A reader asked how my husband and I find odd jobs.
First, and most important, we rarely do work for people we, or someone close to us, doesn’t know. I do not trust Craigslist for anything other than used doggie kennels and throw rugs. My husband mainly does work for friends and family – someone always needs a sink fixed or a toilet repaired. Let people around you know you’re willing to help.
I do accounting work for the company I worked for a few years ago. They are often short staffed and need an extra hand. I let them know I’m always available. It makes it easy when they already have my tax reporting information and I don’t have to keep records.
Second, if we do work for someone we don’t know, we keep it under $100. My husband is sometimes approached by fellow customers in home repair stores. There’s something about him that radiates honesty and good heartedness – maybe it’s because he is. If the job is too large, he refers them to a reputable company. It’s not worth the risk of not getting paid.
Third, be good at what you do, stay on top of trends in your industry, and be honest. My husband is extremely talented and is always reading construction magazines. He is never dishonest and will likely throw in work for free. Ninety percent of his work is from referrals. Happy people will tell their friends about you.
Fourth, pay close attention to the laws about certain types of work. California is stringent on almost everything. Working here without some sort of licensing is illegal for many trades. For example, construction work is limited to $500 (including material) if you do not have a contractor’s license. It’s also important to report all income when tax time rolls around. Nothing is worth the risk or penalties of an IRS audit. Also, if you are on unemployment, money from side work MUST be reported and will likely result in a reduction of benefits.
Fifth, don’t expect to make a ton of money. Usually, we make just enough for groceries or to cover what we’re short on an electric bill. It takes a lot of time and the money is little.
Again, I’m no expert. Before doing any type of side work, check with your local government authority and your tax advisor.
Beks is a full-time government employee who enjoys blogging late into the night after her four kids have gone to sleep. She’s been married to Chris, her college sweetheart, for 15 years. In 2017, after 3 long years working the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps, they paid off more than $70K and became debt free. When she’s not working or blogging, she’s exploring the great outdoors.
Networking is the best way, but look locally for people doing home improvements or obviously needing help with their laws, trees etc.
John DeFlumeri Jr
Do you have a degree? I tutor 3 hours a night, 4 nights a week for $30/hour. (In addition to my full time job.)
I do jr high and high school math, but tutors are needed for every subject.
I asked around to get my first few students and then offered a discount if they brought a friend and/or referred me. I now have more students than time and contract it out to other tutors.
ON average, in addition to my full-time job, I make about $700/mo tutoring. I don’t have a life, but I’m 11 months away from being consumer debt free. 🙂 (I’ll still have student loans.)
Word of mouth can be huge. If you do a good job you can hope that they refer you to friends.
That’s some good info! Can’t be good old word of mouth!!
Wow, Beks, I wish you were here in So. Dakota. Lowe’s wants $160 to install a $300 dishwasher. What’s wrong with that picture? I may cruise the hardware store and look for someone who “radiates honesty and good heartedness”.
Gotta tell you – when I check my email, I read your posts FIRST! You always make me laugh and give me good ideas.
Have you thought about donating plasma? I hope I haven’t sunk to a new low, but I did this for the first time today. Back when I was employed I balked at the $30 payment. Not now.
That’s awesome that your hubby is a hard-working, honest guy. There aren’t many of those around anymore but I’m grateful I got one too : ) Glad you’re able to find side work!
Sometimes it’s funny. The more you want to make big money, the less you earn.
I also donated my eggs for $7k a few months ago. I didn’t need the money, and did it for altruistic reasons, but the money definitely didn’t hurt. 😉
Email me if you want more info. It was nearly painless and I had ZERO side effects. I was shopping about an hour after my retrieval, and giving myself shots (which I was SUPER paranoid about) is a piece of cake now. My doc lets me do my own injections now. 🙂
Kate – I do! I didn’t even think of that option. I’m a school nerd, that’s a fabulous idea!
Sandra – I wish we were local. I’d make him put it in for free! Thanks for being so sweet!
Mr Frugal – Hadn’t thought of it but it’s a good idea. Unfortunately I struggle with severe anemia and I haven’t been able to donate.
Scheng1 – So true!
Kate – It’s a good idea but we’re looking to have our own kids soon.
I don’t blame you for your hesitance with regards to Craigslist, but I have to let you know that I have found it to be a great place to make some extra money. I have found a few jobs under the gigs section like wrapping presents around Christmas or flyering for a local pizza company. Easy work and I’ve always been paid.