The United States of America (USA) is a country of interest. There are possibly just a few people who wouldn’t want to live there. The reason is very obvious. It has arguably the strongest economy in the world. It’s democracy is stable. Opportunities abound greatly and easily accessible to all.
Most importantly, private enterprise thrive so much that many of the world biggest companies are started there. It’s regulatory and legal system provides for strong institutions that encourage free enterprise and competition irrespective of nationality.
The USA ranks high in ease of doing business, hence the many small and medium enterprises (SME’s) that spring up daily across the country.
Can a Foreigner Start a Business in the United States of America?
You can start and thrive in business in the USA as a foreigner. Indeed, so many small businesses in this country are owned and run by immigrants.
Though the process of incorporating a company or registering a business may vary from state to state. The procedures are generally fairly easy.
What limits many would be entrepreneurs are: the inability to generate profitable business ideas and lack of understanding of the legal procedure for setting up businesses.
In this article, we cover both. We highlight some simple business ideas you can do as a foreigner as well as tell you the general steps you can take to start the business of your choice.
Why starting a business in the US is a very big deal for many foreigners.
A lot immigrants and non-residents alike desire to start their own businesses in the USA. Here are just a few reasons this is so
- The United States has one of the freest economies in the world. It encourages free enterprise and has a sound legal framework that drives entrepreneurship.
- The country offers competitive tax rates
- Easy access to funds irrespective of your nationality. There are so many private funding sources available to entrepreneurs. This include private bankers, angel investors and venture capital funds
- Owning a business may facilitate your residency as a foreigner
- The America market is very huge
- You will find a lot of experts in your sector to mentor you to success
Now, 15 Easy Businesses you can start in the US as a foreigner
Here, in no particular order, are our 10 top pick of businesses to start in the USA as a foreigner.
- Livestock farming
- Daycare centre
- Hair Styling
- Fashion Business
- Food Trucking
- Coffee Shop
- Delivery Services
- Hauling Service
- Scrape booking Services
- Cleaning Services
Above is the list of perfect businesses that most immigrants engage in, in the United States. You can explore any of them if you are just starting out.
Now we give a brief explanation of each of the above businesses.
#1. Livestock farming
Agriculture all over the world is profitable venture and one which is highly encouraged and supported by the government. It is the same in the United States and also open for participation by immigrant entrepreneurs.
Livestock farming and animal husbandry is a great business to start anywhere. But you must ensure you spend some time understand the intricacies of the business before you start. Some of the livestock farming that you can go into are: Poultry farming, fish farming, cattle rearing, etc.
#2. Daycare Center
This is another lucrative business to start as a foreigner in the USA. The driver of this business is the huge number of working parents who go to work outside their homes. Many children are cared for by nannies, baby sitters, or family members. Yet over 23% of children below 5 years old go to daycare centers.
Thus, Daycare center business is flourishing and more are still needed. So if you love kids and are searching for a business to do as an immigrant, consider setting up a childcare center. To succeed in this business, you must set up your day care center in a very clean and conducive environment. You must also be professional in outlook to cultivate the trust of parents..
#3. Be a Freelancer
Freelancing might be the most suitable business to start if you love working from home and possess a high income skill. It is easy.
You do not need to worry about having an address or location for your business. All you would need is a laptop and internet connection to start freelancing.
As a freelancer, you can write for high net-worth individuals, corporate organizations, influencers, etc. The job you do for them is wide and varied. Copy writing, PR copies, newsletter production, website maintenance, business blogging, etc.,
#4. Become a hairstylist
Are good at making hair or cutting hair? Then open a small salon in a small town! Start a hairstylist business. Starting out in a small town will help you get noticed easily and you can operate your business and become very successful at it.
A sound practical experience and an understanding of how to make different hair styles are important factors that will define your success.
This is a business you can either do from home or from a rented studio.
#5. Start a Fashion Business
Let’s say you know how to sew clothes; it is a step towards starting a lucrative business in fashion designing. As a fashion designer, you will be creating clothing of all types including accessories. The fashion industry is a billion dollar business and you will do well to cut from this pie
You can sew uniforms and do a lot of other fashion work and make a lot of money from this business even as a foreigner in the USA.
#6. Start a Laundry Business
Laundry services provides foreigners in the United States of America the opportunity to become entrepreneurs. It is a service business that involves the washing and ironing of clothes for customers. Laundry business usually go along with dry cleaning. In some states, you may be required to get a license to do this business/
#7. Start a consulting business
Do you posses a specialist knowledge, skill, experience or a combination of all? If yes, then you can use these specialist skills to work for corporate organizations or the government as consultant.
A consultant is a specialist who uses his skills, knowledge and experience to solve problems for organizations and individuals.
There are a lot of foreigners who have settled in this country, and they use their expertise to counsel people in different fields of life. You can provide consultancy services in a wide range of areas such as business, finance, wealth management, marketing, marriage, relationship, etc.
You are only limited by your expertise. Also, you may need to obtain a form of certification or licensing to provide consultancy services in some specific areas.
#8. Start a food truck business
Owning a food truck can be a worthwhile business, if done properly. A food truck is a vehicle fitted with kitchen equipment to make and sell food on the go. Call it a mobile restaurant, you will not be wrong.
If you have ever considered starting a restaurant but are constrained by capital, food truck may be the best option for you. It is cheaper to start because you do not need to invest in physical accommodation for your restaurant.
Food truck business is profitable. However, you must develop and keep to a good business and marketing concept to be successful.
#9. Start a coffee shop
A coffee shop serves varieties of coffee and snacks. Coffee shop is big business and requires some good investment in terms of money and time. It also requires careful planning. A key success factor in this business is location. Choose a busy environment, one with much foot and vehicular traffic, adequate spaces for parking, etc.
