ZenBusiness, an Austin, TX-based public benefit corporation that helps make it fast and simple to start, run, and grow a business, launched a study (https://www.zenbusiness.com/most-in-demand-businesses/) to find the best businesses to start across 50 of the most populous U.S. cities. It did so by comparing Google search volumes of people looking for each business against the actual number of that type of business in a given location.

The study covered various industry categories including Appliances and Repair, Automotive, Beauty, Cafes, Fashion, Clothing and Accessories, Fitness, Hobby Shops, Restaurants, and Skilled Trades. Car Wash shared space in the Automotive category with fellow sub-category teammates Car Auctions, Car Dealers, Auto Parts and Supplies, and Used-Car Dealers.

Restaurants exhibit the greatest demand as a category, but when broken down into subcategories — pizza, steakhouses, Indian, etc. — the picture changes a bit. In that situation, gyms come out on top nationally, followed by car wash. One has to acknowledge, though, that the next five slots are filled by eateries (see Table 1, below). On a per-city basis, gyms come out on top in 15 cities with car wash close behind in prime position in 14 cities. The map below provides an illustration.


ZenBusiness pulled popular business types from Yelp’s Categories and grouped them into industries. The number of businesses from each category within America’s 50 most populous cities (taken from the U.S. Census Bureau) was found using Yelp Fusion API. For each business type, keywords were formulated by adding terms such as “restaurants,” “stores,” “shops,” “parlors,” etc., depending on the type of business.

Google search volumes were collated for each keyword related to a specific business in each city type using DataForSEO, using the term “near me,” e.g., “Indian restaurants near me.” Competition in each business type in each city was estimated by dividing the number of searches for that business by the number of businesses of that type in that city. The final dataset spans 159 business types across 14 industries and 50 most populous cities in the United States.

The data was gathered in February 2022. You can view the full data of the study here: https://bit.ly/BestBusinessToStartIn50USCities