Top 30 Low Cost and High Profit Retail Business Ideas in India

Retail Business Ideas

Most of us dream of setting up a business someday. However, one main thing- the lack of enough capital- prevents us from realizing our dreams. We look at other successful small businesses and wonder how they managed to set it up in the first place.

If you’re among one such a person that wishes to have own enterprise, there’s nothing to really worry about. Not even the lack of capital. That’s because there’re as many as 30 low cost and high profit retail business ideas in India, from which you can choose and launch an enterprise.

Therefore, let’s first understand what’re exactly low cost and high profit retail businesses.

Low Cost & High Profit Businesses

Retail Business Ideas

Basically, any business that attracts countless walk-in customers to make a purchase and pay cash are low cost and high profit retail businesses. Generally, such businesses can be started with a minimum investment of Rs.10,000 only and a maximum of Rs.500,000. In stark contrast, the startup costs of other retail businesses run into millions of Rupees.

However, to operate all these low cost and high profit retail businesses, you will require a license or at least a shop registration from the local municipal body or village administration (Gram Panchayat). That would make your business legit. 

The cost of getting such licenses and permits can range between a few hundred and a few thousand Rupees. However, the expense is worth it because nobody can evict you or take legal action against the business.

You’ll be aware that municipalities often demolish unlicensed stalls and businesses. With a license or permit, you can prevent such demolition of your business premises and destruction of your investment.

Refer: A Complete Guide to to Start a Small Business

Loans for Low-Cost Businesses

And nowadays, you can also get loans to start a low cost and high profit business in India. For example, a small entrepreneur can get anything from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 million to set up a business from the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) Bank scheme of the Indian government.

These loans are available from banks participating in the MUDRA scheme.

Then we also have Startup India and Standup India schemes where you can get loans for a small startup retail business too. Standup India in particular encourages women and entrepreneurs from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to take loans and launch own ventures.

Cooperative credit societies also lend small amounts of money to entrepreneurs to launch own business.

However, the precondition for all such loans is that you should have proper permits and licenses necessary for the business.

If this sounds interesting and you’d like to open a low cost and high profit retail business in India, continue reading. Because now I’ll be writing about 30 such low cost and high profit retail businesses in India that you can consider.

Licensing policies depend upon every state and municipality. Therefore, check these out before venturing into any of these businesses.

30 Low Cost & High Profit Retail Business Ideas

To start some of these low cost and high profit businesses that I will be mentioning would require special skills. Other businesses don’t require any specific skills and hence, can be started by anyone, even with basic or little education.

Now, here’s my list of 30 such top low cost and high profit retail business ideas in India.

Also Read: 50 Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in India

1. Tea Stall

The ubiquitous tea stall is iconic to India. You can get a warm cup of tea or coffee if you like, from countless tea stalls that operate in cities, towns, villages and also alongside highways and main roads.

This is the top most low cost and high profits business because there’ll always be customers that walk in for a cup of the famous Indian brew.

2. Health Drinks Stall

If you’ve ever been outside a jogger’s park in a big city, you’ll have seen some health drinks stalls.

Basically, they offer juices and extracts of various Indian plants, herbs, spices and vegetables to joggers, walkers and other health-conscious people that’re out for a morning walk or jog. This is also a superb business that requires rather low investment but gives high profits.

3. Fruit Juice Stall

And who doesn’t love fruit juices? That’s the main reason you can find fruit juice stalls in every nook and cranny of this country. Fruit juice stalls are in demand all round the year, regardless of the season.

That’s because people enjoy a refreshing glass of juice after meals or even to compensate for a delayed or missed breakfast, lunch or dinner and even casually, without any reason.

4. Tender Coconut Stall

If you’re living in any of the states that have a long coastline along the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean or Bay of Bengal, the best low cost and high profit business to open is of selling tender coconuts.

People simply love the slightly opaque and sweet tender coconut water and the fresh pulp in the shells. Such stalls record brisk business outside hospitals and nursing homes too and hence, are evergreen.

5. Snacks Stall

Indians are fond of snacking. And rightly so. This country has such a rich variety of snacks to offer for all times of the day. You can find snack stalls in crowded business districts and also some residential areas.

In any case, all snack stalls make profits and sell strictly on cash only basis. All you need to do is prepare fresh snacks, sometimes right before the customers to record good business.

6. Milk and Dairy Products

Milk and dairy products are something every Indian household uses. And this business never really goes out of season or faces closure due to lack of profits. You can start a milk and dairy products business easily.

People buy milk, yoghurt, Lassi and other similar milk products from your stall. Or you can get a milk cooperative to sponsor a milk parlor for you.

