Featured Freak: JD Explains How to Build a Side Hustle for Teens

How to Create a Successful Side Hustle for Teens

By JD Randall

JD wearing hat outside in desert landscape who has ideas for teens saving money SheeksFreaks Financial Skills for Young Adults

I am a 16-year-old going into my Junior year of high school in the Phoenix metro area. I am also a part of the SheeksFreaks Mastermind group. And I’m here to tell you about one side hustle for teens that is working for me.

My Idea

My dad always had the idea of starting an outdoor game rental business. However, he already had a business to run, so he didn’t have time to start it. So, as soon as I was old enough to start putting something together, that is what I set out to do. As we all know, there are two great ways to help build wealth when you’re a teen. One is earning more income and the other is being frugal.

Before I started investing any time or money, I ran some projected numbers to see if this side hustle for teens would even be worth it. I projected the following costs and revenue.

  • Rental income per transaction
  • Game construction costs
  • Cost of my time (talking with customers, making the games, etc.)
  • Delivery costs (gas, time, etc.)
  • Hiring a friend to help deliver when needed

When I looked at all the numbers, it looked like there was some good money to be made!

Getting Started on My Side Hustle for Teens

So, the next thing I did to start a rental game business was to make the games. I made eight cornhole boards, Giant Jenga, and 9-Square. I was also able to pick up five giant dice and a ladder golf game for free! Instructions for how I put the games together are at the end of this article.

When I was making the games, I figured that as soon as I had them ready to go, I could start renting them out. But I forgot an essential part of any business: advertising.

So, I started to design my logo. It is a trailer with the words of the company name on the side, “The Party Trailer.” Next were some business cards with the logo and a brief list of the games that I had available for rent.

To spread the word about my business, I designed a flyer and made several copies which I distributed around my local area.

Using online platforms to promote my business, such as OfferUp and Craigslist, have also been beneficial. I am currently working on using Facebook Marketplace as well.

Reaching out to community managers has also been helpful. These people are in charge of planning neighborhood get-togethers. They are often given money to spend on rentals for these events. This is something I am still working on and would highly recommend to anyone else who is trying to start a similar business.

The Customer

Another crucial part of any business is communication with the customer. When I advertised on Offerup, I would always communicate with the customer through the app. If I got a customer from a different source, I would request we keep in contact through email or text.

Every time a customer would contact me, I would go through a short checklist of the critical information I needed. This included: if it was pickup or delivery, where to deliver the games, how long they were needed, the requested time of delivery, whether there was enough room for all the games at the location, and if any of these were plausible to change.

My desire to keep my business simple, both for my customers and me, led me to set the prices for all of my games at $25 per day. The only exception to this is the nine square game, which is $50 because it takes so long to set up. When I was first running my numbers, I realized I could not always deliver the games. So I decided only to deliver orders of $75 and over.

Overcoming Problems

Despite what I thought was a great plan, I came across some problems. For example, some people would reserve a date and then back out. This resulted in a loss of other clients who had requested the same date. To overcome this, I have started to require a 50% upfront deposit.

I had also heard that some other rental businesses had had things broken or never returned at all, so I also charge a security fee. This temporary fee is returned to the customer as soon as I inspect the games once they’re returned. For those interested, you can find the deposits and replacement fees at the end of the article.

My business was really starting to pick up. And then…. Coronavirus. My business came to a screeching halt.

Months later, things are slowly opening up, and I hope to get my business running again. I am currently researching other ways to advertise my business online because that is how I got most of my previous leads. Additionally, I am still trying to reach out to community managers about them renting my games for neighborhood parties.

The most popular rental, by far, is the cornhole boards. Because I am trying to apply the 80/20 rule and their simplicity in delivery, I have changed my business so that cornhole boards are the only rental game I am actively advertising.

Take-Aways for Your Side Hustle for Teens

Starting a rental game business has definitely helped me learn a lot about business. I absolutely recommend that anyone looking to earn extra money or develop the skills of an entrepreneur start their own side hustle for teens.

Make sure to check out my YouTube channel, Dirt Rich Dustin, if you want to hear about my journey to financial independence or more about my side hustles for teens!

Comment below if you think you might start your own rental business!

Now go out there and get your freak on!

How I made the games

Cornhole – I made the cornhole boards by screwing together a 2 ft by 4 ft frame, the size of an official grade cornhole board, from 2x4s. Then the plywood was cut to the same size (2’x4’) and screwed the plywood into the 2×4 frame. I then rounded two 1.5’ 2x4s and drilled holes in the sides of the cornhole boards and these 2×4 pieces. I put bolts through the holes and the 2x4s and then cut the legs to the right height. The cornhole board hole was made by cutting the hole in the cornhole boards by using a 6-inch circular woodcutter on a drill. I finished the cornhole boards by staining them and putting a protective clear coat over the top. I tried to make my own bean bags, but they were starting to fall apart pretty quickly, so I just bought some off of amazon.

Jenga – I made the Giant Jenga by cutting 2x4s in foot long pieces and then sanding the whole thing down to prevent splinters.

9-Square – I made the 9-Square by cutting 24 five-foot pieces for the top and 16 six-foot pieces for the legs out of 2-inch PVC. If I were to do it again, I would cut it out of 1 ½ inch PVC pipe. I then bought furniture-grade PVC fittings. These were four corner pieces, eight Ts, and four 5-hole pieces all made for the 2-inch sized PVC pipe.

Security Deposit and Replacement Fees: Cornhole Bags $10 each. Cornhole board $100. Nine Square $200. Giant Plinko $175. Ladder Golf $30. Jenga $50. Dice $10 each.


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