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8 disturbing ways to make money

Grace Etheredge 20th May 2023 5 Comments

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Updated 20th May 2024

Not too fussed about whether your cash comes crisp and clean, or slightly dingy and disturbing?

Then your best bet for making a quick buck might be investigating those jobs that the majority of people are not brave enough to do.

Of course, we aren’t talking about illegal or immoral things – just unconventional ways to make money.

Here’s a list of our favourites!


1. Roadkill Cleaners

Dead hedgehog at side of road

There are few things you can count on when embarking on a motorway journey, but two are certain. The traffic will be terrible, and you will have to do some serious swerving to avoid roadkill.

Yes, roadkill is a real problem and animal collisions happen far more often that we would like to admit. The reason that they’re not more noticeable is because it’s someone’s job to clear up the carcasses.

Roadkill collectors find, remove and dispose of the motorway’s unlucky victims and provide a service to the more squeamish among us. Namely, dealing with the tragedies of dead badgers, deer and even dogs.

While roadkill collectors in the UK are unlikely to find a moose or a bison on the side of the road as in the US, they do have to enjoy driving as they spend the majority of their days combing roads for collisions.

While some cleaners are paid per hour they work, others are paid per animal removed.

In Farnham, 2016, the role of a roadkill cleaner was advertised at £7 an hour (it would obviously pay more now to at least minimum wage), with the proviso that the successful applicant would be able to work in all weather conditions and have a strong stomach.

Look on the bright side: at least you won’t be competing with many people for the job!


2. Google Sensitive Content Checker

Shocked/Upset young woman looking at something on a laptop

The internet is a minefield and no one knows that better than a Google Sensitive Content Checker. They spend their working hours trawling through disturbing YouTube videos and blocking the worst from being seen on social media.

Responding to complaints about disturbing content ranging from pornography to extreme violence, content checkers are tasked with removing the material within 24 hours and reporting it to government authorities.

Writing on Buzzfeed.com, one former content checker revealed that he was reviewing over 15,000 images a day from Google platforms including Google Images.

Working at Google for over nine months without any kind of psychological or emotional support, this anonymous techie asserts that he needed to search out serious therapy before he could continue. Even then, Google made him redundant.

This highlighted the need for proper mental health and technical support for those doing such jobs.

It might be worth remembering that your mental well-being is priceless before considering this kind of necessary but mentally taxing work.

You don’t know what images you’ll be reviewing from one day to the next, so it’s important to be able to detach from your work and ensure you protect your mental health. As well as a Google worker, you can find this type of work with other organisations that provide more support. The police in the UK (and every country) will have units dedicated to similar work like this, and they give training and structured support.


3. Selling Your Body Parts

Woman cutting her ponytail off

Having read the above heading, you may be wondering how much you could get for a kidney or a lung. I’m sorry to break it to you, but that kind of thing is not only disturbing, but illegal and also seriously dangerous!

This doesn’t mean you can’t make money selling your body parts! Here are a few totally legal and potentially lucrative body shop ideas:

Companies such as HairHarvest will pay up to £200 for your flowing locks. WigsUK pay by the ounce, offering between £3-£5 depending on how long your hair is.

It sounds slightly strange, but in 2012 mothers were selling their breast milk at £1 an ounce on Facebook!

Don’t mind a needle? Then trials4us offers £60 per 600 ml of blood (or pay at a proportionate rate). They even cover travel expenses!

For fertility clinics, you may be able to claim for sperm or egg donation. This is easy for men but bear in mind that egg donation is an intensive process and requires time commitment. In the UK, you cannot charge to be a surrogate mother, but reasonable expenses are permitted, so it’s important to have a secure contract in place that recognises what ‘reasonable’ expenses are covered.

While the money might seem nice at first, remember that such work could have potentially life changing consequences so don’t make the decision lightly. Read on here to find out more.


4. Clinical Trials

Docotor giving young woman medication

Don’t mind going further than a little haircut for some money? Then look into clinical trials and you can get paid £100 per day for your trouble!

One of the most difficult parts of the process is finding a clinical trial to take part in. What you can do is ask your doctor or a patient organisation if they know of any clinical trials that you may be eligible to join. You can also sign up to some websites such as:

  • UK Clinical Trials Gateway
  • WHO International Clinical Trials
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Parkinson’s UK
  • Arthritis Research UK

Clinical trials are open to those lucky enough to be in full health, and those suffering from a particular disease.

They can actually be a great way to contribute to medical research, and if you take part in one that addresses your particular condition, you could also benefit from a cutting edge new treatment. It doesn’t always have to be disturbing!

