Are you looking to earn some extra cash on the side? If so, the gig economy can help.
This post will tell you what it's like being part of this growing sector — and how you can make money using a gig app job like Uber. Finally, you'll get an insider look at 13 of the best gig economy apps in 2022.
What is the gig economy?
For most people, the term "gig economy" brings up companies like Uber, Fiverr, and Upwork. In reality, though, it's a lot broader than that.
The gig economy refers to a free marketplace where you can earn income by working on short-term and on-demand assignments, jobs, and projects.
According to Statista, 85.6 million people in the US alone will be working as freelancers by the end of 2027. That's 50.9% of the American workforce. Clearly, the gig economy isn't going anywhere.
Who are gig workers?
Gig workers are self-employed individuals working with various clients and companies.
Every sector and industry has its own gig workers. Some of the jobs they do are new, emerging out of recent technological advancements. Others, though, have been around for some time.
Here are some different types of self-employed workers:
- Freelancers: Workers performing services for several clients
- Independent contractors: Self-employed individuals who often cover some of the responsibilities typically given to employees
- Consultants: Subject-matter experts offering guidance to clients
- Temps: Workers who take assignments on a short-term, or temporary, basis
- Seasonal workers: People are offering temporary services during specific seasons, or under seasonal circumstances
Pros of being a gig worker
Being a gig worker isn't for everyone. After all, these jobs don't come with benefits like health insurance, and the earnings they yield are taxed at a higher rate.
Still, gig work comes with its share of plusses. Here are some reasons to consider picking up a gig app job.
It's easy to get started
There's a very low barrier to entry for most types of gig work — you certainly don't need to invest time and money in a degree, for instance.
Most gig app jobs don't require any prior experience in their field, so you can start earning some extra money easily. Some app jobs will, of course, come with their own requirements. Uber drivers, for instance, need valid driver’s licenses.
You can set your own hours
As a gig worker, you can choose can set your own schedule — even working around the demands of school, a day job, or caretaking responsibilities if you need to.
Virtually every gig job offers a flexible schedule. Some will even let you work from home — or from a remote location anywhere in the world.
There's a lot of variety in the work
You can find different kinds of jobs in virtually every sector. There's something for almost everyone.
If you hate the idea of a mundane job where every day looks exactly the same, the variety you'll find in gig work can be a real plus. With these jobs, there's virtually no sense of monotony. You never know what you'll get, and every day is a new day.
You can try something new
If you're nurturing a budding talent and thinking about switching careers, gig work can give you an opportunity to try it out without jeopardizing your current income stream.
Not ready to cut your full-time job loose? Stacking a few contracts or app jobs on the side of your can let you have a taste of your potential new career without committing all the way.
13 best app jobs like Uber
Are you sold on the benefits of gig work? In that case, you'll have lots of opportunities to find a job that works for you. New apps seem to pop up every day.
As long as you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, you'll never lack for gig work if you want it. Still, the sheer number of opportunities out there can make it hard to cut through the noise and find the right app job for your needs.
That's why we've reviewed the 13 best gig apps in 2021. From classic rideshare apps to delivery services of all kinds, these job platforms offer something for everyone.
Best if: You want the classic rideshare experience
Lyft is a leading rideshare app popular across the country. Like Uber, it's active in almost every city in the US.
If you like working as a rideshare driver, and Uber alone isn't sending enough assignments your way, signing up as a Lyft driver can help you earn significantly more behind the wheel.
Lyft made its name in the rideshare sector, but it also offers other transportation-related services, including bike sharing, motor scooter sharing, and even food delivery.
Best if: You make a lot of long-distance trips
Like Postmates, Roadie is an all-in-one delivery app. Couriers on the system drop off everything from prescription drugs to groceries to pieces of furniture.
Roadie's niche, though, is in the long-distance hauling game — making it a good option for truckers in search of a side hustle. U-Hauls, especially, are in big demand. The long-distance option also means that, unlike other delivery service apps, Roadie won't restrict you to purely local jobs.
Savvy drivers can take advantage of this option by stacking Roadie gigs with their personal travels. For example, say you're living in California and planning to visit family in Arizona. You can accept a long-distance delivery order from Roadie in the same direction, turning your road trip into a money-making opportunity.
Best if: You're a Texan with a driver's license and a love of the open road
Hitch is a one-of-a-kind, city-to-city carpooling app. If you often travel between cities, you can register as a driver with Hitch. You'll list your route on the app and be able to pick up passengers on route.
For those who frequently travel by car and don't mind the company, Hitch offers a unique opportunity to make money on the side and even subsidize your car expenses. Hitch is currently only available in Texas. So if you're a resident of the Lone Star State, it can be a great Uber alternative.
Best if: You want high pay for chauffeuring young passengers
Think of HopSkipDrive as Uber for kids. Parents use the app to book rides for their children, whether to pick them from school or bring them to a friend's place.
HopSkipDrive's vetting process is more rigorous than what you see on the other rideshare services — you're driving children, after all. Once you've gone through it, though, the app makes it worth your while. HopSkipDrive pays as much as $32 an hour.
Best if: You want a gig economy job that isn't mostly about driving
TaskRabbit is a platform where people can make job postings requesting "Taskers" to complete various small tasks.
