Yes, there are business ideas for felons to make money!

If you are a felon or know someone who is, this article is for you. It reveals as many as 25 awesome business ideas to implement and start making money from.



Thinking back on your day today how many signs did you encounter that told you no or not to do something.

Taking your place behind the wheel of your vehicle, perhaps in your travels, you encountered a sign that said no parking, no speeding, no U-turn, no right turn, no passing, etc.

First, this company has paid $25+ million to members:

SurveyJunkie (only USA, Canada, Australia residents allowed). You can earn money sharing your thoughts. They have already paid $25+ million to their 20+ million members just for sharing their thoughts and opinions. Click here to join SurveyJunkie for FREE

Or if you have gone swimming lately, you will recall the sign that says No running, No diving, No bottles, and No lifeguard on duty.

Even if you endeavored to enter a restaurant, you may have been greeted with a sign that said, “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”

Granted these signs telling us no are designed to keep us safe as well as others but sometimes it seems that there may be a better way to accomplish these instructions by not using the word no all the time.

Even in the world of employment when looking for a job, we will make an application, submit our resume, and often we are told “No thank you.”

Sometimes we hear the rationale that we are overqualified, not qualified enough, or are lacking in experience, or other qualifications needed to fulfill the job.

The worst-case scenario would be in hunting for a job and being told no because of your past mistake or mistakes.

Such would be the scenario for an individual who was convicted of a crime that they may or may not have done and now have with them the stigma of being a felon.

With this in mind, let us look at job opportunities in which this stigma can be overcome and turn a no into a yes.


Personal Story

I cannot relate to applying for a job and being told no because of being categorized as a felon but I can relate to being told no on numerous occasions as it relates to applying for a job.

In April of 2001, I lost my job with a non-profit due to a situation that was my own fault.

Without fail, every day, I would scour the various job posting websites to find employment opportunities.

Some were local and some were out of the area.

One occasion had me traveling to Tulsa, OK for an interview only to be told no days later.

By August, I was desperate when out of the clear blue, the same not-for-profit contacted me and asked if I was interested in a job out of the area.

The job was as a financial development officer.

My wife and I said yes and by mid-August, I was once again working in the field of donor giving and fund-raising.

The rest of the story is that the biggest fund-raising that ever occurred for this non-profit was as a result of 9/11/2001.

The no, for me, was not now.


25 Best Business Ideas for Felons 


1. Mobile App Development

The business of developing mobile apps is part of the ever-expanding technology sector and the demand for app developers is increasing.

Because of the demand for developers coupled with non-judgemental employers, this would make this a prime employment opportunity for individuals with felony records.

A good strategy may include obtaining a job in this field and then moving on to create your own business.

The job requirements would call for the appropriate skill and talents along with the possible need for an associate’s degree.


2. Electrician

An opportunity that may present itself is the possibility of being employed as an electrician or learning how to become an electrician through a journeyman program.

The process of being an electrician begins with being an apprentice and learning from a licensed electrician.

Following the successful completion of this step, roughly 8000 hours, you would be eligible to take an exam to become a journeyman electrician.

It is a process but with dedication and perseverance a goal worth achieving.

It only takes an opportunity and there are some employers, perhaps felons themselves, who are willing to provide that opportunity.


3. Plumber

A trade that may present a strong business opportunity would be in the area of residential and commercial plumbing.

Before pursuing this potential line of work, it is important to check with your state of residency to see if there are any barriers to entry.

If you have the green light, you can contact local plumbers, be completely candid, and sincerely ask for an opportunity to prove yourself.

Those that are involved in the plumbing industry are hard-working individuals who appreciate and understand the realities of life and as such are willing to open the door for you.

Once employed you can learn this important trade and move on to the possibilities of certification and perhaps starting your own business.


4. Wind Energy Technician

The continuing need for new energy sources and maintaining existing green energy sources may present the opportunity of being involved in wind energy.

The possibility of being hired is always a possibility.

The employment need would be for repairs, installation, and maintenance to be accomplished on the various components involved with wind turbines.

In addition to having the skillset or having the ability to learn one would need to be comfortable working at great heights.


5. Dog Trainer

Animals are non-judgemental.

As such a business opportunity that may present itself is the training or operation of a dog obedience school.

If you have an affinity with animals and in particular dogs, you can offer this service to their owners.

You can advertise your service through social media, use of YouTube, word of mouth, etc.

A possibility is to demonstrate the obedience of a trained dog by you through a short video clip.

Your demonstration would include simple commands such as stay, or just using hand gestures.


6. Freelancer

A powerful way of not having to explain your past when looking to be employed or starting a business is by freelancing.

There are a variety of freelancing websites that you can access such as or

By logging onto these sites, plus others, you can register and start searching for job opportunities that match your skillset.


7. Handyman

A good business opportunity to pursue if you are handy at making small repairs around a residence or other buildings would be starting a handyman business.

Examples of handyman chores to be accomplished could include the fixing of small leaks, patching drywall, small paint jobs, the building shelves, etc.

