Starting a Business near College Campus

  • Post category:Business
  • Reading time:15 mins read
How to start a business near college campus

Starting a business requires a lot of hard work, strategy and financial support. It is a time taking process that demands patience and competence. Moreover, it requires planning to beat the pre-existing competition. So before you decide to step up in your business area, it is important to choose the right industry that is relatively less competitive and more lucrative.

Having said that, there are lot of business opportunities to be explored and grasped. Among one of them is setting up a business near college campuses. Cities that have universities and other educational institutions particularly have a large number of populace residing near the campus. Businesses that cater to the needs of these people are usually in more demand owing to their monopoly and ease of buying.

Total annual spending by students

Most of the spending’s done by any college student primarily goes to Food industry. The second contributing industry belongs to Clothes and Accessories, followed by Electronics, Books, Groceries and Automobiles. On an average, students spend around $350 billion annually in various ways during their education. A business catering to the needs of these masses can definitely turn out to be lucrative and successful.

15 Best Businesses ideas that can be started near college campus

Unlike any other location the perks of starting a business near a college campus are huge. Not only are you aware about your target customers, but there is willingness for purchase to live up with the social standards. With the rise of maintaining social status among peers the discreet spending’s have increased considerably. This being said, opening up a small book store or even a gift shop in the college town can turn out to be very profitable. Let us take a look at some of the best business ideas that can be started near college campus.

*Business Score is calculated basis the investment made with tentative time period required to reach profitability.

Customized T-shirts Business

Market Share for Custom T-Shirts

Customized T-shirt printing business is a trending idea to start near college campus. All you need is a digital heat press, plain t-shirts and few motivational quotes to get started. There are many on demand t-shirt printing companies online, yet the popularity for these custom clothing line are at its peak.

Wearing a custom quoted T-shirts is a fashion statement and is admired by most college going generations. As per reports, the market share is predicted to reach $3.1 billion by 2025. What’s more? Not much startup budget is required to setup this business. Apart from a store that may need some investment depending upon the size and location, this business model does not require any operational cost. The printing heat press machines are readily available online as well as offline store for around $200. If your target audience is college based students, it’s the best opportunity to get started with this business idea. Moreover, you can also setup your online store on Merch by Amazon for multi-channel sales to boost your income in a short span of time.

Laundry Service Business

Laundry Business idea near college campus

Laundry Businesses is another excellent idea that can be started near college campus. Laundry service has always been in demand among students since they usually do not have washers, thus creating a lot of opportunity to explore in this business sector.

The main advantage of this business over any other is the minimal investment required for setup. All you need is a washing machine and a clothing iron with a small space either in a shop or your own house. You can get more innovative and create your website or an application where students can book and avail free home delivery.

For a start, try to connect with the university itself to get emails of the students where you can share about your services. Offer discounts and coupons in exchange for referrals and word of mouth.

Food Truck Business

Food Truck Business near college campus

The advantage of opening a food truck is due to its mobility to move to a prime location in peak hours. Unlike any other restaurant models, if you plan to open a food truck near a college campus, there are minimal challenges when it comes to choosing a location. Besides, you can move your truck to corporate plazas or offices in the evening once you have catered with the college students.

Apart from registering your business and taking necessary permits from the government, the initial setup cost to operate are not huge. You can start by purchasing a refurbished food truck that has all the necessary equipment pre-installed in the kitchen.

Café Business

Café near college campus

Hanging out in a café is an age old tradition among the college students. A recent survey reported that 92% of the college students consumed caffeine in some or the other form, making it the most preferred beverage in this age group. Although starting a café business requires a lot of hard work, planning and research, but with correct business implementation you can surely achieve success in this lucrative business.

However there is an alternate to a traditional brick and mortar café in the event you do not have a huge investment to back your project. You can start a mobile café with a similar concept of food truck business. The typical investment to start this business venture is not much and can be operated with much ease.

Jewelry Store

jewelry store business

Opening up a Jewelry store near college campus can be a lucrative business idea. Most of the college students prefer artificial fashion accessories to match their casual outfit or their hair style. You can cater to these needs by providing wide range of inexpensive Jewelries that can match with their occasion (pendants, earrings, bracelets and anklets).

Furthermore, starting up a Jewelry business does not require huge investment. You can either start with a small cart depending on your budget or a small fashion accessory store near the campus. All you have to keep up with is the latest fashion trend and how to display them.

Gym & Yoga Centre

Gymnasium near universities

Although most of the universities offer gym and recreational center inside their premises, however not many college students prefer to use them. Opening up a gym near college campus is another recommended business idea that can make you successful overnight. The setup cost may require huge investment depending upon the size and the machines that are installed, but once started; you will never struggle with the operations and profit margins. Moreover, you will have a fresh customer base every year owing to fresh admissions every year. Businesses like these do not require any kind of marketing as they usually get a free word of mouth from pre-existing members.

In case you are wondering to start this business without any investment, you can work on a yoga or meditation center. You may require a huge space, but can save a lot on machines and equipment’s required while starting a gymnasium.

