I recently did a presentation on the gig economy and it got me thinking about all of the different gig economy apps that are currently available. For years, I’ve been using gig economy apps to generate extra income – first, while holding a traditional and demanding 9-5 job, then as a side thing while I transitioned to self-employment. Over the years, I’ve regularly tracked this income in my monthly side hustle reports, the goal of which is to show people exactly what someone can make from side hustling using various gig economy apps.
For many people, these gig economy apps don’t seem very valuable. But a side hustle is worth a lot more than you think, and small amounts, when given enough time, really do add up. Indeed, over the past four years, I’ve been able to make over $100,000 from all of my various gig economy side hustles. Interestingly, these are side hustles that pretty much anyone can do. And if saved and invested over the long-term, it can add up to even more. In fact, these side hustles can literally make you a millionaire (see The Reverse Latte Factor for more information about how this is possible).
When you think about it, even just a few years ago, earning money like this wasn’t really possible. The gig economy and the rise of gig economy apps changed everything, making it possible for almost anyone to earn money on their own time, in small or large bursts. These days, basically everyone can use the gig economy to fit various side hustles in their day-to-day life. If you’re really clever, you might even figure out how to use these gig economy apps to get paid for the things you’re already doing (I call this monetizing your life).
The confusing thing about the gig economy is just how many different apps are available. I figured that having a single post listing every gig economy app I’ve used or know about might be helpful to readers looking for ideas on how to make extra money using the gig economy.
What follows is a post that lists every single gig economy app I’ve used or know about. Most are apps that I’ve personally used myself and continue to use today. Note that this will be an evolving list since new apps come and go all the time. I’ll do my best to keep this post updated on a regular basis with all of the best gig economy apps that I hear about.
- 1 How This Post Is Organized
- 2 Platform-Based Apps
- 3 Home Sharing
- 4 Dog Sitting
- 5 Car Sharing/Car Rentals
- 6 Selling/Flipping Items
- 7 On-Demand Apps
- 8 Rideshare
- 9 Food Delivery
- 10 Grocery Delivery
- 11 Dog Walking
- 12 Scooter Charging
- 13 General Delivery Apps
- 14 Insurance Appraiser Apps
- 15 Product Review Apps
- 16 Picture Taking/Auditing Apps
- 17 Moving Apps
- 19 Survey Apps
- 20 Freelancer Apps
- 21 General Tasks
- 22 Housework and Handyman Work
- 23 Final Thoughts On The Gig Economy And Gig Economy Apps
How This Post Is Organized
When I think about gig economy apps, I think of three types of apps. Thus, I’ve divided this post into three sections, with each app in its respective section.
- Platform-Based Apps. These are apps where you create your own profile and set your own prices. You’re essentially creating your own small business and the platform acts as a middle man, taking a commission in exchange for providing a platform for you to list on. (Example: Airbnb)
- On-Demand Apps. These are gig economy apps where customers can request specific services and the app sends requests out to potential workers. The apps set the price in advance and you are able to accept or reject offers that come to you. Generally, the app will provide you information so you can make an informed decision about whether to accept or reject an offer. (Example: Uber, DoorDash)
- Freelancer Apps. These are generally the same as platform-based apps but differ in that rather than selling a product (such as a short-term rental), you’re usually selling a niche, specialized skill. I think of these platforms more as built for freelancers. (Example: TaskRabbit)
In each section, I’ll also explain the general strategy I’ve used for each type of app and give you suggestions on how you can make each gig economy app work for you.
Get ready. This is going to be a long post
Platform-based apps come in a variety of flavors. Most generally involve selling or renting something out (i.e. renting out your house, selling things online, etc). The common characteristic, as mentioned above, is that platform-based apps allow you to create your own profile and set your own price. The platform is simply the way you get your business out to the public.
Here are some of the platform-based apps you can look at.
