Making Money On The Side

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May 1, 2012
Philadelphia, PA
My wife delivered our son back in August, at which time she left her job to stay home full-time with him. We planned the pregnancy, and planned for the loss of income.

The bills are all getting paid, but we are chronically short on money for other things like groceries and other everyday expenses. We always figure something out, but we are dipping into savings and charging more things on the credit card to get by, which I don't feel is a sustainable way to go on.

I have been looking for the past 3 months for a part time job (My full time job is from 7am to 5pm.) I know my availability isn't great for retail-type places, but I can't even get a job unloading trucks or stocking shelves at 24-hour places. I have applied to literally every business around here, and nothing.

If I could make around 500-600 extra dollars a month, it would help tremendously. I am thinking about doing something on my own to make money, since I can't seem to find a 2nd job right now.

From July 2012 to July 2014, I was selling used auto parts on Ebay. We have several junkyards within 2 hours of here, and I would pull parts, clean them up, and sell on Ebay. I would mostly sell small interior pieces, like gloveboxes, ashtrays, console lids, things like that. I stayed away from electronic items because I don't know how to test them, and I don't want to get into selling and returning defective electronic parts.

Most of the cars and trucks in these yards are from the 1990's and early 2000's.

I stopped doing because I was netting around $100 per month, which really wasn't worth the time of 8+ hours on a Sunday driving and collecting parts, and then another night during the week out in the shed cleaning, photographing, and boxing parts and then listing them.

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So, I'm wondering if anyone know of any good ideas to make money on the side, or perhaps any junkyard items that would be more profitable to pull and sell?

It's frustrating because I am capable and willing to work to provide for my family, and I can't seem to find another job. Mentally, I'm at a bit of a standstill on what I could do on my own to generate some more income.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Edit: We have cut our expenses as much as I think we can. Cook at home every night getting creative with inexpensive ingredients, lowest basic cable/internet service, cut out unnecessary cell phone features, shopped our auto/home insurance, ect, and I think we are as low as we can be on those things.
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Originally Posted By: caravanmike
Auto body work on the side at night.

I agree but he has to be careful, if his current employer thinks he is taking ANY business from the shop, he might be out of a job altogether.

Perhaps refinishing the plastic wheelcovers on popular used cars like hondas etc. But some junkyards already farm out the good wheel covers to larger refinishers.

Another thought is learning detailing and polishing reviving old paint, you could sell your knowledge of buffing polishing as an auto painter. If you did 5 cars on a weekend, could you make enough?
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The work at an auto body jobber- we supply material to shops, we don't do any work here. I am able to buy supplies for cost, meaning I have access to relatively cheap auto paint.

One thing I was thinking about is the color-changing paint. What do you think about painting relatively ordinary items with color-changing paint and selling them on Ebay, Etsy, ect? I have painted our mailbox like the Mystichrome mustangs, green to blue to purple as you walk past the house. Pretty cool looking. I wonder what kind of items people would like.
What's your day job and what are your skills?

I'll assume you can at least do basic automotive stuff.

You can flip cars on craigslist. PA has state inspections so buy some $300 clunker, get it legal, sell for $1500. Bonus points if you can figure out how to do it without putting it in your name. Best cars need brake lines... tons of labor, cheap on parts. Used tires and DIY string alignment vs $900 bill at the brick & mortar shop. "Around here" used tires list for crazy high prices on CL, see if a yard will give you a "truckload deal". Include pictures, tread depths, and photograph them with side lighting to accentuate the tread. Junkyards and tire dealers are "too busy" to do this. Naturally include the size a couple different ways, eg
205 55 15, P205-55-15, P205/55R15 etc.

Get college textbooks from yard sales and sell them on if that's still "a thing".

Wedding photography/ DJing.

Web design/ maintenance.

Hospital security/ orderly 3rd shift. CNA-ing weekends. Some 3rd shift CNAs read books while geezers sleep in case they need to get up to go potty.

Can you bartend? Can the wife? Just a few late hours a week, nice tips.

Any seasonal work at ski areas?

I've BTDT, keeping a lousy paying job in television for the wierd hours so I don't need daycare.
Originally Posted By: Bob5150
The work at an auto body jobber- we supply material to shops, we don't do any work here. I am able to buy supplies for cost, meaning I have access to relatively cheap auto paint.

