Working an odd job for cash gives you a way to earn extra money in a hurry. Do a good job, and your neighbors might help you find leads to other cash jobs. Make periodic calls to your neighbors to drum up business, or stop by and leave a business card to keep your name in front of neighbors so they contact you when they’re ready to hire.
Neighborhoods with lots of kids often provide babysitting opportunities. Building a relationship with the parents is important so they know they can trust you when they need a night out by themselves. If you have time during the day, offer babysitting services to people who go to work or who need to run errands for a few hours.
Most lawns need care year-round. Look for high grass or weedy flowerbeds that need to be spruced up. After a windstorm, offer to pick up fallen branches in yards. If you receive snow in your area, grab your shovel and offer to dig the neighbors’ cars out and get their driveways in shape. In the fall, you can rake leaves and help get plants ready for overwintering.
If you love dogs and exercise, offer to walk the neighbor’s dog. This service is especially valuable for people who work during the day and cannot take their dog out for exercise. You can also offer housesitting services when the owners want to go on vacation and need to leave their pets behind. Offer to take the dog to a training class. You’ll get paid and learn new skills, and the neighbor’s dog becomes better behaved.
Ask your neighbors if they need help with household chores such as cleaning, painting, taking the garbage to and from the curb, washing dishes or doing laundry. You could also bring the paper up to the house, especially helpful if your neighbors have long driveways. If you drive, offer to shop for groceries and other goods at nearby stores. If elderly people live in your neighborhood, they might need help lifting and moving heavy items or preparing light meals. Your neighbors might also need help organizing their basements or garages.
Nothing beats washing cars on a hot summer day and getting paid for it. Check with the neighbors to see if they want their cars washed in their own yard, or offer to do it on your property, if possible. If you provide the soap, sponges and towels, charge a little extra to cover the cost of the supplies.
Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.