Sunday, January 25, 2015
Odd jobs are the type of jobs that may really help you with your budget. Why? They are NOT regular, so you can’t count of them very well. However, they are more flexible, can work around YOUR schedule, and pay more per hour. You also avoid paying into unemployment insurance, union, etc. You still have to pay income tax on the income, but your income is most likely low enough that you won’t pay any income tax anyway. Here are a few odd jobs you may like, as well as their pros and cons.
Lessons & Tutoring: giving private lessons (in music, for example) and tutoring (to high school students or other university students) often pays $20+/hour. That’s because it’s a ‘qualified’ job that not anyone can do. I cannot teach piano because my level is roughly 3rd year of the Royal Conservatory, which is very low. However, if you play an instrument well, you can often give private lessons in your or your students’ home. Parents often look for young, enthusiastic teachers for their children so that the children enjoy learning music. Music lessons are paid more per hour than tutoring because you are not simply helping someone with a specific problem and specific questions about a subject, but creating a program for a student (even if you are using a commercial methods found in books). You decide how fast to move the student along, choose fun activities, etc. As long as you are majoring in something taught in high school or elementary school (and you have a fun and kid-loving personality), you can tutor. If you are an upper-year student, you can most likely tutor students taking a course you aced. As well, if you speak a language other than English, you can most likely tutor that language to students (although, ok, a French tutor at the Université de Montréal may not get you many clients). Advertise on the internet (Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook, etc.) and make a few posters for poster boards on campus or in different schools, YMCA, and public libraries.
Babysitting: even if most post-secondary students like to think that they have left the days of underpaid babysitting behind, childminding is a great way to increase your budget with little effort. Rates for babysitting change considerably throughout the country and vary from under the minimum wage to $15-20/hr. Advertising for babysittig is easy (Kijiji, posters) and similar to lessons and tutoring, but remember that you need to target the parents, not the children. Public libraries, grocery stores, children clothing stores and the like are good places to advertise. The beauty of babysitting is that you can refuse a ‘gig’ if you had plans you don’t want to change (you need some availability though, otherwise the parents will know you are typically too busy to work) and the later you work, the easier the job is because the children will be asleep. If you can find a regular babysitting job, such as every night after 5pm (assuming you have not late classes), regular money will be coming your way.
Housesitting: if you are a responsible student who gets to know professors well, housitting may be in your future. This isn’t the best paid job, but in fact, it’s not much of a job: simply staying at someone else’s house while they are away and feeding a pet or two (people without pets tend to leave their home empty when they travel). However, on top of some low pay, you get to enjoy living in a nice place for a few nights.
Petsitting: similar to housesitting, pet sitting involves taking care of the pets by visiting them in their home, but not living there – better to convince the owner that staying at their home will increase the company for the pets and that they will be happier. If that’s a no-go, insure that you are paid well to make up for the transportation time of going there on a regular basis.
Laundry: I have a friend who every weekend, went to a senior living complex and did the laundry of a few tenants. She picked up the laundry of one, started his wash, collected from the next client, started hers, etc, etc. After a few hours, all the laundry was done, she had had time to study, do her own laundry, and make money. This is possible if the laundry facilities are on-site, which they typically are for senior living. If you have to cancel on your laundry ‘day’, try to make it up on another day so that your clients know you are reliable. If you get too many clients, ask a friend to join you.
Cleaning: Commercial and residential cleaning can be done on the weekend, evenings or half-day when you do not have classes. One cleaning a week can earn you up to $75-100 for about 3-4 hours. My husband pays $125 a week for his commercial cleaning – it takes one person about 3-4 hours to do the job, and it’s done Friday night. Because it’s commercial, the cleaner does not have to deal with anything personal or clean a shower!
Salesperson: If you are studying marketing, an Avon type job may be a good fit for you; you visit people outside of regular hours and keep the profits. Avon (makeup) is not the only company with which you can start: there are cooking accessories; health and nutrition supplements; plastic containers; candles; etc. Yes, they are mostly aimed at women 25+, but this is where your marketing skills are needed!
Website design: as you can see, I was too frugal to hire someone to design a website for me, BUT, if you are handy with webpage design, you can be hired to design websites for small businesses. These can most likely be worked on in your free time, with a few meetings with the client during regular business hours.
Car driving: if you have a car and are driving somewhere far for the weekend or reading week, advertise it – you can offer someone a ride for a price. For example, I once drove to Boston from Southern Ontario for a few days during reading week. I advertise the ride for $80 each way (it’s a good 7 hrs drive) and told my passenger that at the border crossing, they had to get out of the car with their suitcase and walk across (in case they had drugs in their suitcase, I did not want to be charged as an accomplice). I had two passengers each way (the same) and offered them a deal of $150 for the return trip and made $300 on a trip I was already making.
This is just a very small sample of odd jobs you can find around your schedule and city. These are not steady streams of income, but if you find that a part-time job is too much, or that you want to find additional funds to a part-time job, these can be very useful. Please comment with additional ideas!