In parts 1 and 2 of our Ideas for Earning Extra Money series, we researched and presented 20 money-making ideas. This week will bring the total to 30.
Keep in mind that a lot of ideas for small businesses or side jobs can come from adapting what other people have done to your particular skill set and the needs of your community. In addition to the ideas we have researched below, you can visit sites like Entrepreneur.com, which has a database of almost 1000 small business ideas.
21. Storage Unit Auctions ($500-2000 per month)
Reselling items claimed in storage unit auctions is an unusual, but potentially very lucrative, way of making extra money. Many people who rent storage units fall behind on their payments and after a time the contents become the property of the rental company. The contents of the units are auctioned off to the highest bidder on a regular basis. Would-be bidders are given the opportunity to inspect the contents of a storage unit before participating in an auction. Valuable items can often be part of the contents and savvy bidders are able to determine the approximate value of a unit based on inspection. In many cases, hundreds or thousands of dollars in profit can be made from reselling the contents of a storage locker won at auction on eBay, through classified ads or at flea markets.
This can be a lucrative enterprise, but it depends upon your ability to accurately estimate the value of a unit's contents and know when to stop bidding. No special skills beyond price consciousness are needed, and you don't need to put in any more time than you want, though — as with most things — the more time you put in, the more you stand to make. Expected profits from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars a month are reasonable with full time effort.
See "How to make money from storage building auctions" at backwoodshome.com.
22. Sewing, Knitting and Alterations ($100-500 per month)
If you enjoy sewing or knitting, you can earn some extra money by using your existing skills. If you sew, in addition to alterations, you can produce specialty clothing, purses, items for home décor, costumes and dresses. If you knit you can produce hats, scarves, socks, mittens, sweaters, shawls, layettes and afghans. In either case, it is probably best to pick a specialty to concentrate on rather than attempting to cover all items and markets.
Items can be sold at craft shows or at consignment shops. You can also sell over the Internet by utilizing services such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy.com and Artfire.com or by creating and maintaining your own website. This blog article is a good primer for selling handmade goods. This is another example of a task that allows you the flexibility of working at your own pace and allows you to profit by doing something you love.
23. Doing Odd Jobs (Variable)
If you are a resourceful individual, you can earn extra cash by doing odd jobs for other people. There is an almost limitless market of individuals—most of them homeowners—who have an endless supply of small jobs that they need to hire someone to perform. This can be a great opportunity if you are trying to supplement a regular income or if you are between jobs. It has the added potential benefit, if you are unemployed, of leading to a new job if you perform well and catch the eye of someone in a position to assist you. Tasks might include cleaning houses, weeding gardens, washing cars, shoveling snow, cleaning gutters, raking leaves, washing windows and other similar jobs. Most of these tasks require no special skills or training.
You can find odd jobs by looking through classified ads and you can provide your own ad to make it easier for homeowners to find you. It may also be helpful to create a flyer and deliver it to homes around your neighborhood. Additionally, there are a number of ways to utilize the Internet to help you find customers.
24. Lawn Care and Snow Removal ($30-50 per job for residential customers)
Many people combine these two tasks in temperate climates because they are mutually exclusive (there is no snow when lawns need to be cut and when there is snow lawns are dormant) and because many people who will pay for one chore will also pay for the other. Lawn care and snow removal can be performed for homeowners and for commercial clients (though businesses will typically require significant bonding on the part of contractors).
Both services are relatively easy to start up and only commonly available equipment (mowers and trimmers for lawns, blowers and plows for snow removal and a vehicle and trailer to haul them) is required, but no special skills are necessary. Obviously snow removal is not a serious consideration in many southern locations. Lawn care is the bigger ticket item in most places because the growing season is longer than the snow season and because, even in winter, it doesn't always snow. Here is a link to an incredibly detailed primer on setting up a lawn care service.
25. Pool Cleaning and Maintenance ($75-165 per customer per month)
Even in parts of the country where the weather doesn't allow year-round outdoor swimming pool use, there is often enough demand (from operators of indoor pools in places such as health clubs and hotels) to sustain a pool cleaning and maintenance operation. Of course in warm weather climates, the number of residential swimming pools is huge and those pools need ongoing, year-round maintenance.
