Aug 14

Kids make money

Reading Time: 12 mins

Want to keep your kids entertained this summer without spending a penny? Help them get a summer job! Kids can make money in all sorts of ways. You will need to use your own judgment in assessing how mature your child is and how ready they are to take on the responsibility. Young children shouldn’t be working more than a few hours a week but there are lots of ways even young children can make money.

There are all sorts of things children can do to make some extra pocket money, but the younger they are, the more help and supervision they will need from you. Here are some ideas to get you started:

How can kids make money?

Here are just a few of the great jobs for kids to get you and your kids started:

Sales jobs

Your child could run a juice/ice lolly stand, or perhaps organise a yard sale, or make cash selling all those old toys they no longer play with.

All you need to set up this type of job is a table and a pot of loose change. If you are encouraging children to sell their old toys, then you could set this up in your front garden for passers-by to view, or organise a stall at a school or village fete or local car boot sale. But if they are thinking of making their own lollies, juice, sweets or cakes to sell then they may need to borrow items from your kitchen, or even buy napkins and plastic cups as well as ingredients.

The other advantage of running a ‘business’ like this is that it’s a good way to teach basic maths to your children. Sit down after their hard day’s work and count out how much money they made, and then deduct the money you spent on cups and ingredients to show them how much they really made. In one go you have a practical explanation of addition, subtraction and basic business principles.

Service jobs

There are lots of little jobs that your children can quite easily get involved with. If they’re a little older they can try tutoring or coaching other kids (teaching computers, maths, reading, how to play football) or running errands for the elderly (reading the newspaper to them or running to the local store to purchase a few supplies) if any elderly neighbours have the spare cash to pay for jobs.

Coaching younger children is a great way of earning some extra money, and also teaching your child patience. If your child is learning an instrument, he or she could coach children who are at a lower grade then they are or help a younger child learn to ride a bike. If your child is lucky enough to be bi-lingual then encourage them to use their second language to set up conversation lessons for other school pupils who need extra help.

With these kinds of jobs it’s important to have references to show that the children are trustworthy. Letters from school teachers, vicars, your doctor or similar should be enough until they have references from people they have done work for.

Other jobs

Gift wrapping, walking, sitting and grooming pets, washing cars, mowing lawns, babysitting, delivering papers, window cleaning and even entertaining other kids by putting on plays and charging admission.

Kids can make loads of money as a dog walker. Adult dog walkers can charge as much as £15 a dog for a 45 minute walk (see our article on dog-walking for information on that), but children may want to pitch themselves lower at around the £5-£8 mark, but if people are willing to pay more then go for it. Obviously, this isn’t a job for children who are scared of dogs, as they will need to be in control of the animals they are looking after. It is probably also a good idea to that your child will only walk small or medium sized dogs, if they are not very tall or strong.

The best way to get business is by making flyers on a computer, and then pinning them to notice boards in local dog friendly parks or online on a website like Jobsgrapevine. It’s also wise to buy your child an extra lead to carry with them, just in case the one the owner has provided them with breaks, and maybe a few dog toys to play with in the park and a supply of plastic bags for dog mess.

Money-making for children – how to help them do it

Step 1: Start networking

It may be a good idea to make up flyers or business cards (they can get 250 FREE business cards and a card holder just by contacting Vistaprint.
. Go door to door and hand them out to neighbors and friends.

Have fun and let your child be creative when making up their flyers. The flyers should include:

  • Type of service on offer
  • The cost
  • Any promotions (it may be a good way to getting started, offering two for one deals)
  • How your child can be reached (this should be your home number as opposed to their mobile if they have one. You want to speak to all the people they are working for)

You don’t need to spend much on making up flyers. Visit Staples for some bargain marker pens and pens.

Advertising your child’s new venture on the internet is not a good option. It is very difficult to monitor who is contacting your child. Stick to the old-fashioned way of advertising locally and letting word spread.

A summer job is all about teaching kids the value of money and letting them feel a bit independent, however you do need to keep their safety in mind at all times.

Step 2: Getting them any necessary equipment

If your child will be selling lemonade, juice, or frozen lollies you’ll need to buy the supplies for them.

You can buy a large carton of the stuff for less than £1. For an even better time, have your child make the juice.  Some great recipes are available at Health Recipes such as: sparkling tropic fruit juice, orange juice and lemon and lime.

They can probably charge about £1 per drink but you will have to cater to what customers are willing to pay. You may want to make sure your child is out there on hot days and maybe selling some warmer drinks on wet days.

If you have a cool box at home use that to store cold drinks or frozen lollies. If you need to buy one, they are available at Tesco Direct at discount prices. Whilst you’re there grab some plastic cups and try to buy reusable ones – it will save you money and be more environmentally friendly.

