10 Low-cost Summer Start-ups

07/25/2012 10:57 am ET | Updated Sep 24, 2012

Summertime is in full swing, and whether you're a student or looking for full-time work, it's a great time to make some money.

Sageworks, a financial information company that tracks privately held companies, is the founder of Inmates to Entrepreneurs, which educates inmates on how to start productive, low-capital businesses upon their release from prison. A.J. Ware, director of the program, coordinates educational seminars on entrepreneurship and one-on-one mentoring with the goal of helping prepare offenders and ex-offenders to start their own businesses. He knows a lot about helping people identify and use their skills to find secure employment.

Here, he offers 10 summer-oriented entrepreneurial jobs that require very little in the way of startup money. While some of these jobs may seem like they are just for teens, adults can and do make these businesses their full-time ventures, with a few tweaks. Remember to check with your city or town on any requirements for operating these types of businesses in your area.

1. Lawn Care-- This is a classic start-up job that will never go away. It's a good one not only for teenagers but also for adults. With a lawnmower and a few tools, you can generate regular work in the warmer months. This business lends itself to referrals, too, because people see you working, and your beautiful results speak for your service.

2. Babysitting-- Once a family finds a good baby sitter, they generally like to keep them, and many parents find it hard to track down reliable child care help.

3. Painting-- This is an easy indoors or outdoors job. This business requires little in the way of out-of-pocket start-up spending, since you can charge customers for reimbursement of costs for paint, paintbrushes and drop cloths.

4. Pet sitting-- Pets are a part of the family, so many people don't like the thought of sending their cat or dog to a kennel. When the family is away, either for the day or for vacation, they can leave the family pet at home if you offer a professional pet-sitting service. In some cases, this may even be cheaper for the customer than a kennel. For you, it's great because you may be able to spend time outdoors, and you'll typically be dealing with pleasant pets that are happy to see a human.

5. Car wash-- We all like to have clean vehicles! This is another great business that doesn't require major purchases to get started. You can adjust the business to suit your client base. You could specialize in detailing, or you could create a mobile service, making it easier for your customers to say "yes."

6. Beverage stand-- Back in the day, this was called a lemonade stand and was most often staffed by neighborhood children. This concept still works, but today, you can expand on the beverages offered and be mobile, setting up a cooler near gyms or other places people may want energy drinks, bottled water or soda. You can often charge double or more what you paid for the beverage, giving yourself a nice profit.

7. Popsicle stand/cart-- Who does not like ice cream or gelato? This is a great business because of the range of the client base from age 2 to 102! The trick here, of course, is finding a way to offer the goods without them melting, but several online companies advertise mobile carts for under $3,000.

8. Party planner -- Everyone loves a good party. They just do not have time to plan one. Parents, especially, often scramble to throw together birthday parties, and you can take that pressure off of them. You can plan indoor or outdoor parties, and you'll have fun seeing the guests and host having fun.

9. DJ -- With all of the online access to music and music software, a novice can sound like a seasoned professional with very little practice. You can drum up business through your friends and social organizations and have a great time while earning some money.

10. Food stand/cart -- This is one of my personal favorites, because food has the ability to appeal to all five senses, which is huge for advertising. There are frequent festivals and public gatherings during the warmer months, too, so you might be able to find large crowds more easily. A good hot dog or a chicken on a stick can be a good revenue source for the summer!