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by Roger Chartier


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101 Part Time Retirement Business Ideas


Retirement Occupations.

Do you have any part time retirement business ideas?


You've worked most of your life, and now the retirement income from social security isn't enough to keep you and your family going.

Maybe you just want to continue to earn money after retirement rather than hang around the house doing nothing.

People look at their retirement income, and realize that it isn't enough to live like he or she always lived before.

Social Security is nowhere near what we need in many cases.
So what are we to do?

One excellent option is to start a part time retirement business.


Piano tuner

A piano tuner gets very good hourly service call fees.
It takes a few tools but not much of an investment to get rolling or should we say "tuning".

Once you get a list of clients like schools, piano teachers and home based piano owners etc. you could be offered more work than you want.

That would be good to say "Sorry, I'm too booked up".


Entertain in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities, etc.

If you ever played an instrument and sang, you might think about this. Also, there are people who do pet visits etc for money. Most shows are one hour long. Read about this on the most authoritative website on this subject online called www.SeniorsEntertainer.com.

Repair Musical Instruments

I know a guy who had to stop playing because he had physical problems, but he made even more money fixing guitars etc. from his home. Learn more from Stuart MacDonald

Teach a Musical Instrument.

Musicians and people who enjoyed playing music can often teach people who are beginners or advanced students. This depends on the teacher's ability. Teach from home, or from a music shop.


Buy - Sell Musical Instruments

If you know what you are doing, you can buy/sell from home using eBay. I did a bit of it at one time. Buy and sell instruments. Sometimes you have to fix up a $50.00 guitar, to sell it for $100.00.   If you find a collectible at a flea market, you might make a killing. I bought a used Fender Stratocaster for $106 and a few years later sold it for $2,800.00

Neighborhood Handy Man and Landscape guy/Gal

My grandfather retired and lived on West Island, Ma. he worked all over the neighborhood driving his lawn tractor here and there cutting grass and maintaining the property of a local manufacturing magnate. He worked pretty much when he wanted and was nearby for lunchtime.

Professional Occupation - Fewer Hours.

The obvious is to do what you did before but in a diminished way.

A plumber, carpenter, auto repair tech, welder, etc. could take on small jobs referred by a contractor who has bigger jobs and can't be bothered with the small ones.

Many years of skill and knowledge go a long way when it comes to doing your line of speciality and that = more $$$.


Something that can be a hobby can produce some serious income for the wise person who knows the ropes. Know at least  about a particular area of antiques say chinaware etc. Check out the flea markets and garage sales.

Auto Window Tinting

A person who was out of work in my town started doing window tinting, and he got the contract to do the police undercover cars, that brought a lot of referrals, as well.

Stock Photography

If you have a lot of interesting photos and really understand what commercially viable photos are, you can sell on Shutterpoint or Istock etc.

Wedding Photography

It is a good business if you know what you are doing. Some photographers make well over a thousand dollars to shoot a wedding and create an album on DVD or with physical prints.

Write About Something You Know

Create an Ebook using Microsoft Word and turn it into a pdf file. It is downloadable, and easily sold on Clickbank.
People are earning money selling Ebooks these days, and you don't have to print it in an actual book format, so you save money that way.

Story Teller

A good story teller creates a scenario with drama and holds the audience in the cup of their hand. I worked with a story teller as a musical accompanist doing shows in libraries. She wore a costume for the events. We did one hour shows for $200.00. We didn't get rich, but it is fun, and a hundred dollars is a hundred dollars more than nothing.

Art Instruction

An example that I know about is of a woman who taught basket weaving and also sold the higher end supplies on the side. She had a class of about 12 ladies who paid $15.00 each for each weekly session. $180.-- 2 hours - not bad and that doesn't count the profit on supplies.

Breakfast Only Restaurant

That is right open at 6 AM and close at 10 AM. After all, it is a part time business and you are retired. Ok, so work short hours. If you like to make more money with the place, do a deal with someone who would want to run it for lunch, but you are out of there at 10AM.


