20 Best Side Hustles for College Students

side hustles college students

If you are a struggling college (or university) student you will know that many times during your course work you would be grateful for an extra few bucks. However, if you are studying full time or doing an intensive course holding down a regular job can be easier said than done. 

Almost 70% of all college students are concerned about their finances and wondering how to pay for school or just their monthly expenses. The chance to make a bit extra can relieve some of that pressure. 

Of course, you can always go the route of doing bar work or similar which is scheduled as short shifts, but you are still committed to specific times, and the late nights don’t always go well with homework or assignment obligations.

You need a side hustle. Something that is flexible to a degree that you can work when you choose and make some extra cash. So here are some of the best sides hustles currently available for college students.

1. Housesitting

image of Housesitting

Increasingly when people travel for business they are booking the services of a house sitter. Making sure that their property is secure, plants are watered and the mail is collected are some of the tasks you may be asked to do. 

There could be light maintenance or care of a pet included but this is a relatively easy way to get some extra cash. You simply go about your business as normal but stay at the customer’s house instead of at your usual residence. 

You might get a few advantages too. Often you will get to stay in higher-end homes and if they have perks like superfast internet or every channel imaginable included on their cable TV well, you get the benefit of that. 

Advantages

  1. Easy work
  2. Good pay rates
  3. Benefits like internet and cable
  4. Fits in with your daily routine

Disadvantages

  1. Determine if you are responsible for any damages
  2. Can be more challenging if there is a pet
  3. Might be a dirty house
  4. Can be difficult to find clients

Things to consider

  1. What things will you be responsible for in the home? Watering plants, collecting mail or similar tasks.
  2. Are you expected to clean while you are staying at the residence?
  3. Make sure that your clients provide of plumbers, electricians numbers and the like in case of any disasters.
  4. Do you need to be at the house at specific times for any reason?

2. Landscaping Services

image of Landscaping Services

If you are a budding horticulturist or just have a green thumb then you could earn yourself a tidy sum by offering landscaping services. These can range from simple mowing and cutting of lawns or weeding to full landscaping and garden design services depending on how much time you can dedicate to it. 

A few simple tools, a lawnmower, and some simple flyers dropped around the local neighborhoods should be enough to get you started. This can be especially lucrative during the summer months when people don’t want to spend all day in their garden in the hot sun. 

You will get a tan and you can earn even more during the summer holiday while you are out of school.

Advantages

  1. Can be done on evenings and weekends
  2. Low start-up costs
  3. Outdoor work
  4. Can determine services provided

Disadvantages

  1. Outdoor work (hot sun, rain)
  2. May trigger allergies
  3. Maintenance costs – lawnmower repairs
  4. Bugs and insects

Things to consider

  1. How to advertise your services, where to get your clients.
  2. Do you need any special licenses to operate in your city or state?
  3. Unless you are operating very close to home you will need a vehicle
  4. How will you manage the scheduling and rescheduling of clients due to bad weather?
  5. Do you need to consider hiring additional helpers for larger jobs

3. Moving services

image of Moving services

Contrary to popular belief you don’t always have to own a large truck to make money from moving services. There are many businesses like College Hunks Hauling Junk that you can sign up with and offer your labor services. 

If you do happen to have access to a vehicle large or small then you can advertise your moving services for full house moves or simple transportation of clunky items. 

Either way, this can be a nice money earner that requires not much more than being physically fit enough to repetitively move heavy items. Saves you paying for the gym too!

Advantages

  1. Will keep you physically fit
  2. Can join a moving service that will provide customers
  3. Can sign up for shifts as you choose
  4. No specialized skills required

Disadvantages

  1. Heavy work moving and lifting
  2. Muscle strains, bruises
  3. May be charged for any damages

Things to consider

  1. If going through a service do they expect you to commit to specific times or a minimum number of shifts.
  2. Physical stamina, will the heavy work take so much of a toll that it impacts your ability to effectively do your college work and classes.
  3. If you have your own vehicle what items will you agree to haul or move?
  4. If you do operate your own service do you need to pay a helper to assist you in moving large items

4. Cleaning

image of Cleaning service

It is not everyone’s favorite pastime, actually, it is NOBODY’s favorite pastime but cleaning is a fact of life. If you are willing to go around people’s homes with a duster and a vacuum cleaner then you may be able to create a nice side hustle for yourself by offering cleaning services.

