Oct 28, 2023 | 7 min read

Winter business ideas for small business

As the seasons change, so too do the needs of your local community. Inclement cold weather, slippery roads, and colder temperatures are just a few seasonal shifts that can impact your neighborhood and your neighbors’ day-to-day.

Consequently, there are various seasonal business opportunities for those who wish to serve their local community—and gather some extra holiday money in the process. For example, a summer landscaping business can pivot into a snow removal business in the wintertime. Similarly, a company that specializes in outdoor grills in the warmer months can transition to fireplaces during the winter.

If you already have an established small to medium-sized business and are looking to meet local demand, this guide explores several winter business ideas that you and your team can implement with careful planning and a touch of creativity. 


What you should consider before starting a winter business

According to The New York Times, entrepreneurs with seasonal businesses make 70% of their total profit in a few months. As a small business owner, the winter months could be challenging. But with careful planning and year-round considerations, you can successfully navigate this slower time.

To ensure the financial success of your seasonal business, you’ll need to plan ahead as a business owner and organize potentially year-round considerations, including:

  • Upfront acquisition of necessary tools and products – Depending on your business, it’s critical to acquire tools, such as shovels and plows and account for transportation for your winter business.
  • Promotions and marketing to your community – You may be heading a winter-time food delivery service, but you’ll want to advertise your offerings year-round to garner excitement within your community and establish your business’s reputation. 
  • Your operational strategy - You’ll want to write a business plan before you begin seasonal operations. Conduct market research, forecast your revenue, and budget accordingly. 

Once you’ve established your business plan, marketed your business, and acquired the proper tools, you’re ready to dive snow-deep into your seasonal services. You’ll want to curate a business that specifically speaks to the needs of your community during the winter months.

3 ideas for winter businesses 

To ensure your business is successful in winter months, brainstorm some needs among your local community. For example, if you know there will be a lot of snow in your area, you can lean into related services that will benefit your neighbors.

#1 Snow shoveling and removal services

If your business is involved in landscaping, lawn maintenance, or pool cleaning services,  snow shoveling, and snow removal services could be an easy pivot during the winter months and cater to the high demand for these services. 

If that describes your business, transitioning to snow removal services can help maintain a strong revenue flow during months when there’s less demand for outdoor contracting work.

For example, Jack’s Lawn Service and Snowplowing in Byron Center, Michigan specializes in year-round services to generate steady revenue, including:

  • Lawn care
  • Landscaping
  • Commercial snow removal
  • Residential snow removal 
  • Snow blower service

These are just a few of the many winter landscaping services available. Whether you’ve already got a snow plow in the garage or you’re doing things the old-fashioned way with handheld snow blowers and shovels, you’ll want to develop a strategy for maximizing work when the snowflakes begin to fall. Capitalize on those big snowfalls with careful planning. This can be a great business idea. We recommend:

  • Setting expectations with clients upfront in order to determine who needs snow removal services immediately and who can wait.
  • Leveraging flexible labor for days when demand is high.
  • Providing a la carte services, such as carting away ice that piles up in front of neighbors’ homes or salting the sidewalk between snowfall

With careful planning and solid communication, you can quickly establish yourself as the person who gets snow removal done fast and right. Keep in mind, though, that this is a job for someone who lives where snowfall is frequent and guaranteed.

#2 Catering and food services

If you work in the food industry, you can capitalize on the cold winter months by offering or expanding your delivery services. Or, if you don’t have a current business in the food industry but have excellent culinary skills, catering winter events is a fantastic business idea to serve your community in the winter season. You can also craft a custom winter-season menu perfect for the holiday season. 

If you are just starting out, take inventory of the regulatory requirements you will need to satisfy before even turning the oven on. If you’re operating out of your home, the FDA does not consider private residences “facilities” and therefore does not require registration as such.

