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A Quick Way to Make Cash: A True Story

If you are ever looking for a quick way to make some extra cash without investing much, you can take inspiration from the following. A subscriber to the Unusual Ways newsletter sent this as an entry in my Most Interesting Money Maker Contest. Other entries are listed on the page Interesting Ways to Make Money. This is a good one...

C.K. Moss
AKA "The Timeshare Whisperer"

Once upon a time (1978 to be exact) we were living in a small town in Northern Utah. We were newly married with a sweet baby girl and like most newlyweds we had very little money. I had numerous business ventures going at the same time just trying to make ends meet. Some of them costing us more than we made, but then that's how you learn isn't it?

Well one day I was at the local country store looking for a part for my old sears lawn mower. If I could find just the right part, then this old relic might hold together long enough to make it around the yard at least one more time. I finally found something that looked to have promise. I studied on it, did some mental calculations and figured that with a little cutting, snipping and bending here and there, I had found the perfect part for the job. Didn't matter that I found it in the ladies undergarment section, this hummer was a gonna work. No doubt about it!

Making my way out of the "ladies section" as quickly and stealthy as possible, moving down the hardware isle towards the check out stand, I stopped briefly to look at something. Sitting on the shelf was a huge box about two feet deep by two feet wide by two feet high. This box didn't match the rest of the items on the shelf that were clean, neat and organized. This box was filthy! It was covered with at least 15 years of dust. All they had done was move this box around from shelf to shelf for a very long time.

I dusted off the label and read "Door Viewers." What the heck is a door viewer? I picked up one of the several hundred mini box's inside the big box, blew off the dust, opened it up and said, Oh! it's a "Peep Site." Those tiny viewers you install in the door of your home. The kind you can peer through to see if you want to open the door or not. Salesperson or best friend? They were brass ones, nickel ones, antique brass, white, black, copper ones, you name it it was in there. Well, I ain't no rocket scientist or nothin' but it didn't take me the entire afternoon to figure out that these things were not exactly flying out the door at this fine establishment.
Suddenly this light bulb went on (no it wasn't the "blue light special") this was one of them idea type lights that goes off in your head.

I walked up to the cashier and asked her if the manager was there? (I knew that what I had to ask was going to have to get approval from someone a couple of rungs up the ladder.) She said that he was and that she would go and get him. When he arrived I pointed to this huge dusty box and said; "I see that you have had these around for a while, (short pause) would you take $25 bucks for the entire box? (Now keep in mind that these little peepers were priced at $7.50 to $10 bucks each depending on the size and color, and there were hundreds of them in this big ol' box.) (long pause, very long pause, uncle D. always said "first one to talk looses.) After what seemed an eternity, The manager says, "sure, why not." Mavis, ring him up for $25 bucks.

Honey I'm home! Honey, looked what I got at the store. What are they and what are you up to now? She said. Honey how many subdivisions are there around here? That's right they're everywhere and I was lookin' at the houses on the way home and none of them have a "Peep site" in the door! A what? One of these! I'm going to put one in every door and I'm gonna start with ours. Do you know what you're doing? Nope! But we're about to learn. It's a good thing I started with our own door because it was there I realized that if you don't have the right drill bit for the right door it can get ugly in a hurry.

Back to the hardware store for some drill bits. Well before long he had my basket full of different types of bits for different type doors and it was adding up to more than this cowboy makes. So I said Whoa! Ain't ya got one drill bit that will do everything? Sure, right over here. (Why I otta...) Well he hands me this bit about two inches long that was cone shaped like a Christmas tree. This one should do the trick, no matter what the depth of the door whether it is insulated, foam core, metal, steel, wood you name it that's yer boy right there. All right then that's better.

Before ya know it I'm out knockin' on doors. "Hello ma'am I'm with "Hometown Security" and I see that you don't have a "security lens" in your door." "For only $9.95 you may have the style and color of your choice and I will have it installed in under five minutes. $9.95 isn't much to pay for a little piece of mind is it?" "Great, let me get started and I'll be outta here in just a few minutes, Oh and by the way ma'am for only $5 dollars more I will put one in your backdoor or the side door of your garage if you like." "Oh yea, and one more thing, this makes a great surprise gift for your parents or grandparents. Just let me know."

Well let me tell ya cousin, business was brisk for "Hometown Security." Almost every house was eager to have this little piece of security in their lives. It took about thirty seconds to mark the height and spot where they wanted it mounted, about another minute to drill the hole, about one minute to take the peep site out of the box, unscrew it, put each piece into opposite sides of the door and screw together. Another 30 seconds to vacuum up my small mess with the mini car vac, another minute to give them a receipt, collect my money and be off to the neighbors door. I was averaging about 8 doors an hour. That's $80 bucks an hour back in the 70's!

Honey sends me back to the store quite often now just to see what I can find.

Great idea. If you read between the lines (or read that last line) you'll understand that this is not just about one quick way to make cash, but about many possibilities. Look for something cheap you can buy and resell. One important lesson here though, is that you can really make the money by adding value. A door peep that cost less than a dollar becomes worth ten times as much when you add installation.

The entrepreneurial spirit continues. I see that C.K. has put together a book on how to buy, sell, and use timeshare properties. It is for sale on Amazon here:

Timeshare Whisperer to the Rescue

The contest will be over by the time some of you you read this. If so, subscribe to the newsletter (the sign-up form should be to the right), where I'll announce new competitions from time to time. Or just send me any story you have of an odd way you've made money and if I use it here I'll send you an e-book of you choice (with at least two or three to choose from always).

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