Ten ways to earn a second income

Feeling the pinch? Boosting your spending power can be easy, says Helen Monks

Saturday 03 November 2007 01:00 GMT

One in four Britons are now making a second income through renting out their possessions, skills and time, new research by Gumtree.com suggests. Could you join the "rentrepeneurs" and make a healthy second income to help tackle your debts, boost your spending power, or save for your family? We looked at ten ways to get started.

Rent a room

If you have an empty spare room, you could rent it out for up to £4,250 a year, about £354 a month, and have no tax to pay on the rental income. Checking out one of the house share websites, such as www.moveflat.com, will give you an idea of the going rate for rooms in your area and also how to market your room.

Once you become a landlord, you will have certain responsibilities under law, go to www.shelter.org.ukfor free guidance on tenancy and deposit agreements.

Homeowners are advised to speak to their mortgage lender first as some mortgage agreements will not permit borrowers to take on tenants. Also, taking on a tenant may have implications for your home and contents insurance, so check your policy and ensure you have the cover you want.

Get into the movies

If you fancy following in the footsteps of Ricky Gervais in Extras, then you could work as a "supporting artist" for up to £150 a day.

Equity, the performing artists' trade union, says extras can make a good living. But you must be prepared to spend hours waiting on set or location until you are needed for shots. Go to www.equity.org.ukor www.skillset.co.uk for more information on getting started and finding a reputable extras agency.

Alternatively, you could tout your home as a film and TV location by registering it at websites such as www.locations-uk.com or www.mylocations.co.uk. Payments for using your front door as a back drop, to filming inside your home can be in the thousands.

Teach someone a lesson

Private tutoring is an unregulated area, which means pretty much anyone can try their luck earning up to £30 an hour in their spare time by offering private tuition from everything from cookery, English and foreign languages, to GCSE and A-level subjects.

You could offer your services independently, by placing an advertisement in a newsagent's window or library notice board, or by delivering flyers around your neighbourhood. Alternatively, you could go through an agency.

Fleet Tutors (www.fleet-tutors.co.uk), for example, works with clients and tutors in the Home Counties, London and across the UK. To register you will need a degree in the subject you wish to teach.

While you will typically get less cash from going down the agency route, it can help you secure prospective clients for your services.

Sell, sell, sell

Next time you clean out the attic, or give your living room a new look, remember that you can sell on that old sofa, out of favour antique or object d'art for up to £6,000 without triggering any capital gains tax.

In terms of whether transactions are liable to tax, the important distinction is that when you bought what you intend selling, you did not buy it with the intention to sell it on at a profit. For example, if you repeatedly buy and sell vintage dresses on eBay at a profit, then these transactions will be considered trades and you ought to include your profits in taxable income.

Driveways and garages

Driveways and garages can be coveted assets in areas where people are constantly charged with the task of feeding the meter or dodging car park attendants.

You can advertise your parking offer locally in the classified ads of local newspapers, or go to websites like Gumtree.com. Remember to include important information in your advertisement, including distance from local transport links and anything that will set your place out from the crowd, such as having 24-hour access or the fact the garage is in a CCTV area. You can charge up to £50 a week depending on where your parking space/garage is and how secure it is.

Don't forget to let the taxman know of the rental income after expenses on your tax return.

Pet, house or baby-sit

You could earn up to £50 a day just by living in someone else's home and looking after their pets while they are on holiday.

Before agreeing to house-sit, draw up a dos and don'ts type agreement with your client. This ought to include how many hours it is acceptable to leave the house in the night and during the day, who can come and visit you, as well as detailing agreed plant watering and any cleaning duties, the pets' routines and whether food will be provided for you throughout your stay.

You could find your clients independently or go through an agency, which are likely to insist that you do not leave the house for any more than an hour after dark. They'll also probably contact you regularly throughout your stay to check up on you.

Babysitting is the perennial favourite for generating extra cash. Be upfront about costs and expectations – such as expecting taxi money for any homeward journeys after midnight.

Put yourself in the picture

You don't have to look like Gisele Bündchen to be a model. Some modelling agencies specialise in unusual or "normal" looking people.

Agency Ugly offers casting directors a choice of average joes, as well as "thugs", "bikers" and twins.

Models can earn up to £100 per hour on a commercial shoot, but they should be prepared to cover some costs when they join an agency including having some professional shots taken, as well keeping their details up to date.

Alternatively, you could earn money from your appearance by offering your services as life model to an arts school, earning between £10 and £25 a time.

Put your children in the picture

Most parents think their children are the most beautiful in the world, but if other people are inclined to agree with you, you could think about putting them forward as child models.

Your child could earn hundreds a day, cash you could put towards school fees and childcare, or into a child trust fund or a tax-free ISA in the child's name.

Bonnie Breen, head booker at Bizzykidz Agency says there are some classic costly mistakes to avoid when it comes to working with agencies: "Don't pay subscription fees, yearly fees or joining fees. You will, with all agencies, be asked to cover the costs of your child's model cards or entry into their model book, but no agency should charge yearly fees to be represented by them."

Breen recommends www.albamodel.info for tips on getting started.

Avon calling

Could you join Avon's reported 170,000 sales representatives? For every £100 of goods they sell, reps earn 20 per cent commission, rising to 25 per cent for orders over £140.

Representatives start selling directly from the Avon brochure without having to buy stock in advance and they don't have to pay until the products have been delivered to their customers. Unlike many direct selling companies, there is no substantial initial cost outlay with only a £15 registration fee.

Do your research

You could earn pocket money and vouchers in minutes by telling research companies what you think.

Research Now pays from 50p for taking part in a text poll, up to £5 for taking part in an online survey. These "rewards" are credited to your online account with the company within 28 days and paid when your account balance reaches £10. Go to www.Valuedopinions.co.uk to find out more.

Also, Yougov.com pays you £1 when you register and then tops up your account intermittently. When you hit £50, you will receive a cheque in the post.

'It has been really important for me to make the most of what I have'

Amy Sebba, 27, a London Business School MBA student, makes extra cash by renting out the garage attached to her home in Putney, south-west London.

The former project manager says that she generates much-needed pocket money from the enterprise, especially useful as she is studying full-time: "I don't have any other income, so it has been really important to me to make the most of what I have."

Sebba found her renter through Gumtree.com and says organising the arrangement was easy, although she would recommend drawing up a contract, asking your renter for payment via direct debit and also doing an inventory of what is already in your garage.

It is worth checking out what your tenant intends to use your garage for. "The person renting my garage is definitely using it for their car – you wouldn't want someone using the space for anything dodgy!"

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