Let’s be honest, as a teen, one of the first things you want is your independence and the best way to achieve that is through earning. Take a look at these ideas on how to make money as a teenager in the UK.
10 of the best jobs for teens
- Dog walker
- Baby sitter
- Golf caddy
- Survey taker
How to make money as a teenager
Unfortunately, I am of that age now where most of my nieces and nephews are in their teens (my kids aren’t quite there yet). In fact, three of them are fast approaching 20. And one thing I’ve noticed is that they are all trying different routes to make money.
And the good news is for teens, they are no longer tied to just the traditional ways of making money. There are lots of earning opportunities out there, it’s just a matter of choosing what’s right for you.
At what age can you start working in the UK?
The minimum age to begin working is 13. There are obviously a few exceptions to this rule, with children being able to work in professions such as:
But that doesn’t mean you can start a full-time career. If you’re aged between 13 and 16 you are unable to work during school hours and can work a maximum of 2 hours on a school day or a Sunday and 5 hours on a Saturday. You are also unable to work more than 12 hours per week.
During the school holidays, 13-14-year-olds can work 25 hours per week and 15-16-year-olds, 35 hours. However, you can’t work longer than 8 hours per day during holidays or on Saturdays.
16-18-year-olds have a little more freedom. They can work up to 40 hours per week, although cannot work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period.
You may have noticed that 16-year-olds appear in 2 categories. Which one you fall into depends on whether you’re of school leaving age or not. If you are still in year 11 at school, you will be classed the same as a 15-year-old.
How much can a teenager earn?
If opting for a traditional job, those aged 16 and above will qualify for National Minimum Wage (NMW). However, anybody under 16 does not have to be paid NMW. Visit the government site to find the current rates.
Of course, if you decide to work for yourself, you could potentially earn far more.
Do teenagers have to pay tax on their earnings?
Contrary to popular belief, anybody has to pay income tax on their earnings, whether they are 8 or 80. But, we are all given a minimum threshold (known as a Personal Allowance) before we start having to pay tax. For 2019-2020, this was £12,500.
National Insurance is different to income tax and only needs to be paid by those aged over 16.
What are the best ways to make money as a teen?
There are plenty of options, and I’ll start with the more traditional jobs as they tend to be easier to get into.
Work in a Supermarket
Possibly the most popular option for teenagers looking for their first job. A supermarket’s staff are made up of a lot of part-time workers, mainly people looking to work around their studies or around child care. Because of this, staff come and go, so supermarkets are generally always on the lookout for new staff.
Now, the work might not be the most thrilling, but it teaches you a lot of new skills and really helps with your confidence. Plus, you’ll get to meet plenty of like-minded people. I am still friends with colleagues that I used to work at Sainsbury’s with, even 20 years later.
The main work involves either working on the checkouts or restocking shelves. However, some people get to work behind the scenes too. You will usually start on minimum wage, but this should increase the longer you stay.
And if you do enjoy it, there are plenty of career opportunities that you could follow and store managers tend to be well paid. Plus, most stores offer staff discounts if you stay with them for at least a year.
Working in retail
Rather than supermarkets, you can look at working in other stores, such as clothing chains and electrical shops. There’s not a huge difference compared to working in a supermarket, although you’ll usually need more knowledge about the goods you sell. For example, in Currys, customers will expect you to know the benefits of buying a certain computer. But in a supermarket, do you expect staff to know the ingredients of a tin of soup?
But one of the downsides to working in retail is that some stores expect you to push extra sales. If you’ve ever bought anything in Currys, you’ll have experienced the offer from staff of purchasing an extended warranty.
Work in a cinema
Gong to the cinema is an exciting experience for most of us, so who wouldn’t want to work in one? The truth is, it’s not as much fun behind the scenes. Work can be very mixed, with it being manic during peak times and then being bored to tears during quiet periods. You may also have to deal with difficult customers who don’t understand why their child can’t watch an 18-rated movie with them.
