Spring Jobs: Take Advantage of the Season

seasonal jobsAs spring brings everyone out of hibernation and ready to enjoy the great outdoors once again, consider getting clever with ways to supplement your income. Think out of the box with these spring jobs that creatively offer services that people in your community might just be willing to pay someone else (you!) to do for them.

Get a Little Dirt-y

I occasionally help a professional gardener plant, prune and weed flowers for his residential clients. Because I work amid beautiful flowers, my work environment is always serene and lovely, in spite of the heat, humidity, dodging bees and getting dirty that goes with the job. The fresh air, sunshine and physical exercise I get along with the extra cash benefits both my health and my wallet, plus I get wonderful ideas from all the different gardens I see.

The gardener I work for is also a mural painter, and I met him several years ago when he painted a mural on a building where I worked. We talked plants and flowers, and he noted I was an experienced gardener, and I discovered that he often hires extra helpers during the busiest parts of the gardening season. I offered to help out and he called me the next time he needed an extra hand. He starts gardeners at $10 per hour, and increases their pay the longer they work with him.

How to get the gig: If you love gardening and know how to care for plants, contact some small gardening operations in your area and ask if they need seasonal help. Take along photos of your own gardens, or direct them to some photos of your gardens you have posted online, or offer references. You might want to extend this idea to growing vegetables for clients either in their gardens or yours. Both flowers and vegetables can also be sold at farmer's markets or in roadside stands.

– Susan Hoskins Miller

Turn on the Pressure

This spring I picked up an odd job that has turned out to be very profitable as well as enjoyable. I started pressure washing houses. I had already bought the pressure washer to use around my own home. Just attach it to any standard garden hose, turn it on, and you've got a high-powered water spray that will remove years of dirt and grime from a variety of surfaces. It's is great for cleaning driveways, sidewalks, decks and siding. I never realized how valuable this piece of equipment could be until a friend of mine asked to borrow it. She's a local business owner and has a very full schedule as it is, so I volunteered to do some of the work for her. She was so thrilled after I pressure washed the deck around her pool that she decided to have me wash her concrete driveway and vinyl siding as well. The best part of the deal is that she paid me the same amount she would have paid a professional cleaner. The house looked great.

How to get the gig: Then several of her neighbors asked about who she hired for the project. When she referred them to me, I gladly accepted the work. I can keep my regular Monday through Friday office job and make a good amount of cash on the weekends doing something I really enjoy. After the first two jobs, the pressure washer has practically paid for itself. Now not only do I get to spend more time outdoors enjoying the beautiful spring weather, I'm able to put that extra profit in my savings account for a summer vacation.

– Nathaniel Blake

Play and Sing for Your Supper

As spring rolls around, many of us are looking for a way to make a few extra dollars. If you happen to be a decent guitar player, this is a great time of year to make some extra money on the side and have some fun. That's because spring is prime patio season for restaurants and bars. At the first hint of warm weather, customers flock to their favorite haunts to enjoy their food and beverages outside. If you notice, you'll find that many of these establishments like to have live acoustic music for their guests. That's where you come in.

The best part about playing patios is you don't have to have a full band, and often cannot anyway, due to space restraints of the patios. So just an acoustic guitar and a singer will do. If you have a pretty good voice and can play rhythm guitar then you should be in good shape. However, if singing isn't your thing, then you'll need to find someone who can carry a tune.

How to get the gig: A post on Craigslist or through other want ads will usually yield some capable talent. Remember, the better the singer is, the less pressure there will be on you as a guitar player. If the singer is passable your job is easy. Just play a few chords and make sure you keep in time.

Of course there is a little bit of investment. You'll probably want to purchase a portable PA system. These usually run $250 to $500 dollars. However, at $100 to $150 a night for a gig, you'll have that covered in no time.

– Shawn Kendrick

Poke Holes for Cash

Those bulky machines that have spokes between the wheels, that poke into the grass and remove a small plug are called aerators. The hole allows air and water more direct access to soil beneath the sod. Aerating makes for a greener, healthier lawn, especially in areas with clay-like or sandy soil. So just get yourself an aerator, and you're in business!

Home Depot rents the aerators for around $100 per day. I have never charged less than $25 per lawn. In high-end areas, I've charged as much as $75 for a lawn. I get my brother to help me. We pick up two machines on a Saturday morning.

How to get the gig: We start by going door-to-door for jobs, and within a half hour we can easily have several jobs lined up. By 10 a.m. we usually have more jobs than we can do in one day.

We figure that we can do one job per hour at around $35 per job. If we work a 10-hour day with two machines, that's $700, minus about $250 for the machines, gas, and fast-food lunch. That means $225 per person for the day. Not only that, but we also usually will have jobs lined up for the next day or for weeknights during the following week.

Aerating became so lucrative for us that we purchased a used machine from Home Depot, which gave us greater versatility to do jobs whenever we have time. The spring window only lasts for about a month, but we can easily make $1500 during that time. If you can mow a lawn, you can aerate. Try it!

– R.J. Zeyer

Cold Beer Here!

