In this guide you will find a variety of ways to make money from home. The first ideas can be done without much effort and can be completed on top of anything else you do. Further in this section you will find ideas that can pretty much be done from home, although you will need to leave the house sometimes.
Many of these ideas can also be combined, which will enable you to make more money with very little effort.
Rent a room to a boarder
Renting a room to a boarder can be one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money. It is also something that requires very little effort providing you begin with a good agreement.
You will need to advertise your room stating whether it is furnished or not, if you accept males or females, smokers or nonsmokers only and so on. The ads can be placed in the classifieds of a newspaper, in university newsletters or online. There are lots of free and cheap websites now that accept advertisements for rooms for rent, such as www.gumtree.com.au.
When you get applicants, host interviews asking all the questions you can think of and lay down the ground rules. If someone doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts.
If you have a furnished room, you can charge more than the base rate. You could also offer meals for a set fee. Depending on where you live you can expect to rent your room out for $100 to in excess of $200 per week.
Host an exchange student
Hosting an exchange student can be a lot easier than finding a boarder in many ways. There are usually three different types of agreements with student exchanges, where you provide:
⇒ just room
⇒ room and meals
⇒ room, meals and transport.
As a host parent you may need to help set the student up with a bank account, show them around your area and teach them various aspects about the local culture. If you are a host family, it is best to live near schools and good public transport to make it easier for the student to get around.
You will need to do your research as not all programs pay the host family. For information look online or contact universities and international schools in your area.
Most exchange students pay $170 to $220 a week for room and meals.
Rent your house out while you’re on holidays
A great way to earn a little while you are on holidays is to rent your house out. Often over the Christmas break and school holidays friends have families visiting and may not be able to accommodate them. This option offers those people cheaper accommodation than a hotel room and it will help you pay the mortgage while you are away.
You will need to discuss the ground rules, the cost of rent and bond, if pets are allowed, if smoking is acceptable and so on. It is a good idea to lock away and store anything you do not want used or accessed. Most people won’t rifle through your things, but it will put your mind at ease.
Depending on where you live you could make between $300 to $500 a week, or even more if you own a coastal property.
Rent your house to film and TV companies
If you live close to where films and TV shows are produced, you could offer your home as a location for scenes. Since your home will not be used all day every day it can be a great way to make a bit of cash.
Film companies often want a house for contracts of nine months or more, with access to it pretty much whenever they like — day or night — but your house is unlikely to be used every day during that period.
TV shows are usually filmed seasonally, and again it is unlikely that your house would be needed for every episode, so it might only be for a few days here and there. Commercials usually only take between one and two days to film.
Be aware that they may want to make alterations to your home and that there is a chance your house may get damaged during filming. Also having lots of people, trucks and cars in the street may upset your neighbours.
The best way to begin is to contact a location scout who will check out your house and area if they are interested. For a complete list of location scouts around Australia, have a look at www.kftv.com/product-country-3580-AUS.html.
You can make in excess of $500 a day for TV ads. If your property has amazing views, you can earn thousands of dollars a day. It’s all about what people are looking for.
Rent your attic or basement for storage
If you have a large attic or basement you don’t use, you could rent it to people needing storage. You would need to work out a good agreement, including when whoever is renting can access their belongings, what can and can’t be stored, how much notice you require before a visit, how much you will charge and the length of the contract, how far in advance payments need to be made and what happens if they stop paying.
Commercial storage can be expensive but the advantage is that people can access their belongings anytime they want. However, if someone is travelling for a few months and needs to store their things while they’re away, your basement can be a great option.
You will need a proper written contract. You will also need to check with your insurance company to see if their belongings are covered under your policy or if they will need to organise their own insurance. This idea is great if you know people looking to store stuff, so start by asking around, or put an ad in your local paper or on a community noticeboard.
You could make $20 to $50 a week, depending on how much is being stored and for how long.
Rent your garage
This is similar to renting your attic or basement, with the difference being that it’s easier for the renter to access their stuff without interrupting your life. They can have a key to the garage door and come and get things as required.
As per renting your attic or basement, you will need a contract stating rules such as how much can be stored, costs, insurance and when they can access their belongings. You can advertise online through a free website such as www.gumtree.com.au.
You could charge in excess of $30 depending on how much is being stored and for how long, and what the cost is to rent storage units in your area.
Rent your driveway for caravans or boats
If you have a large driveway or even space on your lawn, you could rent it to someone who owns a caravan or boat but has nowhere to store it.
