Everybody likes to have a little extra money when summertime comes around. It’s coming up with creative ideas for making extra cash that can be hard part. So I spent a while today thinking back about all my favorite methods of making money in the summer. I came up with ten.
They are in no particular order.
1. Garage Sales. There is a lot of money to be made at the right garage sale. I’ve made hundreds of dollars from a 5 minute stop at a garage sale, many times over. With Craigslist, you can browse all the sales beforehand and pick and choose which ones are worth your time. If you have questions, you can usually call or email before the sale. Almost everyone lists their sales on Craigslist now. TIP: If there is something that you really want, especially if it’s a more expensive item, it’s worth contacting the person and asking if it would be possible to come by and pick up the item before the sale. While you are there you can often get first pick of everything else. I’ve done that a number of times, and it’s like being a kid in a candy store.
2. Buy and sell window air conditioners. Spring is a great time to buy window air conditioners for cheap as it’s still a few months away from being used regularly. (At least here in the NW) A $25-$50 investment into a nice used air conditioner can often return you anywhere from $100-$200 profit during the peak demand in the middle of the summer. Basically you make money by being willing to store the units until the market wants them. TIP: Offer to install them for extra $ and even buy them back at the end of the summer for 1/4 of what they paid if they don’t/can’t store them. You could even try renting them out to people with installation and removal included in the price.
3. Free section bonanza. There are always valuable items to be had in the free section. Some items need a little love, but many times people are just dumping things last minute before they move. Be quick, and remember don’t inherit a headache. You can always walk away and not take the item.
4. Make picnic tables and benches. This is a great little side microbusiness. Picnic tables have especially high demand in the summer time. I’ve made several kid sized tables a number of years ago when I had some down time. Once you get a design down, and you’ve made a few, you can build them really quickly. If you really want to save money, you can use reclaimed wood from the free section on Craigslist. Also, consider picking up older free ones and repairing and resurfacing them. There can be good money there as well. (This is the kids picnic table I made a few years ago.)
5. Buy and Sell clothing. I know almost nothing about clothing, but I know the names of some of the higher end brands. There aren’t many niches where you can turn such a large % profit as you can in clothing. I once sold a pair of UGG boots for 20 times what I paid for them at a garage sale. The key is to find people that are selling really nice clothing, high end brands, that have taken good care of the items. Also, there needs to be enough items to make each trip worth your time. One t-shirt isn’t going to pay for your gas, but 10 shirts could.
6. Delivery/moving service. In almost every city in the country there are large amounts of the population that have no way to transport large or heavy items to and from their house. Appliances, indoor and outdoor furniture, sheds, hot tubs, large planter boxes, dog houses, chicken coops, lawnmowers, BBQ’s, regular moving boxes and on and on. Put an ad in the service section offering your moving services via your truck and or trailer. Have them email you for a quote and have them send the two addresses so that you will know exactly how far they are away from each other. Have people be specific about the job and what the access is like in and out of each place. You have to factor in extra help for certain jobs etc.
7. Repair and sell broken lawn mowers. I made $110 this past week by picking up a broken lawnmower for free and fixing it up. The owner had put way too much oil in the mower and it would barely do anything. We swapped out the spark plug for $3, changed the air filter that was coated in oil for $5, and put fresh oil to the correct level. It took $10 and about an hour to pick up parts and repair it. When it was done, the mower ran like new and we sold it very quickly for $120. (picture of the lawnmower we sold this week)
Spring time is high season for lawn mower flipping as many homeowners choose to give away their old mower when they can’t get it started. Often it’s just the carburetor that needs to be cleaned after sitting over the winter.
8. Fix and resell bikes. Buying,selling and repairing bikes is a good microbusiness year around, but especially good in the summer. (most of the country anyway) We Americans tend to neglect just about everything and bikes are no exception. Flat tires, rust, bad brakes, gear shifters are all reasons people sell bikes for cheap. (or oftentimes free) Bicycles tend to be a season of life type of item, and when that season passes, the bike is gotten rid of. It makes for a very active second hand market. Bikes are a great niche item to buy and sell, especially if you are willing to learn how to repair them. And you can make a lot of money, especially once you get into the higher end bicycles.
9. Sell everything you haven’t used in the past 12 months. If it’s not being used, get rid of it. Someone else could use your tennis racket and you could use the money for other things. Plus, less clutter equals less stress. Find 10 things to sell right away. It should be pretty easy. As the items start selling, keep looking for other things that you don’t need anymore.
10. Buy/Sell/Repair Appliances. I wasn’t going to leave this one out! Summer is the high season for appliances, as it’s the primary time when people move, buy houses and when more construction remodels are taking place. Appliances are flowing all over the place! If you are a teacher and have summers off, flipping appliances could be the perfect seasonal work to bring in some extra cash. If you are interested in learning how to buy, sell and repair appliances as a microbusiness, check out ApplianceSchool.com
Have experience with any of these methods? What’s been your favorite way to earn extra cash over the summer? Craigslist or outside of Craigslist. I’d love to hear your stories!
*One of my favorite summer jobs growing up was picking blueberries with my brother. We never made very much money, but the blueberries were incredible! I also had a job in high school working at a golf course on the driving range. I would get up early in the morning and ride my little Honda scooter to the course at 6 in the morning to open everything up. I got free golf and endless driving range tokens. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time playing golf that summer. Good memories