As for their ‘stand’, just use any old table that you have lying around. If you need to buy one then buy a cheap one. Try Homebase where you can picnic tables from only £9.99.

If your child is going to be doing any cleaning or pet grooming you will need to supply them with the pet shampoo, cleaning products and cleaning rags.

Things like dog leashes, brushes, and toys for a dog walking job should be provided by the pet owner as you may not want to share these items with several different pets. Treats for good behavior is a nice thing to have on hand, but make sure that owners approve before your child starts feeding their pets treats.

For a cleaning job there are some great home recipes for natural, eco-friendly cleaning supplies that you can make at home together very cheaply. Some really great recipes can be found at Organized Home. Also check out the Moneymagpie guide to clean, safe and effective household cleaners.

Step 3: Setting up shop

Your child’s work hours should be scheduled when you are home so that you are available if they need your help.

It’s best to have them selling from your home. Their lemonade stand should just be out in the garden. People will be attracted by their flyers, particularly if they are out there on those really warm summer afternoons.

Have your children organise all the old toys they no longer play with, and any other things you may want to get rid of and run a yard sale. Don’t buy anything new. Have your child make up posters that they hang around the neighbourhood informing people of the sale date.

You can have your child out there running the yard sale, but stay close. Adults may want to negotiate prices with you. To avoid loads of haggling it may be a good idea to have your child individually price all the items. Alternatively, you could set up a stall at a car boot sale or village fete and have your children run it if you don’t like the idea of a yard sale.

Step 4: Serving the community

Again make sure your child’s work hours are scheduled when you are home so that you are available if they need your help. Especially the first few times your child is working it is a good idea to check their services are satisfactory.

You will want to send your child to provide a service (i.e. washing windows, cars, pet walking or grooming) with all the supplies they will need.

It’s up to you to decide whether you’re more comfortable with your child washing cars or grooming pets at your place or at their client’s home. Obviously for services like window washing, or offering services like reading to the elderly, it will have to be done at the client’s house.

If they are going to be tutoring other children it is best that you supervise and ensure that your child is being patient and helpful.

Tutoring can be frustrating so stay close, but try not to interfere. It is important your child builds their self-confidence and initiative.

If your child loves riding their bike around, why not have them deliver some papers while they’re at it? To get your child a paper route contact your local news agent and newspapers. Visit WRX for a list of your local community papers.

Step 5: Getting paid

All prices for services and sales will need to be established before any work is done. You will need to negotiate your prices with customers but here is a guideline to what are fair prices.

Lemonade stand: £1 per drink
Washing cars: £5 per car
Mowing lawns: Anywhere from £5 to £20 (depending on size of lawn)
Groom pets: Between £5 and £7
Babysitting: £5 an hour, with overtime pay after midnight
Delivering papers: £5 per day to £20 a week.
Window cleaning: Between £3 and £5
Tutoring or coaching: £5 – £20 per hour.
Running errands for the elderly: Between £3 and £10 (depending on errands)
Walking pets: £3-£5 an hour
Pet sitting: Between £5 and £10 per visit
Gift wrapping: £3 a gift

3 key ways for kids to make money


Babysitting is probably the most popular way young girls make money. It is a great way for them to earn and learn as long as they are mature enough for the responsibility.

The NSPCC recommends children be 16 and over, however lots of 14-year-olds babysit. Use your judgement on whether your child is able to cope with it.

A great way to practice babysitting is with younger siblings. Then moving on to friends’ and neighbours children. It’s not a good idea to have them start out with children or families that they don’t know.

Top ten babysitting tips for older children:

  1. Always get the contact number for the parents while they are out. Have all emergency numbers handy.
  2. Establish hourly rates before starting the job and remember double-time pay is expected after midnight.
  3. Never, ever drink alcohol, smoke or invite friends over while working and be on time and polite at all times. People need to trust you with their children.
  4. Find out the children’s bedtime routines (bath times, stories etc).
  5. Make sure you’re aware of any house rules like snacks they’re not allowed to eat, or programmes they can’t watch.
  6. Try not to be on the phone or asleep when the parents come home.
  7. You don’t have to clean up the house, but do tidy up the toys the children may have been playing with and any dishes you may have used.
  8. Help yourself to drinks, however don’t snack unless you have been told that it is okay.
  9. Always have all doors locked while you are inside and never answer the door when you are home alone in the evenings with the children.
  10. Be clear about what time you expect parents to be home. If they are running very late remember to charge extra for overtime.

Paper round

The best way to find a paper round is to ask local newsagents if they have any vacancies as it is newsagents who organise delivery of papers, rather than the newspaper companies themselves. You could also call up or look on websites of local free magazines to see if they the require delivery boys/girls. You can also try local councils and take-away shops to see if they need any leaflets distributing.

