9 Manual Labor Business Ideas With High Profits

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Perhaps you want to work for yourself, but detest the idea of office work. You’d prefer the great outdoors to an air-conditioned room with a desk and an office chair. You can start your own business and work outside with these manual labor business ideas.

Each of these businesses allows you to earn a good income when you put in a 40-hour work week at a minimum. Here’s the thing – running a business requires more work than working for another person because you need to work the 40 hours per week of the job you do, then extra hours to complete all the compliance paperwork, overhead tasks, etc. We’ll cover the basics of starting any of these businesses at the end of the article, because no matter what type of business you choose, in the U.S., you must complete certain legal steps before operating these types of businesses.

1. Moving Company

Do you effortlessly organize vast amounts of stuff? Can you pack a box, suitcase, trunk, or other packaging in such a way that nothing moves or sustains damage? Do you love driving and own a large, enclosed truck? Consider opening a company offering services like long- distance movers.
Of all the manual labor business ideas, this idea combines indoor and outdoor work with travel. It’s not the type of business that you operate alone due to the nature of packing, loading, unloading, and driving. For long-distance moves, you will need a second driver with whom you split the driving time, and every driver in the business needs to earn a commercial driver’s license. While many of the business ideas in this article require at least one year of training, it only takes a few weeks to earn a CDL.

2. Lawn Care and Landscaping

For those who adore the outdoors and plants, a business focused on creating gorgeous, well-manicured lawns might offer the right business for you to open. Many of these businesses employ a landscape architect, so prepare to face some fierce competition if you did not earn that degree in college and don’t have the funds to hire someone who did.

Don’t consider this option among the manual labor business ideas out of reach if you lack a relevant college degree. Simply start your business as a lawn-cutting service and attend classes at night to earn your landscape architecture degree.

3. Roofing Services

A roofer gets to spend nearly all the day outdoors. If you love working outside and don’t have a problem with heights, consider a business roofing homes, businesses, or industrial buildings. Roofers complete a short training course of about one year before qualifying for their licensing. Roofers also must complete an apprenticeship before obtaining full licensing.

Of all the manual labor business ideas, this one and plumbing services require the longest training and apprenticeship periods. That’s because operating such a business requires a license and the unions organized for these construction trades negotiate the pay for these positions. Get started earning money while attending school by offering a related service, such as power washing homes or roofing gutter services like cleaning the roofing gutters or installing them.

4. Mechanic Shop

This entry on the manual labor business ideas list requires schooling, too. Find the shortest mechanical programs at vocational schools or trade schools. Once completed, you can apply for state licensing.

Mechanics typically specialize in either auto body work or mechanical repairs. In some cases, the mechanic specializes in tire services, transmission repair, or engine overhauls and replacements. Earn your early experience in this job by working for an auto dealership at its service center.

5. Deck Constructing

Master carpenters looking for a specialization should consider the lucrative subfield of deck contracting. You work outdoors every day with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair, but you get to skip bugs in your teeth. If you have experience in construction and know AutoCAD or another computer-assisted design program, then deck construction could provide you with the business of your dreams.

Of all the manual labor business ideas, this probably appeals the most to creative minds because you can offer deck design services and deck building services. If you lack CAD skills, consider offering deck construction only as long as you excel at following blueprints or architectural plans. Starting with a construction-only business lets you earn as you work, and you can take a CAD course or two in your spare time.

Because this business involves a construction trade, most individuals who start this type of business already earned their training and licensing as either a general contractor or master carpenter. If you lack either of these licenses, consider working for another person’s company while you go to school for the construction trades. Experience as a construction laborer prepares you for the work and can result in you obtaining a sponsor for your apprenticeship.

6. Plumbing Services

Perhaps you savvily repair clogged drain pipes around the house and love solving plumbing problems. A career as a plumber might suit you. You’ll need to complete a plumbing school program first, then complete an apprenticeship to earn your plumber’s license.

Once you have finished school and your apprenticeship, you can operate your own plumbing services business. Consider specializing in constructing and installing septic systems if you reside in a rural area. In the city, consider a specialty in installing sprinkler systems. Either environment also needs many general plumbers, too, to fix clogged drains and overflowing toilets, and build new bathrooms.
Now, let’s move on to the manual labor business ideas that do not require a formal education program and/or vocational license to operate. Although fewer in number, they do exist. If you get creative, you’ll probably think of a few we did not.

7. Trailer Rentals

Although there’s little heavy lifting or other manual labor involved in renting trailers, we place this service business among the manual labor business ideas. If you have the funds to purchase a few utility trailers, you can start a business that rents them. This idea works best in areas that lack a U-Haul location or similar company. If you own a utility trailer, consider renting it out when you don’t use it to build savings to purchase another and expand your business.

