The Best 46 Recession-Proof Businesses to Start

It’s true that recession is a time of high crisis, and you’d think that everything would slowly start falling apart. In most cases, that is not the case.

Most often, businesses are meant.

A recession affects most businesses, some severely (e.g., non-essential, luxury goods, tourism), and some moderately or lightly (e.g., essential goods). 

People with limited disposable income tend to spend less on luxury items and entertainment and limit their spending on essentials and major purchases.

A few businesses prosper during recessions. The recession has not affected many types of businesses.

The following 46 businesses had a small impact or no impact during the recession.

1. Coffee shops & Cafes

Shops are magical places that people need more than ever during times of crisis. It is important for them to find a peaceful place to escape their worries.

the best recession proof businesses to start

People who lose their jobs can apply for jobs at coffee shops because they provide an inexpensive workplace with free Wi-Fi. Starbucks is an example

The sales of Starbucks decreased less in 2020 than those of similar companies in the food industry. In contrast, drive-thrus and delivery sales increased the company’s revenues.

2. Movie Theatres

During tough economic times, people need some distractions to divert their minds from their worries. The dreadful recession period is easily distracted by movie night.

During these hard times, people visit movie theatres more often and experience the thrill movies provide. When it comes to family vacations, movies are a great alternative to going out of town.

3. Bakeries

Despite the economic downturn, people continue to buy bread, junk food, cakes, and other bakery items.

Businesses have suffered a decline in sales as a result of the recent global health crisis, except for bakeries. Sales of baked goods increased by 62.3% in 2020, and sales of cookies and crackers increased by 44.3%.

4. Repair and Maintenance Services

It’s another one of those businesses that won’t shut down unless and until the owners themselves decide to do so. On the other hand, the demand for home repair and maintenance services remains constant. Anytime something gets damaged, people will need repair services.

5. Dry cleaning and Laundry

Even during recessions, people prefer to stay clean and wear fresh clothes. Laundry and dry-cleaning businesses remain unaffected.

The dry cleaning industry is experiencing an increase in demand regardless of economic conditions, according to a study by Research and Markets in mid-2020.

Even though the impact of a recession on dry cleaning and laundry services varies by customer base, most businesses in this sector experienced a smaller drop than those in other industries.

6. Accounting and Tax Services

Many entrepreneurs and cooperatives benefit from accounting and tax services during these challenging economic times. To feel certain and confident, they need accounts advisors on their side.

Despite the economic turmoil caused by a recent health crisis, the demand for accounting and tax services has remained steady with several accounting firms reporting an increase in demand.

7. Auto Repair Business

In times of recession, car repair businesses are necessary because cars are necessities and if a car is damaged, people can’t avoid getting it fixed no matter how expensive it might be.

8. Cleaning Services

No matter how hard times are, businesses and houses will always require cleaning services. It is important to keep your space clean, which is why cleaning companies exist.

9. Real Estate and Property Management

A recession can actually be beneficial to the real estate and property management industry, since it is often the best time to invest in properties.

As real estate includes all properties consisting of land and buildings, it is an industry with an important and valuable product.

The MSCI’s statistics for 2019/20 show that the US real estate market is worth $9.6 trillion, so you can make a lot of money even during a recession.

Professional property stagers help sellers get a quick sale and maximize their property’s value. Because of this, it is a valuable job that will always be in demand.

It’s not something ordinary people have the knowledge, network, and experience required to sell properties, so real estate agencies are well positioned to thrive during a recession.

Property agents can make a lot of money during recessions because the wealthy invest in properties, but the less wealthy still have a place to live. 

There should always be a sizable number of tenants needing a home, as well as businesses needing office space that rental agents can cater to.

10. Event Management

People and businesses hire event managers to create successful events despite the state of the economy, as people and businesses utilize events to promote positivity.

11. Wedding Organizers

Weddings continue to take place despite stress and gloom, and people hire wedding organizers to plan a wedding.

12. Photography

You can earn money from this business at any time, even during a recession. When you have good photography skills, people will hire you for various events, and you can even earn money by freelancing.

13. Water, Sewer & Trash Disposal (Utility)

Even in times like these, trash removal and water/sewer management are required. Thus, a utility business will not be affected by a recession.

14. Health Services

Clinics, hospitals, health consultants, etc. do not go out of business and remain unaffected by the recession. Even in these hard times, people need health care.

15. Funeral services

There are only certainties in life… well, you know what I mean.

Recession or not, the need for a dignified final resting place will always exist for all who journey through life.

The job of a funeral service will always be in demand regardless of the economy, whether it is burial or cremation.

16. Veterinary Services

As with humans, animals also need doctors to keep them healthy and safe. In the recession period, the veterinary services business continues to run since people who love their pets want to keep them healthy and clean.

