Make Money

22 Under the Table Jobs That Pay Cash (& How to Find Them)

Under the Table Jobs
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While most jobs these days pay by direct deposit, there are still many jobs that pay in cash. 

For the purposes of this article, we’re considering “cash” to be money you get paid up-front and directly, whether in paper money or via electronic transfer to your bank, PayPal or Venmo account.

In most cases, these under the table jobs are independent contractor roles rather than formal W-2 employment. For each option listed below, we note whether an online or gig economy option is available. Many of the jobs on this list can also be turned into small-scale businesses.

Keep in mind that working under the table to skirt taxes is illegal. While there are benefits to getting paid in cash at the end of every shift or gig, you’re still responsible for reporting that income.

Note: The jobs below are listed alphabetically.

#1. Auto Detailing

This job can be as simple as shampooing and vacuuming vehicles, or as full-service as waxing, applying a kevlar coating, buffing and removing oil stains. As you get more customers and experience, you can offer more services to upsell and increase your revenue.

How to get this job: Promote your own services through local Facebook groups and set up a website to target customers in your local area. Consider asking local repair shops or auto supply stores to keep your business card or flyer in their stores.

How much it pays: $10 to $18 per hour.

Pro tip: Why only offer detailing for cars? Increase your market by offering detailing services for RVs, boats, semis, and other vehicles.

Gig economy option: While there isn’t currently an app for detailing cars, you could talk to a local Turo fleet owner to garner some potential business. 

#2. Child Care/Babysitting

This can be one of the best ways to make cash quickly and easily — especially if you’re a teen with a flexible schedule or a parent with your own young children. If you’re an adult with a car, you’ll get paid more as a nanny or au pair who can help with homework, take kids to lessons and practices and prepare meals. 

How to get this job: Parents want someone they know and trust to care for their kids, so word-of-mouth networking is the most reliable method of getting solid leads for babysitting gigs. 

How much it pays: $10 to $15 per hour on average, but trusted sitters can earn significantly higher rates.

Pro tip: Offer overnight babysitting services to make money while you sleep. Overnight childcare is hard to come by, but essential for parents who work night shifts.

Gig economy options: Care.com, Urban Sitter and Sittercity.

#3. Day Labor

Movers, contractors and event coordinators often need day laborers, so there’s no shortage of day labor gigs. If you need quick cash, this is one of the best ways to make $200 or more in a single day.

How to get this job: Check websites like Craigslist, Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace.

How much it pays: $15 to $23 per hour.

Pro tip: If you’re having trouble finding work, consider signing up with a temp agency for day labor gigs. Some temp agencies even offer same-day pay jobs.

Gig economy options: TaskRabbit, Thumbtack and Handy.

#4. Delivery For a Local Restaurant

While it may seem like DoorDash and GrubHub are everywhere, the truth is that many small restaurants still use their own delivery service instead of relying on gig economy apps. These jobs often pay per shift and under the table.

How to get this job: Visit local, independently-owned restaurants in person and ask if they’re hiring delivery drivers. Local pizzerias and Chinese restaurants are the businesses most likely to still offer their own delivery.

How much it pays: Your pay will depend on how busy the restaurant is. In most cases, you’ll earn a small per-shift wage — think in the realm of $20 or $30 for a dinner shift — and then work primarily for the tips you collect on your orders.

Pro tip: If you opt to go the gig economy route, one tip is to choose the bike option even if you’re delivering in a car. This lowers your pickup and delivery radius and allows you to complete more deliveries in the same time period. While you’ll earn less base-wage per delivery (because that wage includes distance driven), you’ll earn more in tips.

Gig economy option: DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats and more. Check out our complete list of the best food delivery job apps.

#5. Event Planning

This is more of a small business than a job, but demand for event planners is solid and increasing. While most people associate event planning with weddings, think outside the box to create events like corporate retreats, anniversaries, quinceaneras, historic tours, festivals and more.

How to get this job: To get your feet wet, you could work for another event planner to gain experience, or you could go straight to setting up your own website and run social media ads.

How much it pays: Event planners make about 15% of the total budget for the event.

Pro tip: Finding your first clients will be the hardest part of getting this business going. Offer to plan a friend’s wedding for free — or at a serious discount — so you’ll have a solid testimonial and pictures for your marketing materials.

Gig economy options: We couldn’t find a dedicated gig economy option, but you can advertise your event planning services on Fiverr, Upwork and Facebook Marketplace.  

#6. Farm Work/Harvesting

There’s never any shortage of work on a farm or ranch, and many farmers need extra help during harvest and other busy seasons. Day laborers are often paid in cash, and the opportunities for overtime here are bountiful.

