Jobs that pay out in cash under the table (sometimes called "working off the books") are essentially jobs which are paid out in cash. These sorts of jobs that pay cash are actually great opportunities to self-employment when conventional job search prospects fail. (We do not advocate income tax evasion, so remember your responsibility to declare your earned cash income at tax time!)
Where and How Do I Get a Job That Pays Cash Under the Table?
With so many people being precariously employed in this new gig economy, and many of the best paying full-time jobs seemingly being gone, it is no surprise that more people are turning to self-employment and creating their own jobs.
All that you really need to get a job that pays cash is:
- Create an inventory of all the skills you have to offer to solve problems for others or otherwise make your skills useful to others
- Make a list of problems that people have which they are willing to pay others for. Spend some time reading websites like Quora, Reddit, and Yahoo to find answers for common problems people have that they might be willing to pay you to help them with.
- Finally, leverage your skills against existing demand for your services, and right there you can create your own cash paying job.
What kind of jobs can one get under the table?
Here are lots of ideas to get you thinking of something that you can do to get yourself out of a bad situation. If you can creatively find ways to leverage your skills to solve problems for others, you will end up with some solid ideas for real cash paying jobs!
If you are good with math, science or languages, this could be a good under the table job for you. Those areas would tend to pay the most for tutoring as they are the subjects that most students have the greatest difficulty with.
Working as a tutor, you can pretty much set your own hours and do not need an office to work from either. It is a very low-overhead job with the added benefit of limited competition as there will only be so many people local to you with these teachable skills.
Writing or Proofreading Essays For Students
We are not talking outright plagiarism here, but proofreading and suggesting edits and helping with things like citations and bibliographies. You could run ads on local websites or better yet leave adverts up around universities.
This sort of thing will likely be very busy come exam time in the late fall and early spring, but by charging so much per page and by the nature of the subject matter and deadline required, you can make some good money at this. And it doesn't have to be local either as you could be doing this for students everywhere, as you work from home for cash!
The using sort of gardening work, which involves planting flowers, plants and herbs in people's yards, although seasonal, might be perfect if you have a green thumb.
Or, alternately, how about something unusual here, like setting up vegetable gardens in people’s backyard, for a fee? You could setup the pesticide-free garden, and maintain it for busy working people who want to eat healthy and know where their food is coming from. A great example of the opportunity with an idea is this guy on the East coast who makes 5k a month farming in other people's yards!
Snow Removal & Snow Shoveling
Another seasonal job, but a good one with lots of opportunity, especially given an aging population who might need help with this sort of thing. There is a guy I know in my town who makes at least $100 a day shoveling driveways for elderly people.
If you have a truck and a simple snowblower, you could even make more money here because of the efficiency that such a tool offers you.
Direct Marketing Online
Selling an end product which is shipped using drop shipping. I would scour sites like Alibaba.com for manufacturers and get some samples, after seeing what the search volume and demand is in Amazon.com and Google search results.
As far as a "drop shipping" model goes, where you get the order and forward it to a manufacturer or warehouse someplace to ship directly to a customer, the best option here might be the "FBA" or fulfilled by Amazon.com, where the manufacturer ships directly to Amazon's warehouse and you just manage the orders and get paid.
Pro-tip: there are many, many killer courses on Udemy.com about this business of making money from Amazon, and sometimes they come on sale for very cheap (like $20 or so). If this interests you, check this out as it could lead to a whole new stable income for you.
Apart from that, you can do even better if you can actually manufacture the product yourself. For example, lately I am looking into 3-D printing. With that, I could make some small item with no moving parts and sell it directly without any middleman involved.
With sites like Wordpress.com and Wix.com, it is much harder to make money building websites for people, as these sites offer free website builders and hosting for them.
But you still could make good money on the side building some small websites for local businesses on the cheap as a side hustle. A small landscaping company which might only need a 5-6 page website with a contact form for $500 dollars. Throw in some cheap shared hosting as a bonus and some free support and there you go.
Build a site a week like that and it is a couple of thousand in your pocket.
Working for yourself and living on a shoestring budget? Living on $12,000 a Year
With coding skills, particularly in sought-after languages like .Net, python and C++ or Java, you can make great money making either mobile or online applications or tools for people, especially private companies who need some custom coding done. Great places to advertise your skills are sites such as Upwork.com.
If you have no programming skills, don't fret, as it’s no secret that most developers hate writing documentation or making how-to screencasts. You could earn some cash doing that.