17. Make-up

Our daily lives are filled with makeup accessories and products. It is applied several times a day. Even during recessions, people still spend money on staying in shape to maintain their good looks, so having access to it has no effect on them.

18. Baby Products

When the economy is down, many people reduce their spending, but they do not tend to do so on their children. As families look to reduce their spending in other areas during economic downturns, products for babies continue to sell well.

Startups in the baby products business could be very successful since the industry is expected to increase in value over the next few years.

Baby care products are expected to be worth more than $67 billion in 2020, and well over $88 billion by 2026.

19. Pizza Delivery

Fast food like pizza is something everyone loves to eat whenever they feel like it. Due to the simple nature of ordering pizza over the phone and having it delivered to your door, pizza delivery businesses won’t suffer even in a recession.

20. Services for Elderly

As people live longer, the elderly population is increasing. All over the world, there are many old homes, and these homes always require services, recession or no recession.

21. Liquor and tobacco

A recession won’t stop people from drinking and smoking. It turns out that they drink even more during these times. Your business will surely prosper if you sell beer, wine, or liquor or even all three.

22. Grocery Stores

Groceries are essential goods, so their sales tend to remain fairly constant during a recession. Most people look for cheaper alternatives or substitute brands for their preferred products, however.

23. Candy & Chocolate Stores

During times of recession, people visit candy stores often to satisfy their sweet tooth. By giving you a sugar rush, candies and chocolate calm your nerves and reduce stress.

No matter how hard the times are, people make various chocolate desserts at home. Even during the recession, the chocolate business will continue to earn profits.

24. Information Technology Services

Jobs in computer and information technology are expected to boom over the next few years.

Technology support has a high recession resistance due to advancements such as Big Data, cloud computing, and credit card security.

25. Courier Services

As there will always be a need to send packages locally, nationally, and internationally, courier services are less vulnerable to economic downturns.

During a recession, courier services can even gain new customers as businesses that usually deliver their own goods cut back on costs by outsourcing to a courier service.

26. Hair Salon

In times of recession, people change their hair and need a haircut every now and then. Salons won’t run out of money.

27. Vending Machines

The business of vending machines is not much affected by the recession since they are convenient for selling items at low prices.

28. Daycare

During the crisis period, people trust home-based daycare businesses more, and daycare is a recession-proof business.

The cost of home-based daycare is lower than that of institutions that offer daycare and kindergarten.

29. Telecommunications

In recessions, people tend to keep their phone and internet lines active. They may, however, opt to downgrade their phone or data plan.

As a result of economic constraints, they choose to communicate over the phone or online rather than visiting.

30. Online video streaming services

Services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime will have a minimal impact on the economy during a recession because they provide high-quality content and act as inexpensive sources of entertainment.

In the first six months of 2020, Netflix added over 10 million new subscribers, bringing the total number of subscribers to 193 million. Despite the global economic crisis, Netflix’s world numbers still reached 193 million.

However, if people have multiple video streaming services, they may decide to discontinue some of them, such as Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO, etc.

31. Discount stores

During a recession, people usually visit emporiums to buy stuff in bulk and at a discount to save money in a period of crisis. Dollar Tree and TJ Max grew tremendously during the 2008 – 2009 recession.

32. Education (e-Learning)

Learning and education are ongoing processes, so teaching and tutoring businesses won’t suffer greatly from the recession. It is often noted that people go back to universities and get higher education and develop new skills during recessions.

33. Fast Food

Whether the economy is in recession or not, everyone still needs to eat, whether it is in grocery stores or fast-food restaurants, the inexpensive food industry thrives. McDonald’s, for example, grew its business during the 2008-2009 recession.

34. Social Media Businesses

During recessions, social media businesses such as Facebook and Twitter thrive because people feel the need to share all kinds of information from news to entertainment, regardless of borders.

35. Safety and Security Services

At a time of recession, people demand safety and security services. In these times, crime rates double, so the security provider’s business increases.

36. Digital Marketing

Regardless of the economy, digital marketing such as SEO, SEM, social media campaigns and email marketing will always be one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new customers.

The low investment necessary to generate more leads and conversions via SEO will only be amplified during a recession.

In addition to bringing in more customers, digital marketing offers a wealth of other advantages. It is extremely flexible, allowing businesses to adapt to changing circumstances.

37. Insurance

During a recession period, people are fearful of losing their jobs, so they purchase insurance to protect themselves. The insurance industry gives people a sense of security.