Once you have a few clients you can always upsell a bit and charge extra fees for scrubbing down trim work or cleaning ovens and refrigerators. 

Word of mouth and a couple of ads in local publications should bring you some clients. People are always on the lookout for trustworthy and reliable cleaners. If you get a number of clients you may decide to take on some staff and outsource jobs.

Advantages

  1. Low to minimum start-up costs
  2. Easy business to operate
  3. Can schedule clients on your own timetable
  4. Can set your own rates per job

Disadvantages

  1. Can be dusty, dirty and, messy
  2. Staff management on outsourced jobs
  3. Complaining customers

Things to Consider

  1. Determine what falls under your scope of work of ‘cleaning’. Dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning bathrooms are all reasonable requests, but plant watering and cupboard tidying may be outside of your acceptable scope.
  2. If you outsource work or hire additional staff how will you effectively manage those jobs? 
  3. Cost of supplies. If you have a good number of clients you might want to find a wholesale supplier so you can take advantage of cheaper priced cleaning materials. 

5. Teaching

image of teaching

After you have spent all day in class you may not relish the thought of having to stay there even longer but teaching is a legitimate way to make some dough and it usually returns pretty good rates. 

If you are studying a specialized subject you may be able to cash in by teaching younger students what you have learned.

It is worth having a word with your University or College to see if they are currently in need of teachers. If not you can always go outside to private institutions such as trade schools, professional schools or private training facilities.

Advantages

  1. Location. You may be able to teach in your own school or college
  2. You already have the necessary subject knowledge
  3. Typically good pay rates
  4. Keeps your own subject matter fresh in your mind

Disadvantages

  1. Can be time-consuming
  2. You might get tired of taking your own classes and then working in the same location
  3. You’re never off. Students are likely to stop you in the hall with questions

Things to Consider

  1. Where you will teach. While this is lucrative you may want to consider teaching at a school or educational institution other than your own
  2. Do you need any special licenses or qualifications to operate as a teacher
  3. How much time do you want to dedicate to teaching classes as well as taking your own studies
  4. Teaching doesn’t end when you leave the classroom, there will be marking, grading and homework assessments to be completed.

6. Teaching Assistant

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If the thought of teaching an entire classroom fills you with fear then you may be able to still earn decent rates by offering your services as a Teaching Assistant. Just like teachers, schools and colleges are often in the market for reliable staff to assist their class teachers.

You will need to be organized and comfortable interacting with people but other than that you will not need a slew of qualifications to perform teaching assistant duties. You can often select the days or classes you are available for making this a nice option to schedule around your own classes.

Advantages

  1. Relatively low-stress work
  2. Get to interact with other students
  3. Can operate at your current school or college
  4. Usually decent pay

Disadvantages

  1. Can be a bit tedious
  2. Might feel like you never get a break if teaching at your own school
  3. May be expected to grade papers outside of the class
  4. Questions or emails from students outside the classroom

Things to consider

  1. Determine if you are comfortable performing assistant work in your own school or decide if you should go elsewhere
  2. Check for any licensing or formal teaching requirements needed
  3. Decide on a reasonable number of classes to assist in so that you don’t take on too much. 

7. Uber or Lyft Service

image of Services

But I am a struggling student, I have no car! I hear you cry. Well, before you dismiss this one completely you should know that Uber and Lyft now both have programs in place for you to lease a car. You may lease a vehicle for a set period of time or simply choose to rent only on the weeks you want to work.

You get to meet people and drive around your city for money. There are fees to rent the cars of course, but overall you should be able to make some extra cash for your pocket. If you actually do own a vehicle that qualifies for use with Uber and Lyft then, of course, you can elect to use it. 

