Best Business Opportunities for Retirees

If you've been "downsized" or forced to quit your full-time job due to health or other reasons traditional retirement may not be the best thing for you. Filling the day with golf, gardening, playing cards, or watching reruns of Duck Dynasty is not an appealing prospect for everyone, especially those who have enjoyed a long, rich, and fulfilling career.

According to BBC Capital, full-time retirement may also be bad for your health. Studies have indicated that the average retiree will experience a significant health issue within six years of retirement, commonly including heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and depression. Staying motivated, active, and connected is the best way to combat health declines due to aging.

Many retirees also find that full-time retirement is surprisingly expensive and their savings or pensions do not provide them with sufficient income for travel or other activities they may wish to engage in.

If you are in reasonable health and don't wish to while away your hours in retirement for the reasons above, why not start a business? Odds are you have marketable skills that can keep you active, healthy, happy, and supplement your retirement income. Here are the best business opportunities for retirees.

Note that all of these opportunities would work as part-time businesses and can be operated as home-based businesses.

Senior Chauffeur

Chauffeur is driving mature woman.
Markus Bernhard / Getty Images

By 2040 seniors are expected to comprise a quarter of the population in the U.S. and Canada as the bulk of the baby boom generation enters their senior years.

Many seniors and people with special needs are not willing or able to drive themselves and require delivery/unpacking of groceries, transportation to and from medical appointments, or assistance with basic household chores.

If you have an outgoing personality and enjoy driving this could be an ideal business opportunity. Although somewhat expensive to acquire, having a lift-equipped vehicle can boost demand for your services.

For those wishing to avoid having to launch a new business from scratch franchises such as Driving Miss Daisy are available.

Check your municipal licensing requirements for operating such a service. An upgraded driver's license, CPR training, and a criminal record check are likely requirements.

Travel Tour Guide

tour guide leading group
Rainer Grosskopf / Getty Images

If you love to travel why not get paid for it? Becoming a tour guide and introducing people to the wonders of travel can be very rewarding.  All your expenses are paid for, and compensation comes in the form of wages and tips.

As a tour guide, you will be the person escorting travelers from location to location. Daily activities might include leading a hike in the Pyrenees or showing a Unesco heritage site in Istanbul.

If you are energetic, well organized, and enjoy working with people this may be the perfect retirement business.  Additional assets are multi-language skills and previous travel experience (especially to desirable travel destinations).

The International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) offers two-week training courses in tour guiding as well as an annual symposium to enable tour guides and tour companies to connect. Online training is also available.

Child Care/Babysitting

senior childcare
Blend Images / Getty Images

If you love children why not consider childcare as a business opportunity

Upon retirement, a friend of mine began babysitting for an ex-business associate. He has minded the two children (boys) for several years from kindergarten onwards, and he describes the experience as having changed his life. He does not have grandchildren of his own, and the boys have brought him great joy and renewed interest in life.

Childcare services will not bring you great riches but can provide a nice retirement income supplement as well as being personally rewarding. A background in primary education or childcare and training in first aid/CPR would be beneficial. References and a criminal record check are definite requirements.


Truckload of Scrap Metal
georgeclerk / Getty Images

There's always a demand for hauling services for trash, garden waste, or other discarded household or business items, and if you are strong, healthy and enjoy driving, hauling could be a great retirement business opportunity for you.

Already having a truck or a van would greatly reduce start-up costs, but if not, there are normally plenty of suitable used vehicles available at a fair price.

Hauling can also be good for the environment. Delivering discarded items for recycling or reuse is an excellent way to "go green." Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity are happy to take furniture, lumber, and used construction items. These are resold or reused in low-income housing.

Painting/Interior Decorating

Man painting wall
momentimages / Getty Images

Unless you are in robust physical health, retiring from your regular job at age 50 plus and getting into construction trades like carpentry, plumbing, or roofing is probably not an option.

However, if you have always had a desire to work in the building industry, how about something less physically strenuous? If you have an eye for color, good attention to detail and a knack for swinging a brush why not consider painting or interior decorating as a retirement business and share your creative skills with the world?

Translation Services

Speaker device in various languages.
David Madison / Getty Images

The term translation refers to the art of converting written text from one language into another. It is used in a huge range of industries from advertising to the medical, legal, and software fields.

Note that while companies such as Google are developing software to automate translation from one language to another the results, while impressive, are far from ready for prime time.

Translation requires excellent writing skills in two or more languages, attention to detail, analytical skills, and (for confidentiality reasons) a high level of professional ethics. A high level of knowledge of a particular industry can allow you to specialize.

