The 16 Best Part-Time Businesses

Great Opportunities to Make Money and Still Have Time

Female groomer trimming Cocker Spaniel at dog grooming salon
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If you’re like most people thinking of starting a part-time business, it’s not about becoming rich; it’s about making some money while being able to do other things.

Maybe you want to spend more time with your children. Or winter in the warm Arizona desert. Or maybe you have a job you want to keep, but some extra money would be nice.

The right part-time business can make all these things possible. The following lists explore seasonal and year-round part-time business opportunities.

The 9 Best Seasonal Part-Time Businesses

Seasonal businesses will keep you busy during a good chunk of the year but give you a whole offseason to do whatever you want, whether you're a snowbird or flying south.

  1. Boat, paddleboard, kayak, bicycle or dive-gear rental: Whatever the activity, there will always be people who prefer to rent rather than buy it and store it over the offseason.
  2. Seasonal food trucks or stands: Fish tacos on the beach, ice cream or gelato, fair food—you name it, there are plenty of seasonal food ideas that sell. Providing eats to visitors at one big fair or a series of fairs in the summer can be very profitable. And when the fairs are done, so are you.
  3. Mowing and yard maintenance: Fewer people than ever want to do this themselves, and you could easily turn this into a year-round business by offering snow removal services in many places.
  4. Irrigation system installation and maintenance: Subdivisions are prime selling zones for these in the spring and summer.
  5. Local tour provider: Depending on the locale, you might offer nature tours such as guided hikes, kayak tours, horse and carriage tours—or something entirely different such as ghost tours, the best jazz venues, etc.
  6. Bed and breakfast (open during your area’s tourist season only): It’s not all about scenic beaches and lakes; skiers and boarders need seasonal accommodations, too.
  7. Seasonal sports instructor: If you've got a skill in, say, skiing or kayaking, why not turn it into a seasonal business by selling your expertise?
  8. Halloween costume designer: Halloween is now one of the biggest retail events of the year (behind Christmas and back to school) and costumes for adults represent a growing market.
  9. Tax season-related services: If you're a trained bookkeeper or accountant, you could have a side hustle doing people’s taxes during the busy run leading up to tax day.

The 7 Best Year-Round Part-Time Businesses

These businesses would need to be operated throughout the year but allow you to set your own (limited) hours without damaging the business.

  1. Service businesses: Hairdressing, cleaning, tutoring, dog grooming, and property caretaking are just a few of the services that you could provide to customers part time.
  2. Design businesses: Whether you do interior or graphic design, these businesses allow you to set your own pace and volume of client work.
  3. Arts and crafts: Graphic artists, painters, illustrators, potters, jewelry designers, and more can sell their creations at events and online.
  4. Consulting businesses: Whatever your background, turn your experience into a marketable service year-round.
  5. Professions: Notaries public, lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, architects, doctors—the list goes on. Many of these professions can translate well into part-time, self-employed work.
  6. Tradespeople: Some cabinetmakers, masons, and tilers are so good at what they do that some people will wait (years in some cases) to get them to work for them. Learning a trade doesn't require the same amount of schooling, and you can usually pick up skills on the job.
  7. Direct selling: Avon, Mary Kay, and Tupperware are three of the top direct-selling companies in the world, but there are thousands more offering the opportunity to sell everything from insurance to lingerie—out of your home, in most cases. (Note: If you are thinking of joining a particular direct-selling company, you really need to check out the company thoroughly. Some of them are actually illegal pyramid schemes.)

Find the Right Fit

No one is good at everything. So make sure that you don’t just pick a part-time business because it seems best suited to your chosen lifestyle. Like a suit of clothes, it also has to fit you. For instance, if you’re not comfortable talking to people face to face and selling them things, don’t get into direct selling.

And whatever part-time business you choose to start, remember that all businesses in the U.S. and Canada, big or small, full or part time, follow the same rules and regulations. Make sure you know the whole process before you pursue your next business opportunity.