Francis Ford Coppola’s seminal film The Godfather showcases everything to love about a family-owned business —passion, collaboration, legacy, loyalty—as well as quite a few things that can go wrong.
Fortunately, most family businesses are unlikely to encounter the Corleone clan’s more fraught challenges—and they still allow you to make a living with the people who matter most to you.
50 family business ideas
The best family business ideas leverage the talents and interests of the family members involved. Consult this list of fun family business ideas to get inspired and start building a profitable business close to home.
1. Plant nursery business
Do green thumbs run in the family? Start a family-owned business that plants, raises, and sells everything from cherry tomato starts to rare variegated monsteras.
2. Holistic pet care business
Pets need food, water, and exercise, but they can also benefit from massage, custom diets, and even therapy. Differentiate yourself in the marketplace by adding boutique services to your dog-walking business or pet sitting business.
3. Interior design business
Turn your passion for rearranging furniture into a small business by helping clients select and implement design schemes in homes and offices.
4. Singing telegram business
Got an entire family of showboaters? Monetize their talents with a family-owned singing telegram business—and don’t forget to involve the kids.
5. Auto-detailing business
Start a successful family business selling that new car smell with a family-run auto detailing company.
6. Experiential learning business
Are your family members avid anglers? Expert rock climbers? Schools, businesses, and social groups often look for immersive outings to boost morale and encourage teamwork. Your lawyer cousin can research legal and regulatory requirements, and your Gen Z niece can help you select social media platforms and set up social media pages (including your business Facebook page).
7. Antiquing business
If you love antique hunting, starting an antique resale business can monetize that passion. Involve the entire family by delegating tasks such as restoring furniture, posting products to your ecommerce store, looking for goods at yard and estate sales, and running a creative marketing strategy.
8. Travel planning business
Taking time off for a trip is one thing—but who has time to plan it? Turn your family into a destination research and booking concierge.
9. Organizing business
If creating order from chaos brings you joy, unleash your services on the closets, garages, basements, and attics of people in your local community.
10. Personal stylist business
Turn your clothes obsession into a small family-owned business and source custom wardrobes for your clients’ needs.
11. Organic extermination business
Use organic pesticides, or poison-free or humane traps to rid the local community of pests, without harming the environment.
12. Produce business
Plant a vegetable garden and sell your goods at a local community co-op, at a farmers market stand, or through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
13. Tutoring business
Are you a math whiz with an uncle fluent in Spanish and a physicist husband? Start a family tutoring business. Tutoring is also a good way for high school students to make some extra money.
14. Catering business
Monetize your famous enchiladas and Grandma’s secret pozole recipe by catering corporate events and private parties with a family-run small business.
25. Cleaning business
All things tend toward chaos—and that makes cleaning services a profitable family business idea. Start a cleaning business and generate a reliable revenue stream by fighting a losing battle.
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26. Lawn care business
Just like a cleaning business, a lawn care business can help you secure repeat customers and a reliable source of income. As long as the grass keeps growing, the local community will need your services.
27. Food truck business
Fire up a tiny, mobile restaurant and take your family’s cherished recipes to bars, festivals, and tourist districts. Be aware of high start-up costs, though—on average, food truck owners spend more than $28,000 in the first year on permits, licenses, and compliance alone.
28. Car wash business
A family car wash can carry significant startup costs—in the form of purchasing professional equipment—but it can also make for a very lucrative business. In 2017, the US Census reported that the country’s car washes generated an average of more than $60,000 in sales per employee—and Maine car washes topped the list, averaging over $94,000 in sales per employee per year.
Want to test the waters before investing in equipment? Arm your family with buckets and sponges and set up a human-powered car wash in a high-traffic location.
29. Rental business
Do you collect vintage velvet chaises? Own 15 miniature horses? Have a garage full of folding tables and chairs? Rent them out and cash in on your permanent collection.
30. Child care business
The US faces a major shortage of child care providers. Between 2020 and 2022, the sector lost nearly 10% of its childcare workforce. Open your home (or rent a local community space) and provide day care or in-home babysitting services.
31. Photography business
A family-owned photography business can document conferences, weddings, family reunions, and other community events. Designate one or two family members to take photos, one to select and edit shots, and one to manage your online gallery and fulfill print orders.
32. College consulting business
Have experience and insight into the stressful college admissions process? Many families are willing to pay for help navigating financial aid forms, selecting target schools, studying for standardized tests, and prepping admissions materials.
