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Working with my Dad since the tender age of 11 on semi trucks has been an integral part of my life and professional development. Over the years, my hourly wage has grown from $10 to $20, reflecting the effort and dedication I have invested in this familial endeavor. It’s important to note that my father pays me under the table, without any tax deductions.

Despite my involvement with semi trucks, I have also explored opportunities in regular employment. However, this crucial juncture in my life, right before graduation, marks a significant turning point. As I have decided not to pursue a college education, this year presents a unique window wherein I won’t face any external pressure to secure employment.

Nevertheless, while my father currently pays me $20 per hour, I encounter a delay of approximately 3-4 weeks before receiving my payment. Comparatively, if I were to opt for a conventional minimum wage job, I would receive my wages more consistently and frequently, albeit at a lower rate. Consequently, I find myself torn between these two options, as I genuinely enjoy working alongside my father and acknowledge his need for assistance.

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View Reference


  • limitless__

    Get a full-time job and do the work for your Dad on the side. You’re 17, you’ve got the energy. But don’t sell yourself short. If you’ve been working on semi’s you have VERY useful skills for any car dealership or mechanic shop.

  • WIlliam_Phence

    If you are not going to college get certified as a mechanic or other vocational trade. Diesel mechanics can make bank in the right area.

    Regular ASE certifications are good as well but working on “regular people” cars is not great long term as a career without your own practice

  • warrior_poet95834

    If you’ve been working on diesel trucks for six years, you know a thing, and you’re worth more than he’s paying you, which is fine, he is your dad and you’re doing your part. It really comes down to what you want to do with your life. If you want to continue doing this, maybe get out there and see what’s available if not go to college or a trade school or find an apprenticeship. Heavy duty mechanics in my area make about $80. (union wage and benefits) and they are always looking for people and get paid every week

  • SpaceFace11

    Why not go to school and become a certified diesel mechanic? You could work on heavy equipment boats trains or work for the government and make serious money and have benefits.

  • bros402

    Get a job that is on the books so you start to have a work history with Social Security.

    Ae you filing taxes for the illegal job?

  • Hanyabull

    The general rule of thumb is to always do work that will benefit you in the future, unless you need money now. Doesn’t sound like you need money now.

    Do you plan on working on trucks in the future? Is your father planning to pass down the truck repair business to you? Is that something you want? If yes, just stick with it, learn the business better, and be better prepared to run it all when the time comes.

    If all you want is more money, then definitely stay. Even if it comes 3-4 weeks in, just budget yourself to make it work.

    Working a minimum wage random job typically won’t help you experience wise unless you plan to stay in that industry.

  • PegShop

    Work for your dad as you said he needs you, but also work somewhere that deals with the same skills that isn’t your dad to get more variety of skill and resume.

  • DoubleJob6790

    All the “illegal job” comments, sheesh. At some point (probably about this time) he should get on the books. Sporadic work for a family business as a minor? How is this different than chores/allowance? What if the family business needed a hand and as part of the family he was asked to help out if needed? My wife is paid to watch a friends 2 yr old, sometimes she’ll ask my 10 yr old to keep her occupied while she goes to the bathroom- should we be paying her and reporting to the irs for that time? Not apples to apples, but don’t scare the young man with “illegal” like he and his dad are criminals for this.

    If I were OP, I would ask his dad to put him on payroll once he graduates. Even if his dad knocked off a 1.50/hr to cover payroll tax and OP paid taxes on the 18.50, still much more lucrative than any other job he could get. Very valuable skill/experience to have, especially if he enjoys it and might be a path to partner in the family business down the line. This would check all the boxes- paying into SS, “legit” work experience, and makes more money/better hours and future income potential than a retail job. I’m only as sharp as a marble though, proceed with caution.

    To add before I get blasted for being a criminal too- yes we claim the income my wife gets. Speaking of babysitting income- how many teenage babysitters are filing taxes? Those criminals!

  • ThinButton7705

    I’ve always had simple life rules, no religion or politics at the dinner table, never sell anything expensive to a friend, and never go into business with family. Just recently, a buddy of mine got into a huge fight with his Dad and is now unemployed. Zero job history to show on a resume. Bro just bought a house. You’re coming up on that age where things get tense with parents on a dime. Get a job with the skills you’ve learned and help your Pops when you can.