For most of us, our home is our largest asset. If you have a spare room in your house or you travel regularly, you can use home-sharing platforms to generate significant income from your largest asset. Here are some of the primary apps you can use if you are looking to make money in the short-term rental game.
The obvious big dog in the home-sharing space is Airbnb, which most people reading this have likely used at some point. I’ve been an Airbnb host since 2016, either renting out a spare room in my house or renting out my entire house when I’m traveling. It’s allowed me to generate significant income from my primary residence, making it so that, in most years, I’m able to cover most of my housing expenses using just my Airbnb income.
Airbnb Strategies. There are two general ways that you can use Airbnb to generate income with your primary residence: (1) rent out a private room in your house on Airbnb; or (2) rent out your entire home on Airbnb when you aren’t there.
Here’s a breakdown of various ways you can do this:
- Private Room
- Rent out a spare room in your house (i.e. a guestroom)
- Rent out a separate space in your house (i.e. a basement, mother-in-law suite, or guesthouse)
- Entire Home
- Rent out your house when you’re traveling
- Rent out your house during special events (think sporting events, concerts, other local events, etc)
I’ve written in the past about the benefits of renting out a room on Airbnb, but even if you aren’t comfortable with sharing your space with a stranger, you can at least consider renting out your house on Airbnb when you travel. And if that’s too much work, you can even consider just renting out a private room in your house when you aren’t home. When you think about it, most people likely have their home sitting empty for several days to several weeks per year. Rather than having your house sit empty, you can use it to generate income for you while you are gone.
At a minimum, consider taking advantage of the Master’s Rule. This is a tax benefit where if you rent out your home for 14 days or less in a calendar year, you do not have to pay federal income tax on those earnings. It’s one of the few ways that the government allows you to earn tax-free income, so take advantage of it if you can.
You can sign up to be an Airbnb host here. And if you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can sign up to be an Airbnb guest for the next time you travel.
2. VRBO and HomeAway
VRBO and HomeAway are both owned by Expedia and are two short-term rental platforms that you can use for your house. The companies charge homeowners based on either a commission system or a subscription-based model. These two platforms are geared primarily towards vacation rentals, so whether it’ll work for you will depend on where you’re located.
If you have a vacation rental, it might make sense to list on multiple platforms in order to get the most exposure. Just make sure you stay organized to avoid getting double booked.
Rover is a platform connecting dog owners with dog sitters. To use Rover, you first create a profile for yourself, then set your prices and services. If someone needs their dog watched, they can go on the Rover app and see all of the available dog sitters in their area. The easiest way to describe Rover is as an Airbnb for dogs.
Essentially, what Rover sitters are doing is creating their own dog sitting business. I started watching dogs on Rover back in 2015 and over the years, I’ve hosted dozens of different dogs. It’s worked out pretty well, especially since I have a repeat base of clients that I often work with, which makes the entire dog sitting process predictable and fairly passive.
If you’re a dog lover, this is a pretty great way to generate extra income doing something you might already want to do. You can sign up to be a Rover dog sitter here.
Rover Strategies. One of the reasons Rover has worked for me is because I already own a dog, and as a result, I already have to do all of the tasks that come with owning a dog (such as walking my dog, feeding my dog, etc). Setting myself up as a dog sitter on Rover essentially allows me to monetize the dog care tasks that I’m already doing. The way I see it, if I already have to take care of my own dog, it’s not really much more work for me to add a second dog into the mix. When it comes to gig economy side hustles, Rover can almost act as passive income.
Car Sharing/Car Rentals
Turo is a platform that allows users to list cars for people to rent (think of it as an Airbnb for car rentals). Like other platform apps, you create your profile, set your price for your car, and wait for people to book it.
When you consider that most cars sit unused for the majority of the time, monetizing your vehicle by renting it out when you aren’t using it could be one way to generate some extra income. In addition, it can be fairly passive as well once you have some systems in place.
Of the major car-sharing apps, Turo is the biggest platform and is likely available in your city.
