The recent events worldwide have been pointing us in the direction of recession for some time now, and the current economic forecast indicates it will not be long until it arrives.
Many firms are experiencing a downturn is unfortunate, but not all businesses are vulnerable to economic downturns.
When everyone else cuts prices or lays off employees, your business needs to continue to prosper. A recession is also something to be prepared for.
A recession proof business is an excellent method for business-minded individuals who wish to ensure their safety in the event of an economic downturn.
Statistics show that the unemployment rate in 2008 reached 10%, leaving millions of Americans struggling to find work to support their families.
During this period, investors withdrew money from the stock market, looking for stable investment options that would generate income even as they weathered the storm.
Several entrepreneurs launched recessionproof businesses and found that it was the right choice.
The most challenging part of starting a business is knowing where to start. You must plan and be aware of a few things.
Your unique situation must dictate which recession-proof business you should select. There are plenty of recession-proof businesses in America regardless of your financial means or level of skill.
Several recession-proof companies require minimum startup capital, few skills, and even minimal education.
Many recession-proof businesses can be launched with some research, planning, and a positive attitude due to the variety of these businesses available.
Table of Contents
- Best Recession Proof Business Ideas
- Beverages and Foods Businesses
- Health and Senior Services
- Coffee Shops & Bars
- Pet Care Business
- Retail Consignments
- Movie Theatres
- Renovation and Repair Industry
- Convenience Store
- Property Management and Real Estate
- Information Technology
- Dry Cleaning and Laundry
- Baby Products Business
- Child Care / Day Care
- Accounting and Tax Services
- Tattoo Parlors
- Freelance Industry
- Tutoring and Training Services
- Cleaning Business
- Courier Services
- Funeral services
- Beauty Business
- Liquor and tobacco
- Online Video Streaming Services
- Staffing Agencies
- Safety and Security Services
- Education Businesses
- Digital Marketing
- Can you start a business during a recession?
- What are some ways to make your business recession proof?
- What type of business is not recession-proof?
We’ve broken down our favorite recession-proof business ideas into nine categories and included evidence that each was able to survive or even thrive during a major recession, as well as the necessary skill set and earnings potential, to help you determine which might be the ideal fit for you.
Best Recession Proof Business Ideas
Individuals who own recession-proof businesses can earn high profits whether times are good or bad.
Like those described below, some businesses can thrive regardless of the state of the economy and stock market.
There are many well-known, historically successful businesses that were founded during recessions.
During the early 1920s, Disneyland was founded when the Great Depression was just underway, while Hewlett and Packard began operating in the late 1930s when the recession followed.
Below are some of the most recession-proof businesses, many of which would possibly be able to expand their business even more than usual even if interest rates and GDP ticked up.
Beverages and Foods Businesses
The food and beverage industry is recession-proof since everyone requires food and beverages to survive.
A recession has not prevented businesses in this area from thriving, as it is not a luxury that can be ignored.
Food retailing includes supermarkets, pharmacies, mass merchandisers, food service establishments, and traditional grocery and convenience stores.
The sales of these food retail services in the United States between 1992 and 2019 surpassed $6.22 trillion, making this a profitable industry.
Here are some specific food business concepts you can use to survive a recession.
Cooking is not a viable option most of the time during a recession, as eating out a lot is not as economical as beforehand. Food delivery companies can survive a recession with the help of this client group.
Consumers tend to shop at smaller stores rather than large supermarkets during recessions to cut spending.
In difficult economic times, comfort foods have a high appeal even though some consider them a luxury due to their comparatively low costs compared to the momentary pleasure they provide. A classic delicacy in the candy industry, Mars Bars, was established during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
A Vending Machine Business
These businesses provide daily essentials, such as snacks and drinks. A vending machine can also be relocated to a high-traffic area if sales in its original location decline.
Businesses offering cheaper options, like dollar stores, will thrive during recessions when consumers reassess their buying habits.
Many stock investors are attracted to the fast-food industry because it tends to perform well during boom times and its historic resilience during recessions.
Health and Senior Services
The amount paid for health care in the United States increased 4.2 percent between 2008 and 2012. Health care experienced an impressive 8.8 percent growth following the early 2000s recession.
Business owners interested in improving their health to prevent the future onset of illness or those who enjoy working with the elderly and disabled would do well in this business.
Health and senior service business owners typically have degrees in health-related fields or experience working in healthcare settings.
An affordable business opportunity may include marketing collateral and advertising, though startup costs for senior nutrition companies may be below.
Whether you prefer to visit seniors or their families in their own homes or meet with them at an appropriate location, you might anticipate the need for a professional venue.
