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5 Top Recession-Proof Home Services Businesses

A recession is a challenging period for the economy where money might be sparse, and customers change how they spend. Let’s explore 5 recession-proof service businesses and what makes them resilient.

Kevin Talley

Staff Contributor

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Are you familiar with the term ‘recession’? It’s a challenging period for the economy where money might be sparse, and customers can change how they spend.

This can be especially noticeable for small businesses in the home services sector.

The good news? Some businesses have strategies that help them navigate these economic downturns more effectively than others.

In this article, we’ll explore what makes recession-proof service businesses resilient during these times. Additionally, we’ll highlight home service ideas that tend to weather the storm quite well. 

And as a bonus, we’ve compiled practical tips to bolster your business, ensuring it remains robust through thick and thin.

Ready to gain some insights? Let’s get started.

What Is a Recession and How Does It Affect Business?

Woman looking at business documents and calculating

According to Investopedia: “A recession is a significant, widespread, and prolonged downturn in economic activity.”

Think of the economy as an intricate machine.

When all parts are functioning efficiently, it hums along—businesses prosper, and there’s a general sense of confidence. However, there are moments when the machine’s gears don’t turn as swiftly. This slowdown is termed a recession.

Officially, it’s when the economy shrinks for two quarters in a row. This leads to reduced spending and increased caution in business operations.

You might remember the impacts of The Great Recession between 2007 and 2009. The US economy took a big dip. The biggest since World War II. It lasted for 18 months, making it the longest too. Unemployment went from below 5% to 10%.

How Do People Act During a Recession?

During a recession, people often tighten their belts. That means they’re careful about how they spend their money.

Instead of getting a fancy new gadget, they might fix the old one. Or they might hold off on that big home project.

For small businesses, this can be tricky. People might cut back on some services or delay them.

But here’s a silver lining: They’ll still need essential services. And that’s where home-services providers come in.

What About Hiring?

You might think it’s easier to hire when the economy’s slow. After all, aren’t more people looking for jobs? Well, yes and no.

People might be more cautious about switching jobs. They want stability.

For business owners, it’s a good time to be selective. Look for people who fit your company’s culture and can ride out the storm with you. Maybe hire part-time or offer trial periods.

In short, recessions can be tough. But with the right approach, you and your business can weather the storm. Stick around, and we’ll give you the inside scoop on which home services hold up during these times.

Is There Such a Thing as a Recession-Proof Business?

Stressed business woman looking at business reports

No business is like a magic bubble against recessions. But, some businesses can take a punch and bounce back.

Why? Let’s break it down.

Consistent Need

Some things just can’t wait. Take plumbing, for example. If your toilet’s acting up, you have to call someone, recession or not. Why? Because it’s a daily need.

So, think about services homes can’t skip—fixing broken windows, patching roofs, or unclogging drains. If it’s urgent, you’re in demand. 

Year-Round Service

Jobs that keep you busy all year are golden.

One example is lawn care. Grass keeps growing! In spring, it needs cutting. In fall, leaves need raking. Snow in winter? Grab that shovel.

Can’t-Do-Without Services

Some things aren’t a luxury. They’re a must. Heating during a cold winter? Essential. Keeping bugs out? Absolutely.

Make a list of services that homeowners see as a top priority. Then, see if you can offer one (or more).

Embrace Tech

Every business is becoming a tech business. During tougher times, simple tools can be game-changers.

Consider a scheduling app that helps avoid missed appointments. Or a gadget that finds wall studs in seconds. Little upgrades can set you apart from the competition.

5 Recession-Proof Home Services Business Ideas

Contractor business man smiling at the camera

Want to know the home service businesses that can tough it out during the hard times?

Grab a seat. Let’s dive deep into the details of five recession-proof service businesses.


Why the High Demand?

Imagine it’s been one of those particularly long days. You’re dreaming about a warm shower to wash away the stress. Just as you’re about to step in, bam! The water’s as cold as a polar plunge.

Or picture you’re hosting a get-together, and right in the middle, the kitchen sink decides it’s the perfect time to clog up. Not ideal, right?

These aren’t just minor inconveniences. Plumbing issues strike at the core of our daily routines and comforts.

They disrupt meals, hygiene, and even our relaxation time. We rely so much on water for almost everything: cooking, cleaning, bathing. When there’s a glitch in the system, it throws a wrench into the smooth flow of our day.

Now, add to this the potential damage some plumbing issues can cause.

A leaking pipe might not only increase the water bill but also lead to mold growth or structural damage if left unchecked. That small dripping sound can herald a big problem on the horizon.

So, it’s not just about comfort but also about protecting our homes. The urgency and importance of the situation is what makes plumbing services so vital.

When the waterworks go haywire, we don’t just want a solution; we need it, and we need it now.

Fixing issues, preventing bigger messes, and restoring our peace of mind? Priceless—whatever the economy is doing.

Survival Strategies:

  • Diverse Services: From fixing drips to complete bathroom renovations, offering a broad range keeps you in demand.
  • Emergency Availability: Being there 24/7? Huge win. People remember who saved their flooded basement at 2 a.m.
  • Regular Training: The plumbing world evolves. Regular training ensures you’re up-to-date with the latest techniques and tools.
  • Environmentally Friendly Solutions: As folks become more eco-aware, offering green solutions can set you apart.

