What are the best side hustles for firefighters?
Given their unique schedule, just about every firefighter I’ve met has had at least one side hustle!
In this post, I’ll share my top side hustles for firefighters based on:
- My 15+ years of side hustle experience
- Conversations with real firefighters
- Schedule flexibility and earning power
According to Career Explorer, firefighters earn an average of $78,000 a year — but have lots of downtime to pursue other money-making ventures. Here are my top picks.
Ready? Let’s do it!
1. Hotshot Crew Firefighting
Any fireman will tell you, the fastest way to make more money is to pick up extra shifts. Demand is highest during wildfire season.
Of course, this is super dangerous work, but for many firefighters, the pay makes it worthwhile. “Hotshot” crew members receive hazard pay and overtime on top of their regular wages.
However, it may be difficult to get time off from your regular duties to join a hotshot crew.
2. Resell Furniture Returns
Reselling furniture returns is a unique low-risk side hustle.
How it works is you join Sharetown as a local “reverse logistics” rep. Sharetown partners with direct-to-consumer mattress and furniture brands to handle their return requests.
When customers decide they don’t want to keep the item, you’ll get dispatched to go pick it up. After that, you’ll:
- clean it up
- photograph it
- list it for resale on sites like Facebook Marketplace
The Sharetown reps I’ve connected with target $150-250 per flip — and, importantly — you don’t have to pay Sharetown for the inventory until the item sells.
Check out my full Sharetown review to learn more.
Sharetown reps make money by reselling gently-used furniture and bed-in-a-box mattresses. Top reps earn $4000+ per month.
- Low startup costs
- Great earning power
- No hunting for inventory
- Requires a truck or SUV
- Bulky items to store
- Not available in all areas
3. Handyperson Service
If you’re handy and like to fix things, why not start a handyman business?
This may be a stereotypical blue collar business idea, but if you already have the tools needed for projects around the house, your start-up costs will be quite low.
An app such as TaskRabbit, allows you to set your own rates plus take payment through the app, which will make getting paid easy.
Another common firefighter side hustle is to work construction when you’re off duty. This is physical, manual labor, and might involve:
- framing houses
- installing cabinets or appliances
- tile setting
- and more
Typical hourly rates range from $20-40/hr, depending on your location and experience.
5. Real Estate Investing
Real estate investing is one of the oldest and most popular side hustles in the books … but houses are expensive!
Thankfully, new platforms like Arrived make it easy to invest in income-generating properties—with as little as $100.
The company pools money to buy rental properties, manages them, and then distributes the cash flow every month.
I also liked Austin Miller’s creative approach to building his rental portfolio, which was up to 17 properties worth $1.2 million when we spoke.
The kicker? They were all acquired “free”—without any of his own money.
6. Window Washing
Window-washing is another great low-cost side hustle.
Window cleaning can be done on your own timeline and can be done on both residential and commercial properties.
There are a couple of different ways you can charge: by pane, by the window, or by the hour. When I spoke with Johnny Robinson, co-founder of Orange Window Cleaning, he described flat-rate pricing of $15.75 per window.
For most providers, the hourly rate works out to be in the $40-$75 dollar range.
7. Fitness Coaching
As a firefighter, your physical fitness could literally be the difference between life and death. Since you know how to keep your body strong, others may pay for you to train them.
Side Hustle Nation has seen several examples of entrepreneurs building fitness businesses online, including:
- Carey Adam, who created a running training program for moms
- April Whitney, who created an online strength-training program for petite women
8. Firefighter Career Coaching
Could you put your expertise to use helping others get started or advance their firefighting careers?
For example, Chief Dave Robertson started Fire Edge, an online career coaching service for current and aspiring firefighters.
His rates start at $100 an hour, and offers:
- Resume and cover letter reviews
- Interview prep and coaching
- Mock interviews
9. Knife Sharpening
Firefighter Shane McKerchie started Shears by Shane, a shear-sharpening service as his side hustle. He specializes in beauty shears, grooming tools, and knives — all done in his spare time.
