Steal My Ideas for Businesses I’d Never Run

by Lindy on January 23, 2013

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Business Ideas

I have business ideas.  A ton of them.  But most of them are businesses I would never in a million years want to run. So here’s the deal: I’ll give you my business ideas, and you go out and build them.  I only ask you to repay me with 5% of your profit annually.  Sound fair?  We’re on the honor system here so I trust you to do the right thing.

1. Mobile Gas

I haaaate filling my car up with gas.  It’s such a killer of momentum when going from point A to point B.  If it’s hot out, I get all sweaty while I wait.  If it’s cold, I’m forced to shiver.  It’s barbarian, really.  And those dirty pump handles.

A mobile gas company would be perfect for people like me who hate filling up.  It would basically be a fleet of gas trucks that travel to customers’ homes and offices and fill up their gas tanks right there.  I envision a minimalist online interface for users to schedule fill-ups.  Heck, they could even do it from their smart phones.  And the gas truck driver would have their license plate number, so no face-to-face activity would be required.  The customer would just get pinged by their phone app when the deed was done.

I would gladly pay extra for this service, within reason.

Sure, there’s probably a lot of red tape from the EPA, and blah, blah, blah, but that’s why I’m trusting you and your smarts to carry this thing out.

PS: If you do start this business, I’ll take free gas as part of my fee too.

2. Rental Car Seats for Families Traveling by Air

Parents, what’s the most annoying thing about going on a family vacation by air?

That’s right, dealing with the car seat.

Getting it out of the car, lugging it, and your baggage, and your small unwieldy kids simultaneously into the terminal…it’s a huge pain.  Then dragging that same car seat through security, along with those kids, and their backpacks, and their shoes that need to be removed.

And when you get back from vacation, all tired and cranky, just wanting to get in the car and go home, you get the joyous task of reinstalling the car seat, while somehow containing those same unwieldy, tired munchkins in the hot parking garage.

Enter the car seat rental service.  There would be kiosks in every major airport.  Parents could reserve a car seat online the same time they book their flight through Expedia, or Priceline, or any of the travel sites.

Reserved car seats could be picked up in the gate area after security check.  Or if it isn’t needed for the plane, parents could pick it up at their arrival airport. The seat would be on loan for the duration of the family’s trip, and when they returned to the airport for their flight home they’d turn it back in at the kiosk.  Easy peasy. And the best part, their own car seat remains happily installed in their car the whole time.

The seats would have a sleek, light-weight, modern design, and would be available in various funky colors.  Maybe there would be a snap-on attachment to convert it to a stroller (extra charge, of course). Not only would it be highly functional, but also fashionable.  It would be the hot new thing for jet-setting families.

3. Curb Side Grocery Service

When I was hugely pregnant with Baby Rock in the middle of August, the grocery store was not my friend.  The thought of dragging my then four-year-old son across the giant parking lot, in the heat, and then walking the full length of the aisles with my jutting belly was enough for me to want to curl up into a pregnancy ball and cry.  I would have killed for a drive-through grocery store to pick up simple needs like yogurt and milk.

At the time, there was a corner market right by my house that had gone out of business for being incredibly not useful.  I daydreamed about renting the space and creating my own corner market that would be useful, because it would have curb side service for everyday items – bread, milk, cheese, etc.  Maybe the runners would even wear roller skates like they do at Sonic.  Or maybe not.

The market would also have daily dinners – freshly made casserole-type things – that people could pick up on their way home from work, and pop into the oven for an easy meal.

To draw in more traffic, there would be a soda bar for the kids to come hang after school, or maybe a coffee shop, and it could also do some lunch and breakfast items for the surrounding businesses.  It could host the local knitting clubs, or bicycle clubs, or just be a community hub of sorts.

In general, it would be an all around, accessible, incredibly useful corner market for the local neighborhood, with curb side service, of course. Oooh, or even delivery service, for a very specific radius.  And if you lived outside of the radius you’d just have to hope and pray that a location would open in your neighborhood…I’m smelling a franchise here.


