The 15 best side hustles you can start in Vancouver with no money

Vancouver is perennially named one of the most livable cities in the world. There aren’t too many places where you can take a stroll by the Pacific Ocean, hike in the mountains, and hit the slopes at Whistler Blackcomb, all on the same day! Another plus? Vancouver doesn’t have that stereotypical Canadian weather. Sure, we get a lot of rain, but summers in this city are hard to beat. 

Unfortunately, with all of that good comes some of the bad. Vancouver is fast becoming one of the most expensive cities to live in. In 2022, Vancouver was second only to Toronto in Canada. In North America, Vancouver outpaced Los Angeles and San Francisco when it came to the cost of living. 

So if you are feeling the pinch of living in Vancouver, it’s time to do something about it. During the pandemic, side hustles became one of the most popular ways to earn extra income. The best part about starting a side hustle in Vancouver is that you can do so without requiring any initial capital. 

There are plenty of unique things to do in this city that can earn you an additional chunk of income. So instead of spending your downtime on the couch watching Netflix, it’s time to consider one of these Vancouver side hustles to help make paying rent each month a little easier on your wallet. Here are the 15 best side hustles you can start in Vancouver with no money in 2023.

Best Side Hustles in Vancouver

1. Deliver Food as a Vancouver Side Hustle

At this point, most of us are familiar with food delivery apps like Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes. But have you ever considered being the one who delivers the food? If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that we love to eat at home. So with the increase in demand for food delivery comes the rise in demand for delivery drivers. 

The best thing about delivering food is that you don’t even need a car. All of these companies allow you to use your own method of transportation. It can be by foot, bicycle, scooter, or even electric unicycle. You get to set your own hours and typically you work within a very small radius. Plus, you get to keep 100% of the tips. This means the more you deliver, the more you can earn.

2. Put Your Skills to Use and Freelance

When most people think of freelancers they think about gigs like writing or website design. But in 2023, there are a number of different ways to freelance as a side hustle in Vancouver. Signing up with platforms like Fiverr or UpWork give you access to millions of buyers from around the world. 

Freelancing can be anything these days. If you have a specialized job or skill, chances are there is a high demand for that type of work on the freelance market as well. Today, freelancing can be anything from being hired to waiting in line for someone to be paid to attend someone’s wedding as a guest. Everyone has a skill that is monetizable, so find your niche and get to work!

3. A Vancouver Side Hustle Specialty: Sign Up to be Cast as an Extra

When you live in Vancouver, seeing film sets is a part of everyday life. It is a common occurrence to recognize a landmark or neighbourhood in the latest Hollywood movie. Obviously, when things are filmed here, the cast is going to be local too. This is one of those weird side hustles that are exclusive to cities with a heavy presence from the film industry like Vancouver. 

Signing up for casting calls has long been one of the original side hustles in Vancouver. Living in Hollywood North certainly has its benefits and you can make some decent cash if you get cast as an extra. If you do get cast, there is a chance you can rub shoulders with Hollywood actors. At worst, you get paid for the day and get a catered lunch while you’re there!

4. Become a Rideshare Drive for Uber

Rent is not the only that is expensive in Vancouver. British Columbia is known for having the highest gas prices in Canada. A popular solution in the city has been to take an Uber ride to avoid those high fuel costs. As the rideshare service continues to gain popularity in Vancouver, the demand for drivers continues to rise. 

Is it worth it to be an Uber driver? You definitely need to enjoy driving and for those of us who live here, enjoyable driving in Vancouver can often seem like an oxymoron. One good thing about signing up as a driver for Uber is that they do not require you to own a vehicle. You can rent a car to use as your Uber vehicle and get a discounted rate from Avis or Hertz. Being an Uber driver isn’t for everyone, but it is an easy side hustle to start in Vancouver.

5. Answering Paid Surveys

Answering paid surveys is one of the best side hustles in Vancouver. They are easy, fast, and can be completed on a desktop computer or mobile phone. The only downside to answering paid surveys is that the payout is minimal compared to other Vancouver side hustles on this list. 

You might have already heard of some of the top paid survey sites like Survey Junkie, Branded Survey or LEO. These sites are hired by larger companies to provide market research surveys to consumers, which are used to shape their business strategies. Plenty of Fortune 500 companies utilize these sites to gain direct and unbiased access to consumers. 

These surveys typically only take a few minutes to complete and pay out cash for your time. Survey topics range from consumer shopping habits to personal employment questions. If you have a few free minutes each day, consider taking some paid surveys to help out with your monthly bills!

6. Flip Free Items as your Vancouver Side Hustle

Have you ever scanned the Free sections on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace? There are hundreds of people in Vancouver who are happy if you just come and haul their stuff away at no charge. Well, when it comes to the Free sections online, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! 

Flipping free items can take some work, but it can quickly become one of the more lucrative side hustles in Vancouver. Picking up items for free and selling them at a 100% profit margin is an incredible way to make a few bucks every week. 

To make a substantial income, it helps to have a truck or large vehicle so that you can haul away used furniture or other oversized items. It usually requires driving and some heavy lifting, but the profit at the end of the day is worth it. You have to act fast though. Free items with resale value are often spoken for within minutes of being posted online!

7. Renting Out a Room 

How bad is the rent situation in Vancouver? It is not uncommon for people to rent out a single room in a larger house. If you have a larger place and you do not mind playing host, you can make a killing by renting out rooms in your house. Even a two-bedroom apartment can rent out a room if you find the right tenant. 

