As with anything it all depends on the location. An Orlando news station did an experiment years ago (about 15 years ago) and they panhandled at a busy interstate off ramp. They did it for three days. They got between $300 and $500 dollars each day. (They then turned the money over to a homeless shelter.) Their one day total was more than I was taking home in a week.
Yes, location, location, location. I wish I could remember the name of the movie, it was based on a true story. Short version, it happened in NY city. Mid level executive fired, doesn't tell wife or family. Goes job hunting, can't find work, spends the day in movie theaters. Wife thinks he is working. He uses up all their savings and borrows to the hilt. After an afternoon of drinking he decides to go home and tell his family the truth. He is in bad shape (looks and stature) . Standing outside the train station hat in hand he wipes his brow. A woman passing by drops some coins in his hat. He smiles and says thank you, then another person drops coins in his hat. After three hours he has collected over $150 ( in those days that was a small fortune). He heads home on the train and cleans himself up in the train's bathroom. He develops a complicted career plan. The next day he starts a new career, as a "career panhandler". According to the book and movie he made over $80K his first year.