Similarly, Side Hustle Show guest Matt Rowell reported earning $30-$60 per hour with his knife sharpening business.
He taught himself how to do it, gathered the tools, and started getting clients.
10. Moving Service
Starting a moving business is a great way to help others, move your body, and get paid. Whether you want to help with big moves or small moves, if you’ve got a truck, you could be in business.
If you own a truck, you can earn up to $30 an hour.
11. Build a Helpful Website
Write content on a topic you care about and build an audience in your niche. As you build out your library of helpful articles, you’ll pick up more traffic and revenue.
For example, Chris Petrie, a firefighter in the Phoenix, AZ area, runs a personal finance site called MoneyPeach.
Chris earns money from affiliate partnerships, ad revenue, and his own products and services.
Here are some inspiring examples from The Side Hustle Show archives:
- Andrew earns 6-figures a year curating gift ideas
- Scott earns 6-figures a year from his bird-watching website
- Jodi earns $5k+ per month from her part-time blog for girl scout troop leaders
- Katie earns $6k a month from her gray hair blog
Want to start a website of your own? Check out my free 6-part video course on how to start your own site.
Low startup costs
Great long-term earning power
Can sell the business down the road
Slow to see results
Lots of skills to learn
12. Product Licensing
One of the best side hustles I’ve come across is becoming a modern-day inventor.
With product licensing, you sell your product ideas to large companies, who in turn pay you royalties for every sale they make from that idea. You don’t have to pay for manufacturing or marketing — and can take advantage of the huge distribution of existing brands.
For example, Nate Dallas earned $300,000 from Mattel after licensing them an idea for a Pictionary spin-off!
13. Pressure Washing
Firefighters are no strangers to spraying water around, which makes pressure washing a great side hustle to earn some extra cash.
Rates may range from $100-250 or more per house, which is pretty cool considering a high quality pressure washer may only cost $400.
This is one where you can breakeven and start turning a profit pretty quickly.
14. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing can be a great way to make money between shifts — or even during downtime at the station.
With millions of websites all competing for attention, freelance writing is a service that’s definitely in demand. (Even in the age of AI!)
Typical rates range from $50-250 per article, which you can research and write in your spare time.
Georgia Austin even turned her writing side hustle into a full-blown agency!
Here’s a great free resource to get started: Your 9-Step Blueprint to Making Money as a Writer
15. Delivery Gigs
Starting a delivery side hustle is easy and straightforward. In most cases, you’ll just need to:
- Have reliable transportation (car, bike, electric scooter, etc.)
- Be 18 or older
- Complete a background check
Your earning power is typically in the $14-25 per hour range, and you can set your own schedule.
Here are a few delivery apps to consider:
- Instacart – Pick up and deliver groceries around town. Check out our full Instacart shopper review for more.
- DoorDash – Deliver takeout orders. For more, check out our full DoorDash review.
- Uber Eats – Deliver takeout meals like my friend Jason, who reported earning $25-30 an hour.
Easy to get started
No marketing or sales required
Can earn money quickly
Limited earning power
Wear and tear on your vehicle
Income may be inconsistent
The Best Firefighter Side Hustles: Your Turn
Of course, the best firefighter side hustle depends on your goals, interests, and the time you have to dedicate to it.
Most firefighters I connected with enjoyed their work and the camaraderie of their department. Plus, with a healthy pension and relatively early retirement on the table, most weren’t looking to quit their job.
Instead, they were looking for a side hustle that was fulfilling and profitable to do during their down time.
Did any of these ideas stand out to you?
Looking for More Side Hustle Help?
- Start Your Free $500 Challenge. My free 5-day email course shows you how to add $500 to your bottom line.
- Join the free Side Hustle Nation Community. The free Facebook group is the best place to connect with other side hustlers and get your questions answered.
- Download The Side Hustle Show. My free podcast shares how to make extra money with actionable weekly episodes.