Best Part-Time Jobs for Perks

Angelique H. Caffrey

Part-time jobs don't have to mean puny perks. In fact, these popular half-time positions offer employees plenty of advantages beyond a paycheck.

1. Retail Sales Associate (Clothing)

The job: At a clothing retailer, you'll help customers purchase and return merchandise, usually 20-30 hours per week depending on the season. You may also be expected to keep track of inventory, handle large amounts of money, or be on the lookout for shoplifters.

The perks: Clothing stores usually offer a significant discount off regular and sale items. For instance, Talbots gives part-timers 40% off, The Gap 30%, Ann Taylor 40% (25% off sale merchandise), and JC Penney 20% (10% off furniture items). Some may also offer minimal medical coverage options for part-timers.

The "in": The U.S. Department of Bureau and Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that there were over 4.5 million retail jobs in America in 2004. However, they are not always advertised in the paper; it's better to go to their Web sites or just drop by for an application.

The bottom line: If your personal or family clothing allowance is around $200 each month and you work at Talbots, you'll save almost a grand annually.

2. Retail Sales Associate (Non-Clothing)

The job: These retailers sell books, home furnishings, arts and crafts, pet items, electronics, or a whole host of other items. Thus, you could find yourself doing everything from customer relations to stocking shelves.

The perks: If you work at Williams-Sonoma, you'll receive a generous 40% off merchandise; at Michaels, a popular craft store, you will get 25% off purchases. Lowe's gives associates 10% off; Tower Records, 15%.

The "in": These jobs are advertised periodically, but you're better off going to the store and getting an application in person.

The bottom line: When you buy items for yourself or others (if that's allowed; sometimes, it's not) for everyday use or special occasions, you could save thousands per year on top of your modest hourly salary (the mean is $11.14/hour as reported by the BLS).

3. Waitress/Waiter

The job: As a server, you will be expected to take orders and bring food and drinks to customers' tables. You must also generate a decent rapport with other staff members, cooks and bartenders. Depending on the restaurant, you may also have to "bus" your own table, vacuum the carpet, or perform other custodial functions.

The perks: The most important benefit to waiters and waitresses are the tips they receive. If you work at an upscale bistro, those could translate into 20% of the total bill; at other eateries, 10-15% is more common. Most restaurants also offer waitstaff at least one free meal a day. At a national chain such as Ruby Tuesday, you will also have the opportunity to sample (for free) any new menu items.

The "in": The National Restaurant Association estimates that there are just under one million eateries in the United States, translating to plenty of work for the part-timer who wants the flexibility and variety of a server job. Therefore, stop by your favorite restaurant and ask if they are hiring, as server jobs are usually not found in the newspaper classifieds or on CareerBuilder. You can also ask friends in the industry about any openings.

The bottom line: First, your gratuities can add up to hourly wages of $10-15/hour; thus, even though you have a low base salary, your "commissions" can boost your income substantially. The free meals are also a money saver; for instance, $5 in free food for four nights a week adds up to over $1,000 per year.

4. Bartender

The job: In this position, you will be expected to prepare drink orders, mix beverages, and take customers' money. You will probably also have to keep an eye on your stock of drink items, clean the bar and call for taxis.

The perks: Like servers, bartenders can receive some amazing tips. In fact, a good bartender can expect to make several hundred dollars in one busy evening (such as a Friday or Saturday night). He or she may also get free meals.

The "in": Stop by your local pub or eatery that serves alcohol and find out if there are any bartending jobs open. You can also ask your friends who are servers at local restaurants to keep their ears open for any opportunities. Finally, if there are any tourist hot spots or casinos nearby, try to snag a position there; the buyers are usually more generous.

The bottom line: Obviously, the more tip, the bigger take-home pay. Thus, it behooves a bartender to keep the drinks flowing to up his or her hourly wage to $40/hour or more.

5. Child Care Provider

The job: As a part-time child care provider, you will generally work with preschool age kids and infants. Expect to change diapers, give bottles, deal with parents, and clean toys.

The perks: If you work half time for a facility like Gold's Gym or the YMCA, you'll be eligible for free membership. And if you have a child of your own, you may also get onsite child care as part of your employment.

The "in": You might find these jobs advertised in the paper or you could just ask at your local health club or gym. (One caveat - don't apply for this job if you cannot pass a clearance because of a prior criminal record.)

The bottom line: Health club memberships can be expensive; by working as a part-time baby sitter for a gym, you could save over $1,000 a year. Plus, if you have an infant or youngster, you'll save additional money in child care costs.

6. Movie Theater Employee

The job: If you work at a movie theater such as AMC Theatres, you could find yourself running the projector, cleaning up aisles after patrons leave, handling tickets and money, or running the concession stand.

The perks: Most movie theatres allow their employees to view new releases for free. They may also provide workers with some gratis food items, such as popcorn, nachos, soda or candy.

The "in": These part-time gigs are highly coveted by people who love to "stay up" on entertainers and movies. Therefore, your best bet is to walk right into the theater and ask to see a manager for an application.

The bottom line: Movies are expensive. If you tend to go to at least one show each weekend, a job as a movie theatre attendant could be worth over $500 a year in tickets alone.

Part-time jobs regularly come with perks to entice hardworking persons like yourself. So pick and choose your second income carefully, considering all the benefits of employment and not simply focusing on the advertised salary.

Next: 10 Part-Time Jobs You Can Do From Home >>

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