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How to Make Money as a 16-Year-Old

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Turning 16 years old is a magical age for several reasons. In many states, you can either obtain a learner’s permit or driver’s license. And it’s also the age when many teens start looking for part-time jobs or other ways to make money.

But when many 16-year-old teens start looking for work, they don’t always know where to start. Looking for a job or starting a business can be very confusing if you’ve never done it before.

Good news: There’s plenty of opportunity for 16-year-old teens who are interested in working hard and earning some money. You just need to know where to look to find the best jobs.

Before we dive into the opportunities, it’s important to point out that the federal government does not permit those under 18 to work certain jobs that are considered hazardous. Also, some states require work permits for those under 18. Be sure to check with your state to see what’s required before you start applying for jobs or offering your services as a business owner.

The following are 20 opportunities on how to make money as a 16-year-old. Some of these are going to be a better fit than others. It just depends on your unique situation, personal preferences, and other things.

1. Search the Web, Play Games, and Watch Videos

Did you know it’s possible to earn money by doing many ordinary online activities – things you may already be doing? It’s true. Swagbucks is a site where you may be able to earn money for these things.

There are several ways to make money with Swagbucks. Responding to surveys is one option. Many companies want to know how to do a better job of marketing their products to teens. To help them understand what teens are looking for, they are willing to pay participants to take surveys.

Playing games, watching videos, and surfing the internet are other ways to make money on the platform. Swagbucks also has a referral program. If you get a friend or family member to start using Swagbucks, they pay you for the referral.

With Swagbucks, you earn points for various activities you do on the site. Points can be redeemed either for cash through PayPal or for gift cards to popular shopping destinations like Walmart and Amazon.

Check out Swagbucks to see how it’s possible to earn money online.

2. Take Surveys

Swagbucks is a great site to earn money from taking surveys, but it’s not the only game in town. Here are two more great options to consider:

Survey Junkie is one of the most popular survey sites there is. The site matches you with surveys it thinks are a good fit. Points earned from taking surveys can either be redeemed for cash via PayPal or for gift cards that can be used at popular shopping destinations like Target and Amazon.

American Consumer Opinion is another popular survey site. When you join, the site asks you a series of questions to learn as much as it can about you. It then presents you with surveys that it thinks will be a good fit for you. Points earned can be redeemed for cash via PayPal or Hyperwallet.

Sign up for Survey Junkie to start taking surveys in your spare time.

Sign up for American Consumer Opinion for another great survey option.

3. Flip Things on eBay

Flipping things on eBay that you source in your community is one of my favorite ways to make money when you are 16 years old. One of the reasons I like this opportunity so much is because it’s something that has the potential to grow into a full-time business. Many people, in fact, earn their livings by flipping things.

The idea behind flipping is very simple. You source products in your community that people are selling that you can list on eBay and sell for profit. Great bargains can be found all the time if you know what to look for.

How do you find things to flip?

Thanks to modern technology, you can shop for things to flip right from home. You can find things on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, LetGo, and other sites where people list things for sale. You can also source products from flea markets, yard sales, auctions, and other places.

The idea with flipping products is to find products that you can sell for a high profit margin. Instead of buying something for $20 that you can resell for $50, you can make more money with less effort by buying something for $100 that you can resell for $200-$500.

If this is an opportunity you would like to learn more about, Flipper University is an online course that teaches you everything you need to know about the flipping business. The creators of the course, Rob and Melissa Stephenson, are full-time flippers. It’s their primary source of income.

Check out Flipper University to see how it’s possible to make money flipping things you buy locally and sell on eBay.

4. Start a YouTube Channel

Starting a YouTube channel is another way that you may be able to make money. Starting a YouTube channel is very easy, and you don’t need any special equipment to do it. Most phones these days come with high-quality video cameras.

Successful YouTube channels are almost always about a certain topic instead of being random collections of video topics. For example, a few YouTube channels that I enjoy watching are channels on music, history, technology, and various health topics.

