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5 Great Jobs for Snowbirds

Heading south for the winter? Unique employment opportunities await.

3. Car Transporter

The nitty-gritty: If rolling down long open highways catches your fancy, then delivering vehicles up and down the East Coast can pay your way to a warm weather getaway of your own. Busiest months are December and May, but departures and returns are staggered. In peak-demand periods you can snap up deliveries in rapid succession. You'll quickly get up to speed on shortcuts and construction detours, and maybe accrue frequent flier miles in the process. Long hours on the road can take a physical and mental toll, so stopping to stretch and rest is a must. It's possible to find seasonal driving jobs with a professional service, but drivers who want to work in snowbird season only may find it easier to drum up clients by word of mouth. Try posting flyers at senior centers, retirement communities, assisted-living facilities, libraries, pharmacies and grocery stores. Build up a roster of repeat customers.
The hours: Expect to drive eight hours a day, but this is negotiable. Most one-way trips, however, can be done in two to three days.
Median pay range: This fluctuates widely, but a base pay of $200 a day, plus gas and tolls, is in the ballpark. Many drivers add in the cost of meals, motels and transportation back to the airport and airfare. As a way of comparison, on a New York to Miami route, car transportation truck companies found online routinely charge clients between $800 and $1,300 to haul a vehicle one way (gas and tolls included). Your key selling point is the personal touch. There's value in knowing and trusting the person who's driving your goods, so you may have wiggle room in pricing your services.
Qualifications: A spotless driving record and impeccable character references. It helps if you know how to change a flat and have a working knowledge of car mechanics. You'll need a cell phone, preferably with built-in GPS, to stay on course and connected to clients. Plus, be prepared to have some company on your way. Cars heading south tend to get crowded with precious cargo such as fragile personal belongings and even family pets.

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