Ready to stop worrying about money?
SSDI recipients are also granted a Trial Work Period in which they can work and earn as much as they want for nine months without jeopardizing their benefits.
You always want people to work to their fullest potential, of course. This is America. That’s one of our foundational ideals.
According to the SSA, “disabled” means applicants:
SSI is typically for people who haven’t paid Social Security taxes from past W2 jobs. Once they work enough in the eyes of Social Security, they may be able to transfer to SSDI. But the vast majority of people on SSI don’t and can’t work.
Is It Legal to Work While on Disability?
The benefits for the SSI folks are different because they didn’t pay into the system.
SSI vs SSDI — What’s the Difference?
“The benefits for the SSI folks are different because they didn’t pay into the system,” says Paula Vieillet, CEO of My Employment Options, a national employment network and advising company for people on Social Security assistance.
“What the Ticket program does is it provides protection. It gives people the opportunity to try to go back to work,” Vieillet says. “And if they don’t make it, nothing ventured, nothing lost.”
Are totally disabled (not partially disabled or disabled in the short-term).
Can’t do work they previously could before the disability.
Are unable to adjust to other work because of a medical condition.
And the disability has lasted (or is expected to last) for at least one year or will result in death.
It’s a difficult, frustrating balancing act, trying to work enough to maintain independence — but not so much that his benefits are cut off. It’s also suffused with fear. James talked to The Penny Hoarder about his experience but asked that his last name not be used out of concern of running afoul of the federal agency.
For starters, federal policy hasn’t kept up with inflation or changes in the labor market, experts say. That’s especially so for Supplemental Security Income, the program James is on.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Social Security Disability Insurance is for people who qualify as disabled and have paid enough Social Security taxes through past employment (typically five to 10 years worth of work credits) to qualify for additional benefits. Adam Hardy is a former staff writer for The Penny Hoarder. This story was originally published in July 2019. Income thresholds and other statistics have been updated for 2022.
This program isn’t for low-income people, per se. But there are monthly limits on how much income someone can earn from a job: ,310 a month or ,190for blind workers. Income and assets outside work earnings are unlimited.
Beyond this definition, the programs vary greatly.
They get an exemption from what’s called a Continuing Disability Review. This periodic medical check-in determines if a person meets the strict definition of “disabled.” If an SSI or SSDI recipient has been assigned a Ticket and is making good progress in the program, they don’t need to worry about the medical review or losing their current benefits.
Confused? So are many recipients.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
As of January 2021, the maximum federal benefit for an individual is 4 for an individual and ,191 for a couple per month. Several states add to that amount, according to the Social Security Administration. The total fluctuates annually.
Vieillet says the intricacies of each program are confusing, even to the experts. For the average person, it can be downright overwhelming.
“Sometimes even beneficiaries don’t get the distinction between the two,” says Kathleen Romig, a Social Security policy expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “And the work rules are totally different.”
SSDI recipients are also allowed to work, and the rules are more lax because they have paid taxes into the system for much longer.
Social Security Work-Incentive Programs and Rules
“You always want people to work to their fullest potential, of course. This is America,” Romig says. “That’s one of our foundational ideals.”
When letters from Social Security start coming in the mail, “they scare the bejesus out of people,” says Teresa Nier, benefits and employment manager with My Employment Options.
Both SSI and SSDI recipients are eligible to join Ticket to Work.
Another issue is the maximum monthly payout of 4. While this number does change annually, Romig notes it’s well below the poverty line.
Here’s a primer on how the system works.
To be eligible for either program, the Social Security Administration first determines if applicants are disabled using a specific definition.
“The first in earnings are disregarded; after that benefits are reduced by for every earned,” says Romig. “The first in unearned income is also disregarded; after that, SSI benefits are reduced dollar-for-dollar.”
Why Do Disabled People Still Lose Out?
Yes, it’s even encouraged. The Social Security Administration helps disabled people find employment through work-incentive programs. How much a disabled worker is allowed to work and earn depends on several factors, and the two primary forms of assistance — Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) — work very differently.
A 34-year-old with cerebral palsy, he depends on Social Security disability benefits for the majority of his income. The benefits cover his rent and bills each month. But it’s not enough to live on, so he supplements it with side gigs like DoorDash, Instacart and other delivery apps.
For disabled workers, joining a free work-incentive program and employment network can help. Ticket to Work offers benefits protection for recipients who want to test the employment waters. And organizations like My Employment Options have certified benefits counselors on staff to help applicants trudge through the paperwork and fine print — all while finding a job that fits their unique needs.
Supplemental Security Income is a financial-need-based program for elderly and disabled people. The federal government pays a stipend designed to cover basic necessities like food or housing for people who have little-to-no income.
But the difficulty of navigating the programs coupled with the threat of losing benefits as a worker often clashes with that value.
Experts’ Advice: Don’t Go It Alone
Millions of people are in James’ situation, fearful and confused by the labyrinth of rules governing their benefits. Disability benefits experts say discrimination, confusion regarding the rules and fear of benefits being cut at any time are all too common. And that’s despite the official Social Security position that people on disability should work to their fullest potential.
Social Security’s two main work-incentive programs are Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) and Ticket to Work. Both are free and voluntary.
Anytime a letter bearing the seal of the Social Security Administration arrives, James feels afraid to open it.
Only SSI recipients are eligible to join PASS. Folks in this program set work goals, which could include starting a business, attending a college or learning a new skill. Once Social Security approves the plan, all costs related to achieving PASS goals can be deducted from their income, which allows SSI recipients to earn more money and keep their cash benefits.
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SSI recipients may work and continue to receive their benefits until their total income exceeds 4 after a few deductions are taken into account. <!–
To avoid unexpected benefits cuts or having to return overpayments to the agency, “people need to keep Social Security updated with phone numbers and addresses,” Nier says. “Open those letters. Ask questions.” For SSI and SSDI recipients who do work, their earned income can fluctuate month-to-month because it’s often hard to stick to a fixed work schedule due to the nature of their conditions. This makes it difficult for even the most earnest recipients to accurately report their income. In other words, benefits drop after the first of income each month, no matter if the money is from a job or a friend.
While the program mainly caters to the elderly and children with disabilities, James’s situation highlights several dated provisions. For example, the income deduction was set when the act was signed into law in 1972. It hasn’t budged since. The ,000 cap on liquid assets to qualify for SSI was set in 1989.
But true personal shoppers are more likely to purchase clothing and accessories than groceries. A personal shopper often finds items and then sends photos and descriptions to the person who hired them to get approval.
A security guard who does not carry a weapon serves as a presence to discourage inappropriate behavior. While many large businesses like Target or Wal-Mart hire security personnel from a service, small employers such as charitable or service organizations are likely to hire someone who is reliable and gives the appearance of authority.
You are more likely to work on an hourly wage determined by your experience and amount of work you are required to perform. There are also job firms that provide virtual assistants; you can sign on with them and accept work as it is offered to you. School bus drivers can earn up to per hour. They have regular hours with the opportunity to earn extra for field trips or outings. Some states require a specific license (a Commercial Drivers License, or CDL, for example) or require you to pass a test to qualify.
Hourly pay for security guards without weapons training is likely to be between and . Night-time security guards are likely to make more than daytime ones.
Plan on some up-front costs, such as a portable bar (if the host doesn’t have one) and basic bar tools. The host is expected to supply the alcohol and mixers. And to protect against possible liability you might want to consider an annual liability policy.
18 Part-time Jobs for Retirees
Many small or civic organizations cannot afford, nor do they truly need, a full-time bookkeeper or accounting service. They are not in it for the money. Often, they are charitable or non-profit organizations. But they need occasional bookkeeping, often with an eye towards tax advantages.
Recent news reports indicate there are many job openings for school bus drivers.
There are no actual nanny or babysitter licenses or certifications in the United States, but many families require that nannies be bonded, which is a guarantee of service. It is a protection against someone failing to show up for work; one such failure forfeits the bond and that area of work is no longer available to that nanny.
