Make Money when You Are Too Young to Get a Job
You don't have to be an adult to make money. If you're too young to get "real job" you can get creative and learn to make your own work and get paid for it. Learn how to manage your own job skills, and get work babysitting, doing yard work, and making money in a variety of other ways.
- Think about what you do well. What can you do that someone will pay you to do. Can you do yard-work? Walk dogs? Babysit? Make and sell things? Recycle paper and metal items? Computer stuff? There are many things that you can offer others, if you think hard about it. Make a list, writing down ALL possibilities.
- There are some things that will be more profitable than others, and some just won't be possible. Scratch out anything that involves materials that you don't have, or can't happen where you live.
- Below, you'll find specific sections about babysitting, doing yard work and housework, washing cars, and finding other creative ways to make a buck as a kid.
- Decide how much time you can work. You still need to save enough time for your schoolwork and hanging out with your friends, and doing other fun kid stuff. And if you play sports, or do other activities, it can be really difficult. Kids are actually pretty busy, so it can be hard to devote more time to making money than you've got on the weekends.
- Figure out how much time you can afford to spend making money and set a strict time-schedule for yourself. Can you work as many as five hours on Saturday? More?
- Make sure to clear you plan with your parents, always. They may have other responsibilities for you that you need to keep in mind as well.
- Do the math, if you're trying to save up for something. If you can get $7.00 per hour, it will take about 40 hours over the next month to get $300.00. That means 10 hours/week.
- Set your price. How much will you charge people for your service? Depending on what you're doing and who you're working for, any number of different prices might be appropriate. Negotiate with people, but have a specific number in mind.
- You can set a flat rate ("I'll mow your lawn and rake your leaves for $25") or you can set an hourly rate ("I'll mow your lawn and rake your leaves for $6 an hour."). If your job will take a long time to finish, consider an hourly rate. If you can do it fast, but it'll be tough, go for a flat rate.
- Find the minimum wage in your town, and make it slightly less than that. Some people have old ideas about how much to spend on something like this, so it's good to have an update figure.
- Make it seem like you're a bargain. Find out how much a pro service would charge for doing what you're going to do. Low prices will get more people to hire you. If you're trying to save up, you may want to make it quickly, but you probably can't go charging people a $100 an hour to do yard work.
- Find people to hire you. Post flyers, ask family members for business, and ask the people you babysit for to recommend you to their friends. Let lots of people know about your babysitting services. Make sure your potential customers know who you are, what you offer, and how to contact you.
- If you live in a neighborhood, knock on doors. Introduce yourself and talk up your new business. People love the idea of hiring a neighborhood kid, usually.
- Find a place where your customers are likely to be. If you want to mow lawns, hang up a flyer in the local
- Don't tell anyone why you need money. Instead, tell them how you will make their life easier or better by hiring you. For example, you are not offering to rake leaves. You're selling less work for them and a beautiful yard.
- Make a work schedule. Plan your time and work the number of hours you say you'll work. If you want to babysit, try to find someone to babysit for each Friday evening, if that's the day you pick. Do it as often as possible if you want to make money.
- Put in the work. If you finish up early one day, spend the rest of the time you had for work knocking on doors or posting flyers. Don't close up the store just because nobody's shopping.
- Work quickly. If you want to mow lawns, you may think it would be smarter to spend a bunch of time mowing one and charge more, but that's not appealing to customers
- Keep at it. Do a good job the first time, and make your gig a regular thing. Ask if you can come back next week, same time, same price. It's a lot easier to come back to a happy customer instead of finding new ones.
- If the customer is happy, then ask them to recommend you to other people. Also ask if they would arrange a meeting for you.
- Try doing a little extra to see if you can make more money. If you see another job that you can do, ask if they would be willing to hire you to do it. Take out the trash and clean up the house while you're babysitting, then offer to clean separately, or for more money. Take care of the shrubs when you're mowing the lawn, or offer to. Ask if they've got any other odd jobs around the house that you could do.
- If you could do a variety of chores at one house, that's worth it. You don't have to lug your stuff all around the neighborhood all day. Just go one place to work.
- Find parents in your neighborhood. Babysitting is fun, pretty easy, and parents are always looking for a sitter to free up some spare time. Talk to your parents about talking to their friends, or neighbors in the area who might need a sitter. Think of parents in your neighborhood with kids and talk to them yourself.