Write for local newspapers and publications.

It can be for anything from a 200 run of a local newsletter to a full blown feature story in a major newspaper.

Some newspapers will even offer classes in writing to find new reporters that are of some value to their business.

Usually a stringer is a part time job. It can be made into a full time job if you want to make it one, though it is not the top paid position. It is a foot in the door for you to prove yourself to the editor, and a better paying job.


Hot Dog Wagon

Those really nice stainless steel hot dog wagons can be profitable in the right location. I stop and get a couple of dogs every time I pass my favorite one in East Greenwich, RI. The fella that runs it is about 85 years old, and sometimes his granddaughter comes to help.

Tour Guide

If your locale has a good flow of tourists and some interesting sites, you can gear up for next to nothing as a walking tour guide. Know your stuff about the area and be personable and witty. Charge a small fee and earn tips.

Tailoring or Simple Clothing Repairs

A lot of people can run a computer but have no clue about how to use a sewing machine. There is your niche. Get in touch with local dry cleaners who often take in clothes for replacing buttons etc.

Dog Walking

A local fella who is retired picks up clients' dogs during his daily stroll and walks them for a fee. You can do a day care thing for pets, as well.

Window Washer

There is a guy whom I see in the downtown area who washes the windows of 5 stores. He never even uses a ladder. It's all ground floor stuff. He has a bucket and a long telescoping pole with a squeegee on the end and some cleaning stuff. I think it is ammonia. He does a great job and the clients love him.
It all fits in the trunk of his car.
Charge by the window because if you work by the hour you invariably earn less. You can easily get into business for under $150.

Speak a foreign language?

My local hospital has a staff of on call translators  They are well paid. They have a professional appearance and enjoy the valuable work that they do. They don't work many hours, but the end result is that they come home with a good pay for it. Look into the American Translators Assn.

Disc Jockey

As a retiree, you will find that seniors love to have parties. What else do they have to do? Local senior centers, 55 and older communities and senior groups are all out there waiting to hire you. You can run all of your music from your laptop computer. You also need an audio mixer, a mic and good speakers. Practice at home. You should have a good selection of appropriate music.  You can make from $50.00 to $150.00 an hour depending on your location etc.

Videographer / Video production business

Weddings pay well, and businesses like to use good quality video for national, regional, local and even YouTube adverts. Other people like to have top quality product demonstration videos for clients to better understand the value of their products and services. Educational videos and documentaries are also a good market.

Furniture Refinishing

A garage sale set of the table and chairs turned into a thousand dollars for a Connecticut man that I had met. If you get to know good furniture from junk, you can find distressed stuff and give it a new life.

Maitre D - Function Coordinator

Some restaurants that cater to weddings have a coordinator come in to run the show and make sure everything is going according to schedule. The job would last about 7 hours, and you should get to eat there. Work once a week and enjoy the rest of the week for your self.

Online Store

Beware of the many scammy opportunity types offered out there. For those who can do it honestly and well, then they can make a good profit. Fine for them.


I know a girl who bought all of the stock of shoes that a large company had when they went out of business. She got them dirt cheap and sold them over the course of a year on Ebay for 5 to 10 times what she paid for them.

Fund Raiser

The rules vary and some states require certification, but if you are personable and have a trustworthy voice and face people will feel good about giving to the charity you are working for.

Adult Day Care Center Driver

In the morning, you pick up people and in the afternoon you drop them off. In between you can do what you want. This is easy beans as they say. If you happen to own a bus or large passenger van you can also drive for senior trips to shopping outlets or the local casino etc., and charge by the head as a self employed entrepreneur - sole proprietor.

Festivals and Fairs Booth Sales

Get a booth and start to sell whatever will sell. Some people sell craft but if you understand what people will buy you can do well. Some folks are busy every weekend of the warm season at different festivals and fairs.