The renters would need their own insurance for their vehicle, plus a cover for a boat as it will be sitting out in all kinds of weather. They will also need to let you know when they will be using the caravan or boat so you don’t come home one day and think it has been stolen.
You could charge $20 to $50 a week depending on where you live.
Rent your driveway as parking space
If you live near office buildings or in the city, you could offer your driveway for rent to people who work nearby. Not everyone gets parking access with their job and not everyone catches public transport. In some cities parking can be very expensive.
Besides receiving money for this service, another advantage for you is that thieves will be deterred by a car parked in your driveway.
Contact the companies that may have interested employees and ask if you can send an email to their staff. A short description of your offer plus contact details is all that is needed. You will also need to check with your council that you are allowed to do this.
Depending on your location you can charge from $5 a day per car. If you have the space, you can always rent to more than one person.
Rent your front lawn or driveway if you live near a stadium or showground
If you live near a stadium or showground, you could rent driveway space to those attending. This will have great appeal if your rate is cheaper than the surrounding parking facilities, plus getting out of these places can take forever and be a real nightmare.
All you need to do is put a sign out the front of your house and have a few flyers available. It is then up to people to approach you if they are interested in using your driveway. They need to pay upfront, so you have to be around when people are looking for parking.
Some people may want your contact details for events in the future, so be prepared with an email address or phone number written down.
You could charge $5 to $10 depending on your city and the going rates.
Run a bed and breakfast
If you have a larger home and don’t mind being host to strangers, cooking them dinner and cleaning up after them, this can be a great way to make your home earn money. Bed and breakfasts are not just cottage homes in the country or by the seaside; they can be any home anywhere.
It is up to you to decide the services you will provide, such as just breakfast or a dinner option as well, daily turn down service, single or group rooms and an ensuite or shared bathroom.
You will need to check with your council regarding the permits you will need, but once it is all up and running the opportunity and options are endless. To get started there are a variety of places you can advertise online, such as www.bedandbreakfast.com.au. You can select your state and join to advertise your bed and breakfast. Contact travel agents and offer to have them stay for a free trial so they recommend your home, and email everyone you know with a special deal or discount if they recommend you to their friends.
Depending on where your home is located you could charge anything from $100 a night.
Use your swimming pool for classes
Qualifications to teach swimming or water aerobics are essential, but once you have them you can use your pool for a variety of options. A few possibilities include learning to swim classes for kids and adults, water aerobic classes, water exercises for people with a disability, or even hydrotherapy for those who have had accidents or injuries.
You will need to contact your council to ensure you meet the necessary requirements. Also check your insurance policy to see if you need separate or increased coverage.
Classes can start at $7 for kids’ swimming lessons and increase to $10 to $15 for a water aerobics class.
Rent your swimming pool
If you don’t have swim teaching qualifications or have no interest in giving classes, you could lease your pool to someone who does. You will need to set up an agreement including information such as the times they can use the pool, how much it will cost, their insurance details and what other parts of the house are free to use (for example, toilets and bathrooms).
To find suitable applicants you could contact your local TAFE or swimming institutions, as students may be interested once they have their qualifications. You could advertise in your local newspaper, or just talk to other mums, friends, family members and people in your community. You never know who might know someone who’s interested.
You could charge the instructor $5 or more per hour or a set weekly fee. It is up to both of you to decide what you think is fair.
Lease garden allotments
Many people would like to grow their own food or pretty flowers but do not have the space to do so. There are some community groups who garden in a shared space quite successfully now. If you have the space available, it is an excellent way to develop a community spirit in your area.
Generally those interested pay an annual fee to lease a small garden plot plus a per square metre annual fee. Some people provide sheds as well as individual fencing, and some provide all the gardening tools required as well. It is up to you to decide what you offer and what gardeners need to bring.
You will need to set clear rules, such as if a gardener does not use their plot for a certain period of time it can be re-let. You will also need to check your insurance policy to see if you have adequate coverage.
Depending on how many plots you have available, you could make a few hundred dollars a year for this service.
Display signs on your fence
If you live on a busy street, you could display signs for businesses on your fences. It is great exposure for the businesses and you don’t need to do anything except allow the sign to be put up.
You will need to establish with the business how big the sign can be, how long it will be up for, how it is to be removed, what is allowed to appear on the sign and what happens if the sign gets graffitied.
If this interests you, contact some local businesses to see if they are keen. A small newspaper ad can cost more than $100, so a larger sign on your fence will be a more cost-effective way for businesses to advertise. You could charge businesses $50 or more a week.
Complete online surveys
There are lots of horror stories about people doing surveys for hours and not getting paid anything or being paid a measly five cents. Online surveys will not make you rich and I do not know of anyone who really makes a full-time wage from doing surveys online.
