Make More Money by Working at Night

Here’s another idea to add to the list of how to make more money: start working the night shift. Yep, simply by changing work time from 8 am to 5 pm to evening hours, you can add a significant amount of money to your annual income:

“Most industries offer a financial premium for employees who work into the wee hours of the morning. Pharmacists, police officers and Postal Service mail sorters make up to 10% more overnight, according to Some TV and radio news writers earn 15% more, and nannies can earn a 20% premium.”

Other professions that earn more at night include nurses, truck drivers, bartenders, and waitresses.

And making more money isn’t the only benefit of nocturnal work:

“There are other intangibles, such as greater autonomy, fewer meetings (all the higher-ups are sleeping) and the likelihood of getting promoted sooner, because there are fewer people to compete against.”

Of course it takes a special person with a flexible family situation to work at night, so it’s not for everyone. An alternative: supplement your income just a bit by volunteering to work when regular nighttime employees need time off.

Want more pay? Get a night job [MSN Money]


(Photo: morsteen)


Edit Your Comment

  1. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    While this is true, my mother being a nurse for example was paid a shift differential for working an evening shift, it’s just a pain in the ass to get a job right now.

    I’ve tried for so many positions, and they keep either outsourcing everything or not getting the budget approved. Going from $22 an hour during the day to working at Taco Bell for $8 an hour during a night shift is not my idea of fun.

  2. TheTick says:

    Working weekend days and having days off during the week can produce similar shift differentials as well.

  3. MissTicklebritches says:

    Of course, you could double you income if you work both day and night! Triple it if you add the other 8 hours, too! Oh, and do piece-work while you work that phone bank to further supplement your income!

  4. satoru says:

    While you do make more money, studies have been done that show there are some significant health risks to working the night shift.

  5. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    Want cancer? Get a night job.


  6. MissPeacock says:

    Some things are more important to me than money. Like being able to hang out with friends and family when they’re all off work. Going to concerts. Having a late-night dinner with friends. Not being the only person who isn’t at work or who is at work.

    I was offered a night-shift job at a newspaper as a copy editor right out of college. No shift deferential whatsoever. 20k to work from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. with a college degree. No thanks.

  7. jusooho says:

    I spent several months working an overnight shift, to facilitate communications with Korea from the East Coast.

    You will never have me do that again – my family suffered and I suffered very much from living all at night. Even a simple thing like shopping becomes burden. We shopped at Wal-mart often as they are open 24 hours. And on the weekend we could not go out at all as I could not stay awake during the day.

    There was no point to living like that.

    But, it’s a salary, not hourly pay. So there was no choice, and also it was temporary. But not again.

  8. blackmage439 says:

    This is by far not universally true.

    My stepfather has worked in the chemical transport industry for the past 15 years. His schedule would change weekly, and the three different shifts covered the entire day. He received no bonuses for working the midnight shift.

    Fast-forward to today, where he works for a different company, strictly working the midnight shift. He makes LESS money than his last job.

    Besides this, I have never heard of a person getting a bonus for working nights. NEVER.

  9. evslin says:

    It works for some folks, not for others. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it if you have kids to take care of during the day.

  10. evslin says:

    @blackmage439: I got a 50 cent shift differential working overnights at ADT 5 years ago. Just depends on who you work for.

  11. kimsama says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: @satoru: Definitely. You need to sleep in the dark to be able to produce melatonin. Its production is extremely inhibited if you sleep during the day, unless you’re in a very dark room with practically no light.

    The increased risk of cancer, metabolic disorders, and other health effects don’t make a night job worth it at all.

  12. maddypilar says:

    My mother, an emergency room RN, worked 11pm -7am for most of the time I was in school. It was great because she was always home when we got there after school or if we were sick and needed to be picked up. She stopped working overnight when they stopped paying for an extra sleep day.

  13. Rando says:

    Not in the corperate world

  14. @MissPeacock: Did that for three years at a paper out of college, 4 p.m. to midnight in a town where they rolled up the sidewalks early. Never thought I’d want a 9-to-5 job so bad in my life. Working nights does have advantages, but it also makes it nearly impossible to live a real life.

