Finding a summer job as a student can be a real bummer. Whether you’re filling out an application at Wal-Mart or begging a relative to let you work for his landscaping crew that starts at 5 a.m., the prospects are usually as bleak as the pay. Not to mention the fact that summer plans can fade away as you find yourself locked into a less-than-desirable schedule.
But thankfully, there are options out there that will allow for at least a little freedom – and a higher wage ceiling. Read on for some outside the box summer jobs, and avoid turning your “free” months into a restrictive slog.
One of the most flexible ways to make money in the summer is to be a rideshare driver. Companies like Lyft and Uber are always looking for new employees, and you don’t need any prior experience to be accepted.
To receive a decent income, you should be willing to drive during high peak times – including weekend nights and holidays. If there’s a big festival in your town, you may earn bank from surge prices. Ridesharing can come with risks and inflict damage on your car, so make sure to do your research before signing up.
Unlike other summer jobs, this is one that can be done if you’re looking for other work or in between shifts at your part-time gig. If you need to take summer classes or have a long vacation planned, no one will notice if you stop driving for a few weeks.
Working in food service is a popular option for teens and college students looking for summer work, but bartending may be your best bet if earning money is your primary goal. Serving drinks to thirsty patrons will earn you lots of cash, especially if you work at an upscale establishment instead of a dive bar.
According to PayScale.com, the average bartender earns $16 an hour – equal to about $33,000 a year. That’s higher than what some graduates make in their first post-college job. Plus, learning to talk to people and manage a variety of tasks at once are all skills that will benefit you later on.
One of the best ways to earn a living is to start your own business based on your strengths and interests. Can you create basic websites or design logos? Are you an amateur woodworker or aspiring cake decorator?
Make a list of the skills you have that people would be willing to pay for and start marketing yourself. Freelancing may require more time to get started, but you’ll be building a business for yourself – instead of helping someone else’s business succeed.
Plus, you can do this in between other summer jobs, especially if your skills don’t require anything beyond a laptop and WiFi connection. You can also grow this business during the school year and possibly turn it into a full-time job after graduation.
House or Pet Sitting
Want to get paid while sitting on your butt? Turns out, it’s possible – you just have to house sit.
The requirements are often minimal – stay at the house as much as possible, water the plants, and take in the mail. You can also double your offers by adding pet sitting services – perfect for homeowners who don’t want to leave Fluffy at the vet while they’re in Bermuda.
Pet sitters often charge around $20 per hour-long visit and house sitting is usually around $50 a night. That’s more than you’ll make working eight hours a day at minimum wage. As another bonus, you can ask to be paid in cash to avoid reporting the income on your taxes.
Looking for more ideas? Check out these 10 Flexible Part Time Jobs You Can Do From Anywhere.
What's the most unique summer job you've ever held?
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