48 Best Ways To Make Money On The Streets

While you won’t need to cue up the Bee Gees and strut like John Travolta, getting off your couch, out of your house, and hitting the pavement opens up a world of opportunity for making money. Take the lead from these inventive ideas and see what type of return you can achieve by taking it to the streets.

1. Collect Bottles

Earn green and go green at the same time. People throw away bottles every day, and you can profit to the tune of five or ten cents per bottle. 

To make the most amount of money possible, find out where the biggest parties are and pick through the trash the next day. You may look homeless, but you’ll be rolling in the dough. 

2. Sell Scrap Metal 

All you have to do is collect simple items like the wires on electronic equipment, car batteries, bedsprings, storm doors, and the like. 

Sure, your friends may be wondering why their TV won’t turn on and their beds are lumpy, but at least you’ll be able to pay your bills. Find a scrap dealer in your area at www.recycleinme.com

3. Go Scavenging

One person’s trash is another’s treasure. This should be your motto while searching the city dump for anything that you can sell. 

Used car parts, old couches, clothing…everything is up for grabs. You may need to wash — or fumigate — what you find, but you can sell it to a car mechanic or a consignment shop for profit. Talk about found money! 

4. Hunt For Copper Piping

The price for scrap copper has risen over 400 percent in the past three years, which means that you can make a pretty penny collecting it. Copper is found in air-conditioning units, refrigerators, and plumbing. We don’t advise taking it out of items that are still working — unless you want your roommate to kill you. You can also find scrap copper Hittin’ the Streets

While you won’t need to cue up the Bee Gees and strut like John Travolta, getting off your couch, out of your house, and hitting the pavement opens up a world of opportunity for making money. Take the lead from these inventive ideas and see what type of return you can achieve by taking it to the streets.

5. Head Out With A Metal Detector

We’re all familiar with the image of a beach bum searching a beautiful beach with his trusty metal detector. Looks fun, doesn’t it? You probably won’t be able to retire on what you find, but you never know. Modern metal detectors even have alert sensors that let you know what’s down there before you spend an hour scooping sand. 

6. Search For Buried Treasure 

Leave the metal detector behind and try to locate where X marks the spot. Whether it’s swashbuckling pirates or greedy pioneers, there are tons of local legends about lost riches. 

In case you’re not lucky enough to stumble upon a treasure map Goonies-style, hit the area library and research what forgotten fortunes you might be able to find. 

7. Go Antiquing 

We’ve all seen an episode of Antiques Roadshow where a woman brings in an old, wobbly wooden chair that turns out to be worth eight trillion dollars. Make this premise work for you by frequenting local yard sales, antique stores, and auctions. 

Have everything you find appraised, and, for God’s sake, don’t repaint, stain, or sand anything. You never know how much value that original coat of ugly green paint may add. 

8. Collect Grease 

Restaurant owners are sitting on a gold mine. Cooking grease has now become a hot commodity to make biodiesel fuel. Offer to dispose of the waste product for restaurateurs who don’t know that they’re cooking up a profit — and letting it slip through their slick fingers. 

9. Pick Up Roadkill

Roadkill cleanup is a sad, messy, smelly business, but it can also be a profitable one! How much you make depends on your location and how strong your stomach is. Many highway departments will pay you for cleanup. 

A creative alternative is to taxidermy any animal you find and sell it for a neat profit. Or you can sell fresh roadkill to any hunter looking to impress his friends. 

10. Find An Oil Field

You, Inc. would be a way better oil contributor than any of the “Big Five.” The only issue here is finding a source. This might get dangerous because all the spots for lucrative domestic drilling have either been snatched up or are protected by that pesky Department of the Interior. In order to stake a claim to land that’s a cash cow, you’ll have to travel to the Middle East or South America — which might get a little dangerous. 

11. Panhandle – With A Twist 

In this awful economy, the competition among beggars is intense. You need a special technique to earn money from the passers-by. Bet that the person you are asking can’t solve a riddle and 

make it impossible to answer. 

12. Hold A Chalk Art Show 

We’ve all seen those amazing 3-D chalk drawings online. Now, put your skills to the test and earn some easy cash. Grab your little sister’s sidewalk chalk, hit the pavement, and draw away! Advertise your “avant-garde” art show to a local college or art school. After all, college kids love experimental art. Best part of hosting this type of an art show? Easy cleanup! 

13. Put On A Puppet Show 

Puppets are “in” these days. RollingStone.com reports that even Kanye West is getting in on the action, working with Comedy Central to produce a show called Boots “[that] will feature felt characters rapping.” Jump on the bandwagon and put on your own impromptu show. Socks 

with buttons for eyes don’t cost a lot, and you’ll reap the rewards. 

14. Write Your Own One-Man Show

Are you funny? Dramatic? Don’t be shy. Head out to your local park and be prepared to wow the crowd. Have your friends collect money from the crowd while you showcase your acting prowess. Legitimize your show by posting fliers inviting everyone you can think of. Props won’t hurt either. 

