesn’t have an impact on the fortune of funeral services.

10. Repair services

Repair services are also recession-proof businesses. There will always be people whose kitchen sinks clog, whose air-conditioning breaks down, whose roof starts leaking, or whose car suffers from overheating.  What these mean is a pure business opportunity, even when economic times seem shaky.

And even if potential clients try to delay much-needed repair, they will still come to you for help eventually. But it’s worthwhile you note that many, if not all, of these businesses, require specialized training, skills, and equipment.

11. Personals

It may seem surprising but starting a business involving dating and matchmaking could help you tide the recession over.

Recession or not, people will always be looking for someone special either for dating or marriage. Already, this business has hit over $650 million in sales. As a recession-proof business, starting a personal venture could mean good profits and steady work.

And no one even has to leave home. Some of the most popular companies today are those that offer online dating (Internet speed dating included) to their clients. With sufficient support, attractive and secure platforms, and savvy, targeted marketing, this type of business is set to fly.

12. Tutoring

Whether you are good at teaching academic subjects or vocational skills, you will always get people who would pay to learn from you if you start a tutoring business. Start by approaching potential students in your neighborhood and telling them about your tutoring service.

Probably later, you will advertise using broader media. To start a tutoring business, one prerequisite you must possess is passion. You must love teaching because if you don’t, you will see tutoring as a stressful and difficult task.

Now why should you start a tutoring business and who should start a tutoring business? Well, tutoring is a service that anybody can do, provided you have a specific skill or adequate knowledge about a particular subject; and you have the ability or passion to share this knowledge with others.

  1. Movie theatres

People are especially in need of distraction when times are tough. A night at the movies offers a chance to get out of the house and wrapped up in someone else’s drama for a few hours, all at a relatively low price. The film industry had its heyday during the Great Depression, and box office sales were up by double digits as recently as 2009.

  1. Beer, wine, and liquor

Americans tend to cut back on the pricier drinking options during a recession but that doesn’t mean that people quit drinking. Restaurant sales of wine by the bottle fell sharply in 2009 and so did bar revenues but wholesalers of beer, wine and liquor did just fine during the last recession. Restaurant sales of wine by the glass went up.

  1. Tattoo parlors

Americans didn’t skimp on the ink during the last recession. A tattoo can be a meaningful (and relatively cheap) form of self-expression during a frustrating and difficult time. Tattoo parlors across the country reported an increase in business during the economic crisis. Only 14% of Americans had a tattoo in 2008, but that number was up to 21% by 2012.

  1. Candy

Fun fact: Snickers, Tootsies Pops, and Three Musketeers bars were all invented during the Great Depression. Tough times have a way of encouraging America’s sweet tooth. In 2008, Nestlé’s profits rose 11% and Cadbury’s was up by 30%. Candy can soothe anxiety and it’s an affordable treat when you’re tightening the budget elsewhere.

  1. Thrift stores

People shop during a downturn but they’ll steer clear of Nordstrom and head straight to the thrift shop. While only 14% of Americans shopped regularly at thrift stores in 2008, that number was up to 20% by 2012. Goodwill, the market leader in thrifting saw sales rise 10% annually between 2007 and

  1. Death care services

Demand for death-care services remained steady throughout the recent recession, even though providers reported an increase in more affordable services such as cremation. It might not be the sexiest business, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more reliable line of work.

  1. Tax accounting

You might think business owners would cut costs by doing their own taxes during a recession but that’s not the case. Tax accountants maintained steady business during the recent recession. Business owners wanted to make sure they got the best refund possible without making any costly mistakes.

Although the economy is on an upswing, albeit a slow one when you think about starting a business you need to plan for the long term. If you choose a business that thrives in good times but can also ride out the downturns, you’ll rest easy no matter where we are in the economic cycle.

  1. Discount Chain Stores

With prices soaring high and dwindling incomes, more and more people will be opting for discounted items rather than going the regular retail way. This is a business that can actually balloon during the recession and sales might even pick up as against normal times. However, even in normal conditions, a steady flow and customer base are guaranteed.

