Blue Collar Side Hustles To Bring In Extra Cash

Ready to earn some extra cash using those trade skills? These blue collar side hustles can help you make bank!

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated January 31st, 2024

Whether you are a master welder or gardener, starting a blue-collar side hustle can bring in extra cash. Maybe you need help with bills, or just want to take a vacation. Either way, this list will uncover some of the possibility opportunities for side gigs using skills you already have.

One of the benefits of blue collar vs white collar careers is the opportunities to build something of your own. Skilled trade side hustles often have little to no startup costs and since those skills are so in-demand clients are fairly easy to find.

We recommend you talk to your boss before starting any side hustle. This will ensure you are not violating any work agreements. Some jobs do have a non-compete, and you want to be sure you are not getting yourself into any legal trouble!

Blue Collar Side Hustle Ideas

I chose these specific skilled trade side hustles because they are relatively easy – and affordable to start. The amount you make of course will depend on how hard you work and how well you market yourself.

Any skilled trade job is a perfect fit for a side-gig or business. You are only limited by your drive and motivation! Use that blue collar brilliance you were gifted with and get started creating something that is YOURS!

Let’s dive into the business ideas you can start today!  

Landscaping and Lawn Care Business

One of the most popular blue collar jobs is landscaping.

Starting a landscaping business could be a little more costly due to the equipment you will need. But it can be one of the highest earning. 

There are also many options to create a more niche business within lawn care.

You can mow lawns or create beautiful landscapes with flowers and greenery. This business allows for creativity and growth as you improve your skills. 

Some landscapers even specialize in hard-scapes. They use stone, rock, or cement and create unique visual elements. 

In most cases you will need good insurance, licensing, and a solid base of equipment to start with. 

landscaping blue collar job

Snow Removal Business

removing snow from yard

As a snow plower, you’ll be the first one out there fighting heavy snowfall. You will ensure that roads, driveways, and parking lots are safe and accessible.

You’ll need to invest in reliable snow removal equipment and a truck to carry it. A snow plow on the front of the truck is often used.

Job duties can include plowing driveways, shoveling sidewalks, or putting down salt. Your work can include helping homeowners or commercial land owners.

Snow removal can only be done a few months a year and is weather dependent, so it is not a good option for a full-time business. Offering these services with a landscaping business can keep you working year round. 

Pool Cleaning and Maintenance Business

pool design and maintenance

A pool cleaning business is a great option if you live in an area where there are a lot of homes that have pools.

If you can also do maintenance of the pool, that could be an added income stream.

If you live in rural areas you may not see a lot of work opportunities. But, if you are in a metro-area this side-gig can bring in some great extra money. 

You can choose to do basic cleaning services or advanced maintenance work where you actually fix issues. Of course cleaning pools requires less experience, but you will still need to understand the chemicals a pool needs.

You should also understand all the different types of pools that exist. A salt pool will need very different cleanings than a chlorine pool. 

Related: Creative business ideas you will be surprise make money!

Pressure or Power Washing Business

power washer at work
Photo Credit: bubutu / Depositphotos

Pressure washing (also called power washing) can be a lucrative business. From cleaning sidewalks to patios and even buildings, there is no lack of work in this field. 

You can specialize in residential or commercial to help maintain properties. The cost to start this business is not high, but you will need to invest in a power washing machine and the cleaning solution. There may also be requirements for licenses and insurance.

I have personally seen kids in high school doing this kind of work and make good money doing it! If you are a go-getter, this is one of our favorite profitable blue collar business ideas.

The low barrier to entry and ability to do it at any age with no experience makes it a top pick for us!

And check out Julius! 6-figures in just 2.5 months. 😲

The there is the story of the 18-year old who started a hustle in high school. Check out his success story below.

Pressure Washing Business Success Stories
One successful example in the power washing industry is Chase Lille, who at just 18 years old was able to rake in over $144,000. Another example is Ilia Nazarov, owner of Washing Racoons, who makes more than $500k annually. These examples show that with the right skills, equipment, and marketing, a power washing business can be quite profitable.

House Cleaning Business

house cleaners at work
Photo Credit: James Patrick / flickr

House cleaning is a great blue-collar side hustle that requires minimal investment. You can offer services such as general cleaning, deep cleaning, and move-in/move-out cleaning. A cleaning business offers a lot of flexibility in regards to time and variety of work you can do. 

It can be pretty interesting – or gross too! From finding dimes in the couch to Christmas dinners in the refrigerator in July, there is no lack of entertainment in this job!