If you are considering starting a YouTube channel to make money, it’s important to point out that it can take a long time to grow a new channel and attract viewers and subscribers. Most channels don’t take off right away. Also, YouTube now has certain requirements that must be met before a channel can be monetized.

It’s also important to mention that a YouTube channel may not make much money unless it has millions of views a month. Nevertheless, if you have a good idea for a channel and you don’t mind being in front of a camera, this may be an option to consider as long as you realize that it’s a long game and it’s not a quick way to earn money.

5. Mow Lawns

Mowing lawns is one of the most popular jobs for 16-year-olds there is. Most people hate mowing their lawns. After working hard all week at their jobs, they usually want to take it easy or do something fun on their days off. That’s why many people hire teens to mow their lawns for them.

To mow lawns for people, you should have your own mower and a way to transport it to and from people’s homes. If this isn’t possible, you may be able in some cases to strike a deal where you use homeowners’ mowers.

In addition to mowing lawns, you may be able to offer other lawn care services including landscaping, trimming bushes, watering, fertilizing, and other things.

6. Do Odd Jobs

Doing odd jobs in your community is another possible way to earn money at 16. Many people need things done around the house that they either don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. You could ask people in your neighborhood to see if they have any work for you. And if they don’t, ask for a referral.

A few odd job ideas include:

Cleaning Windows

Cleaning windows isn’t a difficult job, but it is time-consuming. For safety reasons, it’s best to only wash the windows of single-story homes. Safety first!

Pressure Washing Sidewalks, Etc.

Pressure washing sidewalks, concrete driveways, retaining walls, and other things almost doesn’t feel like work – at least it doesn’t to me. Watching the grime being stripped away from something can be very satisfying.

While it’s possible a homeowner may have a pressure washer, ideally you will need your own portable unit. You will also have to make sure it’s okay to connect your pressure washer to the homeowner’s outdoor water spigot.

Sealing Driveways

Driveways need to be periodically sealed to repair damage and to protect them from the weather. A newly sealed driveway can improve a home’s curb appeal and increase the driveway’s longevity.

Waterproofing Wooden Decks

Wooden decks need to be periodically waterproofed to prevent them from being damaged by the weather. After a deck is cleaned, the sealant can then be applied. An additional coat can be applied after the first coat dries for added protection.

Painting Walls, Fences, Etc.

Many people have things around their homes that need painting. It could be a retaining wall, fence, or something else.

Cleaning Garages

Many people’s garages aren’t used for storing vehicles. They are often used for the long-term storage of other things. Many garages could use a good cleaning where all of the contents are removed, the garage is cleaned, and the contents are then neatly put back inside.

Cleaning Stables, Pet Cages, Fish Tanks

It’s not a fun job, but it has to be done. Many people need someone to clean up after their pets. You may be able to clean stables, pet cages, fish tanks, dog beds, and other things.

7. Clean Vehicles

Cleaning vehicles is another option to consider for teens. Washing, waxing, and cleaning the interiors of vehicles is a tedious job, and many people will gladly pay a teen to do it for them.

There are several options for cleaning vehicles to consider. First, you could only offer to wash vehicles. You could also offer to wax them. Finally, you could also clean the interiors. You could do any combination of services for your clients.

Before you offer to clean vehicles, definitely take the time to check and see what your competition is charging. You don’t want to overcharge and miss out on potential business. At the same time, you don’t want to undercharge and miss out on potential earnings.

In addition to cleaning people’s cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs, you may also want to consider cleaning other types of vehicles, too. Many people need someone to wash and wax their boats, for example. Campers and RVs are another possibility. Since campers and RVs are large, they will take much longer to clean than cars, and the job should be worth more money than other cleaning jobs.

8. Clean Houses

Cleaning houses is another possibility for teens to earn money. Like cleaning vehicles, many people don’t have the time to clean their homes after putting in long hours at their jobs. Some people just don’t like cleaning – it’s not a fun job.