How to get this job: If you have some experience, you can find farm or ranch work at websites like Ranchwork.com. However, your most reliable method is to network. Agricultural jobs often involve dangerous equipment and working with livestock, so farmers and ranchers prefer to employ those they know and trust.

How much it pays: Agricultural workers typically make around $14 per hour, but many day laborers are paid by the day, rather than by the hour. So whether rounding up the cows takes five hours or 15 hours, you work until the job is done. 

Pro tip: Even if you don’t have farm-specific experience, you can tout your skills in welding, heavy equipment, or construction to a potential employer, as these are all relevant to farm work.

Gig economy option: The HitchPin app helps farmers connect with buyers and sellers of livestock and equipment, but you can also find ads for help wanted on farms and ranches. This app is in early adoption, but there are currently several listings throughout the United States.

#7. Gardening, Landscaping and Lawn Care

Helping homeowners with lawn care or landscaping is one of our top side hustle ideas. Start with simple jobs like lawn mowing, raking leaves or weeding. Then ask your clients if they have additional work they need, such as planting flowers.

How to get this job: Local Facebook groups or apps like Nextdoor can help you get started. Once you get a few customers, ask them for referrals.

How much it pays: Landscapers make an average of $17 per hour. Additional skills, such as sprinkler repair and tree pruning, will allow you to up your rates.

Pro tip: The best way to get landscaping jobs is to “answer your phone,” says Gary Pratt, co-owner of Rivendell Tree Experts. “Many times, we get jobs just because the other guys don’t call their customers back.” 

Gig economy options: You can find jobs with GreenPal, Eden, Lawnstarter, Thumbtack, TaskRabbit and a number of other task-oriented apps.

#8. Dog Walking

Another great side hustle idea, walking dogs is easy and flexible, and clients generally pay the same day.

How to get this job: Sign up with one of the gig economy apps mentioned below to start getting clients, then ask for referrals. You can also hand out flyers or cards at dog parks, or join local dog-related Facebook groups to connect with dog owners that might need your services.

How much it pays: Between $12 and $19 per walk, plus tips. Working part time, it’s not uncommon to make between $250 and $350 per week.

Pro tip: Offer additional services, such as boarding, drop-in checks, grooming and training to earn extra cash. 

Gig economy options: Rover and Wag are the major dog walking apps. Wag offers same-day pay. 

#9. Handyman Work and Odd Jobs

Carpentry and home repair skills are in high demand right now, and if you’re the handy type, there are likely to be plenty of gigs in your area that will pay you in cash the same day

How to get this job: Many carpentry workers note that word of mouth and local Facebook groups are the most fruitful ground for finding gigs.

How much it pays: $30 per hour and up.

Pro tip: If you can connect with real estate investors, you’ll have plenty of consistent work. These people can’t run their businesses without handymen, and reliable contractors are difficult to find. 

Gig economy option: TaskRabbit is a great way to snag odd jobs, not just handyman work. There are a host of customers willing to hire out tasks like furniture assembly, painting, mounting TVs and so forth. You can learn about more options in our list of the best apps for finding odd jobs.

#10. House Cleaning

Even if you don’t have much experience, you can make good money cleaning houses. Even in small and/or rural towns, there’s a market for this service. 

How to get this job: Because you’re going into the nooks and crannies of people’s homes, word of mouth is your best bet. Have several references ready to affirm your trustworthiness to new clients. 

How much it pays: This varies widely according to geographic area and your experience level, from $25 to $100 per hour.

Pro tip: Use “green,” environmentally friendly cleaning products for eco-conscious clients.

Gig economy option: Angi, Handy and Homeaglow are apps that offer cleaning jobs.

#11. Massage Therapy

Becoming a massage therapist is a well-paying job you can get even if you don’t have a high school diploma, and it can also be a great side hustle. 

How to get this job: Established massage therapists recommend word of mouth and Google or Facebook ads as the two best ways to bring in clients. 

How much it pays: Around $55 per hour, depending on the area and your experience.

Pro tip: Networking with physical therapists, yoga teachers, gyms, and hair stylists can be helpful in finding clients.

Gig economy option: Soothe allows you to offer in-home massages to clients in several large U.S. cities.

#12. Hairstylist/Barber

Hairstylists must be licensed to charge for their services, but once licensed you may be able to make money giving haircuts from home (the laws on this vary from state to state). Additionally, there’s a growing number of facilities that allow you to rent your own styling space — think of it like WeWork for barbers and stylists.

How to get this job: Talk to a local nail salon and see if they’re willing to do some cross-promotion. Offer a discount or free wash with a cut to attract new customers.

