The 15 Best Side Hustles in Toronto

side hustle toronto

    Who needs a side hustle in Toronto? You, probably. The insanely high cost of living can make it tough to get ahead. Whether you are living paycheque-to-paycheque or investing every month, earning a bit of extra money can make a big difference: it can either ease the burden of your bills or go towards your investment accounts, setting you up for greater success later on. 

    If your budget (or grocery bill) has been filling you with a sense of dread lately, it may be time to explore the best side hustles in Toronto. However, this does not necessarily mean that you have to sign up for a second job. Toronto is full of unique side hustle opportunities that allow you to earn extra money without committing to a strict work schedule. Simply pick a hustle or two that sound interesting, then try them out in your spare time! Plus, none of the side hustles on this list require an upfront investment so they will not cause undue strain on your budget.

    Answer surveys/participate in market research

    Surveys: typically pays $0.50 – $5.00 per survey
    In-Depth Studies: typically pays $20-$100 per study, sometimes more

    Working in the Toronto area is known for its long commutes. Not to mention, not many people can afford to live close to where they work or study. If you can relate, you probably have some extra time on your hands while on the subway, GoTrain, or bus. You can use that downtime taking paid surveys and participating in market research – another great side hustle in Toronto.

    Plus, since Toronto is such a big city, companies such as Branded Survey, Léger, Opinion Inn and Survey Junkie are frequently running studies. If you would like to participate, all you have to do is register with the company. You will then be notified when an upcoming study matches your profile. Although in-person focus groups are not as convenient as their remote counterparts, they can be better paid.

    For example, there are lots of companies that would like to hear your opinions before launching (or modifying) their products. If you would like to make some extra cash online, there are plenty of legitimate sites that will allow you to earn some money while answering surveys. This route is relatively flexible since you can fill out surveys from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere else for that matter.

    Dog Walking and/or Pet Sitting

    Dog walking: can range from $15-$30/ for a 30-min walk
    Drop-in visits: can range from $10-$20 per visit
    Pet-sitting: can range from $20-$50 per day

    Canadians love their pets and people in Toronto are no different, but they’re also super busy and short on time. Couple that with the boom in pet adoptions during the pandemic and now return-to-office mandates, many Toronto professionals are scrambling to find quality care for their furbabies. Services like Rover make it easier to connect with pet owners, making this another great side hustle in Toronto.

    If you would like to only dedicate a few hours per week to your new side hustle, you may find it lucrative to start a dog-walking business. You can either take out advertisements the old-fashioned way or join a website like Rover that connects dog-walkers with pet owners. If you have a bit more time on your hands (or work remotely), Rover also allows you to offer pet daycare, boarding, and house-sitting services.

    Become a rideshare or delivery driver

    Average income after expenses: can range from $15-$25 an hour

    Not many Toronto residents own a car, but if you do and you live in the GTA, you could be sitting on an untapped income stream. Toronto’s public transit can be unreliable even on its best day. Between unexpected closures and safety concerns, public transit is becoming an increasingly unappealing method of transportation. 

    That means companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Skip The Dishes are always in demand in big cities, making this an excellent side hustle in Toronto. If you have a car and some free time, you can sign up with these platforms.

    You get to make your own hours and can take pride in the fact that you are helping to move people around the city and access their needs safely. Uber Eats, Doordash, and SkipTheDishes even allow Torontonians to deliver food via bicycle. Delivering food on a bike can be a great way to get paid to stay fit. Plus, food delivery workers can set their own hours and accept or decline contracts as they see fit. 

    Instacart shopper

    Average hourly wage: can typically earn $14-$20 per hour

    Regardless of whether or not you own a car, working for grocery delivery service Instacart can be a straightforward way to earn extra money. There are two types of Instacart contractors: full-service workers purchase requested items from a grocery store and then deliver them to a customer, while in-store shoppers simply gather ordered items and bring them to a predetermined spot in the grocery store for customer pickup. Unfortunately, full-service workers must have access to a car. However, anyone can sign up to be an in-store shopper.

    Instacart Shoppers are payroll employees who earn a base hourly rate. Sometimes, the company offers bonuses or incentives for working during peak times or based on performance metrics. While in-store shoppers may not receive tips as frequently as full-service shoppers (those who deliver with their car), you might occasionally get tipped, especially if you’re involved in curbside pickups. The potential to earn more than your base wage makes Instacart a great side hustle in Toronto.

    Help your neighbours with their yard work

    Lawn & Garden Maintenance: on average, you can charge between $25-$50 per hour or a set rate per job, such as for mowing a standard lawn.

    Whether you are considering raking leaves or shovelling snow, there is a reason that yard work is a classic side hustle: it pays a decent amount of money and is simple to start. You do not need to own your own equipment, either. Better Living’s Home Maintenance program can connect you with older adults who own maintenance equipment but are no longer able to complete the work on their own. Plus, the program is incredibly flexible. Jobs can be picked up as needed and are paid in cash by the client.

