Whether you're on break from school or just tired of sitting in an office, summer can be the perfect time to start a business. We've rounded up 10 business ideas that you can get up and running in the summer months, including house care, vacation rental coordinator, invitation designer and family driver.
1. Vacation house care
Summer is vacation season, but lots of people are hesitant to leave their houses empty for extended periods of time. You can solve that problem for them by offering vacation house care.
The services you offer may vary depending on the home and could include:
- Walking, feeding and grooming pets
- Watering or pruning plants
- Harvesting vegetables and flowers
- Bringing in mail and newspapers
- Supervising maintenance workers or contractors working on the house or yard
- Staying overnight to keep an eye on things
Whether you're living in the home or stopping by once a day, offering a variety of services will help you appeal to the broadest possible range of clients. And if you offer extended house care, you can even live rent-free for several weeks or even months of the year.
Earnings: $7 to $21 per hour, depending on your location and duties, plus housing.
Even though most kids are out of school in the summer, parents may want them to keep up with their studies, prep for important tests or learn new skills to get ahead before the next school year. Plus learning can keep some kids out of trouble.
If you are particularly skilled at a subject or have a related degree, you can offer tutoring in a specific field, such as writing, calculus or American history. For high school or college students, you can offer test prep tutoring to help them prepare for the SATs, GREs or LSATs. If you speak another language, you can teach basic grammar or offer conversational practice.
Earnings: $10 to $50 per hour, depending on your location, subject expertise and level of education.
3. Skilled instructor
Summer is a perfect time for both children and adults to learn a new skill. If you have a hobby -- or a profession — that others might want to learn about, consider offering hourly instruction this summer.
Lessons you can offer both children and adults:
- How to play a musical instrument or sing
- Swimming or diving practice
- Sports lessons, such as tennis or golf
- Painting, drawing or other artistic skills
- Hobbies and crafts, including knitting, sewing or woodworking
- Yoga, dance or other physical activities
4. Vacation rental coordinator
The vacation rental market is expanding as more and more people post their homes on sites like AirBnb and VRBO. And if hosts are renting out their space while they're out town, they need someone nearby to manage the logistics of check in, handing over keys and answering questions.
As a vacation rental coordinator, you can handle all those details in only a few hours or a few text messages per day. You can also offer add-on services such as cleaning, changing linens or stocking food for renters. Some coordinators offer their services independently, while others post on websites such as Airhosta.
Earnings: usually a commission of 18 percent to 30 percent of the listing price.
5. Lawn and garden care
Whether you're marketing to homeowners who are out of town or who don't want to be out in the heat, summer is an ideal time to offer lawn care and gardening, including:
- Trimming branches or pruning bushes
- Planting flowers, shrubs, herbs or vegetables
- Harvesting produce from gardens
- Lawn seeding
You can advertise for lawn care services on platforms like Thumbtack, with local flyers, or by word-of-mouth.
Earnings: $9 to $25 per hour, depending on your location and services offered.
6. Family driver
Summer may mean that kids are out of school, but their parents are still at work. That means mom and dad need someone else to drive their children to swim lessons, summer camp, playdates or, for older children, to and from work.
If you already have a car and a good driving record, you can fill this role as a family driver. This is different from a babysitter because you aren't responsible for watching the kids during the day; your job is transportation while parents are at work or otherwise busy. You'll need to make sure your insurance is up to date and your car has passed all necessary local inspections.
Earnings: $10 to $45 per hour, depending on location and the distance you are driving.
7. Pet walker
Working adults aren't just responsible for children. Many of them have pets that need to get out during the day as well — and plenty of people don't want to be outside and sweating once the temperature goes up.
Pet walking not only has a low overhead, it also allows you to use your available time efficiently. Because you can walk more than one pet at a time, you can increase your hourly profit without charging more per customer.
Earnings: $9 to $25 per hour.
8. Invitation designer
Summer is party season. Weddings, birthday parties, showers, family reunions and company picnics are all more likely to occur in the summer months. And the people throwing these events will often pay good money to have someone else design the invitation for them.
If you have strong illustration skills, you can sell custom designs or illustrations for higher prices. But even without an artist background, free design software such as Canva will allow you to make a variety of designs with just a little time and creativity. Websites like Etsy allow you to upload a PDF of your design and sell it an infinite number of times with no need to worry about printing or shipping.
Earnings: $3 to 45 per sale for pre-made designs, $75 to $300 for custom designs.
Those parties also need someone to supply the food. And though the hosts of larger events may turn to restaurants or chains for catering, smaller scale or local catering is perfect for families hosting birthday parties, family brunches or baby showers.
If you are a creative cook or skilled baker, tap into your word-of-mouth network to start supplying desserts, build-your-own bars or finger food. If you are offering services to more than just family and friends, you will need to look into local food safety codes and insurance regulations.
Earnings: $8 to $18 per hour, depending on your location and the scale of the event.
10. Party entertainment
Of course, events also need activities and games. You can put your creative skills to use at birthday parties or company picnics providing entertainment for families.
Popular forms of summer party entertainment include:
- Face painting
- Balloon animals
- Magic tricks
- Musicians or DJs
You can also provide the equipment for partygoers to entertain themselves, such as renting out equipment for lawn games or baking cakes for a cake walk.
No matter what type of business you start this summer, be sure to check your local laws to ensure that you comply with any necessary tax, liability and insurance regulations.