Bonus Tip:

Offer monthly check-ups to keep the phone ringing. Preventive care is the name of the game.

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning)

Why the High Demand?

Think about those sweltering summer days when the sun feels like it’s just a few inches from your face. Or those bone-chilling winter nights when even a dozen blankets aren’t enough.

Our homes are our shelters, our safe-havens. They’re where we retreat to find relief from extreme temperatures. And what makes this possible? The HVAC system.

But it’s more than just about comfort. Having a regulated indoor temperature is also crucial for health reasons.

A functioning air conditioner can prevent heat exhaustion or even more severe heat-related illnesses during heatwaves. In colder months, proper heating reduces the risk of hypothermia or catching cold-related ailments.

Especially for the very young, the elderly, or those with certain medical conditions, a stable indoor climate isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Let’s also consider air quality. Modern HVAC systems also help filter out allergens, pollutants, and even some germs. For those with allergies or respiratory issues, clean indoor air is a game-changer.

On top of that, our lifestyles are built around these systems. Planning a summer movie marathon at home? You’d want the AC running. Dreaming of a cozy winter reading nook? You’d rely on the heater.

HVAC systems are the heartbeat of a comfortable home. They keep things running smoothly, ensuring we live in a space where we can relax, rejuvenate, and breathe easy.

And when they malfunction? We notice, and we want them fixed ASAP.

This blend of comfort, health, and lifestyle keeps HVAC services in high demand.

Survival Strategies:

  • Year-Round Service: Winter’s chill or summer’s blaze—offer it all so you’re always needed.
  • Specialized Offers: Air purification, humidity control, and energy-efficient solutions keep you ahead of the game.
  • Up-to-Date Certifications: Ensure your team is certified and knowledgeable about the latest HVAC systems.
  • Flexible Payment Plans: Offering easy payment options can be a big draw for households on a budget.

Bonus Tip:

How about an app that reminds homeowners when their system needs a check? Or discounts on regular maintenance plans? Make it easy for your customers, and they’ll stick around.

Renovation and Remodeling

Why the High Demand?

Homes naturally show signs of wear and tear as time goes by.

Styles evolve, too. What was trendy a decade ago might now look a bit dated. People often crave a fresh update, be it for their old bathroom tiles or that kitchen that screams the ’80s.

However, here’s the catch: homeowners might tighten their belts a bit during a recession.

Those grand dreams of a complete home makeover? They might take a backseat.

Instead, homeowners might opt for smaller, more affordable updates to spruce things up without breaking the bank.

Survival Strategies:

  • Mini-Makeovers: Promote budget-friendly facelifts. Think cabinet refinishing, fresh paint jobs, or new lighting fixtures. Little changes can have a big impact.
  • Flexible Payment Plans: Make it easier on the wallet. Offering installment plans or special discounts can encourage people to start projects even during challenging times.
  • DIY Assistance: Some people might want to get hands-on but lack know-how. Why not offer workshops or sell DIY kits? It’s a win-win. They save, and you still make a sale.
  • Virtual Consultations: Use tech to your advantage. Offer online consultations to discuss potential projects. It’s convenient and can save both time and money.

Bonus Tip: 

Offer free consultations to brainstorm ideas. The more involved and informed your customers feel, the happier they’ll be.

Pest Control

Why the High Demand?

Nobody likes uninvited guests, especially if they’re of the creepy-crawly kind. Roaches, mice, and ants? They can cause quite a stir.

And it’s not just about the “yuck” factor. These tiny invaders can also pose health risks and damage property. For instance, termites might be tiny, but they can chew through wooden structures, causing expensive damage.

Or think about those disease-carrying mosquitoes that can turn a lovely backyard evening into a scratching spree.

In good times or bad, homeowners prioritize their family’s health and safety.

As inflation slows, consumer confidence grows. According to industry trend analysis, this benefits pest control services even with reduced spending and disposable income.

Why? Because during a recession, people might postpone that luxury vacation or a new car purchase. But keeping their home free from pests? That remains a top priority. 

No one wants to compromise on a safe, comfortable living environment. Which is why, despite economic downturns, the phone keeps ringing at pest control businesses.

Homeowners would rather invest in professional services to ensure the problem is handled effectively rather than risk a DIY approach that might not work out.

Survival Strategies:

  • Year-Round Service: Different pests pop up in different seasons. Be the go-to for every buggy issue.
  • Safe and Natural Methods: More households want safe, eco-friendly solutions. Ditch the harsh chemicals, and you’ve got an edge.
  • Education: Teach homeowners about prevention, and they’ll see you as the expert.
  • Customized Plans: Every home is different. Offering tailored pest solutions makes clients feel special.

Bonus Tip: 

How about a regular newsletter with tips on keeping pests at bay? Or reminders when it’s time for their next service? Little nudges make a big difference.

Cleaning Services

Why the High Demand?

Picture a messy room. Toys are scattered everywhere, dust bunnies under the furniture, and mysterious stains on the floor.