  • c0nsumer

    You should absolutely get a legit, W2, tax-paying job at some point. Cash from your dad is cool, but it will screw you long term if you ever need to go elsewhere because you’ll effectively have no documented employment history.

    As others have said, take the skills you have and go get a job working on semis. Go to trade school or community college or whatever you can to get the requisite certifications and you’ll be doing far better than anything you mention above in not very long.

    And you can always go help your dad out for cash (or just for fun) on the side.

  • originalchronoguy

    Everyone saying his dad is doing illegal… Maybe his dad is tax savvy and taking advantage of that $12,900 write off where you can hire your kid and they don’t have to file taxes. And he gets a write-off. Sure, he can pay his kid in cash… Up to $12,900 and be free scot and clear.



  • BoxingRaptor

    > Started at 10/hr and I’m now at 20/hr without tax sincethats how he pays me.

    Well, what he’s doing is illegal, for starters. You might consider getting a job that’s on the books.

  • Far_Strike_4106

    Diesel mechanic can be a good long-term career. Depends on your interests, but I’d stay.

  • Productpusher

    Work for your dad if it means going from $20 to minimum wage .
    Learn and learn more then turn legit or into a legit business if that’s what you want to do for life .

    $20 cash is a very good money for a 17 year old .

    You are 17 you shouldn’t be thinking about
    ur social security payments being negligibly less and should be worrying about saving , learning and figuring out what you want to do in life .

    Millions live off cash but you will hit a glass ceiling of not being able to do anything but rent and live off cash for life .

  • GeorgeRetire

    So “without tax”?

    Aside from the legality of that, remember you aren’t getting and social security credits.

  • sp3ci4lk

    As others have said, id consider going to school to become a formally educated diesel mechanic, especially if you enjoy the work. If you’re good at it, enjoy it, and have credentials to back it up, you could make a solid career out of it. Heck, even open your own shop.

  • Not_the_maid

    Go check out how much mechanics get paid. A young neighbor (25) was pulling in 85K as a specialized car mechanic. Consider getting certified as a mechanic and you will be bringing in a lot more.

  • saysthingsbackwards

    I tell myself this: working for family is putting money back in to your family. It’s a positive feedback loop, but only if there’s nothing worth more, and there often is not. You might find it might be better either way.

  • MentalMasterBait

    So many wannabe CPAs look up family business tax law. Tax free up to ~$12k per yr.
    Ask your brother if filing this amount and file to start social security points… but get certified if you like the work.

  • FightThaFight

    Your financial future depends on the experience you gain in the skills you develop. Especially in your 20s, you should be seeking opportunities to grow and learn new things.

    Nothing wrong with turning wrenches, but that was your dad’s career. Doesn’t have to be yours.

  • katmndoo

    If you continue to work for your dad long term, he needs to pay you as an actual documented employee. Otherwise you’re losing out on future benefits including social security and Medicare .

  • Smirkly

    You should put some thought into going into a trade. I did refrigeration for supermarkets but electrical or plumbing and try to get in a union. Take any job to get in the trade and learn. Union jobs have schools and you go nights and work days getting good money. Become a journeyman and have something, a career and a chance for a good life.

  • bart_y

    As someone in my mid-40s, if the job is something you could see yourself still doing in 25-30 years, stay with dad. I see a lot of guys running the family business doing something that they get a lot of satisfaction out of. As long as it is giving you the ability to earn a comfortable life for yourself (and potential future family) I’d stay put.

    At one point it wasn’t unusual for people to be paid monthly (may even still be a thing some places) so I wouldn’t sweat that as long as he’s reliable about paying you. I would have a frank conversation with him (and perhaps you know some of this already) about future pay potential, etc. As others have mentioned you’re acquiring a very in demand skill. If he’s honest and says he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to pay much more, then you may want to at least start exploring other options. You need to have that conversation NOW, opposed to when you get the “you’re too valuable to leave” speech in 10 years that creates an uncomfortable situation for you both. Set some honest and realistic expectations today.

  • imuniqueaf

    Do you enjoy working on trucks? If so, I would go to a technical school and diesel certified and make a killing ($100k plus is not unusual). Skilled labor is going through a crisis in talent right now.

    I would keep working with Dad while you’re in school and learn as much as you can from his experience.