  15. sprocket79 says:

    When I worked at a hospital in college, I worked 2:30 – 10:30 and got about $5 shift differential, while the people who worked the graveyard shift got about $7.50 extra. This was clerical work though, so people like nurses might make more than that. The people who made the real cash were the ones who worked graveyard shift in the psych ward – shift differential AND hazard pay.

  16. stacye says:

    I REALLY miss my night shift. The night shift works if you work in a very people friendly environment, you’re nocturnal, and you hang out with other night shifters – that way it doesn’t ruin your social life.

    Also, you get the added benefit of scheduling doctor’s, and dentist appointments without hassle. And you don’t have to worry about when the bank closes.

    Just make sure that you have a 24 hr grocery near by. Most of the food places that are opened after the late shift are Whataburger and Jack in the Box…. and that stuff is nasty.

  17. mac-phisto says:

    @blackmage439: he makes less today b/c he was being paid a premium for working rotating shifts. he could be making a premium working midnite shifts vs. working dat shifts.

    i know quite a few folks who work “front & back 12s”, or who rotate A-B-C like your stepfather. they don’t receive a pay differential, but their salaries are considerably higher than those folks that work “straight A” or “front 12s” all the time. what do i mean by considerably? a tender on swing shift (3 days on fronts, 3 days off, 3 days on backs, 3 days off) make ~$30,000 more than their straight daytime counterparts (& they technically only work 6 months out of the year if you consider they have 6 out of 12 days off). the downside is they walk around like zombies all the time.

  18. seamer says:

    Night hours are the best. Less customers, less interuptions from off the work site, sleep all day and avoid telemarketers AND Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    I’d do it again in a flash.

  19. pmathews says:


    You must be from Texas.

  20. QuantumRiff says:

    My brother used to work a night shift, his favoritte part was that during the evening rush hour, the highways heading out of the city to the suburbs were packed, the highways heading in were empty. During the mornings, it was the opposite.. When he got switched to nights, his commute time dropped to less than half.

  21. lemur says:

    “There are other intangibles, such as greater autonomy, fewer meetings (all the higher-ups are sleeping) and the likelihood of getting promoted sooner, because there are fewer people to compete against.

    People who work during the daytime but telecommute a lot are suffering in their career because they do not get “face time” with other people at their company. Specifically, they do not get “face time” with the people deciding on promotions. Am I supposed to believe that this would not affect people working at night?

  22. @MissPeacock: I absolutely ADORED working overnight at a newspaper. I worked either 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. or 4 a.m., depending on which edition was going to press. I’d come home, sleep until noon, go meet friends for lunch, and then have the entire afternoon and early evening to get stuff DONE. (In fact, I carried a full college class schedule, all afternoon classes, while working a 40-60 hour week at the newspaper on the overnight shift, and when my shift ran over so I was up until breakfast, I’d have a nice breakfast with my early-riser roommate.)

    I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. (No wage differential, even) It was so easy to be productive in the middle of the night when nobody was calling or anything, and my job sometimes had downtime while waiting on other people to finish things, so I got a lot of studying down in the quiet moments. I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I weren’t married — or if we had to work opposite schedules for child-care issues.

  23. TechnoDestructo says:


    If people on the day shifts generally stay on the day shifts and people on the night shifts generally stay on the night shifts, and if promotions happen within those shifts, then it would not.

    That’s a lot of ifs, though.

    Also, for whatever glory is to be had on the night shift, there is less competition.

    That last part I have experienced, but it was in the military, as junior enlisted, where it has absolutely no impact on promotion.

    Oh, and speaking of that time…if you’re going to work nights, STAY on nights. I know now I will never take another job where I have to reverse my sleep schedule more than every month or so. I STILL don’t have my sense of time back, though within a year after that ended, I stopped nodding off at all hours.

  24. Manok says:

    working nights is good for single people. Say you work days and your wife works nights. When do you see each other? Never.

  25. @Manok:


  26. AmericaTheBrave says:

    Ben forgot to add that working the graveyard shift significantly increases the risk of cancer:


  27. peepytweep says:

    My neighbor in FL worked nights. Bad thing was his wife worked days and they had 3 kids. I can not tell you how many times I walked outside to see naked children running around in the street. ( I am not making this up) He would try to stay awake and watch the kids but just couldn’t do it.

