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13 ways to make money fast

Key takeaways

  • If you’re looking to make money fast, a side gig with a quick pay turnaround could help you bring in extra cash.
  • Some ideas could be done in hours, such as testing websites, and some might take days, such as walking dogs, but all are faster than undergoing weeks-long application processes for other jobs.
  • Remember to set aside money for state and federal income taxes on any extra income.

Patience may be a virtue, but sometimes you need extra cash fast. Maybe you’re dealing with an unexpected bill—and your emergency fund is short—or you want to kickstart saving for a big goal. Whatever your reason, there are plenty of gigs out there to choose from (such as these 20 side hustles). But many of them take time and resources to get started.

If you’re looking for money-making ideas that pay within a few days or even hours, check out these 13 ways to make money fast.

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How to make money fast

  1. Test user experiences

    If a business wants feedback on a website or mobile app, they can hire an online service that recruits and pays people to test it out. Once you’re hired, you’ll typically be asked to complete a short task (or test) on the client’s website or app and then provide your thoughts on what the process was like.

    What’s required? A computer or smartphone and internet. You might need a microphone and a webcam too. Applying to an experience-testing service online takes just minutes and on one popular testing site, approval tends to take just a few days.

    How much can you make? Between $5 and $120 or more per test, depending on time, complexity, and whether it’s done on your own time or live on the company’s schedule, according to a sample of services.1 Payment following a test tends to take about a week.

  2. Take surveys online

    Many businesses also turn to online survey services to inform their products or advertising. In the surveys, you’ll be asked to answer questions about your habits and preferences, or to react to some kind of image, video, or other type of media.

    What’s required? A computer or smartphone and internet. Once you’ve created an account with a survey service, you could begin taking surveys that you qualify for within minutes on some sites.

    How much can you make? Anywhere from $0.25 to $25 per survey or more, depending on the survey company and survey. The style of payment can differ across platforms, with some paying in cash or gift cards and some using points that could be redeemed for cash, gift cards, or online shopping.2

  3. Sell stock photos

    Don’t just do it for the ‘gram. You might be able to turn your photos into a source of passive income by uploading them to stock photo websites. If someone buys the rights to one of your images, you’ll receive royalties—aka a cut of the license price.

    What’s required? You may already have a library of pics to submit, or you could build one up. It might help to have a fancy camera and photo editing software, but sites do sell smartphone photos as long as they’re good quality. Avoid logos and other copyrighted material in your photos, and if you photograph people (including strangers), ask them to sign model releases so the images can legally be sold.3 Do your research by site for other rules and requirements. For instance, some sites allow you to upload images for free; others might charge fees.

    How much can you make? This depends on the platform and membership type you choose, plus how many images you’re able to sell. Commission rates at popular stock photo sites range from 8% to 85% of the sale price paid to the photographer.4

  4. Sell other stuff you already own

    Clean out your closet, cabinets, bookshelves, or toy bin. Whatever you and your family don’t need anymore, consider posting for sale on an online marketplace. Or go analog and host a garage sale—or see if you can join in on a scheduled one for your town.

    What’s required? Things people want to buy from you that you’re willing to part with and the ability to ship stuff out or meet up to hand over the goods.

    How much can you make? The better condition your stuff is in and the more sought-after it is, the closer to the original purchase price you could get. Many online platforms take a cut of the sale or charge you to list your item, and if you have to mail packages, that’ll bring down your profit too.

  5. Become a dog walker

    Plenty of exercise and quality time with furry friends? Not a bad way to raise some extra funds. There are many apps designed to connect you with pet owners who’ll pay for your time. Or you can simply advertise on your own, using local social media groups or good ol’-fashioned paper flyers.

    What’s required? Being able to manage one or multiple dogs on a leash. Experience with different breeds and temperaments could be a plus for attracting doggos with special needs, such as reactive, nervous, or elderly dogs. If you create a profile with a dog-walking app, you’ll need to pass a background check, which you might have to pay for yourself.

    How much can you make? Though you can set your own rates, your prices will need to compete with others in your area. The average price for a dog walk is $25,5 but most apps take a commission fee that eats into that. Adding multiple dogs per walk could help boost your bottom line, as could planning your route to reduce travel time between pups.