To make even more money you can specialize in something like a crime scene cleaning business. Working with local police departments you can get instant referrals for business. It is not for those with a weak stomach though!

Cleaning Success Story
Check out the story of a former police offer turned crime scene cleaner. Laura Spaulding started her business as a solo worker and turned it into a full franchise company that is now worth millions.

Carpet Cleaning Business

carpet cleaner at work
Photo Credit: AndreyPopov/ Depositphoto

Carpet cleaning is a profitable blue-collar business that can be started easily and no experience is even needed.

To start a carpet cleaning business you will need to make an investment in getting the right equipment. But the money you can earn can pay it off in no time.

You can offer services such as deep cleaning, stain removal, and odor removal.

Window Cleaning Business

window cleaner working
Photo Credit: cokacoka / Depositphotos

Window cleaning can be done for both commercial and residential buildings. It can be as easy as using a squeegee with some solution from the ground, or climbing buildings with a platform and doing work high in the sky! 

Experience is not required, but you will need to invest in good equipment and supplies to get the job done. 

Gutter Cleaning Business

gutter being cleaned
Photo Credit: Skorzewiak / Depositphotos

Gutter cleaning services will have you cleaning gutters, downspouts, and roofs to ensure that rainfall can properly run off a home. Clogged gutters can result in major issues for a home or building owner, so this is a job that can be done often throughout the year.

Fall in some areas is prime time for gutter cleaning because of the leaves cluttering the gutters. 

If you have no fear of heights, limited money to invest in equipment, and want a side job that can be done pretty quickly, this is a great option. 

We use a gutter cleaner and typically pay $225 and he is done within an hour. Not too bad for a part-time job.

Painting Business

house painter working
Photo Credit: vlakoh / Depositphotos

Painters are responsible for transforming dull spaces into vibrant environments with color and design. You’ll need to master the art of painting, from proper scraping, patching, and sanding techniques to learning how to use different kinds of paints and brushes.

It’s not just about applying color to walls, it’s about creating a mood and atmosphere that resonates with your clients.

Painting business success story
One inspiring story is that of Graham Audenart, founder of Painters Enterprise. He started his painting company in 2003 and has since helped thousands of homeowners. His advice to aspiring painters is to gain hands-on experience by working for a painting company for a couple of years to learn the ins and outs of the industry.

Small Engine Repair Business

small engine repair
Photo Credit: alexkich / Depositphotos

Starting a small engine repair business is a good option if you have a specific set of mechanical skills.

If you are a boat or motorcycle mechanic, this can be a great side hustle. But you should definitely invest in insurance since you will be doing work that can affect a customers safety. In some areas you may need to be licensed as well. 

Don’t want to work on big things? You transfer your skills to fixing smaller things like lawn mowers, power tools, or even radios or clocks. 

Scrap Metal Collection Business

scrap metal in dumpster
Photo Credit: ACES / Flickr

As a scrap metal specialist, you need to be able to identify and sort different metals and understand their value.

Starting this business requires very little investment or equipment. But you will need to market yourself well to get customers.

You will need a truck or large vehicle to do do pickups from people or business that have metal they need removed. Then you can look into selling it or recycling it. Making connections with metal buyers and local metal scrapyards will be very helpful. Specializing is a great option too! For example, you can buy junk cars and recycle them – or even sell them for parts.

In this job you can charge the people you are picking the metal up from and then also make some money when you recycle or sell it. 

Scrap Metal Business Success Story
One success story in the scrap metal business is Marc Staples, the founder of DownHomeModern LLC. He started his business a few years ago and has found success turning metal into art. Marc creates original designs of windbells and chimes, embracing the history of the place each bell is named for.

Junk Removal Business

As a junk removal specialist, you will be hauling away junk other people no longer want. You might work for commercial or residential locations – or even both if you want. This is a great add-on to the scrap metal option above.

This job can be profitable, but it is also a lot of physical and dirty work. 

You will need a truck that can fit very large items and have a plan to discard of the junk you receive. Building relationships with dumps, resale stores, or selling items on your own are all options for discarding of the junk you pick up.

After all, what’s the old saying “one person junk is another mans treasure”! 

Junk Removal Business Success Story
Sam Evans, the founder of You Call We Haul Junk Removal is a great success story. At 23 years old, Sam started his junk removal company part-time in 2016. At one time they completed over 75 jobs per month, bringing in about $20,000 in revenue per month, profiting about 65% per job. We are imagining he is making much more than that these days.

