What Is a Cash Business? (Plus 52 Ideas for How To Start One)

Updated September 30, 2022

Many people want to start their own companies to achieve financial independence and have more freedom over their schedules. Some entrepreneurs choose the cash-only business model, meaning they only collect physical money from customers. Using this model can help establish a foundation for a business by increasing its profits and reducing fraud. In this article, we discuss what a cash business is and share 52 ideas you can use to start one.

Related: 100 Business Ideas With Low Startup Costs

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What is a cash business?

A cash business is a company that primarily operates using physical currency. These businesses strive to accept printed money and coins from customers, meaning they typically don't accept checks, money orders or credit and debit cards. These businesses may also primarily use cash to pay vendors.

Related: How Does a Cash Budget Work?

53 cash business ideas

Here are 53 cash business ideas across various industries:

Cash businesses in the food industry

Here are nine cash business ideas related to the food industry:

  1. Food truck

  2. Coffee cart

  3. Local bar

  4. Bakery

  5. Food delivery service

  6. Restaurant

  7. Health food store

  8. Farm stand

  9. Personal chef services

Cash businesses in the household services industry

Here are 11 household services that may only accept cash from customers:

  1. Laundromats

  2. Dry cleaners

  3. Errand services

  4. Landscaping

  5. House cleaning

  6. Pet care

  7. Child care

  8. Computer set up and repair services

  9. Carpentry

  10. Moving services

  11. Recycling services

Cash businesses in the retail industry

Here are seven cash business ideas related to the retail industry:

  1. Antique shop

  2. Grocery store

  3. Convenience store

  4. Clothing store

  5. Gift shop

  6. Craft show vendor

  7. Flea market vendor

Cash businesses in the educational services industry

Consider providing these educational services if you want to collect cash from customers:

  1. Music courses

  2. Fitness instruction

  3. Personal training

  4. Sewing classes

  5. Resume services

  6. Pet training

  7. Tutoring

  8. Dance classes

Cash businesses in the entertainment industry

Here are 10 cash business careers related to the entertainment industry:

  1. Tour guide

  2. Caricature artist

  3. Bowling alley manager

  4. Face painter

  5. Photographer

  6. Arcade manager

  7. Batting cage supervisor

  8. Indoor trampoline park manager

  9. Night club manager

  10. Comedy club supervisor

Miscellaneous cash business ideas

Here are seven other cash business ideas to consider:

  1. Transportation services

  2. Parking meter services

  3. Parking lot management services

  4. Plant nursery management services

  5. Pet grooming services

  6. Auto detailing services

  7. Security services

Related: 42 Online Business Ideas To Explore

Pros of a cash business

Having a cash business can allow you to:

Eliminate credit card fees

A company that accepts credit card payments partners with a processing provider and opens a merchant account. It also sets up payment terminals and integrates the provider's payment portal with its e-commerce platform. In addition to this setup being time-consuming and expensive, the company pays interchange, payment processor and assessment fees on every transaction. Businesses can eliminate these fees by using a cash-only model. The 1.5% to 3.5% of transaction totals they save can help them drastically increase net profits, especially if they sell lower-priced items.

Receive immediate payments

When customers pay in cash, the business immediately receives the money. This instant access eliminates waiting times for checks to clear or credit card payments to appear on an account. Businesses can use their increased cash flow to pay employees and vendors on time, reduce their lines of credit and increase overall liquidity.

Related: What Is Cash on Hand? Definition and Tips

Reduce fraud

Cash transactions are relatively straightforward, as the customer either has the cash or doesn't. If they don't have the cash, they can't complete their transaction. If they do have cash, the business can verify its legitimacy through counterfeit tools and provide the product or service upon authentication.

Non-cash transactions are a little more complicated, as the customer may receive the product or service before the business can verify the payment. For instance, a credit card payment might not process if the account holder has insufficient funds. Dishonest individuals may also try to use fraudulent checks and money orders. If you want to prevent these scams, consider making the business cash-only.

Related: 10 Business Ideas for Students in College

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Cons of a cash business

Here are some cons of starting a cash business and how to overcome them:

Customer inconvenience

It may be inconvenient for customers if a business only accepts cash. This is especially true for younger customers who tend to rely on credit and debit cards or mobile payments. For instance, a customer might have to make a bank withdrawal before shopping at the store you run. If there's a store nearby that offers similar services and accepts credit cards, they might choose a competitor instead of making an additional stop at the bank.

One way to welcome as many payments as possible while only accepting cash is by advertising your policy. You can clearly list the term "cash-only" on your website and post signs at your storefront to ensure customers know what to expect. Another way to increase convenience is by situating your storefront near an ATM or installing an ATM inside. Note that some cash businesses accept other payment methods. For instance, you might allow customers to pay with a credit card if their purchase is at least $10. This policy encourages cash for smaller purchases and helps you cover the transaction fees for larger purchases.

Security risks

Cash-only businesses tend to be popular targets for thieves, as they have large amounts of physical money. You can reduce this risk by installing cameras and hiring dedicated security personnel. Other ways to protect your profits and the safety of your customers and employees include:

  • Provide employees with proper training

  • Implement accountability policies

  • Make daily deposits to reduce the total amount of money in the store you run

  • Invest in high-quality registers and safes

Income reporting

All businesses are responsible for reporting their income to the IRS. If you operate a cash-only business, it may be challenging to provide accurate records. You may be more susceptible to an IRS audit, especially if you've reported losses for several years and have income that falls below industry averages. You can overcome this challenge by maintaining accurate reports and training employees to track all transactions.

This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Consult with an attorney or lawyer for any legal issues you may be experiencing.

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