6 Recession-Proof Business Ideas to Try


The global economy seems in a precarious position, which can make many people hesitant to consider starting a business. After all, there is always a risk to beginning any enterprise. However, there are a number of business ventures which typically thrive even during economic hardship. There are recession-proof business ideas that range from the everyday services people can’t live without to those involving new technology to assist changes for the better. 

Although no new business is completely free of risk, there are some great ideas that you may want to consider if you’re looking to develop a new income stream. 

Delivery Driving

Delivery driving is a great side hustle and it can form the basis of a recession-proof business. Even during economic downturns, people still need to buy items and may even want to treat themselves. Additionally, with more people focused on taking on more hours at work to increase their own income, they may be more reliant on food delivery services and other delivery services. 

Since online shopping is now a regular part of modern life, there is always demand for delivery drivers and couriers, making this a solid recession-proof business. 

One of the great things about creating a delivery-driving enterprise is that the start-up costs are relatively low. Providing you have access to a properly insured vehicle and a smartphone, you can sign up for a variety of delivery platforms.

Whether you want to deliver food, groceries, parcels or other items, there is a platform to suit your requirements. The platform will deal with all customer requests and provide you with delivery instructions. It will also manage the payments for you. This makes it easy to manage your business and make the most efficient use of your time. 

Of course, the requirements for each platform vary, so you’ll need to research the available options to ensure that you qualify. For example, Uber Eats requires its drivers to be at least 18 years old, while you need to be 21 to become an Amazon Flex driver.

Bear in mind that when you work with delivery platforms, you’ll be an independent contractor. This means that you’re responsible for your own taxes. So, you’ll need to keep good records of your expenses including the costs of running your vehicle, and save money aside from your earnings for tax or you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise when it comes time to file your return. 

Specialized Care Services

A Woman Holding a Plastic Crate with Fruits and Vegetables

The healthcare industry is recession-proof because regardless of how the economy is performing, there will always be people who get sick. In fact, we may actually see more sickness in a poor economy due to worry and stress exacerbating underlying conditions. This means that if you have the skill set to offer specialized care services, it could lead to a recession-proof business. 

There will always be a demand for key health workers including doctors, surgeons, medical technicians, nurses, health administrators and more. However, this also extends to ancillary roles including janitors, and receptionists.

Even if you don’t have formal medical qualifications, you can still offer care services. People will continue to age in a recession, so there will be people who need help to remain comfortable and safe in their homes. For example, elderly people may need help cooking, cleaning and shopping. These types of essential services may also be in demand for those who are spending more time at work and need help to manage their homes. 

While you may be able to find formal positions on job boards and recruitment sites, you can also consider independent contractor platforms such as Care.com. This site allows you to offer services within your local community, helping others and earning money. 

Repair Services

When financial times are tough, many people adopt a make do and mend attitude. This means that instead of buying new or upgrading, people stick with the items they have and try to keep them running efficiently. So, if you can offer repair services, you’ll have a particularly stable and recession-proof business.

Whether you have the expertise to repair appliances, vehicles, electricals or even clothing, you should find your services in demand. Essentially, you’ll be helping people to prevent breakdowns or unnecessary repairs, and prolong the lifespan of the item. This is less costly compared to buying new items, so you can make a decent income and have a happy customer who is saving money.

Of course, you can upscale your services, by offering the collection of the items to fix and delivering the item back to your customer’s home or work. You could also offer repairs on-site to avoid needing to pay for a customer-facing workshop.

For example, if you have mechanical skills, you would need a vehicle to carry your tools and offer servicing at your customer’s address. Alternatively, you could set up a workshop in your home garage. Just remember that if you are working from your home address, you may need to increase your home insurance coverage. 

Financial Services

person holding paper near pen and calculator

During a recession, every dollar counts. So, if you offer financial services, you’re likely to find yourself in a recession-proof business. Whether it relates to saving money, investing or other money matters, the financial services niche is fairly sheltered against a poor economic climate. 

While people can file their own tax returns using software, many people find these tools tricky and want to ensure that they are getting all of the permitted deductions and allowances. Additionally, while no one likes the idea of an audit, the prospect of a fine for incorrect filing can be extremely daunting when money is tight. Many people would rather avoid the risk and leave their return in the hands of a financial professional. 

You may also find that local businesses may prefer to outsource their bookkeeping to a remote worker, so they don’t need to pay a full-time in-house salary. If you can offer these services, you can work with multiple clients from the comfort of your own home, setting your own rates and hours. 