Advantages

  1. Set your own schedule 
  2. Keep all but 20% commission from each ride
  3. Meet people from all walks of life
  4. Get to know your city and its areas

Disadvantages

  1. Wear and tear on your vehicle
  2. High vehicle rental rates
  3. Expected to maintain a level of accepted rides
  4. Never know who is getting in your car
  5. Traffic

Things to consider

  1. What times you are comfortable driving. Day driving and night driving will have a different clientele. You may not be comfortable driving the bar crowd at 2 am in the morning.
  2. Is the money worth the wear and tear on your own car or should you consider renting a vehicle
  3. Some states require special badges or similar to enter certain areas like airports. Check that the potential earnings are worth the investment
  4. Might end up in some not so good areas so consider what is safe for you and what is not.

8. Food Delivery

image of Food Delivery

If you do have your own vehicle but are not keen on the idea of complete strangers jumping in and out of it then you could always try food delivery instead. There are many companies around like Postmates or Doordash that offer delivery services for busy people.

As a courier working for these organizations you will be expected to drive to a restaurant, collect a food order, check it for accuracy, then deliver it directly to the customer’s door. You will receive a fee for each delivery and customers will often leave a tip for you which you get to keep 100% of. Not bad.

Advantages

  1. No unfamiliar people in your car as with Uber or Lyft
  2. You can receive tips and keep them
  3. Work as and when you choose

Disadvantages

  1. Traffic flow problems
  2. Customers can get irritated if the order is wrong or the food is cold
  3. Hard to find locations like offices
  4. Vehicle wear and tear
  5. Parking at busy restaurants may be limited

Things to consider

  1. There are more than one of these delivery services so will you sign up with one or go with a couple to maximize your earnings
  2. Vehicle size. If you have a highly economical small car food delivery can be lucrative. If you have a huge gas-guzzling truck this may not be a worthwhile option for you. 
  3. Parking tickets. As you are in and out of popular restaurants at peak times there may be restricted parking. Still, you do need to pick up the order and parking in incorrect areas may get you a ticket or two.

9. Cycle Courier

image of Cycle Courier

Car ownership is expensive so if you are not operating a vehicle while in school and live in a city or densely populated area then you could consider becoming a cycle courier. You will pick up and deliver small packages, often paperwork, to a variety of places.

Office buildings, lawyers, doctors, architects all use the services of cycle couriers when they need to transport packages quickly across town. If you enjoy cycling and know the city well then you can take advantage of this lucrative side hustle.

Advantages

  1. Typically a day time job servicing business to business customers
  2. No traffic problems as you are on a bicycle
  3. Get to know the city and back streets
  4. If you are fast and organized you can stack your earnings

Disadvantages

  1. Work may be challenging in the beginning until you become familiar with streets and buildings
  2. Bad weather makes deliveries more challenging, rain, ice, etc
  3. Bad drivers. You will need your wits about you as you are on a bicycle and some drivers do not consider bike riders properly
  4. Tiring. That’s a lot of miles to ride each day, make sure you are up to the task

Things to consider

  1. Physical fitness will need to be up to par to make any money performing cycle courier work. It is outside in the elements in noisy busy traffic and you are exposed to any type of weather.
  2. Make sure you have enough city knowledge to perform deliveries effectively and get through the learning curve.
  3. Bike maintenance. While obviously not as costly as car maintenance all that travel will have an impact on your bike. Brakes, tires, cables will all need to be checked and maintained and you might want to carry a pump and a puncture kit with you.

10. Organization Services

image of Organization Services

Rolling up your sleeves and digging into someone’s junk cupboard is not for the faint of heart. But if you are willing to provide organization services there are many people in need. There are a large number of folks that collect or hoard a lot of stuff and then get overwhelmed.

That’s where you come in. You can help people to organize their stuff and determine what they want to keep or throw away and show them how to neatly store the rest. You can sign up with services like Task Rabbit that will pair you with customers in your area.

Advantages

  1. Can operate and see clients to suit your own schedule
  2. You can set your own pay rates depending on the size of the job
  3. You might get some unwanted items that you can sell on for a profit
  4. Can gain additional customers from friends and family of clients

Disadvantages

  1. It can be unpleasant digging through someone else’s stuff and maybe messy or dirty
  2. Jobs can take a lot longer than first planned for if not assessed correctly
  3. You may encounter small injuries from encountering sharp edges or broken items

Things to consider

  1. To determine the length of the job and give a correct quote it may be worth doing a quick consultation so you can see just how much work is involved.
  2. Determine if you will need to buy any cleaning tools or specialized equipment
  3. Will you dispose of any trash items or will that be the customer’s responsibility? You may be able to add on a fee for disposal. 