Getaround is another car-sharing platform that allows car owners to rent out their cars to people. The key differentiator with Getaround is that it acts more like an on-demand car-sharing app, allowing you to rent your car out on-demand for shorter periods (in contrast, Turo acts more like a traditional car rental service). Getaround is available in fewer cities, so it might not be available where you live.
HyreCar is a car-sharing platform that works a little differently when compared to Turo and Getaround. Instead of renting to the general public, HyreCar rentals are car rentals for rideshare drivers and food delivery couriers. In other words, someone without a car can rent your car through HyreCar and then use your car to do rideshare or food deliveries. HyreCar provides the renter with rideshare insurance, which they can use while working.
Car Sharing/Car Rental Strategies. Your car likely sits unused for the vast majority of the day. Depending on how often you use your car, renting it out on a carsharing platform like Turo or Getaround could be a viable option to generate essentially passive income from what would otherwise be an idle asset. Of course, you have to factor in the real costs of operating your vehicle, so do the math to make sure that this makes sense for your situation.
The great thing about the internet is that it’s made it possible for all of us to start up our own little retail stores with millions of customers. Most of us have done this at some point, selling something in our house when we’re spring cleaning. Other times, you might get more creative and buy things at thrift stores or garage sales and then resell them for profit. It’s basically business 101 – find something at a lower price, sell it at a higher price.
Here are the apps you can use if you’re looking to make extra money selling or flipping items for profit:
Everyone reading this knows what eBay is. If you need to sell something online, eBay is the natural place to start if you’re looking to put your product in front of the most potential buyers. Whether you list on eBay will depend on whether the item you’re selling is something that you can ship. I typically use eBay to sell smaller items and things that are easily shipped – think clothes, books, etc.
2. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is the major platform I would recommend when selling locally, mainly because almost everyone has Facebook, and as a result, almost everyone has Facebook Marketplace.
I usually use Facebook Marketplace when I’m selling furniture or other large items, or if I’m selling something that I know has a lot of demand and I want to avoid paying fees associated with selling on eBay.
OfferUp is another app that allows you to sell locally. They also have a feature that allows you to list items nationally (in this scenario, the buyer pays for the item via the OfferUp app and then OfferUp takes a small commission). I usually use OfferUp for local sales.
Letgo is another app for selling things locally. I find that of the major selling platforms, Letgo is the worst one. Still, just in case, I always try to list anything I sell locally on the three major listing platforms (Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and Letgo). It’s easy enough to cut and paste your listing onto all three platforms.
5. Other Apps For Selling/Flipping
There are some other apps that you might want to look at as well. These include the following:
- Poshmark. This is an app you can use for selling clothes. I find that it’s geared primarily towards women’s clothes, so I haven’t really used it much since most of the clothes I sell are men’s clothes. I know that a lot of people have had success selling used clothing on Poshmark, so if you have the right items, it may be worth listing here.
- Mercari. Mercari is another app that you can use to sell your stuff online. Buyers pay via the app and you then ship the item with the provided shipping label. Mercari takes a small percentage fee from each sale you make through the app.
When you think about the gig economy and gig economy apps, most people think of on-demand services where customers request specific services and the app sends out requests to potential gig workers. Prices are set in advance, and as a gig economy worker, you generally are provided some information and can choose to accept or reject the offer.
There are a lot of different on-demand gig economy apps covering numerous areas. Here are the major on-demand gig economy apps you can use:
Rideshare is the major on-demand gig economy app that most people were first introduced to years ago. The two major players are Uber and Lyft, with some smaller regional or more niche rideshare options available in some cities.
I personally have always avoided rideshare simply because I don’t drive often and don’t find it particularly fun to do, but depending on your personality and interests, it could be something you could pick up.
I don’t need to spend much time explaining how Uber works. To sign up, you simply need to pass a background check and have a car that meets Uber’s requirements. Uber is available in almost every city in the United States, so if rideshare is something you want to do, you can probably do it with Uber.
