Jobs That Pay Cash: What Can You Do to Boost Your Earnings Now?
Jobs that pay cash can help ease the stress that many people feel when they are living paycheck to paycheck. Cash-paying jobs can provide you with income immediately, and it's an added benefit when you are able to earn extra money on top of your regular paycheck. Many people achieve that by working at second jobs on the side. In fact, more than seven million Americans held multiple jobs in 2015. That makes up almost five percent of the population among those who are 16 years old or over.1
Many people who are earning cash are doing so as independent contractors, which is a form of self-employment. Taking this route has the potential to lead you toward becoming a successful entrepreneur and running your own business. So exploring jobs that pay cash can result in a number of new and interesting ideas and possibilities.
Another important consideration is that cash-paying jobs provide you with all of your earnings up front so that you are able to immediately spend or invest that money however you see fit. That can allow you to quickly pay off urgent debts or invest needed money back into your own business. And that is great as long as you know that, legally, you will need to pay the taxes on your earnings during the next tax season.
Some estimates indicate that over half of Americans have less than $1,000 in their bank accounts at any given time. If you are one of the people feeling this pinch, then you may be interested in learning about your options for finding work that provides cash payments. We have compiled a variety of cash-paying occupations in order to help you generate some ideas and even find a great new vocational field to enter. Keep reading to learn more about:
- Jobs that pay cash and can provide a regular income
- Jobs that pay cash daily
- Odd jobs to boost your regular income
- Understanding the legalities of jobs that pay under the table
(Unless otherwise noted, the hourly wages being cited are based on national averages as of May 2016.2 However, the averages represent individuals who are paid as employees of businesses. Those who are self-employed can often earn higher wages, but they are also responsible for paying their own taxes and other business and operational expenses.)
Jobs That Pay Cash and Can Provide a Regular Income
Jobs that pay cash don't have to be second or side jobs that you work at in your spare time. You can have the best of both worlds. There are a number of vocational fields that you can enter in which it is common to accept cash payments, and you can secure enough work to provide you with a regular income. Check out some of the possibilities below:
Caterer—Prepare, deliver, and serve food for a variety of special events, such as weddings, birthdays, fundraisers, and banquets. Although you don't need to be a professional chef, you would likely benefit from some level of culinary training in order to strengthen your skills in areas like food preparation, sanitation, and budgeting. Experienced caterers with good reputations often have enough work that they do not require additional jobs to supplement their income. And most caterers only accept cash or check payments from their clients. You would often request a deposit in advance and then require that the remaining balance be paid at the end of the food service.
Construction Laborer—Assist with major construction projects from building houses and office buildings to installing and repairing in-ground water and sewer systems. Almost any construction project that you see has laborers working on-site. And since the work is often seasonal and can be short-term, you can find laborer jobs that pay daily or provide a cash payout every two weeks. That said, hardworking construction laborers are usually able to line up jobs that keep them busy year-round so that they are not trying to supplement their earnings from other sources. The average construction worker makes $18.22 per hour.
Delivery Truck Driver—Spend your days delivering goods around your city or region and receive cash payments for doing so. There are companies that provide their delivery drivers with commissions based on the value of the delivery, and, quite often, those commissions are paid out in cash at the end of each shift or at the end of the week. Other companies hire on-call delivery drivers who are able to work on a moment's notice, and because they are not regular employees, they are usually paid at the end of each shift. You will likely require a commercial driver's license for most positions. And the average pay is $16.73 per hour.
Food Truck Vendor—Get in on the newest culinary craze to hit the streets. Food trucks are wildly popular, and they have the advantage of mobility. They can move their food services around cities and regions in order to access the largest amounts of people possible. All you need is a truck and the ability to prepare mouthwatering dishes. And the best part is that it is all cash sales. But it's important that you check with your local government to ensure that you have the appropriate licenses and are operating within accordance of any bylaws. Depending on your experience level, you may also want to consider obtaining some culinary arts training.