Not everyone is going to like inviting someone they don’t know to live in their home. If you are not comfortable with another grownup, consider an overseas student. There are plenty of organizations that connect visiting students with people who are willing to take them in during their studies. Keep in mind that with students, you often have to provide meals and food to them as well. It will take some getting used to, but it is an awesome way for homeowners to chip away at their mortgages. 

8. Renting Out a Vehicle

Not so keen on taking a tenant in your house? How would you feel about someone renting your car for a day? Platforms like Turo allow you to rent out your vehicle to someone for several days to several weeks. Think of Turo as the Airbnb for cars. It takes care of all of the insurance and paperwork so that you can make money on your car when you’re not even driving it. 

Turo can also be great for people who are taking a quick trip or are visiting Vancouver and need a mode of transportation. They can choose any vehicle, from Teslas to Porsches, and pay a set price for every day they drive it. 

9. A Vancouver Side Hustle for Animal Lovers: Take Care of a Furry Friend

Dog and cat lovers rejoice: there is a way to make money by spending more time with our furry friends. Sites like Rover allow you to take in pets for people who are heading out of town. Rather than putting them up in an expensive kennel, these pets can enjoy hanging out in a home environment while their fur parents are off on vacation. 

Not only can you get paid for housing pets, but you can also earn a pretty penny by walking dogs as well. People will hire you while they are out of town or even just at work to come to walk their dogs. If you’ve walked around Vancouver, you already know that this is a dog-friendly city. Imagine getting paid to walk dogs through some of BC’s beautiful trails or forests. You can get in shape and get fresh air all while getting paid. This has to be one of the more fun and rewarding side hustles in Vancouver.

10. Teach or Tutor English

Vancouver has a massive population of international students and foreign workers. As a multicultural city that acts as Canada’s entry from Asia and the Pacific Rim, there are plenty of opportunities to earn some cash by teaching English. It doesn’t have to be just English either. You can teach almost anything and even make it into an online course that you can sell through sites like Thinkific

The beauty of teaching in 2023 is that you can do most of your lessons online. All you need is a computer and a little bit of confidence. With the Canadian government increasing its immigration targets for the next few years, the demand for English tutors is set to rise. Teaching English is definitely one of the more labour-intensive side hustles in Vancouver. It is also one of the only ones that can become a career if you work hard enough at it!

11. Join a Focus or Research Group at UBC or SFU

In Vancouver, we are lucky enough to have two of the better Universities in Canada. Both UBC and SFU offer focus groups where you can earn some money by helping out with their research. Many of these groups are from departments like Psychology or Marketing. 

While a lot of these groups are intended to provide some income for students on campus, there are plenty of them that are available for the general public as well. The payments vary and some of them will require you to travel to the campus in order to participate. On the bright side, you are doing your part to help out with academic research and getting paid to do so. It’s truly a win-win situation.

12. Become a Ski Instructor at a Local Mountain

Every year, millions of people flock to one of our local mountains to ski or snowboard. If you are an avid skier or snowboarder, then why not pass on that knowledge and get paid while doing it? Picking up a couple of shifts as an instructor each week can be a great side hustle in Vancouver. 

With so many local mountains like the world-famous Whistler Blackcomb, the winter months in Vancouver can be a lucrative opportunity. There is one caveat though: you will need to earn your certifications before you are hired to teach. Still, if you are an experienced skier it isn’t a particularly difficult process. Once you obtain your certification, you can instruct at most mountains in Canada.

13. Be an Instacart Shopper and Get Paid to Shop as a Vancouver Side Hustle

Who doesn’t enjoy grocery shopping? Well, a lot of people apparently because Instacart will hire you to do someone else’s shopping for them. Most of us go shopping each week anyways so why not get paid to do a bit of extra shopping? 

This Vancouver side hustle can pay between $15 and $20 per hour plus tips. For those of you who love perusing the aisles at your local grocery store, being an Instacart Shopper could prove to be an enjoyable side hustle!

14. Hit the Ice as your Vancouver Side Hustle: Reffing Ice Hockey Games

In Canada, hockey is the sport of choice for millions of Canadians every year. Whether it is minor hockey or adult beer leagues, local hockey is a booming industry. For every ice hockey game that takes place, there needs to be a referee. If you love hanging out at the rink and getting in a workout too, ice hockey refereeing might be right down your alley.

The certification isn’t difficult either. It requires an online course and an in-person, on-ice session. It helps to be able to skate well enough to keep up with the play and to know additional skills like first aid. Hockey is a year-round sport in Vancouver so refs are always in high demand.

15. Become a Social Media Influencer

Local social media influencers get a lot of perks in cities like Vancouver. Free products and paid sponsorships are just the tip of the iceberg. You can also monetize content creation streams like blogs, YouTube channels, or even TikTok accounts. 

These social media accounts will take some time to build up, but once you gain a following this side hustle can turn into an actual brand. The best part is that most of the work is completely free. All you need is a smartphone, a laptop, and a niche market. 

Arthur Dubois is a personal finance writer at Hardbacon. Since relocating to Canada, he has successfully built his credit score from scratch and begun investing in the stock market. In addition to his work at Hardbacon, Arthur has contributed to Metro newspaper and several other publications