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15+ Profitable Businesses To Start With £5K in the UK

Last updated on February 6th, 2024 at 05:52 am

Starting a Small Business in the UK with £5000

Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor.

With careful planning and dedication, it’s possible to get a successful business off the ground even on a modest budget.

Here are some ideas for small businesses that can be started in the UK with around £5000 capital.

Low-Cost Service Businesses

Service-based businesses are a great option for startups on a budget, as they typically require lower overhead costs compared to product or manufacturing businesses. Here are some service business ideas to consider and start with 5K in the UK:

Cleaning Business

  • Startup costs: £1000-£2000 for cleaning supplies and equipment
  • Offer residential and commercial cleaning services
  • Can start solo and expand to hire staff as needed

Pet Care Services

  • Startup costs: £500-£1000 for supplies
  • Offer dog walking, pet sitting, home visits for pets
  • Market to pet owners in your local area

Consulting/Freelance Services

  • Startup costs: Minimal, just a computer and phone
  • Offer consulting in your area of expertise like marketing, IT, HR, etc.
  • Freelance services like writing, graphic design, web development

Home Repair/Handyman Services

  • Startup costs: £1000-£2000 for tools and supplies
  • Offer general repairs, installations, renovations for homes
  • Market to homeowners and landlords in your area

Food Services

  • Startup costs: £1000-£3000 for equipment and supplies
  • Start a food truck, catering service, meal prep delivery
  • Focus on a specialty cuisine or type of food/drink

Online Businesses

The Internet has opened up a wealth of opportunities for starting low-cost businesses online. Some online business to start with 5k in the UK:

eCommerce Store

  • Startup costs: £1000-£2000 for website, inventory
  • Sell products in a niche or variety of categories
  • Use dropshipping or printing on demand to avoid inventory costs

Affiliate Marketing

  • Startup costs: Minimal, just a website and marketing costs
  • Earn commissions promoting other companies’ products
  • Write product reviews, create YouTube videos, etc.

Digital Products Business

  • Startup costs: Minimal
  • Sell informational products like ebooks, courses, templates
  • Use a site like Gumroad to create and market digital downloads

Virtual Assistant Services

  • Startup costs: Minimal, just a phone, computer, and any software needed
  • Provide administrative, social media management, client support virtually

Freelance Writing

  • Startup costs: None
  • Offer content writing services for blogs, websites, businesses
  • Pitch to online publications and content agencies as well

Retail Businesses

While retail typically requires more capital, there are some lean options for starting a small retail business in the UK:

Online Shop

  • Startup costs: £1000-£2000 for inventory, website, marketing
  • Sell products in a niche like handmade crafts, clothing, accessories
  • Manage inventory and fulfill orders from home

Pop-Up Shop

  • Startup costs: £2000-£3000 for first month’s rent and inventory
  • Rent a short-term retail space to test products and markets
  • Ideal for temporary stands, holiday shops, and events

eBay/Etsy Shop

  • Startup costs: £500-£1000 for initial inventory
  • Sell vintage, handmade, or other goods through online marketplaces
  • Manage part-time around your regular schedule

Products from Home

  • Startup costs: £1000-£2000 for supplies, marketing
  • Make and sell food products, crafts, beauty products from home
  • Sell online, at markets, fairs, through local retailers

Vending Machines

  • Startup costs: £2000-£4000 per machine
  • Place vending machines dispensing snacks, drinks in high traffic areas
  • Manage restocking and maintenance as a part-time side business

Location-Based Businesses

Businesses tied to a specific location can also be started with limited capital:

Food Truck

  • Startup costs: £10,000-£30,000 for vehicle, supplies, licensing
  • Serve quick meals and snacks from a mobile food truck
  • Hire staff to operate during peak hours

Shared Kitchen

  • Startup costs: £2000-£4000 for rent, equipment
  • Rent use of a licensed commercial kitchen by the hour
  • Ideal for caterers, bakers, food product startups

Space/Equipment Rentals

  • Startup costs: Variable based on assets being rented
  • Offer rentals of underutilized spaces or equipment
  • Ideal for party equipment, shared office spaces, parking spots, etc.

Storage Units

  • Startup costs: £10,000-£100,000+ depending on size
  • Construct or rent a facility divided into storage units
  • Manage rentals and facility maintenance


  • Startup costs: £20,000-£50,000 for equipment, leasing space
  • Open a self-service laundromat in your community
  • Offer wash-and-fold services for extra revenue

Franchise Opportunities

While franchises have high startup costs, some can be started for under £ 5,000:

Direct Sales Company

  • Startup costs: £1000-£3000 for enrollment kit, inventory
  • Sell products for companies like Avon, Tupperware, Herbalife
  • Manage flexibly along with a regular job

Cleaning Franchise

  • Startup costs: £1000-£5000 for training, equipment, insurance
  • Clean homes or businesses under a franchise brand
  • Get leads and support from franchisor

Pet Care Franchise

  • Startup costs: £2000-£4000 for training, supplies, marketing
  • Offer dog walking, pet sitting under a franchise brand
  • Get customer referrals and operations support

Food Truck Franchise

  • Startup costs: £5000-£15,000 for truck, training, licensing
  • Operate a mobile food unit under a proven concept and brand
  • Focus on busy areas and events to drive sales

Final Tips

  • Research your business idea thoroughly and create a solid business plan. Analyze the potential market, competition, startup and ongoing costs.
  • Consider your skills, interests, and experience when deciding on a business. Choosing an idea you are passionate about will help your chances of success.
  • Start small and lean. Keep overheads low and scale up operations as you begin making profits.
  • Use technology to your advantage. The Internet, social media, and mobility can help you run a lean startup.
  • Learn to do as much as possible yourself before hiring help. Outsource only what you cannot handle cost-effectively.

With proper planning and execution, it is certainly possible to get a small business off the ground in the UK even with limited startup capital. Do your homework, start smart, and grow your business organically.

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