I decided I wanted to be a beer vendor for the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, FL. Lucky for me I have friends in the business. Plus, I already work for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fall and the winter, so I already have a record of accomplishment. I have been vending beer for about four years with the Buccaneers now. It is a good job, it is fun and you can make a good amount of money as a beer vendor.

My first game for the Rays was tough. The beer at Tropicana Field is heavier than the beer at Raymond James Stadium. At Tropicana Field we carry a case of 24-ounce cans, while at Raymond James Stadium, we carry a case of 16-ounce bottles. This means that there is at least twelve pounds extra in every tote of beer. This can add up to quite a few extra pounds by the end of a baseball game. I made it through the game, but I did not sell nearly as many cans of beer as the other vendors. Good thing your first game does not count against you in the beer-vending industry.

Beer vending is actually a very important job. The beer vendor has to go to alcohol-awareness classes, where he/she learns how to serve alcohol to spectators. The most important part of a beer vendor's job is to make sure everybody sold to is old enough to buy beer. Part of a beer vendor's job is to make sure to check the identification of everybody who looks like they are under thirty years old. If you want to be a beer vendor, you really need to be a responsible person. You cannot sell to anybody who appears to be intoxicated, because the person may leave the stadium, drive and kill an innocent person. You also have to pay attention to all of your sales and make the correct change. If you lose any money as a beer vendor, the money comes out of your pocket.

Beer vending is a great spring job. If you do your job correctly, you can make a couple hundred dollars for each game you work. If you are a good beer vendor, you may be asked to work the World Series or the Super Bowl when they come to your town.

How to get the gig: If you love sports, beer vending is the job for you. I work for a company called Rocketman. If you are interested in becoming a beer vendor, you can go to their website and fill out an application. Rocketman is always looking for good dependable beer vendors.

– LeRoy Collier

Garage Sale Planner

Every year just before the spring season begins, I set out on deciding how I am going to make some extra cash. I have always had a springtime odd job ever since I was 15 years old.

This year my springtime odd job is assisting in garage sale set up. The fee for this year is a flat $40, not a lot, but garage sales are usually held on the weekends, which are my days off. My customer base seems to be retired and older folks who need help from a young person, help with lifting and standing for extended periods of time. This aspect of the job is rewarding, because I feel like I am really helping someone who needs it.

If you are interested in getting into this type of spring odd job to earn a bit of extra money, remember it's extra cash but you are not going to get rich doing it. Keep it in perspective. Earning something is better than nothing at all. The overhead is minimal and the possibilities are plentiful. Just remember not to spend your earnings at the garage sale.

How to get the gig: I always approach finding customers the same way, using fliers and (more recently) Craigslist. I have about 100 of the cheapest paper fliers printed up and put them on people's cars or tape them to front doors. Craigslist is free, fast and distributed instantly. I advertise under garage sales and put an ad that states I will help with setting up, manning and breaking down the garage sale, doing all for a fee.

– Joe Canete

Farmer's Market Barista

Every Sunday in the spring season I work at my neighborhood farmer's market as a barista for a local coffee company. A friend of mine owns the company and was looking for someone to help run his mobile espresso bar that he brings to events, farmer's markets and private parties. I worked at a cafe in college, consider myself a coffee connoisseur and have experience making a great cup of joe. I serve coffee, espresso and pastries, enjoying lively conversations with people who are looking for a morning jolt to boost their shopping experience. Most people are very friendly and I love asking them about what they plan on making with their purchased produce. I work on tips and a base of $8 an hour, and the market usually lasts for about 5 hours.

How to get the gig: My advice for someone interested in working at a farmer's market is to attend one in your neighborhood and speak to vendors that interest you. Make sure you have a working knowledge of the vendor and express a sincere interest in their business. It doesn't hurt to offer to volunteer for a week to learn and then work out a payment system, whether it be an hourly wage or for trade. Also contact your city hall to get a list of area farmer's markets, for if you are interested working at one, you may have to go further then just your neighborhood. By working at a farmer's market, I am able to merge my two loves: food and shopping.

– Alicia

Become a Docent with the Mostest

These jobs require a training period, usually lasting a few days, to learn the subject matter and to trail the tours of experienced staff to learn the ropes. Then after a couple of weeks, it's your turn to give tours. The starting salary is around $8 to $10 an hour. The job requires meeting, greeting and conversing with the public, with attention given to presenting factual information in an accurate and interesting way and answering questions, too.

There are perks with tour guide jobs. In states with a large number of museums, an identification card from one museum often allows you to visit other museums for free. Having a park or museum docent job on your resume helps you get future jobs at other parks or museums. Many museums offer anywhere from 10 to 25 percent discount to employees in the gift shop. Also, as an employee you may get free admission to special events.

How to get the gig: To make extra cash, check out local parks departments, natural resources departments, or museums to get a job as a tour guide (also known as a docent or interpretive specialist). Spring is really the best time to work in parks and museums because schools book group tours for their classes for the spring. Museums and parks often need extra help during that time. The hours are flexible and your schedule is based on your availability.

– Cynthia Collins

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