7 Low-Cost Business Ideas For College Students

7 Low-Cost Business Ideas For College Students

College students are known for being in need of cash. With tuition fees increasing, and students having an average of $35,000 in debt when they graduate, it makes sense to start earning money as soon as you can. 

You can start practically any business you like in college. There are some tried-and-tested low-cost business ideas that any college student can try. This guide is going to introduce you to just some of them.

Dorm Cleaning 

Residential cleaning has always been a problem for students. After all, who wants to clean up after that wild party? One thing that students will pay for is this because it’s in their price range. And it costs almost nothing to get started with it. Pick up some basic cleaning supplies and you’re ready to go.

Helping Students Move

Every semester students are going to be moving in and out of town. Professional movers are often too expensive for them. Hire a professional and it can cost hundreds of dollars to make it work. On the other hand, an extra set of hands like yourself can get hired at a cheaper rate. 

The work isn’t particularly exciting and you may just be throwing stuff into the back of a truck. Yet it’s relatively easy money for a job most people can do.

Selling Old Furniture 

Every single year students leave college forever. And they leave most of their stuff behind. They may leave it out on the street for anyone to take or they may just think about leaving it where it is. You can take advantage of this by offering to take it off their hands.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be finding anything antique. But you can make a few dollars by selling that free furniture on. Plus, you’re performing a service to the community. It's good to make use of furniture that was only going to go in the trash.


Babysitting is normally the preserve of high school kids. But the position of babysitter or nanny can be the ideal job for a college student. It only requires you to spend a few hours every day or so taking care of a family’s off-spring. It’s easier than ever to get into this potentially lucrative niche. There are babysitting courses and more opportunities for work all over the place.

But keep in mind that this is also a referral-based industry. If you mess up in one place the whole town is going to hear about it.

It’s always wise to take at least some form of professional training first.


If you like working with kids and you want to pad your income even more, think about tutoring. You already have the qualifications necessary to start teaching. You can teach all the way up to high school in any subject that you managed to get a passing grade in.

Some families will prefer an actual tutor who does the job full-time. For a lower price a lot of families will be happy to have a college student teach their kids. As long as you keep your rate relatively low, you can be competitive.

These jobs generally involve just going through the textbooks with them. You already know the content. 

Writing Resumes

Sooner or later, your peers are going to be thinking about their futures. They may be applying for summer internships and considering a graduate position. They may need someone to help them with their resumes, and that’s where you come in. As long as you know the dos and don’ts of the modern resume, you can make a lucrative income.

Just make sure that you’re a decent writer because this is a referral-based business. You can get started by putting up some ads around campus. If it all works out, you can even start to advertise on other campuses. 

Event Promoter

The social scene on campus is one of the main high points of any college. Bands, comedians, and sports teams need people to attend their events if they’re going to make sure they don’t lose money. And for that they’re going to find students to promote their events. 

Start your own promotion company and act as the middle person between the events and the public. You can hand out leaflets, start social media campaigns, and even hire others to do the job for you for a cut. 

These jobs should help you to start paying back some of those huge loans you took out. What do you think is the best business idea for college students?

About the Author

I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify

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