Local businesses and clubs, etc. want a website but often have nobody there who can do it.. If you have the skills and can design and publish a website then you can do 10. Maintaining them for a fee, as well. If you have a few get the web addresses out there for future customers to see you work. You can also offer to do their enewsletters.

Transfer Home VHS to DVD.

There are so many people who have their most precious memories on VHS tape. For a small investment, you can up grade your computer to do just this with some hardware and software. Charge by the VHS tape. Don't set tight deadlines because they are miserable. Tell your customer to come back in a week. Now you have plenty of time to do it and not be rushed. After all, you are retired. Right?

Tax Preparer

During tax season people are under pressure to get it done. If you have a feel for that sort of work and can get the necessary accreditation, you can do taxes for people for a fee. Some accountants will hire during the tax season.  There is an excellent page on the subject of tax preparation at www.taxman123.com/learn_to_do_taxes.html

Public Notary

Get certified and you can make money in 2 minutes. Someone needs a paper notarized, and all you need is to stamp it with your stamp and put your hand out for the money.

Stained Glass

The finished work is beautiful, and someone who can do custom replacement of old stained glass is difficult to find so your skills would be valuable. There are items that you can make and sell online or at festivals and fairs or consign or sell to gift and decorating shops .etc.

Garage Sale

Run a garage sale on a Saturday or Sunday with your extra stuff, and sell other peoples stuff at a commission. If you do an internet business selling physical goods, you might as well include those, as well. There is a lot to it, and you can read about how to run a garage sale or flea market.


If you have a garage sale advertise it for free on Craigslist.  You can sell just about anything on that website for free.

Cans and Bottle Redemption

If you know of a business or club or restaurant that handles a lot of bottles and cans, you can ask them if you could handle the recycling for them. You would get money from the returns and recycling places. If you have to go around looking for bottles and cans on the side of the road, it is a very hard way to generate any money. If you can get them in quantities, it works out. Read more about cans and bottles redemption

Janitorial Services.

That is something that you can do from your car or a small van.  Clean offices or small stores and banks after hours. Minimal investment. Book only as much work as you would want to do. You can do light or heavy housekeeping in peoples homes, as well.

Consignment Shops

Will take good quality clothes and other items. You can look in your closets and sell what you want or run a consignment shop yourself. If you don't want to spend all day there split the business and hours with another retiree or two or three.  Read about consignment shops.

Fill out Online Surveys

I would suggest getting a disposable email address to do any of that sort. You can make money online with surveys. Check around first by googling "Online Surveys". Some are good, and some are not so good.

Elder Sitting Service.

You may be retired at 59 or 66 but not feel as if you are elderly, There are those who are older and more feeble who need assistance. People can work part time of full time in that field.

Personal Grocery Shopper

Shut ins and the elderly or just someone who is too busy can use a personal shopper.  Charge a fee and do your own shopping at the same time but simply run your stuff through the register separately. That keeps you aggravation down, and you don't have to make a special trip.

Hand Made Soap

There are some great scents and colors that you can get. These will sell in gift shops and festivals and fairs as well as for fund raisers at schools and clubs.

Part Time Security Guard

Let's face it you may never break a sweat and most likely half of the time you can sit around and catch up on reading the books you had always wished you could get to reading.

Woodwork - Custom molding

With a relatively affordable investment, you can buy the woodworking tools to make custom moldings. Historic renovators often have a problem getting off the shelf replacement moldings for older remodeling jobs. You don't have to spend 40 hours a week doing it. Only take the work you want and that interests you.

House painting

Take your time and do a nice job on a single story house. There are no real heights to climb. If you cut the deal with people where they don't expect it to be done in two days, you can set yourself up for a few hours a day of work and then act like you are retired and have some fun!


