These side gigs will help you pay for beer, chips-and maybe even rent.
Public eye: Meet a day laborer
Dave Williams, 35
Broadway between Cuyler and Belle Plaine Avenues
What do you do?
I go on moving jobs. People come out of the U-Haul after renting a truck and say they need some help: “Hey, I need two guys!” We be all up in the suburbs moving, too. Sometimes we do out-of-town moves—Detroit, Milwaukee. The client will send us back on a plane or the Amtrak.
This is your full-time gig?
Nah, it’s a side gig. I work part-time for the Park District doing maintenance.
How long have you been doing moving jobs?
Fifteen or 20 years. I’m out here at 7 o’clock in the morning until 6 at night, 365 days a year. Rain, sleet or snow.
Does your moving crew have a name?
The Movers. We’ll pitch ourselves to the U-Haul customers. Our slogan is, “No job too big. No job too small. Save your back. We do it all. Movers!”
Move anything interesting?
Pianos. Once I moved a lot of heavy-ass Nigerian decorative metal barrels. When Nigerians pack stuff, they pack some stuff, boy! Believe me. They pack some stuff that [makes] you feel like you’ve been in the weight room all day. People have us do other things, too, like painting, drywall and demolition. There’s a condo nearby we helped build.
So, in a way, you are a day laborer.
Yeah. A lot of the guys I work alongside, they used to do a lot of different jobs before they ended up here: electrical work, plumbing, auto-mechanic work. A lot of the time, we move furniture in and someone will say, “I need this bathroom painted.” And it’s like, “We here already. Let’s do it!”
Would you recommend this line of work to others?
Well, it’s tough. Some jobs can last seven hours. But it’s rewarding, helping people. People say, “I could not have done this without you guys.” People hate moving. Period. They tell me, “This is the worst job anyone could have.” But that’s why I’m making money.