The sun is blazing and the summer holidays are just around the corner. For many people the summer brings with it the need to pick up summer jobs. Whether it’s to gather some much-needed holiday pennies, to fill a gap between other work or just to do something different during this most sunny of seasons.
Thankfully, there are plenty of summer jobs available around the UK, from the relatively easy to the more challenging, but all will get you out of the office, away from the shops and into a new adventure. So here’s our roundup of ten ways you can gain employment this summer.
- Fruit picking
- Work a festival
- Air BNB your house or garage
- Housesitting and petsitting
- Be a child minder
- Pet walking
- Sell your photos
- Be a lifeguard
Over the last few years there’s been a shortage of willing fruit pickers offering their services to British farms. As a result there are usually plenty of fruit-picking jobs available throughout the summer. If back-breaking toil isn’t your thing then you could try your hand at the checking of the fruit, the weighing, packaging, labelling and even sales in the farm shop.
What you’ll be picking will depend of course on the farm but also on the month. For example, strawberries and gooseberries are often picked from early June to mid July, plums and apples are picked in late August, and apples and pears are picked in September.
Your best bet would be to travel down to your local farm and speak to the owners directly. Also look out for adverts in local shop windows and village halls. Find a farmers’ market near you here and ask about any jobs going.
Picking Jobs is a useful website where you can put in a search for fruit picking in Europe and see what’s available. Anywork Anywhere has a similar set-up and can be used to search for all kinds of other seasonal jobs both here and abroad. When you see a job that interests you, email the employer directly giving a few basic details about yourself and the dates you can do.
You’ll be working outside so wear old casual clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You may be standing in fields for hours on end so comfortable shoes are a must. You’ll also need a hat and some sun cream so you don’t get burnt. Insect repellent is a good idea, and make sure you drink plenty of water.
Earnings are likely to be cash in hand and if you earn enough you will be expected to take care of all your own taxes. It’s unlikely you’ll make a lot of money here so you may not exceed your personal income allowance. For this year, the personal allowance is £9,440 and £10,500 for people aged 65–74.
You’ll typically be paid minimum wage:
- £9.18 per hour for workers aged 21 and 22; £9.50 for workers 23 and over
- A development rate of £6.83 per hour for workers aged 18–20 inclusive
- £4.81 per hour for all workers under the age of 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age
Depending on the farm you’re working for, you might be paid hourly or daily, but sometimes you’re paid according to the amount you pick (e.g. you get x amount per kg or pound). This system is called ‘piecework’ and it’s fruitful (sorry) for those who work particularly hard.
If you’re green-fingered then gardening for cash is an ideal way to make some extra money. Lots of people start thinking about the state of their garden in the weeks leading up to summer so it’s the ideal time to pounce on their insecurities!
Offer your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours your services as an expert lawn mower, weed eradicator and plant potter and you’ll be a renowned small-time gardener in no time at all.
Start attracting business by handing out cards and flyers (you can get free business cards printed from Vistaprint) and by knocking on doors. Once you’re up and running, word of mouth should spread and work should roll in on a regular basis.
Ideally, you’ll need your own lawnmower, garden tools and transportation to get from place to place.
In terms of tools, get yourself a sharp pair of secateurs, a pair of tough, skinny gloves and a long, thin trowel. There are plenty of different tools out there to help make your job in the garden a bit easier. Here are a couple of useful websites:
Don’t think too big to begin with – offer basic services that people generally don’t have time to do themselves for a reasonable price. Professional gardening companies charge around £15 for simple tasks, so long as you can beat their quotes you should have plenty of business.
Are you interested in getting FREE festival tickets? Fun in the sun at Reading festival might seem a world away at the moment, but if you want to get some free festival tickets, you need to start planning now. Being a charity volunteer will get you into the festival for nothing and you’ll only have to work a few shifts – then you can enjoy the music with everyone else!
You’ll need to join an events recruitment company – here are a few we tracked down for you:
- Festaff supplies casual staff for over a dozen music festivals in the UK including Bestival, Creamfields, Wickerman, Camp Bestival, Isle of Wight Festival, Sonispshere, Rockness and Beachdown. Some of these are currently recruiting, so if you’re interested fill out their application for summer positions.
- Delaware North Companies Ltd (DNC) runs a food and catering service at both Wembley Stadium and Emirates Stadium. They provide full training for all the roles and job vacancies range from bar staff to sous chef. See the Hospitality Staff website for full details on DNC job profiles and how to apply.