#10. Start a Restaurant
Many people now work out of their homes and many more are choosing to eat out or buy prepared food to take home. This is a trend that is driving the restaurant business.
The outbreak of the corona virus in 2020 slowed down restaurant business as people complied with locked down procedures. However, the sector has become active again and many more restaurants are springing up.
Yet opportunities exist for more.
Your success at restaurant business will be defined by the quality of your menu, niche, environment and service quality.
We must say that running a restaurant is not an easy thing. But if done properly is a very lucrative venture. In some states, some form of licensing is needed to operate a restaurant.
#11. Delivery Services
America is home to global courier companies with strong domestic delivery service offerings. UPS, USPS and FedEx are some of these global brands.
Yet the need of a large number of people who need to have their packages sent and received within shorter distances are hardly met.
People need fast, pick-up and often same day delivery of parcels. And this need is growing with the increasing number of online stores. These online stores need local delivery service operators to pick packages from warehouses and deliver to online shoppers.
Since the choices are wide, you can choose to be a niche delivery service provider. Thus, you may choose to deliver documents, light parcels, food or do all kind of packages.
Your biggest start up cost may the acquisition of vehicle and your next biggest cost may on insurance. There are delivery companies now that use motor bikes and tricycles. Then you will have to register your business and prepare it for taxes, etc.
Now that you know everything about starting a business in the US as a foreigner, we are sure you now have answers and know what to do next.
#12. Hauling Business
Hauling business is about the movement of goods from one place to another. The movement may be from factory, warehouse or depot to selling points, etc. Haulage of goods is usually by road or rail transportation.
The goods that is transported varies from raw materials, finished and semi-finished. They may also come in different kinds of packaging.
Essentially it involves the use of trucks. As a matter of fact, acquiring trucks may be the major expenses you may have to make in hauling business.
A huge opportunity exist in haulage. According to the American Trucking Association, 70% of all freights in the country are carried by the trucking industry. An the industry will grow by 27 percent in the next one decade.
In many states, intending hauling services providers are required to obtain relevant permits and licensing before they commence business. Some of these license include: Motor Carrier Operating Authority, Commercial Drivers’ License, and a USDOT Number.
Other requirements that you need to meet are a BOC-3 filing and International Registration Plan, if you intend to operate in multiple states.
#13. Scrap Book Services
Scrapbook is a book with blank pages, carefully prepared to allow its user paste all sorts of memorabilia. It used to record personal, family or even corporate memories in the form of photos and other form of embellishments.
It sounds mundane, right?
No! Because in the USA, scrapbooking is a well sort after hobby which some smart people have turned to lucrative business. Yes! the business of making scrapbooks.
As a scrapbook business owner, you will be helping people document memorable events of their lives. Many people will like to create a scrapbook but don’t have the time or patience to do so. Thus, they are always looking for professional scrapbook makers to do it for them.
That’s your market and it’s a huge one because it has been reported that at least 29% of American household makes an attempt at creating scrapbooks. It’s an industry estimated to worth $4 billion.
You will be using their photos, materials and memorabilia to create scrapbook for them. So if you are one who has the ability to interpret some body’s vision into a scrapbook, then you are in big business.
You can conveniently do this business from home. All you will need are albums, paper (plain and pattern), adhesive, specialty pens, markers, stickers, and stamps.
List your services on ebay or etsy. Or create a website, then promote!
#14. Home Cleaning Services
What do you think about cleaning people’s homes? Demeaning? NO
Home cleaning is becoming a very hot business in the US. Here again the reason is obvious. People are becoming busier. And the need to outsource domestic chores is increasing becoming the new order.
There are stories of people who started small business as Home Cleaners and grow to become mega businesses. It’s a business you can do completely from home and it cost little start.
Start from your neighborhood, do it well, keep it and watch your reputation grow. Followed by a swelling pocket.
You will need a license to do this business. So check with your state. Also sort out insurance. Insurance will protect you in the event that you damage a valuable item in a home you manage.
A simple dictionary definition of gardening is “an activity of tending and cultivating a garden as a hobby”. These days, gardening is much more than a hobby. It is a subset of landscaping.
Landscaping and gardening deals with the creation and maintenance of a functional green environment that pleasing aesthetically.
Gardening is growing seriously as a business!
A professional gardening or one offering gardening services will design a sketch for a garden and recommend a list of plant. He will plant and cultivate the plants and maintains the garden to fall in sync with the landscape.
Your gardening business offer is to help individual home owners, corporate institutions and government departments create and maintain gardens to create a beautiful landscape.
Some training in horticulture or landscaping will help you acquire the practical skills to stand you out.
There are a lot of benefits you get when you start a business in the United States as a Foreigner. You can open a US bank, link a payment processor like Paypal, access both the huge US market as well as the global market.
Interestingly you can start a business in the USA as a non-resident. That means you need not be a US-citizen, or even reside in the US or have a green card to start a company in the US. But you must know the right way to go about it.
The best way to go about it is seek the services of a good business lawyer to guide you through the process.
You may also need to engage the services of a professional financial adviser to guide through business planning, insurance, tax and accounting matters. It all depends on the type and scale of business you want to do.
As a general guide to start a business in the US as non-resident or non-citizen by taking the following steps:
- Decide on what business you want to do. In this article we have provided a list of 15 businesses you can easily start in the USA as a foreigner
- Decide in which state you want to do your business. There are fifty states in the US and each may have its laws business registration, tax, insurance and licensing
- Hire a Registered Agent – You will need a registered agent to help you handle correspondences. Your lawyer can be your registered agent
- Register your business. You choose from registering LLC, S-Corporation, etc
- Open a US Bank Account
- Get an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number)
- Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
As we have noted earlier, your business lawyer will guide through all the process to ensure you successfully set up and do your business.