11. Dog Walking

image of Dog Walking

With the stresses of work and modern-day life many hard-working people are stuck at the office all day and just can’t get back home to care for their pet. You can make quite a nice side business by offering dog walking services so that the animal can get some exercise and not make a mess in the house.

This is a perfect side gig if you like to walk and if you are dog-friendly it hardly seems like work at all. Good dog walkers can soon amass clients and the effective ones can walk 4 or 5 dogs at a time and maximize their profits.

Advantages

  1. It’s fun taking dogs for a walk
  2. You can set your own rates and upcharge for additional services
  3. No special skills or training is required
  4. Can walk several dogs at once

Disadvantages

  1. You may get an aggressive or unfriendly dog
  2. If the dog runs off or slips the leash you may be responsible
  3. Should the dog attack or bite another dog or person you may be responsible

Things to consider

  1. Decide on the maximum number of dogs you can safely manage at once. You may have 12 bookings in a day but that does not mean that you should attempt to take all of the dogs at once so determine what you are comfortable with
  2. Set your schedule for your working days. You may just do lunchtimes or weekdays only so make sure your clients know the days you are prepared to work
  3. It may be prudent to take out a small insurance policy so you are covered for any fights, bites, or escapees.

12. Poop Scooping

image of Poop Scooping

Dog walking may not be for you but you can still make money from people’s pets. Making a business out of taking care of dogs business can be a good side earner. While it isn’t the most tasteful way to make a buck it’s relatively easy and clients are usually on a regular schedule.

You will a lot of garbage bags and a poop scooper but aside from those items, start-up costs are virtually nil. By advertising this in your local area newspaper or shops you should be able to start booking clients quite quickly. Combine a few in the same area or on the same street and you are making bank.

Advantages

  1. It can be done at any time and no-one has to be home for you to operate. You will just need access to the garden or yard area
  2. Can schedule several houses in one area on the same day to maximize profits
  3. Zero to low start-up costs.
  4. Clients are usually easily attained

Disadvantages

  1. Scooping poop is not everyone’s idea of fun, it can be dirty, messy and smelly
  2. Might need to pay for disposal
  3. Outside work in all types of weather
  4. May need to pay for insurance

Things to consider

  1. Advertising. You could simply have magnets or stickers on your car. As you drive around potential customers will see your information
  2. Check for special insurance or bonding requirements in your area
  3. Make sure you are equipped with the right safety items, gloves, goggles, etc.

13. Sell on Etsy

image of handmade craft

If you have a knack for sewing, knitting, jewelry making or designing some other sought after and sellable items then Etsy can be a great place to sell your wares. The Etsy marketplace is an area where many talented people upload photos of their designs or handcrafted items and prospective purchasers can browse or buy.

Some people that have dedicated themselves to Etsy have made selling their items into an entire full-time business. There are fees to pay of course but they are relatively low and Etsy is a popular site with lots of traffic so you have a good chance of reaching people that like your creations. 

Advantages

  1. An easy way to bring customers to you
  2. No outlay other than the cost of creating your items
  3. Can make an entire business or income from it.
  4. Easy setup and maintenance

Disadvantages

  1. You will have to pay selling fees to Etsy
  2. The market is very competitive
  3. May have to keep your prices low to match other sellers

Things to consider

  1. How much time do you want to dedicate to your promotional efforts? You will need good quality images and detailed descriptions of your goods.
  2. Once you take into account the listing and selling fees you need to decide if Etsy is the place for you to sell your items
  3. Your original handmade product will not be so unique on Etsy, there are a huge amount of sellers on there so it can be hard to be found by buyers.

14. Sell on eBay

image of Sell on eBay

You may not be the handcraft or creative type but you could always consider offering items for resale of eBay. Instead of making your own items you could sell any old things that you no longer need. Laptops, cellphones, DVDs, video games, ornaments, collectibles are all popular categories.