Mobile Auto or Boat Detailing Business

boat detailer at work
Photo Credit: vmorfield / Depositphotos

When I was growing up, we washed our own cars, but that is not a thing families do any more. They want clean cars, but prefer to have someone else do it.

This is where your opportunity is!

Offer cleaning or detail services at their location and provide exceptional services. In no time you can create a profitable business that you can do as much or as little as you would like. It is cheap to start, but you will need to invest in some equipment and supplies to help you clean faster and more efficiently. 

Detailing is not only about washing, but about diving in deep to interior and exterior of the boat, car, plane, or even RV. Your job is to get out all the dirt and grime to make it look showroom new.

From the hood to the wheels to the cup holders, they tackle every detail to make a car spotless. 

Detailing Business Success Story
A shining example of success in this industry is Irving Duffy Jr. He is the co-owner of A Better Shine Auto Detailing and Ceramics in Battle Ground. As a retired Marine, Duffy turned his passion for cars into a thriving business that offers a variety of services. This includes interior and exterior detailing, paint corrections, scratch removals, and even detailing for boats and RVs. Despite the challenges, Duffy’s business has grown to win the category of auto detailers in 2021’s Best of Clark County. His story is a testament to the potential of the detailing industry.

Carpentry or Woodworking Business

The U.S. woodworking industry is expected to reach $29.13 billion by 2024. The top 50 companies control only about 30% of the market. This means there’s plenty of room for small businesses.

Starting a woodworking business does require an investment in tools and equipment so it is not a cheap business.

You can start with a home-based shop to create custom items for people. This can be items like tables, chairs, or chests.

Looking to do something bigger? Partner with a construction business to do jobs like molding, cabinets or built-ins.

This is a side hustle that can be as big – or small – as you would like. 

You can do e-commerce or Etsy and sell things like dog food holders, bowls, bird houses, and so much more. Or, you can go big and do creative elements at a large scale like cabinet making, moldings, built-ins, and more. 

This job has so many options making it a top pick for blue collar workers who are skilled in woodworking.

Woodworking Business Success Story
One inspiring success story is that of John Blunt, founder of IsGood Woodworks. John started his Seattle-based community woodworking shop in 1992 without accepting loans or investors. Over the years, he grew IsGood from a small, self-funded contract woodworking business into an industry-renowned community woodworking shop that generates approximately $2 million in annual revenue. There is also one of our featured Brains, Danny Zientek, who left his corporate career to work as a woodworker.

Locksmith Business

career as a locksmith

Unfortunately, I know about this one all too well. I have locked myself out of my house twice in the last year.

It cost me $175 to have a locksmith come out and get me in. They were here for 15 minutes, travel time was about 30 minutes. So $175 for 45 minutes of work? I would take it.

The locksmith I use has done it solo for over 25 years and raised 3 kids successfully with his job – and he loves it. He does it part-time now and still brings in a full-time income. 

A locksmith does not have it easy though! Back in the day it was fairly easy because we would have a key and a deadbolt which is easier for a locksmith to get into. But now, there are digital locks with keypads which are making things more complex. This is a great business to start, even if you have no experience!  

You can learn more about becoming a locksmith in our career guide!

Chimney Cleaning Business

chimney cleaning

Chimney cleaning can be a lucrative business that requires minimal investment. You can offer services such as cleaning chimneys, fireplaces, and wood stoves.

As a chimney cleaner you do not just clean chimneys, but make sure homes are safe from the dangers of chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. This job might have you working on rooftops or indoors to make sure all the dust and grime is removed. 

Chimney Cleaning Business Success Story
One inspiring success story in this field is Patriot Chimney, a veteran-owned chimney cleaning business based in Roanoke Valley, Virginia. Opened in 2017, Patriot Chimney serviced over 350 customers and generated more than $212,000 in its first year, and it’s been profitable ever since. The company faced initial challenges, including missed calls and a heavy workload, but with the help of field service software, they were able to streamline their operations, increase their revenue by 167% in one year, and even manage the business remotely.

Pest Control Business

raccoon roadkill removal

Starting a pest control business requires careful planning and execution. This one may be a little harder than some of the others since you might be working with chemicals and some states require licensing and training. It is important you check with your local government to see what you need to get started.

As a pest control specialist, you’ll be the community’s go-to person for managing unwanted critters. This could be bugs, animals, or maybe even picking up roadkill. It is up to you what you would like to specialize in!

