For the Kids
By Patrick John
Q97 SnapshotJuly 2015
By Patrick John
I have a co-worker whose son planted a large quantity of heirloom tomatoes from seed, then spent months watering, tending, re-potting and selling the plants. I bought two plants for $8, so I know he made a slam dunk with this idea. As a kid, I remember opening a lemonade stand with my siblings, and I’m fairly certain we profited just enough to buy water balloons and baseball cards. It was a start, but the big money came at age 12 with a newspaper route. It was EVERY afternoon plus Sunday mornings, but it supplied spending dough for the ice cream truck, movies and the music store at the mall.
This got my mind turning on ideas for kids to make some spending money this summer or start saving for down the road. If you have an enterprising youngster or two, depending on their age and motivation, it might be a good time to assist your mini-mogul in starting their own business. This is good for YOUR wallet too, teaches a work ethic, and is a lesson in earning, saving and spending. This one’s for the kids!
Obviously, you’ll have to help make sure any plan is age appropriate and most of all, safe for your child, but here are some old school and creative ideas for kids of all ages.
Classic ideas include babysitting, pet-sitting, house-sitting, lawn mowing/yard work, grocery shopping, errand running or house cleaning. How about washing cars, car detailing, window washing, fence painting, gutter cleaning or tutoring over the summer vacation? Dog walking, poop scooping, collecting recycling, watering plants by hand, collecting golf balls or weeding yards are other chores.
Other kids may be looking for something more creative, like managing a vending machine (hint: start with something like a gumball/candy machine), garbage/green waste/recycle bin curb service on pickup day, holding or helping others plan a garage sale, reselling household items online, making jewelry, selling their crafts online or face painting at community events.
Tech-savvy kids can digitize someone’s entire collection of old photos onto CD/DVD or thumb drive, convert old movies, or teach someone else how to use a computer, email, social media or build a website.
Summer activities also mean outdoor gear like boats, RVs, ATVs, tents and camping gear need to be cleaned thoroughly before being put away. Bilingual teens could tutor someone studying or learning another language. Kids who are great at sports may be able to coach or be a coach’s assistant.
Winter months are good for weather-specific chores like shoveling snow, collecting mail for those unable to trek to the mailbox, and selling gathered mistletoe, kindling or firewood.
A few tips – if you’re providing the startup capital, make sure you have an agreement or payment schedule in place requiring you be paid back. Part of setting up a new business is marketing, so helping with flyers or coupons may be in order. Be honest about profits expected and help your kids set a fair and competitive price for services.
Operating their own enterprise is a great way to show your kids that the road to success really is paved with hard work. Good luck!