Live in New York? We’ve Got 9 Ways to Make Big Money in the Big Apple
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.
Chock full of skyscrapers and bankers and brokers, New York City is the financial capital of the universe. Money flows down your streets and avenues like water rushing down a river.
So why not try to scoop up some of that money for yourself? The Big Apple might be bustling with commerce, but it’s also a super expensive place to live. As a New Yorker, you could always use a little extra cash to pay rent.
Ways to Make Extra Money in New York City
Luckily, NYC offers a limitless number of flexible money-making opportunities. Here are 10 of them.
It doesn’t matter if you already work full-time or you’re just trying to rake in some cash on a part-time basis. There’s something here for you.
1. Deliver Dry Cleaning — on a Flexible Schedule
Here’s a simple part-time money-making opportunity you might not be aware of. All you need is a vehicle.
You could make deliveries and pickups for Cleanly, an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service. The startup operates in New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and it plans to expand further.
You’d be a part-time employee with a flexible schedule. You could work in the mornings or evenings. You could work on weekdays, weekends or both.
Cleanly has two daily shifts for drivers: An early shift from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and a late shift from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. You’re guaranteed to earn at least $55 per four-hour shift.
In the name of efficiency, each driver’s laundry pickups and deliveries are clustered in one or two zip codes, so you won’t get dispatched all over town. You’ll also be reimbursed for mileage.
Other upsides: You can earn tips from pleased customers. You’ll gain experience with a growing startup. And Cleanly offers round-the-clock support for its delivery driving contractors, whom it calls “concierges.”
The requirements: You must have your own car or van, and a valid driver’s license. You’ll need to be able to work at least three shifts per week.
Interested? Apply to become a Cleanly concierge here.
2. Drive Around Town (and Get Paid for It)
It’s a new day on NYC streets, where cars affiliated with ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber now outnumber cabs nearly four to one, reports the New York Times.
Naturally, New York City has special requirements for ride-share drivers. You’ll need a license from the Taxi & Limousine Commission, so you’ll need to take a defensive driving course, a driver-education course and wheelchair-passenger-assistance training. WikiHow explains the details.
That might sound like a lot. But once you get that out of the way, you’re free as a bird, and you’re working in a target-rich environment loaded with paying passengers.
Try driving with Lyft. Demand for ride-sharing is growing like crazy and shows no signs of slowing down.
To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.
Because it’s simple to switch between apps, many Lyft drivers also sign up as a driver partner with Uber.
As a partner driver with Uber, you’re an independent contractor. You set your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.
If you want to give it a try, here are a few things to keep in mind: You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (three years if you're under 23 years old), have a valid U.S. driver's license and pass a background check.
Finally, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state and be covered by in-state insurance.
2. List a Room for Rent on Airbnb
Have a spare room? Might as well try to earn some money by listing it on Airbnb.
If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.
A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.
Here are some tips:
- Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events.
- Be a good host, and stock your place with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
- Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to New York City.)
3. Deliver Food
Takeout is a way of life in New York City, home to thousands and thousands of restaurants. Uber Eats, the food delivery service, is quite active here. In fact, it offers its own curated NYC menu featuring dishes from spots locals love.
Driving for Uber Eats offers flexible food delivery options.
Drivers are paid a pick-up fee, for the distance traveled and a drop-off fee. Uber takes a service fee. Delivery partners can cash out up to five times a day with instant pay.
As for requirements, you must:
- Be at least 19 years old.
- Deliver via car (must be a 1997 or newer with at least two doors), bike, scooter or foot, depending on your area.
- Pass a background check.
- Have a valid driver’s license and insurance (if you deliver by car or scooter).
For all the information you need, head over to the Uber Eats sign-up page.
4. Find a Flexible Work-From-Home Gig
Working from home has its perks. You don’t have to deal with rush-hour traffic or public transportation. There’s no ice or snow in your living room. You can make money without even leaving your apartment. Heck, you don’t even have to leave your couch.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- We recommend starting your search with ZipRecruiter. It sends you to a list of geo-tailored work-from-home job openings. (Because, yes, even some work-from-home job opportunities have location restrictions.)
- There are plenty of scams out there, so keep an eye out for red flags. Here’s how to detect a work-from-home-job scam.
- Check out The Penny Hoarder’s Jobs page on Facebook. You can find some flexible work-from-home opportunities there.
- If you’re looking for full-time work, here are five companies that hire remote workers. Although these positions generally don’t pay high wages, many do provide a regular paycheck and health insurance, among other benefits.
5. Rent out Your Parking Space
Parking is at a premium in this city. It’s a hassle, and it’s expensive. If you have an extra parking space anywhere in the five boroughs, you might be able to establish a stream of passive income.
List your space on Craigslist. A quick look at Craiglist’s page for “parking and storage” in NYC shows more than 1,000 listings.
Note, many of these are commercial parking lots. But we also see spots in private driveways in Queens going for $175 to $300 a month. Parking spots a block or two from the beach in Long Beach are going for $300 a month.
Not bad for a slab of asphalt.
6. Invest in Real Estate (From Your Computer)
New York City is all about real estate. It always has been, ever since the Dutch bought Manhattan from the Native Americans in 1626.
Investing in real estate is hot right now, and why not? As Mark Twain supposedly pointed out, they’re not making any more land.
It’s usually complicated, though. You need a lot of money, and then you have to play landlord. But there’s a new way to invest, and you can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. A company called Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.
Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.
This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.
You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).
(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)
You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.
Interested? Get started with Fundrise here.
7. Start Your Own Work-From-Home Business
Working from home sounds great, but maybe you want to set your own schedule, too. That’s where an online course can come in handy, like Bookkeeper Business Launch.
If you’re interested in bookkeeping, take notes from Daniel Honan. The former military officer decided to start his own virtual business, so he signed up for the free Bookkeeper Business Launch course. It helps folks start and grow their business.
Honan finished the courses in about three months. When we talked with him, he had about 10 clients spanning the U.S. and worked 40-hour weeks. He estimated he’d gross about $50,000 during his first year in business.
The first courses are free, so be sure to check them out.
8. Go Mystery Shopping — and Get Free Beer
The craft beer industry is hoppin’, so take advantage of it by, well, getting paid to visit breweries.
When you sign up as a mystery shopper, it’s your job to go to a grocery store, gas station, restaurant or, in this case, a breweries, and provide anonymous feedback.
Now, you can get paid to mystery shop — and drink — at breweries in your area through Secret Hopper. (Clever, right?)
The company is looking for detail-oriented beer-drinkers to hop around to different breweries and objectively rate and review their experiences. One Penny Hoarder gave the gig a try. He paid $16 on his visit to a local brewery. Secret Hopper paid him $20 via PayPal within a few days.
So, no, you’re not going to get rich, but you will get free beer, and that makes us hoppy.
All you have to do is sign up, then it’ll contact you when you’re needed.
9. Find Freelance Work, Small Jobs and Side Gigs
Still need money? Time to scratch up a side gig.
Look through job postings on sites like these:
- Upwork: You create a profile and search for jobs based on your talents. There are all kinds of opportunities, from web and graphic design to IT and accounting. When you find a job posting that interests you, pitch for the job. If the client likes you, you’re hired.
- TaskRabbit: This gig site matches workers with people who need help with odd jobs like cleaning houses, making deliveries or completing tasks around the house. Here’s our guide to making money on TaskRabbit.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He loves New York City.