1. Substitute Teaching
If you can memorize lots of cocktail recipes, if you have an outgoing personality and a steady hand, and if you’re willing to cut people off if needed, this could be a fit for you. Your best bet might be starting out tending bar for people you know and then building a network of referrals.
Some high-end clothing stores offer personal shopper services as well. These positions might be a little less “personal,” as they might be a one-day relationship. But the concept is the same.
Security guards who carry weapons require special training and weapons licensing, and is an entirely different job pursuit, perhaps not as well-suited to a retirement job.
Many people reach so-called retirement age and are in no way done with being productive. Many continue in freelance jobs and part-time gigs, whether in a brick-and mortar setting, from home, or even outdoors.
2. School Support
A part-time bookkeeper job often requires simple financial recordkeeping or upkeep of other financial records. Part-time bookkeepers are usually former accountants or have experience as a bookkeeper. They may be asked to track invoices, but most companies use financial services for paychecks.
You have a good head for numbers. You are in charge of your own finances, and you perhaps worked in an accounting role at a previous job.
While “retirement income’’ or “retirement job” might seem like oxymorons, they are a more reasonable pursuit today than in years past due to advancing life expectancies and improved health among older citizens.
Depending on the particulars of the job, a commercial driver’s license might be required. Different states have different laws regarding licensing for shuttle bus drivers. A different license might be required if the bus holds a certain number of people or is a particular weight. Your state motor vehicle website will tell you what’s required in your state, and any potential employer will know, too. Freelance bartending doesn’t require bartending school and can earn you good money working at large events or small, private parties. Hourly pay for freelance bartenders can be anywhere from to even before tips.
4. School Bus Driver
According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for a freelance writer is a bit over , but you are often paid by assignment or by word, so the pay varies. If you have knowledge in certain topics like science and medicine, the pay can be higher.
As of this writing, Ziprecruiter showed more than 34,000 virtual assistant jobs, suggesting that a virtual assistant could make up to ,000 a year, depending on the work required.
Pay is often dependent on the age of the players and the competitive level of the organization, but officials are likely to make at least per game. At higher levels where certification is required, you can earn 0 per game.
5. Shuttle Bus Driver
There are dozens of different types of shuttle bus driver jobs. Most hotels have shuttles to and from airports. Senior citizen homes, churches and community centers often offer shuttles to shopping areas or grocery stores. Hourly pay for shuttle bus drivers can average above per hour, and that’s not including tips from satisfied riders. Like school bus drivers, shuttle bus drivers have regular hours. Source: thepennyhoarder.com
6. Conducting Tours
Most of the examples here require your physical presence on-site, but there are remote jobs, too, such as virtual assistant and customer service work that can be done from the comfort of your home.
Child care might be a bit of a political football these days, but rarely has it been more necessary. Single parents or two-parent families that require or want two incomes are likely to need child care, and that could take the form of a nanny or frequent babysitter.
These positions can be part- or full-time, and they pay well. So if you plan to collect Social Security benefits, make sure to check how your wage impacts your benefits.
Many seasonal jobs are defined by the weather, which is defined by the time of year and the climate where you live. Seasonal jobs are popular, never go out of style (except when the season changes), and can actually be a fun job to look forward to.
Most school districts have lenient requirements for substitute teachers, often requiring just a bachelor’s degree with no teaching experience.
Craigslist or neighborhood job sites are great ways to search for these positions, but your best bet is to work with your personal network. Let people know that you would be willing to work as a nanny or frequent babysitter, and, with the proper recommendation, you could have a very gratifying retirement job.
7. Patient Advocate
The job of a patient advocate is to assist someone who is struggling to cope with the healthcare system. A patient advocate deals with paperwork and appointments, and communicates with healthcare providers to get information on diagnosis, treatment and followup procedures.
As such, typical hourly pay is as a call center representative. Personal shoppers who go after groceries or staples are likely to make typical hourly pay of to . Those who work for a service are likely on a wage or salary determined by the service rather than by the client.
Being a patient advocate does not require any particular educational degree, but it is possible to become certified in this role.
8. Child Care Provider
The job is likely to include more than just driving, however. You may be asked to supervise students on the bus, and you may be called upon to discipline rowdy students or those who are making the trip unsafe. A tolerance for children of all ages is probably an important requirement.
If you have an advance degree, you may also qualify to be an adjunct instructor at a community college or four-year university. Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Virtual assistants are independent contractors who offer business services virtually. Those services can include website management, website design, marketing assistance, social media postings, blog writing, email correspondence or any number of clerical duties that can be carried out with a computer and phone. This kind of work is often well-suited to flexible hours.
For between and an hour, you can earn money pet-sitting in a home or, if the pet happens to be a dog, you can walk the animal. Pet-sitting is a good job for retirees who want to work outdoors without a lot of physical requirements other than being able to walk while pulling or being pulled.
While there are occasional situations where someone needs a one-off writing assignment, freelance writer jobs often offer consistent, if sporadic, work. A retiree who can write could have a client for years. Check out this Penny Hoarder article on 18 places hiring freelance writers.
Looking for a fun part-time side gig? Here’s how you can earn money visiting theme parks as a Disney nanny.
9. Virtual Assistant
Any task that can be done virtually via computer is likely to be requested by a virtual assistant. Firms would rather pay a freelancer than an employee to do the work.
Pet sitter/walker is also a good line of work to get into because one job can lead to another. Pet owners tend to concentrate around each other, and they will give recommendations to other pet owners about a reliable person who can watch Fido or Fluffy while they are on vacation.
Ski resorts in the winter and water parks in the summer are two great examples of places that require seasonal employees. It is not necessary to be a ski instructor or a lifeguard, either. These places require assistance in areas outside of their main purpose: security, transportation, customer service. Even the National Park Service hires seasonal temps.
Businesses, organizations and sites that host tours come in many shapes and sizes, from historical sites to museums, from outdoor walking tours to behind-the-scene workplace tours. They can be an everyday part of a business or scheduled by appointment. What they all have in common? A tour leader.
The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal makes the remote-job hunt easy. Our journalists scour the web for the best gigs, vet the companies and aggregate the latest listings in one place. Nannies are likely to make an hour on average. Babysitter earnings vary widely by affluence of the neighborhood. Check out The Penny Hoarder’s tips on how to get paid up to an hour babysitting.
While high-level programs require officials to get licensed or certified, lower-level and youth group programs require just a basic knowledge of the rules. Look around your community for sports leagues in need of umpires or referees.
A babysitter sits in a home with a child or children. A nanny is responsible for getting children to day care or other activities; they are a substitute parent in many cases.
11. Umpire and Referee
If you are going to house-sit the animal, you will likely get paid more for also keeping an eye on the property while the owner is away.
Substitute teachers have never been more valuable than today. Covid has increased the chances that a teacher might be out of the classroom either awaiting test results or recuperating. When that happens, their students need someone to teach — and that could be you.
Although freelance writers no longer provide articles — it’s called content now — freelance writing is a gig that can offer the freedom to accept the assignments you want. There are firms that will connect freelance writers to people or companies in need of blogs, resumes, cover letters, marketing content and more.
This is a good job for retirees who do not mind a bit of boredom.
12. Pet Sitter and Dog Walker
If you are interested in online tutoring, there are many good paying gigs out there. Match your skills to the openings.
So let’s get to work, shall we?
To be successful, you need to be ready to deal with a room full of 20 or so children of varying ages. But it could pay off. School districts in Chicago, for example, pay as much as 0 a day for a full day of work.
This is a classic retirement job that gets you out of the house, allows you to have contact with neighbors, and lets you provide security and safety with another set of adult eyes on the children.
13. Freelance Writer
These jobs require knowledge about the subject and the ability to tell a good story — often while walking backwards.