  28. bradanomics says:

    I make a 15% shift differential at my job for working 7pm to 4am. Makes quite a bit of difference.

  29. veronykah says:

    I have bartended for quite a few years and absolutely LOVE the hours. While I was in college in NYC I worked 9pm-6am, would come home sleep and have the ENTIRE rest of the day off.
    Since graduating I’ve had some day job type hours and do not understand if you work 9-5 or 6 how you get ANYTHING done in your life?
    After commuting, I get home, walk the dog, make dinner and you have to go to bed again. A full time 9-5 would KILL me.

  30. I love working the night shift and I am a single mother. I work 4pm to 1am M-F. I have my weekends off to spend with my son whereas if I worked a day shift I would be required to work one weekend day. My son goes to daycare after school and then I pick him up on my hour lunch break. During the summer he spends the days with me and only has a babysitter a few hours a day. Dinner is cooked during the day and we have dinner together. We both love our arrangement and it helps that I telecommute. Working the night shift has allowed us to have more time together. I also get a 10% shift differential for working the night shift.

  31. ringo00 says:

    I loved overnights. I worked graveyard on my college’s IT helpdesk. I basically did nothing but watch TV, study, and occasionally sleep a bit for $9 an hour. I might have taken 1 or 2 calls a night, usually from an exhausted student who just accidentally deleted something that was due the next day or from a crew of all night gamers that called to complain about network lag.

  32. stacye says:

    @pmathews: born and raised ;)

  33. weakdome says:

    @Manok: For some people, this might save a marriage!

  34. coren says:

    @ringo00: I’ve started to wish my college would go 24 hours for this reason. Start at ten, get done at six, run home for a quick shower and breakfast, class from 9 to 2, sleep, etc. Especially since we’re only half time

  35. danseuse322 says:


    I thought the same thing! Whataburger is a tip off. ha ha!

  36. mgy says:

    I worked the night shift this past semester and feel as though it was a huge factor in my fiance breaking up with me. I wasn’t even being paid all that much more.

  37. balthisar says:

    Those examples are all unionized jobs. That is, based on seniority, you choose your shift. When I supervised UAW people, it was always high seniority guys on midnights. So… if you want to make a 10% premium (it was 15% in our guys’ case) in 40 years, better start now.

  38. stinerman says:


    I went from making $14 before I even graduated from college and now the best I can do is $7/hr part time.

    Hang in there, friend.

  39. betatron says:

    I just got up, which is too bad, because … i’m working midnight shift this week. I’ve been working a rotating shift for a looong time.

    I was a submarine sailor on a very old broken down nuke boat in the 80s. When we were out, my work group routinely worked 30+ hours at a stretch. Very routinely. It was horrible. But, that set a bar for me, so regular midnight shifts are like child’s play to me. Rotating shift is as nothing to me. Easy as pie. So:

    Pro’s: shift premium = more money. for some: generous OT. 25 ~ 30% of my compensation comes from shift premium, OT and holiday pay. Commuting is easier off hours, way less traffic. Conducting personal business/getting around during the day is easier X10. Fewer (or no) supervisors and managers at night = better working conditions. More chances to interact wih your kids during the day or school hours (ie field trips). Work is generally more focused, fewer interruptions. Recreational stuff (prarks, trails etc) are more accesable during the day.

    Cons: you do miss out on a lot of other people’s stuff. It’s harder to be social. Sleep can be a challenge (but not that big a problem). Nutrition and exercise become crucial. Sometimes it gets lonely. Less time to see kids after school.

    Requirements: really helps to like your job. Rotatng shift is better than same shift for many months at a time. wouldn’t really be worth it w/o the extra compensation unless the alternative were unemployment. It really helps to like your job. you _have_ to take care of your body and pay attention to getting your sleep. It’s not the worst thing in the world. I’d rather work my super fantastic shift worker job than almost anything else.

  40. kostia says:

    I worked nights for about ten years. I’ve always, always struggled with mornings; I never grew out of that adolescent thing where you can’t get up in the morning no matter how early you went to bed. But it was just a pain in the ass. I suffered from having to leave my friends in the middle of social evenings, I suffered from never seeing the sun, and I had constant headaches from fluorescent light and computer screens being the only illumination in my office.

