Ah, summer is here. At least in the Northern Hemisphere. I do feel for you south of the equator too, but you generally have nicer year round weather than us in the north so I don’t feel so bad for you. But for much of the Earth’s population, summer is here, and that means a few things.
It means more time spent outdoors. We can pack away the winter clothes, and enjoy nature. It means the sun is up in the sky longer each day. And it means the kids are off school, and it’s a popular time for family vacations.
But can you start a business in the summer? Can you work evenings and weekends to make some extra money, or just devote your full-time to a new pursuit? Of course you can! Here’s some ideas of businesses you can start in the summer.
1. Landscaping and Lawn Care
I see a guy in my neighborhood every so often, on a bicycle with a cart attached to the back. In it, he has a rake, some tools, and a small lawnmower. He wears a t-shirt that calls himself “Mr. Lawn” or something like that. He’s a one-man lawn care guy.
So if you’re looking for something to do to make some money this summer, why not go knock on some doors and see if you could mow a few lawns? It doesn’t take much in equipment, and if you keep the business local, you don’t even need a car. Just a bike and a cart. Plenty of people and businesses would pay a set rate per month to keep their lawn maintained and it’s one less thing for them to do themselves.
And in the winter, your lawn care business can become a snow removal business. If you wish.
2. Dog Walking and Pet Care
While you can do this year round, there’s something nicer about having a few dogs on a leash and being paid to walk around the block with them. Plenty of people make a decent part-time income at this. Assuming you can charge $50-$100 per week to go to people’s homes, take their dogs out, play with them for a while, and take them back, and you can do 3-4 of them at one time. You could presumably do 3-4 sets of these in a single day. That’s up to 16 people paying you $50-$100 every week, or $800-$1600 per week. That’s not bad.
Yes, sometimes it’s raining, and sometimes dogs are difficult to control. But if you are naturally a dog-lover, and have the time during the day while people are at work, this could be a nice way to make a living.
3. Car Wash and Valet Car Care
If there’s something some people love as much as their kids and their dogs, it’s their cars. The average Joe is not going to be able to afford to have their car washed by you, but there is a small segment of the public that can. And these are your target market.
A C-level executive at almost any medium or large size business usually drives a nice car – BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, or Infiniti. If you can find these people (or their assistants), you can pitch the idea of coming to their office during the day, picking up the keys, taking the car out for a nice wash and detail service, ensuring the highest quality care for their vehicle, and drop the keys back off later in the day. This is not an every day thing, but once every couple of weeks is not out of the ordinary. Again, if you can get 2 clients per day, 5 days per week, and repeat them every 2 weeks, that’s only 20 clients that you need, and at $100 per service, works out to $1000 per week. If you can do 3 clients per day, or 4, then your profit is a bit higher.
There’s nothing quite like a shiny, freshly-washed car with an interior that is spotless and clean, to make a person feel like a million bucks.
4. Outdoor Food Sales
So the legality of this may be very dependent on where you live, as different cities and countries have different laws about public street food sales, but could you make some delicious food not typically found outside, package it up, and sell it to people at lunch time? You sure could.
The profits here will be harder to come by, and the typical large city is filled with cheap lunch options from large restaurant chains. But it’s certainly an option to start until you can find a more permanent spot like a restaurant or a food truck.
The idea is to make 20-30 packed lunches in the morning, such as a sandwich or other portable food item that can be eaten cold. You can then take a cart to a public eating spot, such as a small park, and sell that food at $8-$10 per item. After taking into account food and packaging costs, you could pocket $100 or more per day like this.
Again, it’s not an easy way to make money because the upper bound of the price is limited, decent quality ingredients are not cheap, some people are suspicious of food sold by unlicensed food sellers (although this is less of a problem outside of North America where street food is more of a small business), and any spoilage and unsold products eat into your profits. But still, it’s a way to prove your food idea without needing thousands of dollars of investment.
5. School Tutor and Summer Programs for Kids
School may be out, but parents still worry about the education of their kids. They don’t like to see their pre-teen or teen laying around in bed all day, playing video games, and texting on their phones all day. So why not create a weekday afternoon class on an interesting topic such as film making, video game programming, art, or some other creative pursuit? Or a sports or athletic program like soccer, dance, ballet or baseball that parents can enroll their kids in to help them enjoy the fresh air? Anything that keeps a kid busy, keeps their interest, and gets them outside will get parents to open their wallets and sign their kid up.
You’re not likely to get kids to spend their summers working on their math skills, but who knows – even that might work.