  6. Try pet sitting or animal care

    Cats, horses, chickens—oh my. Pet sitters and other animal caretakers are in high demand for owners hoping to get away. Just like dog walking, it’s easy to get started—either by advertising your services on your own or creating an account through a pet-sitting app. (Some dog walking apps also let you advertise your other pet-care services.)

    What’s required? Reliable transportation to go to an animal parent’s home or a suitable place to board a pet at your place. Experience with a certain type of animal, such as birds or horses, could help too. You also might need to pass a background check if you go through an app, and you might have to pay for the cost.

    How much can you make? The average pet sitter charges between $10 and $30 per day, or between $40 and $75 per night for overnight pet sitting.6 You could charge more for sitting multiple pets, visiting multiple times a day, or administering complex care. Expect an app to take a small cut of what you earn.

  7. Consider house sitting

    Not big on pets? Hang in someone else’s house for money instead. Without pets to care for, this gig could involve watering plants, bringing in mail, and keeping the place clean. Websites and apps make it easy by connecting you with homeowners, though they charge membership fees to join. Or you can advertise on your own and leverage your network for free.

    What’s required? As with pet sitting, you’ll need a way of getting to your client’s home. Some websites might require a background check.

    How much can you make? An average of $25 to $100 per day, depending on your duties and how often you’re visiting or staying over.7 Besides cash, house sitting could offer a different place to crash with amenities you might not have, such as a backyard or a pool.

  8. Drive for a rideshare company

    If you have a car and don’t mind playing chauffeur, consider driving for a rideshare company. Once you’re approved in the app, just set your availability and area preferences and you can start earning money bringing people where they need to go. There are no fees to get started, but you’ll need a few things.

    What’s required? A reliable 4-door vehicle, a valid driver’s license, and proof of residency in your city and state. Depending on where you live and the app you choose, you might need to be at least 21 years old, have 1 or more years of driving experience, and provide proof of insurance. You’ll also have to pass a criminal background check; that cost is covered by the company.

    How much can you make? Pay will depend on many factors, including your location, the type of rides you take, and what you receive in tips. Studies have found that rideshare drivers earn anywhere from $9 to $28 per hour, while the 2 major rideshare companies have said it’s closer to $35 an hour.8

  9. Make deliveries

    If you’re not a people person but like the idea of driving around as a side gig, becoming a delivery driver could be a nice alternative. Because we’ve all grown used to having virtually anything dropped on our doorstep, there are tons of takeout, grocery, and package delivery apps to choose from.

    What’s required? In most cases, you’ll need a vehicle and driver’s license to get started. But in certain places, apps will allow you to make deliveries without a car, making it possible to earn some extra bucks on a bike or scooter. As with driving for a rideshare company, you’ll need to apply and pass a background check before you start picking up deliveries. That check tends to be covered by the company.

    How much can you make? Drivers for some popular services average between $12 and $24 an hour,9 but pay depends on your area, timing, type of deliveries, and tips.

  10. Rent out your car

    Looking for a less time-consuming way to turn your car into an income stream? You could consider renting it out to other drivers when you’re not using it. Apps make it easy to find drivers willing to pay to borrow your car, whether for a few hours, a day, or longer.

    What’s required? You’ll need a qualifying vehicle—meaning it meets age, mileage, and title history requirements—and a valid driver’s license, and typically you’ll need to be at least 21 years old. Though car-sharing platforms may offer protection plans and liability insurance, you may also need (or want) your own auto insurance, if your state doesn’t already require it. Also, check your personal policy: Some policies don’t allow you to maintain coverage and rent out your car; others might raise your premium; others still might not cover incidents that occur while a renter is driving.

    How much can you make? Some estimates say the average host makes about $250 a month, up to $1,000 per month.10 But earnings depend on your car type, location, availability, and other factors. Listing sites take a cut of the rental costs but don’t charge you upfront fees.

  11. Rent out your home

    Whether you’ve got a spare room someone can move into, a corner of your garage someone can store stuff in, or a pool or backyard people would love to borrow for a bit, you could profit off the extra space. If you don’t use your home year-round, you could even rent out the whole place. But make sure you understand your state’s short-term rental requirements and whether your state charges additional taxes for renting out your home. As with other fast ways to make money, you could rent out your home or sections of it through an app or website, or by word of mouth, or sharing on social media.

    What’s required? A space you wouldn’t mind sharing—and the freedom to share it. If you’re renting yourself, or part of a homeowner’s association, there could be restrictions on renting out even a part of your home. You also need to make the space accessible to renters and keep it clean.

