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What Does a Teenage Shoe Shiner Do?

A teenage shoe shiner gets paid to bring out the shine in nice pairs of shoes. People who wear nice shoes on a regular basis and who work in jobs that require them to dress up every day need to regularly shine their shoes to keep them looking great. Many of them also prefer to pay someone to shine their shoes, so why not let that person be you?

Shoe shining requires you to remove dirt from shoes, apply shoe polish, then use a special brush and a rag to make them shiny. This needs to be done on a fairly regular basis for leather shoes in order to keep them in good condition. How often shoes are polished depends on how often they’re worn, but most experts agree that shoes should be polished about every 8 wears.

How Much Does a Teenage Shoe Shiner Get Paid?

How much you can make as a teenage shoe shiner will depend on how much you’re charging for your services, how much work you’re getting, and how long it takes you to shine shoes. When you are first starting out, even a quick shine may take you a while, and even when you are a shoe shining expert, you’ll still need to take a long time for a deep cleaning and polishing.

As a teenage shoe shiner, you can expect to make between $5 and $30 per shoe shining. A quick polish should only take you between 5 and 15 minutes and a deep conditioning will take at least an hour, though some of that time is waiting for the polish to dry. Even so, you can make pretty good money as a shoe shiner as long as you have plenty of clients.

How Can I Get Started as a Teenage Shoe Shiner?

  1. Get permission from your parents. Since you will be talking with neighbors and people that you might not know very well, it’s important that your parents are on board with your plans to work as a shoe shiner.
  2. Learn how to shine shoes. If you don’t already know how to shine shoes, you’ll first need to learn. Fortunately, it’s very easy to learn by asking your parents or other adult relatives or by watching videos on YouTube. You can get practice on your own shoes or those of relatives.
  3. Get the supplies that you need. As a shoe shiner, you will need several important items: an old towel to protect your clothes and carpet from getting stained, a horsehair shine brush for removing dirt and excess polish, a shoe polish brush for applying the polish, wax shoe polish, and a shine cloth. Keep in mind that shoe polish comes in a wide variety of colors to match the color of the shoes, so you may need to have several colors of polish. Since most nice leather shoes are black, that’s the color you want to start with, and then can add more colors as needed.  For all of this, we suggest that you just purchase a shoe shine kit off of Amazon.
  4. Decide how much you’re going to charge for your services. To find out how much other places in your area charge for shoe shines, you may need to find some shoe shiners and ask them, or call shoe repair shops that offer shoe-shining services. It may be a good idea to have two prices: one for a basic quick cleaning and one for a deep conditioning treatment.
  5. Make a flyer or some business cards. As you begin going door-to-door to offer your services, it’s a good idea to have some information that you can hand to people so they can have it on hand when they need to call you in the future, since they might not need any shoes shined at that moment. You can also leave your flyer or business card at houses where people aren’t home.
  6. Make some order forms. For people that want deep conditioning, you may need to take their shoes home with you to work on them then bring them back later. If that’s the case, you’ll want some simple order forms ready so if you get several pairs at once, you won’t get them mixed up. Make sure you include information about the owner of the shoes such as name, phone number, and address. And let them know when to expect you to return with their shoes.
  7. Let people know what you’re doing. Go door-to-door in your neighborhood and offer your services to them. Be sure to bring all of your supplies with you so you can shine people’s shoes immediately. You may also want to bring a backpack or other type of bag with you in case you get people who want to send their shoes with you.
  8. Start shining shoes! As soon as you hand back a freshly-polished pair of shoes to someone, you have officially become a teenage shoe shiner. Congratulations! If you’re good at what you do, you’ll soon find yourself with repeat customers and a growing shoe shining business.

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