Many people who were professionals in their field can retire as consultants and get paid by the job or event.. Struggling businesses can use your wisdom accumulated over the years

Medical Billing

Many doctors offices have a busy day and can outsource their billing to you! Look into it. If you are doing well with it, ask for a letter of reference that you can use to apply to other doctors offices.

Vending Machines

A route of 20 machines doesn't take long to maintain and can generate a tidy profit. Vending machines are still a good business.

Home Repair

Part time business for someone who has experience as a handy man. A small car or van and tools that you would probably have at home or in your garage anyway. Replace windows or leaky sinks. Stop creaky door hinges. In the senior and over 55 communities there are a lot of retired people who are a bit too feeble to take on the tasks.

Fix Lawn Mowers and Snow Blowers.

Small engine repair for either of these is about the same. It doesn't take a lot of physical strength and easily managed even as you get older. Often you can buy a broken one for $15.00 and fix it for sale later. Generate a tidy profit.

Part Time Nanny

People have raised a family and have a lot of experience.

Baby Sitting

This sort of job can be about the same as the part time nanny, but probably with various clients and less often.

Pressure Washing Business

This one is fun. For some reason, some guys (me) get a kick out of using a pressure washer.  The cost to start up the business is relatively low, and you would charge by the job and not by the hour so you can really rake in the bucks.

Locksmith and key maker

The tools are not too expensive, and you can actually do it from your vehicle as a mobile business. It is fun to learn how it is done as people think it is like magic! Someone is stuck, because they lost their key. You are the hero that can open the door.

Sign Painting

Small businesses are the ones that will use a local sign painter. You can do it from your garage or ventilated basement. Leave the massive signs to the guys that go at it full time.

Custom Machine Embroidery

There is a call for custom embroidery on hats and clothing as advertising and personalized accessories are popular. Local small businesses often can afford a small run of hats with the business name on them as a give away and for advertising purposes. Some folks like to have their name on their accessories. The more you look into it, the more you will see the market for that product/service.

Open an Art Gallery

Any empty store is an art gallery with a minimum of work. You can sell some related product along side the art as long as you don't turn it into a store with some art hanging on the wall. Art galleries can often induce artsy folks to be volunteer gallery sitters so that you don't have to be there 8 hours a day.

Hand Made One Of a Kind Pottery

People like to buy one of a kind things that are hand made and when you meet the artisan who created them it is more interesting. There is the likely hood that a customer will spend more money buying it in a small shop from the actual artisan who made it. Often the same item would not sell if they saw it on the shelf at the local chain store.

Real Estate Investment

Buy sell properties. If you have a background that gives you the skills to succeed at this, you could do well making money despite the low market.


Selling other people's property at a nice commission. Of course, the market isn't what it was for the price, but people are still buying houses.
A friend who was in the home construction business for 20 years could smell the change and got his realtors license.

Now he has several agents working for him, and he is making money selling other people's property while still taking the construction jobs for his crew to stay working... as long as the money is there.

Internet Cafes

They are cropping up all over the world. You need a good internet service and a few computers. You make money by the hour or half hour. Sell some coffee, sandwiches and donuts at the same time

Barber / Hairdresser

If you learn to cut hair like the old fashioned barber before you retire you might be able to do like my local barber does. He rented a chair in a barber shop for one day a week, and built a clientele that come to see him on that day. Women's hairstylists can do the same.


Pool Maintenance

A friend down south suggested that they had done well with their pool maintenance business.

Personal Administrator

Do research for others, as a part time per case situation, in a field that your life experience has prepared you for.

Private Detective

Anyone who has been a police officer understands a lot of what that entails already. Depending on where you live there are licensing requirements.


Small businesses often need someone who can do the books for them. Many people have an aversion to bookkeeping when they only want to do the work of the business such as plumbers or towing companies... let your imagination go to work here. Small businesses with only a part time need.

Auto Detailing

A fella in my town rented a garage stall next to an auto service station and did high quality auto detailing. He charged $100.00 per car and there were enough people who could afford it. He ended up getting more work than he could handle from a local used car dealer.

