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Old School Small Businesses That Still Bring In The Dough

By Edited Jun 1, 2015 1 2

There is a saying that the wealthiest people in the world are the ones that you do not know. Why? The wealthiest people in the world are involved in businesses that are not as glamorous as a Facebook or Google. Nothing against Facebook or Google, but the point that I am trying to get across is that the guys who are involved in simple, boring businesses are bringing in serious cash flow under the radar.

A while back, I was watching an ESPN special on athletes who have lost their money. In addition to spending a lot of money on unnecessary luxuries, they were losing quite a bit as a result of bad business deals. The businesses included night clubs, restaurants, and one guy even spent $30 million on a gaming company. Of course, these business ventures could have worked but the reality is starting a night club, restaurant, or gaming company is an extremely risky venture.

There are several businesses that these guys could have pursued that were more profitable yet less of a business risk. There are several types of businesses that bring in a consistent stream of cash, yet they are very simple and low profile. The fact of the matter is that starting a business should not be about becoming famous or well-known, it should be about making a profit and cash flow.

You may be a person who wants to start a small business, but you are not sure what type of business you should start or invest in. Understand that you do not necessarily have to start a business from nothing. You can actually invest in an existing company. Your primary concern with regard to starting or investing in a small company should be:

  • Will the company provide a product or service that is wanted or needed?
  • Will the company be profitable?
  • Will the company generate a sufficient cash flow?
Small Business Idea
Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Old School Small Businesses That Are Cash Machines

If you are not sure what type of business you can start or invest in, here are some old school small businesses that continue to bring in consistent cash flow.

Dry Cleaners

Have you ever wondered why you see so many dry cleaner businesses around? Why do we see two different dry cleaner operations right across the street from each other? Well, obviously there is a huge market for this service and there are enough sales to go around.

The net income that you can expect annually from a dry cleaning operation ranges from $50, 000 to $250,000. It may not seem like a lot of money, but consider that you are making this type of money passively. While you would be active in managing the operation, you would not have to be there all the time. Also imagine if you were able to scale your operation to more than one location.  

Self-Service Coin Laundry

The self-service coin laundry business also known as a washateria or laundromat are extremely profitable and ridiculously passive. With this type of business your customers do all the work unless you offer a wash and fold service. This business depends a lot on location. Another advantage of operating a Laundromat is that it is a cash business.

According to the Coin Laundry Association, coin laundry services can generate cash flow ranging from $15,000 to $200,000. Once again, this is not a gigantic number, but it is completely passive and scalable.

Vending Machine Route

In lunch rooms, break rooms, and college campuses all across the world you see vending machines that sell you candy, soda, and even coffee. The amount of money your vending machines will make is all dependent on the location and products you are selling. Finding a location for your machine is not a big problem because their are companies that can do this for you.

As far as purchasing the machines and supplies, there are several options available for you to choose from. The good thing about this business is that it is extremely passive and it does not take a lot of money started. The business is also easy to scale. 

Convenience Stores

Convenience stores are everywhere and, similar to the dry cleaning business, competitors are right across the street from each other.  It is very evident that there are enough sales to go around in this industry.

The amount of money that convenience stores can make is largely dependent on the location of the store. Industry reports also show that stores who sell gas bring in significantly higher gross revenues than stores who do not.  According to the study convenience stores who that sell gas average almost $450,000 in revenue per employee, while convenience stores that do not sell gas average about $145,000 in revenue per employee.  

The convenience store business definitely will not be a passive operation unless you are willing to hire someone to manage the operation. If you plan on being directly involved in day-to-day operations, then you are going to have to put in some hours. Nonetheless, the business will definitely bring in a decent cash flow.

Apartment Buildings

The real estate business, especially for owners (landlords) of apartment buildings, is so old school yet so profitable and can bring in serious amounts of monthly cash flows. The beauty of this business is that everyone needs a place to stay so the demand will always be there.

The amount of money you can make from owning an apartment building depends on how many units you have and the location of your building. The cash that you would generate from this business is totally passive. Your job would be to manage the operation, which does not require you to be there every day. Believe it or not, there are apartment building owners who do not even live in the state that their building is located in.  

Want To Get Started In One Of These Old School Businesses?

Again you should understand that you do not have to start up one of these businesses from nothing. You can actually invest in an existing operation. Some people have this notion that they will inherit the problems that an existing business has. These problems, in most cases, can easily be resolved.

Think about this. Large companies buy other companies with problems every day. However, when they are buying a company they are not solely focused on the problems, they are focused on how much sales the business is bringing in. At the end of the day they recognize that they can fix any problems that the company may have.

Here are some places online where you can find existing businesses for sale in all types of industries:

Loopnet.com (Apartment buildings and commercial real estate)

BizBuySell.com (Existing businesses)

BizQuest.com (Existing businesses)

Businessesforsale.com (Existing businesses)

Of course buying an existing business is totally up to you, but you should know that you have options. There are several advantages to buying an existing business versus starting one from scratch.

Lastly, remember that you go into business with the sole purpose of providing quality products and services to your customers while making a profit at the same time. You are not going into business to impress your family and friends.



Feb 14, 2013 9:07am
There need to be more articles like this out there.
Feb 14, 2013 5:16pm
Appreciate the kind words.
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  1. "Laundry Industry Review." Coin Laundry Association. 3/12/2012 <Web >
  2. "How Much Does The Average Vending Machine Earn?." Houston Chronicle. 3/12/2012 <Web >
  3. "Convenience Store Business 2012." SBDC Net. 3/12/2012 <Web >
  4. "Owning And Operating A Dry Cleaner Business." How Much Do You As A Dry Cleaning Owner. 3/12/2012 <Web >

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