Many individuals need a trailer for small projects around their home, such as hauling brush away or taking a load of construction debris to the local landfill after completing a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. List your rental on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for a free method of advertising. Posting fliers at local laundromats, grocery stores, etc. also offers a valuable way of advertising for little money.

8. Scrap Metal Recycling

Although opening a scrap metal recycling business does not require formal education, it does require rather expensive equipment. We place this option on the list of manual labor business ideas for those looking for a second career. If you have good credit or savings, purchase a metal compactor. These large machines can crush an automobile into a small cube with ease.

Your scrap metal recycling business also needs a line of credit or cash to offer cash for junk cars. If you want to found this type of business, but lack the funds for buying cars, consider starting the business as a recycling center for people to bring unwanted metal items. That way, they pay you to take the items or leave them for free, and then you crush them and send them on to a recycling center that pays you for them.

If you lack the funds for either of these options, consider founding a scrap metal hauling business first. You only need a pickup truck and the skills to advertise to family, friends, and neighbors that you’re available to haul off any unneeded or unwanted scrap metal, including old cars. You don’t charge for this service because your local scrap metal recycling company pays for metal, so you help your neighbors create a beautiful environment and you earn money by selling off what you collect from them when you take it to the recycling center.

9. Delivery Services

As long as you own a vehicle, whether car, truck, van, minivan, or SUV, you can operate a delivery services company. In the northern U.S. heating oil delivery proves a regular option for a delivery item. You can deliver anything though, so any items work for this.

Offering delivery might be the most flexible of the manual labor business ideas. In major cities, become an independent contractor with Uber Eats, GrubHub, or a similar service. In a rural area, open your own service because anyone with little free time or no vehicle needs items delivered to their home. Charge a reasonable amount, such as $5 for the delivery, then bundle the shopping trips to the stores. This reduces your gas use and maximizes your own time investment.

Download a free mapping app or route planning app, so you can plan the best route to deliver the packages. Offering a few major stores and at least one restaurant in your pick-up options will maximize your usage. You don’t have to handle the shopping part because you can inform people on your website that they must complete the order on the store’s website and designate you as the pickup person.

Use an app, such as CashApp, for payment since it handles direct payments, meaning you don’t experience a wait between the individual’s payment and your receipt of the actual funds, as you do with PayPal and Venmo. This option provides them the convenience of paying electronically when you deliver the goods and you can still accept cash from those who still use it.

Localized Manual Labor Businesses

If this article did not provide an idea that you think could work for you, take a walk around your neighborhood. Look for things that need doing, but no one has done. Piles of trash show a lack of trash services, while piles of used lumber indicate a lack of construction cleanup services. In rural areas that still use water storage tanks, consider a water delivery service, using either a portable water pump or a gravity-fed system.

From fence construction needs to yard clean up, every city or town has needs to fill. Thinking creatively can help you come up with an idea that serves the area in which you live well and lets you earn money. Many manual labor businesses require no education or experience, only a willingness and ability to do the work and do it well.

Starting Your Manual Labor Business

Starting a business such as these companies does require a few things in common though. First, these types of businesses typically require a business license, unlike professional consulting jobs that many in the work-from-home workforce operate. Check your state’s Department of Commerce to learn which types of businesses require a license because some require none and others require two or three.

Learn how to appropriately set rates. What you charge should offer affordability to consumers, so you will have lots of customers, but provide you with funds to cover your operating expenses and make a profit. Let’s consider how to do this using the delivery business as an example.
Operating a delivery business requires a minimum of a vehicle, fuel for it, and a smartphone. You need to travel to and from the stores and the consumers’ homes for pickups and deliveries. Your smartphone lets you set up a website, monitor advertising, accept appointments, etc. Your operating costs include the purchase and maintenance of your vehicle, the purchase of a smartphone, the cost of the monthly plan for the smartphone, fuel for the vehicle, and the costs of maintaining your home office space.

Using average purchase prices for regular purchases, such as gas, cellphone plan, and electricity at your home, plus monthly vehicle maintenance (and payment if you have yet to pay it off), you calculate the amount of money you need to earn to pay for the business. You also need to earn money doing this endeavor, so you add a reasonable amount to the operating budget for an equally reasonable salary. Adding them all together tells you how much you need to earn per month to operate.

Divide that number by the days of the month or the weekdays of the month to calculate the amount of money you need to earn each day. Further, divide that number by eight for an eight-hour workday. That gives you the amount of money you need to earn per hour, providing you a base for determining your rates. If you conduct four pickups and deliveries per hour, divide the hourly rate by four to get the charge for providing your service. Consider your market, too, because you won’t make money with a manual labor business if you charge more than your local market can afford to pay.

Get Started with Your New Career

You can work outdoors or travel for your new career if you start a company using one of these manual labor business ideas. If this article didn’t mention an idea that appeals to you, then look around your local area for needs to fill. If you love working with your hands or lack a formal education, you can still be a U.S. business owner and earn a lucrative income by opening a manual labor company.

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