One of the only downsides to finding a side hustle online is that they typically have a delay in their payout. Remember being a kid and mowing a lawn and immediately having cash in your pocket? That’s a great feeling, and it’s one you can recapture in your very neighborhood right now.
Just because there are tons of opportunities online doesn’t mean people in your neighborhood stopped needing odd jobs done for them. In fact, if you’re handy with tools, gardening, or other manual labor, you can make a good chunk of money doing handiwork for your neighbors. With a little legwork, you can find odd jobs in your neighborhood today that pay immediately.
Just what are “odd jobs”?
The term odd jobs is a catch-all for any type of work someone might need doing for them. This can range from painting, mowing and weeding, to shoveling snow or other jobs people can’t or don’t want to do. You might have an elderly neighbor who can’t mow anymore or new parents who don’t have the time to weed their yard. All of them are willing to pay for someone else to do the job for them.
The internet has changed the terminology of odd jobs to “gig economy” in many places, but the concept remains the same. The nice thing about doing odd jobs in your city is that you’re not just earning money, you’re actively helping your neighbors.
While companies like Instacart or Door Dash technically provide a side hustle opportunity in your neighborhood, that’s not what I’m talking about today. These companies take a part of the profit and you don’t get paid out immediately. We’re going to look at ways you can find jobs you do yourself, on your time, and earning your own money locally.
However you feel about Facebook, it seems like everyone is on it now. This means a world of opportunity to connect with your local community through Facebook groups and the Marketplace. One way to find odd jobs in your area is to search for local buy/sell/trade groups. From there, you can post that you’re offering handiwork services, or look for people requesting them. I see dozens in my Facebook groups every day, seeking a painter or someone to mow a lawn.
You can also use Facebook to transform your odd jobs into a thriving business by creating a page for yourself. As you complete jobs in your neighborhood, ask that your customers review you online. This will help legitimize your services and get you new clients.
The NextDoor app exploded in popularity because of the pandemic, linking communities like never before. You can create an account as long as you live in a specific area, and you get access to posts and news for your neighborhood. This allows you to see people’s requests for services, as well as advertise your own. Our local NextDoor has everything from lawn maintenance and painting to tarot reading and babysitting jobs; it’s one of the best tools for finding local work.
Because NextDoor deals with actual communities, your reputation will go with you, so the better you are at a service, the better your reputation will serve you.
All of the grocery stores in our area have bulletin boards as you enter and exit. They’re filled with buy/sell postings, but they’re a great place to offer your services as well. Take a few minutes to create something with Canva or another creative app and make a lot of copies. You can keep them in your car and post them up wherever you find a community bulletin board. You might be surprised at how easily you find work doing this.
One of the best places to find local items for sale is also a great place to find odd jobs in your area. Craigslist allows you to both post hat services you offer and in what area, as well as respond to people looking for help. You can narrow your search down to your local zip code, or broaden your horizons and search your entire city.
Craigslist is great because it’s less intrusive than Facebook or NextDoor. You don’t need to create an account, and you can choose who you respond to, even if they contact you through your posts. If you do decide to springboard from odd jobs to creating a business, Craiglist is a fantastic place to advertise your services as well.
Designed specifically for multi-unit buildings in large cities, MyCoop connects you to your neighbors in big apartments in large cities like Chicago. It’s like NextDoor but cozier, creating micro-community forums within your own apartment building or high rise. Though it’s a global site now, it’s not hugely useful if you don’t live in a major city just yet. You can post services and respond to job requests, though, making it useful if you live in a building like this.
Like NextDoor, Patch is a community group that allows you to communicate with your neighbors in real-time. It’s very news-focused, bringing you up-to-date, unfiltered information for your area that might go otherwise unreported by larger media outlets.
If writing is a passion of yours and you love the idea of getting paid to write, you can even apply to get hired as a community news curator, which is a fun little side gig itself. Patch is about as widely available as NextDoor, and it’s a good idea to be on both if you can.
Be friendly and outgoing
One of the easiest ways to find odd jobs is to be approachable and friendly. It’s generally inadvisable to canvas your neighborhood with fliers for your services, but you can ask local businesses if you can leave a stack for people to grab, or post a flyer in their window. Finding ways to put your name out there without being intrusive or giving people garbage they have to deal with is a great method for finding customers.
Probably the most important thing when looking for odd jobs in your neighborhood is to reliable, friendly, and great at what you do. If people can count on you to do a great job on a regular basis, they’re going to keep asking you to do work for them. What’s more, they’re going to tell their friends about their gardener, painter, lawn person, or whatever it is that you do well. My husband’s best friend built a full-on lawn care business from word of mouth, and he started by doing odd jobs for neighbors.
Not all side hustles are online – there are many great opportunities to make cash in your neighborhood right now. Get out there, network, and find your next client today!
Do you have some tried and trusted methods for finding odd jobs in your neighborhood that I didn’t cover? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!