16 Best Part-Time Businesses

Businesses That Will Let You Do Other Things and Make Money Too

Customer at food cart
Anthony Pidgeon/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Why are these the best part-time businesses? Because of the potential flexibility they provide.

If you’re like most people thinking of starting a part-time business, it’s not about becoming rich; it’s about making some money while being able to do other things.

Maybe you want to spend more time with your children. Or winter somewhere warmer like Arizona. Or maybe you have a job you want to keep but some extra money would be nice.

The right part-time business can make all these things possible.

For your convenience, I’ve divided the possibilities into two categories; seasonal and non-seasonal.

9 Best Seasonal Part-Time Businesses

Seasonal businesses have a lot of business hours in season but can give you a whole off-season where you can do whatever you want, such as be a snowbird.

1. Boat, paddleboard, kayak or bicycle rental. Dive gear. Whatever the activity, there will always be people who prefer to rent it than buy it and store it over the off season.

2. Seasonal food trucks or stands, such as fish tacos on the beach, ice cream or gelato etc. And don’t forget fair food. Providing eats to visitors at one big fair or a series of fairs in the summer can be very profitable—and when the fairs are done, so are you.

3. Mowing and yard maintenance. Fewer people than ever want to do this themselves. (Note that you could easily turn this into an all-year-round business by offering snow removal services too in many places.)

4. Irrigation system installation and maintenance. Subdivisions are prime selling zones for these. Spring/summer would be the busy season.

5. Local tour provider. Depending on locale, you might offer nature tours such as guided hikes, kayak tours, horse and carriage tours—or something entirely different such as ghost tours, the best jazz venues etc.

6. Bed and breakfast (open during your area’s tourist season only). It’s not all about scenic beaches and lakes; skiers and boarders need seasonal accommodations too.

7. Seasonal sports instructor, such as a ski or kayak instructor.

8. Halloween costume designer. Halloween is now one of the biggest retail events of the year (behind Christmas and back to school) and costumes for adults is a growing market. (For more Halloween-related business ideas, some of which may also be suitable to do part-time, see Halloween—A Really Sweet Business Opportunity).

9. Tax season related services, such as doing people’s taxes if you have the training as a bookkeeper or accountant.

7 Best Non-Seasonal Part-Time Businesses

These businesses would need to be operated throughout the year but let you set your own (limited) hours without damaging the business.

1. Service businesses—Hairdressing, cleaning, tutoring, dog grooming, being a property caretaker are just a few of the services that you could provide to customer part-time.

2. Design businesses from interior design through landscaping/garden design.

3. Arts and crafts, including graphic arts as well as painters, illustrators, potters and jewelry designers.

(Showing and selling your work online can be a real income generator for artists and crafters; 8 Easy Ways to Get Your Small Business Into Ecommerce can get you started.)

4. Consulting businesses of almost all kinds.

5. Professions such as notary publics, lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, architects, and doctors.

6. Tradespeople such as cabinetmakers, masons and tilers who are so good at what they do that people will wait (years in some cases) to get them to work for them.

7. Direct selling—Avon, Mary Kay and Tupperware are three of the top direct selling companies in the world according to DirectSellingNews but there are thousands more, offering the opportunity to sell everything from lingerie through insurance out of your home, in most cases. Read Is Direct Selling (MLM) a Good Business Opportunity?

 if this type of business interests you.

(Note that if you are thinking of joining a particular direct selling company, you really need to do your due diligence and check out the company thoroughly; some supposed direct selling companies are actually illegal pyramid schemes. Is It MLM or a Pyramid Scam? explains the difference and how you can tell.)

Get the Right Fit

It’s no news, I’m sure, that not everyone is good at everything. So make sure that you don’t just pick a part-time business that seems best suited to your chosen lifestyle; like a suit of clothes, it also has to fit you. For instance, if you’re not comfortable talking to people face-to-face and selling them things, don’t choose to get into direct selling. Learn more about how to pick the right business for you in What Type of Business Should You Start?

And whatever part-time business you choose to start, remember that all businesses in Canada, big or small, full or part-time, follow the same rules and regulations. My Important Steps to Starting a Business in Canada will lead you through the process of getting your new business up and running.

To your success!