There is always demand for a nanny or “au pair”. Maybe a good opportunity for you to travel and work abroad. If you don't have any ties and a good passport, you can do that from anywhere.
However being a nanny is much more than a babysitter. If you really love children and connect with them, a nanny job might work for you as nannies are responsible for the social and intellectual development of the kids that they are in charge of.
Everything from learning languages, potty training and etiquette are within the realm of a trained nanny.
Not quite as advanced as being a nanny, a babysitter is responsible for the well-being and care of children while their parents are away.
Quite often, a babysitting job can be a full time, long-term gig, as once you've established trust with parents and the children, they are going to want to rely on your as it is in their comfort zone. A barrier might be if you do not have any references, but that can be addressed by doing babysitting for some friends and co-workers.
A personal assistant is someone who does odd jobs for you. Whether it is taking seniors to doctor appointments or grocery shopping, or standing in line and paying parking tickets or dealing with some business at local city hall, personal assistants can be called on to do anything, really.
Here you are best to make an inventory of all the things you have to offer and all of your resources. If you are a good driver with a reliable vehicle, or have good language and technical or IT skills etc, these sorts of things I would inventory on a list and then on another list, make an inventory or the common problems people might have, but need to pay someone for as they might be too busy with their lives or just not know how to do.
Artisan or Crafter
A relative of mine is a potter and made great money for decades doing pottery and ceramics and selling it at local craft shows year-round. There are so many things you can do here, like the more obvious crafts like silver smithing and jewelry making, to glass blowing to making custom bird feeders with your fine carpentry skills.
But scouring sites like Etsy.com and Pinterest, you can get tons of crazy ideas to make things that are very novel. At the craft shows my relative went to, there was a guy in the next booth who made drink trays made out of old wood and refinished with vintage Coca-Cola and liquor ads with some sort of lamination.
There was another seller who took old maps and made lampshades out of them and sold old lamps with them. Again, we are only limited by our imagination.
Working at a job that pays cash is great when you are trying to Get Rid Of Student Loan Debt
This is an easy one. So many people are doing this and not declaring their taxes however that I've even heard that building supply stores are being contacted by the IRS to catch contractors working under the table and not declaring their income.
Of course this is a very, very bad idea because it is illegal and will catch up with you. But there is nothing wrong with making some cash on the side by doing some sort of building trades work like plumbing, electrical, carpentry or other. You could even create a niche and build custom docks for high income folks in cottage country.
With more and more people taking up cycling for health and also for cost-efficient transportation, this is only going to get more and more popular, hence the need for your bicycle repair skills.
Or maybe even start a go fund me for a bicycle rental startup. Various cities have these and they serve people pretty well.
With home appliances being relatively cheap and replaceable, there might still be money to be made here. Some small repairs might still be cheaper than outright replacement of the whole appliance.
And then specializing with something like doing repairs for laundromats could also work out.
Although because there is a relatively low barrier of entry to this vocation, it can pay quite well and especially if you can specialize working with one group, like older athletes. There are also numerous online trainers who charge as much as $100 a month to train people from all around the world online.
This is another great option to earn cash from home! You could also setup an online forum where users can comment and upload videos of themselves training and receive feedback.
Jeweler or Silversmith
If you have these sorts of skills or the interest and dexterity to create custom jewelry for people, this could be a massive gig opportunity, as there are no shortage of craft shows year-round, nationwide for you to sell your rings and necklaces at.
At the same time, create an online store and sell on sites like Etsy.com and Pinterest.
Accounting & Income Tax Preparation
Having knowledge of tax laws and access to income tax preparation software could easily create a nice little niche for you in doing the personal taxes of friends and family members and small business local to you.
One of the most enduring ways to work for cash is to be a mover. You can offer short moves for renters and if you live near a college or university, offer cheap moving services for students.
Doing "odd jobs" like waste removal or yard cleanups and this sort of thing can keep you busy with year-round work, especially if you have reliable transportation and your own tools.
Another classic. If you are good at painting and have the resources like a vehicle and equipment, this is a great portable trade that you can ply anywhere.
In the past 20 years or so, the popularity of yoga has exploded. On every street corner we see yoga studios and more and more people, including men and athletes are discovering its value.
What you could do is to create online video courses in yoga or a Youtube channel - the advertising revenue alone could net you some extra money. Or you could offer yoga lessons in people's homes or for groups in a workplace setting. There are many ways to make some extra money working as a yoga instructor.
Here is another thing that is booming - people taking salsa and ballroom dancing. If you could muscle up the money to rent a small studio, or already have space, you could offer lessons or courses. Or alternately, offer some sort of online video training or write e-books about the subject.