So those are my ideas, and you have your marching orders.  Remember: honor system, 5%, and I take Paypal. I’m also available for creative consulting and investor dinners at swanky restaurants, provided I don’t have to talk, just eat.  Good luck, and do me proud.

If none of these ideas work for you, then maybe some of my readers will be kind enough to post their business ideas in the comments below.  But the 5% fee will still be payable to me, because it’s my blog and I say so.

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  • YES to the drive-thru grocery! I’ve often thought the same: could have as limited a selection as a McDonald’s drive-thru and still get enough customers to make it work! As for pumping gas, once DD became a teenager, she pumped my gas for me. When I moved out of home at 18, I didn’t even know how to pump my own gas!! Sure didn’t want that to happen to my daughter. (I worked since I was 16 but always bought gas at places that pumped it for you…until I was out on my own and every penny counted.)

  • Seconds on the drive-thru grocery – NOT having to get out of the car would be the best and can be applied to other horrible errands: getting your hair cut, dental app’ts…just lean way out the window:)

    • Lindy

      Ooh, drive-thru dental appointments would be awesome. I think a comedy show did a parody of that one once.

  • I love the car seat rental! What a fabulous idea — and so cheap and simple to start! Definitely present that to an airline!

  • Margie

    Ooh they’re great ideas!

    I’d also love to see a drive-thru or kerbside post box. I don’t know if there’s already something like that in the US, but it doesn’t exist where I live!

    It’d be great if the post boxes that are already fairly close to the side of the road had a second slot in the back, at driver seat level, so you could just quickly pull over and throw your already stamped and addressed letter or parcel into the box without having to get out of the car (especially in the rain!).

    A drive-thru postal service would be great too – especially if you needed to buy a stamp.

    No payment required for this idea – the convenience of its existence would be enough for me! :)

    • Lindy

      We have a drive-up mailbox around the corner from my house. It is quite convenient. But I think you’re on to something with the drive-thru postal service. You’d still have to wait in line, but at least you could do it in your own car.

  • Nice thoughts, I especially like the one on rental car seats, having traveled with one or two. On the mobile gas, the liability insurance might be prohibitive. I heard a nice thought the other day (wished I remembered where..), somewhat along the theme of your post: whenever there’s enough people saying “I hate to do (blank)” then there’s an opportunity for an entrepreneur to provide a service.

    • Lindy

      Yeah, I figured driving a bunch of gas trucks around town wouldn’t come without some complications. But it certainly would be sweet for the consumer if it could be pulled off.

  • Great ideas…Love the mobile gas, as my van sits in the driveway almost completely empty!

    Here’s mine. A liquor store that delivers. I’ve wanted to do that for years. No more beer runs!!

    • Lindy

      Liquor delivery. That is a good idea. There’s a company in LA called Pink Dot that does it (and delivers groceries too!) I don’t know why this hasn’t caught on in other towns though.

  • The car seat rentals do exist! And exactly how you described them. You can rent all sorts of baby gear, and then pick it up either right at the airport (for a car seat) or have it delivered to your hotel room. I can’t remember the name of the service, because I’ve never used it myself, but it definitely DOES exist! :)

    • Lindy

      Reeaally??? Now someone just needs to take this and make it into a huge money-making empire (and give me 5% of course).

  • TSM

    Curb side grocery is great. But, in this day of age, I can have someone deliver them right to my door via the interent. No need to go outside at all! :D

    • Lindy

      Oh yes, there is that grocery delivery thing isn’t there. :) But if you needed to pick up milk because you ran out, then curbside would fit the bill.

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  • Lindy,

    Why not just get an electric vehicle?

    Then you can plug it in and never have to deal with a gas station again.


    • Lindy

      That’s a thought. I think my commute might be too long for electric though.

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  • Bruce

    I got a great one. But I ani’t telling

    • Roy

      The curbside thing does exist too. Altadena dairy in So Cal used to be a large chain. There are also a few indepedants hanging on too. Eggs, milk, bread, soda, etc. The neighborhood kids love to stop by on the way home. Growing up, there were many of these around.

    • Lindy

      Well there definitely needs to be more!

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