- Stick close to your house. When you're first starting out, make sure to pick a house that's close to your's, so your parents can help out if necessary. If there's an emergency, you'll be close to home.
- If you live in an apartment complex, this could be a really great way of making money. Offer to watch kids and have them dropped off at your own house, so your parents can help out if necessary.
- Take a CPR class. Babysitters need to be trustworthy, especially if you don't know the people you'll be babysitting for well. One excellent way to get the skills necessary for babysitting is to take a short CPR class and become Become CPR Certified. Usually, these only last about a day, or several hours, and you can do it on the weekend.
- Generally, babysitters need to be around 12-13, at least. You need to be enough older than the kids you're babysitting so that they'll respect you, and so that you're capable enough to take care of them on your own.
- Bring some creative ideas for entertaining the kid. One of the best parts of babysitting is that you get to hang out with little kids and play for a couple hours. And get paid for it! To be a good babysitter, bring a lot of fun ideas about how to spend your time with the kiddos, and you'll be in-demand. Bring along some:
- Art projects
- Old toys
- Outside toys or sports stuff
- Dress up supplies
- Listen to the parents' instructions. Babysitting isn't all games and fun. Depending on how old the kid is and how long you'll be watching them, you may need to feed, bathe, clothe, put down, and even change the diapers of a kid. Listen closely and write down everything you'll need to do to, so you'll have a cheat sheet when they're gone.
- If you don't know how to do something, be honest and ask the parents to demonstrate before they leave. Asking lots of questions helps to demonstrate that you're a good listener and serious worker.
- Be patient. Little kids can be a handful. It might be fun to hang out and play for 30 minutes, but at hour 3 of the same game? Yikes. Babysitters need to be very patient and calm with the kids they babysit, to keep things under control as much as possible.
- Remember: You're not there to have fun. If they paid you to have fun, everyone would do it. It's called work for a reason. Don't let yourself get grumpy because the kid wants to watch Finding Nemo twice in a row.
- Be firm. Babysitters need to have authority and be in charge of the situation. When it's time for the kid to go to sleep, don't let yourself get pushed around. Be as firm as possible and expect the kid to push you. Speak calmly and firmly and be the adult in the room at all times. Stay focused on what you're doing.
- Lots of kids will disrespect babysitters and say things like, "You're not my mom" when you try to get them to do something they don't want to do. Expect that it will be a challenge and prepare what you'll do in advance.
- If the kid wants to argue with you, or starts getting hyper, don't get swept up in the drama. Be calm and quiet, and distract the kid with activity.
- Sometimes, when kids get excited, a little snack will help them calm down. Most kids won't admit when they're hungry, but provide some cut-up apple slices and they'll pipe right down.
- Call for backup if you need help. Babysitting can be a handful. If you get in over your head, make sure you have some backup help ready, if necessary. Have a friend in your neighborhood come over and help while you're watching the kid, or call your parents if there's something you feel unable to handle.
- In an emergency, always call the parents and call 911 if something serious is going on. Don't be afraid to act in an emergency. That's the sign of a good sitter.
- Find yards that are in a big group. If you can mow your own lawn, and all the lawns the surround your parents' house, you're in good shape. You can do all the lawns at once, rake all the leaves, and take care of the yards at the same time. It's like one long day of work in which you an get paid several times.
- If you don't live somewhere with many yards, you can still do this. Just get a ride to a neighborhood where you can get as many yards as possible in the same neighborhood. The closer together the yards, the easier your job is.
- Elderly neighbors will be the most willing to hire young kids to do this.
- Mow lawns. One great way to make money in the summer months is to ask as many of your neighbors as you can if you can mow their lawn for them. Lawn-mowing can be a serious hassle, and you can make some serious money doing it in your spare time.
- Ask your parents to stake you to equipment costs, if you don't have access to the mower yourself. Ask for an old mower for your birthday.
- In some cases, people might want you to use their equipment, if it's available. If you can use their lawn mower, all the better.
- Set aside some money for materials. You'll need to pay to have the gas tank filled and ready to go, if you're mowing lawns. Or, see if your parents won't help you pay for gas.