13. Wow As A Street Magician

Are you ready to work your magic — and earn some moolah? Find a place with a lot of people (preferably kids — especially if you’re not that good) and put out your tip cup. Beware. Some cities require street performers to be licensed. If you don’t get a license, wear good running shoes. After all, one of the best tricks a street magician can perform is a disappearing act.

14. Begin Break Dancing 

Get down and get paid. Break dancing began in the early 1970s and even today there’s something about it that catches people’s attention — and convinces them to open their wallets. People are even more likely to put their change in your coffer if you have a friend willing to battle with you. Have your audience bet on a winner…then split your winnings. 

15. Mime For Money

 Mime’s are creepy, but love ’em or hate ’em, you can make money by becoming one. At some point during your life, you’ve probably pretended you were stuck in a box or were going down an escalator. Take these party tricks, bring them to the street, and rake in the dough — just make sure you do it quietly. 

16. Become A Street Performer

Can you breathe fire? Lift heavy things with your little finger? Stand perfectly still for long periods of time? If so, you have some serious cash coming your way. Tourists — and locals for that matter — love watching people do weird things and will reward you for your odd talent. Many cities require performers to be licensed, so check to make sure you’re not breaking any laws — unless you want to. 

17. Juggle 

Put your coordination skills to work. Juggling is something that many people try, but few can successfully manage to do. If you know how to juggle — or are a fast learner — give this a try. Just be sure not to hit anyone with a flaming bowling pin. 

18. Exercise For Vocal Cords 

Singing on the street is a surefire moneymaker. You don’t even have to be good at it. Look at William Hung. As long as you put yourself — and your tip cup — out there, and aren’t embarrassed by your lack of talent, you’re good to go! 

19. Play On The Street Corner 

You have your acoustic guitar shined and ready for strumming, have memorized all of Leonard Cohen’s songs to seduce the ladies (or at the very least, you can play “Cars” by Gary Numan), and have picked out the busiest spot for pedestrian traffic. It’s time to let the spotlight (or streetlight) shine and make some coin. Try writing some new lyrics about economic despair and set them to a familiar tune. Nothing gets the crowd going more than desperation. 

20. Be A Living Statue

Do you have the desire to freak out at strangers and make money? Well, acting as a living statue is your golden ticket. Wear a costume and put on makeup so you look like you’re a statue, then stand on an elevated platform and move in slow motion in a way that makes sense with your costume. 

21. Go Door To Door Taking Surveys 

Are you friendly? Outgoing? Not afraid of rejection? A job as a survey taker may be right for you. The premise is simple: knock on doors and convince people to answer questions about their lives. A bit of advice though — if the sign on the fence says “Beware of Dog,” it’s probably a good idea to walk on by that particular house. 

22. Join A Focus Group 

You have strong opinions; why not get paid to express them? Marketing specialists all over the country are waiting to hear your thoughts on TV shows, juice drinks, and more. Check local craigslist postings for such opportunities. 

23. Scalp Tickets

Everyone wants tickets to the big game. Help them achieve that goal while padding your pockets. All you need to be a scalper is a ticket — one that you can sell for five times its original price. Get yourself down to the ballpark, stadium, or playhouse, but keep a low profile. In most places, scalping is illegal. 

24. Become A Freelance Limo Driver

Earn some extra cash and show up in style. This job is a little like being a hired gun. You drive the car, make some money, and keep the tip, but you’re not actually employed by the company. The bad news: you have to wear a suit to work. The good news: nice pay for a few hours of work and a chance to hobnob with the rich…and maybe famous.

25. Hire Yourself Out For Airport Rides 

You have a car. You know how to get the airport. Why not combine these skills and start your own business? Piece of advice: You’ll get a bigger tip if you clean the fast food bags and 

coffee cups out the back of your car. 

26. Win Bar Trivia 

Nothing sounds better than earning money while drinking a few beers! Many bars and restaurants now are hosting trivia nights where winners can earn money, gift certificates, and other prizes. Check out www.nationaltrivia.com to find a bar near you. 

27. Host Bar Trivia 

Why bother competing when you can run the show? Not only do you get to make snarky asides and comment on others’ out-of-left-field answers, you also get paid. It’s like you’re a local Alex Trebek. Just don’t let the power go to your head. Check out the websites for area companies that run pub trivia and apply to be an emcee. 

28. Sell Ponchos

Take advantage of others’ ignorance of the weather forecast — and their desperation when they get caught in the rain. For the days it’s really pouring, you can even hike up the price. It’s amazing what people will pay to stay dry. 

29. Open Up An Umbrella Stand

Global warming is causing drastic weather changes — and an opportunity for you to profit. Sudden showers often catch pedestrians by surprise, and they’re likely willing to shell out some cash to make sure they don’t end up all wet. Stake out a spot in a high-end area. Those people definitely won’t want their designer duds getting drenched.