- Jam Staffing employs people for events all over the UK – they’re looking for waiters/waitresses, security staff, models and much more. You can apply through their website.
- For something a bit different, how about mobile catering with MJR Tom? This involves walking around events at stadiums, football clubs and racecourses. You will then sell whatever it is you’re told to.
Your part of the world could very well attract people to your very own B&B, run from your house. Think about what makes it special and what would encourage people to visit. Do you live in a picturesque village by the seaside or in a busy and bustling city? How close are you to transport links and tourist attractions? Could you offer weekday stays for commuting professionals? Is your area the sort of place that people will want (or need) to come to and stay in? Having a big house with lots of rooms is only half the battle won. Think about your unique selling point.
You might also consider doing a survey to find out what people want from a B&B. Send it to friends, family and colleagues to get a good range of responses. Use that to inform your plans. Once you get going, ask guests for feedback. Also ask them to review your place on TripAdvisor and Google – both of those are useful ways to get business in for free.
The summer is the perfect time to house sit – there are many more people going on holiday and if you can’t afford to go away this year it’s a great way to visit a different part of the country without forking out your hard-earned cash.
Housesitting basically involves looking after someone’s home while they’re away but it gives you the opportunity to visit another part of the country and make some money.
You’ll be asked to carry out the daily duties that would normally be done if the owners were present but the rest of the time is yours to relax. The work may also involve looking after an animal, so you need to make sure you don’t mind cleaning up the odd bit of dog poop here and there.
The easiest way to get work is to sign up for an agency. That way you also have the added security of insurance, which might be too much of a complication and expense otherwise. With an agency such as Trustedhousesitters you can expect to earn just less than two hours’ pay per day at the minimum wage. You’ll also be given an allowance for food and reimbursed for any travel costs. For pet-focused housesitting, the national agency Animal Aunts looks for people who can look after pets in all areas.
If you’d prefer to do it off your own back, advertise yourself in the local paper or on Gumtree, making sure you include the fact that you can provide personal references if required.
Depending on the arrangement you have with the homeowner you may have to commit to staying in the house for a certain proportion of the day. This is an opportunity to catch up on reading, writing, knitting or even a spot of paperwork.
Housesitting is unlikely to make you vast sums of money – long-term house minders can earn about £9 a day, plus food and travel allowances and short-term housesitters can earn between £8 and £10 an hour.
However – you can make a lot more money if you can hire out your own house while you stay at someone else’s.
If you live in a popular city or a very attractive part of the country, why not rent out your home at the same time? Simply put it up for rent on Gumtree, Spareroom or through a local lettings agent that specialises in short, holiday lets. Short-term lets are usually much more lucrative than long-term ones so you could find yourself making £100s while you’re away. To find out more about renting your house, or part of it, see our article on renting a room out.
Great with kids? Get paid to look after someone’s offspring for a quick summer money maker. A spot of good weather (hopefully) will mean that you can take the children for fun days out and not be stuck indoors too often.
Professional childminding and babysitting is a different story. If you’d like to look after the children of strangers on a regular basis, you’ll need to be a registered childminder and have the proper checks to be able to work without fear of a lawsuit.
You can register with agency websites such as Sitters and Childcare.co.uk where you can advertise as a babysitter for free. The agency then makes all the arrangements for you. Also, drop a note through your neighbours’ doors to let them know you’re available to look after their children. You could even send out a group email to friends or work colleagues informing them of your new babysitting venture. Make sure you include a price list to establish the fact that it isn’t a free service from the start.
Having a DBS check (formerly CRB) will make it easier for you to get work and most agencies will insist on it anyway.
Written references from people for whom you have already worked with make a big difference. However, even if you haven’t given babysitting a go before you can get character references from a teacher, your bank manager or another professional who knows you well.
Be prepared for every eventuality whilst looking after children. Keep contact numbers for parents and emergency contacts if for some reason you can’t get hold of them. Ask about allergies, medication or anything else you might need to know.
If you need some inspiration when it comes to entertaining children, Day Out With The Kids is a brilliant website full of places to visit for both indoor and outdoor activities in your region.
Feel free to charge anything around £5–10 an hour. The long summer holidays can be a real pain for working parents so there should be plenty of work.
If you do find that you’re struggling to get work, initially keeping your rates down to a minimum will do your reputation a lot of good – then you can always increase your fee later on once you’ve established some regular clients.
If you’re fit, active and enjoy spending time with animals then walking people’s pets can be a really enjoyable and easy way to make some quick cash.