Competitive sports programs need officials for their games. Baseball, basketball, soccer and football all have leagues at various ages that need officiating. Depending on where you live, the work can be constant. If you get certified for multiple sports, you can work all weekend long and often during the week.
Some stores hold hiring events in October to fill these positions, but they often continue searching for employees throughout the final three months of the year.
14. Call Center Worker
Most schools are always looking for crossing guards, recess supervisors and other positions. A call to your local elementary, middle or high school could lead you to a good retirement job that would fit your schedule. Even better is searching online for jobs at your school district. This will give you a range of what’s out there.
Who even knows what “retired’’ means anymore?
This is a perfect retirement job if you have a sports background and the ability to withstand criticism.
15. Freelance Bartender
Another idea for animal lovers is pet transporting. If you’ve got a reliable set of wheels and like to drive, getting pets from here to there from owners, maybe be the side gig for you.
Taking classes in CPR or other emergency response techniques, which offer certifications upon completion, can improve your chances of being hired.
Is it the shopping or the buying that you enjoy? If it’s the shopping, then you might consider becoming someone’s personal shopper.
16. Personal Shopper
As much as this is a remote job, it is definitely a people-person retirement job. You are likely to be talking to someone who is upset or unhappy, and you are the first line of communication for the company you are representing. You need to be capable of being friendly and helpful in the face of unpleasant conversation.
Tour guide is one of those jobs that, when you see someone doing it, you think, “Well, I could do that too!”
To be a personal grocery shopper, you probably need only have been in a grocery store from time to time. To be a high-end personal shopper, a knowledge of the fashion industry and current fashions is going to get you better clients.
Remember when you had a summer job as a teenager or a part-time job during your winter break from college? The same logic can work when you’re thinking about some extra retirement income.
The job title describes the job. You are given a shopping list and the means to make the purchase, and you chase after the items.
The responsibilities of a security guard depend on the needs of the company being guarded. There may be requirements that go beyond just being a presence, but the differences depend on the needs of the company.
As you browse these possible jobs for retirees, keep in mind one warning: If you are collecting Social Security, you can only earn a certain amount each month before your benefits are reduced.
Got what it takes to be a mystery shopper? We’ve rounded up four companies that are hiring retail sleuths.
17. Security Guard
There are hundreds of tutoring companies in the U.S. who work with kids of all ages to enhance their school education or prepare for college entrance exams. If you sign up with one, they’ll match you with work and you won’t need to market yourself as a tutor.
You might have left the career you had in the 40-hour-a-week workforce. But now you don’t exactly want to be glued to your couch watching puppy videos. You want to be active, you want to work, and you want to make a little money to support your fun retirement plans.
Also included in seasonal work are holiday positions during the months of October-December. On-site customer service, truck unloading, shelving of new goods, and custodial services are among the positions for which big box stores are likely to need employees. For example in 2021, we tallied more than 1 million seasonal jobs at national retailers and delivery services.
The average salary for a part-time bookkeeper is around per hour.
This could be a dream job for someone who knows the topic well and likes to retell stories about history, natural science or architecture (among many other possibilities).
18. Seasonal Worker
The hourly pay for these companies ranges from about to . Requirements often are limited to a bachelor’s degree, although exam-prep work might require a recent ACT or SAT test score, or might require you to retake the exam for verbal or math instruction.
Tour guides make an average base salary of per hour. Plus, they are often offered tips by tour participants.
Certainly, many people already have personal shoppers and don’t know it. When they contact a grocery store and provide an itemized list of goods they want, someone does the “shopping,” and the items are then delivered.
If this appeals to you, don’t overlook a special area of knowledge you’ve developed during all those years in the workplace. Know a lot about the manufacturing industry? Maybe you’re just the person to lead tours at a cheese factory.
Writing skills rarely diminish, but the requirements for writing change over time. A knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) is going to open more doors. Many jobs that use job search websites like Indeed ask for candidates to take a writing test, but many of those are simple grammar or proofreading tests.
There are plenty of ways to bring in some extra money to augment pension, social security, or other retirement funds. We’ve rounded up 18 ideas for good jobs for retirees that offer part-time opportunities, flexible hours, or both.
Just to be clear, we are talking about taking calls from customers, not making calls. A call center representative answers incoming calls from customers or potential customers and either answers questions or sends the caller to someone else who can answer. Advocates might also be asked to work with insurance companies to understand coverage and costs. Many are asked to help a client obtain assistance with financial or legal issues. The range of duties can be as varied as the patient’s needs.
From ride-sharing to food delivery to at-home businesses and freelance gigs, Americans got creative in how they earned their income over the last year. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 16% of Americans have earned income from an online gig platform at some point.
4 Things Gig Workers Should Look For in 2022
1. Side Gigs Are Becoming Permanent (For Now)
So what are some of the ongoing gig economy trends to look out for in the coming year? Here’s what we’ll be watching.
Safety issues went beyond Covid, however. Thirty-seven percent said they had often or sometimes been treated rudely while doing gig work, and 35% said they had felt unsafe.
Don’t count Generation Z (18-25) or Millennials (25-40) out though. In the study, Gen Z saw the largest increase (11%) in hourly earnings out of all the generations between 2019 and 2021.
Though the conditions have changed since then, safety issues continue to be a part of the deal in the gig workforce. More than half (51%) of the American gig workers surveyed by Pew reported being very or somewhat concerned about getting Covid while completing their jobs over the past year.
Prop 22 was largely seen as a compromise between the two sides. Rideshare companies in California are still exempt from labor laws and can keep their drivers classified as independent contractors. However, drivers are receiving new benefits which include an earnings guarantee based on local minimum wage laws, a health care subsidy for drivers who log more than 25 hours per week, and occupational accident insurance.
Need a banking service that’s built for gig workers and freelancers, helping you save for taxes and keep track of expenses? Check out Lili. (It’s free!)
2. The Employee Vs. Independent Contractor Debate Continues
Robert Bruce is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.
In addition to simply being a frequent visitor to the public stores at a time when no vaccine was available, Roberts talked about some of the craziness she encountered. “People steal stuff out of your cart. You know, you might’ve grabbed the last milk. Well, don’t look away from your cart because somebody’s going to take it out of your cart,” she told NPR.
But while the debate in California is settled for now, it rages on in other states. And much to the dismay of rideshare companies, the federal government has entered the chat.
In 2019, Gen Z comprised only 8% of the total jobs completed on Wonolo. That number jumped to 22% this past year and is expected to continue to grow as more Gen Zers enter the labor force.
The percentage of people spending more than 15 hours per week on gig work more than doubled in 2021, increasing from 12% to 27%. The share of gig workers who earned more than ,500 per month increased from around 4% in 2020 to more than 14% in 2021.
Most unsettling of all the statistics: 19% said they had experienced an unwanted sexual advance on the job. Nearly a quarter of female respondents said they had this type of advance before.
3. Some Gig Workers Are Facing Safety Issues
In late 2020, a measure known as Proposition 22 was passed by California voters. The debate centered on whether ride-share drivers could be considered employees or independent contractors while working for companies like Uber or Lyft.
Needless to say, 2022 could see major changes for gig economy workers and employers in the rideshare industry.
At the time, Instacart hadn’t supplied Roberts with any hand sanitizer or other items to provide protection from Covid. She used Listerine to clean her hands. For Roberts, the sole provider for her grandson, the early part of 2020 was an incredibly stressful time.
“In the midst of a historic labor shortage, we’re seeing a steady increase in eager workers seeking flexible opportunities to increase their earning potential. Across all generations from Baby Boomers to Gen Z, the data shows us workers are re-evaluating what they want from work,” said Monica Plaza, with online staffing company Wonolo, in a press release. “The implications for businesses are clear and present: workers want flexible work that pays a living wage.”
That said, even though workers are making more money and spending more time than ever on side gig work, many still don’t view the side hustle as a great long-term option. In the Pew Research survey, only 31% believed these jobs are a good way to build a career. In fact, 68% said the gig job is not a good career building option.