It can take several hours to clean a home, depending on the size and number of rooms. You may also have to invest in your own cleaning supplies, vacuum cleaner, and other equipment.

A possible add-on service to offer is to shampoo people’s carpets. To do this, you will either have to rent or buy a carpet cleaning machine.

9. Pet Sit

Many people need someone to watch their dogs, cats, or other pets while they are away for a few hours or days. To pet sit, you do need to have a good place to keep animals. You will also need to have plenty of food and water for them, and you will also have to spend some time with them. Also, be prepared to clean up after them in case they make a mess of some kind.

10. Walk Dogs

This is something that you could combine with pet sitting. Many people need to have their dogs walked during the days or evenings when they are at work. This could potentially be a steady income stream if you arrange to walk someone’s dog every day at a certain time. And, of course, the more dogs you walk, the more money you can make.

A negative thing about walking dogs to consider is that you will have to walk them regardless of the weather. Dogs still need to be walked whether it is raining, snowing, or warm and sunny.

11. Tutor Students

Many students need help with certain subjects. If you are really good at math, for example, you could potentially earn money by helping others who are struggling with the subject.

Most tutors charge by the hour. You could meet at your school (with permission, of course), at your home, or at the student’s home. Another place you may be able to meet for a tutoring session is your local public library.

12. Get a Part-Time Job

Perhaps the most common thing for teens to earn money is to get a part-time job. And unless you live in a very rural location, there are plenty of opportunities to explore. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Movie Theater Cashier / Clerk

Working at a movie theater is a great opportunity. There are several things you could end up doing including selling tickets and refreshments, cleaning theaters after movies, and operating projectors and other equipment.

Grocery Store Work

Working at a grocery store is a popular job to consider. Things you could do at a grocery store include working as a cashier, stocking shelves, sweeping and mopping floors, and unloading things from trucks.

Restaurant Work

Working at a restaurant is another common opportunity for teens. It could either be at a fast-food restaurant or somewhere else. As a restaurant employee, you could work as a cashier, wait tables, cook food, wash dishes, and clean tables.

Retail Work

Stores need people all the time to stock shelves, be cashiers, and assist customers. Many retail businesses pick up during the summer months when teens are out of school.

Landscaping Work

Many landscaping companies need teens to help out with a variety of tasks including shoveling mulch, planting trees and bushes, and pulling weeds. Landscaping work isn’t for everyone because the work is often difficult and you will be working outside in the weather. Work for landscaping companies tends to pick up during the spring and summer months.


Being a lifeguard is one of the best jobs for 16-year-olds. What other jobs can you think of where you get to hang around pools and get paid for it? To become a lifeguard, you do need to enroll in a certification course and pass a certification exam. Some pools hire lifeguards at 16, while others prefer older applicants. Each pool will have its own preferences.

Golf Course Maintenance

There are many things at golf courses that teens can do including gathering golf balls, working in the pro shop, and grounds maintenance. Golf courses typically need a lot of help during their busy season to make sure the grounds are maintained and everything runs smoothly.

Amusement Park Attendant

If there’s an amusement park near you, it might be worth your time to check and see if they need any part-time help. Amusement parks are another industry that is usually busier during the summer months when teens are out on summer vacation. A few jobs in amusement parks that teens may be able to do include custodial work, refreshment and food sales, and ticket sales.

Animal Shelter Worker

If you are an animal lover and you are wondering how to make money at 16 years old, if might be worth checking with your local animal shelter to see if they need any help. Shelters need people to clean cages, bathe animals, and do other things.

13. Babysit

Babysitting is another popular option to consider for teens. Many people need someone to look after their kids while they at work, on a date, or for another reason.

To succeed as a babysitter, it’s important that you really love children. Babies and toddlers need constant attention. You can babysit in your home, or you may be able to arrange to babysit in the child’s home.