The benefits you receive depends on the cinema you work for. Major chains and independents offer different perks, so you may be able to see a limited number of free films each month or as many as you like.
Possibly one of the toughest jobs there can be. I’m sure if you’ve ever been out for a meal, at some point you’ve had a quiet moan to the others on your table about how slow the service has been. The truth is, many restaurants employ as few staff as possible to keep costs down so the food prices are low.
Working in a restaurant, you’ll be on your feet most of the day and require some great balancing skills. Your customer service skills will need to be great too, as you will come across some tricky customers.
Don’t expect to earn much more than minimum wage, but this can be boosted by tips. But we’re not quite so generous with them in the UK compared to the US and in some companies, tips are distributed to all staff, not just the person serving.
With the rise of companies like Uber Eats and Just Eat, there has never been a busier time to be a delivery driver. The downside is, you need to have the right transport to do it. If you’re 16, you can make deliveries using a moped, or a car if you’re 17. In some large, built-up areas it may even be possible to make deliveries from a bicycle.
With so many independent takeaways mixed in with the large companies I mentioned above, it’s difficult to predict how much you can earn. Some will pay a set wage no matter how much you work, or a smaller wage with extra for each delivery. Or, you may just earn purely for each drop-off you make. And remember, there is a possibility to earn extra from tips.
But it’s not all profit. You will need to factor in the cost of fuel and you will also need to add business cover to your insurance, which could bump up your premium considerably.
Become a tutor
Tutoring has become a lot more popular over the last decade, with parents either making sure their child doesn’t fall behind or attempting to help them reach their full potential. But tutoring isn’t cheap, with some tutors charging over £30 per hour.
However, it’s becoming increasingly common for students to now tutor each other. If you’re skilled in a particular subject, there’s no reason why you can’t start tutoring younger students. And you can do it for far less than other tutors, but still far earn more than you would when working for somebody else.
Check local Facebook groups for parents looking for tutors. Some schools will even let you advertise through emails they send out.
Only really suitable if you like animals and the outdoors. For most, dogs are like family and people hate spending their working day away from them, whilst also realising it’s not fair to leave them shut inside all day.
It can be a decent earner too. In some areas, walkers charge up to £10 per hour, plus they can walk more than one dog at a time.
If you like children, then babysitting could be ideal for you. There isn’t much you need to do apart from to make sure that the child is safe for the evening. If you’re looking after young children, a lot of the time they will be fast asleep before you get there.
Pay is usually less than minimum wage, although you generally don’t have to do much more than watch TV.
This is a little old school and is nowhere near as popular as it was 20 years ago, probably due to the number of car washes that have opened in car parks and industrial units.
But, there are still people who don’t always have time to take their car to be cleaned, so would appreciate someone to come and do it for them. All you need is a bucket, soap and some sponges and you’re ready to go
Obviously, you will need to have the confidence to ask people by going door to door, so it might be best to start with family and friends first. You could also advertise on local Facebook groups and include photos of your work.
Something a little different
How about doing something that’s a break from the norm? Although the work won’t be quite so regular, it’s still worth checking out.
Work as an extra
Personally, one of my favourite ways to make extra money and there’s no reason why teenagers can’t do it either. Not only do you get to meet the stars (or at least see them from a distance), you get paid for your time and have the chance to tell everyone that yes, you’re the 3rd passenger from the left in the latest Tom Hanks film.
Filming can be quite long, but the pay isn’t bad and you can often earn £100+ each day. The issue is, you have to be quite flexible and be available for several days in a row. That means if you’re still in education, you may find jobs difficult to come by.
If you fancy trying it, take a look at my post about how much you can earn and how to become an extra.
Now, this is very location-dependent, although there are golf clubs dotted all over the country. If you have no interest in golf, you may not even know what a caddy is. Their job is to carry clubs around for a golfer (sometimes 2) and hand them the club that he or she wants.