Your day-to-day tasks will involve identifying common pest problems in your service area and offering solutions specific to each client’s needs. You’ll need to invest in pest control equipment, get the necessary licensing and training, and ensure you are compliant with state and federal regulations.

Pest Control Success Stories
As for success stories, take the example of Terminix. Since 1927, they’ve been providing exceptional pest control services, including termite control, bed bug inspections, and mosquito removal. They’ve built a strong brand and have a significant online presence, with a website traffic of 2.06M/month. Another successful business is “Do My Own,” a DIY pest control company that offers a wide range of products and advice for those who prefer to handle pest issues themselves. They’ve also managed to attract a substantial online following, with 3.11M/month visiting their website.

Graffiti Removal Business

graffiti artist painting
Photo credit: Depositphoto / VitalikRadko

As a graffiti removal specialist you will restore the beauty of buildings, walls, and other surfaces that have been harmed by unwanted graffiti.

This job involves mastering various removal methods such as pressure washing, sandblasting, or using specialized graffiti removal products. It’s not just about cleaning surfaces, it’s about preserving the integrity of your community’s visual appeal.

Graffiti Removal Business Success Story
Goodbye Graffiti is a success story that started small and grew into a franchise. They’ve created a successful franchise model for graffiti removal, allowing entrepreneurs to join their network and benefit from their established brand and proven business model. Their success shows the potential for growth and profitability in this industry.

Some medical careers can also offer opportunities, but those have more limitations. As an example: nurses, which can be considered blue collar – can work as home-health aides, but there may be more rules and regulations around it.

Advantages Of Starting A Blue Collar Side Hustle 

There are many advantages to starting a blue-collar side hustle or business that can be profitable and successful.

  • It is typically a low-cost business to start. Most of the businesses listed here can be started with the skills and tools you already have. Anything else you need to get the job done can be picked up at most local stores.
  • You can get started making money quickly, especially if you’re providing a service that is in high demand.
  • It is a  great way to build a long-term business. If you decide you love being your own boss, it will be easy to transition to a full-time business.
  • There are many great options to choose from! From lawn care to trash cleanup, there are many opportunities even without experience.
  • Make your own schedule and be your own boss. 

Legal & Financial Considerations

Starting a blue collar business can be exciting and rewarding. But, it’s important to understand the legal and financial responsibilities.

Below are some important things to consider before getting started. 

1. Business Plan (Full-Time Business Only)

Before starting your own business, it’s important to have a solid business plan. Define goals, identify a target market, and outline strategies for success.

The plan for your blue-collar business idea should also include financial projections and growth ideas.

2. Business License and Insurance 

To operate your business, you might need to get a license or permit from your local government. This will depend on the services you want to provide. 

You should acquire liability or workers’ compensation insuranceis recommended if you are doing work for others. It can protect you in case something goes wrong. 

3. What Tools & Equipment Your Business Will Need 

Depending on the business you decide to start, you may need to invest in equipment, tools, or materials. It’s important to factor in these costs when creating your business plan and budget.

Insuring your equipment is also important in case they break and become inoperable. 

4. How Will You Charge For Your Services

Before you get started you will need to think about pricing.

Pricing should take your experience, skill, and location into account. You should also factor in the cost of tools, insurance, and travel time. 

Whether you charge by the hour, by the project, or by the job, it’s important to have a clear pricing structure.

5. Growing Your Business

If you are doing this as a side gig, growth may not be important to you. But if you are going at this full-time, growth will be critical to success.

Marketing and word-of-mouth are going to be very important. Attending events, sending mailers, and starting a website are a few ways you can get started. 

It is also important to think about what happens if you get too busy?

Do you want employees – will you have contractors?

Keeping clients happy will be critical. If you keep turning too many away because your are busy, it will be hard to scale.

Want customers to also market your business for you? That is easy, keep them happy!

Customer referrals are the BEST way to get new business! 

Final Thoughts On Blue Collar Business Ideas

We hope these blue collar business ideas offered you some inspiration!

Anyone can start many of these business, so what are you waiting for?

Running your own business, no matter how big or small, is not easy – but so worth it. Being your own boss and being in control of how much money you can make are two of the many reasons we recommend it.

But it is not for the light hearted. 

It is a lot of work, responsibility, and stress. Keeping clients happy can be difficult. Hiring can be a challenge, and certain jobs need a look at the legal and insurance aspects.

Whether you are looking for a business to buy, or one to start, we say do it!

Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.