If you have an eye for a bargain you can browse through pawn shops or bric-a-brac stores and find cheap items to list on eBay and sell for a profit. Many people do this full time and make an income for themselves. 

Advantages

  1. Good profits from selling low cost purchased items at higher prices
  2. No set schedules. You can list when you want and as many items as you want
  3. Customers come to you. Ebay has a huge amount of prospective buyers searching for items

Disadvantages

  1. Selling and relisting fees have to be paid. If your item sells you will pay fees and worse still if it doesn’t sell and you relist you may get stung twice for fees on the same item.
  2. There is a massive amount of sellers on eBay so no matter what you’re selling someone else is bound to be selling too and you may find yourself in a price war.
  3. Shipping fees are often included in the sales price cutting into your profits even further

15. Freelancing

image of Freelancing

There has been a growing movement for companies to outsource their administration tasks to professionals. There is a need for transcriptionists, virtual assistants, data entry clerks and many other positions. You can cash in by providing some of these services.

To find companies that need help you can sign up with services like Freelancer or Upwork where you can search by category. Maybe you are a great javascript programmer or you have a knack for UX, the options are many and you can negotiate your own pay rates in most cases.

Advantages

  1. Choose your own schedule and perform and complete work when you like as long as it is submitted by the customer’s required deadline
  2. Pick and choose the tasks you will perform
  3. Set your own prices
  4. Funds held in escrow and released on completion of work

Disadvantages

  1. There will be fees and commissions charged by the site that reduce your profits
  2. Banking fees. On top of the sites commissions, there may be separate fees for transferring your earnings depending on the type of banking institution you use
  3. Unclear or confusion job instructions from customers.

Things to consider

  1. Decide on the services that you will offer as a freelancer and stick to them. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin
  2. Will you work on or off the platform, some customers may request that you work with them directly
  3. Make sure you negotiate the scope of work upfront and what is included so there is no confusion later

16. Resume Writing

image of Resume/CV Writing

To get a good job a good resume and cover letter will be required. If you have a good grasp of the English language and can format a professional-looking resume you can earn money for doing it. A bit of research will be required if you are styling a resume for an industry you have never been involved with.

The great thing about this gig is that you are in the perfect place to operate it. You are already a student and every year hundreds of young hopefuls graduate and go out in search of their career. You can help them with this endeavor and a few class flyers or an ad in your college or university library will get you started.

Advantages

  1. Easy to gain clients especially from your own school or university
  2. Can perform resume writing on your schedule
  3. No special requirements other than being good at grammar
  4. Once you have done resumes for specific industries you can use those as templates to reduce the time it takes to complete each resume.

Disadvantages

  1. Might take more time than you thought to research industries
  2. Can get hit with rewrite requests if the client feels that the completed resume doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Things to consider

  1. If performing resume writing for your own school or college’s students be aware of reputation management. One unhappy student might ruin your whole business by word of mouth
  2. You may want to specialize in creating resumes for industries that you have some knowledge of. Too much research time can cut down your profit
  3. Determine your rates, will you charge a flat fee or have a fee for a resume and a seperate fee for a cover letter?

17. Proofreading and Editing

image of Proofreading and Editing

This is another gig that you can offer right within your school or college. All that course work can get tedious and another set of eyes is often just the thing that’s needed. You can make money by hiring out your retinas and casting your eye over college work, assignments, and dissertations.

Proofreading and editing can take a bit of effort to do and you have to be detail-oriented, but the rewards can be lucrative. As you get better you should be able to review a higher volume of work improving your bottom line. 

Advantages

  1. No special skills needed
  2. No startup costs
  3. You can do it from anywhere. Home, coffee shop, etc
  4. Might help you with ideas for your own work

Disadvantages

  1. It can be time-consuming.
  2. If you are asked to rewrite or re-edit it will cut your earnings
  3. Have to be highly detail-oriented to read in-depth or technical writing

Things to consider

  1. How much time will be needed? While proofreading and editing are not necessarily hard it will take some time. A few 25000-word dissertations that need proofreading and editing will soon run into hours of work.
  2. Which areas or industries will you check and edit? It’s worth focussing on those that you have a decent knowledge of otherwise the research you will need to do may just take too long.