The wage you receive from being doing a paper round depends on how old you are (under 16s don’t have a minimum wage) and how many papers you deliver. You get paid weekly and the pay can be anything between £5-£20. Being a paper boy/girl isn’t a very difficult job, but it’s a job that has to be done rain or shine, and early starts are nearly always required.

If your child has, or is thinking about doing, a paper round, make sure they have a good quality, water proof coat for bad weather and a reflective jacket for early starts on winter mornings. A bike would also be a bonus, and will make the paper round a lot quicker and easier for your child.


Children make lots of money doing jobs that nobody else really wants to do, and that includes washing the car. Encourage your child to gather a group of friends, although this means less money as the profits will be split between everyone, extra pairs of hands means they can wash more cars and have more fun doing it. You may have to supply buckets, sponges, water and car shampoo/washing up liquid, and a box to put the money in, but these do not have to be brought  new especially for the occasion. Use old beach buckets for soapy water and ice cream tubs to keep money in.

It could be easiest if the kids make flyers first (easy to make on the computer) advertising a car wash, rather than go door to door offering a car washing service, as that way people can come to you. If you want to do it this way, try and organise the event for an evening or weekend, otherwise if you plan it for daytime during the week, people will be at work and will probably have taken their cars with them.

Remember to find a suitable location for your car wash, preferably not on grass as the soil will not soak up all the water if you have a lot of cars to clean, and cause a flood. Concrete is probably the safest option, so use a driveway or empty street.

Under 18s employment rights

Employment rights for under 18s are very different from adult workers; working hours, wage, tax and the type of work a child can do all vary depending on what age the working child is.

13 and under

Under13s cannot legally be employed, although they can take part in paid sport or entertainment with permission from your local authority.

13 year olds

13 years old is the youngest age that any child in the United Kingdom is allowed to undertake paid work. Before the age of 13 a child cannot legally be employed.

Once a child reaches the age of 13, they may be employed to do ‘light work’. This is work which is not likely to affect health, safety or education. This includes such jobs as: shop work or taking on a paper round. This ‘light work’ restriction lasts until a child is 16.

It is advisably that you check with the local authority where your place of work would be to see what restrictions they have about the employment of 13 year olds.

14 year olds

At 14 the rules become slightly more relaxed about where and when a child can and cannot work. Again, as with 13 year olds, health is a big factor in working regulations and at 14 years-old a child is still restricted to ‘light work’ and cannot work in factories or on a building site.

Working hours also change when a child hits 14, and there are some very tight restrictions. The main ones are:

  • during term time, a child can only work for two hours on weekdays and Sundays
  • during term time, a child can only work for five hours on Saturdays
  • during a school holiday, a 14 year old can work for up to five hours on a week day or a Saturday
  • during a school holiday, a 14 year old can’t work for more than two hours on a Sunday
  • A 14 year old is not allowed to work before 7.00 am or after 7.00 pm on any day

Until a child is 16 education takes priority over employment in a child’s life. Any job that interferes with a child school hours is not allowed by law.

15 & 16 year olds

The working rights of 15 and 16 year olds are almost identical to those of 14 year olds. However, there are a few changes:

  • A 15 or 16 year old can work for up to eight hours on Saturdays or during the school holidays.
  • A 15 or 16 year old can work during the week but not for more than 2 hours on any school day, or for more than 12 hours in any school week
  • During a non school week a 15 or 16 year old can work for up to 35 hours.

If a child is working at 16 then they are entitled to the national minimum wage, which for 16-17 year olds is £3.64 per hour, rising to £3.68 in October 2011.The minimum wage does not apply to workers under the age of 16.

16 & 17 year olds

If a child is no longer at school and is aged 16 or 17, the law refers to them as a ‘young worker’. Because they will no longer be at school, there are fewer restrictions on when you can work and for how long, but there are still some rules.

Because you’ve reached school leaving age, you may find that employers may be more willing to offer you part-time or full-time employment. You’re also not limited to just ‘light work’, so you’ll be allowed to work in places like a busy shop, restaurant kitchen or as a waiter or waitress.

For more information on younger workers visit the direct gov website.

National Insurance and tax for under 18s

At 16 everybody starts paying National Insurance, which, if you earn between £1.39 and £8.17 per week is deducted from your earnings at a rate of 12%. More about National Insurance can be found here.

If you’re a student, you still pay tax on your income unless all of the following apply:

  • you’re a full time student in the UK, only working in the holidays
  • you’re returning to full time education after the holiday
  • your total income for the year is below the Personal Allowance which is £7,457 for the 2011/2012 tax year.

You can ask an employer for form P38S Student Employees which means tax won’t be deducted from your earnings. National Insurance will still be deducted if you earn more than £1.39 a week.


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