Lyft is the other major rideshare app and it works pretty much the same as Uber. Like Uber, Lyft is available in pretty much every city in the United States. If you sign up for Uber, you should sign up for Lyft as well.
In addition to Uber and Lyft, there are also smaller, regional rideshare apps that you can use, as well as more niche apps that are specific to certain situations. These include the following:
- Hitch. Hitch is a city-to-city carpool app. If drivers are traveling between cities, they can list their route and pick up people along the way, helping to subsidize or potentially cover the cost of their trip. It’s essentially a carpool app that, in the past, would have been done on Craigslist or on college bulletin boards. At the moment, Hitch is limited to Texas only.
- Wingz. Wingz is a peer-to-peer marketplace, where customers can pick specific drivers to drive for them. Rides are scheduled in advance and have a flat rate. Generally, Wingz is used for airport drop-offs and special events.
- Via. Via is a rideshare service limited to New York, Washington DC, and Chicago. It acts the same as Uber Pool or Lyft Line, where drivers pick up multiple riders going in the same directions.
- HopSkipDrive. HopSkipDrive is a rideshare service designed for driving kids. Parents can book rides in advance for their children, which can be very helpful for busy parents that need someone to drive their kids from place to place. The vetting process for HopSkipDrive is much more intense since you’re driving children, but as a result, you can generally expect to make more, with the app touting earnings as high as $32 per hour.
Of all the gig economy side hustles that I do, food delivery is probably my favorite because of how well it fits into my day-to-day life.
Food delivery apps all work in essentially the same manner – you get pinged for an order, the app provides some information about the order, and you can then decide whether to accept or reject the order based on that information.
It’s important to remember that when you’re using gig economy apps, you are your own business. So, think like a business owner. You’ll want to think about the following things when using any food delivery app:
- Does the app tell you how much you’ll make upfront? Some apps will give you the total amount you’ll earn (including tip) before you accept the order. Other apps won’t tell you the tip until after you complete the order. In general, the apps that give you more information upfront are better.
- Does the app tell you where the delivery is going? Having this information in advance is extremely important because it’ll allow you to make more educated decisions with your orders. This was more of a problem a few years ago, but at this point, all of the major apps tell you where the order is going before you accept an order.
The great thing about food deliveries – and the primary reason why I do them – is because you don’t need to use a car. I’ve delivered food on my bike exclusively for years, allowing me to save significantly on vehicle costs, and importantly, allowing me to essentially get paid to exercise.
With all that said, here are the primary food delivery apps that you can use if you are interested in doing food delivery.
Of the big four delivery apps, Postmates is the lowest paying in my experience and the one I rank at the bottom when thinking about the four main food delivery apps. The only real advantage with Postmates is that it’s probably the easiest one to get signed up with. Switching between different vehicle modes is also really easy, and I believe in every market, you can use any vehicle that you want when doing deliveries.
Important things to know about Postmates:
- In my experience, it’s the lowest paying, with pay for most deliveries starting in the $3 range. My tip rate percentage is also really low compared to the other food delivery apps.
- Postmates does not show you the delivery amount in advance (so when you accept an order, you have to make an educated guess as to whether it pays enough to be worth it).
- The app shows you where the delivery is going before accepting
- You can use any type of vehicle you want and can easily switch between vehicles.
You can sign up to deliver for Postmates here.
In my opinion, DoorDash is one of the better food delivery apps and is the one that I tend to make the most money with. The base pay for each order varies, but I find it generally pays well when you factor in tips and bonuses. Importantly, DoorDash shows you what you’ll make before you accept the order, so you can use that information to decide if a delivery makes sense for you. DoorDash is also the biggest delivery platform, so it tends to have the most orders and highest demand.
Important things to know about DoorDash:
- Pay per order is generally strong, and especially so if there are bonuses and customers are tipping well.
- Shows you what you will make before you accept the order, including tip amount.
- You can see where the delivery is going in advance.