Some states do have a certification process for pool cleaning operations and some degree of training or apprenticeship is recommended, if not required. Cleaning usually can be scheduled around normal business hours so there is flexibility available to conduct operations as a supplement to a full time job. See homebusiness.about.com for some information about what it takes to get a pool cleaning service started, as well as some pros and cons.
26. Computer Repair, Maintenance and Assembly ($25-50 per hour)
If you are a computer power user you may have the skills necessary to make money as an independent consultant who repairs, maintains or assembles computers. Services can be provided to individuals and to small businesses. Depending upon the specific task, computer troubleshooting can be performed in person or remotely, by utilizing a program such as Go To My PC. In addition to dealing with obvious computer problems such as hardware failure and system malware infection, money can be made by upgrading system hardware and software and building new systems. As a home-based business, the job can be done on a part-time basis.
27. Closet Organizer ($50-200 per hour)
If you are a tidy, organized person whose own closet always looks like it has just been rearranged, you may be able to earn extra money by performing that task for others. A surprising number of people are willing to pay to have someone straighten out their closets. It is very much a word of mouth business and it is also a repeat business; people who hire people to rearrange their closets will mess them up again and bring a successful closet organizer back to repeat their work. A closet organizing business has almost nothing in the way of start up costs and requires no formal skills or certification. This article provides a brief overview of how to get an independent closet organizing business started.
28. Reselling Antiques and Collectibles ($10-500 per week)
Many people enjoy antiquing and dealing with collectibles and if you are one of those people you may be able to turn a hobby into a small, money making business. Being an avid collector opens the door to being an expert on those items you already collect, but there are many other sources of information both online and in print that can help you learn more about certain item lines and the markets for them. Possible items for sale can come from numerous sources, including garage, yard and estate sales, auctions (both in person and online), classified ads and retail stores. Many of these venues are just as viable for selling, with online services such as eBay, Craigslist and Amazon providing access to the largest number of potential buyers.
The amount of money you can make is exceptionally variable and largely depends on the kinds of items you want to become involved with (some items sell for only a dollar or two apiece while others go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars each) and the amount of time and effort you want to put in. No special training or licensing is necessary to operate a small antiques or collectibles business and the time involved is entirely up to you.
One way to start is by doing your own home inventory. After recording the value of your own collections and assets, you can use this or an asset tracking template to keep track of the other things you acquire. It's critical for tax purposes to track all purchases and sales.
29. Personal Trainer (($1200-2500 per month part-time)
If you are heavily into physical fitness, you may be in a position to earn extra money as a personal trainer. You can work with clients either at their homes or at an affiliated gym or both. Some fitness centers employ personal trainers directly while others work with them on a contract basis. Direct arrangements with clients allow you to keep more money for each session, but affiliating yourself with a gym provides a steadier stream of income and makes it easier to find clients, so there is a tradeoff either way. It should be noted that personal trainers are required to be certified. This usually involves taking a course from a known professional certification program. There are online certification programs, but they may not be adequate in the minds of clients and employers. This website provides impartial reviews and information about a broad number of personal trainer certification programs. While many personal trainers work full-time, flexible part-time work is available and can be tailored to evenings and weekends as an income supplement.
Use Vertex42's free printable exercise logs and fitness charts to help monitor your client's progress toward reaching their weight loss or fitness goals.
30. Dog Training ($30-60 per hour)
If you love dogs and working with them in the areas of obedience and agility you can make some extra money by establishing yourself as a professional dog trainer. Dog trainers work individually with dogs and their owners or in a group setting. Some trainers specialize in certain types of training (working with dogs with behavioral problems, for instance) and some cover a broad range of training topics. Many trainers work from their own property and others are affiliated with pet supply businesses. No special certification is needed to do dog training for money and there are many resources available to you with tips for training techniques, both online—including this website—and in print. The job is highly flexible in terms of hours and the types of clients (and dogs) you choose to accept. See How to Become a Dog Trainer at akc.org for info.
See Part 4 of this 4-part series.