7 Business Ideas for High School Students

I work with the youth in my church, and I often talk to them about their jobs. I forgot how little minimum wage is- $7.25 an hour in Utah. I want to give some alternatives to getting the typical high school jobs. Starting your own business at that age is not at difficult as many make it out to be. Here are some ideas to make more than that, most I have tried myself:

1. Digitize old photos and documents. There are a lot of people with boxes full of old photos. Knock the doors in your neighborhood and offer to digitize all of them to a flash drive. You will need a scanner, probably one that can scan at scale. This one seems decent. It requires some upfront costs, so here’s what I would do: knock the doors and get sales before you buy the scanner. You could charge $200–$300 to scan up to 1000 pictures. Take $150 upfront and say you will charge the remaining when you deliver the flash drive. At that price, you only need to sell 6–9 to cover the costs of the scanner. Buy the scanner with the money, expedite the shipping, and deliver the finished products the next week.

2. Paint curb addresses. Buy some stencils online, knock all of your neighbor’s doors, and offer to paint their address on the curb for $10-$20. Make sure to Google some good paint that won’t peel off easily.

3. Fix smart phone screens. Everyone drops their phone and breaks their screen. Learn how to fix it. I fixed my own screen once because I was too cheap to pay someone. I posted a picture of me doing it on Instagram, and in the next six months, I had about 20 people asking to pay me to fix theirs, even though I wasn’t soliciting it as a business. I did it for a few of them for $100 each. The screen replacement cost $30ish and it would take me about thirty minutes to do. $140 an hour is not bad.

You don’t have to be an electronics expert to fix them. Just Google it. Here’s how to fix an iPhone 6. Here’s how to fix a Galaxy S4. Here’s an LG G4. Now you’re an expert.

4. Sell “no-soliciting” signs. I actually did this on a date once. I had the local print shop make some vinyl decals that said “No Soliciting.” It cost 30 or 40 dollars for 100 of them. We started knocking doors in a random neighborhood to sell the signs.

It was actually a pretty easy sale, it went something like this: “Hey there, are you the homeowner? Great! We hate it when people knock on our door trying to sell stupid stuff that no one is interested in. Don’t you hate that? When you’re comfortable on your couch, the last person you want ringing your doorbell is a salesman. We are here to fix that problem for good! Slap one of these signs on your door and you’ll never see anyone like us standing here again! For only $10 that dream can become a reality!”

People would often buy just because they thought we were funny. It honestly was one of the easiest sales I’ve done. We took the money we made and spent it at an expensive restaurant for dinner. I don’t think she went out with me again.

5. Set up SquareSpace websites for small businesses. There’s actually still a ton of small businesses that don’t have a website, even though it’s super easy to set one up. Google: “[city name] business directory” and you will find all the local businesses you can easily talk to. Go learn to set them up on SquareSpace. They make it really easy to use, and there’s simple tutorials to learn how. You could charge anywhere from $300-$1000 per website depending on their needs.

6. Clean garbage cans. Sounds gross, and it kind of is, but not too bad. People often have some stinky garbage cans that need to be cleaned, but no one actually does it. I have done this a few times with the young men in my ward to raise money, and it is really effective. You’ll need a truck/trailer and a power-washer for this one. You will also need to find a close place to clean them.

Hand out some flyers that say you will be cleaning people’s outdoor garbage cans for $10–$20 per can the day after garbage day. That day, go knock on everyone’s door and give the same pitch. Take the cans in the truck to wherever you can do it without getting in trouble, clean them out with the power-washer, and spray a bleach solution to finish. Make sure to stay organized so you don’t give someone the wrong can back. Making $1000 in a day would not be overly difficult. Hire a friend to help you clean the cans for $10 an hour while you’re out knocking doors and you’ll make even more.

7. Replace missing shingles after a storm. You can easily make $2,000 in a day doing this (I’ve done it multiple times). After a wind storm, go buy a few bundles of black shingles for about $35 a bundle (black because that’s what most people have on their roofs). Drive around with the shingles and a ladder (you can use a Little Giant if you don’t have a truck) looking for houses with missing shingles. Knock on their door and say you’ll fix their roof for $200 right there on the spot. Most already know they need to get it fixed, and if you are ready to go, they will likely spend it on you. This saves them from making an appointment with another roofer, dealing with bids, and it could likely cost more that route anyway.

Don’t know how to replace shingles? Gary Jones will teach you. I Googled “how to fix roof shingles” and this was the first result. It’s really pretty easy, and it gets easier the more you do it. Find someone you know who is a roofer who you can pay to ask questions if needed. Use FaceTime to show them the issue if you run into any problems.

There you go. Nothing too difficult, just some sales and learning a few new skills from Google. Make sure to thank those who pay you!