6 great side jobs you can do on your bicycle
Back when a newspaper subscription was the main way people got their news, a kid could make some side money by delivering papers with a bike. It wasn't enough to retire on or pay the mortgage, but for a kid, a bike was the best way to make some money before or after school.
Those days are gone, with newspapers delivered by car and print competing with digital subscriptions, or no subscriptions at all. But the ability to make some money in a side job still exists if you have a bike. Here are six such jobs.
1. Bike Messenger
Biking up and down the hilly streets of San Francisco to deliver documents between businesses as a bike courier can be a difficult way to make a living, but there are plenty of openings. Twenty such businesses pop up in a Google search of the city — not including Uber's bike messenger service.
One rider, who also works as a high school math teacher, described how he gets to keep 80% of a $9.68 food delivery for Uber on his bike, or $7.74 in his pocket. He estimates an Uber rider will take home $4.50 per hour after taxes.
Maybe delivering documents is more worthwhile. According to Salary Expert, the average annual salary for a bike messenger is $24,966, and the average hourly rate is $12.
2. Bike Tour Guide
Leading bike tours in Napa or another scenic city you live in or near can pay $75 to $150 per day.
If you're an expert on where to find interesting places in your city, then leading tourists to the best restaurants, unknown gems, and landmarks can be a fun way to make money outdoors on weekends or whenever you're free.
3. Pedicab Driver
This is another bike job with tourists, though instead of leading people on bikes, you'll pull them around on a three-wheeled pedicab bike.
You won't be using your own bike. Unless you happen to own a pedicab, you'll either have to spend $3,500 or so to buy one or go work for a pedicab company in a city full of tourists. The pay can be up to $500 on a busy night, says one driver. This seasonal job can be much more enjoyable than an internship at a law firm.
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4. Pick up Laundry
Delivering food on a bike can be messy, and being a courier can require fast riding. A more leisurely bike job may be in the laundry pickup and delivery service, such as for Wash Cycle Laundry.
You tow a small trailer on your bike, picking up dirty laundry from customers' homes and taking it to a laundry service to do the dirty work. You then deliver the clean laundry back to the customer. The company so far only does business in Philadelphia and doesn't state on its website how much it pays bikers. If you don't live in Philly, what's stopping you from setting up a similar laundry pickup/delivery service with a dry cleaner near you?
5. Bicycle Mover
The Swedish company Movebybike is only in Sweden, so unless you're prepared to move there and bike for the company, you're going to have to start your own bike moving company. It uses bike trailers behind cargo bikes to move furniture and other belongings for people who aren't moving far. This fast moving option can come in handy for people moving a few miles within a city.
If you don't already have a bike trailer, you can make one yourself, though a large one for furniture may be too much work to do on your own.
6. Run a Bike Bar
A pop-up cocktail stand that delivers alcoholic drinks to people on demand sounds like an idea that's almost too good to be true.The Traveling Gin Company does this by catering to events, so calling them up to deliver just one drink is probably unlikely to be fulfilled.
Do they need drivers? It's unclear from their website. Can you do this on your own in your own town? Legally, it's a murky area worth checking in your state to see if alcohol deliveries are allowed, or if alcohol licenses are required. At the very least, you could deliver juice to thirsty people.
And what to do if none of these side jobs with a bike interest you? A bike is a nimble piece of transportation that can get you somewhere fast. Whatever service you provide on a bike, start by advertising it as a green alternative to other methods of getting something, and you just may find a niche.