The minimum age of employment is 14 years old, according to the US Department of Labor. There are also a few hour restrictions for people under the age of 16, and hazardous work restrictions for anyone under the age of 18.
With that said, these refer to full-time and part-time employment positions at businesses, so you can’t be legally employed to mop floors or work as a cashier if you’re just 13 years old either.
And yet, there are still a ton of ways you can make money.
In this post, we'll go through some of the ways you can earn some extra cash at home or around the neighbourhood, at any age. Just make sure you have your parents’ permission and supervision before taking on any of these jobs!
Running a blog can be pretty hit or miss as far as success is concerned, but considering how little money you have to spend on it at first, it's definitely worth a try.
Having a successful blog is one of the best ways of earning passive income (AKA money that you earn with minimal or zero active effort), and you can learn plenty of useful skills like SEO (search engine optimization) and how to market your blog — however, it can be pretty time consuming (especially in the beginning), so make sure you give plenty of thought to this idea before fully committing to it.
If you're pretty skilled at spotting other people's mistakes when writing, (whether we're talking about spelling, grammar, and/or syntax errors), then becoming a proofreader is the perfect job for you.
There's a lot of advantages to becoming a remote proofreader — you can work from anywhere, there's plenty of job opportunities as blogging becomes more popular, and making money as a proofreader is also pretty easy. The average pay you can expect as a proofreader is $26 per hour.
If you'd like to know more about online proofreading jobs, you might want to take a look at our article here.
#3 Having A Lemonade Stand
A lemonade stand is a classic way for a kid to earn money. It costs very little to make lemonade (you can get a small container of lemonade mix for as low as $3, and it should make around 32 cups of lemonade!)
Even if you’re only selling lemonade for $1 per cup, it’s an exceptional profit margin, and that's without mentioning tips you could get.
The key to achieving success with a lemonade stand is where you locate it — most kids do this in their front yard for convenience, but if you want even better results, go somewhere with heavy foot traffic and high demand for refreshing drinks.
Other things you could do are set up a lemonade stand at your sibling's games if they play any sports, and adding iced tea, soda, and water to the menu to diversify.
Make sure to check if you need a permit to set up a lemonade stand, though. Most states require it.
#4 Washing Cars
Although washing cars requires a bit more manual labour and you’ll also have to invest in some cleaning supplies, it's a great side hustle for kids.
There are a few ways to do this. The first is by holding a car wash event — this is done by having some friends help you out and hold up signs around the neighbourhood. Then, you try to wash as many cars as possible during that time.
Alternatively, you can wash cars on your own. Your neighbours are once again the best place to start, and if you do well, they can have you wash their cars once or twice per week.
If you’re ready to go a step further, you'd want to start detailing cars. This will take much longer, but be aware that you can charge $100 or even $150 for full detail.
#5 Getting Into Online Tutoring
You can also earn plenty of quick money if you specialize in a particular subject matter, as this allows you to become an online tutor.
There are plenty of subjects currently in demand, but some of the most sought-after are math, science (encompassing subjects like chemistry and physics), and English. Depending on the site you use to engage in online tutoring, you might also need to have more or fewer certifications in order to get started with tutoring students.
If you'd like to learn more about online tutoring, we also have an article on the topic that you can read here.
#6 Using Money-Making Apps
Money-making apps are a great way of making some income with your smartphone during your spare time — it depends on what app you use, but some of them are as easy as creating a profile and doing a few simple tasks as you're watching TV.
Of course, using apps that pay higher (like TaskRabbit) would be the most straightforward way of getting money quickly, but there's a catch — the higher the pay, the more time you'll have to spend per task.
The income you can get from apps that have easier tasks can still add up, but it will take a bit longer to do so: in short, you'll need to evaluate how quickly you want to make money before choosing an app.
If you'd like to learn more about money-making apps in general, you could take a look at our article on them here.
#7 House Painting
Painting jobs are usually for teenagers, and there's a high chance you'll need to get on a ladder to complete some jobs.
Start with interior painting jobs. Family, friends, or neighbours might need a bedroom in their house painted — they’ll buy all of the paint and materials, so all you need to do is the actual painting.
Ideally, you should wear old clothes that you don't mind getting covered in paint, and you should also make sure you take your time to ensure the job is done correctly. Considering professional painters could charge up to $1,000 per room, it's a steal for anyone to charge half of that amount.
#8 Become a Personal Assistant
If you have a family member who needs some help at their job, you can become their personal assistant.