  1. Pet Pampering

The pet grooming industry is another industry that is unaffected by recession tendencies in the economy. People with pets still seek out quality services for their furry friends. If you are an animal lover, pet grooming might be a great idea for a recession-proof business you can start now!

  1. Online Security

People are already losing a lot in the stock market and by the salary cuts so they will be more inclined to protect what they already have in every way. If tech is your forte this might be the recession-proof business you can start now because people are going to start recognizing the acute importance of cyber security.

  1. Online Dating Services

So yes, there might not be any big wedding plans till the stocks pick up but with the general dissatisfaction on the rise, people might be looking for a little love to help them get through the tough times. Layoffs might mean that break-ups are on the rise too. All of that just means better business for the dating industry.

  1. Garbage or waste collection

Though this may seem a dirty job, it’s a very lucrative one that is immune to the adverse effects of recessions. People always need to dispose of waste and garbage, and they usually find this difficult. If you start a business that relieves them of this hardship, you will make lots of profit in return.

  1. Educator

Education is always on the priority list and even during times of depression, people vouch for quality education. You can be teaching academic skills or vocational ones but there will always be a few takers. And, since teaching is known to be one of the most fulfilling jobs out there, tutoring or educating is one of the best recession-proof businesses you can start now.

  1. Internet Marketing

Thanks to the internet, virtually every product and service you require is just several clicks away. Thanks to widespread and ever-increasing internet accessibility, more and more business opportunities suited for solopreneurs aka webpreneurs are being created.

Reading the profiles of some of the blogging industry’s most iconic names you might be surprised to know what these guys were doing before they became big. Before getting started you’ll want to get acquainted with web traffic optimization.

You can then proceed to earn money by doing what you love, say running a fashion advice blog or offering content writing services.

  1. Alternative healthcare services

There are plenty of business opportunities in the health sector – even for entrepreneurs who don’t have a medical background.

People interested in the healthcare business but lacking the requisite credentials to offer primary healthcare services, say opening a general medical practice, can still make good money in alternative healthcare. There are plenty of other options too.

How about designing healthcare software, supplying medical equipment to practices, repairing and maintaining medical equipment, etc?

  1. Provision of wedding services

A catalog of different wedding services jointly helps to make such a day brilliant and memorable. However gloomy the times are, a nicely organized wedding will always help to ease people’s worries, albeit for several days. The scope of business ideas in this niche is quite varied.

You can think about becoming a wedding and honeymoon planner, offering wedding photography and video recording services, designing customized wedding invitation materials, designing bride and bridal party gowns, offering wedding catering services, etc.

  1. Selling baby products

Perhaps it needs a fresh diaper or medical attention…new babies bring new business. Babies will always be born; baby products will therefore always be in demand. Whether you decide to sell baby wear, toys, and gear, baby products like oils and powders, etc, the potential for profitability will always exist. You can also opt to offer allied services like babysitting (and day-care services later on)

  1. Property staging

Can you make a house look worth its price tag? Real estate agents and house sellers will readily pay for your expertise. The work of a property stager is to ensure that a house that is to be sold off looks the part. Basically, you, as a property stager, need to advise the seller on how best the things in the property must be arranged and presented in order to maximize the likelihood of making a good sale.

For starters, you need to have a keen sense of style, décor and detail. Next, you need to make a name for yourself. Making acquaintances with real estate agents and independent sellers is a good place to start. This business can really thrive in recession times.

  1. Virtual assistance

Reputable virtual assistants are almost always in demand all year round. Becoming a virtual assistant is yet another viable business idea that has resulted from increased internet access. This will be a worthwhile option for you if competent administration and organizational acumen are your forte.

Opportunities abound for such persons considering that many companies, in a bid to cut down on operational costs, are retrenching conventional assistants and instead outsourcing the position to qualified persons around the world.

  1. Tutoring and coaching

Skills are passed down successive generations hence the need for tutors and coaches services. This is especially applicable for people who excel at teaching or instructing others, be it in academia or other skills e.g. playing the piano. If you also can coach/train players in soccer, tennis, baseball, or indeed any other sport, there is money to be made by turning your skills into a business. Despite poor economic times learning, music, acting and sports always thrive.

