If you’re thinking of starting a business while in college or university, the first target market that will come to your mind is likely your fellow students. After all, this group is highly accessible; you can relate to their wants and pain points, and you have a good gauge of how much they’re willing to pay for goods and services.
Stumped on what kind of business to start? Here are some of the best business ideas that target college students:
1. Organization merchandise
Sororities, fraternities, and other types of student organizations often distribute various kinds of merchandise to their members for representation and “brand” awareness. The most common type of merchandise that student organizations need are T-shirts with their name, logo, and (sometimes) slogans printed on the fabric. Thus, starting a T-shirt printing business can be highly profitable since you already have a list of viable clients in mind.
A T-shirt printing business does not require huge capital, but it can be expensive for an average college student. You would need a printing machine such as an auto-open or automatic heat press, a wide variety of T-shirt sizes and colors for samples, a laptop, and design software. That said, saving up a sizeable capital is a must if you want to pursue this type of endeavor—either that, or you can find other means of funding like personal loans or using your credit cards.
2. Proofreading and editing services
A large bulk of college assignments consists of essays, theses, term papers, and other types of written text. And for many students, proofreading is something that they simply do not have enough time (or skills) for. So, if you have a knack for finding faults in papers and editing them, offering your services to other students can earn you a pretty penny.
A lot of college students don’t have the time nor the energy to run errands regularly. These errands often include picking up dry cleaning, going to the post office, grocery shopping, dropping off recyclables, and filling the car with gas. That said, you can make doing errands for other people a highly profitable business, especially during the busiest parts of the semester where students are too busy studying.
When it comes to pricing, it helps to get a feel for how much people are willing to pay for someone else to do their errands for them. You can do this by asking your target market to answer surveys, then basing your pricing off of the results.
4. Cleaning services
Just like running errands, most college students don’t like to clean frequently. A lot of them also live with roommates; a type of living set-up where it is not unusual for there to be constant battles of who does which chore and when. As a result, you can typically find college dwellings in varying states of uncleanliness and disorganization.
A cleaning business can be a saving grace for many college students. It requires little capital and only basic cleaning skills on your part. And if you actually enjoy cleaning, running your business can feel more like a hobby than a job. You can even offer after-party cleanup services to take care of the mess that students dread the most after a raging party the previous night—and most are willing to pay a significant amount for someone else to clean for them.
5. Dog-walking services
Not a lot of college students have pets, so dog-walking may be more of a side hustle than the main business. However, you can also offer your services to other residents where you live, and spending time with dogs can even be a great stress reliever from your studies.
6. Transcription services
It is rare for lectures to have a hundred percent attendance, and people miss class for various reasons. If you want to make money while attending your classes, why not transcribe your professor’s lectures and sell the notes to people who miss a class? You can even sell them to people who show up, too—your transcriptions can be better than the lecture notes they’ve taken in class.
Apart from turning a normal part of your routine into a business, doing so can also motivate you to attend all of your classes and listen closely to your lectures. Who knows? Maybe it will help your grades climb up, too.
These are just some of the student-centric business ideas that you can consider if you want to make money while in college. While they may not be long-term businesses, you can certainly save up money and build your skills for your future entrepreneurial endeavors.