Hairdresser or Barber—Give men and women the haircuts or styles that they desire by working as a hairdresser or barber. Hairdressers typically work in spas or salons and offer a variety of services that can include coloring hair and applying hair extensions. Barbers tend to work in barbershops where the clientele is largely male. Both types of hair-care professionals can also offer services out of their homes. It is the norm for these professionals to be paid in cash since many do not offer debit or credit card payment options. If you are social, outgoing, and have a sense of style, then this can be a great job that provides you with a regular income and puts cash in your pocket daily. (Note that some states will require you to obtain a license in order to provide services.)
Hairdressers make $14.23 per hour, on average, and barbers earn a little more at $14.38 per hour. However, if you are self-employed, then you could have the opportunity to earn a lot more. Below are some additional beauty jobs that pay cash and also offer self-employment possibilities:
- Makeup artist—$34.42 per hour (for theatrical and performance makeup artists)
- Nail technician—$11.70 per hour
- Skincare specialist—$16.91 per hour
Massage Therapist—Offer professional massage services to clients in a studio or spa setting or out of your home. You could even travel to your clients' homes. A lot of massage therapists only accept cash payments, especially for those who are mobile or working out of their homes. To get started, you will need to complete some training, and it is recommended that you check on your state's licensing laws to ensure that you are operating in compliance with regulations in your area. On average, massage therapists are paid $21.39 per hour. However, if you are self-employed and registered, then you may be able to charge rates of $75.00 to $100.00 per hour and higher.
Mechanic—Help out people who need essential repairs done to their vehicles, bikes, boats, and outdoor power tools. A lot of mechanics who work out of dealerships or large repair shops are paid employees who do not earn cash. However, if you work for a small shop, set up your own space, provide traveling services, or work out of your backyard, then you can offer cash services. In those cases, most mechanics only take cash since they are not set up to conduct debit and credit card transactions. And smaller shops could be more likely to pay you in cash in order to reduce the time and money that they spend on payroll. Check out five of the most common mechanic specialties below:
- Automotive—$19.90 per hour
- Diesel—$22.45 per hour
- Marine—$19.65 per hour
- Motorcycle—$17.81 per hour
- Small engine—$16.98 per hour
Photographer—Provide professional photography services to individuals, couples, and families, or take breathtaking photos that you can sell as art or stock photography. Most photographers are self-employed, and some are able to obtain enough work to have a regular income, whereas others offer photography services on the side. Photographers who are paid employees make an average of $20.50 per hour. However, it is the self-employed photographers that tend to be paid in cash, and they also typically charge higher rates depending on the services that they offer. Rates can vary widely, but as an example, you could charge $250 for a family portrait session or bill services for a wedding at $1,500 or higher. You would likely require a cash deposit in advance. Then, the remainder would be paid once you have the pictures ready to send to your client.
Skilled Tradesperson—Prepare for an in-demand skilled trades position and set yourself up to start earning some serious cash. Many skilled tradespeople have opportunities to work as independent contractors, and it is quite normal for them to accept cash only upon completion of their jobs. Additionally, large companies that are responsible for major building projects often hire independent contractors and prefer to pay them in cash in order to simplify the bookkeeping process. Self-employment can also bring you greater earning opportunities since the hourly rates that you charge are often higher than the average rates paid to employees. Here are five of the top skilled trades jobs that you could consider:
- Carpenter—$23.24 per hour
- Electrician—$27.24 per hour
- HVAC mechanic—$23.23 per hour
- Plumber—$26.94 per hour
- Welder—$20.41 per hour
Jobs That Pay Cash Daily
It is definitely possible to find jobs that provide you with cash every day. One option is to work in an occupation in which you can earn tips. You can still receive a regular paycheck, but you also earn cash tips that go straight into your pocket at the end of your shift. There are also jobs in which it is considered normal or standard to pay cash only. Take a moment to explore some of your options below:
Bartender or Server—Working in restaurants, bars, and other food and beverage establishments can lead to excellent cash earnings depending on the business and the quality of your customer service skills. Although the hourly wages that are paid are not known to be high (e.g., bartenders make $12.30 per hour, and servers earn $11.29 per hour, on average), the tips can be in the range of $100 to $200 per shift and higher. Tips are typically paid out in cash at the end of each shift.