- In many zones, DoorDash requires you to use a car. Bikes are typically only allowed in dense zones (think downtowns and city centers).
You can sign up to deliver for DoorDash here.
3. Uber Eats
Uber Eats used to be one of the weaker delivery apps, but I think they’ve improved a lot over the past few years. The major change is that you can now see where the order is going before you accept it. In the past, the delivery location was kept hidden until after you picked up the order. This made Uber Eats essentially unusable for those of us that run multiple apps or that are trying to strategize our deliveries. I’ve found that demand on Uber Eats has also been steadily increasing, so it’s an app you need to have if you want to stay busy.
Important things to know about Uber Eats:
- Base pay can be low, but bonuses and tips usually make it more worthwhile.
- The app does not show you the tip amount in advance, so what you see is what the order pays before tips. I’ve found that almost everyone tips on Uber Eats because customers tip before they place their order.
- For a while, Uber Eats did not show where the delivery was going, but that has changed and the app now shows you where the delivery is going in advance.
- In most markets, you can use any vehicle, including bikes.
You can sign up to deliver for Uber Eats here.
Grubhub tends to pay the most per individual order, but in my area at least, the orders are fewer in number, so it’s difficult to rely solely on Grubhub. One of the annoying things with Grubhub is that they’ll often send you orders as soon as someone places an order, which means you can arrive at a restaurant and find that the restaurant just received the order as well. This can be extremely annoying if you’re forced to wait, but with a little experience, you’ll know which orders will be ready and which you need to wait for. Grubhub also has a scheduling system, which gives you preferential treatment when it comes to orders. This is in contrast to most of the other delivery apps, where scheduling either doesn’t exist or isn’t necessary.
Important things to know about Grubhub:
- In my experience, the pay per order tends to be the highest among the big four delivery apps.
- Grubhub shows you the total order payout before you accept it, including tip.
- The app shows you where the order is going before you accept it.
- In many areas, Grubhub requires you to use a car.
You can sign up to deliver for Grubhub here.
5. Other Food Delivery Platforms
Outside of the big four delivery apps, you might also have access to a few smaller, more regional delivery apps. These include the following:
- Caviar. Caviar was actually the first delivery app that I started with way back in 2015. When was a Caviar courier, I found that the pay per order was very high, but demand was not that high. Unfortunately, Caviar left my city several years ago, so I haven’t been able to do Caviar deliveries in several years. It’s important to note that DoorDash bought Caviar in 2019. So far, DoorDash has left them both as separate apps and it remains to be seen what will happen to Caviar in the future.
- Clustertruck. Clustertruck is different from the other food delivery apps in that, rather than picking up orders from restaurants, orders are prepared by a central ghost kitchen that Clustertruck owns. Couriers pick up orders from this kitchen and deliver them to customers. When I delivered for Clustertruck, I found that the pay per delivery was low, but the delivery distances were short and deliveries could be completed really quickly. The app is only available in a few markets, but if it’s in your market, you might as well try it out and see if it works for you.
- GoPuff. GoPuff works a little differently from other food delivery apps in that instead of picking up food from restaurants, you pick up your orders from a central delivery warehouse (the orders are packed in advance by employees). In essence, GoPuff works like an online convenience store. Personally, GoPuff has never worked for me because they require you to work shifts and you have to use a car. However, it could be worth trying to see if it makes sense for you.
- Favor. Favor is a food delivery app that used to have a larger presence but is now limited just to a few markets in Texas. I’ve never done deliveries for Favor before, but if you are in a market that has them, try them out and see if they fit with your delivery strategy.
Food Delivery Strategies.
- Think Like A Business. Most people don’t realize it, but when you’re doing food deliveries as an independent contractor, you are acting as a business. So make sure to act like one. Anything you do should be in terms of what makes sense as a business decision. Don’t let the apps control your decisions.