33. Gardening or landscaping company
Do you dream of hedge mazes? Have a backyard replica of Ryōan-ji? Start a gardening or landscaping company and share your aesthetic gifts with your local community.
34. Event planning business
From remembering forks to spraying for mosquitoes, planning an event is a lot of work. If you target the right market and price your services right, it can also make for a profitable family business idea. Corporate event planning can be particularly lucrative: corporations frequently have higher event budgets than individuals, and busy staff are often glad to pay for professional help.
35. Grocery and errands service
Task and shopping apps like TaskRabbit and Instacart are big businesses. Go small (and avoid platform services charges) by starting your own family grocery delivery business.
36. Baking business
If your heart beats for brioche, open a bakery or supply local restaurants and coffee shops with fresh-baked goods.
37. Laundry business
Don’t let the struggling family laundromat in 2023’s Best Picture Oscar winner Everything Everywhere All at Once dissuade you—a family-run laundry business can be a profitable business idea. Add washing, drying, dry cleaning, or starching services to command a premium price.
38. Flower delivery business
Many flower shops and farmers market vendors sell loose stems. Leverage your floral design talents and arrange and deliver custom bouquets.
39. Clown rental business
Love to entertain? Rent your services as a birthday party clown. To involve the entire family, build a comedic trio, or expand into magic and mimicry.
40. Family-run apiary
Start a family run apiary and join the beekeeping business. You can tend your own hives (in full protective gear, of course), rent them to farmers who need crop pollination, sell raw honey, and launch a line of beeswax products including lip balm, candles, and soap.
41. Meal prep business
Many people would love to eat three healthy, homemade meals a day—they just don’t have time to make them. This problem presents a business opportunity for your family. Prepare and deliver pre-made meals featuring your signature family recipes.
42. Fitness business
If you’re a family of fitness buffs, open a gym or yoga studio or start an online business that offers personal training or exercise classes.
43. Costume business
There’s no feeling quite like killing it in a unique, stylish homemade costume. Use your kids’ creative brainstorming powers, your design talents, and your brother’s sewing skills to make custom costumes for holidays and theme parties.
44. Fermentation business
Probiotics are all the rage. Brew your own kombucha, kefir, or sourdough starter and sell both final products and cultures to your local community’s fermentation fans.
45. Late-night cookie delivery business
Many food services businesses close at or before 10 p.m., but plenty of customers get hungry later. Make and deliver homemade cookies to a grateful late-night crowd—and don’t forget the cow, oat, soy, or almond milk.
46. Kids theater camp
Many parents are eager to sign their kids up for enriching opportunities that get them out of the house. Why not stage a tiny Macbeth in your backyard? Your kids can manage props and lights, your partner can build the stage set, and your family pets can always play the witches in a pinch.
47. Snow and ice removal
Northern climates have an ongoing need for shoveling, scraping ice, plowing, and snow-blowing—and not everybody has the time, motivation, or backbone to do their own. This family business idea can bring in money and tire out any rowdy teens under your roof.
48. Print-on-demand business
If you’re a skilled graphic artist (or chock-full of hilarious one-liners), there’s a market for home goods and apparel emblazoned with your signature aesthetic. Consider starting a family print-on-demand business, an online business model that requires minimal overhead and startup investment.
49. High-end condiment business
King of ketchup? Matriarch of mayo? Hercules of hot sauce? Make, bottle, and sell homemade condiments and sauces, and share your talents with the world.
50. Patient advocacy business
Being sick is hard enough without the burden of navigating insurance claims or project-managing a team of physicians. A family-run patient advocacy business can provide a valuable service to people in need.
Family business ideas FAQ
How do you decide what type of family business to start?
Consider the following when vetting family business ideas:
- Your talents and interests
- Your available capital
- Your available time
- Your cash-flow needs
Then consider the same questions for the other family members involved and select an option that leverages your unique strengths, fits your budget, and meets your cash-flow needs.
What is the easiest family business to start?
Although the easiest family business to start depends on your talents, existing assets, and location, inventory-free online businesses such as print-on-demand shops tend to have simple start-up processes for most people.
What are the most common family businesses?
Restaurants, clinics, retail stores, and salons are all common family business ideas.
What business grows the fastest?
Supply chain management, ecommerce, and health care businesses are forecast to be among the fastest-growing business types.