Summer Side Business Ideas for College Students

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lawnmower-384589_1920School is out for most students and for college students who don’t have extensive travel plans for the summer, it may be beneficial to start up a summer side business. Earning extra money this summer can help pay for books and tuition in the fall, summer outings and events with friends, and just help ends meet if hours are slow at your regular job.

Back when I was in college, I tried to pick up hours at work during the summer so I could save up for expenses that I knew would be popping up in the fall, but my employer hardly ever scheduled me for enough hours each week which was frustrating.

I wish I would have thought to start a summer side business back then, but if you find yourself in this position currently, here are a few things you can do over the next few months to earn good money quickly this season.

Start a Date Night Babysitting Service

Take a profitable twist for this common side hustle by offering to babysit in the evenings so couples can have a much needed date night. A lot of parents put their kids in summer camps during the day or daycare if they work, so they may or may not need a babysitter during this time. But for the evening, childcare options run low since everything is closed so your clients will be much more willing to seek out your services. Plus, a lot of couples would probably love to have a date night away from the kids.

If you have experience babysitting, negotiate a reasonable rate and provide the kids you watch after with a fun activity or craft to do as apart of your service, you should have no problem bringing in clients even if you have to start with your family or friends. You should eventually set up a profile on or to bring in more clients so you stay busy most evenings.

With this side business, you can still enjoy summer in the daytime as you please and set your own schedule with a few off nights each week.

Yardwork and Landscaping

Get to your neighbors before those pricey landscaping companies do. You may want to purchase a few yard supplies first in order to be prepared. Then, start going door-to-door to see if anyone needs help mowing their lawn, planting or watering flowers and keeping up with their landscape this summer.

You can print business cards for cheap via VistaPrint and offer summer referral specials and discounts to bring in more clients.

Carpet Cleaning

My husband used to work for a carpet cleaning company last summer and the owners made a killing since most people want to get their carpets cleaned during this time of year. I couldn’t shake the thought of how much one person could make cleaning carpets on their own in the summer as long as they had the proper equipment.

Since some customers can’t afford services like Stanley Steemer, you can offer a discount carpet cleaning service on your own. You’ll need to rent a carpet cleaning machine at a store like Menards or Home Depot and purchase trusted stain removers, shampoo, etc.

Rug Doctor is a popular carpet cleaning machine brand to purchase or rent and they even provide their own easy-to-use cleaning products to go with the machine. It would be best to offer a basic service and stay away from powerful chemicals that professional companies use if you lack experience. You can market your service as a discount solution and set realistic expectations for any clients you serve.

Snack Shop

There will be tons of sporting events, festivals and outdoor gatherings this summer. A profitable business idea would be to see how you can sign up to be a vendor and run a snack shop to bring in money at various different events.

You will need to talk to your city officials and local groups and organizations to see what you need to be able to sell snacks at events. You may need a permit to start, but if you stick to simply reselling already prepared concessions and not cooking anything on your own, the process will probably be easier for you.

Sam’s Club and Costco sell a wide variety of snack foods that people can resell in bulk for cheap so you can make a profit. You may also want to look into investing in a snow cone or popcorn machine that you can use to enhance your menu if allowed.

Make your Business a Success

Starting a summer business can be pretty fun and memorable if you stay true to your vision and don’t over think it. Once you come up with an idea that you want to commit to and start setting everything up, start promoting yourself early.

You can post updates on social media, put up flyers in your area, attend local networking events, start building connections with potential clients, and advertise on free websites online.

Aim to keep your start-up costs low if you can and try to set up your business to earn back the initial investment you put in as soon as possible.

Also, don’t forget about sales and offers. Reward your clients and customers with discounts and freebies for spreading the word about your services and bringing in referrals. And most important, have fun with it and manage the extra money you bring in wisely.


Are you planning to earn any extra income this summer? If so, how?

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