6 Business Ideas for Teenagers

July 25, 2013

business ideas for teensIf your teenager is having difficulty finding a part-time job, or at least finding one that they consider to be at least remotely interesting, you might suggest that they start a business instead. With a business, they can have almost unlimited options.

Why a Business and Not a Job?

You may be wondering why not just get a part-time job to earn some extra money? You certainly can and that’s always an option. But there are several advantages that a business has over a part-time job, especially in regard to teenagers:

  • Part-time jobs are not available in all areas, especially in those where there is a high concentration of teenagers to soak up the jobs that are available.
  • Part-time jobs generally require that you keep hours – with your own business, you can largely set your own hours. That can work better with a school schedule.
  • Part-time jobs generally pay minimum wage or slightly higher; there’s a very good chance that you can earn substantially more on an hourly basis in your own business.
  • A business allows you to work at something that you are good at, something that you enjoy; with a part-time job, you pretty much have to take what’s available whether you like it or not.
  • Starting a business – even a very informal one – is outstanding training for adult life. If you can start a business as a teenager, the future holds endless possibilities for you.

That being said, what are some businesses that a teenager can start right now?

1. Tutoring

If there is at least one subject that you are strong in, you may be able offer your services as a tutor. Generally speaking, math and science tend to be the most in demand subjects, but you can find students in need other skills as well. Many need help writing term papers or studying for major exams. Some need help learning English.

You can make some good money being a tutor. Where I live, they charge $30 per hour and up, but if you want to build a client base you can probably do so quickly by charging less.

You can advertise your service on Craigslist free of charge, and you can also register your services with local schools. Parents often ask the school for recommendations for tutors, and if you are one who is “on the list,” you could see a steady flow business.

2. Lawn Cutting

This is one of the most traditional businesses for teenagers. In this day and time of dual income couples, many people simply don’t have the time to cut their own lawns.

Make some phone calls to see what other lawn cutters are charging, keeping in mind that your rate will have to be lower than what an adult lawn service will charge.

You can make up flyers and distribute them in your neighborhood and in surrounding ones. One of the best benefits of lawn cutting is that once you get a couple of customers, you’ll get referrals if you do good work. Eventually you’ll have as much business as you can handle.

3. Babysitting

Like landscaping, this is another teenage tradition. And once you get one customer, you will usually get referrals for others. Start by making up flyers and distributing them in your neighborhood. You don’t want to advertise too widely as customers tend to prefer someone who is very “local” (preferably someone they know) when it comes to taking care of their children.

4. Reselling

As a teenager you’re probably keyed into what other teens want and like to buy – you can use that as a business idea. If you know what items are popular, you can buy them at garage sales and resell them at a profit.

Craigslist is a good place to resell used items (as well as a great place to buy them too), and if you buy them on the cheap you can often sell them for several times more than what you paid. Entertainment equipment, musical instruments, bicycles, video games and CD’s are all possible items that you can resell.

5. Social Media Consultant

If you are a teenager who is very adept at using the social media, then you are probably better at using it than most adults are. Never underestimate that advantage! Businesses have discovered social media and its importance in communicating with customers and in finding new ones.

If you know how to use popular social media – especially Facebook and Twitter – you may be able to become a social media consultant for small business. Your job will be to get out into the social media and discuss the company and its products, as well as provide bulletins about new products and services.

You may also handle conversations with customers and potential customers. You can probably handle the easy conversations, but any heavier ones can be sent to the business owner as a potential customer. The service you’ll be providing is giving a business a live and active presence in the social media. If you do that for one small business, you probably can take on a second and a third.

6. Running Errands

If you have a car or a reliable bicycle you may be able set up a business running errands. This can involve picking up items at the store, making deliveries or picking up takeout meals. This kind of business has become so popular that there are websites available to connect customers and providers. You can bypass that route and go direct to customers.

Start by spreading the word in your own neighborhood, and by distributing flyers advertising your service. You can decide that you will make deliveries or run errands within one or two miles of your home, charging a fee for each trip that you make.

A side benefit of this business: you’ll get plenty of exercise if you handle errands by bicycle!

What other business ideas can you suggest for teenagers? Leave a comment!


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Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids and can be followed on Twitter at @OutOfYourRut.

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5 Responses to 6 Business Ideas for Teenagers


    The best businesses for kids are ones they can do independently. They don’t need to have someone provide transportation or resources. So that generally means the business is a neighborhood one.
    By setting up in the neighborhood, they also have a greater chance of getting customers because people already know them. Lawn mowing, car washing, pet sitting and babysitting are neighborhood jobs that come to mind.
    One way to brainstorm teen business ideas is to think of jobs other people don’t want to do, and do it well. Dog walking or house cleaning are relatively simple ways for teens to make money. Or you can take a popular idea and focus on one aspect of it. For example, while many teens baby sit during the week, if your teen advertises as the Saturday night babysitter, she will be very much in demand.
    Does your teen do a craft? Bake? These teen business ideas can be developed into viable businesses. Is she a whiz in math? She could tutor others.

  • Kevin

    Hi Brian – Where I live, baby sitters are pulling down at least $10/hour, which you can’t make on a part-time job. And if they’re any good at it, they have more business than they can handle.

  • Bryan

    I remember making some good money when I was a teen babysitting and running errands for people. These ideas are definitely great to keep kids busy and to help them learn responsibility early on. Great article!


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