In marketing your business, you can take to your social media platforms, placing signs around your neighborhood, endorsements from satisfied customers, etc.

Also, you may be able to register your business with a website such as


8. Haul Trash

Another self-employment business that you can start is by utilizing your vehicle and hauling away trash.

You can advertise your services through social media, a listing on Craigslist, small classified ads in the local paper, posting local signage, etc.

The job simply entails pickup up unwanted items from customers and disposing of the items by taking them to the local landfill.


9. Barber

A basic grooming service that most men take advantage of is by going to a barbershop.

If you have a skill as it relates to styling men’s hair, trimming or shaving beards, and mustaches, this may be a good fit for you as a business opportunity.

As with all things, it is important to check with your state to see if this is an option that you might be able to pursue as it relates to a felony that you may or may not have committed.

To distinguish your business from the rest of the barbershop businesses, you may want to add the dimension of doing in-home care services.

Related: How to Get Paid and Make Money Having Beard.


10. Graphic Designer

Perhaps there is a creative side to you, and you enjoy the various designs created by innovative thinking and through the use of color and highlights.

Additionally, there are online sites that help facilitate the creation of graphic designs through a click-and-drop process.

One such website is

You could immediately start this business by taking on freelance opportunities through many websites with one being


11. HVAC Technician

A significant and highly skilled profession that is in need as it relates to climate control is being heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, technician.

The acronym of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) is typically used to denote an individual who has the skill and ability to install, maintain, and repair these climate control systems within a home or business.

You could approach HVAC businesses within your area, be candid about your past and commit to the owner of your willingness to learn and be involved.

Coupled with training under the supervision of a licensed HVAC technician coupled with needed educational requirements you could create your own business in the future.


12. Carpenter

Carpentry is a valuable trade and skill offered to others in the provision of services associated with wood.

Potential jobs as a carpenter could include building wooden shelving, wood product repairs, the creation of wooden ramps or platforms, and more.

Again, this company has paid $25+ million to members:

SurveyJunkie (only USA, Canada, Australia residents allowed). You can earn money sharing your thoughts. They have already paid $25+ million to their 20+ million members just for sharing their thoughts and opinions. Click here to join SurveyJunkie for FREE

If you have the needed skills and experience, you could make this a viable business opportunity and be your own boss not having to worry about background checks.


13. Construction

Construction is always a good business to get into.

This is due to the reality that, for the most part, there are always construction sites that are in operation in one’s community for hard-working individuals.

You could start off as a general laborer, prove yourself, and then approach any contractors or subcontractors if there is a particular aspect of the construction industry that you would like to be proficient at.

Often, the best way to prove yourself and your capability are by actually rolling up your sleeves, getting to work, and letting your work do the talking.

Related: Best Ideas to Make Money in Construction.



14. Substance Abuse Counselor

Perhaps you or someone you know has struggled with substance abuse.

If so, this experience and your involvement in helping others may present a prime opportunity in starting a substance abuse counseling business or working as a counselor.

Your education has been first-hand as you have seen the devastating effects of addiction.

Your experience may include knowing people who have lost their lives or who have overcome this addiction.

If considering a business or job, your significant experience could certainly help others who are struggling.

To be certified would require formal training and this can be accomplished online.


15. Pastor

What better business to be involved in than the business of second chances and transforming the lives of people.

If you have a strong calling and commitment to serving others, you can become a pastor.

At the heart of this business is the message of second chances and by becoming a pastor not only will you bring that powerful message but will demonstrate that message.

To become an ordained pastor would require formal divinity training and support from a religious denomination.


16. Commercial Truck Driver

The current reality as it relates to the truck drivers and the important role they play in America is that there is a shortage of drivers.

You can start out by making applications to drive commercially with local transportation companies or businesses that deal in delivery services.

You would need a commercial driver’s license and once you establish yourself as a quality dependable driver you may be able to obtain other commercial driving positions.

Of course, as you are well aware, being a felon, requires involvement with a probation officer, and often, the current correctional release system does not allow individuals involved with the parole system to be out of state.


17. Solar Energy Technician

An additional energy source that has proven to be effective and not yet fully and effectively realized is the solar energy sector.

The good thing is that everyone is still in the process of learning about its value as a green energy source and is somewhat fairly new so there is an ongoing need for solar energy technicians.

Additionally, the cost of solar panel installation is becoming less prohibitive and therefore the potential demand for the increased use of solar energy may be realized.

This puts you, if interested, in a good position to learn about the industry and be involved in the solar panel industry.

Other Interesting Business Ideas Articles To Consider:


18. Welder

A blue-collar job that still has a significant role and part to play in the manufacturing of various products is the employment position of being a welder.

In fact, there has been a decline in individuals becoming welders to the point where there is an increasing demand for welders at the workplace in the areas of construction and manufacturing.

This may prove to be a golden opportunity, if interested in welding, to indicate your desire to learn and be involved in an apprenticeship program and move on to certification.

Often, the training involved to become a qualified welder takes less than a year.


