If you’ve decided to take time away from your summer vacation to make some coin, don’t fret. There are flexible jobs that won’t necessarily keep you working all the time.
First, make a quick list about the things you like to do and can do in regard to how you’re going to get to a job, which jobs are available, and what your money goals are.
Try to pick jobs with the lowest overhead. Making money means spending some of that money, whether it be gas to get to your job, uniforms or fast food meals. At your age, you more than likely don’t need a huge salary to cover day-to-day major expenses like mortgages and health insurance. Yet, the key to making the most out of your pay is to keep those job expenses low.
Teens are able to — and can — build successful businesses. Just don’t go overboard. Obviously, it doesn’t pay to take out a $100 newspaper ad and buy a shiny $1,500 riding lawn mower if you’re only doing two tiny lawns for two summers (unless maybe you’re mowing a celebrity’s lawn).
Whether you rake or mow lawns, this can be a flexible work option for you. This may be one of those lucky times where you can make money while listening to your iPod at the same time! But, you won’t be tied down to a part-time job, so you’ll have time to be able to have fun this summer, too!
Besides soaking in Vitamin D from the sun’s rays, you’ll be getting physical exercise (if you forgo a riding lawn mower). Make sure you apply and re-apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water while working. Try to work before or after 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Your profits will definitely depend on the weather, so the money you can make may sway significantly from year to year. For example, instead of regularly mowing a lawn once a week, in a drought, you may only need to mow a few times throughout the season. (Keep this in mind if you’re needing major amounts of cash for college or a big purchase like a car!)
If you live in an area where many people don’t live there year-round (vacation or second homes), you may need to mail invoices. Check Microsoft Word for easy-to-use invoice templates. Make sure you keep detailed records about what dates you mowed the lawns since you will probably be getting paid per job.
Don’t go the entire summer without getting paid, either. Yes, talking about money is difficult for most of us. You’ll have to make it clear to your client from the get-go on how you will get paid: whether it be once a month or per project. Clients may take advantage of you, especially those clients that don’t live full-time in your area and don’t see you in person often. You may end up working an entire summer for free… Actually, by the time you mail several invoices and use your own mower gas, you’ve actually SPENT your OWN money.
On the other hand, be honest and don’t take advantage of people. Don’t mow the lawn unnecessarily to make an extra buck, and don’t lie about the times you did your job. Eventually, it will all catch up with you. Your lesson is to earn your money, not steal it.
Babysitting is a great job for teenagers. It’s chock-full of opportunities to learn life skills that will teach you reliability, responsibility, patience, organization and management. (You may have a new-found respect for your parents or guardians, too!)
If you have great kids to babysit and you know how to channel their energy positively, it’s one of those jobs you may actually enjoy. Enjoying your job also makes the work hours go by more quickly!
Before jumping into the realm of babysitting, it’s a great idea to take a certified babysitting prep course. Sometimes, schools or community centers offer them. You may want to take extra first-aid classes above and beyond. Remember that those certifications expire over time. You’ll need to be committed to renewing those certifications down the line.
Make sure you meet your charges and their parents/guardians if at all possible before your first babysitting job. You’ll get a chance to meet everyone, feel more comfortable with the kids, and they’ll feel more comfortable with you.
If you’re not the kind of teen that wants to sit behind a desk or work in a crowded mall, there’s still work options open for you. Landscaping companies, farms or maintenance crews may need your young, strong back.
I worked part-time for a cranberry marsh for a couple of summers to help pay for college. Working with your hands and pulling weeds builds character. It can also get you tanned and toned. Hey, your perspective of the world can change dramatically from the vantage point of an old Kubota tractor.
The part that vexed me though was applying pesticides.
Most of these business may be outside of the city, which may require that you have to drive a few — or several miles — to get to them. That eats into your profits and time. You’ll need a reliable adult or co-worker to drive you to work, or you’ll need to be old enough to have your driver’s license.
If you like to take charge and/or have a specific talent, tutoring may be a flexible income option. Whether you’re the star math student at your school or you can play a mean trumpet, there may be ways you can make money by tutoring or giving lessons to community members.
If you don’t merely want constant one-on-one interactions, scan the newspapers and local media for day or overnight camps in your area. They may be looking for people like you to teach their campers specific skills. (You may be able to get away from your ‘rents’ for a few days or weeks in the mean-time if it’s an overnight camp!)
There are some great considerations for what to charge per hour or per lesson at Care.com. More than likely, this is your first time tutoring, so you may only be getting about $10 a lesson. The more students you have, and the more times you meet, the more you can make.