Find your first customers just by asking around. Start by asking neighbours and others you know if they require your services. If your workload seems a little feeble, you could try advertising with a poster or notice at your local veterinary clinic or in local shop windows.
After that, if you’re good and reliable, you’ll get publicity through word of mouth. Many dog walkers get clients when they meet them in the park. Get yourself some free business cards from Vistaprint and hand them out to dog owners when you’re on a walk. You can also put an ad up on the notice board in your local vet practice, pet shops and at rescue centres if they’ll let you.
You can also join a local dog-walking agency such as PetPals or register yourself as a dog-walking company at NarpsUK. Narps members can access discounted rates for insurance and it can also help you find more work through its pet-owner postcode search facility. You’ll earn less per hour but the work would be more regular. Just put ‘dog walking’ into your search engine with your local area and see what comes up. There are lots of little, local agencies all over the country.
The biggest expense will be insurance. Pet Business Insurance offers a number of packages including:
- Public liability – if the dog runs out into the road and causes a pile up, or bites someone.
- Care, custody and control – looks after the pet itself if it gets injured while under your care
- Loss of key – if you lose your employer’s keys they’ll pay to change the locks.
You’ll also need a ready supply of pooper-scoopers and bags. Perhaps some doggy toys, too, but owners will usually supply their own.
If you’re a dab hand with a camera, try selling your summer holiday snaps to photo agencies and libraries. Each time one of your photos is sold you can earn a commission. Most sites will ask for a selection of photos to test the quality and there’s a chance they’ll be rejected but if you don’t try you’ll never know! Also, there are lots of photo sites to choose from and there’s nothing to stop you from signing up with all of them.
Even if you’re not going away, why not get out and about with your camera and start taking some pictures? For an idea of what stock libraries are looking for visit the websites themselves. They usually need images of people’s hometown, street, ethnic groups and women in business and work shots.
You can also try contacting smaller travel magazines – send an email to their pictures editor and find out their rates.
If you want to submit a photo to sell, it has to be an RGB JPEG saved at a high setting (such as Photoshop level 10 setting or 48 MB in size). They must not be compressed file sizes. Usually the higher the image resolution, the more you’ll be paid, so keep files large.
Do be careful about the pictures you submit – pictures of identifiable houses or models. Any person who’s in the photo will, in most cases, need a release form. This is signed by the model or house owner to cite that their permission has been given. This is because you will profit from their personal belongings. Also, some properties and logos are trademarked and therefore will not be accepted.
What you charge is completely up to you, but it’s advisable to only charge what you think people can afford. Try not to rob little old ladies of their pension, but feel free to charge anything up to £15 an hour to socialites with pocket-sized pooches.
If you’re a strong swimmer why not become a lifeguard over the summer for the perfect summer job? It’s a great way to meet people and although it’s a serious job (your role is to look after and possibly save someone’s life) it can be lots of fun too.
There are two types of lifeguard:
- Swimming pool lifeguards – employed by a leisure centre, private club, local authority, hotel or holiday centre
- Beach lifeguards – employed by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
To be a pool lifeguard you’ll need one of the following qualifications:
- The National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ)
- The National Aquatic Rescue Standard (NaRS): Pool Lifeguard
- NPLQ and NaRS courses are based at local swimming pools or leisure centres. They are run through approved centres, such as colleges and swimming clubs.
To be a beach lifeguard you’ll need one of the following qualifications:
- RLSS National Beach Lifeguard Qualification
- National Aquatic Rescue Standard (NaRS): Beach Lifeguard, run by the Surf Life Saving Association of Great Britain (SLSA GB).
These qualifications can be gained by training with a commercial training organisation like Harlyn Surf School in Cornwal. Or, you can join a local RLSS Lifeguard club or SLSA GB life-saving club as a volunteer.
You can get information on all lifeguard courses in your area through the Learndirect careers advice website. Expect to pay between £100 and £150, although if you receive benefits you may be entitled to discounts. Because you’ll be working with or around children, you’ll need to undergo a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service check).
Final notes on summer jobs
Summer brings new chores – lawns have to be mown more often and cars washed more frequently. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to pay someone to take these tasks off their hands. Mowing lawns in the sun is far from unpleasant!
Put an ad on Gumtree and get yourself some free business cards to hand out. Put an ad up in your local Post Office or shop, and spread the word. You can pick and choose the jobs you take on, and you can work on your tan as you earn!
We also have ideas to make money from your holiday here.