19. Auto Mechanic

By taking advantage of various training and ongoing educational opportunities as a felon, you can enroll in a vocational school and learn a variety of trades.

One of those trades would be in the area of auto mechanics.

This employment position or run as a business will always have a future if individuals continue their love affair with automobiles and trucks.

To its credit, this industry has an established pattern of commitment to hiring felons and realizing the importance of second chances.


20. Locksmith

Perhaps, a business that you can start would be that of being a locksmith.

Perhaps, if bold and daring enough, your business could be entitled “On The Right Side Of The Lock.”

The story of your business could relate that at one time you “picked” locks or were involved in other felonious activity as it pertains to breaking and entering.

Now, you have taken up the lawful business of being a locksmith and helping others to prevent people from doing what you may have done and providing a quality security system by being a locksmith.


21. Painter

If you have a strong work ethic, an eye for detail, and a commitment to taking pride in your work, a possibility of a business or employment opportunity would be in the area of painting.

You good contact the painting company and see if they would be willing to invest in your and provide you an opportunity for employment.

Or, if you have some available money, you could invest in some primary painting tools needed by a professional painter and start developing a painting industry.

Through word-of-mouth, posting on social media websites, exhibiting your work by volunteering at a not-for-profit, etc. you can begin to prove your worth and ability to perform quality painting jobs.


22. Delivery Driver

Another opportunity that might present itself as it relates to driving is a local delivery driver.

For example, you could work with a grocery store, office supply company, furniture company, etc.

These companies and many more offer delivery services to their customers and you could seize this as a business opportunity to be involved as a driver with these local companies.

The potential could be the operation of your own delivery service.


23. Landscaping

A business that you can start on your own can be in the area of landscaping.

By investing in the purchase of basic lawn care tools, you can begin your service and build up your clientele.

Some of your profits can then be invested back into your business and upgrade your equipment so that larger landscaping opportunities can be accomplished.

Typically, as a landscaper, you would have knowledge about basic lawn and plant care, the ability to trim hedges and bushes, remove low-hanging limbs, trim back certain shrubs, etc.


24. Counselor

A counseling employment position or business opportunity that might present itself based on your experience and being in the school of “hard knocks” is the position of a counselor.

A great way to begin moving in the direction of operating your own counseling business would be to visit your local non-profits and provide your services to individuals that they are in the business of helping.

For example, if you went to The Salvation Army and told them about your past and that you want to help others avoid that path or help them with their continuing path you could provide counseling services.

Not only would what you have to say to these individuals speak loudly to them but your lifestyle in that you have turned things around and now have started your own counseling business would be powerful.

All of this may prove to be an inspiration for these individuals and help them gain control of their own lives.


25. Resources

As a felon, it may be frustrating in finding work and sometimes thinking that it is almost impossible to breakthrough.

It is important to remember that there are individuals who are willing to provide you with that “break” that you need.

One such website that may prove to be helpful as well as provide practical support can be found at

Also, any decision to obtain additional education and find financial resources may be difficult.

It is important to stay resolute.

One website that you can explore to find possible grants for returning to school can be found by clicking here.


Money Making Business Ideas for Felons FAQs


How Many Felons Are There in the United States?

The United States does not have or maintain a registry of individuals in America who have a felony conviction.

However, an approximation is offered, and that number indicates that there are approximately 19 million people who are felons.


Can a Potential Employer Ask an Employee Applicant if They Have a Felony Conviction?

In some states, it is against the law to ask an applicant looking for a job if they are a felon.

However, if an individual is extended an employment offer, they then can be asked about any criminal records.


You Can Do It

It is time to turn the negatives of your life into the affirmative.

Perhaps you made a mistake, but you have paid your debt to society and now it is time to shed off those stigmas, pursue your employment, roll up your sleeves and get to work.



The past is in the past.

There are opportunities available as it relates to being employed or starting your own business.

Your immediate job is to pursue and persevere.

It is important to believe in others and most important of all believe in yourself and remember that the word no is just a word and is part of nonow.

Again, this company has paid $25+ million to members:

SurveyJunkie (only USA, Canada, Australia residents allowed). You can earn money sharing your thoughts. They have already paid $25+ million to their 20+ million members just for sharing their thoughts and opinions. Click here to join SurveyJunkie for FREE

Previous article25 Best Business Ideas for Social Workers to Make Money
Next article25 Best Business Ideas for Instagram Users to Make Money
Apart from being a seasoned Personal Finance expert who has written for top publications around the world, I bring significant personal financial experience. Long story short... through bad financial choices... I found myself $100,000 plus in debt. I was able to dissolve this indebtedness and regain financial solvency. This financial turn around was accomplished through reading, studying and implementing a financial plan. My financial plan included paying down my debt through budgeting, being cognizant of where my financial resources were being spent, changing my attitude about money and understanding the binding chains of the improper use of credit. Today, and for 10 years, I have been debt free and have invested wisely to enjoy my current retirement. This is allowing me to write to help others make, save and grow money wisely!