The freedom to set their own hours, be their own boss, have more work/life balance, and feeling more fulfilled in what they do has certainly driven the uptick in gig work, as well as contributed to what’s known as The Great Resignation.
4. Gig Work Isn’t Confined to One Generation
All that to say that, for a lot of gig economy workers, gig work is no longer a temporary hobby. The pandemic gave American workers a lot of time to reflect, and many are no longer content working in uninspired traditional jobs in uninspiring office settings.
The gig economy is open to all generations, and all generations are taking advantage of it.
If 2021 proved anything, it’s that the gig economy is alive and well.
If gig workers were classified as employees, rideshare companies would take on the financial burden of employer-sponsored health insurance, workers compensation for on-the-job injuries, contributions into Social Security and Unemployment Insurance, and would have to offer sick or caregiver leave. If gig workers remain classified as independent contractors — as the vast majority are — companies would not have to provide those benefits. According to Wonolo, Baby Boomers (ages 57-75) and Generation X (41-56) are spending the most time as gig economy workers on the Wonolo platform, with Gen Xers making the most money per month.
Looking ahead, the gig economy will likely continue to grow in 2022 and employers will continue to look for more ways to collaborate with gig workers.
Ready to stop worrying about money? <!–
In April of 2020, NPR interviewed Candy Roberts, an Instacart shopper. She described some of the frightening aspects of having to grocery shop during the outset of the pandemic. In late December, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced it will reconsider its 2019 employment classification decision and asked for a public briefing on the issue from unions, employers, and any other interested parties, who have until February 10, 2022 to offer input. Side gig jobs are becoming more like main gigs for many Americans. Forty-one percent of gig workers relied on their gig jobs to cover monthly expenses in 2021. That’s up from 27% in 2020, according to Dollar Sprout’s 2021 Side Hustle Report.
1. Find Someone New
Be sure to ask some critical questions. Can they reliably pay the rent? Do they smoke or drink? How do they feel about guests? Make sure you’ll be compatible as roommates. The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 2.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month. AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
2. Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company
Even if your credit score needs work first, there’s no better time than the present to start improving your score. And you’ll find that the measures you take to improve your credit are good for your finances in general. A free website called AmOne wants to help. AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances. Ready to get to work? Get the Penny Hoarder Daily Your credit score is like your financial fingerprint. Everyone’s is different — and for different reasons. That means everyone’s strategy to improve their credit score will look different… but how in the world are you supposed to know where to start?
3. Have a Safety Net
You don’t have to be married to face some of the drama that comes with a messy divorce. Whether you have a roommate who’s been casually dropping hints that you should be looking for a new roommate or they’re downright spelling it out, the prospect of that person leaving can feel like you’re about to lose everything the two of you worked so hard to maintain. Thankfully, a free website called Credit Sesame will take a look at your credit report and let you know exactly what you need to do to improve your score. Without a roommate and the rent savings that person provided, you might lose interest in paying anything more than the monthly minimum on your credit cards. But if those credit cards bear gaudy interest rates, you might not be making the best use of your dollars. Remember: Sharing a space with a roommate isn’t about being best friends, though it’s nice when your best friend happens to be a great person to split living costs with. It’s more important to live with someone you can coexist with and rely on. If you’ve just learned this the hard way, we apologize for any salt that accidentally dusted that wound. <!–
Even if you intend to stay, your landlord could annul the lease entirely if your roommate decides to unceremoniously break the lease. However, a good landlord will likely let you attempt to survive paying the lease on your own or give you time to secure rental assistance. Like dating, finding someone new can do wonders for getting you back on your feet after a roommate breaks the lease. You’d probably still have a bit of a rough patch during the transition, but looking for a roommate to sublet the apartment from your previous roommate can completely resolve the problem. Check out these tips for giving yourself a fighting chance of surviving a lease when a roommate gets cold feet and abandons the lease.
2021 was year two of the pandemic, and chances are most of us spent a lot of time at home realizing just how much stuff we have on our hands.
When you find yourself faced with clutter, there’s one good solution: try to sell it! What looks old, used or out of style to you may be a prized possession to someone else.
But entering the world of online sales can be overwhelming, to say the least. In 2021, we shared some of the best tips for selling everything from books and clothes to gift cards and photos online.
9 Ways to Make Money With Online Sales
To make it easy for you as the year comes to a close, here’s a roundup of our 2021 posts about making money from online sales after clearing out your closets and cabinets.
1. Know Where to Sell Online
Half the battle of selling something online is knowing how and where to sell it. Is your item highly visual? Does it tend to have a community that goes along with it, like vintage furniture? If you answer yes, then Instagram might be your best bet.
If you’re trying to sell goods to a wide variety of people from across the globe, sites like Amazon and eBay, which do have certain seller fees, can probably offer the largest reach.
If you’re just wanting to get rid of a few items from your garage, try a local site like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. These sites even allow for local pick-up, which may make your life easier and take two hassles away from you — you’ll get rid of the item and won’t have to do any of the heavy lifting.
We rounded up some great tips about how to sell online both globally and locally.
2. Master the Online Marketplace
There are some simple rules you should keep in mind when creating your listings. A quick summary:
Use a simple name for your item so it shows up in a search — for instance “table” instead of “dropleaf” or “grill” instead of the brand name.
Remember to always include relevant information up front — you don’t want to get bombarded with questions about something you could have put in the item description.
Know that selling something online usually requires maintenance. You’ll have to watch for messages from interested buyers.
Don’t set prices too high.
Read more in our roundup about selling used goods online.
3. Make Your Items Look Great
The easiest — and perhaps most pivotal — way to make your items stand out online is through good photography. The opposite is just as true. How many of us have watched our items go unsold and wondered whether a photo crowded with other objects in dim lighting may have been the culprit?
Read pro tips about how to take pictures of items to sell, collected from online sellers who have honed their photography practices over the years. Here’s an overview of what they say:
Find a clean background.
Prioritize natural lighting over artificial.
Stage the photograph thoughtfully, using props that work with what you’re trying to sell.
Take multiple photos to find the best shot — don’t just shoot one and call it a day.
4. Create a Thoughtful Customer Experience
If you’re running an online boutique rather than simply selling one-off items online, you may want to think about how you present your objects to buyers.
Crafting dynamic packaging and interactive experiences with every item can go a long way toward creating a repeat customer.
Read these online retail packaging tips from experts to learn how everything from confetti to free logo stickers can create brand loyalty and keep people coming back for more.
5. Offload Your Closet Items
It can feel daunting to go through your closet and pick out the pieces you’re ready to part with — are we ever really ready? Worse yet, the act of taking photos, selecting prices and waiting for someone to bite on your old clothes can be anxiety-inducing.
But there are ways to do it successfully.
Start with knowing which site to use. Are you more of a Poshmark person or a ThredUP gal? Is Tradesy the right option for you? Do you plan to upcycle clothes before putting them up for sale?
Read our piece about how to sell clothes online to figure out how to get the best buck for your clothes.
6. Overflowing Bookshelves? Time to Sell
We’ve all seen the $1 pile at a used bookstore. Perhaps you think your old books will be relegated to that status, making it almost impossible to even break even on the sale.
But if you know where to see your books online, that may not be the case.
There are Amazon and Etsy, yes, but have you ever heard of AbeBooks and Decluttr? Read our roundup of places where you can sell used books online along with great tips that will help you clear some space on those shelves.
7. Sell Your Photographs
Those casual iPhone photos you’ve collected? You can put them to good use.
If you’ve gotten compliments on your artsy Instagrams or feel you’re a budding photographer, it might be time to try to make some money off of those talents.
The question is where to sell and how each site works. For instance, would you rather earn a certain percentage of royalties or pay the site for a listing?
We collected tips to help you sell photos online and pick the option that’s right for you.
8. Get Rid of Those Old Gift Cards — For Cash!
We never thought we’d say it, but there can be such a thing as too many gift cards.