That said, there are still plenty of legitimate online survey websites who will pay you, such as www.pureprofile.com.au or www.yourvoice.com.au. Generally you get sent the surveys or have to log in every day. You will be told if there is a survey available, how long it is and how much you will get paid, so you can choose whether or not to do it.
Signing up can sometimes be quite long because the companies want to know everything about you to ensure they send you relevant surveys, but once you have signed up the process is pretty easy.
You will most likely only earn $20 to $100 a month doing this work. Some survey websites pay in the form of gift cards instead of cash.
Be a product tester
Some companies need people to test new products and provide an opinion about them. You sign up to the companies and they will contact you when they have something they want you to test. Some pay with gift cards on top of the free product, but more often than not you simply receive a free product. You will usually get enough products to share between friends and family.
Sometimes after sampling there is a short survey, but often it only takes a minute or so to complete. Have a look at www.freestuff.com.au for tips on how to get started. Another good website is www.soup.com.au, which will contact you when it has products that suit your profile.
You may only make $5 or so from testing the products, but you could save $20 or more from your usual grocery bill since you won’t have to buy those products yourself.
Complete product reviews
Product reviews are easy to write and get paid for. The payment is usually in the form of a gift card, the amount of which varies depending on the amount and length of reviews written, and often you get to keep the product you review.
There are websites that you can sign up with to write reviews, such as www.productreview.com.au. The reviews usually need to be 50 words to qualify. Each review is allocated points that accrue and you use to redeem gift vouchers.
You can make $20 or more depending on how many reviews you write.
Entering competitions is not a sure way to get money, but you can’t win if you don’t enter. Not all prizes offered are in cash. Other prizes are in the form of gift cards, TVs, beauty products and so on.
There are competition clubs and websites you can join, such as Win Big Australia or www.compingclub.com, which have information about all the competitions currently running that you can enter. The competitions that attract the least amount of entries are usually those that require you to write 25 words or less, as these require a bit of effort.
If you want to enter competitions, keeping good records will be very helpful, so make sure you record each competition entered in a notebook or diary indicating when it was run, what was involved and if you won anything. Make sure you keep your receipts if you are entering a purchasing competition that asks for proof of purchase. And always record your 25 words or less answers, as you will always be able to refer to this to see which answers were successful.
This is not reliable income but you will probably win a few hundred dollars worth of prizes or cash in a year if you enter a lot of competitions.
Provide family day care
Looking after children in your home is a great way to make money while not having to leave your house. There are various groups you can sign up with, such as the Australian Child Care Career Options (ACCCO) or www.familydaycare.com.au, which will help you get started, such as with training and assisting you to get your house child proofed. Alternatively, you can organise all of this yourself. The initial set-up can be a bit expensive but you can easily make a full-time wage once you are in operation.
You will need a first-aid certificate, a police check and insurance coverage, as well as your qualification. There are also laws governing how many children can be cared for by one carer, but this can be up to five kids a day. You can be open five days a week or select to operate part time.
The amount you make will vary but you could expect to earn $45 000 or more before tax and expenses.
Receive trailing commissions
Almost everything you do with your money, such as pay your mortgage, personal loan and life insurance, can have a trailing commission attached. This is a small commission, often only a fraction of a percentage of the loan, which is paid to the original broker. There are a variety of companies who will get this money back for you, such as www.irefund.com.au.
For a fee you can enlist a company to go over all your financials and redirect these trailing commissions through them and back to you. During the first year you don’t make much due to the initial fee but in subsequent years you can make more.
Customers typically get a few hundred to thousands of dollars back a year, depending on how many products they have with trailing fees and just how high those fees are.
Join cashback clubs
Websites such as www.buckscoop.com.au will let you know which cashback offers are available when you purchase certain products. Sometimes you can try products for free thanks to cashback offers.
Not all cashback offers are for products you have to buy. There are also cashback offers available when you switch banks, talk to a mortgage broker, or switch services such as a telephone or electricity provider. These offers are not always advertised by the companies and can only be redeemed through cashback clubs.
All you have to do is check what is on offer and, if you are interested, sign up for it through the link on the cashback website. It can take a few months to get the cash back, so record the details and keep an eye on it to ensure you get paid.
Depending on the offer you may receive as little as $3 for bread or upwards of $50 for consulting with a mortgage broker.
Offer your trailer for hire
Most people who own trailers don’t use them every day and they are often just sitting in your garage or driveway. Offering you trailer for hire is a great way to make back registration costs and make it more worthwhile to own the trailer.