However, even if you don’t have formal bookkeeping qualifications and experience, you can still use your financial planning experience to create an income stream. For example, there are a number of prominent YouTubers who specialize in frugal living and money management that have seen a boost in their subscriber numbers since the cost of living crisis began. 

Freelancing

The world of freelancing is vast and during a recession, it can provide a solid enterprise for many people. You can use your existing skill set and experience, working with a variety of clients to deliver your products or services. 

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The most attractive feature of freelancing is that you can establish yourself as an independent contractor in your niche. You can then offer your freelance services via your own website or using an applicable freelancer platform. 

Platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer allow you to set up a profile, upload a portfolio and then browse the job boards. If you find projects that appeal to you, you can then put in a bid or proposal. These types of platforms have a message space so you can securely communicate with potential clients and they handle your payments, so you have the reassurance of Escrow.

If you prefer a more direct method of working or business model, you could use a platform like Fiverr. This works in a similar way, as you can still set up a profile, but you’ll advertise a particular product. Customers can then buy your item or service and you arrange delivery as per your customer’s requirements. For example, you could offer to create a logo or draft a piece of content to the client’s specifications. Don’t be fooled by the name “Fiverr” as you don’t need to charge just $5, as you can upscale the project for an additional cost. 

Home Improvement Contractor

Man with tattoo measuring wooden plank with metal ruler

Moving home can be a very costly process and during a recession, many people have concerns about rising interest rates and job security. So, people who are finding their homes lacking space are more likely to spend money on home improvements. Additionally, during a recession, it is more common for people to minimize going out and they are more willing to invest in their homes. 

If you have skills and experience within the home improvement industry, you can leverage these to create a recession-resistant business. If you are a carpenter, electrician, plumber or general contractor, you should see consistent demand even during economic uncertainty. 

You may find that you have a varied schedule with different projects each week. From finishing basements and additions to building decks, there are a number of projects which homeowners may consider to enhance their living space and improve the value of their property. 

In addition to having access to the appropriate tools, you will need to familiarize yourself with the permit requirements within your local area. You are likely to need to help homeowners obtain the relevant permits before you can start work. You are also likely to need to source the materials for the projects. 

However, you can set your own prices and offer competitive estimates for any customer inquiries. 

Non-Recession Proof Business Ideas

 US passport and plane ticket

While we’ve covered some of the best recession-proof businesses, there are many others. However, there are some non-recession proof industries and businesses that don’t typically do well when the economy is experiencing a downturn. The ideas for businesses that are not likely to be successful in a recession include:

Travel and Vacation-Based Businesses:

While families may still vacation during tough economic times, they typically tend to prefer more budget-friendly options. Luxury and exotic-themed travel businesses tend to be the hardest hit during a recession. Unless you can offer some form of budget-friendly service, vacation travel tends not to be a recession-proof industry. 

Construction Businesses:

While you may be able to make a decent business from home improvements during an economic recession, new build construction typically takes a massive hit. The construction industry is often viewed as a barometer for economic health. As we move into a recession, construction projects typically quickly grind to a halt, due to a desire to save money or a lack of investor confidence. 

Bear in mind that this phenomenon tends to extend beyond trades such as plumbing, carpentry and electricians. It also typically impacts supporting industries such as lumber creation, cement manufacturing and even building material supplies.

Interior Design:

Adding decor and design elements can make a home feel special and comfortable. However, many interior design touches can be expensive. During an economic crisis, interior design is often considered a luxury, as paying bills takes priority over having nicer things. Whether you offer interior design services or produce home furnishings, you’ll be unlikely to command a premium during an economic downturn. 

Vehicle Sales:

As we discussed above, many people are more likely to be concerned with ensuring their vehicle keeps running rather than upgrading to a newer model when money is tight. So, vehicle sales businesses tend to suffer. 

If you had the idea to renovate and flip vehicles, you may struggle to find a market during a recession. Unless you are focused on the budget end of the market, this is not a particularly feasible business to start during economic slumps. 

Summary

The prospect of a recession or any economic downturn is daunting for many people and money becomes a massive focus for most households. Fortunately, there are some excellent recession-proof business ideas that can help you to develop an additional income stream or provide some financial security if you are concerned that you may have your hours reduced or lose your current job. 

It is important to choose a business idea that meshes with your interest, existing skill set and experience. This will allow you to position yourself as an expert and attract potential clients for your products or services. 

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