  1. Food Cart or Stand

Do you know that an ice cream truck business is a profitable one? The same goes for a hot dog stand. Selling food is probably one of the problems for people who want to start a food business. The reason is that most people don’t have the needed capital to invest in restaurants or fast food joints.

If you really want to sell ready-to-eat foods, you don’t need a space with high monthly rent. One of the top food business ideas for those with small capital is to use a food cart or stand. You can operate for free or for a small fee. The success or failure of this business depends on your location.

  1. Food Processing

Do you have the capital to invest in machines and structures? Then you can start a food processing plant. In fact, there is no limit to the food to the foods that can be processed and packaged. It is up to you to decide. You can process palm seeds into palm oils, cassava, yam, corn, millet into flours, cocoa into beverages, raw cow milk into refined milk, fresh tomatoes into canned tomatoes, etc.

  1. Coffee Shop Business

To start a successful coffee shop business, it is advisable that you develop a business plan that can help you run the business effectively. If you also have the intention to seek external funding or grow bigger, then you definitely need a business plan.

Include also your market strategy and key factors that you believe will make your coffee shop unique and differentiate from every other coffee shop in the area. Though it sounds easier than it is but like in any other business, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This is where a coffee shop marketing plan comes into play.

  1. Pizza Delivery Business

It’s no news that the fast food industry is booming. Due to tight schedules and busy routines, a lot of people are turning to fast foods and ready-made meals that do not require a lot of time and effort to prepare. One hot favorite is Pizza.

A lot of people love Pizza because it’s delicious and comes in different sizes, and consumers can order any type of topping they like: pepperoni, sausage, cheese, etc. Starting a pizza delivery business is fairly easy. Pizza delivery simply means that you would take pizza orders from clients usually by telephone or sometimes through the internet.

  1. Luxury retail

Recessions don’t affect everybody equally. According to Newsweek, the total number of worldwide billionaires jumped 20 percent in 2008. Forbes counted a record number of billionaires in 2013 — 1,426 — while several parts of the economy were still recovering from the recession.

Many of these über-rich live in Russia, the Middle East, and Asia and have no problem splurging for a jumbo private jet or their very own sun-soaked island in the Mediterranean. The number of millionaires in India grew 22 percent over 2007-2008 and China witnessed a 15 percent bump in millionaires in 2011.

  1. Repossessions and Removals

Some industries act like financial scavengers during a recession, feasting on the rotten remains of the rest of the economy. For the repo man — whose job is to repossess vehicles and other property when the owner fails to make payments — the bad news is big business.

During the 2002 recession, car repossessions jumped 60 percent over 2001. In 2008, during the worst of the Great Recession, a total of 1.67 million vehicles were repossessed, a 12 percent increase from the year before [source: BBB]. Junk removal is another service industry that profits from the misfortune of others.

  1. Private Detective

The traditional logic is that sin wins when the economy loses. Like candy, cigarette sales skyrocketed during the Great Depression, and tobacco stocks are still a smart buy in any recession. But in contrast to popular wisdom, people tend to spend less on so-called sin industries like alcohol and cigarettes during recessions.

The reason some experts say is not that people stop indulging during lousy times, but that they cut back some or downgrade the quality of their favorite vice.

For example, the National Restaurant Association reported that wine sales “by the glass” rose sharply as whole bottle sales slumped in 2008. And the Beer Institute said that beer sales in restaurants dropped in 2008, while wholesale beer sales from cheaper stores went up.

  1. Cake Decorating

These days, baking cake alone no longer holds water; customers want to see creativity. Most people are used to decorating cakes for special occasions such as weddings and birthdays but many enthusiasts proved that cake decorating can be done on regular days.

You can also take cake decorating for special occasions to the next level. Veer away from the traditional decorations. Cake decoration is an art that is performed in places all over the world. This is the main reason why there are a lot of contests and baking competitions, especially in the Western World.

  1. Discount Retail

Wal-Mart has more than its fair share of critics. The superstore has spread across the world quickly, knocking off smaller competitors in its path. But no matter what you think of its business tactics, low prices trump politics during a recession.