    Providing home maintenance services through platforms like mybetterliving.ca can be a profitable income stream. This makes it a great side hustle in Toronto thanks to the city’s dense housing and the continuous need for home maintenance.

    Complete odd jobs for people

    General Handyman Services: on average, you can charge between $25-$70 per hour.
    Moving Assistance: on average, you can charge between $20-$50 per hour.
    Cleaning Services: on average, you can charge between $20-$40 per hour.
    Furniture Assembly: on average, you can charge between $20-$60 per hour.
    Specialized Services (like plumbing or electrical work): on average, you can charge between$50-$100+ per hour.

    If you are not a fan of yard work but like the idea of taking on odd jobs, why not join a service marketplace? TaskRabbit and Handy both allow you to sign up for miscellaneous household tasks, including furniture assembly, window cleaning, minor plumbing repairs, and more. This can be an especially worthwhile option for anyone with occasional full-day availability. 

    These platforms offer flexible earning opportunities, making handyman services and odd jobs an excellent side hustle in Toronto. Keep in mind your actual earnings will depend on the type of tasks, your reputation, and the specific demands of the clients on the platform.

    Work as a film & television extra

    Average pay for union workers: $30/hr
    Average pay for non-union workers: $15/hr

    Toronto is home to one of the largest and most prestigious annual film festivals for a reason. Lots of movies and television shows are shot here — and need people to play background characters. Fortunately, you do not need any acting experience to work as an extra! This makes acting as a film and TV extra a great side hustle in Toronto.

    You will generally have to commit to long hours in order to be an extra, but that does not necessarily mean that you will be working the whole time. Even though you may have to be on set the whole day, you will generally spend most of your time waiting for your scene. Luckily, you can use your spare time however you see fit (as long as you are quiet and ready to film at a moment’s notice). Plus, if you land the role through a reputable agency, you will still be paid for the entire day.

    Most big productions hire extras through professional agencies like Toronto Talent Agency or Toronto Film Extras. However, these organizations charge annual membership fees. If you would like to work as an extra but do not want to register with an agency (and pay their fees), your best bet is to keep an eye on FaceBook groups like Toronto Film Network where calls for cast or crew members are occasionally posted. 

    Work as a tutor

    Skooli: set rate of $25 per hour for tutors.
    TutorMe: can set your own rates. Typical rates range between $15-$50 per hour.
    Private adult tutoring: can range from $30-$70 per hour depending on the subject as well as online vs in-person lessons.

    Toronto and the GTA are home to some of the best Universities in the country – and the competition is fierce. If you are book-smart, tutoring students at all grade levels is an excellent side hustle in Toronto. Generally speaking, in-person tutoring pays slightly better than remote tutoring, but you can only work during times when Toronto kids are not in school.

    If you would prefer to work earlier in the day (or from the comforts of your couch), you may wish to look into virtual tutoring. Sites like Skooli and TutorMe connect you with students from all around the world, allowing you to take advantage of time zone differences to work whenever is most convenient for you.

    Beyond school-aged kids, there is also ample opportunity to tutor adults too. Toronto is one of the most popular places for immigrants to settle. With such a dense and diverse population, there’s always demand for tutoring in subjects like English, French, mathematics, science, or even specialized topics like computer coding. For these reasons, tutoring is one of the best side hustles in Toronto.

    Participate in university studies

    Surveys & Short Behavioral Experiments: can range from $10-$50, with most on the lower end of this range.
    Longer Behavioral or Cognitive Studies: can range from $50-$150, depending on duration and complexity.
    Clinical Trials or Medical Studies: can range widely from $100-$2,000 or more, depending on factors like invasiveness, risk, duration, and the number of required visits. For example, a multi-day sleep study might pay more than a single-session dietary experiment.

    The Greater Toronto Area is home to over 25 universities and colleges. For that reason, participating in university research studies is an excellent side hustle in Toronto. For example, the University of Toronto is a research institution that frequently runs a wide range of studies. Participants generally have to meet certain criteria (e.g. being in reasonable health, smoking regularly, etc.). However, there are usually enough studies running at any given time that most people will qualify for at least one.

    Since studies are organized by the academic department, there is no central directory that lists all current calls for study participants. However, the kinesiology department almost always has a long list of current studies that you can look through (just be sure to only apply for paid studies). Similarly, if you are between the ages of 55-80, you can join the psychology department’s Adult Volunteer Pool to be notified when you qualify for new psychology studies.

    Consider joining student or community groups. Many times, research studies are advertised through student or community groups, especially on platforms like Facebook.