Baby boomers, whose specialized services are likely to be needed someday by the firm, possess excellent growth potential.
You may choose to focus your efforts in another area, given the extent of this sector. You can start your own senior nutrition company, for instance.
You can also start a private hospital, a wellness facility, or a gym. Although each of these businesses will require unique funding and regulatory requirements, the health and eldercare markets are recession-proof and a sure bet for anyone seeking to continue earning profits despite the recession.
Below are three examples of recession-proof healthcare services.
Pharmaceutical healthcare is largely characterized by rigid demand. Prices are rarely a concern for these treatments, which can often be delayed until a more stable financial situation is achieved.
Working with Seniors:
Care for aging populations is always in demand, no matter what the economic climate. In today’s world, when the ‘baby boomers’ is entering old age, this is particularly true. The current generation of older adults owns properties, is financially secure, and can afford the care they will need in their golden years.
One healthcare service constantly in demand is contraception, but this is especially true during economic hardship. The reason this occurs is that recessions significantly hamper a couple’s ability to start a family. Contraception services are available to fit every type of financial situation to plan their families accordingly.
Coffee Shops & Bars
It could be argued that shops provide people with vital services during difficult times, and thus they require them more than ever. They must recover in a serene setting where all their troubles can be left behind.
A coffee shop with free Wi-Fi is an affordable workspace where people can apply for jobs when they lose their jobs. A good example is Starbucks.
Starbucks saw its sales decline at a slower pace in 2020 than enterprises in other food-related industries. Although drive-thru and delivery options increased the firm’s income, the firm’s revenues did not grow as much.
Pet Care Business
Pets in the United States will have total sales of $103 billion by 2020 due to their growing popularity.
American Pet Products Association data indicate that the number of pets purchased in 2017 increased by 6.7 percent from the previous year.
US pet market growth is expected to continue at a 5.8% rate through 2021. However, the historical average of 3% to 4% growth per year makes the US pet industry an appealing business prospect, even in times of recession.
The following pet care services will never go out of style.
Veterinarian services are largely unaffected by recessions since dogs and cats require care regardless of the country’s economic health.
Pet Grooming Services
The millennial generation has bought more pet animals than previous generations, leading to increased pet ownership. The market research firm Mintel reports that 40% of Americans aged 30 to 49 are extremely interested in pet care services like grooming.
Essential Pet Products
A study found that more than half of people in their 30s own some form of a cat, and three-quarters have a dog. Pet ownership is growing, which means demand for pet care products will rise as well.
The National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops, which represents the resale industry, released a survey about the conditions for sales between 2008 and 2009, a time of recession.
The poll was completed by 263 locations, and 64.1 percent of them reported sales growth. The rise was around 31%, according to store owners.
Those who are on a tight budget or don’t have much capital to start their own business may find that a retail consignment is an excellent option, not to mention that retail consignment offers a great opportunity inside the walls of an existing store.
The middleman role can provide a financial benefit even though this is a specialized industry that links sellers and customers.
There is a need for a place in which to store other people’s used items in addition to racks and shelves to store them.
You might want to have someone on site (like yourself) to check people in and assist them when they have questions or need assistance with an item, which can be quite tiring if you just like to run around a lot.
You might expect annual revenues of roughly $70,000 to $250,000 from a steady stream of consumers.
People tend to become distracted during tough economic times unless they can focus on something enjoyable. An evening at the movies is the ideal distraction during these challenging times.
People are more likely to go to the movies during these trying times to escape the struggles and find thrills. Family movie outings can often be a more convenient option than traveling out of town for vacations.
Renovation and Repair Industry
Renovation and repair services are among the most recession-resistant sectors of the economy. There is tremendous potential for growth in the American home renovation industry since it spends over $400 billion annually.
The following business ideas are excellent and remain popular during recessions as well.
There’s no way to wait until financial stability to address a plumbing issue that arises at home or work.
Repair and Maintenance Services for Equipment:
Whenever a company relies on a particular piece of equipment, repairs and maintenance are necessary. A printer problem will usually require office staff to contact the appropriate individuals as they are unlikely to be equipped to fix it.
As most individuals lack experience in home repairs, regardless of the economic situation, an expert who has those skills and expertise will be needed when a problem arises.
Auto Repair Services
The need for auto technicians will endure through any recession as people rely on their vehicles and cannot afford to be without them.
Water, gas, and electricity are constantly required by homeowners, ensuring a healthy economy even during difficult economic times.
Although convenience stores sell various hot and cold drinks, basic groceries, small indulgences, like donuts and sweets, they usually charge higher prices than discount retailers (think Dollar General and Wal-Mart). This helps them thrive even when recessions are occurring.