30. Be A Companion To An Elderly Person 

Use the fact that you were always your grandparents’ favorite to your advantage (and not just to incite your siblings). Along with just being a friend, you can also help the senior citizens in your care with their cooking and cleaning. And if you play your cards right, you may even get in the will. 

31. Shine Shoes

Fortunately for you, businessmen still don’t realize how inexpensive it is to buy shoe polish and do it at home. (And with the way they’ve recently run their businesses, are you surprised?) Take advantage of their stupidity and either set up a street stand or a home business. 

32. Pick Up A Graveyard Shift 

Has your dire debt caused you sleepless nights? Cash in on your insomnia by working all hours of the day. And if you get an unsupervised job, you can sleep at your leisure. (Don’t blame us if your lack of sleep might lead to you starting a fight club.) 

33. Work As A Day LAborer

Know that corner that contractors and crew supervisors drop by every morning? Go there. This form of not-so-legal labor will teach you a thing or two about hard work — and make you thankful for PowerPoint and Excel. 

34. Be A Courier

With businesses now getting hip to the green trend, take out your bike and start delivering urgent packages around town. It even doubles as exercise! However, watch out for car doors flying open right as you pass them — you’ll have trouble making money as a hospital’s patient. 

35. Become A Paperboy

We’re talking old school here, but with your car, you can make triple the money you made when you were fifteen. You’re also better equipped to run away from dogs, look for new customers, and beg for tips. 

36. Deliver Pizzas

We know. It’s hard to go back to something you did when you were in high school, but even in a bad economy, people gotta eat. Want to be especially daring? Make the pizza yourself — people will never know that it’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno! This way, you keep all the money you bring in. 

37. Clean Out Coins From Fountains

Since you were a young child, you have always fantasized about jumping in a public fountain and going on a coin-grabbing frenzy. It’s okay — you can admit it. Now you can fulfill your 

dream while looting the coins meant to fulfill the dreams of others. Just be careful: You never know when someone will alert the cops to your coin cleanup. 

38. Be An Ice Road Trucker

You’ve hauled commercial truckloads across the country but still desire a little more danger in your life. When you become an ice road trucker, you’ll be the Jason Bourne of the road (or rather, the ice). Check out companies that hire truckers for the eighteen-wheel arctic adventure 

like Nuna Logistics (www.nunalogistics.com). 

39. Solve A Crime For A Reward 

You have watched enough CSI and Law & Order to know everything there is to know about any crime ever committed. So do your best Veronica Mars impression and get to the bottom of cases both small and large — and always for a fee. 

40. Lead A Walking Tour

Is there anything interesting about the city that you live in? Maybe fitness-minded people would like to discover these things by foot. And trust me, by foot is the best way of doing it (if you’ve ever seen people try to navigate a busy city on Segways then you know what I mean). 

41. Lead A Bicycle Tour

If you haven’t already rented your bike to make money (see entry 7) then you can put it to use by leading a bicycle tour of your city. Buy a couple of beaters to fix up, and then you can double your money by both renting the bikes and leading the tour. It’s so green! 

42. Sell Tourist Maps

Whether you simply pick up some stock maps or design and print your own, as long as you market them as “insider info” then you’ll be all set. Throw a few gold stars on your area’s main attractions as well as some green ones on “local favorites.” Hit the street corner and start picking out people with cameras around their necks and mixed expressions of wonder and bewilderment. 

43. Give Tours Of Stars’ Homes 

Know the neighborhoods of the rich and famous? Or perhaps you’re privy to the fact that some stars own vacation homes in your quaint little town (you know them — always trying to “get away from it all”). 

Whatever the case, charge some cash to guide people through the abodes of A-listers (or less money if all you know are the whereabouts of D- listers’ duplexes). 

44. Lead A Haunted Tour

Set up tours that showcase all of your town’s scary stories. If your city lacks interesting urban legends, you can always make some up. As long as you lead the tours in the dark with a flashlight shining on your face, the tourists will have to believe you. 

45. Take Photos Of Tourists

Are you sick of tourists making a mockery of your historical landmarks? Well, there’s not much you can do about that (besides giving them wrong directions); however, you can profit off their infatuation with having their picture taken. Just hang out there, take their picture for a profit, and bite your tongue. 

46. Become A Paparazzo 

You have a penchant for taking pictures, but can’t seem to make any cash off of your captures. Maybe’s time to ditch your conscience and that hunt for credibility. Lose the ‘tude, you Leibovitz wannabe, and start snapping shots for US Weekly, In Touch, and the National Enquirer. All you have to risk is your integrity — and getting punched in the face by Russell Crowe.

47. FAce Paint For A Fee 

Young kids are suckers for face painting, and you can profit off of their love of looking like cats. Set up a station outside of local schools or in the park, but be careful that you don’t look sketchy. (We highly recommend the face painting be done out in the open.) 

48. Charge For Caricatures 

Bring out your (money-making) artistic side. Set up a stand in the tourist-heavy part of your town and charge people money to point out their physical insecurities. Warning: Someone who doesn’t understand “self-deprecation” might try to attack you.

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