7 Small Businesses You Can Start in an Economic Recession

5 minute read

What types of small business stay open during a recession? These 7 essential businesses are 100% recession-proof and guaranteed to keep you earning through an economic downturn. 

The coronavirus crisis may cause 7.5 million small businesses to shut down. While some business owners have had to close their doors, others have experienced a surge in sales. It’s wise to pandemic-proof your new business idea and amplify your chances of growth in any climate.

If there’s one thing business owners have learned, it’s that there is plenty of opportunity during a pandemic. If you’ve been retrenched, or have had to take a drastic pay cut, then now is the best moment to start your essential business. And this time you’ll make sure it never shuts down!

#1: A Home Healthcare Business

 A home healthcare business is focused on caring for an individual in their home. This personal care assistance involves cooking, cleaning, driving and day-to-day living activities. Unlike skilled medical workers who have to be trained and licensed, this is strictly non-medical care. 

Before COVID-19 struck, the non-medical healthcare business niche was already a fast-growing sector. These are good businesses to start in a bad economy – nothing is more essential than health and wellness. They’re recession-proof because the need for on-going care is permanent.   

Why Home Healthcare?

  •   No need to be skilled or trained
  •   Establish your own fee structures
  •   It’s affordable to start up
  •   10,000 US residents turn 65 every day (fast growing niche)
  •   COVID-19 increases demand for home care (across age groups)


>> Start a non-medical home healthcare business or agency during COVID-19



#2: A Professional Services Business

Professional service businesses encompass a wide range of skilled services. These include accountants, lawyers, virtual assistants, marketers, engineers, architects and other specialist niches. Service businesses are nearly always in-demand, no matter the economic state. 

While every niche will have its challenges, as an entrepreneur opening a service-based small business, you will have a lot of flexibility. This is because services can be done from home, and sold online. Many professionals quickly and easily shifted to an online model during COVID-19.

Why Professional Services?

  •   No need to shut down if they can operate online
  •   Many experience a boost in business during times of crisis (lawyers, accountants)
  •   Demand remains regardless of economic state


>> Start a professional services business to stay open and work-from-home in the future


#3: A Cleaning Services Company

A cleaning services company focuses on cleaning in a specific environment – either the home, or in corporate spaces like offices, manufacturing plants and retail outlets. As a business owner, this type of model is easy to create and it doesn’t take long before you’re earning decent money. 

This global pandemic has highlighted the importance of cleaning and proper hygiene in society. It’s also created an enormous demand for cleaning services. Corporate cleaning companies have seen a substantial increase in business since the outbreak, with many teams expanding exponentially. 

Why Corporate Cleaning?

  •   Cleaning will always be an essential business
  •   Demand increases during pandemics and natural disasters
  •   Low start-up costs and labor that’s easy to train
  •   Strong growth potential in any economic climate
  •   Ability to source in-demand products for quick sale (masks, gloves)


>> Start a corporate cleaning services company to operate during an economic downturn


#4: A Landscaping and Gardening Company 

A landscaping and gardening small business works to design, install and maintain elements of a garden – like your grounds, trees, shrubs, plants and lawn areas. It’s an industry growing at a 4.8% rate, that’s worth 800 billion a year.  Americans love their plants, and more so during a crisis. 

With lockdowns instituted and more people stuck at home, landscaping and gardening businesses have boomed. Even with an economic downturn, the therapeutic effects of gardening and the demand for beautiful, peaceful surroundings manage to keep this niche afloat. 

Why Landscaping and Gardening?

  •   People will always want to be around nature
  •   Regardless of the economic climate demand remains
  •   This business model can operate online or in-store (deliveries, curb-side pickup)
  •   Gardening is a major stress relief recommended by experts
  •   Social distancing inspires people to grow their own food


>> Start a landscaping and gardening company to help people through hard economic times


#5: A Dry Cleaner or Laundromat 

Another recession-proof business model is a classic dry cleaner or Laundromat business. This is a shop that contains washing machines and dryers that are available to the public. These businesses can be self-service (coin-operated) or they can be operated by a team of people.   

Because washing clothes and masks is an essential service during a pandemic outbreak, Laundromats always stay open. Models can adapt to include collection and delivery services to maintain social distancing rules. An economic recession has no impact on this essential business.

Why Laundromats? 

  •   People will always need to wash their clothes
  •   Dry cleaning is important during times of heightened hygiene
  •   These businesses as classified as an essential service
  •   They are affordable to start up and never close
  •   Take advantage of deliveries, curb-side pickups, online bookings


>> Start a Laundromat or dry cleaning business that will operate through any crisis


#6: A Childcare or Daycare Business

A daycare or childcare business is another high growth model that you should consider. This essential business provides a place for children to go and be cared for when their parents have to work. It’s also possible to offer these services at home, or in the home of your employer.

It is a bit more complex to set up because you will require the correct permits and licenses. On the whole, this model is flexible and scalable for entrepreneurs searching for potential solutions. Staff can work on premises, or be sent to individual homes as a safety precaution.

Why Childcare?

  •   Essential workers will always need childcare
  •   The model is flexible enough for rapid change
  •   Childcare is considered an essential business
  •   There will always be demand in this niche


>> Start a childcare or daycare business to ensure that you never have to close your doors again



#7: A Hardware and Supply Business

The last of our top business models to consider starting in a recession, is a hardware and supply store. This niche has grown steadily over the last 5 years, and experiences spikes in business when consumers have to stay at home, or stay safe for any period of time.

During COVID-19, many people started doing all of those home repairs and fixes they’ve been meaning to do for years. As an essential business, these stores have continued to trade – and have successfully employed strict social distancing to get goods to consumers.


Why Hardware and Supply?

  •   People want to stock up on goods for lockdown periods
  •   Flexible ordering, delivery and curb-side pickup model
  •   DIY projects increase during lockdowns and social distancing
  •   As an essential business you will never close
  •   Business will actively increase during pandemics or natural disasters


>> Start a hardware and supply store to guarantee the flow of business in the future



Starting a successful small business during an economic recession can be tricky. With the right business model, you can protect yourself against any future loss of income from disruptive social and economic forces. A recession is an opportunity to make your startup concept stronger.