Martial Arts Instruction
When I was younger, I took martial arts for years and kick myself now for not pursuing more certification and ranking, as I this is something that I could so as a side gig. Teaching something that appeals to younger people, like sport Tae Kwon Do or Karate is a great business.
Teaching something more esoteric, like Filipino martial arts or Wing Chun could also be very lucrative because of the relative scarcity in these arts compared to the more mainstream ones.
Same thing as with martial arts instruction. There are numerous websites and Youtube channels that offer boxing instruction. Local to me, there was a guy who lived in a warehouse and started his boxing club out of space in his commercial apartment.
He now rents a small studio and is training some highly ranked amateur boxers and has gotten great media coverage as well.
Writing articles online or writing e-books is something which can provide you with a long term residual income. Although content marketing is more and more competitive, if you can write well about subjects that answer questions for people or entertaining fiction, this could work for you.
You could also specialize and offer content creation services for SEO companies or website owners, or offer: whitepapers, research, technical manuals, market research, marketing materials, copywriting, product reviews, essays for students, and more.
Affiliate Marketing Online
Making money online is getting tougher and tougher, but with a good email list and/or a website with lots of traffic, you can make money from affiliate sites like Amazon, Shareasale or Clickbank.
Typically people need to be exposed to an offer numerous times, so the best way to succeed at affiliate sales is with a mailing list, and there are no shortage of courses on Udemy or Lynda.com on affiliate marketing and email marketing.
Speak another language? Particularly a common one, like Spanish or Mandarin? Working as an interpreter could be the perfect cash gig for you. And with language software like Rosetta Stone, you can brush up on learning another language easier than ever.
Giving specialized (walking) tours in an urban area to a target audience. This can be especially good if you can speak a foreign language.
I have friends of mine who make thousands of dollars every month driving around to small towns, buying and refinishing old furniture. They sell their antiques through various antique fairs and in online ads.
Re-purposing old furniture and doing upholstery repairs is something you could do out of your garage for an extra income.
Reselling Clearance Items
Quite often big box stores and places like Value Village etc, will sell good for up to 80% off. These items can often be sold online for a good markup, provided you have a good niche. I have several friends who do this. They find small items and resell them online.
Growing fruits, vegetables and herbs can make a good side income, provided you have a good location to sell from. Often one can rent space to sell from such as a local farmer's market or roadside stand.
Selling Used Books
Have a look at Amazon's selection of used books. I came across some lithograph art books which were used and selling for hundreds of dollars. There are also sites which sell used textbooks, so you could work as a middleman, buying used textbooks from students at the end of the school year and reselling them.
If you live close to an area which has a lot of waterfront vacation properties, then a great cash job could be offering marine engine repairs, fixing or rebuilding boat motors.
There is a place in the city where I live that has a commercial dog wash and it is quite busy.
Rent your home or apartment to tourists Airbnb or just rent short term direct through classifieds, especially if you live in a tourist area.
I live in a university town and a friend of mine makes 30k a year just cleaning the homes of university professors and staff who are too busy with their careers to keep up with some domestic work. All she had when she started her business was a vehicle and an industrial vacuum cleaner!
Offering delivery for fast food or other local goods can earn a good side income. Also doing liquor delivery after hours.
Working as a bicycle courier or messenger in a big city is something that is still a flourishing industry.
Refurbishing and reselling computers and laptops or custom building computers for people is fetch you good money.
There are a great number of people, myself included, that would rather let their pets stay at home in a familiar, safe surrounding when they go on vacation than in some kennel or boarding facility, where quite often, there is no one to check on the pets overnight.
A pet sitter can keep the animal company and keep their spirits up when their owners are away and can work out a flexible care plan with the owner, paying attention to dietary specifications and giving medications etc.
Dog walking is a massive growth industry. This is highly competitive now, but there is lots of room for you to earn some extra money with this.
Much like pet sitting, house sitters have a great deal of responsibility. Being in charge of the security and maintenance of the property whe the owners are away, house sitters can keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary and make the place look lived in to deter burglars.
They can water plants, pick up mail and flyers in the door and even move cars around in the driveway and turn lights off and on at different times.
Taking garbage to the local dump is another great side gig, especially if you have a truck. Seniors and those without a vehicle are the main customer base.
There are some portable steam cleaners that are not that expensive and could provide a great asset for you to offer carpet cleaning services on the side locally.