Sometimes you just don’t have the time or ability to spend them all. So why not get money back for them and let someone else have all the fun? We listed the easiest ways to sell gift cards. Turns out there are plenty of apps designated for just that.
9. Consult Nextdoor for a Second Opinion
Nextdoor can be a dumpster fire of a site, but it can also come in handy when you suspect that you’re paying too much for something or not getting paid enough for an item you’re trying to sell.
Polling your neighbors on Nextdoor — literally the people who live in close geographic proximity to you — is a good way to get a sense of the general temperature. Byt asking for some Nextdoor reviews, you just might end up saving money!
Writer Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, often writing about selling goods online through social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times.
Still, it’s always best to meet in-person or over Zoom before you formally accept an offer. Doing so lets you discuss your hourly rate, responsibilities, house rules and expected duties in more detail.
A babysitting class will teach you how to deliver compassionate care to infants and young children in fun, age-appropriate ways. Plus, it looks great on your resume.
You obviously need to love children — and have some real-life experience caring for them.
If things progress to the interview stage, prepare the night before by brainstorming potential questions. Bring a copy of your references and resume with you, even if you’ve already emailed it to the parent beforehand. Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.
You generally need to be certified in first aid and CPR before you can land a babysitting job.
When a parent first makes contact with you, be prepared to discuss basic details about yourself, like your availability, limitations and prior experience.
Babysitter Requirements: What You Need to Get Started
It also gives you one last chance to decide if you really want to work with these parents and babysit their child.
Age and Education
When creating your profile on babysitting sites, include more than the basic facts to attract parents who are looking for specific work history and personality traits that are a good match for their family, according to Fong.
Each state has its own laws covering daycare, and you’ll want to make sure you’re on the right side of them.
You can find many of these resources online with a simple Google or YouTube search. Another option is enrolling in an online class at a community college.
If you do decide to babysit children in your home, you might be classified as a daycare operator, in which case you may need a license and have other legal complications.
Depending on your location, you may find opportunities posted on Monster.com and Indeed.com. You can advertise your services for free on Craigslist and NextDoor.
The American Red Cross is one of the best places to start your babysitting certification and training search. The nonprofit organization not only offers first aid and CPR training, they also offer three different babysitting certification courses.
Make sure to mention your qualifications, availability and maximum distance you’re willing to travel for babysitting jobs.
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Certification and Training
When you’re just getting started, word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to boost your babysitting business and find new customers.
You generally want at least two solid references you can show potential clients. Families want to make sure you come highly rated and have prior child care experience.
Make sure to share other experiences or extracurricular activities that involve children, such as reading to kids at the library, volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters or tutoring younger children.
However, age can still impact the type of jobs you get.
On the flip side, adults typically earn higher rates, which can make babysitting a profitable side hustle for grown-ups, too.
Babysitting can be a great side hustle to earn quick money. But this popular child care job isn’t for everyone.
You may also want to consider getting a driver’s license if you don’t have one.
Most babysitting jobs require a minimum age, some safety certifications and key interpersonal skills.
According to the IRS, babysitters need to report their income when filing taxes.
Other Helpful Things to Have Before You Start Babysitting
You can search for local Red Cross safety courses by entering your city and selecting the type of class you want to take. You can also register for these courses online.
Creating a list of references can be challenging if this is your first professional babysitting job. Technically, you can list anyone — including family members and friends — as a reference. However, the more relevant your references are, the better it looks to prospective parents.
For example, you must be at least 11 years old to take the American Red Cross babysitting course (more on that later). Many parents and agencies look for this type of training when hiring a babysitter.
“Share information beyond, ‘I like caring for kids,’” Fong said. “[Babysitters should] include more specific details such as their years of experience, the types of responsibilities they have had, and special skills or passions that may help with the job.”
You can also post about your babysitting services on Facebook. Look for parent groups on the site along with classified and community groups in your area.
The person’s name
Their job title (or their relationship to you)
Their company and address
Their contact phone number or email address
“Taking introductory courses can help aspiring sitters learn the key skills to babysitting, like responsibility, problem-solving, decision-making and leadership,” said Connie Fong, vice president of brand at Care.com.
On the day of your babysitting shift, be prompt and don’t ask to reschedule unless it’s a true emergency. A good babysitter shows up on time. After all, first impressions go a long way — especially with this side gig.
After brief introductions are over, be confident and ask questions. Gather basic information you’ll need, like how many children they have and the shift they want you to cover.
Both offer free membership options as well as paid versions that include background checks and improved placement.
Some families look for babysitters who can drive their kids to after-school activities or doctor appointments. Obtaining your license helps you prequalify for a wider range of jobs.
It’s also a smart idea to create a resume if you don’t already have one. A good resume will showcase your certifications, training, education and prior experience watching children.
Most babysitting jobs don’t require formal education or a college degree, making them ideal gigs for teenagers, college students and other young adults.
Other good questions to ask parents:
You’ll probably receive a handbook as part of your babysitting certification course. Hold onto it. Guides like this offer valuable information you can refer back to once you start babysitting.
How Much Money Can Babysitters Make?
You can also try babysitting apps, such as Bubble, Sitter and Bambino.
These certifications usually require completing online coursework as well as passing a hands-on in-person class to master skills.
Location. You can charge more in cities with a higher cost of living. The Care.com calculator suggested rate for babysitting one child in San Francisco is $21 per hour, while in Toledo, Ohio, the going rate is $13.50 an hour.
Number of children. You can typically charge $1 or $2 more per hour, per child.
Age of sitter. Adults earn more money. So do more experienced babysitters.
Time. Late night and on-demand schedules typically result in extra money. You can also charge more to provide child care services on New Year’s Eve and other holidays.
Additional qualifications. Most parents are willing to pay more for a babysitter with CPR and safety training.
Additional responsibilities. You can charge a higher rate for going above and beyond basic care and regular babysitting duties, such as picking the kids up from school, helping prepare meals or assisting with homework.
Each reference should include:
Babysitting Taxes: How They Work
Many people start their babysitting careers at a young age by watching their own siblings or family members.
You need to be a leader and problem solver with excellent communication skills. You’ll also need to educate yourself about child care and get certified in first aid and CPR.
Curious about how to become a babysitter? Here’s everything you need to know.
You’ll need to take a written test, a driving exam, complete an application and pass a vision test to get your driver’s license.
If you’re a new babysitter in high school or college, you can send Facebook messages to friends of your parents who have small children.
Most first aid and CPR certifications last two years, so you’ll need to renew them regularly. A combined CPR/first aid certification from the Red Cross averages around while babysitting classes with the nonprofit range from to .
There’s plenty of responsibility involved with watching other people’s children, so babysitting shouldn’t be a job you enter into half-heartedly.
If you want to be a professional childcare worker or expand your babysitting career, it’s wise to learn as much as possible about child development and early education.
However, the IRS says, “A worker who performs child care services for you in his or her home generally is not your employee.”
Where Can You Find Babysitting Jobs?
If you don’t want to go it alone, there are online platforms specifically set up for connecting parents and babysitters, including Care.com and Sittercity.
But the truth is you can make money babysitting at almost any age. Babysitting jobs are accessible to younger adults and teens because they don’t require a college degree or formal education.
Your pay rate will depend on a variety of factors, including:
Brush up on topics you’re interested in, like gentle parenting skills or conflict resolution between younger siblings.
Likewise, some parents may not be comfortable handing their child over to a preteen. Each family has their own preferences, so you may need to be at least 16 or 18 to land certain babysitting jobs.
Websites like Care.com — one of the largest job posting sites for caregivers — also sets age requirements.
Babysitting Apps and Websites
So babysitting in your own home makes it clearer that you’re an independent contractor and that the parents won’t need to deal with payroll taxes.
If you earn more than ,100 per year from one client, then the IRS considers in-home caregivers to be household employees, which means your employer has tax-compliance responsibilities like payroll taxes.