How hard would it be to set up a spray booth at home and paint cars? When you need extra money, focus on your strengths, can you paint cars on the weekends/nights?
Get rid of cable if you can. We only have internet, OTA digital TV, and amazon prime. Cheaper and more than we could ever watch.

What cell phone plan do you have? We switched to Pageplus as its a lot cheaper, less than $9 a month per phone. But we use no data either.

Do you rent or "own" a home or apartment? I have my own home and still do auto work on the side. Nothing major mostly brake work, 100k services, oil changes, etc... Not steady but good money and also I piggy back on customer orders for parts to save shipping or use advance auto with coupons and cashback sites.

Originally Posted By: Char Baby
Do research to see if you qualify for assistance! Even if you are too proud!

Yea when I was young my family got the Gov Cheese and that is with both of my parents working. So see if you qualify for food stamps at least. Better than nothing and little things like that help a lot more than you think. They can allow you to save a little more money for a safety net. Something will break or go bad and you will need to be ready for that. Also try not to carry any debt on your credit card. That interest adds up and equals you paying more for things than you should have.

But one bad thing... they stopped making Gov Cheese. I say that as when I was in college years ago I was going to go and pay someone cash for their block. It made the BEST grill cheese sandwich's. So no more
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Maybe in a few months you wife could start taking a kid or two for daycare? $3-400/week goes a long way and plus you get to spend time with your kid instead of working more.
Two side jobs I used to do that I could have worked full time at were...worked for a couple local real estate agencies putting "curb appeal" on their various homes for sale if the owners wanted it.

Another I did well at was doing custom hand textured drywall. Its very hard work and time consuming thus not many people get into this line of work but I could have made a business out of it and busy full time.
Originally Posted By: IndyIan
Maybe in a few months you wife could start taking a kid or two for daycare? $3-400/week goes a long way and plus you get to spend time with your kid instead of working more.

This would make the most sense but also somewhat hard to find a kid to watch over.

Aside from ebay, do you spend time on forums of the cars you own? Going off what you stated on finding the harder to find parts, my trips to the JY normally nets me money because i target 4th gen maxima harder to find stuff like foglights. Those foglights can net me $50 and its only a handful of bolts. Same with those ES300 projector fogs.

I always have myself available for auto and computer repairs, sometimes they work out great and sometimes i end up making like $5/hour. Its harder and harder now but you have the right attitude, just keep looking and something will fall into your lap.
If you're talented with mechanical repairs, perhaps you could do small engine repair/maintenance out of your home? Not sure about your area, but where I live there seems to be a shortage of guys who fix lawn mowers and snowblowers.
I think knowing what you do at your current day job would help. I think the first step you should take is to speak with your current employer is explain the situation to him/her. It wont be easy but once you do maybe they can give you an extra few hours of work once or twice a week, or a bit of a raise, or who knows, if your handy they might find odd things that need to be done. I would start with that. I wouldnt bother selling stuff on ebay..or craigslist..its alot of work and alot to compete with..i posted tires up and an hour later they were on page 2 and within 4 hrs on page 25..snow removal places a good idea to see if they need extra hands etc..also talk to ppl you know and let them know what you are looking for in terms of work..there has to be something out there that is say paper route as another suggestion..but again without knowing what you do/what your skills are its hard to say. All I can say is, good luck! I hope this helps
Dentless autobody repair. You'd have to get the tools and learn about it, but it doesn't look all that hard to do. I know around here, especially during hail season, businesses pop up like foam on a mug of beer. You could put a small advertisement on craigslist. Those guys make a TON of money.
Originally Posted By: IndyIan
Maybe in a few months you wife could start taking a kid or two for daycare? $3-400/week goes a long way and plus you get to spend time with your kid instead of working more.

This makes a lot of sense, lowest cost option. Add another crib to the baby room and if you can keep someones child you know, for less than they pay for a large daycare, cash money both of you would benefit.
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In the city here, daycare run out of a private home can charge $40/day, everyday, even if the kid stays home or the family goes on vacation. Seem crazy to me, but I guess that's what the market will bear...
It all depends on what type of person your wife is though. Its not a job you can do for the money and there isn't many sick days...
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