DJ—Playing music for the masses is not only fun, it can be a great way to earn some extra cash. DJs can earn cash in two ways. The first is in the form of tips. If you play at nightclubs and other venues in which you take requests, then you can often receive tips from the patrons or attendees who are requesting songs. DJs are usually self-employed, so the second way that they earn cash is from the payment that they receive from the venue or organizer. You can request that a cash payment be provided at the end of your gig. If you are employed as a regular DJ at a single venue, then it is likely that your only cash earnings will be in the form of tips.
Door-to-Door Salesperson—Selling door to door involves canvassing neighborhoods in order to sell a variety of goods or services, such as knives, vacuums, or window-cleaning services. Most door-to-door salespeople work on a commission basis, meaning that they earn a percentage of the total value of the products or services that they sell. And there are many companies that will pay out your commission in cash daily. You may also want to consider completing sales or other business-related training to help boost your selling skills so that you can enhance your potential to earn even more money.
Housecleaner—Cleaning people's residential and commercial spaces can be financially rewarding, and it can be a good way to earn some cash every day. Cleaners who work as independent contractors can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to an entire day cleaning for a client. You can build up your clientele in order to have full-time hours, and you may be able to charge rates ranging from $20.00 to $50.00 per hour. It is quite common for independent cleaners to be paid in cash upon the completion of each cleaning job.
Ice Cream Truck Driver—Bringing smiles to children's faces by serving them ice cream is a fun and fulfilling way to make money. Depending on your location, selling ice cream is likely a seasonal job. But when the weather is agreeable, you can make some great money by selling frozen treats. And ice cream truck drivers fall into the category of jobs that pay cash only, so you never have to wait around for a paycheck.
Junk Removal Laborer—Removing junk and garbage from people's residential and commercial properties can be good business. A lot of people do not have the vehicles or means that are needed to remove large amounts of debris and garbage from their properties, so they need to hire someone to do it for them. And you could be that someone. With a truck and some muscle, you could be receiving lump-sum cash payments to take away people's junk and garbage. You could advertise your services on local online classified sites, and you would likely want to quote on a per-job basis since the length and disposal cost of each job will vary.
Street Musician—Sharing your musical talents with the public can result in good tips, which could mean cash in hand every day that you work. The earnings of street musicians (also known as buskers) come strictly in the form of tips from people passing by. So if you are a talented musician, have the time to perform on the street, and can find high-traffic locations (preferably with lots of tourists), then you could stand to make some good money. It is recommended that you check your local bylaws to make sure that you are performing in accordance with any regulations.
Taxi Driver—Getting people from Point A to Point B could be a good option for you if you are sociable, enjoy driving, and have good knowledge of your city's streets. Being friendly and knowing how to get your passengers to their destinations quickly usually results in the best cash tips. Depending on your fare, your tips could range from $2.00 to more than $20.00 for each ride that you provide. That is certainly a great way to earn cash daily and boost your regular income. Taxi drivers earn $12.88 per hour, on average, plus tips.
Odd Jobs to Boost Your Regular Income
If you want to earn extra income, then finding odd jobs for money in between your paychecks can be quite helpful. There are many job options that pay in cash so that you are able to have money right away. When you begin looking for odd jobs, Craigslist and other online classified sites can be a great place to get started. Some other ideas that you could consider include the following:
Artist—Are you a skilled artist or craftsperson? Whether you paint, draw, sculpt, or engage in any other artistic activity, you could begin selling your work on the side to earn some extra cash. In today's online world, artists can easily connect and sell to customers around the world. Websites like Etsy, ArtFire, and even Amazon enable you to set up an online shop in order to sell your beautiful creations. You could also look at setting up a booth at a local farmers' market or at other fairs and festivals. This could be a great way to share your passion and supplement your income with cash.
Childcare Provider—Does the joy and laughter of children brighten your day? Have you ever thought about providing childcare services on the side? It could be an ideal option as an odd job that puts some cash in your hands. Many parents require babysitters in the evenings and on the weekends, and they usually pay with cash for each job. Parents want people who are responsible, caring, trustworthy, and fun. So if you fit this bill, then you should consider offering childcare services. You may enjoy it so much that you decide to make a career out of it.
