In this installment, we are going to talk about jobs for 13 year olds. While your initial reaction may be that 13 year olds can’t be hired, we would encourage you to think creatively about how people at this age can make additional money.
According to the US Department of Labor, 14 is the minimum age that you are able to work in “non-agricultural” jobs. While states can have their own child labor laws, when they differ from the federal law then the higher standard must be used. This means that jobs for 13 year olds are limited to “non-formal” work. By this I mean, you can’t go down to your local grocery store and get hired as a standard employee. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t earn money in an “off the books” manner from a legitimate business. For instance, if that same local grocery had a big clean-up project and was going to pay cash to whoever would come help, you may be able to land something like this. The point is, don’t think about being 13 as merely a roadblock to employment. You can still make money at any age, you just have to think about it a little differently.
Teenage Lawn Care Jobs
One job that you can do, and may already do at your own house, is mow the lawn. This isn’t just limited to something boys can do, as many girls like physical work and being outside as well. As long as you can meet the physical challenge of the job, you should be able to find work in your neighborhood.
Where to start? Ideally you should start by mowing the lawn for your parents, if you don’t already. Not only is this great practice, but it also shows what kind of work you can do if you approach your neighbor about mowing their lawn. If your own yard is poorly done, they probably won’t be too eager to pay you to start mowing their lawn. So whether your parents pay you or not, you should definitely start at home.
The next step is to go find yards to mow. Likely people won’t be advertising that they are looking for someone to mow their yard, so you need to get out there and advertise your service. There are a couple of easy ways to do this:
- Go door to door. Walk up and down your street (with parental permission of course) and knock on doors. Introduce yourself, tell them you are looking to make some extra money this summer and would like to offer to cut their grass. This is the simplest and cheapest way to get started. If you are nice and friendly, you may just find a couple of yards that you can mow on a weekly basis. The real key is, once you land the job you need to make sure you do great work. Don’t make people re-think their decision. As far as pay, they may offer you a certain amount or they may ask what you’d charge. Look at the size of the lawn and compare it to your own lawn, that you have already been mowing. Think about how much time it will take you how much that is worth to you. As a ballpark, maybe $20 – $30 for something that takes an hour or less, but this is up to you and the home owner.
- Make Signs. See if your parents will help you make some signs. Many times local restaurants and public places will have bulletin boards where you can hang a piece of paper advertising your service. Print something out that is eye catching, and get to hanging. Another idea for a sign is to get a plastic yard sign for your house, similar to what you might see for a local election. Rather than “Vote Yes on Issue 2” your sign could say “Affordable Lawn Care – Call _____”
Both of these are very simple and get you well on your way to landing that first lawn care gig. No matter how you feel about mowing lawns, it is at least worth a second look simply because of the money that can be made. Ask a 14 year old friend how long it takes them to make $30 working in a minimum wage fast food job. Getting paid a good bit of cash for about an hour worth of work is a great deal.
Teenage Childcare Jobs
If you love babysitting, or have always wanted to have this responsibility, then this is another great category of jobs for 13 year olds. You should be realistic that whether you think it is fair or not, some parents won’t trust someone your age to care for their kids alone. Also many parents regard girls to be more mature and responsible than boys, so if you are a boy looking to babysit you may have an uphill battle.
Like lawn care, childcare can also bring in a good amount of extra money. Often you are paid cash at the end of the night, and if this is something you enjoy then it may not even feel like “work.” To get started, you’ll have your best luck by talking to family and close family friends who know you are responsible enough to watch their kids. Maybe you’ve had experience supervising your own younger brothers and sisters. If so, make sure you point that out to anyone who may be concerned about your ability to care for their children. It is likely that your age may be a hindrance if trying to find childcare jobs from someone who you don’t already know. So ask your parents if they can think of anyone who may need a babysitter on occasion. They may be able to help you brainstorm and even get you connected with the right situation to make some extra money.
You should also be open to finding odd jobs to make extra money. One of the keys to finding jobs for 13 year olds is flexibility. If you have a family member that owns a small business, call and ask if there is something you may be able to help with. Again, they wouldn’t bring you on as an employee, but may give you cash for helping them out.
An example might be if you have an uncle who works on heating and air conditioners, there may be times where he needs to remove an old unit and install a new one. He may need somebody to ride along and help him lift out the old and drop in the new. This may be the perfect way to pick up some extra cash on a Saturday morning or over the summer. There is certainly no harm in asking, and many times small business owners need some help with odd jobs and they would be happy to find a dependable teenager to do the work. Ask your parents if they have any ideas about family or friends that might need a hand from time to time.
Other odd jobs for 13 years could include doing some impromptu car washing. This consists of going door to door in your neighborhood at time when people may be home, perhaps mid-morning on a Saturday, and ask if you can wash their car. It should be easy to spot who needs it the worst! You can get started by purchasing a car wash kit and then start looking for dirty cars. If you don’t want to go door to door, if you have a driveway of your own that someone could pull into, put out a sign in front of your house that you are doing a $5 car wash! It should only take 5 – 10 minutes to give a good exterior wash, so you can really pick up some extra money if you live in a place that has a fair amount of cars driving by.
Final thought on jobs for 13 year olds
If you aren’t able to find a job at age 13, don’t lose heart. You have many years ahead of your to work! As early as next year you will have a number of different opportunities open to you for formal employment, so don’t lose heart. Click here to learn more about jobs for 14 year olds.