My three kids are some of the most determined, pro-active people I know. When summer comes around, they’re usually the first to ask me about part-time jobs. If there aren’t any jobs available for them, they’ll start thinking up ways to earn money. Their lemonade stand and dog-walking service were pretty well-known in our neighborhood.
My kids are budding business people, but I also know that they’re not unique in that regard. Kids in general are pretty enterprising. All the kids on our block have their own money-making schemes. The kid from next door has a pretty lucrative car-cleaning business. The one across us gives pretty good tech support to geezers such as us!
As a tribute to those kids, and to inspire your own, I’ve compiled a list of great ways for them to make money. All these methods were tried and tested by the kids in my neighborhood, and are guaranteed to make a good sum of money.
Most of the items listed are appropriate for kids of all ages, but be sure to select a business that suits their abilities and interests. But you may not even have to. If you show them this list, chances are they’ll be the ones to tell you what they would like to do!
Without further ado, here’s my list:
1. Provide neighborhood tech support
Believe it or not, the best tech support person in our neighborhood… is a nine-year-old girl. Adults merely adopted technology. Kids were born in it, molded by it. So it’s not surprising that kids are great at giving tech support.
The most common jobs she gets are setting up home routers, reformatting drives, setting up smart TVs, and backing up files to the cloud. She also holds one-on-one tutorials for people trying to figure out how to use their gadgets. She’s not the best teacher, but the knowledge is there.
Apart from earning money, all these interactions will teach your kids how to be more sociable. They will also strengthen their problem-solving skills.
2. Provide basic web design and social media management for small businesses
Here’s another tech-related racket. We come from a small town, and there are a lot of small businesses here without any web presence. Since these are mom and pops, they’re not the type that would hire a large, corporate web agency. But they don’t mind hiring particular teens and pre-teens in their neighborhood. Those kids are heavily into graphic design and coding.
The kids have been making good money, and in turn, those small businesses are able to have an online presence. The kids aren’t elite-level yet, but I think it’s only a matter of time before they become large agencies start noticing them.
Providing websites to small businesses is teaching these kids how to be responsible, solve problems, and know how to service a client’s specific requirements.
3. Sell lemonade and other refreshments
This one’s a classic. It doesn’t matter how high tech kids get, they will always want to sell lemonade. Selling lemonade is a great way to teach kids the value of providing a seasonal service. When the temperature shoots up, nothing soothes me like an ice cold glass of lemonade. And my kids know that… which is why they jacked up their prices after their first year of selling!
Selling lemonade will also teach your kids how to manage inventory, since lemons don’t last forever. They’ll have to plot how many lemonades they plan to sell, and buy the appropriate amount of raw ingredients. It isn’t rocket science, but if this is too complicated for them, you can always help crunch the numbers.
If there’s a lemon orchard near you, selling lemonade will also teach them the value of working with local businesses. Try encouraging them to buy from small growers instead of going to the supermarket.
4. Wash cars
I live in a pretty dry and dusty climate, but when it does rain, cars get absolutely filthy. We’ve been seeing more rains these days, which means more grungy vehicles. Most car owners are busy work-class types, so they don’t have much time to clean their vehicles.
A few enterprising kids saw this as an opportunity to make money cleaning cars. And believe me, business has been good. They usually clean cars during weekends. Every Saturday morning, you can see them going from one garage to another with sponges, hoses, and bottles of car soap in hand.
If your kids want to try this out, be sure you teach them how to properly handle the various soaps and waxes that the job requires. But overall, I think this is a great way for kids to make money, regardless of their location. It also teaches them how to respect and care for other people’s property.
5. Offer dog-walking and pet-sitting services
My kids absolutely loved this! It all started when a neighbor, who lived alone with her Labrador retriever, had to make an emergency trip out of town. My kids were already familiar with the Labrador (who was, in turn, fond of my kids) so my neighbor asked if they could care for the dog while she was away.
My kids jumped on the chance… but then they had to learn that this was an actual responsibility. Every morning for one week, they had to get up, go to the house next door, refill the dog’s food bowl, and take him for a walk around the block.
They settled into their job pretty nicely. Our neighbor was pretty pleased with their service, and referred them to a bunch of people who needed this service. This is now my kids’ top money-making project.
This is a great way to teach your kids how to care for another living thing. They also need to be responsible and have a fondness for animals. If they meet these criteria, have them give it a try!
6. Get a paper route
Yep, people still read print newspapers. (Or at least, they still do in my town) Hearing newspapers landing on my neighbors’ driveways is one of my signals to wake up and start my day.
Newspapers are still pretty common, and kids can make a good amount of money by working a paper route. I also had a paper route as a kid, and it was a pretty fun job. I’d wake up early, wait for the delivery van, load up on newspapers, and get to work.
I had to delivery all my newspapers within a set time, so it taught me time management (and how to avoid angry dogs!)
7. Assist the senior citizens
There are what I call “tweener seniors.” They’re old enough to need help doing things at home, but they’re not old enough to move into an assisted living facility.
Some of the more responsible kids on the block, regularly help these people in various day to day chores, such as cooking, cleaning, and even hobbies such as knitting and scrapbooking! It’s not the most exciting job for them, but if your kids are keen on helping others, they may want to give this a try.
I need to point out that this isn’t a caregiving job; there are licensed professionals who provide that service. All these kids do is help around the house and provide company. That said, you could use this as an opportunity to teach your kids basic first aid and CPR. These are skills they’ll carry with them into adulthood.
8. Mow neighbors’ lawns
It doesn’t get more classic than this. But mowing lawns is still pretty lucrative… so much so that a few grown-ups have started providing a similar service. This only encouraged the kids to get creative and provide a better service.
Kids are quicker than adults, so they were able to mow lawns faster, earning more money in a single afternoon than the adults. But they earned the most of their money by maintaining robotic lawn mowers. More and more homes in our neighborhood are investing in robotic lawn mowers. The thing is, not all of them know how to maintain and care for one. Well, those are things kids are more than capable of doing. In that regard, they got the adult mowers beat!
Mowing lawns is a time-tested job that will teach kids perseverance, and how to update a service to stay profitable.
9. Provide music lessons
Sure, there are a lot of adult music teachers out there, but I noticed kids respond differently when their teacher is someone their age (or a few years older). They speak the same way, are into the same things, and most likely listen to the same music. And having that sort of common ground is a great way to build rapport with students.
If you have a kid who’s skilled musically, ask them if they’d like to teach music to other kids. They’ll earn money, gain some street cred among their peers, and who knows? They may even form a band.
Teaching music encourages kids to communicate better. It also encourages them to refine their craft.
All these methods are legit ways for kids to make money! And by legit, I mean they’ve all been tried and tested by the kids in our neighborhood. If you have kids, or know kids who are looking for ways to make some money, show them this list and get inspired!
This experience is based on my kids’ experience, and the experience of the kids in my neighborhood. Now it’s your turn to share! Do you know any kids who’ve earned big money?
Let’s hear your (or their) stories!