Consumers tend to buy these items more frequently during recessions. Studies show that consumers overall spend less on alcohol during recessions.
Consumption overall, however, increases. A greater number of consumers are buying larger quantities of these products, which is likely the increase.
People interested in good locations and enjoy dealing with the public are likely to find convenience stores a great business idea. However, experience working in a gas station or convenience store and managerial experience is extremely beneficial.
There are several ways to improve your chances of growth, and the most important option is to locate in a premium spot with few convenience stores in the immediate area.
The cost of location is one of the most significant factors affecting startup costs. The following are important factors to consider: Are you buying the building?
Then will the location justify the cost of rent and traffic for the location if for-profit rental costs are high?
You can earn significantly more money from convenience stores depending on whether you intend to serve hot food (pizza, chicken, potato wedges, etc. ), sell gasoline, operate 24 hours a day, and hire employees, or if you want to operate the business on your own.
When consumers continue to purchase bread, junk food, cakes, and other bakery items, bakeries remain in full operation.
Many businesses have seen revenue declines since the recent global health crisis, except bakeries.
The America Baker Association reports that baked goods sales grew by 62.3% last year, while cookies and crackers sales grew by 44.3%.
Property Management and Real Estate
Property management and real estate are beneficial industries during recessions, as they are often the best times to invest in property.
Real estate consists of all land and structures, so it is ultimately an enterprise that generates a necessary and extremely valuable product.
The US real estate market was valued at $9.6 trillion in the 2019/20 MSCI year, indicating that a home or business premises can be sold even during a recession for significant profits.
A professional property stager helps sellers achieve a quicker sale and maximize the value of their property. It is an in-demand and highly valued job for this very reason.
Real Estate Agencies
A recession is a perfect opportunity for real estate agencies because people lacking expertise, experience, and a network cannot sell homes.
A Rental Agent Enterprise
A recession might be an opportunity for the wealthy to invest in real estate, but a place to live is still a necessity for the less fortunate. Rental brokers should always be able to find tenants and businesses who need housing and office space.
The knowledge and technology (IT) bubble was a crucial factor in the early 2000s recession.
HOWEVER, the IT sector was the fastest expanding in the United States before, during, and after the recession of 2007–2009. An economy in the doldrums seems not to have affected the software industry or new hardware companies.
It may therefore be worthwhile to devote yourself to developing your software or website.
IT professionals with extensive experience in computer science, web engineering, and computer hardware will find the information technology industry an excellent fit, especially if they are looking to expand their skill set or hire others to expand the firm.
Computer science degrees from reputable universities or six-week coding boot camps are two forms of formal education in information technology. Having an interest in computers and other technologies is advantageous, although not required.
You can study as you go as long as you are interested and passionate about the subject. However, we do not recommend it.
It is quite affordable to launch a technology company. However, initial expenses will include some marketing and promotion, some sort of workspace, and, most importantly, a computer (if you don’t already have one), as well as a phone and website.
An IT company can quickly grow into a multimillion-dollar entity because its recurring costs are low.
Dry Cleaning and Laundry
A recession doesn’t stop people from buying clothing and keeping clean. Businesses such as laundry and dry cleaning continue to operate relatively unaffected.
Research & Markets reported that even in periods of economic downturn, demand for dry cleaning is increasing.
Each business within this sector experienced a different impact of the recession, but most businesses in this sector were less negatively affected than businesses in other industries.
Baby Products Business
The number of people cutting back on their children’s costs during a recession is lower than the number cutting back on their own. The baby item industry has historically performed well during economic downturns as families try to cut spending elsewhere.
Infant products may prove a lucrative endeavor for entrepreneurs since the industry is expected to become significantly more valuable over the next few years.
The baby care products market is expected to grow to more than $67 billion by 2020 and more than $88 billion by 2026.
Child Care / Day Care
The expectation may be that child care centers will suffer from a recession, as more people will lose their jobs and become able to care for their children at home full time. Despite this, the statistics indicate otherwise.
Parental care is always of the utmost importance. The number of child care centers has been growing rapidly. A total of 86,212 centers existed in 1992, but 111,506 did so in 2001.
Opening a daycare center could interest you if you love working with children. It is ironic that birth rates typically rise during recessions. A decline in the economy is accompanied by a decline in birth rates in industrialized countries.
However, you should note that births often increase before recessions, which causes an increase in daycare. The number of births was the highest in US history in 2007, just before the economic recessions of 2008 and 2009.
Daycare centers and child care centers require some initial effort to establish. Daycare centers are typically self-sufficient once established, so the would-be business owner needs to realize that dealing with children is the greatest challenge.
