The following is from the Secret Information site where I have received permission to reprint excerpts for the Michigan Survival Guide. Offering TWO to start the series…
This can be an instant income if it is snowy and you have a strong back and a shovel. It is best suited to those who can work fast and hard for a long period of time. I highly recommend that you use a plastic shovel because of the lighter weight. That extra pound or two you lift with the metal shovel adds up after a few thousand times in a day.
You can offer you services to any homeowner or business owner. Never mind the regulations about soliciting. This is about survival, so start knocking on doors and if city officials bother you, apologize, feign ignorance, and find a new neighborhood to try.
The reason this is a good instant business for a fast worker is that you can make the most money doing this if you charge a set rate for a job and then do it fast. I can tell you from experience that nobody expects to pay less than $10 for even a small driveway, and I have shoveled some driveways in less than ten minutes. Monitor yourself as you start shoveling, so you can accurately estimate the time each job will take. Then aim for at least $20 per hour in your pricing.
This rate allows you to expand the business, by the way. If you find a strong fast young person who wants to make some money, he might work for $10 per hour while you arrange the jobs and pocket the difference. This is of course, a seasonal business, and a temporary one if you don’t want to enter retirement as a hunchback.
Hair Cutting (JGillman’s Reminder: “I am not the author of the following suggestions – Readers should exercise best judgment in how they proceed”)
I used to pay a sister of a friend $10 to cut my hair. It took her about twenty minutes. Her only tools? A cheap brush, a comb, and a special pair of scissors that cost her $60. She had trained as a beautician years before but never finished her licensing requirements. She did a better job than any licensed beautician had done for me.
Yes, I am advocating working without proper licenses if necessary. Licensing is designed to protect profits and wages of those in an industry. The “public good” justifications are only political cover (there never has been a rash of accidental hair cutting deaths from unlicensed practitioners).
If you can safely get away with it, ignore unjust laws that prevent you from making money. Be honest with your customers though, since they have every right to know that you are unlicensed, in case that is important to them.
If you are running an unlicensed hair salon in your basement, you can probably undercut the prices of legal” ones, and still make $20 per hour. The primary challenge will be getting enough clients. In any case, if you have these skills, you can start getting the word out to everyone you know. You can at least make a little cash while looking for the next job or business.
When we were children I recall a local man coming to the house and cutting the hair of my father, myself and my four brothers in the basement. I don’t know what my father paid him, but I don’t think he spent more than an hour on the six of us. Having all the kids hair cut at once for a discount could make a comeback in hard times, so you might consider a mobile service where you can do several cuts at most stops. ~