    How much can you make? It depends on the size of your space and location, location, location. But it could net hundreds to thousands for each full month you rent out. The listing site takes a cut from confirmed bookings.

  12. Sell your time and labor

    Moving, cleaning, raking leaves: Sometimes a job just calls for elbow grease. If you’re fairly handy or up for some manual labor, you can rent out your skills and time to people looking for a little help with random tasks. There are many websites and apps you could go through, or just advertise your services locally. You will need to have insurance if you get hurt or if you damage a client’s property.

    What’s required? Whatever tools or materials are needed to complete the tasks you’re hired for. You can create a profile in just a few hours, but you’ll typically need to pass a background check before getting hired.

    How much can you make? Average pay varies significantly depending on your location and the service you provide. On one popular platform, you can earn an average of $49 per hour for yard work in Boston, Massachusetts, but an average of $27 per hour doing the same thing in Boise, Idaho.11 Some sites charge a registration fee to get started; other sites charge you for potential customers and bookings.

  13. Sign up for psychological studies

    Open your mind to researchers conducting studies and get paid for potentially moving science forward as a test subject—if you don’t mind being a guinea pig and potentially being written about in research papers.

    What’s required? Time, willingness to answer researchers’ questions and do the tasks they ask you to complete, and, if it’s an in-person study, the ability to get to the study site.

    How much can you make? Between $10 and $50 an hour or a flat participation rate that could be in the hundreds.12 You could get cash as soon as you’re done, but check how and when you’d be paid before you agree to partake. The timeline and payment method can vary.

Things to consider

Remember these tips before you hit the ground running.

  • Protect yourself. Beware of scams and get-rich-quick schemes—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Verify apps and websites with online research before handing over your personal data or banking information. Don’t put yourself in unsafe situations for the sake of a gig. Follow your instincts and always read a platform’s safety guidelines before getting started.
  • Don’t forget taxes. Just like with a full-time job, you’ll owe income taxes (both state and federal) on any money you earn from a side hustle. In most cases, these taxes will need to be paid quarterly to avoid penalties from the IRS. (Get more tax tips for the self-employed.)
  • Track your expenses. Anything you spend on your side hustle could potentially reduce your tax bill as a tax deduction. Consider opening a separate business checking and savings account to more easily see where your money is going.
  • Consider insurance. Depending on the type of work you’re doing, it might be a good idea to buy additional types of insurance. Many freelancers and self-employed people carry liability insurance and disability insurance.
  • Do the math. Your time is valuable—make sure the money you’re earning is worth the effort you’re devoting to your side hustle.

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More to explore

1. Determined by rate comparison accessed between November 10, 2023, and November 15, 2023, across 3 of the most cited platforms: BetaTesting, UserLytics, and User Testing. 2. Determined by rate comparison accessed between November 10, 2023, and November 15, 2023, across 4 of the most cited platforms: InboxDollars, Opinion Outpost, Survey Junkie, and Swagbucks. 3. “How to Sell Photos: A Guide to Earning Money in Stock Photography,” Jordyn Giesbrecht, Shutterstock, June 1, 2023. 4. Determined by rate comparison accessed between November 10, 2023, and November 15, 2023, across 5 of the most cited platforms: 500px, Getty Images, Photo Shelter, Shutterstock, and Wirestock. 5. Heidi Gollub and Kara McGinley, “Cost of dog ownership statistics 2023,” USA Today, October 3, 2023. 6. “Pet Sitter Rates Calculator–Plan Ahead with Personalized Pricing for Your Pets!” World Animal Foundation, July 31, 2023. 7. Caroline Biggs, “How Much Should I Pay a House Sitter? 7 Things to Consider,” Apartment Therapy, August 7, 2023. 8. Jacob Zinkula, “How much do Uber and Lyft drivers really make? It varies wildly depending on tips, car expenses, and how they calculate profits,” Business Insider, October 24, 2023. 9. “How much does UberEATS in the United States pay?”, 2023. 10. Rachelle Dragani, “Rent out your car for extra cash,” Popular Mechanics, September 25, 2013. 11. “Become a tasker” calculator, TaskRabbit, 2023. 12. Leah Thayer, “6 Ways You Can Make Money as a Test Subject,” The Penny Hoarder, June 6, 2023.

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