Things get messy, whether it’s a busy household with kids and pets or a solo dweller juggling work and life. And not everyone has the time (or energy) to deal with it all. Enter cleaning services.

It’s not just about sparkling floors or dust-free shelves, either. Clean homes also mean healthier living environments.

Getting rid of dirt, germs, and allergens can make a big difference in our well-being. Especially in recent times, with concerns about viruses and bacteria, professional cleaning can bring peace of mind.

You might think, “During a recession, wouldn’t people just clean themselves to save money?” Some might. 

But many also recognize the value of professional cleaning. They know pros have the tools, products, and know-how to do a thorough job.

Everyone loves a clean home. And even when times are tough, many will be willing to pay for the comfort and health benefits of a professionally cleaned space.

Just keep adapting, offer value, and let your service shine. 

Survival Strategies:

  • Diverse Offerings: Don’t just offer general cleaning. Consider deep cleaning, eco-friendly cleaning, or specialized services like carpet or window cleaning. Variety can attract more clients.
  • Flexible Schedules: Offer different frequency options. Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or even one-time deep cleans can cater to varying customer needs.
  • Subscription Models: Regular cleaning subscriptions can ensure consistent income and build customer loyalty.
  • Health and Safety Focus: Especially in today’s world, emphasizing the use of safe, effective, and germ-killing products can be a big selling point.

Bonus Tip: 

Consider a discount after 10 services or a free add-on for regular customers. Rewarding loyalty can keep customers coming back.

4 Tips to Make Your Business Resilient During Recessions

Two people giving each other high fives

The ups and downs of the economy can be a rollercoaster, especially for small to medium-sized businesses like yours. But with the right strategies, you can ride those waves with ease.

Recessions can be challenging, but they’re also opportunities. Opportunities to adapt, to grow, and to show just how resilient your business can be.

Here are five tips to help your business stay strong, even when the going gets tough. Keep hammering away!

Adapt Services to Consumer Needs

Recessions can change what people want or need. Maybe they’re tightening their budgets, or perhaps they have different priorities.

  • Listen to Your Customers: Send out surveys or simply chat with clients. Find out what they’re looking for in the current climate.
  • Offer Flexible Packages: Offer budget-friendly options or packages tailored to essential services.
  • Introduce New Services: If there’s a demand for something new (like sanitizing services during health scares), jump on it.

Plan for Those Slow Seasons

Recessions can sometimes mean fewer calls and quieter days. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit idly by.

  • Start a Savings Fund: Just like squirrels store nuts for winter, stash away some earnings during good times. It’ll be a lifesaver when things slow down.
  • Skill Up: Use the quiet periods to train your team or learn new skills. When business picks up, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
  • Perform Maintenance: Got equipment? Now’s the time to service and maintain it, so it’s all in top shape for busier days.

Trim Costs (But Wisely)

Cutting costs can help during tight times. But be smart about it. You don’t want to compromise on quality.

  • Audit Expenses: Look at where your money’s going. Do you have subscriptions or services you no longer use? Time to cut them out.
  • Bulk Buy: Items you use often, like cleaning supplies? Buy in bulk or during sales.
  • Go Green: Energy-efficient equipment or practices might have upfront costs but save money in the long run.

Embrace Automation and Tech

Technology like software and artificial intelligence is for every business. It can be your best friend in streamlining tasks and saving time and money.

  • Automate Bookings: Use software that lets clients book or reschedule appointments online. That means fewer mix-ups and less time spent on the phone.
  • Improve Your Digital Marketing: Utilize tools that automate email campaigns or social media posts—consistent marketing with less effort.
  • Invest in Financial Software and Payment Tools: Track earnings and expenses and even send invoices. Plus, give your clients more ways to pay. Enjoy fewer errors and more clarity.

Take Action Now

Smiling man doing research on laptop

Start with these three actions, and you’ll take big strides toward recession-proofing your business. Every small effort counts.

Connect and Collaborate

Networking isn’t just for corporates. Reach out to other local businesses, even if they’re in a different industry. You might find opportunities for collaboration or referrals.

Maybe the local furniture store has clients who need home cleaning services. Or the real estate agent knows someone who needs a pest control recommendation.

Immediate Action: Jot down a list of local businesses you frequent or admire. Drop them a friendly email or even pop by in person (with safety protocols, of course). Build those bridges.

Gather Feedback

The best way to know if you’re on the right track? Ask your clients! Often, they have insights or suggestions you might not have thought of.

Immediate Action: Send out a quick text or email to your last 10 clients. Ask them two simple questions:

  • What did you love about our service?
  • Is there one thing we could do better?

It’s fast, it’s easy, and the feedback is gold.

Showcase Your Safety-First Culture

In today’s world, safety is a top priority for many. Show your clients that you’re ahead of the curve.

Immediate Action: Do a mini-audit of your safety protocols. Then, post about it on your social media. Snap a pic of your team in safety gear or create a quick video demonstrating how you sanitize your equipment. It reassures clients and showcases your commitment.

Kevin is an experienced content expert with experience in marketing strategy, creative writing, video production, social media, and team training. Additionally, he also has a master's degree focused in Playwriting from Texas State University.

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