18. House Painting

image of House Painting

You may not be creative as such but if you are a whiz with a paintbrush then there is money to be made from painting people’s houses. Decorating is one of those tasks that everyone needs to do but no-one enjoys. You can help with that.

If you can dedicate your weekends to house painting then you charge very good rates for your services. There will be some start-up investment, ladders, paint buckets, brushes, drop cloths and the like but it shouldn’t take long to start earning good rates.

Advantages

  1. Flexible, can schedule clients on weekends and smaller jobs around your classes.
  2. No special training or requirements needed to operate
  3. Always work available
  4. Set your own rates per job

Disadvantages

  1. Paint fumes, not good for the lungs
  2. May need to spend some money to get started
  3. You may be responsible for any damages or spilled paint
  4. Weather. If it is the middle of summer and your painting a home with no air conditioning it can get uncomfortable.

Things to consider

  1. You may need to consider hiring another person to help you complete larger jobs and you will be responsible for negotiating a rate and paying them.
  2. It is worth being bonded and insured before beginning painting work. This gives you some legitimacy and protects you from any liability from damages.
  3. Decide what kind of jobs you want to take on. House painting can range from small bungalows to huge homes. If you find yourself in a house with a 20-foot ceiling you will need to buy or hire some kind of scaffolding platform to perform the task so determine if it is something that you want to get involved in. 

19. Babysitting

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Busy mums and dads often need a bit of help or a night off. You may be quite happy to sit at home on a Saturday night, watch TV, and keep an eye on a baby or toddler. If that is the case then you can earn extra by providing babysitting services.

No formal skills are required but it may be worth getting a couple of character references together and taking a basic first aid course just to give the parents some assurance that you are a responsible human being. Looking after other people’s children is quite a responsibility but can be rewarding. 

Advantages

  1. Not difficult work
  2. Can do your homework or watch TV while getting paid
  3. Kids can be fun
  4. Usually, the job will be for just a few hours – a night out or something similar.

Disadvantages

  1. Can be stressful 
  2. You will be responsible if anything happens to the child
  3. Parents may be uncompromising or awkward

Things to consider

  1. Parents tend to be a bit protective of their bundle of joy, as they should be, but sometimes parents can be obsessive and unreasonable. It is worth a meet and greet before babysitting just to ensure you are dealing with reasonable people
  2. While special skills may not be legally required it is worth seeing if you can get a first aid or childcare certificate to prove you are properly equipped to look after a child.
  3. It may be worth getting some kind of insurance to protect you in the event of any issues.

20. City Tours

image of City Tours

Love where you live? Have a wealth of knowledge about local history? If you do then you can charge money for operating tours in your city. Taking visitors around and educating them about the buildings, events, and history of the area can be a lot of fun.

If you are not sure where to start then Airbnb has a tours page where people can advertise their tour packages for a fee. You can decide which dates you will operate the tours on and determine exactly where you want to go and what you want to teach.

Advantages

  1. No vehicles or specialized equipment needed
  2. Meet people from other countries
  3. Enjoy learning and teaching local history and stories
  4. Walking around providing tours gives you some exercise

Disadvantages

  1. May only have 1 or 2 people sign up for tours some days
  2. Bad weather may stop people from attending
  3. Awkward participants or hecklers
  4. You may be one of many trying to operate similar tours in your area.

Things to consider

  1. Make sure your knowledge and history of the local area are up to par. You don’t want to be stuttering or stumbling if asked a question
  2. Know your competition. Try and find out who else is operating tours and try and make yours a bit different or give your tour an angle that no-one else has thought of.
  3. Even if you go through a company like Airbnb you still may need some kind of license or special permission to operate tours in your city so make sure you check with local authorities. 

Conclusion For College Student Side Hustles

As a college student sometimes your time is limited by the obligations of your studies but as you can see from this list there are multiple ways for you to make some extra money on the side.

Most of these tasks can be scheduled around your school work and fit in nicely with your studies while providing you an extra income to help with your expenses.

What side hustles have you found that worked great for you?

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