If you will be hiring on a small scale, word of mouth is the best way to go. Otherwise advertising with flyers and using community notice boards is a good option. Check that your insurance policy covers you to hire out your trailer, and when you do hire make sure that you get a deposit so that the trailer is returned.
You can make between $20 to $80 per day depending on the size of your trailer.
Display trailer wraps
A trailer wrap is advertising on a trailer for a business. The signage on the trailer is a moving advertisement whenever you use the trailer and it can also sit at the front of your house for all to see.
Simply approach some businesses and see if they are interested in advertising with you. If you live in a busy area where the trailer will be seen regularly, or if you use the trailer a lot, the offer will be more attractive.
You could make $50 to $300 a month depending on the size of the signage, where you live and how much traffic is likely to see the trailer wrap.
Hold a garage sale
A successful garage sale is not just about putting your old junk on the front lawn and hoping for the best. You need to be organised.
Sort through everything you own. Clean all the items for sale and ensure they are in working order. Make a date for the sale then advertise in the local newspaper and, if your council permits, display signs around your neighbourhood.
Price everything clearly and display them well so things are easy to see and get to. Be careful not to overprice your items. Your goods are only worth what someone else is willing to pay, so be ready to bargain, too.
Make sure you have lots of small change as it is highly likely that the first person who comes will want to pay for a $2 item with a $50 note! Carry cash in a bag on you at all times.
If your area allows, you might also like to bake some muffins to sell, or have a sausage sizzle or sell cold drinks for extra cash.
Generally, if done well and you have a lot of items to sell, you can make a few hundred dollars or more.
Grow wheatgrass trays and sell wheatgrass shots
Wheatgrass is really easy to grow and very good for you. One tray will give you about six shots. You need a specific juicer for wheatgrass, but these are not too expensive.
To get started all you need are seedling trays, organic dirt, newspaper and wheat. Sprout the wheat, then prepare the trays. To prepare the trays lay newspaper on the bottom, followed by dirt, then cover with a thin layer of the sprouted wheat. Spray with water and place in a cool dark place to grow (drawers are good). Spray the wheatgrass with water daily to help it grow. Once it is 5 centimetres tall, bring it out into the sun to turn green.
Wheatgrass shots cost around $4 each from a store. Even if you sold your trays for $10 per tray, your customers will get a $14 saving. Alternatively you could sell the shots for $3 each, saving your customers $1. If you work in an office, it would be very easy to sell these to your colleagues. Or you could contact gyms and personal trainers to see if they would be interested for you to sell through them.
Depending on your costs it is easy to make $8 a tray and more for individual shots.
Create garden sculptures
There are many different types of sculptures you could make from a variety of objects, such as scrap metal and wood. Selling your sculptures at markets, online or even by approaching small nurseries and similar businesses to see if they are interested is a good way to get started.
Displaying them in your own garden with a sign out the front of your house specifying ‘garden sculptures sold here’ is another great way to attract business and advertise for free.
Depending on where you source your materials and how much they cost you could make upwards of $40 a sculpture.
Sell potted bulbs or herbs
Potted plants sell really well at markets. Bulbs look great when they are flowering, herbs are easy to grow from seed and you could make unique pots, such as bruschetta pots — basil around a tomato plant — or an Italian herbs pot, which is a mix of herbs such as rosemary, sage, marjoram and basil.
You could also sell bare bulbs, just in a bag to be planted in the garden straight away; bulbs multiply under the ground as they grow so they’re easy to reproduce.
The type of plant and how it is presented will determine your profit but you could easily make a few dollars from each small seedling pot and up to $50 for a full flowering pot of bulbs.
Sell heirloom vegetables
Heirloom vegetables are older style, non-genetically modified vegetables. Often they come in a variety of colours (such as purple carrots), which is a great way to encourage kids to eat their vegetables. The seeds cost a little more than regular seeds but they are very popular vegetables. Since they are unique they sell for a higher price than regular vegetables.
You could sell the seedlings in pots or grow and sell the vegetables. They could be sold at markets or from your house with a sign out the front, or check with small local supermarkets to see if they are interested in stocking them.
Seedlings can be sold from $5 and the vegetables can be sold for $1 more than the regular vegetables.
Keep and breed bees
Keeping bees is becoming much more popular with an increasing number of people seeking to be more self-sufficient. The initial set-up costs can be high, but once you are organised the maintenance costs are minimal. You will need some training to begin with so you know what you are doing and can offer advice to those you will be selling to. For a list of beekeeping associations visit www.honeybee.com.au/beeinfo/assn.html.
