The OSL guide to making extra money in your spare time

1: How much can I earn selling lost golf balls?

2: How to get started as a professional ball hawk

3: How do I sell lost golf balls?

4: Are there any risks retrieving lost balls?

5: Do I need permission to collect lost golf balls?

6: A golf ball hawker's best tips

7: How many golf balls can I find each season?

8: Equipment used to find lost golf balls

9: Pro ball hawk earns $4,000 a month

10: The best sports movies of all time

Make money at NFL games

You can make good money working for a concession stand during NFL games. You won't be paid a wage because concession sales are run by non-profits which expect you to volunteer. But you can make big tips working the crowd at NFL games. Here's how it's done.

Signing with the NFL

I wanted to see how much I could earn in tips working for a concession stand at an NFL game.

First step was to volunteer for one of the non-profit groups that worked my local NFL stadium (I am not allowed to say which franchise or stadium, but it's in the Midwest).

The non-profit explained to me they were paid $85 for every volunteer who worked a game (which the volunteer never sees; it's just handed to the non-profit group). In addition, they receive commission on sales.

No alcohol

Even though my chosen non-profit does not sell beer at games, I had to pass a simple online sale-of-alcohol test. It took about 10 minutes to take the tes.

Once I'd passed, my supervisor told me to turn up at the stadium on game day. He advised me to be there at least two hours before kick-off so I could find street parking within 15 minutes walk of the stadium.

After showing a photo id and signing in, I was directed to my concession team.

There, I was given a uniform, including an ugly ball cap, a price list of products ($4.75 for a bottle of soda, $4 for water!), a tray with shoulder straps for carrying soda in the stadium, and $70 in change.

No screw ups

They told me every item I took from the concession room would be written on a pad. I was responsible for every bottle of soda and bag of nuts. If I screwed up, it was my fault and I'd have to pay.

I received no on-the-job training, but was just told to load up with soda from a cold storage room (my tray had room for 24 bottles), fit peanuts onto the tray where I could, then start selling in the section of stadium I'd been allocated.

Immediate sales

Almost as soon as I set foot in the stadium an hour before kick-off, I was selling soda and peanuts.

People shouted at me, Two Cokes and a water, Two Diet Cokes and a bag of peanuts, Two Cracker Jacks and a Sprite. It was hard to keep up, and it was a pain handling all the change.

Increasing tips

I figured if I gave customers lots of dollar bills with their change, it would increase my tips. If you give 5s, 10s, and 20s as change, you're not going to make much money because the customer has to dig in his own pocket for singles to give you.

Let's say a person gives you a $10 bill for a $4.75 soda. If you hand him a $5 bill and 25 cents change, he'll tell you to keep the 25 cents. If you give him 5 singles and the 25 cents, he'll tell you to keep $1.25. Simple!

Heavy work

The tray you're given to carry bottles of soda is an instrument of torture. It pulls at your lower back, which aches within the first half hour. Your choice is to put up with the pain or carry the tray in your hands, putting it down every time you sell a soda and count change. I chose to just accept the pain and keep carrying.

Money man

There was a guy handling money in our concession room. He advised me to hand over cash every time I'd made $60 or so. That way I wouldn't risk losing money or having my entire stash stolen, which has happened to volunteers.

I paid back my intitial $70 in 15 minutes. Then every time I'd made $60, I handed it to the money guy. I kept asking him to change 10s and 20s for singles so I could keep my tips flowing.

As the game wore on and the temperature soared in the stadium, people were buying more and more soda and water. Many of them stopped caring about correct change. I'd be handed a 10 for a $4 bottle of water and be told to keep the change.

But there were plenty of people who wanted exact change, including quarters, and they didn't tip at all.

Come the third quarter, my back was really painful, but I kept loading up with soda and working the crowd, climbing the steps down to the field, then walking slowly back up through the crowd. At no point during the game was there a dead sales period. I sold non-stop the entire game.

Hot dog for lunch

I was told I was entitled to a hot dog and soda for lunch, and I was allowed to sit for about 10 minutes, but I didn't bother with that. I thought if I sat down I wouldn't want to get up again.

At the end of the game, you hand over all your cash, which is tallied against how much you've sold, and you're told how much you're over or under. Anything over what you've sold is your tip money.

I sold about $1,000 of soda and peanuts and made $165 in tips. I was told that was a lot of sales for a first day.

A first-timer usually sells about $600 of stuff and makes about $40 to $70 in tips. A few experienced vendors can make up to $200 in tips by working non-stop, being very sociable, and handling change to maximize tips.

Some of the older guys I worked with sold about $500 of soda and nuts and made $20 in tips, which they donated to their non-profit.

Not me, I kept my $165 and signed up for the next game. I want to break the $200 tip barrier.

EMAIL US your second income ideas.