It’s summer and there are earning opportunities in the air! This article is a list I had a lot of fun putting together for Frugal for Less readers.
From washing cars to hosting in your home to spinning up a rental company, these summer side gigs can help you earn extra cash to put towards savings, pay down debt, or use on vacation!
1. Detail Dirty Cars
Do your neighbors’ care perennially “have wash!” me written in dust on the back window? If it is, you may be sitting on an opportunity to make $500 by offering to wash and detail cars in your community.
Professionals charge good money to detail cars. Typical rates range from $50-150 for extensive cleaning/washing, vacuuming and detailing, and/or waxing.
When setting your pricing, take into consideration a vehicle’s size, competitor pricing, your experience, and turnaround time. Offer to do it in the next 24 hours for a special rate. Throw in a discount if they want both interior and exterior done. Give them a discount for having you detail multiple vehicles.
It may be worth investing in a few quality supplies as this may help you secure a higher rate as part of your sales pitch! Green products are hot, so you might pick up one or two of those items for detailing in addition to fiber cloths, soaps, and so on.
At average rate of $100 per car, you would need to do five types of services to make $500. If you offered to knock off $25 on someone’s car for doing both interior and exterior and did that three times at $175 each, you would only need to do three cars to make that $500.
→ PRO TIP: You could apply a similar strategy to power washing fences, driveways, house sidings, and more. A quick search suggests people will pay $80 to $500 for areas like a driveway or large patio, respectively, to be washed.
That’s good money for a summer gig if you can stand the heat!
2. Host via Air BnB (or Help a Neighbor Manage Their Listing)
When I was an Airbnb host, there were some weekends I made thousands of dollars. Not every city has a Kentucky Derby event that brings in an extra 250,000 people in one weekend.
So, while that influx of potential guests is an exception, many cities do have ongoing conference events and other things that bring travelers to town.
The key to quickly earning $500 is to rack up stellar reviews. Because my guests knew that my place would be clean convenient hassle-free and comfortable, I was able to charge higher rates than many of my competitors.
On average, I personally charged roughly $100 per night, but rooms are available for as little as $29 per night and all the way up through thousands of dollars per night. I would say, by and large, most people can expect to rent a room in their house or their whole house or apartment for $50 to $300 per night.
At an average rate of $100 per night, you would only need to host guests for five nights during the month. If you happen to have a larger space , or are in a highly desirable area, it is conceivable you could competitively charge $200 plus per night, meaning you would only need to rent out your place two to three nights to make $500.
What if you want to help someone else manage their listing? Consider charging a flat percentage of the rate charged for the room you’re cleaning, booking, cooking for, or playing concierge to. If you managed everything turnkey for the owner, you could fairly charge 25-35% of the booking fee.
3. Sell Your Graphic Designs at 99Designs
This platform provides branding and design services, commonly utilized by small businesses. If you are a designer, 99Designs is a wonderful place to find clients with a budget that could help you earn several hundred dollars in just one project.
So how do you earn money on this site?
The most frequent way of earning is to participate in design contests. When a customer comes to the site, they submit a project which soliciting designs in a competition model. This does mean your submission is pitted against other designers, meaning some projects you’ll win and others you may not. After you win a contest, you are paid out for that project. (Based on our research, and as far as we can tell, no fee is paid by the designer on contests.)
As a contributing designer, you have the option to submit to projects of all different sizes.
Sometimes companies are looking for just a logo, other times they need an entire branding overhaul. The ladder is where you would earn several hundred dollars, or have the opportunity to work with them on future projects.
In addition to the competitions, private projects are where the big bucks are.This allows you to find clients based on your portfolio, making your chances of landing a paid project considerably higher. The company charges a percentage of the contract amount (7.5%) plus a payment processing fee (2.5%); this applies to both sides of the private agreement.
At an average rate of $100 per project, you’d need to win 5 contests to earn $500. Alternatively, if you hooked a client for a private project with your design portfolio, you could earn that in one project, in all likelihood.
4. Be A House Sitter
If you like the notion of summer side gigs doing almost literally nothing, I recommend house sitting! You can sit around all day watching TV or enjoying someone else’s deck while being paid to loaf. That’s my kind of gig.
TrustedHouseSitters.com is one of many sites that bring homeowners and house sitters together, keeping plants watered, mail fetched, and cats cuddled. While some housesitting sites include pricing provisions for watching animals while hosts are away, others don’t.
→ PRO TIP: This can also be a great option for staycations or houseswaps, which could help you save money for a trip you already have planned or take a brief break without having to travel.
How much does it pay? According to housesitter.com, anything between $25 and $45 seems to be common. A report on their site showed Philly pays the best, averaging $66 per day, while Phoenix paid the least on average ($29).
If you are more of an introvert, you might really enjoy a delivery driving position.
I’ve previously written about how I was a pizza delivery driver during my college days.
That job was one of the most fun I have ever had, if I’m being completely candid. Part of that was my awesome coworkers, but there’s something really magical about being able to listen to your own music and having some time to yourself.