14. Sell Products on Etsy

Do you enjoy making crafts? Maybe you make beautiful jewelry pieces, or perhaps you are really good at sewing and make amazing things that people can wear. Whatever it is that you make, you may be able to sell your creations on Etsy.

Etsy is a site for selling handmade and vintage items. You can create your own online store on the platform to list your products for sale.

There are fees to sell on Etsy, so be sure you familiarize yourself with the fee structure and other things before you get started. In other words, be sure to read the fine print.

15. Sell Print on Demand Products

Are you an artist? Do you enjoy drawing, painting, or creating works of art on your computer? If so, you may be able to sell your custom creations on one or more print on demand sites like Redbubble, Cafe Press, and Zazzle.

Print on demand companies sell a variety of products with images on them that people upload. A few examples of products they sell include t-shirts, coffee and travel mugs, tote bags, and phone cases. The images aren’t printed on the products until someone places an order. When an item sells that has one of your images on it, you earn a commission.

With print on demand, you do need to be very careful with copyrights and trademarks. All work you upload must be your own original creations.

16. Sell Your Old Stuff

One of the easiest ways to make money as a teen is to sell stuff you own that you no longer use. For example, if you have some old comic books stashed away in a closet that you haven’t read since you were in third grade, consider selling them. Many people collect comics, and you may be able to get a few bucks out of them if they are still in good condition.

There are several ways you could sell your old stuff. Listing items on eBay is one way. You can also try to sell them locally by listing them on either Craigslist or OfferUp. Having a yard sale is another option.

17. House Sit

House sitting is an interesting opportunity for teenagers. Many people need someone to watch their homes while they are away to make sure the pets are taken care of, the mail is checked, and to do other things. As a house sitter, you will most likely have a few responsibilities, although they usually don’t require very much of your time.

A variation of house sitting is farm sitting. Your responsibilities with a farm will most likely be more involved than with a house. You may have to feed all of the animals, for example, or make sure the chickens are secured in their coop before sundown to protect them from predators.

18. Do Jobs for Your Parents

One of the best jobs for youth is to ask your parents if they have any jobs around the house for you to do that they would be willing to pay you for. Many parents like the idea of helping their kids learn the value of money and hard work, and they may be willing to find some things for you to do to earn money.

There are many possibilities for doing things for your parents including yard work, cleaning vehicles or the house, staining decks, and other things.

19. Help a Senior

I’m not referring to a senior in high school – I’m talking about a senior citizen. Some elderly need people to stay with them to help them out with things. Family members often stay with seniors, but sometimes they need someone to fill in when they have to be somewhere else.

You may be able to earn some money by staying with someone in your community on an as-needed basis. It may also be possible to work out a schedule so you’ll know ahead when you have to work and when you’ll have time off.

If you stay with someone, you will most likely be expected to help out as-needed. You may have to help out with some housework, for example. You may also have to cook meals.

20. Shovel Snow

During the winter months, there aren’t as many opportunities for teens as there are during the warmer months. Lawns don’t need to be mowed when there’s snow on the ground, for example, and many businesses that traditionally hire teens tend to slow down during winter.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t earn money when it’s cold out.

If you live in an area of the country where it snows a lot, you may be able to check with the people in your community to see if they need someone to shovel their driveways and walkways. To do this job, you do need a strong back and a good-quality snow shovel.

Opportunities Abound

Being a teen doesn’t mean you can’t earn money. There are plenty of jobs hiring 16-year-olds with no experience. Plenty of businesses need your help. And there are also plenty of opportunities for young entrepreneurs.

Something to consider to possibly earn more money is to combine opportunities. Who says you only have to do one thing? For example, you could work a part-time job at a restaurant and also mow lawns. Or perhaps you could work part-time at a grocery store and also tutor students.

Working a job at 16 isn’t just about earning money. It’s also about gaining valuable work experience that you can put on your resume and use later to move up in the world. Everyone has to start somewhere. The skills you learn in your first job will last a lifetime.

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