Child development graduates and individuals interested in caring for young children can earn a living in this field.
You are likely to earn between $972 and over $1,500 per month work as a childcare provider, depending on how many children you care for daily.
It’s costly to insure a business, rent a property, and keep the children safe, but the profits can be enormous.
Both parents during a recession will likely have to work for less than they were earning before the crisis. The number of households where both parents work is on the rise.
Accounting and Tax Services
The tax and accounting services provided by businesses and cooperatives are essential in these difficult economic times. The assistance of a financial counselor is crucial to be confident and sure about their financial future.
Most businesses are struggling due to recent economic turmoil, but demand for accounting and tax services has remained stable, with numerous accounting firms reporting demand increases.
Accounting and financial information services always remain in demand during economic downturns. The complexity of laws and regulations is increasing each year, which is especially true now.
The US accounting industry is expected to have revenue exceeding $110 billion by 2020, making it an extremely lucrative industry.
The financial and accounting sector thrive during difficult economic times because businesses must have their finances in order regardless of the economy.
Businesses and affluent individuals cannot afford to take chances with their tax preparation since the penalties for not declaring the correct tax information are severe.
Accounting services can help businesses save money even during recessions since they make sure that everything is saved as much money as possible.
A recession may seem comfortable to affluent individuals and businesses, but their fortunes can suddenly evaporate without effective financial planning.
Businesses and entrepreneurs often lack the time and expertise necessary to maintain accurate financial records. The task of bookkeeping can be exhausting for those without any knowledge of it, which is why hiring an experienced bookkeeper will remain popular.
Recessions are generally good for tattoo parlors. An estimated one out of five Americans had a tattoo in 2012, according to a study. Growth from 2008 to 2009 was 7%. Increasing numbers of people are getting tattoos every year, making this trend appear to be continuing.
Someone who wants to start a tattoo business should possess extensive tattooing knowledge and some artistic ability and be passionate about tattoos.
Individuals willing to pay a premium for a high-quality tattoo artist are often seeking a more personalized experience.
A recession-proof business idea like tattoos or handmade body art is not as profitable as other ideas on this list.
You should build your name, build a portfolio, keep a clean working atmosphere, and realize that your best advertisement is your ink.
You may have to buy a commercial space if you wish to start your business cheaply. Tattoo artists can earn up to $100,000 annually – and sometimes even more – by running an excellent shop and hiring other artists.
Managing your business’s spending well and understanding your market is critical to achieving this strategy.
Freelancing is one of the most recession-resistant enterprises on the planet, even more so than most companies on this list.
Freelancers can help businesses save a great deal of money by outsourcing specific jobs and operations. This allows them to hire someone temporarily to do those tasks in place of hiring a permanent employee.
The concept of being a writer may conjure up images of people writing editorials for the New York Times or putting together a novel table of contents. Still, the process has much more to do with developing content for business websites, which requires fresh content regularly for optimization.
Writers are needed to create content, news articles, and other types of content for websites.
You can also employ a freelance virtual assistant who operates from home and provides a variety of administrative services for various companies and organizations.
Tutoring and Training Services
Many Americans have returned to college since the Great Recession as they lost jobs. The number of people enrolled in college dropped to 1.9 million in 2007. The number of refugees reached 2.3 million in 2011.
Training and tutoring businesses are usually founded by self-motivated people who enjoy teaching others.
The majority of training and tutoring professionals begin as private tutors working with students one-on-one. They usually already possess the appropriate education and teaching expertise – meaning their cost is low, to begin with.
The easiest way to start a tutoring business is to hang out at a nearby university and assist your clients or rent a building in a shopping center and hire educators to tutor larger groups of students.
The tutoring market is enormous and offers an excellent opportunity to earn a steady income regardless of the economy- however, how much you can earn is largely dependent on your expertise, how many subjects you can coach, and how you set up your business.
Tutoring appears to offer an extremely promising solution for creating a recession-proof business, considering how many older adults return to education during a recession.
Even a slowing economy has little effect on event management, as individuals and businesses use events to spread positivity, and event management teams put on successful events.
Weddings continue to occur during times of uncertainty and stress, and people are still paying wedding planners to plan them.
Several laws and regulations that are enacted to ensure the safety and hygiene of commercial and public areas are unaffected by economic conditions.
Cleaning services are recession-proof simply because of this and will continue to thrive even when the economy struggles.
Medical facilities, stores, shopping centers, beauty salons and spas, restaurants, and other hospitality outlets and areas where people congregate, such as beaches and parks, require regular cleaning services.
Photography is a type of business that can be profitable at any time, even during a recession. If you have strong photography skills, you can be hired for various events and earn money freelancing.