Once you are up and running you could advertise at markets, or through newspapers or magazines aimed at farming and self-sufficiency, such as Mother Earth News www.motherearthnews.com.
It will cost about $500 to set up, but you will be able to sell a colony for $150 to $200. If you sell the hive with it, you can charge another $200, depending on the size of the hive.
If you are keeping bees, one of the best ways to make money from them is by selling the honey. Fresh honey tastes so much nicer than the store-bought stuff.
You will need bees and the necessary equipment as well as sterilised jars or plastic tubs. It is up to you how you sell it, whether by the kilo or in small jars. To keep costs down and entice customers back you could offer a discount for refills instead of using new jars.
You can sell the honey at markets, online, to colleagues, friends and family, as well as from your home by advertising out the front. If you package it well, you could approach boutique gift stores, delis or small grocers to see if they would be interested in stocking it. You could sell it for $10 to $15 a kilogram, or $5 for smaller jam jars.
Keep and breed chickens
Chickens are relatively easy to keep and not too expensive to get started. You will need a chicken coop, chickens and food; if you are handy, you could make the coop yourself cheaply.
When sourcing chickens you could approach preschools as many of them hatch eggs as part of the curriculum. This can work out much cheaper than buying chicks elsewhere.
There are many varieties of chickens, so you will need to research which breed you would like to raise and sell. You can sell the chickens through newspapers such as The Land or online via websites such as www.gumtree.com.au.
When selling your chickens they will need to have been laying to get the highest price. Non-egg laying chickens sell for around $10 and egg laying chickens from $15.
Fresh free range eggs taste so much better than store-bought eggs, and they are increasingly in demand. All you need is a chicken coop, a few laying hens and some chook food.
There is not a lot of work involved in keeping chickens. You need to check daily for the eggs, feed the chickens and ensure they have water. There is a variety of breeds and some produce more eggs than others. Hens go ‘off the lay’ at various times, so you won’t get an egg a day from every chicken all year.
You can sell the eggs at markets, to family and friends, or pop a sign at the front of your house. Everyone I know who has sold eggs has never been able to produce enough, as so many people want them.
You could make a few hundred dollars a year with just a few chickens and selling a dozen eggs for $4 to $6.
Sell compost bins
As society becomes more environmentally aware and more people are turning to gardening, compost bins are becoming increasingly popular.
There are actually a few ways to make money from compost bins — you can make and sell them, buy and resell them, teach people how to use them properly and get the best from them, or sell your own compost if you have plenty.
You can sell them online, at markets, by advertising in the newspaper or self-sufficiency magazines such as Mother Earth News www.motherearthnews.com, or from your house.
How much you earn depends on the cost of materials or supplies but you could make $50 or more a bin.
Sell worm farms
Worm farms are similar to compost bins, except they have worms to break down everything faster. Worms eat your food scraps, such as vegetable peels and apple cores, and turn them into great food for your garden. And worms can last for up to six weeks eating damp newspaper when you go on holiday!
You can choose to sell the whole kit, which includes the farm and the worms, or just sell the worms. Most people sell the worms for $40 or more per 1000 worms. You could sell worm farms in the same manner as the compost bins mentioned previously, or even contact your local council to see if you can sell through them. My local council sells compost bins and worm farms for a reasonable price.
Due to the variety of worm farms and worms available, you can make anything from $20 to $150 from selling them.
Sell fruit trees
There are so many different varieties of fruit trees. Besides the different types of fruits there are dwarf trees, full size trees, trees that suit pots and grafted fruit salad trees (a tree growing more than one type of fruit).
You can grow fruit trees from seed, which will take a while, or buy small seedlings to grow bigger and sell. If you are growing from seed, you could sell the trees as seedlings, one-year-old trees or as mature trees.
Selling online or at markets is the easiest way, but you could also approach businesses to see if they are interested in selling your trees for you. You could make $10 to $30 a tree depending on your costs involved.
Offer an embroidery service
Name embroidery can easily be done from your home or by setting up in your garage. To work on a commercial scale you do need an embroidery machine but it can be quite lucrative. You could embroider names on business uniforms, sports uniforms, towels, bathrobes and more.
To get started contact businesses, schools and sports clubs and offer them a discount. Getting your business out there is the hardest part, but once people know who you are and what you do, you will get a lot of referral work and repeat customers, especially if your work is good.
You could also choose to have a stall at markets with some items such as towels and face washers already embroidered, and offer a personalised service for an extra cost.
Once you have recouped the cost of the embroidery machine you will easily make a few dollars from each item you embroider.