While a resume or driver’s license isn’t required to become a babysitter, these assets will help you land more jobs.
How old you need to be to babysit is also pretty flexible. In all but one state (Maryland), there is no legal minimum age required to babysit.
Some states let you get your driver’s permit as early as age 14, but the average age range is 15 to 16 years old.
Parents may want to hire you right after the first phone call or email. That can be exciting, especially if it’s your first babysitting job.
How to Make Contact With Families and Land a Babysitting Job
Also ask for a contact number so you can reach parents immediately if an emergency arises during your shift.
If you don’t land the babysitting job you wanted, don’t give up. It’s normal to face rejection in the beginning. Stay positive and keep honing your skills to find the right job.
Consult a tax specialist if you’re in doubt about your status.
According to a March 2021 post, users must now be at least 18 years old to create a Care.com account and register as a caregiver.
Remember: You can always negotiate a higher pay rate with families. Still, it’s always helpful to have a starting figure in mind when you apply for any babysitting job.
If you don’t get paid more than ,100 by any one client in a year, you’ll normally be considered an independent contractor, which means you’ll need to pay the self-employment tax along with your income tax.
Do you normally get home on time or should I prepare to work later?
Are your children potty trained?
Do any of your children have special needs?
Do you need me to take care of any pets?
Am I responsible for any light cleaning or other household duties?
Are there any foods or snacks that are off-limits for your children?
When is their bedtime?
Babysitting websites and apps make it easy to find work, but there’s a catch. Most handle payment transactions through their online platform — and many take a cut of what you earn.
According to 2021 data from Sittercity — a major job posting site — the average rate for babysitters in the U.S. is about per hour.
Having a good set of references improves your chances of snagging the babysitting job you want.
You can also seek advice from other babysitters, or observe friends and family with small children.
Other community organizations also offer babysitting and CPR training, including local hospitals, YMCAs, churches and community centers.
An interested parent just reached out to you — that’s great!
Provide great service to friends, family and neighbors, then ask them to refer you to their network of parents. It’s one of the easiest ways to land more babysitting jobs. For example, child care laws in Illinois specify that you need a license from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) if you care for more than three children (your own are included if they’re under 12 years old). So if you live in Illinois and want to avoid the need for a daycare license, simply limit your service to watching three or fewer kids.
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The Salem, Oregon, resident made thousands of dollars in June 2020 delivering food for Uber Eats, an app for gig work that proved especially popular during the pandemic.
The very premise of Lyon’s challenge is a goal. It gave him something to focus on and the motivation he needed to make it through grueling 12-hour days.
What you earn from Uber Eats is heavily determined by your market — the city or metropolitan area you deliver in.
“Make sure you look approachable,” Lyon said.
Uber Eats Tips and Tricks From a Driver Who Made $8,357 in One Month
Of the hundreds of orders Lyon completed in June, he got some pretty weird requests from customers. One person asked if he could deliver a pack of cigarettes along with the food order. Lyon told the guy that he didn’t have the money on him to buy the cigarettes on his own, thinking it would end there.
Results may vary in your market. The key is to adapt to your locale. “My days were long,” he said. “I would do all that stuff to kind of break it up and have fun.”
1. Set Goals. Even Tiny Ones Help
Lyon vowed not to fall into that temptation. He carried only in cash, and that was strictly for gas. If he had downtime, he’d listen to podcasts or practice Spanish — while positioning himself for his next order.
Many factors went into his paycheck but none more than his sheer determination. He drove 12 hours — the maximum Uber Eats allows — for 30 days without a single day off.
“When you’re starting, accept every single order and then find your own trends in your own area,” he said.
Lyon drove primarily in Salem, Oregon. If you were to do the same challenge in a different city, you may make more or less than he did. A perfect example of this played out over TikTok. About halfway through June, another Uber Eats driver posed a challenge to Lyon: Who could make more money in a day?
A bigger city doesn’t always equate to better profits though, Lyon noted. Heavy traffic is likelier and could slow you down. You may have to pay to park to make the delivery.
Some Uber Eats drivers pass on smaller orders in hopes to land larger ones. But that can backfire for inexperienced drivers. Lyon said he put that strategy to the test and found, on average, he was making an order no matter how selective he was being.
2. Take a Great Profile Pic
And to cut down on costs, his own food was homemade.
“I knew I needed to do at least 20 trips to get around that 0-a-day mark,” he said. “So that was always my goal. Anything after that was icing on the cake.”
When the paychecks from your side hustle start rolling in, it’s easy to think all that money is profit. However, quite a bit of it actually goes toward expenses and taxes. It’s one of the biggest pains of being a 1099 worker.
Before we get started, let’s be clear: What Lyon earned is not typical. Far from it.
Uber Eats gives drivers a referral code that they can share with other people to get them to start delivering, too. Once the new driver completes a certain amount of deliveries, the recruiter earns money. But the amount fluctuates depending on the market. Sometimes it’s 0 per 50 trips. Other times, it’s per 50 trips.
3. Manage Expectations Based on Your Market
Referral bonuses are “definitely not worth the time,” according to Lyon.
Sam Lyon pushed his earning potential in the gig economy to its limits.
And if you’re keeping track of expenses like gas and car depreciation, you can factor that into the amount you’re withholding for Uncle Sam. Lyon’s system was pretty simple. He had a fixed amount for gas, a day. That totaled 9. He had one oil change (), and also factored in his car’s depreciation (0) based on the miles he drove.
“If I was delivering to a suburb, my downtime would be spent driving the extra mile or two to be parked next to a McDonalds, an Applebees, a Red Robin.”
Downtime between orders trips up many new delivery drivers. You’re delivering food all day, after all. You might be tempted to go through the drive-thru for yourself. But idle spending can eat into your earnings.
Need a banking service that’s built for freelancers, helping you save for taxes and keep track of your expenses? Check out Lili. (It’s free!)
4. Learn From the Trends in Your Area
And that’s coming from someone who had hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok.
“In pending invites, I would make ,320,” Lyon said as he read off of the stats in his driver profile. “In successful invites, I made “You know what? Why not? I’ll do it. I picked up the money and got him the cigarettes. When I got back, he paid me the change as well. And I made a quick [tip],” he said.
“You can stop by here. I’ll put the money downstairs and you can come grab it,” the customer responded.
“See what kind of restaurants you like and which ones you want to avoid, he said”
Lyon is a big proponent of the quantity-over-quality approach to accepting orders.
The first picture you choose is the one you’re stuck with. Uber policy allows drivers to change their picture only if something happens that alters their appearance since the original photo. In that situation, you’d have to contact customer support.
He challenged himself to make as much money as possible in that one month. To do so, he drove 12 hours a day for 30 days straight.
5. Occupy Your Downtime
Lyon went for it. Source: thepennyhoarder.com
His specific challenge may not be replicable (or even advisable) in every circumstance. But if you’re a current or aspiring delivery-app gig worker, you can apply Lyon’s tips for Uber Eats drivers to maximize your own profits.
“Depending on what city you’re in, there are a lot of moped Uber drivers, there are a lot of bike Uber drivers. You can’t really compete [in a car] in those urban, downtown areas,” he said. Adam Hardy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.
6. Don’t Waste Time With Referral Bonuses
“Suburbs are just front porch and then you’re gone.”
In an interview with The Penny Hoarder, Lyon broke down his earnings and what he learned from his 30-day challenge. He also offered some Uber Eats driver tips that other gig workers can use.
“I think goal setting was huge for my success,” Lyon said. “Setting markers in what you want to achieve are extremely important.”
It breaks down like this: His total earnings were ,357. His expenses account for ,148, and he set aside an estimated 30% of the difference for taxes, about ,100. That brought his actual profits to roughly ,100.
“I would go home and spend 30 minutes to an hour preparing food and eating before going back on the road,” he said. “I did not have any fast food during that 30 days.”
7. Indulge Odd Requests. They Could Lead to Big Tips
Before you start your gig, have a professional or financial goal in mind. That can keep you on track — and keep you from burning out.