When I was on vacation in Portland, Oregon last year, I used overeats to have Thai food delivered to my boyfriend and I at our AirBnB after an exhausting day of… drinking beer. 😊
The other reason I enjoyed delivering pizza in college was that I had a healthy base rate and opportunity to earn tips. On a busy night, it wasn’t uncommon to make more than $100 between chips and my hourly pay.
In a large city, and with larger orders, it is feasible you could earn that in a night. Common reports around the internet say drivers delivering food for services like these earn between $8 and $12 per hour after expenses.
Like most on-demand gigs via apps, you can deliver as much or as little as you want in any given shift or day. You could also take order requests from both of these companies at the same time to maximize your earnings in a particular neighborhood.
→ PRO TIP: You don’t necessarily need a car to deliver for food delivery services. In fact, in areas like Manhattan and Chicago bikers are best suited to fine dining delivery services such as Caviar.
At an average rate of $10 per hour, it would take you 10 hours to earn $100 or 50 hours to earn $500. That means if you delivered for two, 6-hour shifts per week (12 hours total weekly), you would make $500 in about month. If you delivered meals for 25 hours a week, you could earn $500 in just two weeks.
6. Pet Sit and Dog Walk
Rover and Wag are two of the most pup-ular platforms for picking up dog-walking summer side gigs. During the summer months when pet owners are traveling, they’ll need help looking after their beloved critters.
Rover has been around a bit longer, but Wag seems to be picking up market share quickly in large cities. The main difference is that Wag is on-demand, much like the Uber for dog-sitting, while Rover favors building relationships between pet owners and walkers.
So what does it pay? Unlike most of the gigs on this list, these platforms pay per service (not hourly).
Rates usually range from $10-100, depending on the type of service. The types of service you’d find on Rover include: drop-in visits (potty breaks); 30-minute walks; overnight in-house pet-sitting (staying in the owner’s home with the pet); daycare (bringing the pet to your home during working hours); and boarding (bringing the pet(s) to your home for an overnight stay).
→ PRO TIP: Go the extra mile for new clients. Many people regard their pets as highly as kiddos, so reassuring messages while they’re away will help them feel comfortable (and most likely to hire you again).
The key to earning extra cash quickly in this type of gig is to watch multiple pets at once or develop a customer network with recurring visits. For example, if you did an overnight stay for a family with 2 dogs for a three-day weekend, you could expect to charge $40 per dog per night, making your earning potential about $240 for the weekend.
7. Resell Broken Devices
With sites like Gazelle, it’s easy enough to buy old iPhones, Android devices, and tablets with cracked screens and resell them to upcycling businesses. See Gazelle Review: Sell Your Old Smartphones, Tablets and More for details.
The trick to making money on a site like Gazelle is getting the run-down devices for dirt cheap.
8. Rent out Bounce Houses
If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because I’ve written about the idea before.
The basic premise of this side gig is to purchase a large, inflatable bounce house and rent it out to parents for events like birthday parties throughout the summer.
It’s common for these to rent for over $50 an hour, so if you set a minimum rental period of 4 hours, you’d make at least $200. If you charged toward the upper end of what the market bears ($100 per hour), that’s a cool $400. Incidentally, the bounce house I like is $399. That means you’d make back your initial investment in just one rental.
→ PRO TIP: Look into liability insurance and legal implications. You may want to have a liability waiver drawn up by a lawyer for clients to sign.
Like I pointed out in the first post, if you kept busy all summer with these rentals, you could probably make several thousand dollars.
9. Watch Kiddos as a Part-Time Nanny
Parents still need help for the summer! Here’s proof on Care.com.
There are nearly 70 listings in my area paying $10-30 per hour, depending on part-time versus full-time status. Many of the postings are made by parents who work full-time and need daytime coverage, but some are looking for one or two nights per week.
If you love kids and don’t have a restrictive schedule or kiddos of your own, this could be a perfect gig for you. Summers are a great time for college students to do this work on a full-time basis.
At an average rate of $15 per hour, you could earn $600 per week if you worked full time as a nanny. As for summer side gigs (read: part-time), if you worked just 10 hours per week, you could earn $150 per week, or $600 per month, at that rate.
10. Prep Meals or Run Errands for Busy Professionals and Families
Summers are a tricky time for busy parents. While we see pictures on Pinterest and on the cover of women’s magazines that look like we all have time to sit around enjoying a BBQ, the reality is more chaotic with 8 more hours in the day to account for keeping kiddos occupied.
With kids on summer break, parents are running around more in the summer than normal. There’s no doubt that makes putting dinner on the table a challenge. Offering to take some of the menial labor off of a dad’s or mom’s plate this time of year might be just as helpful as helping with holiday celebration prep.
By offering a healthy, zero-effort meal, families might find they eat less fast-casual meals and have more time around the dinner table instead of at the drive-through.
The average dinner at Panera for a family of 4 might be $42 (two adult meals at $13 each; two kids meals at $6 each; plus tax and tip). As point of comparison, at Chipotle an average dinner for a family of 4 might be $30 (two adult meals at $9 each; two kids meals at $4 each; plus tax and tip). So, eating at a decently healthy restaurant would cost a family $30-40 per trip.