    Even in hourly positions early in my career, I was never paid more than people who did the same job during the day.

    I work from home now, and while I can’t really set my own hours, simply taking the 3-hour-round-trip DC-area commute out of the day makes getting up in the morning much, much easier.

    It would take a BIG jump in pay to get me back on nights.

  41. kostia says:

    Oh, and another thing. I had a job for three years where I worked four ten-hour shifts instead of five eights, which was great, EXCEPT that I worked 11 pm to 9:30 am Monday through Wednesday nights, and 11 am to 9:30 pm on Saturdays. Every Thursday and every Sunday I had to struggle to reverse my sleep schedule and then reverse it back again. It was utterly punishing. I really hope that company doesn’t do that anymore.

  42. joellevand says:

    I was offered two very similar jobs recently, working with disabled kids. One was an 8A-4P treating kids at school and in their home. The other was at a residential facility, taking the 11PM to 7AM shift. The former paid $14/hr; the latter paid $10/hr.

    Guess which job I took.

  43. Kottles says:

    The place I work now offers shift differential for every job position. 2nd shift gets you 10%, and 3rd shift gets you 15%.

    Although a lot of people work 1st due to family, friends, lifestyle or whatever, its nice to know that if you come on hard times or need extra money, the shift is there.

    Also, we are ramping up production, and the company simply can’t get enough product out the door, so there is mandatory overtime of at least 15 hours a month. Its perfect for a single 22-year-old.

  44. acasto says:

    Well, with what is most likely delayed sleep phase syndrome, I have been stuck in the night for the past ten years. Actually, my longest running “day” schedule was only about a month and a half. As of right now I work mostly from home, but always thought my willingness to work the worst hours came in handy. People think your a gnome or elf or something because they show up in the morning and everything is taken care of. Plus, when someone has a deadline or an emergency, being able to get a hold of someone who is happy to work all night can be a very nice thing.

  45. sirellyn says:

    Um work a night shift? People don’t put 2 and 2 together. 40 years ago not many women were working. One parent could support the entire FAMILY on their income. Now you NEED 2-3 people working to come close things. People aren’t realizing that when your purchasing power goes down 70% in 40 years there isn’t something seriously wrong?

  46. mzs says:

    Night shift nannies get paid more? Don’t they basically just sleep then, only waking-up every now and then to change feed a baby? Unless night shift nanny is some kind of sick euphemism…

  47. Skiffer says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: @AmericaTheBrave: Oh no, now California’s gonna start putting warning labels on the dark…

  48. othium says:

    I love working the evening shift. It allows me to sleep in and saunter into work each afternoon, well rested and refreshed. The added bonus is that I don’t have to deal with the morning grumbles of my consumers and co-workers. When I get off work, I like to stay up for a few hours and get to bed around 3-4:00 AM. (Thank goodness for the internet!)

    The company I work for paid time and a half for those working holidays, but suddenly decided to only pay the added wage up until 4:00 PM, thus cutting all but one hour of added pay on my shift. Oh well. I take those days off and spend them with family and friends instead.

    I can’t imagine getting up early, fighting rush hour traffic, and having to gulp coffee to jump start my brain. Yuck!

  49. cerbie says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: I wonder how it affects those of us that aren’t daytime people?

    Sleep deprivation may be another factor in cancer risk. People who work at night are not usually able to completely reverse their day and night cycles.

    “Night shift people tend to be day shift people who are trying to stay awake at night,” said Mark Rea

    I get sleep deprivation working days. Nearly a year of getting up in the morning doesn’t make it any easier. All I need is a long weekend (like this last one) to start getting up around noon, and find myself feeling much better. Some parts of my mind seem to be shut off until it’s pretty late, regardless of when I get up (that’s part of the sleep deprivation—I’m on the ball at 2AM, but need to be up by 7:30). I’d love evening work. Get up while it’s nice and sunny, go to sleep with several hours of night to go, and still have time to go places while they are open for normal day people.
    If you are a day kind of person, I doubt it would be worth it to go to a night job.

  50. TechnoDestructo says:


    Are you from Alaska, too?

  51. cerbie says:

    @TechnoDestructo: er, no. I’m right in the buckle of the Bible Belt.