How To Make Money as a Teen in 2021: 22 Best Gigs

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If you’re interested in making money as a teen, the competition may not be as stiff as it used to be. A study by the Hamilton Project and Brookings Institution found that only about 35% of teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are employed. The demands of high school don’t leave much room for a part-time job, and summer school enrollment has increased.

If you’re wondering how much you can make as a teen, the federally mandated minimum wage is currently $7.25. However, your state may have a higher minimum wage, and some employers will pay a higher hourly rate than what’s federally required.

But traditional employment isn’t the only route to making some extra cash. You can also get creative and seek out paying opportunities on your own, which could be more lucrative.

If you decide to start your own business, side gig or freelance service, what you earn per hour may be much higher than you could make working for an employer because you can set your own rates. To give you some ideas to help you get started, here’s a list of 20 ways to make money as a teen.

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20 Ways To Make Money as a Teen in 2021

Here’s a wide array of opportunities to make money as a teen. Some are traditional jobs, while others require you to strike out on your own to find work. You’ll find in-person and online options here.

1. Offer Tutoring Services

Average hourly pay: $17.87

Although many professional tutoring services won’t hire you unless you’re at least 18, that doesn’t mean you can’t look for your own clients. Put up a flyer or spread the word in your neighborhood. As long as you know more than the person you’re tutoring, you can offer your services. Students most often need tutoring in English, math and science, so if you’re a whiz in any of those subjects, you can likely get paid for your knowledge.

2. Clean Houses

Average hourly pay: $15.01

If you don’t mind tidying up and cleaning, a job cleaning houses may be the perfect money-maker. Basic housecleaning services include tasks like vacuuming, sweeping and mopping; cleaning countertops and appliance surfaces; cleaning  bathroom surfaces, including the shower and toilet; dusting and emptying the garbage. Start looking in your neighborhood for people who may need your services, such as people who are busy or the elderly.

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3. Sell Bottled Water

Average hourly pay: Depends on sales

All you need is a cooler, some bottled water and some ice, which won’t cost much.  For example, you can get a 28-pack of 20-ounce bottled water for about $4 at Walmart. Sell each bottle for $1, and you’ll make around seven times what you initially invested. Good places to sell bottled water are local parks, but check with your local city and county government offices to find out if you need a permit before doing so.

4. Become a Dog Walker

Average hourly pay: $14.97

If you have experience walking your own dog, you like dogs and you enjoy spending time outdoors, becoming a dog walker might be an easy way to earn some quick cash. You can start out by asking people you know well to walk their dogs and ask for referrals from there. Be aware that every dog has its own temperament and some dogs are more difficult than others, so don’t be afraid to turn down a walking job if you think there might be trouble. The last thing you want is to have a rambunctious dog break away from you or get into a tangle with another dog while you’re walking it. Last but not least, don’t forget to bring doggy waste bags with you.

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5. Rent Out Your Stuff

Average hourly pay: Depends on rental fees

If you happen to have things that other people don’t, but they don’t want to invest the money in buying it, you may be able to rent them out for cash. Perhaps you have a gaming console you don’t really use that much or maybe you have sporting equipment that is gathering dust in the corner of the garage. Decide on a fair rental price and make a deal. Of course, check in with your parents to make sure it’s OK first.

6. Be an Elder Companion

Average hourly pay: $11.75

Being a companion to an elderly person can be a very rewarding job, and you may already know someone in your neighborhood who would perfect to approach. While you won’t be qualified to provide any medical care or give medications, you can play board games or cards, tidy up, fix simple meals, run errands or do other tasks around the home to help out.

7. Become a Camp Counselor

Average hourly pay: $9.92

Camp counselors help supervise campers and often lead small group activities with a focus on fun, safety and etiquette. In the springtime and summer, there are plenty of day camps offered for kids — from coding to karate to math. There are also traditional camps where campers stay at a facility or campground for a period of days or weeks. To work as a camp counselor, you’ll likely have to get certified in first aid and CPR.

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8. Get Involved in Direct Sales

Average hourly pay:  Depends on pay structure of company

Direct sales involves signing up with a company that sells products, such as jewelry, cookware or cosmetics, and often purchasing a starter kit with products you can sell for a profit or commission. While many direct sales opportunities are for people 18 or older, there are a few you can check into, such as GelMoment, which allows you to register as a distributor at age 16 — as long as you have a parent or guardian as a co-applicant.

9. Flip Items

Average hourly pay: Depends on items sold

Flipping items can be an easy way to make a profit and can make a good side hustle. Start by asking friends and family if they have anything that they don’t mind donating to you that they no longer want. It’s OK if the items need a little TLC before they’re ready to sell. You can also go to local garage sales, thrift stores and even check out the “free” section on online marketplaces to find stuff you can flip, like electronics you can easily repair, lawn furniture you can clean up, or furniture that could be made like-new with a fresh coat of paint.

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10. Be a Call Reviewer

Average hourly pay: $1-$4.50

While you will have to be at least 18 to take on this job, and it pays less than the federal minimum wage, it’s a way to make a few extra bucks for gas money or a fast-food run. Check out Humanatic for these opportunities. Humantic requires you to have a PayPal account to work with them, and PayPal requires you to be 18 to have an account Humanatic reviews calls for companies who record their customer service calls. As a call reviewer, you’ll listen to recorded calls and answer a simple question at the end — that’s it.