Grounds Maintenance Laborer—Do you have a bit of a green thumb and enjoy spending your free time outdoors? Then you may want to consider picking up side jobs as a yard, landscaping, or grounds maintenance laborer. You could provide cash-only services to people who need their lawns mowed, garden beds weeded, and trees trimmed. Depending on your skills and experience, you could even carry out landscaping activities like building retaining walls or laying brick walkways. Getting started could be as simple as advertising your services on classified websites. Grounds maintenance laborers who are employed by companies earn an average of $15.23 per hour. But as an independent contractor, you can set your rates in the range of $25.00 to $50.00 per hour and higher.
House or Pet Sitter—Would you mind spending your spare time taking care of people's homes or animals while they are away? It is a fairly simple way to earn cash. All you need to do is check on or stay at people's homes while they are out of town. You may have some basic chores like watering plants or taking care of the lawn. And if you are caring for pets, you'll need to spend some time with them and ensure that they are fed and watered. Most people who hire house and pet sitters will pay you in cash at the end of the job, and you can often find work by advertising your services on online classified websites.
Tutor—Do you excel in a certain subject area that you could teach to someone else? If so, then tutoring could be a great way to earn extra income on the side. Many kids and college students require tutors to help them better understand subjects, from English and history to mathematics and science. You could charge in the range of $20.00 to $50.00 per hour, and it is common to only accept cash payments.
Understanding the Legalities of Jobs That Pay Under the Table
Jobs that pay cash under the table can sound appealing, but it is important to understand the risks that come with earning money that you do not report for taxation purposes. When you earn money under the table, you are taking part in the underground economy.
When people hear talk of the underground economy, they often picture illegal activities like drug dealing. But the fact is that the underground economy includes a whole host of economic activities that are simply unreported to the government. Therefore, any income generated from those activities is not taxed. So while jobs that pay cash in hand may be alluring, if that cash goes unreported to the government, then you could find yourself in hot water with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other local, state, and federal authorities.
The penalties for committing tax fraud, or tax evasion, are substantial. Depending on the level of fraud, you could be imprisoned for up to five years and have to pay fines of up to $250,000. In 2015 alone, the IRS initiated more than 3,800 investigations and had almost 3,100 convictions in which 80 percent of the offenders went to prison and served an average of 40 months.3 The largest tax evasion case in the country's history was that of multi-millionaire Walter Anderson. His 2006 trial found that he had $200 million in taxes owing to the federal government and the District of Columbia. Walter's conviction resulted in him having to serve a nine-and-a-half-year sentence and pay $400 million in back taxes, penalties, and fees.4
Along with the legal implications mentioned above, it is much easier for employers to exploit your services when they are paying you under the table since you are not protected by employment laws and regulations. And you also will not qualify for any kind of social welfare benefits should the need ever arise. So although putting cash payments straight into your pocket and not declaring your earnings may seem like a good idea, it can have consequences that cost a lot more than the money that you saved by not paying taxes.
Although it is very difficult to determine the total value of the underground economy, one economist estimated that unreported activity totaled two trillion dollars in the U.S. in 2012. That was almost 12 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) at that time. And in the same year, the IRS estimated that it had lost nearly $500 billion in taxes due to unreported wages.5 So the economic implications of tax evasion extend far beyond you personally since that lost tax revenue is not going into important government spending programs that could help individuals and organizations across the country.
Typically, most earnings are considered taxable and must be reported to the IRS. There is no minimum amount that you can exclude from your earnings. If you have any questions regarding how to report your cash earnings, then it would be wise to contact the IRS directly or get in touch with a professional accountant or tax specialist.
Uncover the Right Career Path for You
There are a lot of options for jobs that pay cash daily, and as long as you are reporting your earnings, it is completely legal for you to accept cash payments. Many of these occupations require you to have some post-secondary training, so it may be a good idea for you to consider finding a trade school or college that can help you build new skills. Uncover your options right now by using the school finder below. Just enter your zip code to see what programs are being offered near you. It's a step that could start leading you toward a brighter and better future!
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, website last visited on July 12, 2016.
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on August 28, 2017.
3 Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Enforcement, website last visited on August 30, 2017.
4 Optima Tax Relief, "Walter Anderson: America's High-Flying Tax Evader," website last visited on July 11, 2016.
5 Investopedia, "How Big Is the Underground Economy in America?," website last visited on July 11, 2016.