    Run a home-based daycare

    Infants (0-18 months): can range from $60 – $100 per day
    Toddlers (18 months – 2.5 years): can range from $45 – $80 per day
    Preschoolers (2.5 – 4 years): can range from $40 – $70 per day

    With the high cost of living, it’s almost impossible to raise a family without two incomes. That means safe, affordable, and accessible childcare is always in demand. Starting a home-based daycare is an excellent side hustle in Toronto thanks to the city’s dense population and consistent demand for quality child care services. With many working parents seeking reliable and nearby options for their children, there’s a potential for good earnings, especially when considering the high costs of commercial daycare centers in the city.

    Luckily, there are several sites and platforms that connect childcare providers with parents looking for childcare. Care.com is the most extensive platform for connecting caregivers with families in need. Specific to Canada, DaycareBear helps parents find available daycare openings in their area, and providers can list their services.

    To get started, familiarize yourself with the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) to understand the regulations and capacities for both licensed and unlicensed daycares. Child-proof your home, gather essential equipment and toys, and get First Aid/CPR training. You will also need to pass a criminal record check and child abuse registry check.

    Start a communal bottle return service

    Average return: $0.10-$0.20 per bottle/can

    If you have ever looked at your bill after buying a bottle of wine, you may have noticed that alcoholic purchases in Ontario are subject to a $0.10-0.20 deposit per bottle or can. If the containers are returned to a Beer Store location, you get the value of the deposit back. However, when you finish a beer, it can be incredibly tempting (and far more convenient) to just toss the bottle into your recycling bin.

    If you do not already do so, returning your empty cans can be an incredibly easy way to recoup some money. If your neighbours also tend to throw their bottles in the recycling, you may be able to earn even more cash by setting up a communal bottle return service. This side hustle will not make you rich overnight, but it can be a good way to earn a little bit of extra money.

    For example, if you live in an apartment or dense neighbourhood and collect 100 bottles a day, assuming an average deposit value of $0.10 each, you would earn $10 a day. Over a month (30 days) you would earn $300.

    Join an event staffing agency

    Bartenders & Servers: can earn an average of $20-$40 per hour
    Event Planners: can earn an average of $25-$100 per hour

    Looking for a side hustle to occasionally fill your evenings and weekends? If you have hospitality experience, you may wish to join an event staffing agency such as Bartendo or DGS. Generally, the agency will notify its talent roster of upcoming events that require support. Once you are on the list, you can accept or turn down work based on your availability. Thanks to its plethora of corporate events, weddings, parties, festivals, and other occasions, becoming an event planner or staff member is a great side hustle in Toronto.

    Test apps & websites

    UserTesing: on average, you can earn $10 for every 20-minute test you complete.
    uTest: variable payment structure that typically pays per bug found. Earnings can range from a few dollars for a simple test to a few hundred dollars for larger projects or when you find multiple significant issues.

    The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor is internationally known as the Silicon Valley of Canada. This region boasts more than 15,000 tech companies and start-ups. For this reason, app and website testing is an excellent side hustle in Toronto, especially if you don’t want to leave the house.

    Rates vary, but testing can be relatively lucrative. However, it is important to always keep digital safety in mind. Be sure to only source jobs from reputable platforms such as UserTesting or uTest. Likewise, be wary of sites that offer payments which sound too good to be true. 

    Rent out your car

    Economy Cars: Common models in good condition can range from $30-$60 per day.
    Mid-Range Cars: More desirable or newer models can range from $60-$120 per day.
    Luxury or Unique Cars: can range from $120 -$500+ per day, depending on the brand, model, and uniqueness.

    If your car spends most of its time sitting around in your garage, it may be better off earning you some cash. Platforms like Turo allow you to list eligible cars for short-term rentals (similar to how Airbnb operates). Turo even allows you to name your own price when listing a vehicle.

    That being said, there is a catch. If you would like to list your car on Turo (or a similar platform), you will have to notify your insurance provider. Generally speaking, your personal insurance will not apply while the car is rented. Turo offers its own insurance plans (which are collected as a percentage of the bill once your car is rented), but you may have to do some homework to figure out what degree of coverage you need.

    Give tours of the city

    New or less experienced guides: can typically charge between $15-$30 per hour.
    More experienced/specialized guides: can typically charge anywhere from $30-$100+ per hour.

    Whether you were born and raised in Toronto or moved to the city relatively recently, chances are that you have a few favourite spots. After all, despite its flaws, Toronto has something for practically everyone. If you would like to make some extra money while showing the city off, why not organize your own tour? 

    Although launching an entire tour company is out of the question for most Torontonians, platforms like Showaround connect you with tourists who are eager to learn more about the city. When setting up your Showaround profile, you are encouraged to elaborate on your interests (e.g. live music, art galleries, etc.) As a result, there is a good chance that people who book a tour with you will share those same interests — and all you will have to do is take them to your favourite related spots!

    Athanasia is a personal finance writer. Whenever she has to make a purchase, she takes pride in hunting down stackable discounts and finding great deals. She recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Cinema Studies.