Businesses That Make Money During a Recession

The UK is heading toward a recession and if you listen to the news then everything sounds bad.

When times are hard it can be tempting to think that there aren’t any businesses that make money during a recession but actually nothing could be further from the truth. Sure you may need to work a little harder, but it is perfectly possible to build a profitable and successful business even during a recession.

So if you fancy going it alone what types of businesses are a good bet? Check out our list of some of the most popular and easy-to-start businesses.

  • Grocery shops
  • Repairs & Handymen (or women)
  • Children’s shops
  • Credit control businesses
  • Mobile mechanics
  • Mobile hairdressers
  • Lenders
  • Hire shops
  • Painters and decorators
  • Kitchen refurb businesses
  • Child daycare
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Digital Marketing
  • 5 steps to starting your new business

Grocery shops


One thing is for certain, we all have to eat and with grocery prices increasing by the day, consumers are busy looking around for alternatives to the big supermarkets.

If you can create a store with good food at great prices then you can steal a march on the big boys who seem to be getting further away from their customers by the day!

Repairs & Handymen (or women)

A recurring theme during times of recession is the fact that people tend not to buy new but hang on to the things they’ve got. This means that people with even very basic handyman (person?) Skills can actually carve out quite a spot for themselves fixing all those little jobs around the house.

You also find that people tend to buy more flat-pack furniture rather than ready-made so offering a service to put these together could also be a winner.

Children’s shops


We all love to treat our kids and when they are newborns that temptation is even greater.

We have to admit that we’ve all paid a little more than we expected for the first buggy, cot, or sterilizing kit and so a shop chocked full of interesting and exciting kiddie goodies can be a really super prospect.

Credit control businesses

The first of our Business 2 Business prospects, credit control is something that most businesses struggle with from time to time. If you have good credit control skills then opening up your own office is a great idea because you can offer epic credit control at a fraction of the cost of employing someone to do the job in-house.

Mobile mechanics


One very clear lesson from the dark days of 2008-10 was that when times are bad, people (and companies) hang on to their cars longer. This means they need servicing and repairing and if you are a good mechanic then a mobile service could be right up your street.

You can provide excellent service at a fraction of the cost because as a mobile, you have few overheads meaning that you make more and your customers pay less.

Mobile hairdressers

People still want to look good, even if they have less cash in their pockets.

In the same way as a mobile mechanic has few overheads a mobile hairdresser is free of many of the financial ties that make their work expensive.

If you have a talent then why not put it to use on your own account and do your customers a favour at the same time?



Sadly, if cash is short people often have to fall back on lenders to get the things they need.

Opening up shop as an ethical lender is a great way to make money during a downturn but be aware that you do need to comply with the FCA rules on this.

As an alternative, you can go down the brokerage route where you are able to offer the loans of a variety of lenders and receive a commission as a result.

Hire shop

If people need something but they can’t afford to buy then the next step is to hire.

It can be something as simple as a dress or formal wear hire shop, a party hire shop or DIY equipment hire business. For businesses, you can hire plant and machinery, vehicles or office equipment. In fact, the things you can hire out are only limited by your imagination.

Painters and decorators


One of the interesting things that happened during the last financial crash was that when the housing market tanked, people started doing work on their homes.

Painting and decorating, garden refurbishment or adding on rooms with loft conversions or conservatories all became very popular as people decided to stay put rather than move during turbulent times.

Kitchen refurb businesses

Kitchens are one of the most important rooms in the house but they can be incredibly expensive to replace.
However, specialist businesses that work on replacing door fronts and worktops rather than the whole kitchen can make good money when people can’t afford to do a full replacement.

Child daycare


When times are tough families need to work and so with two parents out of the house, they need childcare. Childminding services can be very popular and if you get a good reputation you need never be out of work.

Just be aware that you’ll need to register with OFSTED and comply with their rules.

Recruitment agencies

When businesses can’t afford to employ people full-time then they often move towards temporary workers through an agency.

If you have experience in this area then a recession could be just the time when you should make the break and go it alone.

Digital Marketing


Businesses take two approaches to a recession. The first is to stop marketing which is a huge mistake because sales just fall off a cliff. Smart businesses actually spend more on marketing during a recession so if you have skills like graphic design, SEO, or copywriting then now is the time.

5 steps to starting your new business

Starting a business in the UK is simple itself but there are some steps you need to go through before you kick off.

  1. Do some market research – will people buy what you are selling?
  2. Write your business plan – it doesn’t need to be elaborate but you should have an understanding of how you are going to achieve your goals
  3. Speak with an accountant – Don’t skimp on this because a good accountant can save you more than their fees.
  4. Register with HMRC/Companies House – depending upon the type of business you have (sole trader or Ltd Company) your accountant may do this for you.
  5. Get insurance – If something goes wrong then you need to make sure you are covered
  6. Get a bank account – your accountant will tell you that you should keep your money separate from the businesses.
  7. Get your marketing right – this is where so many new businesses fall down. Get this right and everything else is easy!
  8. Get an easy way to take payments – you need to be able to take card payments quickly and with low fees, tapeeno fits the bill perfectly.
  9. Put money aside for your tax – you pay tax at the end of the year when you are in business so put a chunk aside so you don’t have a nasty shock.

Good luck with your new business

An economic slowdown can be a time of gloom and doom but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Choosing the right business and then following our startup steps can get you off to a brand new start and a great business career.

Good luck!

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