According to a May 6, 2011 press release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the teen unemployment rate in the U.S. is 24 percent. Summer jobs that many teens have become accustomed to taking are dwindling or becoming nonexistent. So, what can we do to get our teens working this summer? Instead of helping your teen find a summer job, help them create one.
1) Tutoring – If your teen is skilled in academics, they can offer their knowledge to grade school, middle school, or high school kids during their three month hiatus. Posting flyers, placing ads on Craigslist, and offering referral discounts will help spread the word about their tutoring business. And if your teen really likes tutoring, it doesn’t have to end just because summer does. He can continue to offer his tutoring services — and make money — year round.
2) Crafting business – Just ask Maddie Bradshaw if a teen can start, nurture, and grow a successful crafted goods business. Maddie started the M3 Girl Designs and Snap Cap jewelry business when she was just 10 years old. Selling 50,000 units a month and embarking on a second jewelry line, Spark of Life, Maddie’s a model teenpreneur. Websites such as Meylah and Etsy let you sell to the world instead of only around the neighborhood.
3) Pet care - Does your teen have a soft spot for animals? Is she especially responsible and caring towards the family pet? A pet care business can include a menu of services such as pet sitting, pet walking, pet training, and pet grooming.
4) Lawn care – A lawn care business is great because it offers teen entrepreneurs growth potential. They can start off small, offering only lawn cutting services. Once they land a few clients, they can add other services such as trimming hedges, weeding, and applying mulch. To expand further, teenpreneurs can offer specialized lawn maintenance services like fertilization and insect prevention. In the fall, busy homeowners might welcome help with raking their leaves, and winter can bring snow shoveling opportunities.
5) Web services - Does your teen spend long hours on the computer? If so, then encourage him to do something useful with his passion for technology. For instance, he could offer services such as web or graphic design, or even help other businesses with social media marketing.
6) Personal assistant services – Personal assistants help with basic chores and errands like grocery shopping, post office treks, dry cleaning trips, and a host of other things. Really, the sky’s the limit in terms of the number of things your teen entrepreneur can do as someone who gets paid just to help out.
7) Photography service - Summer is loaded with photography opportunities. High school graduation parties, reunions, baby showers, and wedding showers are just a few occasions where families want to capture memories. A few camera lessons can get your teen started (just make sure he keeps the prices down to reflect his experience level).
8) Car wash business - Everyone wants a clean car, especially in the summer. Like a lawn care business, a car wash business lends itself to expansion. Besides exterior washing, your teen can offer interior cleaning and car detailing. Check out the International Carwash Association (yes, it’s a real organization) for more information on how to start up a car wash business.
9) Care giving – Whether it’s a sitter for a baby or the elderly, caregivers are in high demand these days. Check out Care.com, where teens aged 17 and up can locally advertise their child care, special needs, housekeeping, or senior care services.
10) Moving service – More people move during the summer months than any time of the year. Even people that plan to move their belongings on their own without the assistance of a commercial moving company could use some help. Considering that commercial or local movers charge between $60 and $90 per hour, cash-strapped people may jump at the chance for help with moving their belongings or packing and unpacking boxes at a lower cost.
For additional teen business ideas, refer to the SBA Teen Business Link.