7. Cigarettes and Tobacco

Over all these years of my life, I’ve never seen a single stall that sells cigarettes and tobacco stuff such as Pan go out of business. Instead, they thrive abundantly and make profits.

And setting up such a shop doesn’t require much investments. However, it does require skills to make a Pan according to a customer’s specifications. You can stock everything from Pan products, bidis, tobacco, cigarettes, matchboxes and lighters and all the regular stuff that you get at such shops.

8. Soaps Shop

You might have definitely bought bathing and washing soaps from a stall in the market. These are products that people use every day at their homes and offices. The profits in this business are high since you get a lot of discounts on wholesale purchases while you will sell them at the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) mentioned on their wrappers.

Soap shops also sell loose detergent powders and homemade soaps to people. In fact, most people nowadays prefer non-commercial products that’re environment friendly and safeguard own health.

9. Men’s Salon

Opening a men’s salon does require superb skills in cutting hair and shaving. However, if you don’t have the skills, you could employ a few barbers to run the show and pay them a salary.

A men’s salon doesn’t require much investment. And all the investment is one-off. You get the money from customers in cash, since nobody has a haircut or shave on credit.

10. Aquarium Shop

An aquarium shop also doesn’t require much investment but fetches superb profits. All you need to do is stock a few glass aquariums and collectible fish at the store. And you’ll also require a breeding tank for your fish to spawn and their numbers to increase.

Aquariums are very popular as home décor and people come looking for new exotic fish to add to their collections. You can buy different kinds of fish from breeders and sell them through your shop too.

11. Religious Items Shop

India is a country that’s home to several religions. And any shop that sells religious items will therefore always be in demand. This is again a low cost and high profit retail business that anyone can start without any specific skills.

You can expect bumper sales during festival seasons and special occasions too. You can stock requirements of various religions from candles to incense sticks, pictures and images of deities to lamps and burners at your shop.

12. Florist

A shop that sells flowers witnesses a high demand all round the year. That’s because Indians love to garland their deities and prominent personalities, use flowers at religious events and funerals or even for home décor.

This business can be set up at a low cost. If you’ve the necessary skills to make garlands and wreaths, you can rake in high profits too from this retail business. Or you can start a proper florist shop selling bouquets and other such stuff, though the cost of setting up the business will be higher.

13. Laundry 

Ever wanted that trouser or skirt, shirt or blouse ironed quickly? Or wanted to get your sheets cleaned professionally? Surely, you’ll need to go to a laundry for such works. In fact, every laundry makes a lot of profits, though the business costs low to set up.

You can provide only ironing services or the full package that includes washing, dry cleaning, ironing and darning, among others. It requires some skills and you’ll need at least one laundryman to handle the show.

14. Fruit Stall

One more business that’s really easy to start at a low cost and yet make high profits is a fruit stall. Generally, fruit stalls outside hospitals, bus stands, railway stations and public places make a lot of profits due to the high turnover of customers.

At the same time, a fruit stall anywhere also records brisk business because people nowadays believe in eating healthy. Hence, they consume lots of fruits as part of their diet. Though fruits are seasonal, a fruits business works round the year.

15. Indian Railways Agency

Maybe this would come as a surprise to many, but the Indian Railways now allows private entrepreneurs to book and sell its tickets. You get around five percent commission on every ticket.

However, you’ve to pay a small, refundable deposit to Indian Railways and show that you have the necessary infrastructure such as a stall, computer and printer to open this low cost and high profit business.

16. Mattress Store

Not everyone is comfortable sleeping on factory-made mattresses and pillows. Therefore, they opt for custom made ones, with cotton, foam, coir and other stuff. This kind of a business costs fairly low to set up.

But you can record a lot of profit if you can make mattresses that will ensure a restful sleep to customers. Obviously, such a business would require superb skills and enough experience. You will also require some assistants to run this business since it cannot be handled alone, in most cases.

17. Mobile Accessories

People in India are crazy over mobile phones. And they want all sorts of accessories such as back covers, flip-cases, earphones, screen guards and so on. Therefore, open a small stall to sell mobile accessories.

Actually, people come looking for the stuff, so you don’t really have to wait for customers or invite them or advertise your products and services. And as newer models of mobile phones arrive in the market, the demand keeps growing higher and higher every month for accessories too.

18. Vegetable Vendor

Nowadays, vegetable shops are indeed becoming savvy because they accept card and online payments from apps, have electronic weighing scales and are equipped with refrigerators. If you wish, it’s possible to open such a low-cost vegetable shop in your neighborhood or some other locality.

Fresh produce is available every morning at wholesale rates while you will be charging the much higher, retail prices to customers. This is again a business that never really sees a low season.

