The United States is a blessing for teenagers. How well you use this blessing depends on your potential. It is rare to have countries permit a 13-year old to get a job. Why not take advantage of this rarity? Not only will this increase your earnings but also enhance your job skills. Here are the many ways for teens to make money. Whether you are 13 or 19, you can have a job of your choice.
The objective behind allowing teens to start working is not only to make them independent but most importantly, it is giving them the time to realize what they want to pursue in life, understand their space of interest, and have clarity about where they want to see themselves in the future, etc.
With so many ways for teens to make money today, they are becoming more confident about their skills and cherishing the fact that they are becoming employable. Energetic teens are always on the lookout for a suitable way to earn money for doing what they want to do, buying/saving for something which they always wanted to possess, etc.
Working has also become a source of a lot of inspiration and new ideas for the teens. Some start their own business at a young age as they acquire enough experience from these jobs. Just to make sure that you don’t miss out on any opportunity, we have created a list of several ways for teens to make money, depending on their ages. Have a look:
Different ways for teens to make money
Jobs for 13-year olds:
1. Car Washing
This job involves cleaning other’s cars from inside and outside. There are many neighbors who are only willing to get their cars cleaned by a trusted person. If you have any friendly neighbor who may have a car, but not someone who can clean it, take a chance! Go, ring their house bell!
A quick tip here is to charge per vehicle and not hourly. This is because people don’t usually pay more to teenagers. In one hour, you may be asked to clean 3 vehicles, which can be more exhausting and less rewarding. In the same scenario, if you are charging per vehicle, you are likely to be paid more.
2. Pet Feeding
This job can be a stress buster for you if you love pets. It pays you for taking the pet on a walk, feeding and grooming him, etc. Many pet owners have specific instructions for feeding their pets. Make sure you follow the instructions if you want no cut in your pay.
3. Baby Sitting
If you like babies and can entertain them till they snooze off, this job may be for you. Many working parents prefer teenagers over a helper to take care of their munchkin.
Tip: As time passes, try to become that favorite person for the kid and parents won’t mind paying you an unbelievable price for this job.
4. Plant Watering
If the lap of nature is where you find peace, you could take up this job. Mowing the garden, watering the plants and shrubs, removing weeds, etc. could make you earn good cash. This opportunity is most likely to come your way when homeowners leave for their vacations and want a responsible person to look after their garden.
5. Sale of Drinks
Are there a lot of public events happening in your vicinity? If yes, look at these events as an opportunity. You can buy lots of sealed water bottles from the market and start selling it at a higher price. What you get is the difference between the buying and the selling price.
Keep in mind that thirst is inescapable and if there is no other source of water at the event, you can go a notch higher in pricing the bottles. You can also sell lemonades or other drinks and earn extra cash. You must ensure that the bottles are chilled.
Awaken your creative skills and start creating something people would love to buy. Whether you are an artisan or a painter, channel your energies to create something beautiful from your art. You can also start selling the products on
Jobs for 14-year olds:
1. Fence Painting
If you love painting and are already (or willing to get) familiar with a painter’s tools like the roller, brush, masks, etc., this job can earn you about $45 per home, subject to the dimensions of the fence.
2. Newspaper Delivery
Almost all localities have a specific newspaper coming every day. Contact the concerned person at the registered office of this newspaper company and they may allow you to become their vendor, at least for your summer breaks. Some newspapers have morning and afternoon editions, which means doubled income for you.
Cafes and restaurants don’t mind hiring teens for dishwashing, table cleaning, etc. Some are happy to hire teens for preparing food as well. You may be running from one table to another serving dishes to the people. If you do a good job at it, you’re likely to be a recipient of a decent tip, translating into extra cash for you.
4. Amusement Parks
Amusement parks employ teens for cleaning their grounds, selling and distributing tickets, grooming the field, operating scoreboards, etc. What you might fancy in this job is the access to the ground and witnessing the matches, performances, and all this for free. This is another way of earning cash while having a lot of fun. Even movie theatres hire teens as concession stand attendants or ticket takers.
Safeway is a super teen-friendly way for teens to get work. They hire teens starting from 14 years of age for different positions. If you think you have enough patience to handle multiple products-related questions by shoppers, this may be a good job for you. If you are 14, they may designate you as a bagger or courtesy clerk at any one of their stores.
There are many ways for teens to make money at McDonald’s. You could be hired as a crew person or a kitchen help staff. Working as a crew person will help you build your teamwork skills and also make you habitual to always wearing a pleasant smile. You are getting free burgers and fries if you are working at McDonald’s. Their uniform, of course, also comes free with the job offer.
Jobs for 15-year olds:
1. Baskin Robbins
You could be the one behind the billing counter, counting cash and filling the cash register. Very soon, you’d also be serving customers with chilled icecreams. Baskin Robbins usually has a team of 2-3 people working at a store, so you are ought to be multitasking if you are applying for a job here.
2. Ben & Jerry’s
Some states have lower minimum age and hence a 15-year-old may be allowed to work at Ben & Jerry’s, which otherwise has 16 as its general work-permissible age. You’d be earning good amount of money for serving fresh yogurts and chilled ice creams to gourmets.
What’s most interesting about Ben & Jerry’s hiring process is their interview questions like – “If I was a cucumber in a salad, and a person was about to eat me, what would I say?” or an irrelevant question like “What’s your favorite movie?”, etc.
3. Swimming Pool Cleaning
This job will require you to be aware of all things swimming pool. You’d have to brush and skim the pools, ensuring that there is no speck of dirt anywhere. Also, you’d have to make sure that no corner of the pool has growth of algae.