  • traffic626

    A normal job allows you to have a Roth to save for the future. You can’t do that if you don’t have taxable income. Help dad when he needs it and keep another job, but don’t do too much where you don’t get to be a kid and do well at school. Sorry…dad here

  • NuisanceTax

    A few years ago, I had a conversation with my youngest son who was also seventeen. He had become disillusioned working for me in the family business, and had decided to take a job at Walmart. I don’t want my children to be spoiled brats, so my practice is to pay them the same as my other employees who are doing the same work. In addition to being a businessman, I am also a father. I realize the importance of my children knowing what it’s like to be struggle for a few years. The initial struggle is the most important factor in retaining success once it is achieved, and it will make them better employers – once I’m gone and they are running things. That concept didn’t sit well with him, as he told me about all his potential promotions, paid time off, and other wonderful perks at Walmart. Then I asked him the following question:

    “When Walmart dies, what percentage of the company will you get?”

    The point being, that while he was working in our family business, he was helping build something that he would eventually own outright with his siblings. Why work your butt off to enrich Sam Walton’s clan? Indeed, my son’s 25% share of the family business will eventually provide him with an income in the high six-figures for the rest of his life. And if the siblings all work together and truly apply themselves, the sky is the limit. I reminded him that he and the other serfs would have nothing but the meager wages Walmart chooses to pay them. It finally clicked, and he’s back working for me, incidentally.

    If you and your father are happy working together, then see if he would like to eventually expand the business and run it as a partnership. The knowledge and experience of his age, combined with the enthusiasm and stamina of your youth would make an unstoppable combination. Then hire one of your friends to do what you are doing now- and congratulations, you just got promoted.

  • hornsupguys

    As long as your dad is good for the money (isn’t going to stiff you), dude…take the more money. If you work a “normal” job, they will also take about 10% of what you earn to pay taxes, so the pay is even less.

    Just remember, unless you have bills due literally that day, it doesn’t matter WHEN a job pays you. You should be able to budget around the times you get paid so that when you actually get paid is irrelevant because already have a plan for the money

  • LukeLongevity

    Fuq u bro 20 an hour to hang out with ur dad? That even a question?

    Fr though you should do as many hours as you can with him and keep that money saved if you ask me. I’m 22 moved out with no hope of getting a car in the next year or so since most of my savings go on rent. It’ll take me years to save up money like that .

    Get some minimum wage paying job with however many hours you can handle aswell though just for weekly expenses, hanging out with friends etc so you aren’t so temped to tap into savings

  • Stimperonovitch

    If your dad is paying you off the books, he and you are not paying social security. This will hurt when you want to retire and aren’t able to collect social security if it is still available.

  • Duderus159

    Work with your dad and collect the cash. You’re 17 and probably won’t make it again for a bit. As long as the money comes in and bills are paid who cares

  • Ok_Equipment_5895

    Don’t ever discount being able to manage your own time

  • Half_burnt_skunk

    Does your dad own the truck/company? There’s variables here. If he does, he’s probably trying to give you a legacy. If he doesn’t, he’s probably just wanting to spend time with his child, all while paying the bills and paying you out.

  • Randomredditguy2

    Imo and from my experience, get a job and start your own path. Can still help your dad on the side at times

  • Restil

    If you’re a skilled mechanic, you can easily find a job that pays 20/hr and all other things being equal, you should work elsewhere. Speaking as someone who worked all of his teens and most of his early 20’s for a family business, future employers tend to just ignore all of that work history, presuming any reference from it to be biased.

    Nothing beats having a few years of solid employment with a well known business that you’re still eligible for rehire at (or better yet, still working at when you interview elsewhere).

    The good news is that at your age, you’re not expected to have a lengthy work experience and going into an entry level position with some background mechanic experience for the family business or as a hobby would be perfectly normal. Their biggest concern at your age would be how likely you are to show up for work every day on time. But if you wait until you’re in your late 20s to make this move, you might find yourself in a position where people wonder what you’ve been doing with the last 10 years of your life, even if you’ve been fully employed the whole time.

  • hulknuts

    Like others have said, you have the skills and experience to get a real job. Get your regular job, get some certifications, and more experience. Keep working with your dad for the extra cash. Best case scenario you start your own business like your dad and hire a few guys under you.

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