America has a growing underground economy built on millions of odd jobs that pay cash.
Whether you’re looking for a full-time job, a part-time job, or just a side hustle, there’s no shortage of opportunities to earn quick cash.
Believe it or not, one study estimates that cash jobs make up around 11 or 12 percent of the total U.S. economy!
When you’re working under the table, you’re still supposed to pay taxes. In other words, if someone pays you in cash, you still have to report those wages to Uncle Sam. Otherwise, you’d be committing tax evasion, which is illegal.
That said, working under the table is completely legal as long as you report the income when tax season rolls around.
18 Under The Table Jobs That Pay Cash
Here are the top under the table jobs where you can earn extra income:
Most shoppers love the convenience of having their groceries delivered. But they don’t like paying hefty fees to grocery stores or third-party delivery providers.
If you don’t mind running errands, spend some time figuring out the average local rate that people are paying for grocery deliveries, and launch a competitive side hustle — one built on trust, and fair pricing.
Chances are your contacts will trust you to deliver their groceries more than a stranger working for minimum wage.
And if you’re willing to work extra hours, you can make even more money-making late-night snack and supply runs.
Instacart is one of the most popular grocery delivery services, where you can sign up to be a driver. You can also deliver packages for Amazon or Postmates.
Even the most dedicated parents need a night off from time to time.
People who are good with kids can build up a steady business babysitting or nannying.
These jobs almost always pay cash, and they can be very lucrative — especially if you form a close relationship with the family and become a trusted member of the household.
Parents are willing to pay a premium for babysitters who are trustworthy, reliable, and willing to help out at the drop of a dime.
If you play your cards right, and you’re willing to sacrifice your free time, you could wind up with a well-paying job for a decade or more.
Right now, the average hourly rate of a babysitter is $17.50. This can vary depending on your age, experience, and location. And no, you don’t need to be in high school to babysit. In fact, many parents might prefer a babysitter who is older, or that has their own car.
Care.com is a great place to find babysitting gigs.
Dog Walker or Petsitting
Pets can be a lot of work — just like kids.
They don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time, and they can be rambunctious — presenting a lucrative opportunity for animal lovers.
Think about it: You can get paid to spend time with dogs and cats, playing with them, and going for walks. And, unlike babysitting, pet sitting isn’t an “always-on” job. As long as the animal is behaving and you take care of your tasks, you can spend your free time doing other things.
One way to maximize petsitting revenue is to find a client who will pay you to watch their dog during the day or overnight, and then make extra money online during downtime when the animal doesn’t need to be tended to — blogging or taking surveys online.
Pet sitters can charge $20 to $40 per day, and even more for overnight stays.
Rover is one of the leading websites where you can get dog walker jobs, or find care for your pets.
Schools are now reopening due to the pandemic, and parents are rightfully scared.
Many are choosing to pull their students out for homeschooling — and are learning the hard way that it’s not all that easy.
On top of that, students lost a considerable chunk of time last year due to the pandemic and are behind in their studies.
Tutoring does not require any professional licensing or professional certifications, although you can charge more and increase your business by going through the process.
If you can plan lessons, work with kids, and demonstrate progress, then tutoring could be a great way to earn extra cash under the table.
Become a Freelancer
There are literally thousands of different things you can do as a freelancer.
For example, you could help a blogger create content for their website, or manage a friend’s Etsy or eBay store.
Once you find a particular area you want to focus on, showcase your services on Fiverr, or Craigslist, and the side jobs will start trickling in.
In my opinion, being a freelancer is one of the best ways to grow your bank account, without having to hold down a traditional part-time job.
If you’re handy with a paintbrush and you aren’t afraid of ladders or getting a little bit messy, you can make money painting houses, floors, and even fences.
There is plenty of room for negotiating prices, too, particularly when considering the cost of supplies and labor.
Painting can be lucrative if you can do a good job and work quickly. It can also be a tremendous pain if you’re inexperienced, take a long time, or have picky clients.
The amount you can charge will vary depending on the size and scope of the project, the type of paint or surface you are working on, whether you’re painting inside or outside, the season, and market conditions.
TaskRabbit is one of the best places to sign up and offer painting services, handyman services, and more.
You don’t have to be 15 years old to make a profit mowing grass.
In fact, homeowners may be willing to pay more for someone who can cut straight lines, doesn’t botch the job, and shows up on schedule.
Of course, you don’t have to stop at lawn care. Scope out your neighborhood on a walk and take notes of your neighbors’ gardens, hedges, and trees.
If you’re handy with a shovel or chainsaw — or you have a green thumb — you may be able to start a lucrative small business running a neighborhood maintenance service.
Running a Farm Stand
If you have access to a yard, why not take advantage of the space and grow your own vegetables?
At the very least, you’ll save money on groceries by growing your own produce. Plus, you can start a lucrative farm stand either at a local farmer’s market or right on your front steps.
