I see blog posts about side hustles all the time and they each have the same things in common. 1) they are all low paying, low skilled jobs and 2) everyone has the same ideas. So I thought I’d throw out one side hustle that I have really enjoyed and that makes a significant amount of money.
Here’s the thing though. It’s a lot of hard, hard work and I mean physical labor. Plus it doesn’t pay off for around six weeks depending on how organized you are. With that said, it is totally worth it and very satisfying. So here it is.
Open a Fireworks Stand!
Unless you live in Wyoming, you are probably familiar with fireworks stands that pop up all over the place starting in late June. Usually run by a scout troop or school group, but it can be anyone. My husband is OBSESSED with fireworks, and the first year we were married we stopped by every fireworks stand in our area. That is how we met a family that has several stands, and makes their annual income in only SIX WEEKS!! Can you believe that? A couple disclaimers here,they have been doing this for years, have multiple stands and lots of children that are old enough to staff the booths without having to pay other employees. That being said, we only ran one booth and still made a significant profit.
Choosing a company
My husband and I worked with Phantom Fireworks and I would absolutely recommend them. But there are other companies to work with.
Be sure to keep in mind the financial obligation. Several companies require that you purchase the product up front where others provide the product and give you a commission at the end of the season.
Talk to other people that have run booths with each company to get an idea of what it actually entails. For example, if you have a tent you have to put ALL of your product back in the metal container at 10:00 at night in order to go home unless you’re willing to guard the tent all night instead. Which sometimes means sleeping in your car for almost six weeks straight…..
Contact multiple companies and ask as many questions as you have. I probably sent twelve emails to our regional manager before finally signing a contract with them. He was very patient with me and it made all the difference.
Staffing your booth
Most times you will need at least two people at your booth at all times. But this also depends on your state/city and the company you are working with. Luckily my husband and I were able to staff the booth by ourselves for most of the season. We were also blessed with lots of willing family members that would come and watch our booth so we could go home and shower.
If you’re going to look for outside help, you’ll have to keep in mind labor laws and taxes and really it’s just a pain in the butt. In my opinion it’s just not worth it.
Unless you have an awesome support system that will bring you food every mealtime. You will probably be eating out a lot. So keep those expenses in mind.
There’s a good chance your booth will be in the middle of a business park, so bathrooms may not be a problem…. Unless it’s 4:00am and you really need a bathroom but everything is closed. So you may also want to consider having a porta potty (make sure to check your zoning rules)
To avoid sleeping in your car and also the bathroom fiasco, you could rent an RV or trailer (which I have never done but I would love to do next time)
Power source. Most times you will have to pay for your power. I was able to borrow a generator from family members all three years we ran a booth. But I would love to have purchased my own. Along with the cost of the generator you will also need fuel. In order to cut down on fuel costs, we borrowed a solar panel and battery pack, which made all the difference.
Comforts of home. I don’t know about you but July in Utah is hot. I mean not really, it usually doesn’t get above 100*, but to me that’s hot. Anyway, we purchased a fan with misters attached in order to stay cool. Also cold water is important. So we spent a lot of money on ice.
Packing tape. Our company sent us one or two rolls of packing tape every year but we always used 5 or more rolls. It’s not expensive, but it is necessary.
Depending on your situation there could be more, such as the cost of the tent, rent on the land, tables, chairs, shelving. Make sure to ask other operators and the managers what kind of other expenses to consider.
This will depend on how each company pays. The best way for us was a commission, because we didn’t have a ton of money up front to spend on purchasing and storing fireworks. We were super stoked when we got our check for the first time! Some things we didn’t think about right away was income tax…. When you essentially work for yourself, you have to pay taxes on your own… learn from my mistakes and set some money aside in the beginning. And don’t forget about a special tax handed down to us from our lovely government called self employment tax. Which takes a large portion of the check. *sigh* But I digress.
After it was all said and done, we made about $4,000 each year. Which for one month of work was pretty good for us, but may not be worth it for others.
This is by far one of my favorite side hustles. It’s definitely not quick cash, and it is hard work. But it does pay off and it’s a ton of fun. It’s kind of like giving birth (I know it’s a bold statement but stick with me). You’re so excited for the season to come, then you’re in the middle of it, thinking you never want to see another firework again. Then the season is over and you get your check, then you think “I could do that again.”