“I would definitely keep in mind you will have to pay those taxes later. It’s not automatically coming out of what you earned,” Lyon said. “Personally, I set aside 30% of what I make. That way, I have a little bit of wiggle room.”
“It started off as a beautiful day. The birds were chirping. The sun was shining,” Lyon said in a video. “The perfect day for two gladiators to enter the arena.”
When you’re making your Uber Eats driver profile, don’t blast through it thinking you can go back and change it later — especially the photo step.
Keep your side hustle in check. Here’s how to create an exit plan so that you can enter the gig economy, meet your goals and get out.
Setting aside 30% might seem steep, but it’s usually an overestimate. Lyon, like most taxpayers, would rather have a refund come tax time than a hefty tax bill.
8. Track Your Expenses
Ready to stop worrying about money?
In the end, Lyon made ,357 and documented his journey on the video-sharing site TikTok, where he goes by the moniker SabbiLyon. Each day, he recorded a short video to log his progress — amassing more than 200,000 followers and millions of views along the way. Lyon entertained just about every odd request he got. They usually led to big tips.
Once you get a sense of those trends, you can then experiment to try to maximize your pay.
In the time it would take him to land a big order, he says he could have been delivering three smaller orders.
After a week or so of driving, he was able to see how much money was possible to make given his parameters. So he aimed for a specific target: ,000 by the end of June.To reach that, he would try to make at least 20 deliveries a day. He didn’t worry much about the pay of each delivery because they ended up averaging about an order. <!–
“Whether we like it or not, people dictate how much they tip and how they treat other people by how presentable they look,” Lyon said. “Have a good, high-quality profile picture.” Your customers don’t have much information about you as a driver. They get a first name, maybe a last initial, the make and model of your car and a tiny, circular picture of your (hopefully) smiling face. “Not only that — that’s three orders. That’s three different tips, too,” he said.
The app shows you potential earnings based on the amount you would have earned if all the people you invited completed their first 50 trips.
Jackson Hewitt, a major tax-preparation franchise, plans to fill 25,000 jobs ahead of the 2022 tax filing season. Photo courtesy of Jackson Hewitt
Tax Day may seem a long way off, but one of the nation’s largest tax-preparation franchises is already hiring for the 2022 filing season.
Jackson Hewitt announced plans to hire up to 25,000 employees at nearly 6,000 locations nationwide in preparation for tax time.
That’s 3,000 more seasonal positions than last year.
To make headway on its ambitious recruitment goal, the company is holding two different week-long hiring events in November and December. These public job fairs run from Nov. 8-14 and from Dec. 6-12.
You can walk into any participating Jackson Hewitt location for more information about seasonal openings, an on-the-spot interview and — if all goes well — a job offer.
“We’re searching for people across the nation in an array of positions who want to help their neighbors in their own communities,” Greg Macfarlane, CEO and president of Jackson Hewitt Tax Services, said in a press release.
Seasonal Tax Jobs at Jackson Hewitt
You don’t need to be a tax pro or have years of experience to apply.
The hiring initiative includes thousands of part- and full-time openings in the following roles:
Customer service agents.
Client support associates greet customers, verify and enter W-2 information into a database and field calls about basic tax and appointment information.
To qualify, you should have a high school diploma or GED and the ability to carry up to 55 pounds. Previous customer service or sales experience is a plus. Your state may also require a certification to handle confidential tax information.
Tax preparers conduct in-person and phone interviews with customers to help them fill out and file their tax forms. They reference company materials and government regulations to answer complex tax questions.
Preparer positions are more selective than client support roles. Basic qualifications include a high school diploma, some related experience in retail, sales or customer support, and a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) issued by the IRS.
Call center and tax preparation experience and/or an Enrolled Agent certification are preferred.
You can apply for seasonal tax jobs using Jackson Hewitt’s online career board or through your local franchise.
Job listings don’t include starting pay, and wages vary by location and position.
But according to self-reported salary information on Glassdoor, seasonal wages typically pay between $11 and $13 an hour.
Mandatory training is paid. However, additional credentials or tax education training may be required to qualify, and not all locations will cover those expenses.
Earn Tax Career Credentials at Jackson Hewitt
Jackson Hewitt offers a variety of entry-level income tax courses to help people interested in starting a career as a tax preparer.
The Jackson Hewitt Fundamentals of Tax Preparation Course teaches students tax fundamentals, including mandatory tax filing information, IRS and state requirements, tax credits, deductions and more.
Courses are available in-person or virtually.
According to the company’s press release, course graduates will receive a certificate of completion and may earn IRS continuing education credit as well.
Jackson Hewitt also offers intermediate and advanced courses for enrolled agents and experienced tax preparers.
Courses are open to current employees and the general public. Prices vary by course and format.
Completing a course may help your application but does not guarantee you a job in the current hiring push.
How to Prepare for an On-the-Spot Hiring Event
Walking into a store alongside dozens of other candidates can be daunting.
We’ve compiled tips from hiring event recruiters to help you feel confident.
Check if you need to apply online. Each on-site hiring event is unique. Some may have application stations for you to apply to a position on-site. Some may not. Always double check beforehand. And having an extra resume on-hand never hurts.
Dress business casual. Business casual is a safe way to go for most entry-level positions. If you’re unsure, drop by the store before the day of the event and scout out what employees are wearing. Then match your outfit to the job you want.
Be ready to interview. During an event, it’s common for a hiring manager to ask a few screener questions, and if all goes well, interview you on-the-spot. Come prepared to answer behavioral-based questions, which try to gauge how you react under certain circumstances.
For additional tips, read our guide to preparing for an in-store hiring event. Then go get yourself a new gig.
Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.
UPS is looking to hire 60,000 seasonal workers this week during a nationwide hiring event called Brown Friday, taking place Nov. 4-6.
The positions are entry-level, though driving-related jobs have additional requirements.
Brown Friday will mostly take place online, with 19 virtual information session slots available during the three-day hiring blitz.
The pay for seasonal positions varies depending on where you work and your shift. We took a quick peek at open roles across the country, and found that most warehouse worker positions usually pay between and an hour.
Here are some other key things to know: Source: thepennyhoarder.com
Package handlers and warehouse workers
Personal vehicle drivers
Tractor trailer drivers
You can register for a virtual hiring event here.
If your seasonal gig turns into a permanent job — even a part-time one — you’ll be eligible for health care and retirement benefits, too.
Too busy to make it to a Brown Friday event? You can always apply for seasonal jobs any time at www.jobs-ups.com.
Events last one hour. Available times range from noon to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Jobseekers can attend either a virtual information session or an in-person event in select cities.
All of these roles can be physically demanding, so you must be able to lift, carry and/or slide between 35 and 75 pounds.
The information sessions are all the same, so you only need to sign up for one.
The webinar is also slated to explain the application process in detail.
How to Land a Job at the UPS Virtual Job Fair
UPS expects to hire 60,000 seasonal workers this week during their nationwide hiring event called Brown Friday. Photo courtesy of UPS
The delivery giant’s mass recruitment drive is part of a broader effort, announced last month, to hire 100,000 seasonal workers to support its yearly holiday shipping rush.
The virtual job fair is aimed at helping potential applicants learn more about the company. A Q&A is scheduled to answer common questions like when work will begin and how long seasonal jobs typically last.
It’s stressful for company officials — but it’s great news if you’re looking for a seasonal job. Rachel Christian is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.
Certain positions may get a job offer in 30 minutes or less.
Many positions won’t require an interview but driving positions do require a brief phone interview.
Seasonal jobs can last until Jan. 15, depending on need.
Pay varies by position and location.
Warehouse workers and driver helper positions can select their start date after successfully completing an online application.
Companies are feeling the crunch of supply chain issues, labor shortages and high consumer demand this holiday season.