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11. Create Websites

Average hourly pay:$20.06

If you’re good at creating websites, you can sell your services for around $20 per hour or a flat rate that will adequately compensate you for the time you spend. To get started, make a sample website and approach local businesses to show them what you can do. You can also pitch your service to friends and family members who have small businesses without a website.

12. Sell Your Unwanted Stuff

Average hourly pay: Depends on items

While you might not realize it right now, you likely have at least a few items lying around gathering dust that you could sell for cash. If you’re old enough to have social media accounts, you can post your items there. Or you can look into listing your items on mobile selling platforms, like LetGo, which will allow you to use its services as long as you’re at least 14 and you have the permission of your parent or guardian.

15. Become a Freelancer

Average hourly pay: Depends on your freelance skill

If you have a honed skill, like writing, digital animation, graphics design, photography, calligraphy, drawing, you can likely use it to earn money as a freelancer. Fiverr is an online freelance marketplace where you can sign up and create a profile to sell your services to people from all over the world who need them. The best part: As long as you are 13 years old, you can use Fiverr to promote your freelance services.

16. Resell Vintage Clothing and Accessories

Average hourly pay: Depends on items you sell

To make this gig work, you’ll need to spend some time visiting thrift stores and places like Goodwill or the Salvation Army to find vintage clothing and accessories you can resell for a profit.  Consider asking elderly relatives you know to see if they would be willing to part with some of their vintage items to help you get started. Good places to sell vintage clothing and accessories are D-Pop or Etsy.

17. Become a Personal Assistant

Average hourly pay: $15.25

While you have to be at least 18 to sign up with services like TaskRabbit, you can still look for opportunities on your own to be someone’s personal assistant. Tasks you may be able to handle include office assistance, distributing flyers, organizing files, running errands, data entry, making travel reservations or watering plants.

18. Become a Kennel Attendant

Average hourly pay: $10.46

If you enjoy working with animals, you may find your calling as a kennel attendant. Cleaning and sanitizing kennels will likely be the main tasks. Additional tasks will include feeding, watering and exercising animals, as well as assisting with bathing and grooming them. You may also have to help manage the front desk by taking phone calls and providing in-person customer service for people inquiring about services or those who are dropping off or picking up animals.

19. Become a Golf Caddie

Average hourly pay: $11.46

While, as a teen, you’re not ready to caddie for a pro golfer on a PGA tour, you may be able to get a job at your local country club or golf course. And you’ll have an advantage if you’ve played golf before. Carrying golf bags and handing the correct golf clubs to golfers are the main duties of a caddie, but you also may have to clean the clubs and balls, measure yardages, rake bunkers and sand traps if a ball lands there and tend pins.

20. Work in a Concession Stand

Average hourly pay: $9.82

Concession stands are popular in theme parks and at sporting events. As a concession-stand worker, you will take customer orders, ring up transactions, assist with kitchen prep and deliver orders. Be sure to check with your state about getting a food handler’s license or certification.

21. Become a Lifeguard

Average hourly pay: $10.11

When summertime rolls around and your local swimming pool opens, you may want to get a job as a lifeguard to help monitor swimmers and ensure they follow the rules and remain safe. Of course, there’s always the chance you may need to perform lifesaving actions, such as if someone is drowning or in distress, so you need to be an excellent swimmer and get certified in AED, CPR and complete any required lifeguard water safety training.

22. Become a Daycare Assistant

Average hourly pay: $10.08

While you might not quite be ready to take on the role of a daycare teacher as a teen, you can apply to be a daycare assistant. As an assistant, you’ll help with tasks such as cleaning and sanitizing, teaching simple skills, monitoring children while they are eating and taking naps and assisting with toileting and hygiene as needed.

Advice for Making Money as a Teen in 2021

While you generally have to be at least 14 to be employed, that doesn’t mean finding a job will be easy. Older teens, especially those with experience, will likely have an advantage when it comes to getting teen-related jobs.

If you’re younger, your best bet is to start by doing paid tasks for friends, family members and people in your neighborhood and ask them to refer you to others. If you prove yourself as a reliable and trustworthy worker, there’s a good chance you’ll soon have more offers for work than you can handle. If you’re an older teen, you’ll have the advantage of additional opportunities, especially if you have a special skill or previous work experience.

Put your best foot forward when filling out job applications and attending interviews to make a shining first impression. And once you have a job, do your very best so that your supervisor will be willing to promote you or give you a good reference when you move on to another job.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you have some ideas for making money as a teen, here are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on this topic.
  • What are the best summer jobs for teenagers?
    • Overall, the best summer jobs for teenagers are ones that match the teen's skill level, are safe and pay adequately for the work being performed. Examples are tutoring, errand running, pet care and assisting in an office or daycare.
  • What are good online jobs for teens?
    • Be aware that many online jobs for teens require you to be a minimum age, like 18. Here are some online jobs that may be available to you: online surveys and reviews, online merchandising, freelancing and tutoring.
  • What jobs can a 12-year-old do?
    • While 12-year-olds are not of legal age to be employed in a traditional job, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are plenty of non-employment tasks a 12-year old could do. These include tasks for neighbors, like yard care, pet care, babysitting, sweeping and cleaning.

Methodology: Average hourly pay, when applicable, was sourced for all jobs from PayScale, except for dog walker, which was sourced from Zippia.