Money

12 'old school' skills that can make you extra cash

From cooking to gardening, could your old-school DIY skills earn extra money on platforms like AirTasker or Gumtree?

Cash in on your old school DIY skills by setting up an online side hustle. If you can sew a button, assemble IKEA furniture or cook with panache, then you might just have some cash to earn. 

By Carolyn Tate

Have you ever stopped to think about all the skills you've picked up over the years - skills you may use every day but take for granted as something everyone just knows? 

You've probably got at least a few talents that you didn't even realise were valuable. And the best part? You can turn them into a side hustle tothat can bring in some extra cash.

Have you ever been complimented on your cooking, for instance? Or maybe you're a whiz with a needle and thread? Perhaps you can turn a flat pack into a shelving unit in no time flat, and with no parts leftover at the end.

Those are skills that people are happy to pay for. And they’re just the beginning.

There are plenty of jobs people are looking to get done on jobs boards such as AirTasker, which advertises that you can make up to $10,750 a month by tapping into your existing skill set. 

You can also share your talents on Gumtree or in your local Facebook community groups.

Oh, a quick word of warning:  Be aware that, just because a lot of these jobs involve ‘cash-in-hand’ payments, you’re still obligated to disclose your income to the tax department. Not doing so could attract penalties. It’s also important to look after your personal security and avoid ever giving any financial details to a person you don’t know - stick to secure platforms to enter bank or payment details!, and that would go against what we’re trying to achieve here!

Let’s take a look at some of those old-school skills that can give you a bit of extra spending money or - if you’re committed - give your savings a significant boost.

Baking and cooking home-made meals

Are you a gun at baking, or perhaps you’ve learned family recipes handed down over generations that are sure to remind people of a faraway homeland? 

If you’re a great cook, there are busy professionals and young families who would love your help. Whether it’s baking a special birthday cake to order, or regularly providing nourishing home-made meals ready to heat and eat, micro-catering companies from home are springing up all over the country. 

A word of warning though, there are food quality, hygiene and safety standards that apply to home food businesses in each state. Make sure you understand the requirements before you sell your food. Take a look at the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, and also the regulations - usually governed by Fair Trading or a similar authority - in your state.

Rates on AirTasker start at $20 and go up to over $300.

Sewing and clothing fixes

Whether it's whipping up a new outfit, altering existing clothes, repairing worn-out items, or simply fixing broken zips and replacing torn pockets or lost buttons, sewing is a skill that can save people money and time. 

You can offer your services online and do it all from the comfort of your own home, with just a sewing machine and some basic materials.

Rates on AirTasker start at $20 and go up to over $1000.

Laundry

There are plenty of people out there who would love to outsource their laundry because they don’t have the time or resources to do it themselves. You can charge by the load, or offer a flat fee for a basket of laundry, with or without home delivery. Be sure to factor in the cost of detergent, electricity, and water when setting your prices - and consider whether you’d like to offer ironing as an extra or stand-alone service.

Rates on AirTasker start at $50 and go up to over $200.

Home repairs

Handy around the house? You can turn your skills into a lucrative side hustle by offering home repair services. Whether it's fixing a leaky tap, patching a hole in the wall, or unclogging a drain, there are plenty of people who are willing to pay for your expertise. Just make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job, and factor in the cost of materials when setting your prices.

Rates on AirTasker start at $50 and go up to over $500.

Assemble furniture

There are two types of people in the world: those who love assembling furniture, and those who curse all the way through, and always end up with some spare bits at the end that most definitely should have been in there. If you’re among the first group, the second group wants to hear from you! Help people in your local area to put together their new bookshelf, desk, or bed frame - with just an allen key and a bit of patience.

Rates on AirTasker start at $20 and go up to over $500.

Cleaning

If you’ve got an old-school approach to keeping a clean home, your skills could be in demand in your local neighbourhood. Whether it's a one-time deep clean or regular vacuuming, dusting and mopping, people are always looking for cleaners with good attention to detail to help them keep their homes and businesses tidy. You can charge by the hour, or offer a flat fee for a specific task - and there is plenty of opportunity to lock in regular clients so you’ll have income you can rely on.

Rates on AirTasker start at $40 and go up to over $20.

Pet care

Animal lovers rejoice! Pet care and grooming is another skill that can bolster your income. Whether it's walking dogs, feeding cats, or giving Fluffy a haircut, many people are happy to pay for a loving someone to help them take care of their furry friends. Charge by the walk, visit, or grooming session, or offer package of services.

Rates on AirTasker start at $17 for dog walking and go up to over $200 for grooming.

Haircuts, colours and styling

Do you have the skills to do a great back and sides, or even some nice layers and a great colour? Or perhaps you’re a whiz with a hairdryer, a curling iron and a large container of bobby pins. Offering haircuts, colours or special occasion styling is a great way to make some extra cash, and it's a skill that can be done from your home or by visiting your clients in theirs. Keep photos of your special skills to use as a selling tool when people come knocking.

Rates on AirTasker start at $30 and go up to over $200.

Gardening and lawn mowing

It used to be that everyone was out on the weekends, pushing a mower and weeding the garden beds, but these days lots of people are too busy to get that done. If you can mow a nice straight line, trim hedges like a boss, and you know the difference between wisteria and a week, gardening could be a nice earner for you. And the bonus is you get to spend your time outside, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine!

Rates on AirTasker start at $70 and go up to over $300.

Making deliveries

Making local deliveries is a great way to make some extra cash, and all you need is a vehicle and a driver's licence. Whether it's taking packages to the post office, transporting people to appointments, or shifting a washing machine (you might need a ute for that one!) you’ll find a healthy market for your services.

Rates on AirTasker start at $50 and go up to over $500.

Tutoring

Are you a maths whiz, speak a second language, or perhaps you’re good at craft or music and are patient and kind enough to be a good teacher? Consider sharing your skills as a tutor - either to children or adults in your area. You can do this one-on-one in people’s homes, or your home, or offer group lessons. Be aware that if you’re working with children, it’s advisable to have a background and identity check relevant to your state, to give families peace of mind.

Rates on AirTasker start at $50 and go up to over $300.

Pool maintenance

If you remember spending your weekends scooping the backyard pool, measuring chlorine levels, and pulling dead animals out of the filter, you could have the skills to offer your services in pool maintenance. And if you can fix a broken pump or Creepy Crawly, you’ll be even more in demand! Spend your days outside in the sunshine and fresh air, and make some extra cash - and you could also lock in some regular clients.

Rates on AirTasker start at $50 and go up to over $400.

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