In addition to cleaning, you can also take up the task of swimming pool chemical maintenance. Although this will increase your pay, you’d have to be very careful with the chemicals. It is better that you have an experienced elderly person to assist you, at least initially.
4. Bicycle Repair
If you understand the language of screws and tires, this job may be a good fit. Sometimes repairing may only take 5 minutes but if there are multiple issues with the bicycle, it may take several hours to get it fixed. You can earn a good money starting $10 for repairing the bicycle.
Bigger a repairing issue, more the time it takes for repair, and hence more money.
Spread the word in your neighborhood, stick flyers at nearby grocery shops and cafes. Make sure you have your contact number printed on the flyers so anyone in need can contact you.
Jobs for 16-year olds and above:
Subway is open to hiring you as their official sandwich artist if you can grasp and implement their instructions. Because they take orders, prepare and deliver sandwiches in real time, they are always looking for people who are quick and efficient.
Walmart is a consistent recruiter for teens. Walmart’s job opening for teens is for positions like Retail Associates, Fresh Food Associates, Stockers, Cart Attendant, Cashiers, etc. As for freebies for employees, Walmart offers a 10% discount for nonperishable items. Additionally, you could become a recipient of quarterly bonuses based on your performance.
Wendy is a popular fast food restaurant which is considered favorable for supporting teens at work as they have flexible working hours which are suitable for students. If you are a good fit, you can be hired to fill positions such as an assistant manager, crew member, shift supervisor, etc.
You know what’s the best part about working at Wendy’s? You get a 50% discount for food and a free drink. Not only this, if you are employed at Wendy’s, you are in for one free meal per shift.
Kentucky Fried Chickens hires teens for performing basic restaurant jobs. It doesn’t employ teens below 18 years of age for any position except that of a team member. A team member may help with food preparation or be directly involved with customers for taking orders and serving them. KFC employees get free food and food coupons. This means that you can have any KFC meal worth $5 with a drink for free.
5. Dunkin’ Donuts
For each of its new stores, Dunkin’ Donuts is always looking for teens to fill up the vacancies. They usually employ teens as the crew member, cake decorator, baker, shift leader, etc. Just like Wendy’s, DD also treats its employees with 50% discount on meals during a shift, apart from getting donuts, coffee and their uniform for free.
6. Dairy Queen
The hiring process at Dairy Queen varies between franchisees and locations. Therefore, it is recommended to locate their nearest store and submit your job application directly at the store itself. You can be hired at Dairy Queen as a chill staff, cake decorator or a grill staff, etc.
Apart from providing a comprehensive job training to you, they will also have you enjoy 50% employee discount during working hours. Adding to the information, Dairy Queen raises up to 3% base salary per year.
Different State. Different Child Labor Laws.
Every state in the USA has different child labor laws. Keeping your paperwork ready is as important as looking for a job. In most states, no paperwork means no job. Paperwork is often called ‘working papers’ and includes employment and age certificates. These certificates save the employer from being prosecuted for employing an under-aged worker.
Here is a quick guide on work permits for teens
You would require a work permit that is signed by the parents if you are a resident of Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, etc.
In California, your work permit has to be filed with the school, after being signed by your parents.
If you are living in New York, you’d have to obtain an application for working papers at a public high school and get that signed by your parents, after which you submit it to the school. However, do note that Buffalo and New York City may have different permit requisites.
Similarly, in New Jersey, teens who are aspiring to work need an employment certificate filled out by parents and the school. In addition, they also need a doctor’s certificate for ensuring that the teen is healthy to start working.
You’d have to fill out a work permit online if you are a residing in states like Georgia, Virginia, etc. In some other states like Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Maryland, etc., both parents and employer are involved in the process of preparing a permit. The process may sound tedious but once you have decided to start working, getting a permit looks will start looking like an easy task.
Half the battle is won if you have convinced your parents and yourself for doing a job.
If you are a resident of Colorado, Florida, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky. Minnesota, Montana, Texas, you are even lucky. Teens living in these areas don’t need any work permit.
How do teens find jobs?
Constantly visiting your High School Guidance Office, checking the Employment Services Job Listings in the newspapers, keeping your profile updated on various job sites are easy hacks to land a job quickly.
Sites like Snagajob, Hireteen.com, Jobs For Teens, Indeed.com have over a million active job listings. All you have to do is create your profile and filter down your job search. Keeping your profile updated on these job listing platforms is crucial.
Whether you are undergoing a training, attending a special class or have just earned a certificate in any domain, post that as a milestone on your job profile. What really makes some profiles outshine others is these small yet significant accomplishments, merits, and certifications.
Apart from that, keep your neighbors, friends, and relatives aware that you are looking for a job. In most cases, it is referrals that help in finding a job. A strong reference point can also increase the chances of selection by 20%.
It will be better to calculate the pros and cons of the job you are about to start before you mark the first day on the job. Leaving a job prior to its normal tenure leaves a bad impression and also restricts chances for landing a job in the future with the same employer.
Your Age Decides Where and When You Can Work
If you are a 14-or-15-year-old, the government has some working restrictions for you. You are only allowed to work for 3 hours a day and 18 hours a week during your school days. In summer breaks or holidays, your working hours may increase up to 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week.
For those who are 16 or 17, there are no restrictions except for working on jobs which are considered hazardous by the Labor Department. Once you turn 18, there are no limits as to where, when and for how many hours you’d want to work.
It is quite possible that being a teenager, you are not aware of what you want to do in life. Nonetheless, before you start looking for a job, decide what type of job suits you, your personality and timings. Your first job could be something you love or something you’d never want to do again. What is important is that you enjoy each and every job while you are in your teens.
Happy job-finding but don’t forget to teen around! This time of life won’t come back. Good luck!