Seasonal employees can also participate in UPS’s Earn and Learn program, which, according to the company, can result in up to ,300 toward college expenses for just three months of work. Get the Penny Hoarder Daily <!–
After you register, you’ll receive an email with a Zoom link to access the session. UPS is also hosting more than 400 virtual hiring fairs in specific cities across the country — from Atlanta, Georgia to Albuquerque, New Mexico. You can find a list of location-specific information sessions on the UPS events page. According to the company’s website, Brown Friday is targeted at hiring seasonal workers for these roles:
Laurie Elmer photographs dogs and their owners during a calendar photo shoot for Dog Moms of Tampa Bay in October 2021. Elmer is a co-owner of Urban Dog Studio, which specializes in pet photography. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder
On average, Urban Dog Studio’s clients spend between ,500 to ,000 for a photo session and take-home photographs. Elmer also sells wall art starting at 0.
Ready to go into the pet photography business yet? Here’s everything you’ll need to know about photographing dogs, cats, lemurs and even … alligators.
If you have a pet, then your smartphone probably has hundreds of snapshots of your furry friend from different angles, in natural light or playing with toys.
Ready to stop worrying about money? Elmer has been photographing animals professionally for more than 15 years. But it wasn’t until 2019 that she left her full-time corporate job to work in pet photography as a small business owner.
Getting Started in Pet Photography: The Right Camera Gear
Elmer has learned a few things along the way and has some advice for people starting out in pet photography.
The rest is history. Elmer started receiving routine editorial work from magazines like Dog Fancy and cemented her freelance pet photography career.
A DSLR camera. Elmer cautions against buying the highest-priced camera on the market, but also warns that a smartphone camera app or basic digital point-and-shoot camera are not viable options for a pet photography business. Getting a better camera and learning to really work with camera settings can have a big impact.
A prime lens. A good lens is a must because it can outlast your camera. Elmer says she has used certain lenses for 10 to 15 years, long after her camera may have faded away. If you choose one piece of gear to invest in, make it your lens, she says.
A reflector. Light is an important part of any photographer’s art. Knowing how to harness natural light when shooting outdoors and understanding when to find more light can delineate between a good photograph and a great one. A reflector bounces light onto the subject and creates a controlled glow for your pet portraits.
Back-up equipment. Elmer recommends having a back-up camera and lens set. This isn’t something you necessarily have to buy. Borrowing from a friend before your photo session with Fifi will suffice until you earn enough revenue to purchase a second pair of gear.
Pet Photography Tips
For some simple tips to help you get started in pet photography, we talked with an expert from Urban Dog Studio, a Pinellas Park, Florida, animal photography business.
One of the lessons Elmer has learned over the years is that a pet photography booking takes far more time than just the photo session. She spends about 10 hours per client on planning, talking, shooting and editing. Understanding that time equation helps her find the best rate. Writer Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, often writing about selling goods online through social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times. Work from former contributor Steve Gillman was used in this report.
Understand animal behavior. Elmer recommends reading some books on animal behavior or taking courses on training dogs to really internalize animal body language. It’s a skill to know when a dog is stressed or overly excited or even aggressive, she says. A lens can be intimidating to a dog, and knowing when to take a break or try a different strategy is part of the job.
Have an assistant if you can. Having somebody on hand who understands pets and understands this pet in particular makes a pet photographer’s life much easier. An assistant can help wrangle the pet, keep the animal in position or prompt it to make an expression worth capturing.
Spend time with the pets — and their families — in advance. Elmer knows prospective pet photographers who want to get in the business to spend time with animals. They’re introverted and prefer as much time away from people as possible. But half of being an animal photographer is dealing with humans. And part of the role is celebrating the “bond that a pet has with its owner,” Elmer says. That’s why she holds pre-session consultations with each of her clients to get a better sense of the animal’s dynamic, how it fits in the family and what sort of activities it enjoys.
Learn how to deal with different animals. While Elmer’s business is named Urban Dog Studio, she photographs more than just dogs. In the last year alone, her team has worked with cats, dogs, rabbits, an alligator, a tortoise, a lemur and a squirrel, among others. A home shoot might be the best option for a cat if you want a personality-packed photograph. For wilder animals, Elmer says they need to come with a handler because something can go wrong or the animals may require special treatment.
Decide where you want to shoot. There’s a place for every kind of photographer — people who shoot outside, in a studio or in a client’s home. If you’re adventurous, you can do all three. But when starting out, simply shooting outdoors is usually sufficient as long as you know how to use light. Be wary of animals getting exhausted when the weather is hot or inclement outside.
How Much Can You Make As a Pet Photographer?
When Elmer found her way in pet photography, it was on a bit of a lark.
Here are some of the ongoing expenses Holden says you’ll have to plan for:
A lot of work that goes into framing a pet portrait. And while having creative photography skills is important, understanding the animal in front of the lens is perhaps more so.
The pandemic made things difficult, but she will eventually be on track to surpass her corporate salary with the revenue from Urban Dog Studio. Source: thepennyhoarder.com
Elmer also knows that shoots can’t happen once a day. She manages her photo shoots so she doesn’t find herself working a more-than-40-hour week.
But have you ever wondered whether your pet photography hobby could turn into a paying gig?
Here’s Elmer’s advice for pet photographers about dealing with animals.
Pet Photography Expenses To Plan For
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Repairs and replacement of equipment
Business registration renewals
City occupational taxes
Sales tax license fees
A professional accountant
Fees for professional organizations
Website hosting fees
But business models and rates can vary. Sarasota, Florida, Dog Street Photography owner and photographer Kim Longstreet charges a session fee of 5, which includes up to two hours of photo time. Clients get a few photo prints, plus up to 50 more in a “password protected online viewing gallery,” which remains active for three weeks. Longstreet sells additional professional prints starting at each, and offers packages starting at 5.
How to Build Success for Your Pet Photography Business
These costs can add up to thousands of dollars annually. It’s important to remember that only a portion of what you charge will make it to the bottom line — something to keep in mind when pricing your services.
Owner Laurie Elmer makes one thing clear: you don’t need the most expensive camera gear to get off the ground. When it comes to taking photos, here’s what you’ll need to get started.
Her background was in landscape and conservation photography, but she offered to help her husband with photos when he opened a new veterinary practice. Those photographs were eventually hung in the lobby, leading to requests from new clients.
Advice From a Pet Photography Pro
Of course, the time involved never ends with the last click of the shutter.
Learn about light. Light is one of the most important aspects of photography. Understanding how to use and harness light, whether in indoor or outdoor environments, can make or break a photograph
Learn about animals. Even if you’re already a photographer, you may need additional training and preparation to work with animals. Holden suggests that you take thousands of photos and constantly look at how you can improve them. Start with your own pets, experimenting with various backgrounds. She also suggests joining a photography club or online forum where you can share your work and get some unbiased feedback and advice.
Find the right fit for you. Working for a company is almost always easier than working for yourself. That means it’s up to you to decide whether running your own business is what you really want. Elmer suggests considering what you want your life to look like in two to three years. Is there a way your business can enhance that or fit into that?
Be flexible. You may find that you love doing things you thought you hated or hate doing things you thought you loved. It’s important to have a plan for your business and also be willing to change that plan as things come up.
Know what you’re in for. Finally, remember that photographing animals is a small part of the job. Much of that time will be spent running administrative work for the business or dealing with clients or managing overhead expenses. So be sure that working with animals and photographing pets is what you really love. If it is, you’re guaranteed a career full of rewards — at least in the form of licks and pets.
There’s a reason why: Looking at photos of dogs actually makes people feel happier, more energized and relaxed. And that’s just when they look at images of other people’s dogs. Imagine how wonderful your new clients will feel when they look at their own pet portraits on the wall or add a four-legged family member to their holiday family portraits. <!–
Pet photographers have to take on various equipment and business expenses to keep things running. Photographer Shannon Holden says she had to raise her fees once she discovered that, after expenses and accounting for all the time she spent on her photos, she was making less than per hour.