Becoming a translator could be your ideal retirement business.

Arts and Crafts

Wood Carving. Image (c) John Burke/ Getty Images

If you have artistic skills and enjoy painting, sewing, ceramics, woodworking, or another form of artwork or craft why not turn it into a business? As an example, a retired man in my town creates beautiful turned wooden bowls and dishes which he sells at local craft fairs, farmer's markets, and the village mall at various times of the year. Another acquaintance does antique restoration from his home workshop.

For ideas on marketing your artwork or crafts check out Etsy. Etsy is an online place to shop for homemade arts and craft items from around the world. Vendors can create an online store to market their products.


Piano Tutor
Tutoring Piano. Cultura RM/Attia-Fotografie/Getty Images

If you have teaching experience and a desire to help students be more successful why not become a tutor?  After retiring from teaching public school for a number of years, an associate of mine recently started her own tutoring business, which now employs several contract tutors.

In addition to teaching experience, a tutor must have excellent communication skills and be reliable, kind, punctual, well organized and have knowledge of school or university curriculum subjects such as English, math, physics, chemistry, music, etc.  

Not comfortable having students come into your own and would rather not travel to theirs? Online tutoring is becoming increasingly popular. 

Language Lessons

Language Lessons
Second Language Lessons. Hero Images/Getty Images

If you are retired, proficient in a second language, and enjoy teaching why not put these skills to use?

Many countries in the world mandate the study of a second language, normally beginning in primary school, and in today's ultra-competitive job market being proficient in more than one language can be the key to being hired. Language lessons are also very useful for travelers.

The owner of my favorite coffee establishment advertises the services of a Spanish speaker who gives lessons on the premises - a win/win for both parties. 

Which languages are most demanded? According to Omniglot, the most useful languages to learn (and therefore presumably to teach), are English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Japanese, Portuguese and Hindi/Urdu in order of usefulness.

This list is based on the number of speakers, the number and population of countries where the languages are spoken and other factors such as the number of major fields using the languages internationally.

So if you are a native speaker of English, you may not even need a second language if you are in an area where there are a large number of people who want to learn English or are willing to move to such an area. Maybe now is the time to take that trip abroad - as a teacher of English.

Pet Services

Dog Walking
Dog Walking is Healthy and Enjoyable. Yellow Dog Productions/Getty Images

Do you have spare time on your hands and love animals? If you live in an animal-crazy place like, where many pet owners also like to travel there is always a demand for reliable, trustworthy pet sitters and dog walkers.

Many pet owners prefer not to kennel their animals when they travel and are willing to pay for the privilege of having someone visit their house to look after their pets while they are away.

Pet sitting can be combined with other services for absentee homeowners.  A longtime friend of mine (who is a former employee of the SPCA) runs a local pet care business which offers additional services such as house sitting, collecting mail and newspapers, putting out the trash, etc.

Security Services

Security Services
Security Services. Dave and Les Jacobs/Kolostock/Getty Images

Trained security personnel always seem to be in high demand, whether it is serving at public functions, attending home or business premises to monitor or investigate intrusions, or organizing police or fire department personnel in cases of emergency.

(Does your business have a plan to follow if there is a serious emergency? This Business Disaster Planning Guide will lead you through the process of creating one.)

If you are a retired police officer or former member of the armed forces, you may be ideally qualified for a second career as a security guard or consultant, particularly if you are looking for part-time employment.


Volunteering is a great "business". Steve Debenport/Getty Images

Many people take advantage of volunteer services offered in their communities throughout their working lives. If you are retired why not start a new "business" as a volunteer and return the favor? 

Chances are local non-profit and charitable organizations in your town or city are clamoring for volunteer assistance in a wide variety of services and activities.  In addition to being personally rewarding, volunteering can also give you valuable experience towards starting your own for-profit business or gaining paid employment in a new field.

Why Are These the Best Business Opportunities for Retirees?

Antique Restoration
Geri Lavrov/Getty Images

None of these ideas is likely to make you a great deal of money and to start any business; you need entrepreneurial spirit, motivation, preparation, and due diligence.

After choosing an idea do some market research and write a business plan; these steps will help you to determine if your chosen idea is feasible. Make sure you discuss it with your better half - getting your spouse on your side with your proposed business venture might be difficult if he/she had other plans for your retirement!

What is particularly attractive about these opportunities for retirees is that all of them are inexpensive to start and can be operated as part-time, home-based businesses. Running your own small business can help keep you motivated, happy, and healthy for years to come, as well as supplement your retirement income.