He is 16, going on $70 an hour.
Last summer, Alex Bank worked nine-hour shifts as a busboy in the high-energy dining room at now-shuttered power-crowd institution Babette’s in East Hampton. The job, which paid $17 per hour, was stressful at times, but it built character, Bank said. And it only just paid the bills. To indulge his love of lobster rolls at East Hampton Grill, or to afford the occasional sushi dinner, he would end up working overtime. That, or ask his parents for money.
“You look at these menus and you’re like, ‘That’s a couple of hours of work.’ It puts into perspective how expensive things are out here,” Bank, a rising junior at a Connecticut boarding school who lives on the Upper East Side and grew up playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball, told The Post.
This summer, he’s working smarter, not harder, with well-paying gigs he found on Teen Hampton, a teen-run group founded by 16-year-old Gabe Jaffe. After Bank pays his 25% cut to Jaffe, he still earns $52.50 an hour coaching basketball for kids — more than tripling his hourly pay at last summer’s job. He also makes $18.75 per hour for babysitting (Jaffe takes $6.25 off the $25 hourly rate).
Families, eager to get their little ones out of the house and looked after this summer, amid ongoing camp counselor and lifeguard shortages, are enthusiastically signing up for the listing service, which provides parents with access to vetted, qualified sports instructors, as well as babysitters.
“We’ve had so many inquiries, we don’t even have enough babysitters to fill them,” said Jaffe.
Sixteen has never been sweeter on the savings accounts of seasonal job seekers finding themselves raking in extra dough this summer. The unemployment rate for teenagers is at the lowest level in nearly 70 years, according to the latest statistics from the US Bureau of Labor; high-schoolers have never been in such high demand, which is nearly always leading to better, sometimes dramatically increased pay. More than ever, the youngsters are able to start saving for their futures, or help out with expenses at home. That’s good news for parents, who reportedly spend more than $1,000 per month on their adult kids’ upkeep, according to a recent survey from Savings.com.
Bank is cashing in on his passion for playing basketball, teaching kids three-pointer shots and free throws a couple of times a week; each session lasts for two hours, earning him $105. Some weeks, he’s babysitting four hours every day. In a week just working part-time, he can make $585. The money adds up quickly.
“It’s a lot less stressful,” Bank said of being able to hang with kids, rather than rushing around a dining-room floor. “Getting paid well for doing something you love is never a bad thing,” he said.
Jaffe, the brain trust behind Teen Hampton, who in his spare time reads business books such as Andrew Ross Sorkin’s “Too Big To Fail,” started up his Gen Z babysitters club in between homework assignments during the school year. He had business cards printed and started hustling this spring, spreading the word out East about his on-demand services. To make it work, Jaffe keeps 25% of the proceeds, which he plans to reinvest in the business, and he may even roll out an app.
“The prices are far less than professional services, and the pricing is attractive to our consumer base,” Jaffe said. In some cases, Teen Hampton rates are a steal for the East End, where a private sports coaching session through a service like Hamptons Premiere can cost a whopping $300 for a 90-minute session with a basketball whiz.
“A teenager can charge $70 an hour, and based on how the market [out here] is set, that is a price parents are happy to pay, and for the teenager, that is a great wage,” Jaffe explained. Right now, the most sought-after service is babysitting.
Soon-to-be college sophomore Mia Scholl, 20, was only recently making $10 an hour working as a food runner at a burger joint near the University of Miami. The job entailed answering the phones, managing delivery-service orders from Grubhub and bussing tables. Back home in Westchester County for the summer, the pre-med student was able to snag a sweet hosting gig at Scarsdale Golf Club, where she’s raking in $18 an hour — $3 more than she made doing the same thing last year.
“They were like, ‘We need a hostess!’ ” Scholl said of management desperate for extra help. “When I walked in, they were like, ‘OK, here’s the job!’
“I didn’t have a formal interview,” she added. “It was kind of just handed to me.”
Scholl’s short-term situation is far less intense than her school-year job in Florida, and she’s already saving up. The extra cash, she said, will be a help once she heads back for the fall semester.
“I go to school in a city that is the most expensive place to live in the country right now,” Scholl said.
Bank, meanwhile, has his sights set on making, well, bank. Right now, the plan is to plunge his summer earnings into the markets.
“A lot of companies are not doing as well, so their stock prices are dropping accordingly,” the teen said. “I feel like this could be a good time to start investing.”