How To Make A Side Income With Tools You Already Own


Whether you want to retire early or pay down your house faster, you are going to need to increase your side income.

At 16 years old, I was all about the side hustle and making that extra coin. It started when I landed a newspaper job. I’d get up early and deliver the paper. 

Wednesday’s was trash days, and I figured out that I could rob the recycling bins for cans. So I’d get up two hours early and get all the cans I could before delivering my paper. 

One day, I noticed a broken push mower sitting by the trash. I pulled it home with my cans and spent the next week working on it after school. Once I got it going again, I went door to door and landed a few lawn mowing gigs. 

By the time I graduated high school, I was making a cool thousand dollars every month from about 15 hours of work every week. 

The skillset hasn’t left, and it seems like every time I turn around, there is another deal to be made. Here are some ideas on how to make extra ash, starting today. 

Fix and Flip Appliances

This idea is one of my favorites. Appliances are hard to move from one place to another, so folks are often willing to let a broken appliance go for next to nothing in order to get rid of it. 

Most appliances can be cheaply repaired. There are countless youtube videos, and arts can be purchased online for a fraction of the cost of what it takes to pay someone to repair it. 

You likely already own the tools and screwdrivers that you will need to make these repairs. If not, ToolTally can help you get the correct tools for low prices.

Sure, you’ll make a couple of bad calls and buy a washing machine that is too badly worn out to repair. Even the bad calls can be sold for scrap, so it lessens the blow. 

A great way to do this side hustle is to look for easy repairs. Look for dryers that won’t heat or washing machines that won’t turn on. You can get them for $25, invest a $10 part, and resell them for $100. 

Another play is to shop garage sales and auctions. Appliances often sell for half of the price at these locations o what you can get when you sell them on craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. 

As a bonus, you can charge a delivery fee, and recoup the time you invest in delivering these appliances to their new homes. 

Mow Some Lawns

This is the easiest business to get off the ground. You need a weedeater and a lawnmower, and then you can walk, bike, or drive a car to your jobs. 

All you have to do is go door-to-door with flyers offering to mow the lawn. If you want, you can jot down the fee that you would charge to mow that lawn on your flyer and leave it with the homeowner or in their door. 

When we were kids, we would get one lawn mowing job for about every thirty flyers we handed out. It didn’t take us long before we had more work than we knew what to do with. 

The downside with lawn servicing is that you are limited to working in the daylight hours and when the weather is good. To keep from getting overworked, you will want to keep your side hustle down to 4 or 5 houses. 

However, if you are willing to build a crew, buy some professional mowers, and work 70 hours a week with this business, it is quite possible to make six figures a year from mowing lawns. 

Painting Houses

If you have some experience with painting, then you likely already have a good supply of painting handles, drop cloths, and rollers lying around. 

After running some ads on craigslist and leaving your business cards at local hardware stores, you might have plenty of customers waiting for you to paint their houses. 

The key is to insist on high-quality paint. Homeowners want to save money, but poor-quality paint is going to require more of your time to get it to look good. 

A middle-range or better Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams or a High-end Valspa will go on quickly, dry smoothly, and create fewer customer complaints. 

Handyman Work 

Being a handyman takes a lot more skill than some of these other ideas. You need to be able to handle a wide variety of tasks, from fixing small plumbing issues to putting siding on the house. 

However, if you have those skillsets, then doing handyman work can be rewarding and fun. The varied calls you get will ensure that you never have a boring day. 

To speed the growth of your new handyman business, you can try the door flyer trick that we used for the lawn care company. In my experience, you don’t get as good of a response rate, or people will hang on to your flyer and call you six months later. 

The other idea is to make connections with landlords in your area. Most property owners and managers are always looking for someone to help them maintain their rental properties. Performing good work for a few of these people will keep you supplied with more business than you know what to do with.

You’ll need more tools for this business model. Everything from table saws to impact drivers. Most people who choose to do handyman work only do that after they have been working as  a carpenter for an extended period of time.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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