They might not be glorious, but a side business that requires you to work with your hands may be just what you need. Not only can you make money, but the physical nature of the work can benefit your health.
Have you seen the movie Office Space? The main character works in a horrible cubicle job just prior to the year 2000, spending all day tracking down defective code and changing it to handle four digits for the date. For those that were around then, it was mind-numbing work. There’s more that happens, but in the end, the main character winds up leaving the cubicle and taking a manual labor construction job and is happier than ever.
There are many ways to earn income outside of your day job. Dividend stocks, preferred stocks, bonds, rental property are all great ways to earn additional income. But each of these approaches requires a fair amount of invested capital to generate substantial investment income. If you are limited in this area, you will need to look elsewhere for additional income. This is where the side business comes in.
A side business is simply a venture or activity performed outside of your normal day job that generates income. I specify that a side business needs to generate income to differentiate it from a hobby that may or may not generate income.
Any activity can be structured as a side business. Some may require that you use your mind, Some may leverage a specific skill you possess. The following ten side business ideas can be started today with little or no money, training, or licensing and require you work with your hands:
Side Business Ideas That Require You Work With Your Hands
- Handyman. The great thing about handyman work is it needs to be local. As a handyman, you help assemble things for people. You fix stuff. You build projects. Depending on your skill level, you may help DIY enthusiasts that need a little guidance or bite off more than they can handle. Just stay away from electrical, plumbing, and HVAC work as you need a license to work in those areas.
- Yard maintenance. You can either provide services on a project basis or ongoing maintenance. If there is a lawn, you can get paid to cut that as well. Fees range from $50 per visit up to hundreds depending on the amount of work involved.
- Pool maintenance. This requires some knowledge, but once you learn how to keep the water level balanced, the pool clean, and replace any broken parts, you can earn a nice living maintaining pools. This is best in warmer climates where pools run year-round. If you live in a colder climate, learn how to winterize a pool and find another business during the winter (shoveling snow maybe).
- Housekeeping. Nobody likes cleaning their house. If you’re willing to get your hands dirty and keep someone else’s house clean, you can easily earn $100 for two or three hours of work.
- Dog walker. Dog walkers charge $10 or more per dog for a 30 minute walk. If you can find multiple dogs and walk them simultaneously, the numbers can quickly add up. For people who own high energy dogs (think lab puppies), having them walked regularly and often is a necessity. And not only do the dogs get exercise, you do too.
- Window washer. This is one of my favorite side business ideas. We know someone who started washing windows in college. It has turned into a big business. Most of his clients bring him out two to four times per year. He charges $5 per ground floor window and $10 per second floor window. He cleans both inside and outside as well as cleaning the screen. And he will repair both windows and screens for an additional fee.
- Pooper scooper. As simple as it sounds and not for the squeamish. When Ms. Financial Slacker and I were both working outside the home, we had a guy who charged $10 to clean the yard twice per week.
- Landfill transportation. If you have stuff you want to get rid of, but hate the time involved taking loads to the landfill, you can hire a company to haul it away for you. All you need is a truck to start this business.
- Moving company. I worked for a moving company in college. In fairness, you do need to be pretty strong for this side business. But the money is really good.
How Do you Get Customers for Your Side Business?
Once you have decided on the services you will provide, the next step is to advertise. But I have found, generating new business is probably the easiest part of the process.
A handyman friend of mine put a magnetic sign on his truck. Just driving around town generated more business than he could handle by himself. You can also put ads in the newspaper and Craigslist.
But the cheapest form of advertising is word-of-mouth. Once you start developing a good reputation, you’ll start getting phone calls referred from your existing customers.
A side business is a great way to make extra income. And if you find one that requires physical exertion, you just might gain some health benefits as well. And maybe you can turn your side business into a full-time business and ditch the cubicle.
Would you consider leaving your corporate job for something more blue collar? What other side business ideas require you to use your hands?