Build Upscale Doghouses

It started with feeling sorry for the dog in the cold of winter. The man added a 100 watt, old fashioned light bulb, in a cutout tin can to heat the inside of the doghouse a bit above freezing. Then it went nuts.

Removable roof for cleaning, a nice picture window  and smaller windows on each side so the dog could see what was going on without having to go outside, and removable mats for the inside that could be cleaned.

Locking wheels underneath that would enable the dog house to be moved to face the sun or the house back door etc.. The wheels raised the house up a little keeping it dry in snow and rain. A removable carpet was placed on the dog house veranda, to help keep dirt and mud from accumulating inside.

Add your own ideas - people who are nuts about their dogs will often spend the money.
I think a miniature version of a castle or log cabin, or of the buyers home with matching paint and trim would be a hoot.

Independent Taxi

A guy I remember lived on an island with about 4,000 residents and had his own taxi. The same can be done where you limit your service to a 55 and over community or within your retirement community.

Limousine Service

Some folks like to go places in style or not worry about drinking and driving. There are airport runs and casino runs, as well. Weddings and funerals are a good source of business. Only take the jobs you want, when you want. Oh and you get to have a limo to arrive in when you go out.

Flight Instructor.

When I got my pilot's license the FAA guy who went up with me for the flight test was in his early 80's, nuff said.

Deliver Newspapers

 Where I live they still have newspaper delivery, and lately it's not the kids doing it. You are an independent contractor. You have a route with so many deliveries and collect the money at the end of the week. Then you pay your share to the newspaper.

Snow Plowing

Up north where there is more snow, some people that have a 4 wheel drive vehicle or truck will add a plow  and remove snow for small businesses, parking lots and driveways for a price.

Private Tutor

Whatever you really know or may have taught in the past is your strength here. This isn't limited to school children. People who want to learn something let's say how to use photoshop or how to set up a bookkeeping system or ...you get the idea.

Wallpaper Hanger

If you can do it well be in touch with contractors and interior decorators to mine the source of jobs. Do it on a per job basis and don't work any more than you want.

Clean gutters

There is a guy in a small town near me that has been doing gutter cleaning and maintenance for at least 30 years. He has a few signs on the roadside that have been there forever.  All you really need is a ladder and a bucket and a few tools. Use a garden hose to flush it out. You tie into the house's outdoor spigot. He won't do anything higher than the first floor about 12 to 15 feet up.

Metal Recycling

People are often burdened with things like broken washing machines, and if you are willing to take them away, Those folks will be more than happy, and you might be able to charge a bit for the service, as well. The kicker here is that you get paid well for the metal at the scrap yard.

Kissing Booth

(A suggestion from a reader)  If you have a good looking daughter you can get her gussied up and get some of that red lipstick on her then stick her in a kissing booth at the fair. You can charge $5.00 each and give her a dollar each to keep her happy. You could really rake in the dough that way.

Stock Market

People say they like to "play" the stock market but if you know what you are doing you can make a bundle of money. It is always a gamble.

Franchise operator

Most franchises require a full time commitment, but there are two ways to approach this.
1. Find a small franchise that requires less time or,
2. Split the deal with someone who has more time on their hands and as a partnership commit to as many hours as you want with the agreement in advance. There are ATM machine franchises and many other sorts that are manageable.

Travel Agent

If you know the ropes, you can do personalized travel planning for individuals, couples, families. When you do it for small groups you  often will have the chance to finagle a free ticket thrown in for yourself as the tour guide.

Carpet And Rug Cleaning

This idea started when my wife was hounding me the get the carpets cleaned. There used to be a business in the city that would pick up and deliver rugs. They would come and roll them up and cart them off and a couple of days later, Voila! A beautiful rug again. Now the rage is in the home or office steam cleaning. The cheap machines don't work well, but if you invest in a pro model you can do a remarkable job and find yourself with opportunities to make some money. The jobs don't take much time, so you charge by the square foot or by the job.