Other tasks may involve cleaning golf balls and clubs or raking bunkers and sand traps.
A golfer may ask for an expected yardage of a shot, which can be done through using an automatic range finder or just by distance markers on the course. And as you become more experienced, a golfer may ask for tips, such as which club to use. As you work with different golfers, you’ll easily learn what clubs are best in which situations.
The pay isn’t great, but you can expect to earn decent tips, especially if you know your stuff. Professional caddies earn in excess of £2,000/$2,500 per week, so it is possible to make a decent living.
How to make money as a teenager online
If you don’t fancy leaving the comfort of your own home, or want to work for yourself, then there are plenty of online earning opportunities for teens. The downside is that the money isn’t guaranteed. But, if you’re successful, you could earn far more than minimum wage… and possibly make a career from it.
This is potentially one of the biggest earners out there. As a father of 3, I know how obsessed kids are with YouTube and will watch almost anything. And with watching videos comes huge advertising potential.
You can get started with just your phone and then it’s a case of filming what people like to see. It can be slow to start with, but once you have a decent number of subscribers, more and more should follow.
YouTube pays per 1000 views, which can be between 5 pence and £7 depending on your content. You will find that there are plenty of YouTubers earning well over £50,000 per year. You can also make more by placing products in your videos or sharing affiliate links.
Video games have been popular for well over 30 years. But what’s the next best thing to playing games? Watching them. That’s right, there is now a massive market where viewers want to watch others play games. This can be to get tips and improve their own gameplay, or just to feel part of the online community.
You will obviously need to be very good if you want lots of followers, or be able to offer something unique. If you show your videos on YouTube, you can make money through advertising or product placements.
Alternatively, you can opt to stream through Twitch. Again, you can make money through advertising or viewers can send you donations. Facebook also runs a similar system where you can stream and have fans send you money.
There are quite a few people that suggest blogging is dead, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. People don’t always turn to videos when searching for help, and sometimes, it’s easier to take in information just by reading it.
You can write a blog on anything you like and there’s a good chance there are 1000’s of people who are interested in what you have to say. You don’t need people to subscribe or to follow you, you can just rely on people finding your content through search engines or social media.
Blogging is very similar to YouTube when it comes to making money. However, the blog is controlled by you and you can write whatever you like (well, within reason).
The costs are slightly more compared to YouTube as you have to pay for hosting and buying your domain, but you can find some very good deals when you start out.
Surveys can get a lot of bad press because some users start them, expecting to earn a full-time living. The fact is, they should never be seen as more than a side-income. But there’s no reason why you can’t earn more than a few hundred pounds each month.
Unfortunately, in the UK many of the major survey sites will only take users aged 18 or over. However, there are a selection of sites that will also accept 16 year olds. A few of my favourites are:
And the good news is they won’t cost you anything to join and you can complete a lot of surveys from your phone too.
Another site worth looking at is Swagbucks. Not only do they pay you for completing surveys, you can earn money from watching videos and searching the internet.
There are plenty of people out there (me included) who struggle with technology and lack any inspiration when it comes to design. If you have a creative side or you’re good with IT, then why not look at selling your talents to help them out?
There are some great sites out there, such as Fiverr, that allow you to advertise your talents all over the world. If a client likes what you have to offer, they will commission you to work on their project. As you become more experienced and receive better ratings, you can start to charge more.
What are the best jobs for teens?
This really does depend. If you opt for a more traditional job such as working in retail, you’ll learn a lot of skills that will serve you well later on in life. However, the pay is never great and dealing with customers can cause a lot of stress.
Alternatively, making money online can be tougher to get started with, and how much you can earn will be sporadic. But if you’re successful, you can make far more in a week than you would in a month in a supermarket.
Although, there’s no reason why you can’t attempt to make money using a mixture of the ideas I’ve mentioned above.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links.