Monday, December 29, 2008

A snowstorm can bring your kids some immediate cash

In late December we had a 12-inch snowfall over night. The next morning Andres Ibarra, the 15-year old son of some friends of ours, said to his father, “Do you think if I offered to shovel out the neighbor’s driveway, he’d pay me five dollars?”

“Go over and ask them,” was the reply, so Andres did. He got the job. (The only two problems were that he charged too little for a hard job, and that he failed to contact more neighbors for additional work.)

Once the main roads were cleared, I called two young men, Jorge and Alberto, to shovel us out as well. I paid them $20 each and was delighted with their work.

When I was growing up in the 1930s, we kids took any opportunity at hand to make some extra money, including shoveling snow, running errands, and splitting wood for ten cents an hour. If your teens need some extra cash, pick up a scoop shovel at Lowes or Home Depot (about $40) before the next storm. Then, when it comes, show them how it’s done and turn them loose.

If you have no teens, why not try this out yourself? Charge at least $25 an hour—more, if you have an all-wheel drive vehicle and can also run errands for the less-privileged folks. You won’t get on any New Hires list and no one needs to know your date of birth, your SSN, or your home address.