Looking for a summer job? Why not start your own business instead of working for someone else? Besides accomplishing the main objective of making money over the summer, when you start your own business you'll have the satisfaction of being your own boss and of creating something yourself. Another great advantage of starting your own business is that you won't have to waste time looking for a summer job—you'll already have one.
Besides making money for your education, having business experience looks great on your resume, particularly if you plan a career in business. Being able to state on your resume that you "ran a successful landscaping business during the summer months" is more attractive to potential employers than "I was in charge of chicken nuggets at The Chicken Shack."
When you're choosing a small business idea for your summer job replacement, there are two approaches you can take. You can plan to start a seasonal business that you can pack up and close down at the end of the summer when you go back to school, or you can choose a business that allows you to continue running the business (on a reduced scale) throughout the year. There are some of both in this collection of the best business ideas for students.
So consider the possibilities and start your own business this summer, working for yourself rather than working for someone else. While some people are still looking for a summer job, your own business will already be up and running—and making money.
Best Business Ideas for Students in 2021
1. Lawn Care and Landscaping
This is a great summer student job because it's seasonal and is greatly in demand throughout the summer season—and almost anyone can do it. Another great thing about this small business idea is that it’s easily expandable; add landscaping and/or gardening services if you have the knowledge and abilities.
There are many variations on this type of service, some of which require no special skills or training. For example, one local student comes around every spring with a rented lawn aerating machine and services all the lawns in the neighborhood. Another rents a truck and spends the spring/summer hauling garden mulch. His customers can have mulch delivered and spread on their lawns and gardens.
2. Guided Tours
If you live in an area with historical, cultural, or scenic attractions, why not start your own business offering guided tours? Don't despair if you don't live in a place with spectacular scenery or historical chops; ecotours and guided hikes are becoming increasingly popular. Taking people on tours of the local flora and fauna has the added bonus of getting you outside in the sweet season.
This type of business is particularly suitable for those with language skills in tourist areas. Multilingual guides are in high demand in locations that get large numbers of non-native-speaking visitors. Having a knowledge of local history, geography, and (for ecotours) biology/botany is also beneficial.
3. House and Pet Sitting
Many people travel during the summer and need someone to look after their houses and pets while they're gone. Making the rounds and taking in newspapers and mail, checking the house, and feeding or walking pets could be a great summer business for you and it could even have the added bonus of giving you a place to live over the summer.
There are other pet-related businesses you can start if you have the expertise, including dog training and grooming. If you are studying for a career in veterinary services, a summer business working with animals is ideal.
Note that for a house/pet sitting service your business must be bonded and insured.
4. House Call Geek
If you're technologically savvy, you have expertise that a lot of people still don't. Start your own business making house calls troubleshooting computer problems and/or showing people how to do what they want to do with their computers and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
This is another small business idea that would work well as a part-time business post-summer, too.
5. Rubbish Pickup and General Hauling Services
There are lots of people with junk that they would like to dispose of, as the success of 1-800-GOT-JUNK testifies. Whether it is old furniture, debris from construction projects, or electronic junk that needs to be recycled, there is always a demand for rubbish removal, particularly if it is properly sorted and disposed of in the most eco-friendly way possible. And late spring/early summer is the season of the highest demand, as people do their spring cleanups.
If you have access to a truck and a strong back, this could be a money-making small business idea for you.
If you have a particular skill and the necessary certification, teaching can be a very satisfying and lucrative small business. Music lessons spring to mind, but there are myriad other possibilities, from yoga and aerobics through mountain biking and horseback riding. Tutoring traditional school subjects is another small business idea with an instructional theme.
7. Exterior House Cleaning
Window washing, gutter cleaning, power washing exteriors—start your own business doing the home care chores that others hate to do and you can clean up during the summer season! And once you’ve established this business, it should have great carry-over potential, giving you a list of repeat clients summer after summer.
Local gutter cleaning/window washing services are often booked up months in advance during the spring/summer season, so demand for these services is strong.
8. Exterior and Interior Painting
Painting is another ideal summer business for students. Whether it is painting or staining a fence or putting fresh paint on the exterior of a house, there is always a demand for painting services, and it is something anyone can do with a bit of knowledge.
One local student has been running a very successful summer business for several years and he now hires student painters to work for him so he can spend most of his working hours managing the business and marketing his services.
9. Bookkeeping Services
If you are studying for a degree in business, why not start a business in a related field? Bookkeeping services are always in demand by businesses and could provide you with year-round income.
Some of the new cloud-based accounting software vendors such as Xero provide full online training and certification in their products, giving you all the tools you need to start your own bookkeeping practice. Why not get a head start on a career in business?
10. Sports Equipment Rental
Summer is the season to get moving and there's a big appetite for wheeling around—on bikes, roller blades, skateboards, or scooters. The right location and the right weather could make this small business idea a real money maker.