How much it pays: Hair stylists make around $14 per hour on average, but as a business owner, you can set your own prices and offer more expensive services like weaves, highlights and perms.

Pro tip: Check with your state’s cosmetology laws before you set up shop in your house. Violating these codes can come with hefty fines, and you could lose your cosmetology license.

Gig economy option: The Glamsquad and STYLEBEE apps are gig economy options for cosmetologists, but they’re only available in select U.S. cities.

#13. Mechanic

Nobody likes to pay for a tow to the garage, so mobile mechanic services are very valuable. You’ll need some training and tools for this job, but you can make good money at it. 

How to get this job: If tapping your personal network doesn’t land you enough jobs, ask local stores if you can keep a stack of your business cards on the counter. Talk to local office building managers to get business too — you can offer oil changes while your customers’ cars are parked at work! 

How much it pays: Auto mechanic work pays $22 on average, but this tends to be much higher for independent mechanics (as high as $40 to $60 per hour). 

Pro tip: If being a mechanic is your day job, first make sure your employer allows you to do work on the side. Some shops view this as a conflict of interest.

Gig economy option: Find clients that need basic car repair services (diagnostic tests, brake pad replacement, battery replacement, and so on) by signing up with YourMechanic. They pay a flat rate of around $40 per hour for basic technicians.

#14. Moving and Junk Removal

Moving boxes and clearing out old junk often takes a crew of hired hands to accomplish. Many clients will pay in cash by the day or by the hour.

How to get this job: Craigslist is a great place to start. Also, network with the managers of large apartment complexes or folks on/near a local military base, as people move in and out of these locations often.

How much it pays: Commercial movers make $14.50 per hour, but independent movers can make $20 per hour or more.

Pro tip: U-Haul allows you to list your company as moving help on their website. They charge a flat 15% fee once the work is completed.

Gig economy option: Dolly connects people who have moving or delivery projects with the muscle to get it done. You’ll get paid $40 per hour if you have a truck or van and $25 per hour if you just want to offer moving help.

#15. Performer

For those with musical or comedic talent, performing can be a creative way to make money. Many singers and musicians are paid in cash at the end of their set. You can also set up shop as a street performer during festivals with a tip jar.

How to get this job: Find the number of the booking agent at the venue where you’d like to perform, then smile and dial. Have an electronic press kit with a head shot, bio, and what audio setup you require at the ready.

How much it pays: This will vary wildly from person to person, but $45 per hour is close to average for a musician

Pro tip: Have merchandise at the ready. Selling even a few CDs can earn you more profit than the money you make from actually playing the gig.

Gig economy option: While there isn’t a true gig economy app to link performers and venues, you’ll get a lot of promotional mileage from TikTok and YouTube

#16. Personal Trainer

Quick summary: As a personal trainer, you can collect cash payments from your clients for each session.

How to get this job: See if you can post a business card or flyer at your local gyms. Offering a free trial workout may get hesitant clients to test the waters.

How much it pays: Around $19 per hour.

Pro tip: Though it’s not a legal requirement, you’ll get more clients if you have a personal training certification

Gig economy option: While there isn’t a gig economy app dedicated to personal training, you can offer personal training services on Thumbtack and Bark. As an alternative, you can post your workout routines to TikTok, Instagram and other social media platforms to establish credibility and gain clients. 

#17. Pet Grooming

Mobile grooming services have risen in demand as dogs (and their owners) are more comfortable with baths and haircuts in their own space.

How to get this job: Hand out your business cards at a local dog park. You can also partner with mom-and-pop pet stores that don’t offer pet grooming services.

How much it pays: About $20 per hour, depending on the area.

Pro tip: Create a customer referral program. Existing customers get a coupon or discount when their referral books a groom. 

Gig economy option: Rover used to offer grooming services, but they ended this option in 2021. If you’re looking to book pet grooming clients online, try Thumbtack or Care.com.

#18. Photography

Photography often pays in cash (with an upfront deposit) and can be as full-time or part-time as you want it to be.

How to get this job: Talk to parents of seniors, engaged couples, young families and others who may want photos taken. Be sure to have a website with your portfolio ready to show. 

How much it pays: The median pay for a photographer is around $19 per hour. Keep in mind, however, that the rate charged to the client is higher because you’re not paid for the hours you spend editing, marketing and so on.

Pro tip: If you plan to sell your pictures, be sure to get a photo model release form for all the people that appear in them.

Gig economy option: There isn’t an app that connects photographers and clients, but you can use several websites and apps to make passive income from your photos. You can also use sites like Upwork and Fiverr to find photography gigs.