Getting some second-hand equipment like floor buffing machines for stripping and refinishing commercial flooring, along with things like mop buckets and vacuum cleaners would be all the outlay that you would need to do some janitorial maintenance work. You could also hire a student and spend your time getting contracts.
Copper and similar scrap metal are especially lucrative. In my neighborhood when I was growing up, there was a guy who would go to all kinds of vacant commercial properties and rip out all the copper pipes and take them to the scrap yard. He would often hire my friend and I and pay us $50 cash for a day's work when we were kids. And that was many years ago.
Don't laugh, there are lots of people making lots of money with this. I know several people who do things like tea leaf reading, Tarot card readings and some who offer astrological charts at various trade shows ("Psychic Fairs"), and make a killing at it.
There are is some software available for providing 1-800 and online psychic services. The company takes a cut and lets you use their technology in exchange.
A timeless classic. Time to clean out that attic and basement. One person's junk really is another's treasure.
Ticket Reselling Online
If you know this niche, and which events to promote, selling tickets online through sites like Craigslist is another way to make some cash.
Aside from things like wedding, graduation and pet photography, one can make a residual income by creating online photography video tutorials.
Small Engine Repair
Repairing riding lawnmowers, landscaping and farming equipment and that sort of thing can fetch some good part time income.
Stamps, sport card collections, etc, can all be things which can be sold on Ebay, Etsy and Pinterest.
Hairdressing is another great portable trade that you can do for cash in people's homes. Big bonus if you are a good color technician as well.
Offering massage, particularly sports massage is a very competitive field and in some places require licenses to work as a massage therapist. An alternative would be to offer the service as some sort of "relaxation therapy".
What about offering a designated driver service where you offer to drive people home in their own vehicle?
Having access to a woodlot with lots of hardwood if you live in a rural area - and delivering it to people is a perfect example of a job that pays cash.
If you are artistically inclined, offering cool custom t-shirts can be a great local or online business. Take a look at "Chairman Meow" for an example of brilliant creativity!
A street musician or so-called "busker" can fetch you some good cash as well as maybe help you sell and otherwise expose your own music directly.
Historical Re-enactment Fairs
There is a massive culture of "creative anachronism", whereby people gather on specific historical dates to literally re-enact historical events, such as the War of 1812 or the US Civil War.
Many of these events have some commercial aspect to them, where everything from period clothing to books to native American crafts are sold.
There are a great number of tattoo artists that I see who have turned their living space into a commercial tattoo studio. The biggest cost with regards to equipment is the cost of the autoclave used to sterilize the equipment.
However, you could also freelance for existing studios or rent space from them.
Making custom dresses, such as wedding or prom dresses or historical or event costumes could be not only a side gig that can turn into a flourishing business, but it could be a lot of fun for you as you get to use your creativity as well.
Pinterest and Instagram could be used to drive tons to traffic to your website as well.
Computer Data Recovery
Hard drive manufacturers like Seagate and Western Digital offer data recovery services for hundreds of dollars to start. Some start at around $700-$800 for recovering your files off of a damaged hard drive.
Quite often this can be done with a Linux recovery disk and the process isn't that difficult. You could offer this in conjunction with other PC related services.
Massive opportunity here. A colleague of mine spends an amount every year on golf that is close to half of my annual income!
To say that golf is a huge industry is a gross understatement. Offering private lessons or online video training, where the videos are supported by ads or are by membership, is another way of offering your services as a golf pro.
Catering Private Parties
With your culinary skills, you could rent a commercial kitchen and cater private parties and weddings. Network with a local photographer and create a unique offering!
Website like Fiverr.com are teeming with people offering every sort of service imaginable. Whether it is building a website, making videos, doing voice-over work etc, there is opportunity for you to leverage your skills to make some extra cash.
Weddings, private parties, business parties, clubs - you name it - there will always be a demand for DJ's who know music and their audience.
Hopefully, this list of good jobs has your creative imagination flowing to create your own under the table jobs. If you have any suggestions or comments, please leave them below!
*Disclaimer: working and intentionally not declaring income is, in most cases, a federal offense. This website in no way endorses tax evasion against the IRS. In any event, I thought it might be useful to post a list of such positions in hope that it might give some ideas on how to get some extra revenue flowing in these extraordinarily difficult times as a stop gap towards legitimate self-employment. It is highly probable that some of these ideas can lead to you establishing your own, legitimate business. If you do manage to come up with a job that pays cash, "under the table", it allows you access to 100% of your earnings up front, as long as you pay the taxes in the next tax season, when they are due--essentially allowing you some more money up front. This information is for information and entertainment purposes only.