- Rake leaves and trim hedges. In late summer and early fall, you'll start mowing less and less, but your clients will need other things done around the yard. Get ready to rake leaves, bag them, and clean up the yard of other debris, like acorns, twigs, and pinecones.
- For this job, all you need is a sturdy rake and some leaf bags. In some cases, you might not even need the bags. Cheap, light, and easy.
- Shovel driveways in the winter. Once the fall turns to winter, business can dry up for the lawnmower. But, snow needs to be taken care of in lots of regions. Don't stop working when it gets cold. Get yourself a good snow shovel and offer to shovel out the driveways and walks of your neighbors.
- Clean Rain Gutters. After a long winter, gutters tend to get clogged up and need a good cleaning. Mostly, this just involves removing the gunky leaves and twigs from the gutters and disposing of them in bags.
- Even if you live in a place with really great weather, gutters need to be cleaned out regularly to avoid sticks, leaves, and other debris getting caught up in them.
- Since this involves getting up on a ladder, or on the roof, it's maybe the most dangerous of all these jobs. You might want to double-check with your parents.
- Help with a harvest in your area. In rural areas, lots of farmers and fruit growers will hire younger kids to help harvest the fruit during the ripe season. If you live somewhere with a lot of agriculture, keep an eye out at local feed stores, and rural outfitters for signs that local farmers are hiring hands. It can be tough work, but it can also be short-term (a few weeks at most) and good money.
The following jobs are all possible in different regions for teens:
- Picking fruit, like peaches, apples, cherries, and berries
- Pruning grapevine
- Helping process wheat, or other grains
- Digging potatoes
- Detassling corn
- Gathering chicken eggs
Making Money in Other Ways
- Walk dogs. Offer to walk your neighbors' dogs for a small fee. If you have lots of neighbors with animals, and like spending time around dogs, this can be a great way of getting some extra pocket money.
- Think about which of your neighbors work during the day, while you've got summer vacation. If you're around and can walk the dog while you're not doing anything, that's easy money.
- Do housework around your own house. Talk to your parents about taking on more house responsibilities for money. If you can get paid for doing stuff that might be considered "chores," and not even have to leave your house, that's easy money. Your parents might even talk you up to neighbors. One day, do all of the following, and then tell your parents that you'll keep doing it if they pay you regularly:
- Clean up the kitchen and do the dishes.
- Take out the garbage.
- Tidy the living rooms.
- Tidy up the bathroom.
- Tackle the garage and attic.
- Keep your room extremely clean.
- Help people with computer or phone stuff. If you're good with your computer, you can market those skills to people who don't understand tech as well as you do.
- You can help people set up email accounts, Facebook pages, and other social networking. Help people load pictures and edit them. Help with printing and copying.
- Find older people who need help figuring out their technology. Start with your grandparents, and see if they'll talk to their friends, or other acquaintances about hiring you to help with computer-related stuff.
- Ask your parents for an allowance. If you want money and you're a kid, some parents are willing to give it. Talk to them about what specific jobs you can do around the house, or specific things you can do at school to help you make money. If you can get money for good grades, then try harder at school. If you can get paid to take care of your pets, or do yard work, or some other task, then do it.
- If you can't get an allowance from your parents, try a different tactic. Next time it's your birthday, don't ask for presents, ask for money.
- Sell something. You don't have to be an adult to sell things from a little stand. If you want to make some extra coin, you can sell something and make a profit if you price it properly. Read the following articles for specific advice about selling things for money.
- Make reasonable prices because no one will want your service if your prices were too high!
- Stay with a communication device if your working far from home to be safe.
- Always be careful around the people you work with for they are still strangers!
- Offer to read to little kids or help them with their homework and a lot people may be willing to pay you.
- Make sure you love what you do! Put effort into your work.
- Go online and take surveys.
- If you're good at art or baking or something like that, ask your friends or family if your product is good enough to sell.
- You can sell stuff on eBay but make sure your parents are okay with it first.
- Be kind and honest to everyone. Nobody likes a rude salesperson!
- If your good at art, consider selling cards with your artwork on them!
- An idea to make money is to sweep the patio of your own house or the house of your neighbour.
- Make sure you always tell your parents before you try to sell stuff and only help people who you can trust to stay safe.
- Some jobs require going door-to-door to someone you don't know in your neighborhood. This is not a good idea without a trusted adult to make sure you're safe.
Sources and Citations