Business Ideas for College Students

Student tutor

College students that have an entrepreneurial spirit can opt to start their own business on the side - a business they can start with little to no overhead, do on a part-time basis and still have time to study and have a social life. Each business has the potential to become a long-term business for students, or they can choose to stick with the business on a short-term basis while they are in school.


One of the biggest strategies in business is to know your audience. A college student is surrounded by other college students who require assistance with certain subjects. For college students that excel in one or two of their subjects, tutoring those who are struggling with these subjects can be a lucrative way to earn money.


Tutoring teaches college students communication skills and teaching skills. These are skills that students can apply to almost any job they have in the future, and can even help prepare them for interacting with others in social settings.

According to Get Rich Slowly, tutoring rates vary by subject. On average, a college tutor can expect to earn anywhere from $10 to $20 an hour for common subjects such as English to $75 an hour for more complex subjects, such as Chemistry or Biophysics.

House or Office Cleaning

With some cleaning supplies and willingness to work hard, college students can offer their cleaning services to individuals and families that live near the campus. Students can also opt to clean offices on or off campus. Cleaning homes or offices has a flexible schedule that can work with almost any school schedule.

Flexible Schedule

Many individuals and families prefer their cleaning services during the day while they are at work, which works for college students with afternoon and evening class schedule. Professional offices and businesses tend to want cleaning at night, after normal business hours, which helps with students that carry daytime schedule.


The Cleaning Business Academy suggests that house cleaners can charge anywhere from $25 to $45 per hour. The academy suggests finding out what other cleaners in the area are charging to decide upon a competitive rate. Cleaning offices tends to net the same hourly rate as cleaning homes.

A factor in pricing cleaning services can also be the frequency of the cleaning. For example, you can opt to provide a discount to individuals, families or office professionals that use the cleaning services on a daily or weekly basis as opposed to those who use the services once a month or go longer in between cleanings.


For students that have their own camera equipment and a love for photography, a photography business is another option. Students can choose to work with a specific audience, such as kids or families, or focus on special event photography, such as shooting wedding and engagement photos.


Since students do not have a studio to work in, on-site photo shoots are necessary. Student photographers can work with children and families in the family's home or at sites such as parks, beaches or local areas. The same holds true for engagement photos. Weddings, of course, can be covered where the ceremony and reception takes place for each couple.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the hourly mean rate for photographers at $22.68. This figure is for personal photography services. Additionally, this is for shooting digital pictures and does not include any charges for special equipment such as lighting, or developing pictures for clients. If offering additional services or equipment, amateur photographers can charge additional fees.

Website Builder

A common piece of equipment for college students is a computer. Add an Internet connection and some design skills or experience working with design programs and a website building business is born. Students can build websites for local businesses or businesses that are anywhere in the country.


Building websites can earn a student around $55 per hour, although this depends largely on your experience and the degree of difficulty of the project. Several factors come into play when pricing earnings. The number of pages on the site, whether it is a design from scratch or a redesign of an existing layout and the complexity of each page are also factors in pricing.

Pet Services

Pet owners often need help with walking and caring for their dogs and other pets. Dog walking, dog sitting and pet care services are the type of business that offer some flexibility to the student and the customers. Students can walk and care for dogs and pets on a regular schedule or simply when the pet owners are out of town.


According to NBC News, a pet sitter can charge upwards of $35 per hour, depending on the needs of the pet. If a pet has special needs, such as requiring medication, pet sitters can charge more. Dog walking services averages between $15 and $25 per hour.

House Sitter

House sitting services can include bringing in the mail, turning lights on when it is dark and off before it gets light outside, opening and closing the blinds and watering the plants.

Income sets house sitting fees at $25 to $35 per day. For staying overnight in the home, however, it says sitters can charge about $50 per day. If the house sitting period extends out to weeks or a monthly basis, then the fee is set by the week or the month rather than a daily rate. The site says there should be a discussion and fair negotiation between the parties to come to a fair rate for extended periods.

Computer and Internet Lessons

Some adults and often the elderly need some assistance with their computer and Internet skills. Since most college students these days grew up with computers, it is easy for students to teach older adults how to use computer programs or online programs. College students can often find clients through friends, family members, adult community centers and even nursing homes surrounding the college.


Providing computer and Internet lessons provides college students with communication skills and teaching skills. Students can apply these skills to almost any job they have in the future. Get Rich Slowly establishes rates from $10 to $50 an hour, depending on the complexity of the lessons. A basic Word tutorial for clients can generate $10 an hour, while more advanced use of the program can generate $20 to $50 an hour.

Answering the Entrepreneurial Call

Starting a side business as a college student can be a great way to earn some extra cash. Running a business on the side can give college students the flexibility they need to fit work into their school and social life schedule.

Some of the best business ideas for college students are those that allow the student to use a special talent they possess or an interest they have to fill a need that customers have. Running a business while attending college teaches students a variety of skills including, communication, customer service and organizational skills.

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Business Ideas for College Students