Local, national, and global courier services are not as vulnerable to economic recessions as they can always deliver packages.
If the economy declines, courier companies might even see an increase in business since companies that typically transport their goods can cut costs by outsourcing.
An individual may die at any time during his or her lifetime. There are thousands of people who die every day. Even during a recession, people die, and the death care services industry remains in demand.
The beauty industry‘s persistent success as a recession-proof enterprise has far less to do with vanity than may be imagined.
The ‘Lipstick Effect’ refers to a phenomenon in which people continue to spend their money on tiny indulgences during recessions to compensate for larger sacrifices. The term “beauty industry” is derived from the fact that it is particularly appropriate to the beauty business.
Here are a few examples of beauty businesses that have thrived during the recession.
People have long considered hairdressing to be one of the last expenses they must endure saving money.
Manicure & Pedicure
The popularity of manicures does not diminish during times of financial hardship because they are an inexpensive luxury.
Makeup and accessories are an integral part of our daily lives. People apply it frequently throughout the day. The recession does not cause them to stop using it, and they keep paying for it to maintain their excellent looks when times are tough.
Liquor and tobacco
A recession does not mean that people should abstain from using tobacco and alcohol. There is a substantial increase in alcohol consumption during these occasions. The business you run will generate significant revenue regardless of whether you sell beer, wine, or liquor.
Online Video Streaming Services
Netflix and Amazon Prime, two of the top online subscription video streaming services, will have little effect on the economy because of their content quality and use as a source of cheap entertainment during recessions.
Netflix, for example, added almost 10 million customers in the first half of 2020, bringing its total to 193 million subscribers around the world, despite an economic downturn.
Individuals may choose to cancel parts of their subscriptions to video streaming services, such as Disney+, Apple TV+, or HBO if they subscribe to these services.
Staffing agencies have still got plenty to do, despite businesses cutting costs and laying off employees.
As you can see, these cuts will be coming from businesses in the hardest-hit areas of the recession. However, some companies grow during these times and need additional employees.
Safety and Security Services
It is completely understandable that, in times of recession, people are seeking safety and security services. This has been a period of increased business for the security provider due to the doubled crime rate.
People tend to increase their security measures during recessions to protect their properties from crime. Many people have home security or alarm systems because they fear their homes will be broken into.
The demand for education and training courses is constant, so businesses offering these services will stay profitable even if there is a recession.
The loss of jobs will cause numerous people to retrain in another field, increasing the available consumer base immediately.
These types of businesses may grow during a recession as they provide education and training on-site or remotely. They can also help the nation regain its economic footing.
Several digital marketing methods such as search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing will always be among the most cost-effective methods to acquire new customers.
Recessions will magnify the little expense required to increase leads and conversions with an effective SEO strategy.
Digital marketing provides many additional benefits besides increasing consumer acquisition. Businesses can adapt to changing conditions using it, as it is incredibly adaptable.
Can you start a business during a recession?
Recessions can be good times for starting a company, as startup costs are smaller than during boom times.
You may need to do business with established suppliers, manufacturers, and vendors during a recession since they are more willing to compromise on rates.
The recession can also be an opportunity for you to begin your business in the long run.
The more successful you are in launching organizational ideas such as those outlined above during an economic slump, the greater your chances of extending your success when the economy recovers.
What are some ways to make your business recession proof?
Here are five things you can take to ensure job security in your firm during a recession.
1. Establish the proper business
Businesses that wish to survive the recession should establish themselves properly and become profitable despite challenging economic conditions.
2. Be adaptive
A small business or start-up needs to be flexible if it is to thrive. The plan must adapt quickly to new circumstances and present itself as an opportunity to make a pivot to a more inventive path if the need arises.
3. Negotiate with vendors:
A recession has resulted in reduced supplier’s and manufacturer’s rates. This is a great opportunity for you to increase your bottom line.
4. Cash flow management:
Maintaining a healthy cash flow will prevent you from overspending.
5. Pay attention to your customers:
You must remain attentive to your client’s changing needs in response to changes in the economic environment.
What type of business is not recession-proof?
A recession can lead to some business concepts underperforming. Below are examples of at-risk business concepts:
Mid-market brands tend to be interchangeable with competitors who offer lower prices. Many of these businesses are heavily indebted and unable to expand into other sectors.
When there is a recession, fast food restaurants, food delivery services, and inexpensive snacks often prosper. However, mid-range restaurants with higher quality may suffer as clients cut back on spending by cooking more at home.
When a highly concentrated or niche business idea is too reliant on a boom period, it can quickly face difficulties if it is not resistant to recessions.