This is another job that teenagers might have a better time in, and the job description will vary based on who you’re helping out — it could be anything from answering phone calls to getting coffee and opening letters, and you’ll probably get paid a fixed amount for every day you work.
One of the best pros about being a personal assistant is that it can lead to career growth down the line. Once you’re of legal working age, you could have an advantage over other people applying for the same job, as the hiring manager will already know who you are.
#9 Website Testing
One interesting way you could make money quickly is by using a platform like UserTesting to get paid for testing apps and websites.
You can earn around $10 for every 20-minute assignment, which is pretty good — however, the demand for testers is not constant, so you’re not guaranteed to find opportunities every time you log in to the platform. In some cases, a website may only be looking for feedback from a specific demographic as well, so you'd need to qualify in order to test that website first.
With some luck, though, it's a pretty effective way of making money as a kid.
#10 Tutoring Adults On Electronics
Students aren’t the only ones that need tutoring. In fact, some adults can’t figure out basic functions for new technology, whether they're using an iPhone, a tablet, or a desktop computer.
And if you’re like most kids, using a smartphone or computer will be second nature to you, so you should definitely take advantage of this opportunity.
You can make plenty of money by explaining how to do simple tasks like taking pictures, making calls, and sending messages. The pay will depend on the specifics of a situation — for example, some adults may just want a short 30-minute lesson to learn something specific, while others might need help learning how to use different types of software on their computer (like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Google Drive, etc) every week.
This job isn’t for everyone and it comes with lots of responsibility, which is why babysitting is a job typically reserved for teenagers.
The easiest way to get started is by finding a babysitting job for someone you already know (for instance, a family member or neighbour that needs someone to watch their kid for a couple of hours).
Once you get comfortable doing this, you can make more money if you babysit households that have more than one kid. By doing this job, you could earn anywhere between $60 to $100 for watching 2-3 kids.
It's also worth mentioning that weekend nights (when parents usually go out to dinner) will usually be higher-paying jobs, so keep that in mind.
#12 Pet Sitting and Walking
Similar to babysitting, pet sitting is another great way for kids to earn extra cash. You can get around $50 per week for each dog you walk, so this is a great job if you love animals.
To find pet sitting/walking jobs, stay on the lookout for neighbours that work all day — it's very likely that their pets need to be let out of the house if they have any. So, you can arrange to walk some neighbourhood dogs before or after school — this will only take about 5-10 minutes of your time per pet.
All you'd need to do is take them out, let them go to the bathroom, and make sure they have enough food and water. Simple, right?
#13 Selling Books You Don't Use
If you have a lot of books that you've already read, don't have the time to read or you're simply not interested in reading, then maybe this is the perfect opportunity to do something about them.
Whether it's a ton of academic books or an entire science fiction saga, there's plenty of ways you can sell books that you no longer have any use for — you could do it the traditional way by opening a stall, or you could take advantage of technology by selling them online (Facebook, in particular, is pretty useful for this).
It could take a while for your books to get sold depending on what books you have, but overall, this is another quick way to make money as a kid.
#14 Fix and Clean Bikes
If you know a lot about bicycles, then another way you can make quick money is by fixing other people's bikes.
Some fixes might seem elementary for someone who knows what they’re doing. For example, things like putting on new chains, replacing the tires, fixing the gears, and replacing brake pads are common bike-related jobs, and you could get $20 for any 30-minute job.
After that, you could earn even more money by providing the parts — for example, let’s say a bike needs two new tubes. There's a chance you can get tubes at Walmart for $5 each — this means that you can charge $30 or more for a $10 investment.
#15 Lawn Mowing
Mowing someone else's lawn is a great way for kids to make money.
Before you take on any lawn mowing jobs, though, it'd be ideal for you to mow your own house's lawn to practice (in fact, you could even propose to your parents that they pay you for doing it).
Next, ask your neighbours to mow their lawn. Lawn mowing can get you between $10 and $40 per yard, depending on how big it is and how big your neighbourhood is.
Most people need their lawn mowed once per week, and each lawn can take you anywhere between an hour or two. So, if you can do 10 yards per week, that’s $250 in your pocket.
While the minimum age of employment is around 14 years old, and there's a wide variety of restrictions for people ranging between 16 to 18 years of age, there are still a few ways you can earn money as a kid.
Whether it's by lawn mowing, fixing and cleaning bikes, or by doing tougher jobs like proofreading and being an online tutor, there are plenty of options available for a kid to earn income today.
Choosing a particular option will vary from person to person, though, so it's worth giving each option on this list some consideration before giving any of them the green light.