a bit on the side...

Working in the Alps is not the best paid job in the world, so just how can you boost your income? There are a number of ways to do this, but you should ensure that they are 1) legal and 2) acceptable to your employer. We can take no responsibility if don't do this, and end up sued, deported or sacked!

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Packed Lunches – with lunch on the mountain a costly affair, budget conscious Brits can be easily tempted by a good-value packed lunch. A doorstop sandwich, a mini-bar and piece of fruit for a few euros can turn into a great earner

Tip - Get your orders in the night before to save time!

Tips – Not all guests tip and you certainly can’t pick those who will. You’ll get nothing from the lively young bunch who were great fun, and £50 from the quiet couple who didn’t say a word all week.  Try to put your head down and do the work – strangely, the best chalet staff usually get the best tips. Check out our How to...maximise your tips page for more ideas.

Tip - don't judge your Billys by how much they leave you!

Private Guiding/Lessons – If you’re a reasonable skier, some of your guests will ask you to take them out for ‘private’ guiding or instruction. This can be a great earner but is a highly contentious area.  Being paid to ski with your guests could be considered instruction and every country has its own protectionist regulation about this. Ultimately it's up to you - many resorts don't mind, in some you could be arrested!

Tip - if you do do it then don't guide/teach in uniform!

Mini-bar – Whether you can offer a service where you buy beers for 10p at your local hypermarché and then sell them at a healthy profit will depend on what country you are in and what company you work for. Selling alcohol without a licence is illegal in most countries, but mixers for duty free can still return a decent profit.

Tip - price below the nearest supermarket/shop (your Billys will check!)Run a taxi service!

Transfers – If you have a car then people will inevitably ask you for lifts to the airport.  Taxi fares can be very expensive, so while you may help friends for a favour, guests can be a rich source of income if they have to leave resort early or arrive late. Again local laws vary, in many cases it will be illegal without a licence and appropriate insurance.

Tip - Don’t forget to include tolls in your calculations!

Local Discounts – While cash payments from local suppliers are rare, freebies are not.  Look after your suppliers and they will look after you. Cakes, leftovers and flirting can keep ski-men in good spirits and ensure that it’ll be free when you want to hire or get a service (ooh err, missus!).

Depending on the type of resort you’ll also get a reduced rate or free drinks from the local bars. In big resorts you might save 25% a drink, but in smaller, cosy resorts you may not need to put your hand in your pocket all night.  If you recommend a restaurant on a regular basis, make sure they know who’s giving them the business and they’ll look after you back. This same principle applies to parapenting, private lessons, skidooing etc. This is moving into the realm of apres-ski however, and is not covered here.

Tip - Get to know the names of the bar staff early on!

Internet Access - If you've got your own laptop, you could offer a mini-Internet service.  Internet Cafes charge up to £6 per hour, so you can easily make a profit and make it cheaper for your pals to pick up their email.  The best money saver though is to find your resort's local free wi-fi hotspots.

Tip - Buy one of those clever wi-fi detectors to find the hotspots easily

Other ideas - There are limitless items that staff will be offered to sell to your guests. Books, guides, videos, sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, paintings and almost everything else. These rarely work out as lucrative as you might think, so we recommend you are selective and don’t prostitute yourself (although if you really want to earn money…!).

Tip - don't hard-sell, if it's good guests will buy it

NB Scams - It’s known that some ski workers are tempted to defraud their employers. If you're thinking about going down this route, you should consider that it is theft and will result in instant dismissal if you get caught.

PS Did you read between the lines for the secret tips!

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