America's love affair with food trucks is going from strength to strength.
In the past year, searches for food trucks and carts have increased on Thumbtack.com, a site that connects more than a million small businesses with potential customers.
"Our food truck business has exploded since last year," says Vincent Marra, owner and chef of Gotta Have It, a food truck in Atlanta.
Clients are hiring him 10 to 25 times a week for weddings, corporate events and private parties. He says the business has grown 110% in the year and a half since it started.
"People like novelty," he explains. "And it can be 25% to 30% cheaper than full catering."
Marra points out that the minimum start-up cost to start a food truck business is $55,000. "But you recover in a year. We did, but keep in mind that this is not a get-rich-quick type of business."
If you specialize in creating drought-resistant gardens, your skills are in high demand today.
Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that incorporates stone pathways, organic beds, and native plants, all of which use significantly less water.
This technique is particularly appreciated in California, where homeowners are struggling with a prolonged drought, but it is popular in other parts of the country as well.
Although searches for 'xeriscape' landscapers have remained stable, the number of entrepreneurs listed in this service has increased by 92% in the last year.
Albert Sánchez owns Daka Lawn and Landscaping in San Antonio, Texas. "We have contracted work for the next five weeks," said Sánchez, who charges $1,500 to $2,500 per job.
He points out that xeriscaping has taken off in recent years, driven in part by the rebound in the housing market.
In addition, xeriscaping significantly reduces maintenance costs. "Some residents we know have cut their water costs from $60 to $15 a month after xeriscaping their yards."
Goodbye to guitar lessons, here's the ukulele. Ukulele lessons, a curious four-stringed instrument with a unique sound, are highly sought after on Thumbtack.
"We're seeing more ukuleles in pop culture lately, in movies and advertisements. That's sparking interest in the instrument," says John May, a musician who teaches ukulele lessons in Columbus, Ohio.
Ukulele sales have grown in recent years. “It is an easy instrument to learn and play. And it is versatile. You can play classical, jazz and even baroque music with its chords."
In addition to that, its size makes it very portable, you can take it camping, for example.
Its cost, however, varies. "You can buy a beginner ukulele for about $100. The best ones can cost thousands," May notes. "If you already teach an instrument, it's a good addition to your repertoire."
Stress and aging are motivating Americans to take yoga classes.
Kerry Lynn, a private yoga instructor in West Palm Beach, Florida, has 20 clients a week from December through May. "It's when they come in for the season," she says, referring to retirees who move south for the winter.
She charges about $60 an hour. Her clients are between 40 and 75 years old. "Some of them are recovering from injuries and are turning to yoga. Others are older and want to stay fit and active," he explains.
Vicky Vasquez, in North Miami Beach, Florida, took yoga classes because of job anxiety. "She did me so much good that I decided to train myself and teach others," she says.
Almost two years later, he teaches full-time and charges $90 per class.
Homeowners now want to personalize their space in a unique way through custom murals.
Dagmar Vaught, a mural artist in Lilburn, Georgia, specializes in scenes and motifs for children's rooms. Although it kept her busy, she has also received more requests for ceiling murals.
He is often asked for renderings of the sky or space for bedrooms, game rooms or movies, Vaught said. "The housing market has recovered. So people are encouraged to add these decorations."
Vaught's murals, which take him an average of two days, cost between $275 and $1,500.
"Clients come in cycles. Some months I have five or seven commissioned murals per month, others just two," he said. But in the last six months, his business has gone up 25%
Summer is the season for rentals of bounce houses and inflatable structures.
They are increasingly sought after at carnivals, street fairs and private parties.
Search for this type of business has skyrocketed in the last year on the platform.
Rob Wright, owner of Boing! Bounce Rentals in Springfield, you are not surprised. "It's not just for kids anymore. Adults are renting them too as cheap fun," he said.
Wright notes that bouncy houses are becoming more elaborate, some including obstacle courses and water slides. He rents out his inflatables for $200 to $600 each.
For Wright, it's a seasonal business. "But if your business is in a place with a warm climate, you can have a stable business all year long," she said.
Getting rid of bed bugs is a nasty job, but someone has to do it.
George Castillo, owner of California-based pest control company Gorilla Pest Control, says bed bug infestations are a serious problem in America's big cities.
And the problem is showing up in smaller cities as well. That could explain the increase in the search for exterminators on the Thumbtack site.
"It's getting worse," warns Castillo, who receives 25 calls a day asking for his services. His company has grown steadily since its launch in 2009. "People don't understand that they can't get rid of bed bugs on their own. That mistake makes the situation worse."
And getting rid of bugs isn't cheap. Castillo charges between $350 to $600 depending on the size of the infested space. And it takes one to four hours to fumigate.
“They say you need some luck and work really hard for a business to succeed…until now we haven't needed luck,” he says.
Source: www.cnnexpansion.com / By: Parija Kavilanz