Single Asset Driven Businesses
September 23, 2019 3:46 AM   Subscribe

We are looking for a list of businesses that are driven by a single asset priced around USD 300k.

The additional ideal characteristics would be:

-Asset price around USD 300k (can go as low as USD 100k or can stretch to a million but closer to 300k the better).
-It should be a single asset—a restaurant start-up package may reach the desired cost but not looking for that.
-We are open to either renting out the particular asset—it would be great if it were a service or even a production company: the only key requirement is that integral to the provision of the business output is a single asset worth around 300k.
-There should be a wide range of potential buyers for the end product or service (so not construction or oil field services equipment).
-It’s fine if the equipment itself requires training but not looking for equipment that is used incidentally by highly trained professionals.
-Irrelevant if the asset is typically purchased, leased, or financed.
-We would like most of the value of the company’s service/product to be from the asset itself, not the retail location or customer service.
-Business would be in the US but agnostic on location within US.

What we've been thinking of so far is something like a trash removal service or moving company. Sure, there’s labor involved and there are customer services issues, but the main requirement is a big truck.

We are looking for new ideas, so if you have something even close, please just toss it out!

posted by limagringo to Work & Money (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Patent trolling.
posted by bfranklin at 4:01 AM on September 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Helicopter tour operator.
posted by justkevin at 5:13 AM on September 23, 2019

There are some airplanes (or small charter/air taxi operations) that would meet your criteria.
posted by wierdo at 5:42 AM on September 23, 2019

Medical imaging center - sonograms, MRIs, etc. I've been in several over the years where the imaging is done by on-site techs, but the results are zipped off electronically and interpreted by a radiologist remotely.
posted by jquinby at 5:49 AM on September 23, 2019

May be too real estate-adjacent, but:
car wash

(both of these seem to do gangbusters business even/especially in poorer areas)
posted by Bron at 6:28 AM on September 23, 2019

Garbage is not the only business that requires a special kind of truck, and some businesses use a common sort to truck but have a specialty business requiring knowledge of a particular industry. An example that comes to mind is hauling boats around the country.

Of course, many semi-trailers are owner-operated, perhaps hooked up with big operation like North American Van Lines, perhaps not.

I will add, however, that these little businesses can be tricky to run. They tend to have either a limited client base, like one or two customers, that can be demanding and/or drop you without warning, or a scattered, inconsistent customer base that's hard to organize and may leave you with a lot of down time. There have been a couple of reality TV shows that give a idea of what's involved.

Completely different businesses: yacht charter, fishing boat, some kinds of farm equipment, e.g. harvesters, specialty recycling of various kinds, food truck.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:01 AM on September 23, 2019

What if the asset is cash? I know a lot of trading (stocks, options, etc) that simply need cash to finance transactions. There are day trading companies that hire traders to trade their money and pay them a percentage of the profits.
posted by AugustWest at 8:38 AM on September 23, 2019

Would ag equipment count? Combine harvesters run between $300K-600K. Can't really run a large commercial farm without one.

The comments about trucks above made me think about the specialized recovery trucks used by repo companies. Or septic service companies.
posted by jquinby at 8:45 AM on September 23, 2019

Towing company?
posted by gideonfrog at 11:08 AM on September 23, 2019

Maybe vending machine rentals? Not sure if that's too much added maintenance?
posted by hydra77 at 1:22 PM on September 23, 2019

Any sort of equipment rental business - could be a few RVs or specialized construction equipment or catering supplies or copy machines.
posted by hydra77 at 1:24 PM on September 23, 2019

Mobile document shredding?
posted by COD at 3:20 PM on September 23, 2019

Veterinary oncologist practice. Even cobalt machines aren't cheap.
posted by workerant at 4:47 PM on September 23, 2019

Excavation (of foundations etc): you need a dump truck, a backhoe and a trailer. It's a good single person construction business.

Parking lot sweeping just needs a vacuum truck.
posted by monotreme at 6:24 PM on September 23, 2019

Commercial freeze drying machinery?
posted by aniola at 11:02 AM on September 24, 2019

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