Seniors looking to pick up a little extra money have more options than they might think

Photo (c) Richard Drury - Getty Images

$30k a year washing clothes? Yep, and some make even more.

Seniors are being forced to deal with more financial regrets than they ever thought possible – not saving more, not buying Long Term Care insurance, regretting that they did not delay claiming social security benefits, not working longer, and other shoulda woulda couldas.

Luckily, many seniors still have a lot of the skills and smarts they picked up during their professional years and there are ways they can use those without taking a full-time job when they only want some part-time money to help fill in the gaps. 

ConsumerAffairs set out on a mission to find what types of jobs are available for seniors, putting an emphasis on fit, ease, and flexibility. Here’s what we found:

Flea market flipping: Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation shared the story of Jack and Joan Ferrell of Florida. Jack and Joan have built an imaginative reselling business. They source an inventory of items – everything from troll dolls to inversion tables – bought using classifieds apps, estate sales, and liquidation closeouts, and then resell those items for a profit, usually on eBay. Loper said the last time he spoke with the Ferrells, they sold around $17k worth of inventory over the previous 30 days, and had plans to scale up to $250k in total sales for the year.

Rent out extra space: “These days, an extra room, garage, or even your yard can help you create an extra stream of income. By posting your space for rent on a variety of apps, you can find people who wish to use your space for a cost,” The Senior List’s Ryan Molloy said.

While Airbnb or Vrbo are the typical uses for home spaces that people have, Molloy suggests thinking outside the box to offer non-residential space for things like video recording via a platform such as PeerSpace.

On-demand laundry service: Millennials and GenZ’ers have their hands full with raising families and working, pushing things like doing laundry down on their to-do lists. Enter SudShare, an on-demand laundry delivery service – Uber for laundry if you will. Laurie Fulford, a South Carolina mom of two young kids, reports that she is making around $30,000 a year simply by washing laundry, and the company says there are some “Sudsters” who are doing double that. As for our fit, ease, and flexibility requirement, it checks all the boxes for seniors.

Private cook, baker, or caterer: Not every senior is a super chef but some do have family recipes they’ve been making people happy with for ages. Jeff Hoyt at says that if you have a recipe that gets a lot of requests, say during the holidays, you should consider turning those into items you could sell to restaurants or locals. 

“You don't need an industrial-grade oven or commercial stove top to transform your kitchen into your private catering business,” Hoyt said. “Although you might have to make the occasional drive or hire a delivery service to get your food to customers, you can run this business entirely from home.”

Backyard nursery: Craig Odem of Tennessee always loved gardening, but hit side hustle paydirt when he began selling some of his plants – mostly hostas, hydrangeas, and arborvitae – for $7 each. Loper said that Odem will sell $10k worth of plants each season and does it just by advertising locally and on Facebook Marketplace. 

Tutoring: Teachers are one of life's greatest assets and their knowledge and skillsets can last far past the 30 years they invested in the school system. High schoolers sorely need help in certain subjects: Mathematics, Chemistry, English (especially Grammar), French, Spanish, History, Geography, and Science.

"First off it can be done at your home or the student's home. No need to pay for a commercial space," Joel Libava, the Franchise King commented to ConsumerAffairs.

Seamstress: Sewing is a lost art and it’s expensive to get anything tailored by a professional. Hoyt thinks talented seamstresses can make a profit out of their talents by offering:

  • Clothing repairs

  • Adjustments and alterations (sizing, style, etc.)

  • Affordable designer patterns for existing clothes

  • Personalized clothing items for holidays, birthdays, and other gifts

  • Sewing lessons to curious customers

Pet sitting: Having a canine companion around can be great for mobility and a mood boost for any senior who would like a little company. And a little money to go along with that makes the deal even sweeter. Loper shared that there are sites like connecting pet owners with caretakers who typically charge $30 to $60 a night per cat or dog depending on size.

Sitting isn’t the only aspect of this particular side hustle, either. There are dog walking, drop-in visits, house sitting with the pet at the owner’s house while they’re gone, and doggy daycare when the owner is at work.

Have a parking space you never use?: Another bright Molloy idea is using websites like SpotHero and JustPark that allow everyday people to provide that space for a fee. “Keep in mind, though, that you still have to take care of the spaces when they are not being used, so you’ll want to factor maintenance costs into what you charge,” he said.

Mowing lawns: Another way for seniors to pick up some extra cash for things the younger generation doesn’t have the time to do is mowing lawns. Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal which is best described as Uber for Lawn Care, says the retirees who use his company’s platform set their own hours, pick their own clients, and make around $55 per hour on average. GreenPal also provides another perk for seniors – a little bit of physical activity.

“It’s a great way to get out in the fresh air and stay active while adding to the bottom line, enabling someone to retire or maintain their retirement lifestyle,” he told ConsumerAffairs. “

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