19. Tailoring Shop

All that you need to set up this business is a superb quality sewing machine, threads, measuring tapes, hangers and other similar paraphernalia. A tailoring shop doesn’t cost much to set up. However, it does provide high profits. To open a tailoring shop, you will require the necessary skills to measure people and make clothes that fit their measurements. You can open a tailoring shop that caters to women, men, children or the entire family. It depends on your skills as a tailor.

20. Tiffin Service

With most couples that live in city doing their respective jobs, the dependence on tiffin services has grown exponentially. This is a superb retail business if you’re good at cooking and can manage a small team of cooks and delivery boys.

In some cases, people come to the tiffin service for takeaways too. You can cater to a specific income group or target the entire spectrum of the society for your tiffin service, as customers. This is a great business if you can manage it well.

21. Toys Stall

You don’t need to be a Toys ‘R Us to sell toys. Even a small street-side stall would do. Children need new toys always and parents are at a loss to provide them many due to financial constraints.

Therefore, you can open a toys stall that offers cheap variants that’re available directly from manufacturers across the country. This is a superb business because people also buy such toys for gifts. The business costs low to set up and gives high profits.

22. T-Shirt Printing

Companies, individuals and organizations want to give customized T-shirts to people or staff or members for publicity purposes. Therefore, they buy plain T-shirts in bulk and get them printed with stuff such as their logo, name, motto and other things.

This is again an evergreen business in India that never runs out of demand. All you need is a good stock of plain T-shirts and the proper machinery for printing on them.

23. Photocopy and Printing Stall

There’re several times I’ve wanted to photocopy something or print a document and have searched around a lot. And finally, heaved a sigh of relief when I spotted one to get my work done.

In India, everyone requires photocopies and prints of documents. All you require is a good photocopier and printer with a PC and some space to operate. The business can be opened at a very low cost and gives you high profits. All business is usually on cash basis only.

24. Luggage Shop

Selling purses and bags for women, briefcases and suitcases is a business that you can start at a very low cost. Yet, profits in this business are high. You don’t need a really large premises to start such a business.

Instead, it requires a location where you will find lots of customers. You can also sell other travel accessories through the stall or shop and provide baggage repair services at extra fees.

25. Footwear Repair

Surely, you’ve required the services of that neighborhood ‘mochi’ at some point of your life. Actually, this is a very profitable business that almost anyone with a few skills at repairing footwear can start.

And if you don’t have the skills, you could hire a proper ‘mochi’ on salary basis. Footwear repair shops work all round the year and aren’t impacted by pandemics or economic downturns and other evils that plague big businesses.

26. Homemade Sweets

Some months ago, I read a news story of an octogenarian woman who started her own business to sell homemade sweets. And she started this with a very modest budget enough only to buy raw materials for the sweets.

If you’re good at preparing traditional Indian sweets, you too can consider such a business and sell the stuff through stores and vendors. There’re no shortages of customers who buy homemade sweets instead of commercially made varieties.

27. Book Stall

I’m not talking about a large book stall such as Barnes & Noble or any reputed one in your city. Instead, I’m talking about a stall that sells pre-owned or second-hand books. You can get a lot of used books from scrap dealers.

All you need to do is repair them a bit and sell to avid readers, who will pay a fairly decent price for the copy. This business can be started with investment as low as Rs.10,000. In fact, I built my small library by collecting books from such small book stalls selling pre-owned copies.

28. Newspaper Stand

All of us read newspapers. And some of us also receive newspapers at home and office. Therefore, a newspaper stand business is also one of the best, if you’re looking at starting a venture with small capital.

Newspaper companies as such part with a large chunk of commissions per copy to newsvendors. You can also provide home and office delivery services. That way, you get delivery charges too.

29. Soft Drinks Stall

There was a time when soft drinks were considered as a luxury in India due to exorbitant pricing. That’s not the case nowadays. Almost everyone consumes soft drinks at least once a month while others consume daily.

Therefore, consider opening a soft drinks stall to sell soda and other such products. The investment is low and the returns are much higher than you could imagine. All it requires is a chiller. In most cases, the soft drinks company provides the chiller, if you have the space and a store permit from the municipality.

30. Toddy Shop

Usually, a toddy shop is sponsored by a toddy cooperative. All you need is to invest on stuff like furniture and an icemaker. Every toddy shop records brisk business. You will receive toddy fresh from sappers every morning.

All you need to do is sell the stuff to your customers on cash. The toddy doesn’t cost you much. However, each pot or bottle of toddy commands a high rate in the retail market. This business requires a proper license since toddy sales come under the category of Indian liquor.

Wrap Up

You would have seen that these top 30 low cost and high profit retail business ideas in India don’t require any special educational qualifications. Some may require a few special skills. All these businesses can be started easily, if you’re willing to invest a small amount of money and exert the extra effort.

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