People on the app use Taskers to move boxes, shop for groceries, cook, hang pictures, and run all kinds of errands. The most popular task, though, was furniture assembly. In fact, Taskers were asked to put together so much IKEA furniture that the Scandinavian home-goods chain actually bought TaskRabbit in 2017.
The best part of working for TaskRabbit? It's the power to set your own prices. Your chances of getting more jobs even with higher prices will go up as you work with clients and build up your reputation on the platform.
Best if: You like some variety in your workday
Unlike some of its popular food delivery competitors, Postmates will have you delivering more than just food. Clients also use the platform for grocery items, office supplies, phone chargers, and much more.
In a way, you can think of Postmates as a virtual personal assistant service like TaskRabbit. Clients on the platform can raise job requests for everything ranging from parcel pickups to the delivery of important documents. Postmates couriers are supplied with delivery bags and boxes to secure all of these.
If you're interested in working with a more varied delivery service where you can make some extra money through both base pay and tips, Postmates might be for you. All you need is to complete a background check and set your schedule to get started.
7. Amazon Flex
Best if: You don't want to deal with passengers or food smells in your car
Amazon Flex is a proprietary app by Amazon. As an Amazon Flex driver, you'll pick Amazon’s orders from designated depots in your area and deliver them to customers’ addresses.
Amazon pays you on a per-order basis. You'll only get paid for successful deliveries. though.
That said, you can make multiple delivery attempts even if you exceed your allocated shift with Amazon Flex. All you need to do is contact Amazon Flex’s support team and tell them you made another attempt to deliver your order.
Best if: Your area is known for its restaurant scene
Caviar was the pioneer food delivery app that appeared in 2015. It was popular with couriers from the outset because the app gives them high pay for every order they deliver.
On the other hand, demand for Caviar has been relatively low, at least compared to other food delivery apps. The reason? The platform mainly works with expensive food outlets and restaurants.
Caviar caters to a fairly specific clientele. That means it's not the best option in areas without much in the way of fine dining. Still, Caviar's users are willing to pay high prices because they get an excellent delivery service with short waiting times.
If you live in an area with high-end restaurants, Caviar may help you make decent money, whether it's your primary gig or a side hustle.
Best if: You want to work on a platform where the demand never drops
DoorDash is arguably the food delivery platform of the moment — the one with the highest demand. All you need to get on in it is a car, a phone, and a valid driver's license.
For DoorDash drivers, the base pay per order varies with each order. Luckily, they never have to guess: the app displays how much you'll make for an order before you accept.
At the end of the day, most Dashers enjoy decent earnings when their bonuses and tips are factored in.
Best if: You want to pick and choose the most convenient orders
Grubhub is another popular app offering food delivery services to people across the country. The platform offers a reasonable per-order rate. Demand, however, is lower than for DoorDash.
For couriers, the Grubhub experience comes with both pros and cons. One major benefit: Grubhub displays the total amount each delivery will net you, including any tips. The app also shows you the destination before you accept, so you can pick and choose the orders that are most convenient for you.
On the minus side, Grubhub tends to send delivery requests very quickly. You might find yourself getting to the restaurant, only to find our they've just gotten the order request and haven't yet started making the food. This can lead to significant down time as you wait for orders to be completed.
11. Uber Eats
Best if: You want to delivery on a bike or scooter
Uber Eats has grown a lot over the last couple of years — both size of its customer base and the sophistication of its app.
In earlier version of the app, Uber Eats drivers couldn't even see where they were going until they accepted an order. Luckily, that's changed. Now, you can preview your destination beforehand, allowing you to choose the orders that make the most sense for you.
Uber Eats' base pay is relatively low — the real earning potential is in tips and bonuses. It does offer one benefit that's relatively rare among food delivery apps: you can delivery on a bike, scooter, or any other vehicle, in any market. (Rival platforms, like DoorDash, tend to offer bike delivery only in major urban hubs like San Francisco and New York City.)
That makes this one of the few delivery gig apps you can use even without a car.
Best if: You'd like the option of buying groceries without delivery them
Want to get paid for grocery shopping? Instacart is currently the leading app in this niche.
Instacart hires both full-service shoppers and in-store shoppers who work in grocery stores picking up orders for clients. Depending on which one you decide to do, you'll either be shopping and getting the order ready for pick-up, or shopping and delivering orders.
For this service, Instacart pays between $5 and $9 per order — the app will show you exactly how much when you accept an order. That's not counting tips from clients, of course, which might pad your earnings further.
Instacart can be lucrative. But it depends on where the grocery store you're shopping in is located relative to you. Especially if you work as a full-service shopper, you'll have to balance your earnings against the fuel costs you're incurring.
The best option is to pair multiple jobs in the same store in one go. That way, you can earn extra cash without wasting gas money.
Best if: You want to pick your own jobs, instead of getting them assigned to you
Shipt is an exclusive app offering grocery delivery services. Instead of being assigned specific jobs, Shipt shoppers can view all the orders that arrive in a central pool — and then choose the ones that make sense for them. The only catch: You have to deliver each order within an hour of accepting it.
Shipt will display how much each order pays out, where the delivery location is, and how many items are in the order. But you'll have to accept the job to see exactly what those orders are.
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