Start-Up Cost: $1,000

Potential Earnings: $40,000–$80,000

Typical Fees: $100 and up per apartment

Advertising: Email, telemarketing, flyers aimed at apartment landlords

Qualifications: Knowledge of cleaning procedures and painting skills

Equipment Needed: Cleaning supplies, sweeper, mops, buckets, painting equipment

Potential Home Business: Yes

Staff Required: No

Disabled Opportunity: No

Hidden Costs: Insurance, equipment maintenance

Lowdown: You add the finishing touches to apartment buildings before the next tenant moves in. To increase your marketability, offer several services, including carpet cleaning, wall washing, painting and wallpaper repair, and overall cleaning services. Set fee schedules appropriately depending on individual services (or offer an all-inclusive package price). Advertise your services to many apartment complexes. To cut down on driving, try to get a contract with a multi-unit apartment complex offering short-term lease options.

Start-Up: Invest in good-quality cleaning equipment, including a sweeper and carpet cleaner. Start-up costs can be as low or as high as you want, depending on what services you are going to offer and the quality of equipment you purchase. This business can be started for a relatively low cost with a high return on investment.

Bottom Line: This business is not for someone who is afraid of good hard elbow grease. Be prepared to encounter some messy situations. Apartment preparers might spend quite a bit of time on their hands and knees cleaning baseboards and floors—consider the health of your back and always wear a back corset. In addition, invest in a good pair of kneepads and rubber gloves.