Teenagers like to spend money, but even in the best economy they have a hard time finding work. And teens who are involved in lots of activities have it even harder — you don’t want your son to quit the volleyball team in order to work at McDonalds, do you?
Fortunately, there are ways for teens to earn money besides getting a regular job. How does a teen find this kind of work? She should start by thinking this: What do adults hate to do that I could do for them? If she can find some task in this category and market her solution, the money will soon roll in!
I have written about this topic before, but here are some more jobs that fall into the adults-hate-to-do-it category:
1. Pooper scooper
What do most dog owners hate doing? Picking up the poop from the back yard. If your child can bend over, he can handle this odious task. And people will pay for the service — charging $10 or more per visit is not excessive. Obviously the size of the yard and the number of dogs plays a role in the price. Imagine if your kid gets five or six clients and picks up the poop twice a week at each house — that’s $100 right there for something that probably will only take three or four hours per week total.
2. Christmas tree disposal
Everyone is jolly when it’s time to put up and decorate the Christmas tree, but where did all the help go when it’s time to take that tree down and drag it to the alley or street? Obviously this is a chore that only needs to be done once per year, but if your daughter finds 20 families who want this service and charges $10 each, that’s not a bad pay day! The keys to success with this task are strength (if your teen is not muscled enough to wrestle a tree to the curb, perhaps she should find a business partner) and fastidiousness, because cleaning up all the needles that fell off the tree is part of the service.
3. Technology set-up
It might be a stereotype, but teens are generally more in tune with modern technology than other age groups. What teens do completely naturally — load songs onto an iPod, set up a Facebook page, find useful apps on their smartphones — many adults find bewildering. Have your tech-savvy child log into “mom mail” or some other neighborhood email network and describe his services and rates, and he’ll surely land a few clients who will gladly pay for his tech guidance.
4. Laundry service
Who doesn’t complain, at least once in a while, about doing the laundry? If your child offered to wash, dry, and fold a family’s clothes, that could take a serious load off. This would most likely be done at the client’s house — you don’t want your own washer and dryerused for this service, of course — but if your child timed it right, she could do several neighbors’ laundry all in one evening per week by going back and forth between wash and dry cycles. Or she could take the whole load to the laundromat and do it at once. She could even do her homework while watching a line of washers spinning!
The last item on my list does not really fall into the adults-hate-to-do-it list, but I believe a trustworthy and friendly teen could make good money — and provide a valuable service — with this one.
5. Elder care
Sure, your teen is probably not a registered nurses’ aide, but that doesn’t mean she can’t handle some light housekeeping and basic errands for an elderly neighbor. As America ages, the number of seniors who need a helping hand is only going to grow. Your son or daughter could offer a wide range of services to the older set in your neighborhood: cleaning, cooking, shopping, chauffeuring, handling correspondence, or simply keeping company. Seniors often live on a fixed income, but $10 an hour for two or three hours of chores per week is probably within the budget of most. If your child lines up five clients like that, she’ll bring home over $100 per week.
All of these money-making endeavors could be done in a few spare hours a week, making it easy for an involved teen to still participate in sports, clubs, and other after-school activities. Another benefit of this kind of work is that your teen could add it to his or her college application, because it shows initiative and responsibility. Perhaps best of all, though, is the bottom line: A few extra dollars in your child’s pocket.