There are jobs aplenty in Singapore. We’ve had an enviably low unemployment rate since forever, and it’s deliciously easy to job hop, whether you’re doing it because your salary is moving slower than a broken down MRT train or because your boss gave you the stink-eye one too many times. Oh no, it’s fairly easy to find a job in Singapore so long as you’re not too picky.
The hard part is landing a gig that lets you work on your own time. Maybe your day job isn’t paying you enough and you need a side job to keep you afloat. Maybe you’re a uni student who’s got to attend classes in the day. Unless you’re prepared to work in F&B, your options are limited, as many part-time roles in Singapore still require their employees to come in at fixed hours.
Here are four part-time gigs you can do whenever you want, and that can be a helpful supplement to your income.
Private tutor or music teacher
Thanks to the legions of kiasu parents all over the island, being a private tutor is one of the easiest part-time gigs to land, and also one of the highest paying.
Just call up a bunch of tuition agencies and within a month you’ll be poring over assessment books with some exhausted, bespectacled kid. You can also pick only kids who live close to your place—travelling 2 hours by bus and MRT to get to a 1.5 hour lesson isn’t exactly an efficient use of time.
If you had the good fortune of not only being forced to learn to play a musical instrument when you were a kid but actually managing to master it, music teaching is often more lucrative and way less tiring than giving tuition. You also have a higher chance of convincing the kid to travel to your place instead of having it go the other way around.
Need help getting started? Check out this article elsewhere on MoneySmart about kickstarting your tuition teaching career.
Becoming a taxi driver is like the middle aged Singaporean’s backup plan when he realises his career hasn’t panned out the way he was hoping it would. So it’s unsurprisingly that more and more Singaporeans are becoming UberX drivers in their spare time. Unlike taxi drivers, you won’t need to go for training.
The main things you need to do in preparation are to register yourself as a sole proprietor and limo driver with ACRA on their Bizfile website. If you’re planning to use your own car, you need to register it as a commercial vehicle with LTA, and buy commercial car insurance. You’ll then have to make a trip to the Uber office.
If you have the time to make multiple trips in order to recoup the rental cost, you can rent a car for the purposes of being an Uber driver. You’ll obviously need to drive more than if you were using your own car in order to recoup the rental cost.
Some people share the cost of renting a car with their friends. If one of you can drive during office hours and another is free in the night, you can get more hours out of that vehicle.
The great thing about being an Uber driver is that you can earn some spare cash literally any time of day. If you’re out with your friends at 3am on a Friday night, nothing’s stopping you from taking a few bookings before driving home.
Here’s what you need to know to become an Uber driver elsewhere on MoneySmart.
Freelance service provider
A friend of mine who works full-time recently started painting walls in people’s homes on weekends. He texted a few contacts, banged out a post or two on Facebook and within a few days had landed his first assignment from a bunch of Singaporeans who needed to give their living room a new coat of paint but were too lazy to do it themselves and hadn’t gotten around to hiring someone to do it for them.
Another friend works as a freelance computer technician whenever he’s not at his day job in retail.
I’ve also met a jetsetter who helps rich tai tais in Singapore buy limited edition designer bags in Europe for a commission.
And everybody’s Facebook feed is already flooded with the pictures of amateur photographers who’ve managed to land themselves wedding photography gigs. You might not become the main man, but many couples hire reserve photographers, often students or amateurs, just in case the actual photographer gets hit by a car on the way to the wedding or gets his memory card stolen.
Thanks to social media and Whatsapp, it’s super easy to sell almost any service you can think of. A good way to get started is to volunteer to help someone do something you have the skills to do—help them tidy up their resume, sew them a shirt or build them a website. Then get them to refer you to other people, which they’ll be happy to do since you were nice enough to help them for free.
Real estate or insurance agent
If you’re absolutely certain you want to take on a side gig for the long-term, and this isn’t just about saving a lump sum of cash so you give your car an ah beng tribal design, then you might want to consider becoming a real estate or insurance agent. It’s going to take a bit… scratch that, make it a lot, of effort at the start—you’ll likely be working nights and weekends for the rest of the year.
But if you manage to push through, your side gig could eventually end up being so lucrative that you’re able to quit your day job. Lots of people get into real estate or insurance only to fail and quit when they realise they can’t survive on oxygen alone after a few months without an income, but you’ve got the advantage of having a day job to keep you afloat.
Many people get a head start selling insurance part-time during their university days, and then go on to become full-time agents when they graduate.
It won’t be easy at the start—you’ll need to take the RES/REA course and pass the exams to be able to work as a property agent, and sit the Singapore College of Insurance exams to become an insurance agent. But if you aren’t the type to give up easily and you actually rather enjoy meeting and selling to people, this is one way to give your income a long-term boost.
Hear a property agent’s opinion on whether his job can be done part-time elsewhere on MoneySmart.
What other part-time jobs offer flexible hours? Tell us in the comments!