Part-time jobs you can do from home
For anyone who commutes -- especially over long distances or traffic-clogged expressways -- it's hard not to dream about rolling out of bed and walking a few steps to a home office.
Working from home is ideal for certain people, especially those who need to work part-time or atypical hours. Stay-at-home parents of young children can make some extra money while the kids are napping or off at school. People housebound due to illness or injury can stay involved in the workforce. Independent types might thrive on the freedom to set their own hours and wear pajamas or ripped cutoffs to work.
These advantages can seem pretty seductive, but before making the leap to working from home it's also well worth considering the downsides. Staying on task and motivated can be challenging without the direct oversight of bosses or interaction with colleagues. Home-based workers who are self-employed (not connected with a larger company or organization) must stay vigilant about taxes, health insurance and prospecting for new business, among other issues.
It's also important to be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. The Federal Trade Commission and numerous watchdog organizations warn that ads promising big paychecks for easy work-from-home jobs are usually scams. Like any other job, a home-based business requires serious commitment and hard work before big paychecks come rolling in. Any offer promising otherwise should be viewed with skepticism.
But for the savvy and self-motivated, jobs like those listed below can provide decent earnings on a flexible schedule.
Customer service representatives
What they do: Customer service reps don't always work in call centers or corporate offices. A number of customer service companies have a home-based workforce.
What they need: A high-school diploma is the minimum, though a college degree may be necessary depending on the complexity of the product or service being sold. Most jobs provide training as well.
What they earn: $14.56/hr*
What they do: Graphic designers produce visual materials for publications, corporations, advertising and marketing agencies, and other entities -- a job that can be done from home with a good computer. These days, most graphic designers are skilled in the use of sophisticated computer programs such as QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign. Website or animation experience is often particularly helpful.
What they need: Usually a bachelor's degree in graphic design or some other type of visual media with an emphasis on technology, as well as a portfolio and relevant work experience.
What they earn: $20.76/hr*
Insurance claims adjusters
What they do: Insurance claims adjusters evaluate claims from clients by conducting interviews, checking police reports and other public records, and assessing damage (sometimes with the help of an expert like an engineer or a physician). While many adjusters are employed full-time by insurance companies, others are self-employed, and work either for companies on a contract basis or for individual clients. These adjusters are self-employed and therefore likely to work from home.
What they need: Many different degrees are considered acceptable. Some states also require licensure.
What they earn: $27.36/hr*
What they do: Home-based franchises allow entrepreneurs to buy existing businesses and operate them from home. Jazzercise, Matco Tools and CleanNet USA Inc., a commercial cleaning company, are just a few examples. Startup costs and other requirements vary, but most involve an initial investment of tens of thousands of dollars, so the commitment isn't for the ill prepared or faint of heart.
What they need: Varies
What they earn: Varies
*Hourly pay rates are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' listing of Occupational Employment and Wages for 2009, the most recent year for which data is available.