Summer is a great opportunity to start a side hustle and bring in some extra cash. With the coronavirus outbreak, though, this summer presents some new challenges. Whatever you choose to do for extra work and income, it's important to weigh the health risks and make sure you're also prioritizing staying safe.
"I think that even as things reopen," says Dr. David Hirschwerk, infectious diseases doctor at the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, it will still be important to maintain social distancing. That means keeping at least six feet away from other people, as per the CDC's recommendations, and "wearing masks where appropriate," says Hirschwerk, meaning when you're "in an environment with other people."
Here are 10 side hustles to consider picking up this summer.
Recent shelter-at-home orders drove a spike in demand for grocery delivery from services like Instacart and Shipt, with Instacart announcing in March it would hire 300,000 new shoppers.
It's important to make sure that in supermarkets and grocery stores, you can still "adhere to the principles of social distancing," says Hirschwerk. Keep that six-foot distance from other people and wear a mask. These rules apply for making the deliveries, too. Ask your employer what kind of contactless delivery system is in place to mitigate your risks. Finally, make sure your employer has a break system in place to allow you to wash your hands frequently and to rest.
Summer camps are weighing the risks of bringing large numbers of kids and counselors together this year, and some have already decided to cancel their programming. For parents whose kids no longer have summer plans, a babysitter may be the next best option.
If babysitting seems like a viable choice for you, "there's gonna have to be a certain degree of vetting that goes on," says Hirschwerk. "I would want to know, in the household, has anybody recently been ill? And I think you'd want to know to what degree is that household practicing social distancing."
Hourly rate: Sitters nationwide can make anywhere from around $13 to $20 per hour, according to Care.com reports.
With families and individuals reconfiguring their summer plans per local officials' recommendations, some may be turning to pet sitting sites to find people to care for their animals.
"I'm not concerned about people becoming sick from caring for other pets," says Hirschwerk. If "you're going outside for a walk [with a dog], I think the outside environment is a safer environment than inside. But if there's nobody else home, I think that being there is safe."
Hourly rate: The average rate of a pet sitter is $13 per hour, according to Glassdoor.
Sign up to be a pet sitter on sites like Care.com, Sittercity, or PetSitter.
Video by David Fang
People in as many as 35% of U.S. households consider gardening a hobby, according to the National Gardening Association, and the pastime continues to be popular throughout the pandemic. When Oregon State University offered its online Vegetable Gardening course for free through April, the Facebook post was shared 26,000 times.
If you have a green thumb and want to help people who haven't yet learned how to plant fruits, vegetables, and flowers in their yards, consider picking up a gardening side hustle.
Hourly rate: On average, gardeners in the U.S. make $12.70 per hour, according to Indeed.
Another option for those with a green thumb: Landscaping, which involves trimming grass and hedges, planting flowers and trees, and generally taking care of people's lawns and gardens. Just make sure to maintain social distancing practices when you're interacting with customers and other crew members.
Hourly rate: The average hourly rate for a landscaper is $13 per hour, according to PayScale.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
With the future of community pools uncertain, many people with their own pools will be sticking to those for summer fun and refuge. They'll be needing people to clean their pools, including extracting any unwanted debris from the water and maintaining their proper chemical levels. Make sure to keep a safe distance from your clients, and ask them to pay electronically instead of using cash.
Hourly rate: The average hourly rate of a pool cleaner is $14 per hour, according to ZipRecruiter.
The risks of taking this on are pretty low, Hirschwerk says, and "those risks could be mitigated by the two parties wearing masks [when they exchange the equipment] and by doing good cleaning of whatever was lent out."
If you or one of your friends or family members own acres of land that's perfect for camping, considering renting space for campers on sites like Tentrr.
Tentrr offers a variety of ways to rent out your land, with or without camping equipment. In the Tentrr Backcountry tier, for example, landowners rent out their land and campers bring their own equipment. The average nightly rate for this tier is $35, according to the Tentrr website, with landowners earning 90% of the rate.
Note that Tentrr prefers sites in the 10 acre range, unless they're particularly secluded.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
School buildings across the country had to close their doors for the rest of the year in response to the pandemic. Many students and parents may want to fill in the gaps for what they otherwise would've been learning with some online tutoring throughout the summer.
If you have a particular expertise to share, from elementary math skills to essay writing, you could be qualified to become an online tutor.
Sites like Varsity Tutors offer students hour-long lessons online in anything from geometry to ACT prep to French. Tutors have the flexibility to choose their hours, and the average hourly salary on the site ranges from $15 to $40 per hour, according to SideHusl.
Even though travel is currently in flux, many people already planning their next vacation as they shelter in place. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, if you know it inside out and tourists tend to visit, consider offering a tour of it when officials indicate it's safe to do so.
If you do lead a tour later this year, take necessary precautions. If people are "going on an outdoor walking tour where people can remain spaced out, [and] when there is a closer interaction people can be wearing masks, that really is not something that concerns me as much," says Hirschwerk.
"For any of these positions that people may want to engage in," he says, "it's just gonna be important that people continue to follow what's going on in their community, heeding the advice of the local networks."
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