See also: How to get your first job on Upwork and How to make money on Fiverr.

#19. Sports Instructor

Athletes and former athletes can earn cash under the table by offering sport-specific training. Pitching lessons, tennis lessons and golf lessons are some of the most in-demand services, but you can monetize your expertise in almost any sport.

How to get this job: Talk to your local gym or recreation center, and see if they have a board to post your flyer or business card. You can also network with local sports teams or leagues to connect with parents and players who may need your services.

How much it pays: Around $18 per hour on average. 

Pro tip: Consider niching down to a specific sports position or component of play (putting, tackling or pitching) to raise your value to your clients and your rates.

Gig economy option: CoachUp is like Fiverr for sports coaches. As a coach, you can offer in-person or online coaching for a variety of sports. 

#20. Tour Guide

Becoming a tour guide in your city or for a local historical or tourist site is a fun, exciting way to make extra money on the weekends. Even free tour guides usually get tips.

How to get this job: Tour companies will post ads for guides on websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter. You can also set up your own website to advertise your tour guide business and get your own clients through SEO.

How much it pays: Around $12 to $15 per hour, plus tips.

Pro tip: Become a great storyteller. Dates and facts are great, but your clients will remember funny, tragic or interesting stories about the places you take them most of all.

Gig economy option: If you have in-depth knowledge of your city, you can sign up as a guide with ToursByLocals. You can also offer your tour as an AirBnB Experience. Additionally, many people offer free tours on Meetup, collecting tips at the end.

#21. Tutoring

Whether you’re a retired teacher, college student or just a smart person who likes to teach kids, tutoring is a rewarding side gig — socially and economically.

How to get this job: Many online tutoring job websites will allow you to sign up and start getting clients right away. Some sites have requirements such as a diploma, degree, test scores or other training. 

How much it pays: This will depend a lot on the age group and subject you’re teaching. It can be anywhere from $20 to $65 per hour, or more if you have a degree in the subject.

Pro tip: Offer group classes. You will charge each student less, but you’ll make more per hour.

Gig economy option: There are dozens of websites that help struggling students find tutors; here’s our list of the best online tutoriung options

#22. Waiting Tables and Bartending

Most jobs waiting tables or bartending are W-2 (on-the-books) jobs, but because these positions work mostly for tips, you can often head home at night with a fistful of cash.

How to get this job: Waitstaff and bartenders often start out as hosts or bar backs. Bartenders can speed up their career path by taking a bartending class.

How much it pays: Waitstaff make a small base pay of $2 an hour or so, but with tips they can make anywhere from $10 to $40 an hour. Bartenders make anywhere from $20 to $60 per hour between base pay and tips. 

Pro tip: Even if you have to start off as a host or busser, these positions often receive a cut of the tips from the waitstaff. 

Gig economy option: Pared, Qwick and Instawork are all gig economy options for waitstaff, bartenders, bussers and other restaurant workers looking to pick up extra shifts.   

Jobs That Pay Cash Under the Table – FAQs

Is it legal to work under the table?

“Working under the table” typically refers to the practice of paying employees in cash/being paid in cash for the explicit purpose of avoiding taxes or other financial responsibilities (like providing legally-mandated benefits). This practice is not legal. 

However, getting paid in cash at the end of your shift is perfectly legal — as long as everyone involved still does the required bookkeeping and pays the required taxes. 

Are you required to report cash pay to the IRS?

Yes. Just because you get paid in cash doesn’t mean Uncle Sam forgoes his cut. Even if you get paid in nickels, you’re required to report it on your taxes as income. You report this on tax form 1099.

How much cash can you make without paying taxes?

There’s a common myth that as long as you make under $600, you don’t have to report it to the IRS. The truth is that all the money you make is taxable. The person who pays you doesn’t have to give you a 1099 form if you make less than $600, but you still have to pay taxes on these earnings. 

What happens if you don’t report the cash you earn to the IRS?

If the IRS finds out that you underreported your earnings, you can be subject to penalties and fines

Under the Table Jobs That Pay In Cash: Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for an under-the-table job so you don’t have to pay taxes on the earnings, you won’t ever find that job. Cash or not, almost all income is taxable. But if you want daily pay and the flexibility that cash payments offer, there are many jobs that still pay in cold, hard currency.

Jenni Sisson
Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor focused on personal finance, technology and entrepreneurship. A serial side hustler, Sisson has started businesses selling maple syrup, teaching piano lessons, transcribing medical records, selling on eBay, mystery shopping and more. You can read more of her work on her blog, Family Size Finance.

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