However, there is the risk that the treatment can be no different to the standard treatment you normally receive.

It’s also important to remember that clinical trials may be very time consuming. They may also require you to restrict certain aspects of your lifestyle such as alcohol consumption.

While a 13-day trial may translate into £1,300 in total, it may also mean you have to put your day job on hold.

There is also the risk that the drugs used in a clinical trial will have unexpected side effects, so it is important that you are sure of what the compensation mechanisms are if something does go wrong.

Want to find out more? Click here for NHS advice on clinical trials and here for more details from MoneyMagpie.


5. Headstone Cleaning

Woman cleaning gravestone

Don’t mind spending time getting to know some ghosts?

Well, headstone cleaning could be for you. As well as being a unique way to make money, it will give you the chance to help grieving families sustain memories of loved ones.

Although cemeteries do a great job of maintaining their sites, headstone cleaners are still needed because they don’t have time to give every grave the attention it needs.

Headstones are made from a variety of materials which all require different cleaning methods.

Limestone, granite and marble are commonly used but older ones made from sandstone may stump you.

Do a little research, however, and you’ll find that there are lots of specialist tools and detergents available to you.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can also always expand your service to include flower planting and placement, watering, repainting and basic landscaping.

You could charge per hour or offer a package with tri-annual upkeep visits. You can use business pictures to show a before-and-after.

At The Headstone Cleaning Company, for example, prices for a full professional clean start at £80.00, and their annual care starts at £55.00.

It might not be as disturbing a job as you think!


6. Dog Food Tester

Bowl of dog biscuits

Ever wondered what dog food actually tastes like?

Sitting in the comfort of your own home, you would have to open a few tins of dog food a day, smell them and sample them.

As quoted in The Guardian, Phillip Wells, the chief taster for Lily’s Kitchen pet food, said: “Although dogs’ palates are different to ours, taste is an important quality check to ensure each different ingredient is perfectly balanced in just the right way.”

He added: “Trying the food is also a good way to pick up on the nuances of the cooking; this works especially well on the dry kibbles!”

Wells revealed that £20,000 was an average starting salary for an entry level job in his department in 2015 (it would now be at least £23,795.20 for National Minimum wage), but that £50,000 or more was “easily achievable” for a technical director. Obviously salaries will have risen considerably since then.

While you might turn your nose up at your plate if you were offered dog food for dinner, the Animal Feed Regulations 2010 says that the meat is safe for people to eat. It must be derived from animals passed as fit for human consumption.

7. Dog Poop Cleaner

Woman picking up dog mess

“Struggling to find time to clean your garden? Feeling the strain of an injury/health issue? Or maybe you’re just tired of the constant family arguments about whose turn it is, whose pet it is, etc?”

So opens PAWServices page on professional poo scooping.

Offering weekly, fortnightly or monthly deals, this canine-loving company will clean up your garden. They will also sanitise and deodorise the area where pets have been making a mess.

If you love dogs (you might even have canvas prints of your pooch), and you like getting down and dirty with nature, then this could be the job for you.

Dog poop is a breeding ground for nasty diseases such as Salmonellosis, and is also a nightmare to clean off the carpet. It is one of those services that will never go out of business.

As reported by the Express in 2014, you can make a killing cleaning up after other people’s pets – Tim Stone, 54, managed to earn an incredible £56,000 a year by charging £28 per month for four visits!


8. Make Money Mourning

Funding a funeral: understanding the costs

Funerals are horrible affairs in many ways, but they do provide one of the most disturbing ways to make money. You can get paid to show up as a professional mourner.

This might sound weird, but professional mourners – or moirologists to give them their official title – have been in practice for well over 2,000 years.

Sometimes people die without many family members or friends left. In this case, people will pay you to come along as a respectful way of ‘making up the numbers’.

It’s a job that’s not for everyone, you’ll be around people at their lowest moments.

Find out more about making money mourning here. 

Any other ideas about how to make money in a strange or disturbing way? Let us know in the comments section below!

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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2 months ago

[…] https://www.moneymagpie.com/make-money/7-disturbing-ways-to-make-money […]

9 months ago

I’d like to edit my last post.

I looked into the Google job and I could do it but not with the end point conditions. Very naughty.

The other – still tempts me!

9 months ago

Two I’d do. The Google thing and test dog food. My mum caught me eating the dogs choc-drops when I was a kid and I came to no harm.

3 years ago

Strange but opportunities for the brave hearts.

5 years ago

Unusual opportunities if you have a strong stomach.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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