How might it work? You can leave a basket out with produce that can be collected in exchange for donations. The more space you have, the more produce you can grow.
And if the quality is good enough, you may even be able to sell your produce to local restaurants, grocery stores, or even farms for resale.
Drawing or Painting
Drawing or painting pictures for cash is a no-brainer, in my opinion. It’s fun, stress-relieving, and allows you to keep a flexible schedule.
If you know how to paint or draw, consider doing portraits, abstract pieces, or landscapes, and trying to sell them to people in your community.
Or, take a free online course and learn how to do it. Anyone can learn how to paint or draw with enough practice.
As for pricing, simply charge a reasonable hourly rate and add the cost of supplies to the final bill.
You can charge more for framing or even hanging a finished picture on the wall. You can also charge more over time as your reputation grows.
To take your art game to the next level, consider providing someone with a monthly subscription service where they receive a fresh piece of artwork every month.
Cooking for Others
Only about 10% of Americans love cooking. The rest prefer the convenience of having someone else do it for them — especially busy parents and working professionals.
If you can cook breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you could make some extra money offering to help out in the kitchen. Launch a business shopping for supplies, cooking, serving, and cleaning up afterward.
Again, this is something that you don’t need a lot of experience or even a degree to do. As long as you can cook a decent meal that’s nutritional and tastes great, you will have a willing customer base.
Many people will also like the idea of having companionship around the house — especially those who live alone. Care.com is a good resource for these types of job listings.
Reading to People
If you’re a natural orator and don’t mind reading to an audience, then you may want to consider reading to kids, nursing homes, or hospitals.
Institutions and families may be willing to pay for part-time readers, especially for kids, as it can foster a love of books and learning.
To add an extra touch, you can personally select stories that align with your audience and surprise them with a new tale each time.
This is also a service that can be done safely online or over the phone — from the comfort of your home.
There’s nothing better than having a mechanic in the family or in your neighborhood.
If you know how to fix cars, consider turning your driveway or garage into a repair center. This can be a very lucrative business — depending on the type of work that you’re doing.
Of course, you don’t have to be a mechanic to wash or wax cars. You could earn extra money by going to homes, washing automobiles, and collecting cash.
Becoming a Personal Driver
Speaking of cars, why not consider launching an independent transportation business?
One of the downsides about using services like Uber and Lyft is that you don’t have much say in who is driving you around. Random drivers can be late, irresponsible, and rude.
Many people prefer to have a personal driver on standby for their daily business, and they’re willing to pay top dollar for the luxury.
How much you earn will depend on your car, your location, and your clientele. A successful and professional driver can make a decent chunk of cash.
Bartending or Waiting Tables
The foodservice industry is very taxing. It usually requires long hours — including nights and weekends — dealing with difficult patrons, and oftentimes doing messy work.
That said, it’s often a great way to earn cash under the table from tips.
Bartenders and waiters often exchange meager wages for the chance to pocket tips.
On a good night, you can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on where you work and the clientele that you’re serving.
Offering Massage Therapy
There’s no other way to say it: We’re living in stressful times. People are overworked, exhausted, and looking for stress relief. What better way to meet those needs than with massage therapy?
If you live in Wyoming, Vermont, Oklahoma, or Kansas, you don’t need a license or pass a course to offer massage services.
However, even if you do live in one of these states, it’s still a good idea to go through the certification process and take out an insurance policy — particularly if you’re dealing with strangers.
Once you’re up and running, you’ll be able to make a killing helping people de-stress while getting paid in cash.
Massage Therapist Resources:
Managing an Estate
Many people who are wealthy and highly motivated choose to have other people run their estates, as they simply lack the time to do it themselves.
You can make solid money under the table by managing hired help and overseeing day-to-day activities — like childcare, transportation, cooking duties, and so on.
Managing an estate is demanding. But — much like babysitting — if you do a good job, you can collect steady and long-term under-the-table compensation.
In case you haven’t noticed on Zoom or when leaving the house, there are a lot of funny haircuts out there right now.
Many people have stopped getting haircuts because barbershops have been closed. However, they may be willing to pay a friend or family member to do the job.
If you want to launch a business, you’ll need a license. But this could be a great way to earn steady cash under the table if you know how to trim someone’s hair.
And who knows? It could even lead to a hugely successful business down the road.
Teaching a Fitness Class
If you’re a fitness junkie, why not put your passion for health and wellness to work?
Consider teaching an online Yoga, Zumba, or Pilates class and charge people for attending.
You could even go a step further and become a personal fitness coach if you have the time and discipline.
Which Under The Table Job Is Best For You?
As you can see, the underground gig economy is roaring right now. There are many ways to make money under the table.
If you’re looking for an under-the-table side gig, you just need to put your mind to it and be focused on landing something, and sooner or later, you almost certainly will.
While you still have to pay taxes, taking on under-the-table jobs will boost your professional skillset and motivate you to keep earning more.
From where I stand, it’s a great way to boost your income and get more control over your personal finances.