While nearly every other large American retailer suffered significant losses in the first months of 2009, Wal-Mart reported a 5.1 percent increase in profits, more than double Wall Street’s expectations of 2.4 percent. Not surprisingly, dollar stores and thrift stores also thrive during recessions.

  1. Information Technology

Despite the bursting of the information technology (IT) bubble that played a key role in the recession of the early 2000s, information technology was the fastest-growing sector in the United States economy during and after the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009.

That’s because the information technology sector isn’t confined to traditional tech companies like software makers and server manufacturers. Among the top growth businesses of 2011 was Voice over IP providers, wind and solar power manufacturers, video game designers, and Internet publishers.

  1. Food Blogging

You can also try food blogging especially when you don’t have the capital to set up to invest in the business ideas listed above. Your blog can focus on suggestive ways to develop usual food preparation and cooking techniques. Just write about a new way to make an omelet; or come up with an innovative pasta dish and see your blog traffic surge.

You can make money from your blog by selling advertising space, selling your own products, or selling other people’s products. So regardless of the capital you have, you can still tap into the food industry by being a food producer, a food seller, or a teacher. The choice is yours.

  1. Bulk Foods

When times get difficult, people start growing more concerned about food than they do about some of the more flashy gadgets they are typically interested in. Families can save a great deal of money when they buy bulk foods rather than individual, pre-packaged, pre-produced foods.

Bulk foods that a family can buy in large quantities and use for a long time tend to sell well when the markets are down. As recession-proof business ideas go, getting into the bulk foods industry may be the way to go.

  1. Debt-Related Companies

If you want to start a business that is about as recession-proof as it gets, a debt collection agency is one of the best options available.

Of course, there are other debt-related industries that you could get involved in. Perhaps you could offer debt counseling services, or get into the debt consolidation industry. Whatever option you choose, companies revolving around debt in one form or another will almost always do well during a recession.

  1. Accounting Services

It might seem strange, but accounting firms seem to do very well during a recession. Business owners feel more confident during a recession if they have an accountant to help with their financial decisions.

A study conducted by Intuit in 2009, during the heat of the financial crisis, discovered that 80% of small business owners felt more confident knowing that they had accounting services to help them with any potential problems that they could face.

  1. Any Business That Saves Businesses Money

And actually, any business that saves businesses money is a good idea, whether it’s discount printer supplies, cheap office furniture, an internet marketing firm or other cost-cutting type companies. Just get in the game. Your customers will eventually tell you what business you are in and help you grow it and because you own it, you’ll have the passion to take it all the way.

  1. Services for retirees

As the baby boomers grow older, they will require varying degrees of assistance. This means there will be increased demand for group homes for elderly people, also known as elderly foster care homes or adult foster care homes. A group home for elderly people caters to the various individual needs of elderly people while allowing them to live as independently as possible.

The aim of group homes is to meet the needs of the elderly, not to restrict any part of their lives. If you love caring for the aged, then you should consider starting a group home for elderly people. This means you can enrich yourself by taking advantage of the increasing demand. This article explains in detail, the steps involved in starting a group home for elderly people.

  1. Social media consulting

With the dramatic increase in the popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, businesses are deeming it more necessary than ever to start using these platforms for reaching out to prospects.

This has led to a huge demand for marketing consultants who advise businesses on how to promote and market their products and services on social networks, and this demand will keep increasing for as long as social media continues to remain relevant.

  1. Organic food products

Most of the food products available nowadays are harmful to health because they have either been preserved with chemicals that are harmful or they are not pesticide-free. And people are becoming more aware of the health benefits of pesticide-free farm produce such as vegetables, fruits, sauces, condiments, and so on.

So, you can start a small farm and adopt strictly organic methods, which would be your unique selling point. You can also consider alternative menus that are tasty and creative or specialized cafes and diners or even vegetarian eateries. Concept plus good taste are usually the best ingredients to a successful recession-proof food business.

In conclusion, if you are looking to start a business that would guarantee peace of mind even when other businesses are facing hard times, consider any of the businesses discussed above. But before venturing into any business, it’s very important that you find out more about it to know the likely challenges you may face as well as other necessary information about it.