Another question you may want to ask yourself is how you’ll distinguish yourself in a saturated market. Depending on where you live, your competition may include:

  • Popular local restaurants
  • Seasonal craft fairs
  • Farmers markets

Figuring out how to leverage existing food services that provide your neighbors with cookies, pre-cooked dinners, and pantry items may help you stand out. Can you get in on the brand recognition of a favored pizza joint in your area by using the sauce they offer in their takeaway store? How hard is it to set up a booth at your local Christmas fair, and can you find the manpower to operate it? 

Asking yourself questions such as these can help lead you to answers that allow you to offer a unique food-based service during the winter months.

#3 Holiday cleaning services

In the hectic lead-up to the holidays and the lazy downtime after, few people want to divert hours from family time and festivities to cleaning and organizing. However, the constant influx of guests, dinner parties, and events make cleaning an integral part of the winter season.

This is why, in addition to house cleanings, disinfection services, and maid service, Merry Maids provides holiday cleaning service packages to capitalize on wintertime cleaning needs.

Some ideas to tie your cleaning business during the holiday season include:

  • Gift cards for your business
  • Holiday celebration clean up
  • Decor removal
  • Holiday-specific services (such as post-Thanksgiving kitchen cleanup)
  • Holiday-specific upsells, like pumpkin spice candles and fir-scented potpourri

Ease the load on your neighbors by offering home and office cleaning services. We also love this seasonal small business idea because its startup costs are minimal (you may even own all the home cleaning products and tools you need to get going) and there are often daytime hours (so you won’t miss out on time with loved ones).

Other seasonal business ideas:

  • Christmas tree farm - If you have a big plot of land, you can plant and sell some Christmas trees in your neighborhood, such as Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Concolor Fir, and other types.
  • Christmas lights installation - As the winter season approaches, many of your neighbors will be looking to hang Christmas lights. Take the work and risk off their hands by starting a Christmas lights installation business

These business ideas will be a valuable service to your local community. As the holidays approach, many of your neighbors will be looking to get in the holiday spirit without too much of a hassle. Having these services nearby will give them some peace of mind and make holiday decorating a breeze. Plus, it's a great way to earn extra money with a relatively small investment.

How to get the word out about your seasonal business

If you’ve decided to give one of these ideas a try, you’re well on your way to making extra cash this year. That said, there’s still some work upfront to consider. You’ll need to get started creating a business plan well in advance of the winter months to make sure you’re ready when the season begins. 

In addition, there’s always the question of getting the word out about your services. How will you reach local customers and stand out against the competition?

You can effectively connect with potential clients in a few different ways, including:

  • Word of mouth
  • A local referral program
  • Utilizing social media

But keeping one eye on the promotional strategy while getting your business off the ground can be taxing, especially for those who aren’t experienced in local marketing. 

Consider Nextdoor Ads, a simple, hyper-local advertising solution that can help you grow your small business. Nextdoor Ads can spread the word about your business by:

  • Directing traffic to your website or Business Page
  • Promoting sales and discounts
  • Communicating with potential and existing clients

Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. households are already using Nextdoor. Almost 90% of them frequent a local business at least once a week. In other words, this is an audience that is uniquely primed for the efforts of your local business—no matter the season.

Start your winter business with Nextdoor

Business owners know that winter can bring changes to foot traffic and revenue. Fortunately, you can leverage the needs of your community to expand your offerings, help your neighbors, and build your reputation as a skilled and lucrative business. 

Rather than hunkering down for the winter, make your business known. When you claim your Business Page on Nextdoor, you can build your online presence year-round, communicate with community members, and establish yourself as a trusted vendor—even before the first snow. 

As the weather starts to turn colder and thoughts turn to celebrations, baked goods, and time spent with family, it’s a fantastic time to get closer to your community—do it with Nextdoor.

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Author image Nextdoor Editorial Team At Nextdoor, we love local. The Nextdoor Editorial Team is dedicated to telling stories of local businesses, providing product education, and sharing marketing best practices to help businesses grow.