Remember when you were a kid and summer meant building sand castles at the beach and playing hide-and-seek in the sun? These lazy summer days, however alluring, are just not possible for most people. Students have to start paying off loans; working professionals need supplemental income. Many people are still unemployed. And, since economists are saying those looking for summer work should start now (as in, literally, right this very second), we thought we'd streamline your search by making some seasonal suggestions, guaranteed to bring in more money than that old lemonade stand.
Damon Green made more money as a golf caddy in 2007 than he did as a professional golf player in 1995. Top-tier PGA caddies make more than $1,000 a week plus gratuities (Tigers Woods once gave his caddy, Steve Williams, a $140,000 Ford GT as a tip) and a percentage of their golfer's winnings.
Sure, you probably won't score a summer job caddying for Phil Mickelson, but non-pro caddies can also make considerable cash: anywhere from $35-$100 a bag plus tips, depending on the exclusivity of the golf club. Those of you with a love for the game (or, maybe, just a love of money) should apply at the swankiest golf course within driving distance and work your way to the Masters.
Makes sense, doesn't it? Summer is about the sun and the sand, so why not work on a beach? Lifeguards are all paid differently. Most make from $12to $24 an hour, depending on experience and venue. Working at the YMCA probably won't net as much income as working on a private beach, but neither job requires you to spend any money on work clothes.
SPACE CAMP EMPLOYEE
Salaried employees at a Space Camp or Academy make, on average, $49,000 a year. Space Camp counselors, on the other hand, make an hourly wage comparable to, well, counselors: anywhere from $8 to $15 an hour. This money's not exactly out of this world, but remember you're being paid to play. Not too many people can say that they've manned Mission Control, simulated multi-axis training or mastered zero gravity.
They sing, they dance, they get paid anywhere from $450 to $4,000 a week, depending on how talented they are. Headliners, of course, bring in the big bucks; musicians and back-up dancers make less ($450-$2,000 on average.) But all cruise performers are privy to the perks of being on a ship. Room, board and travel is provided, free of charge to almost all entertainers, so it costs more to live on land then at sea.
Fitness trainers who work for a gym or a sports club make $40,000-$60,000 a year. Adequate earnings, sure, but if you're lucky, skilled and/or muscled enough to freelance, you can bring in anywhere from $60,000-$100,000 a year. And, if you're doing squats and sit-ups with Madonna, well, you can make even more than that. Tracy Anderson, who trains Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities, charges $12,300 per client. Yup, this is a job that keeps you physically and financially fit.
An au pair is a foreign domestic assistant who works for and lives with a host family in need of some assistance. Most au pairs baby-sit, cook and/or clean. They're not all paid particularly well. The standard rate is between $130-$164 a week, plus supplements, depending on the age of the children. However, this is a job you do for the benefits, since au pairs get to travel, all expenses paid, with the family. (You might want to try to find a family that frequently "summers.") Kidding aside, the U.S. actually runs an Au Pair Program, similar to a foreign student-exchange. Those who can't afford to travel abroad should look into its guidelines and stipulations.
It sounds appealing: You're being paid to go on nature hikes in Yellowstone. Or take long walks around the Louvre. Not to mention that being a tour guide is surprisingly lucrative. Trained tour directors make about $20 a hour or $350 a week. Non-trained tour guides, obviously, make less, around $10-$15 an hour, not including gratuities. Of course, if you're showing people around theme parks in Disneyland, this lower hourly wage is somewhat forgivable.
SPORTSFISHING CHARTER CAPTAIN
While you're not likely to make much money catching fish yourself, you can bring in a substantial income chartering your boat in say, Cabo San Lucas. Yes, this requires a specific skill set and, also, a fishing boat, but those who how happen to have both can make anywhere from $35 an hour to $1,200 a day!
Those who have a spare yacht can rent it out for a significantly higher price ... though, they probably don't need the extra money.
If you're sitting on a teacher's certification or you're a closeted physics genius, you might want to put an ad in your local paper. Children in summer school may need additional assistance and on-demand tutors have been known to ask for $10-$80 an hour, depending on their skill set. Whatever the pay rate, private tutoring can provide substantial supplemental income ... and an opportunity to pay it forward.
REFEREE AT THE WORLD CUP
Just because David Beckham is out, doesn't mean you shouldn't want in. Referees selected to mediate at the FIFA World Cup will make approximately $40,000 at the tournament. Keep in mind, this is for one month of work! World Cup South Africa runs from June 11 to July 11. It's probably too late to get in on this year's action, but those interested should look ahead to Brazil 2014.
Perhaps this profession isn't as flashy as "cruise performer" or as quirky as "space camp counselor." It's still just as lucrative. OK, so, technically, wait staff make approximately $8,751 a year, but this is before gratuities. Servers in high-volume restaurants actually make, on average, $50 to $100 a night (roughly around $15-$25 a hour) and that's just the tip of the iceberg. You'd be amazed at how much a cocktail waitress for a busy nightclub can bring home.
The downside? Restaurants are busiest on Fridays, Saturday and Sundays, so you'll probably have to give up weekends. However, few jobs are going to provide you with such a steady source of cash. And restaurants are always hiring.
CREW MEMBER FOR A FIREWORKS COMPANY
Last year, Macy's spent $7.2 million on the 30,000 shells of fireworks that were used in its annual Fourth of July display. This figure means something to the show's operators, who make a percentage of the overall cost. Crew managers don't do too badly either. Companies such as Tri-state Fireworks Inc. pay managers an average location salary of $2300. For 19 days of work. Kind of makes you want to go blow stuff up.