Teach a foreign Language.

 You can offer courses to small groups and teach a Second language for a fee. Lately people in my area have shown an interest in learning Chinese and Spanish. Have classes at the same location and charge a fee for the month paid in advance with weekly lessons. This way if they don't show up you are already paid and you don't get left hanging.

Bird Houses.

If you have the woodworking tools, you can make some extraordinary bird houses, and consign them to a gift shop. My parents bought a really nice one built like a real house. The squirrels ate part of the porch though. Try making one with a built in bird feeder and water.

Dog or Pet Groomer

If you know how to do that, you can build a clientele. Make appointments to suit your schedule, say one or two days a week if you like. There are some folks who are totally crazy about their pets and will spend some serious money on them. You could have a line of accessories for sale, as well.

Repair or Rebuild Auto Parts

Carburetors, Alternators, etc. can be removed from a vehicle and rebuilt in a small shop, in your basement or garage. A local repair shop will often send parts out to be rebuilt. Be the person that they go to.

Chair Caning and Repair

My grandmother took a course at the local vocational school when she was in her 50's and learned how to do chair recaning. Word spread and people who had given up on some antique chairs brought them to her for recaning. She earned a good reputation because she was fussy in her work.

Vending Machines

A friend of mine who owns a function hall type restaurant and a catering business also runs a string of vending machines in a couple of factories. Vending machines can sell food or just about anything.  If you can manage to find locations, you do a split with the host of the spot where the machine will be.

Vending Machine Repair

My grandfather was an electrical whiz. The small servo motors in vending machines would burn out, and a guy who has a string of vending machines always had my grandfather rebuild the servo motors. It involved rewinding the rotors by hand.
Then Grandpa put a small ad in a vending machine type magazine and the work flooded in via UPS.

Pool Tables With Pay Per Play

Buy pool tables. Bars and roadside restaurants will have pool tables as well as small pool halls that you can do business with. You have to recover the felt top from time to time and supply the sticks, balls, rack and chalk if you make that sort of deal. Once a week or whatever you come and with your key you empty out the table's money bin with the host present and count the money and do the split. I've done this myself in the past.

Simple Sewing

Make aprons, neckties, table place mats, etc.that you can sell either at festivals or fairs or consign or sell to vendors and stores.

Furniture Re-upholstering

Take a course at a vocational school and start on some of your own furniture. After you show it off, you can get a business going. Home re-decorators will use furniture re-upholstering to change the furniture to fit the decor.

Sell Magazine Subscriptions

And earn residual income.

Coin Collecting - Selling

Get loads of coins from a store or bank and check for the old collectable ones that you find from time to time. Sometimes you will find the real silver dimes or old coins that are worth far more than face value. You could do this while watching TV.

Driveway Resurfacing

You can buy black asphalt resurfacing liquid that you brush on with a broom and do driveways. The coating is available in gallons, 5  - 10 gallon buckets and larger drums.

Santa Claus

Get a Santa Suit and do the Santa Claus bit in a mall or for parties. Nursing homes often have a Santa come and give out the small gifts.

Justice Of The Peace

Marry people for money. People are getting married outside of religious institutions more often. There are many weddings performed on beaches or parks and even in private homes.  Charge a fee. Get to know caterers and wedding cake suppliers etc. for references.


Depending where you live you can get a license to fish commercially for shellfish and sell the same day often for cash. Shellfishing seems to be less regulated that commercial fishing.
  BONUS   - One extra suggestion

A Three Hour Tour

Do you have a boat that can hold several people? Well then if there is a nice body of water nearby you can offer boat adventures such as an afternoon of fishing or a tour along an interesting coastline or cityscape...maybe whale watching. It will help to pay for your own pleasure cruises and expenses. You get to meet people and have a good time.