What if you could make a hearty, healthy meal at a fair price, and which they could just pop in the oven or toss together into a bowl? People will pay for that. How much may be up for debate, but one way to charge a premium would be to specialize in specialty diets like Paleo, vegan, and/or sugar-free.
11. Tutor a Child or Adult in English (and Other Subjects)
There’s no shortage of sites that help domestic and international residents learn English as their second language. VIPKID is a popular site for this. They require an undergrad degree and have a fairly extensive screening process, but for those who love to teach, it’s a natural fit.
For other subjects, sites like Varsity Tutors offer a platform for you to connect with students and teach in over 40 subjects. They were recently acquired by Princeton Review, a staple in the test-prep industry. Because of that affiliation, they also offer live test prep tutoring for tests such as the SAT, GRE, MCAT, and LSAT.
Similarly, Chegg offer flexible options for tutoring in subjects including calculus, biology, computer science, law, singing/voice, and “thousands more,” according to their site. They also say top tutors can earn over a grand a month, with pay starting at $20 per hour.
These types of sites typically pay $10 to $20 per hour. Factoring in the average rate and typical session length (60 or 90 minutes), I estimate you could earn $120-200 per week.
12. College Move-In Prep
I’ve written about the need for senior citizens to downsize when they move into a smaller apartment or assisted living facility. A similar need pops up every year for eager college freshmen to pack up and get out of their childhood home and head off to college.
There are a few things you could do as a side gig here to make extra cash.
One is to help with the physical labor of boxing things up and moving belongings. That might mean coordinating a moving Pod as part of a whole-hog offering. Professional movers make about $25 per hour.
Or, you could function as a professional organizer and planner, helping students plan for what to leave, what to take, and where to put what. Professional organizers are paid about the same as movers, at around $20-40 per hour.
Selling Boxes (Yes, Really)
The last one is the weirdest in the list: flipping moving boxes. (By flipping I mean reselling.)
I had a friend who, in Atlanta a few years ago, created a system for picking up people’s’ old moving boxes, then reselling them as “gently used” to other people. It’s cheaper than buying new boxes at Uhaul, so people went for it!
He was able to make a few hundred bucks doing it — and you could, too. There’s minimal cost involved with doing this because you’d just need to pick up the boxes or hire someone to do it for you, then list the boxes for sale and have clients pick them up at a specified location. How much you charge is up to you!
13. Sell Wedding Services and Products
The wedding industry is huge this time of year. Here are a few ideas to for summer side gigs.
Etsy Store Owner
Because the wedding industry is highly trend-driven, if you can find the thing everybody is drooling over on Pinterest, you can offer some version of that on Etsy. It’s worth noting that Etsy is its own little world when it comes to understanding their fee structure (read: how much of a cut the site takes for being your sales platform), SEO on the site (it’s highly competitive), and marketing (images you use, demographic targeting, etc.), but if you can stomach that learning curve, it certainly works for some people.
There isn’t really a typical price I can cite for this, but the overall average Etsy site sale average is alleged to be in the ballpark of $25 per item.
Wedding Party Gown & Suit Alterations
Having worked closely in the past with a custom bridal designer in Houston, TX, I’m intimately familiar with the fact that the national average cost of wedding gown alterations is between $100 and $400.
Granted, you’ll need to have this skill set to begin with, but if you have that in your back pocket, this is a smart time of year to shout it from the mountain tops.
Not comfortable working on wedding gowns? Maybe you can help with something that still needs done, but won’t be as visible on the big day: bridesmaid dresses. Same goes for minor suit alterations for groomsmen who might, given the trend toward casual weddings, be wearing a day suit rather than a tuxedo.
Watch for an upcoming how-to article on Frugal for Less about earning as a wedding officiant in your hometown. It’s common for folks who perform weddings to charge between $300 and 600 per event, depending on how involved with the couple the professional is prior to the big day.
14. Lawn Care
Like car detailing, lawn care and landscape design are seasonal gigs in peak demand during the summer months. Like many of the ideas on this list, cutting grass can be as small or as big a gig as you want it to be. How many doors do you want to knock on?
The rate for lawn mowing varies most consistently by the size of lawn , but HomeAdvisor says the national average is $139 per yard.
15. Mystery Shopping
Although you can do mystery shopping throughout the year, we just published a guide to help you get started: Mastering Mystery Shopping in 30 Days: Where to Start and How to Get Paid, Earn Bonuses, and Eat Free.
All sorts of industries hire mystery shoppers to evaluate customer service and other critical operational standards. No special qualifications are typically needed, although I do highly recommend starting with some free training (details on that in the article).
Assignment pay varies by type, amount of details required in reports, and other factors. My average earnings typically work out to be $10 to $40 per hour as an effective rate, although each project is paid for on an assignment basis, not an hourly rate.
Because of that, it pays to be efficient. The article includes plenty of tricks of the trade and tips to help with that.
While it might be a little late in the season to get a jump on being the neighborhood lifeguard, these ideas aren’t too late to implement! I hope you enjoyed some of the quirkier ideas in this list of summer side gigs. How will you use the savings, FFL readers?