38. E-commerce (Delivery)

When physical stores struggle to keep selling various commodities during the recession, your online selling business can thrive, since it’s an inexpensive alternative to brick and mortar stores. Amazon, eBay, Letgo, and OfferUp are examples

Many retailers made immense losses in the first six months of 2020, and several are on the brink of total collapse because of recent events. During the same period, Amazon hired more than 100,000 new employees and plans to hire 75,000 more in the US in order to cater to a sharp increase in demand.

39. Home security & alarm systems

There is an increase in crime during recessions, which causes people to take additional security measures to protect their properties. People upgrade their home security and alarm systems because of the fear of break-ins.

40. Freelancer

Even when compared directly to many of the other businesses on this list, freelancing has the potential to be one of the most recession-proof businesses in the world. 

Certain tasks and activities can be outsourced to freelancers, which can help companies save money. They are able to hire a temporary employee for each task as required, rather than hiring a permanent person.

As a writer, you might imagine someone writing editorials for the New York Times or the table of contents to a novel, but the reality is that it has much more to do with creating content for business websites that need fresh content frequently to remain relevant and improve their search engine ranking. 

The creation of content, news articles, and other types of information content require skilled writers.

As an alternative, many businesses and organizations hire freelance virtual assistants who offer a variety of administrative services.

41. Video conferencing and collaborative Apps

In the current economic climate, most companies are outsourcing their workforce. Video conferencing software such as Zoom, Skype, and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc. are being used.

The number of users of Microsoft Teams grew by 894% between February and June of 2020 while Zoom users grew by 677%.

42. Contraceptives

During a recession, people do take more comfort in being intimate than usual. It’s best to buy more contraceptives to be safe so they don’t get pregnant at this time.

43. Debt-Related and repossession services

The recession period has made these services more important than ever. Due to the increased demand caused by loan defaults, debt counselling businesses or debt collection/repossession services will thrive.

44. Child Care

Similar to the baby products market, the child care market has grown in size and is expected to do so for some time. Currently, the US child care industry is worth $54.3 billion, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.9% through 2027.

In the future, the child care market will only grow in value as more and more women are empowered to continue working after childbirth.

45. Tattoo Parlors

A unique twist when compiling a list of recession-proof businesses is the inclusion of tattoo parlors.

In spite of the fact that tattoos are considered a luxury item, tattoo parlors continue to thrive even in a recession.

The reason for this may be because tattoos are relatively inexpensive compared to how long they last, plus getting ‘inked’ has become increasingly popular with each generation of people.

46. Staffing Agencies

Despite many companies cutting costs and laying off employees, staffing agencies continue to have a lot to do.

Those cuts are coming from industries that are heavily affected by a recession. However, as you can see from this list, there are a lot of industries that thrive during recessions and will need more employees.

Is a recession a good time to start a business?

The recession can indeed be an excellent time to start a business, since costs can be much lower than they would be during a boom.

In a recession, established suppliers, manufacturers, and vendors that you may need to work with to start your business are more likely to negotiate their rates.

Your business will also be well-positioned for success in the long run if you start during a recession.

Business ideas such as those listed above have a great chance of success even during economic downturns.

What products sell well during a recession?

During a recession, the best products are a combination of necessities and less expensive luxuries. During an economic downturn, staple items such as food, beverages, and toiletries continue to sell well.

Businesses providing utilities such as gas, electricity and water will not be as affected as those providing other services During a recession.

In a recession, consumers tend to purchase less expensive items such as premium cosmetics in order to compensate for the greater financial sacrifices they are making.

Which type of business is not recession-proof?

During a recession, some business ideas are very likely to perform poorly. At risk business ideas include:

Most mid-market brands are interchangeable with cheaper alternatives, and many of these companies are in debt and cannot easily diversify into other markets.

Customized startups: In a boom period, a start-up with a highly focused or niche idea may be bright, however, if the idea cannot withstand recession then it may quickly fail.

Restaurants in the midrange: While fast food, food delivery, and inexpensive snacks can thrive in a recession, restaurants in the midrange level of high quality can suffer as their customers limit their spending by cooking more at home.

If you are an entrepreneur and want to invest in one of these businesses, you are making a wise choice.

Start an Affiliate Marketing Business During Recession

As an experienced Internet entrepreneur who has successfully created multiple 6 figure businesses, I’d say affiliate marketing is a business that anyone can start during receission.

Why? Because it doesn’t need initial capital and can do it as a side hustle.

In affiliate marketing, you can run your business almost at zero cost without any trouble from sourcing products or managing inventory.

Also, since you don’t need to spend hours after hours selling things over the phone, it can save you a lot of time. 

More importantly, it allows you to enjoy a steady stream of passive income while going on vacation or working a full-time job.

Warren Buffet once said, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

The easiest way to make money while you sleep is by getting started with affiliate marketing.

And since the world is full of uncertainty, I’d always choose a business model that has the lowest risk.

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