Mobile Store

Mobile Store business

Owning a mobile phone or a tablet has become a necessity and a culture. Everybody uses them for some or the other reason and there purpose is not just restricted to calling. College students usually prefer iPad to take notes during the lecture, which helps them in their academics.

Likewise, they also require accessories like screen protectors, back covers, ear phones, and power banks to support their gadget. Opening up a mobile and accessory store near college campus can be very rewarding and profitable as it can bring a lot of traction.

You can start by opening a small retail counter near the college. Try to print some billboards and paste near the campus for free advertisement. Also you need to publish your presence on Yellow Pages and distribute flyers to the students coming out of the university.

Book Store

book store business

If you are a Bibliophile then this is the right business opportunity for you. You can start from day one by choosing an appropriate pedestrian-friendly location that is close to the college campus. Since the primary factor responsible for the sustenance of a book store is the location, you will have the advantage because of the right audience and neighborhood.

Depending on the university, you can keep a collection of academic books as well as facts and fiction based novels. A lot of book store owners are now renting a small space of their stores to café shops. This can mutually benefit both the business owners and can considerable reduce the rent of the premises.

FMCG Store

FMCG Store

Opening up a Fast Moving Consumer Goods store is an uncomplicated business idea. Due to the nature of its business, it can be started in any neighborhood with typically less competition and a large customer base. A business plan to start an FMCG store near the college campus may turn out to be very lucrative due to its easy access and frequent necessity.

You can even start an online delivery store right from your house that can deliver all the products outside the college campus. This way you can save a lot on the operation cost and focus more on the marketing strategies.

An app based delivery system is also an ideal business opportunity which can be promoted though Google Ads to the areas near the university campus.

Paying Guest Business

Paying Guest Business near college campus

Another money-making business idea that can be started near college campus is guest house business for students. This business model requires a huge investment as you need to own the property before giving it for rent to the college students. However, this investment comes with a guarantee that your business will prosper with time.

Almost all the students look for accommodation near the college premises that can save them on fuel and transportation. Besides, it saves a lot of time in traveling if they look for an accommodation closer to their campus. So even if you decide to increase the rent for the said accommodation compared with other properties that are far from the campus, you can still play the monopoly in this business.

Billiards Parlor

College students usually enjoy a good game of pool after an exhaustive session in the class. Starting a billiards parlor that allows ‘rent a table’ is a brilliant way to lure the young generation. On an average the rent for a single table is around $10/ hour on a normal day. If you can start your business with 4 tables, the average daily earnings you can make can reach around $500.

You can also generate additional income by opening a café counter or a bakery counter inside your parlor. Additionally, you can sell monthly and annual memberships and organize pool league to attract more students.

Salon Business

Salon Business

In the recent years, there has been a consistent rise in the salon industry. The global salon industry is expected to reach $190 billion and in USA alone this industry is estimated to reach $47 billion by 2024. Students are spending more and more on beauty to maintain social status and to compete with their peers. Opening up a salon near the college campus can be a very profitable business idea owing to its easy access by the students.

However, it is important to understand this business concept before stepping into it. A lot of investment is required in setting up a modern day salon. Moreover, a fixed budget is required for marketing, promotion and other daily operational expenses. If you are having a strong financial backup to support your business, this venture can definitely lead you to success.

Gift Store

Gift Store

Whether it’s a birthday celebration, housewarming party or a special day for someone, Gifts play a significant role in our lives.  When they are situated close to the college campus, we all know how useful they can be. If you are a creative thinker and romantic by heart, starting a small gift shop near university can bring a great amount of success. All you need is a small investment and a little imagination to decorate your gift shop.

For a start, you can keep all sorts of varieties starting from Greetings cards to Soft toys and Fashion Jewelries. Anything that comes to your mind that is inexpensive and makes a wonderful gift, you can keep this in your store.

Stationery Shop

Stationery Shop

In the digital era, it may seem absurd to open a stationery shop. Be that as it may, these essential commodities are still required by any college going student. Be it a regular ink pen, A4 sheets or a simple file cover, these essentials are required by every student during their academic tenure.

Moreover, a stationery shop is not limited to pens and papers only. You can keep art & craft supplies, party supplies, cartridges and inks for printers, digital courses related to academics etc. You can also club this business with a book store since a stationery store does not require much of an investment to get started.

Hobby Classes

Hobby Classes

Starting a hobby class near the campus is a great way to attract students and turn into a successful entrepreneur. The class can be related to anything; be it archery, painting or gardening. Something that interest you and gives you pleasure along with a sense of relaxation can be included in the hobby class.

But more importantly, the hobby class should be started after taking a considerable amount of feedback from the student body itself. It is important to understand their hobbies and interests before investing anything in this business idea.


In this blog, we discussed various business ideas that can be started near a college campus. Usually places like these are filled with students from different background and culture. It is therefore important to analyse and plan your business that caters the need of everyone. Good Luck.


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