- Multi-App. One of the most important things about being an independent contractor is that you can work for as many different delivery platforms as you like. The absolute best way to increase your earnings is to run multiple delivery apps at once. Ideally, you want to stack orders going in similar directions. This will dramatically increase your earnings. It takes practice, but once you are comfortable, it becomes second nature.
- Be Picky. The mistake a lot of new delivery couriers make is accepting every order that they get. As an independent contractor, you have the right to accept or reject any orders you want. Avoid the scarcity mindset and remember that if you reject one order, there are always going to be more orders coming. I reject far more orders than I ever accept.
- Monetize Your Commute and/or Get Paid to Exercise. One of the lesser-known benefits of food delivery is that you can use it as part of a strategy I call monetizing your life. For example, whenever I leave the office, I always turn on my food delivery apps and try to snag orders heading towards my house. By doing this, I can essentially monetize my commute home. Similarly, if you use your bike, you can do deliveries and essentially get paid to exercise.
- Additional Resources. If you’re looking for more strategies on how to approach the delivery game, I’d recommend checking out Entrecourier and his great Deliver On Your Business Podcast. You should especially listen to the first 31 episodes of his podcast, which he calls the 31-Day Delivery MBA. It’ll give you a much better understanding of how to approach the delivery game and how to think of it with a business mindset. Definitely one of the better resources I’ve found when it comes to doing deliveries.
The pandemic gave a lot of people an introduction to grocery delivery, which means a lot more demand for grocery delivery services in the future. More demand for grocery delivery services also means there’s a lot of opportunity for gig workers in the grocery delivery space.
All of the grocery delivery apps work in the same general manner – you have orders that you can choose to accept (typically a pool of orders), you then shop for those orders, and deliver those orders to the customer.
Here are the main grocery delivery apps that you can use:
Shipt is the grocery delivery app that I have the most experience with since it’s the busiest delivery service in my market. Orders are sent to a central pool and Shipt shoppers can then pick and choose which orders they’d like to take.
Before accepting an order, you’ll receive the following information:
- Approximately how much the order pays. This number will vary based on how much the order actually costs (for example, if customers add more items or if items can’t be found and are left out).
- The number of items in the order. The exact items are revealed once you accept the order.
- The delivery location.
- The time the order needs to be delivered. Every order has to be delivered within a one hour block. Depending on the order, you may be able to deliver it early.
The major downside with Shipt is that shopping for items can be time-consuming, especially if you aren’t familiar with the store layout or if a lot of items are out of stock and you’re forced to ask the customer about substitutions. The other downside is that earnings can be fairly tip-dependent. That is, if you don’t get tips, I’ve found that your earnings can end up pretty low.
You can sign up to be a Shipt shopper here.
Instacart is the other major grocery delivery app that you can work for. Similar to Shipt, orders generally go to a central pool and you can then snag orders that make sense for you. And like Shipt, Instacart provides you certain information before you accept an order, including how much the order pays (including tip), what items are in the order, the delivery location, and the delivery time.
One difference with Instacart is that, in addition to normal orders where you shop for the customer, Instacart also has delivery only orders, where you simply pick up and deliver orders that have already been shopped for by Instacart employees. I find these deliver only orders preferable compared to having to shop for and deliver orders.
You can sign up to be an Instacart shopper here.
Dumpling is an interesting grocery delivery app in that, unlike Shipt or Instacart, which act more like on-demand services (i.e. customers place orders with the app and shoppers then accept orders), Dumpling acts more like a platform app where shoppers create their own profile and set their own price and Dumpling customers can then request specific shoppers to complete their orders for them.
In essence, with Dumpling, you are more acting as your own business, similar to when you create a listing on Airbnb or Rover and serve customers directly via those platforms. You’re basically creating your own grocery delivery business.
It costs $9.99 to start your grocery delivery business on Dumpling and then the app has different pricing plans depending on what makes more sense for you (either pay a commission per order or pay a monthly subscription fee).
The major downside, at least for side hustlers like myself, is that the terms say you have to do one delivery every 30 days in order to keep your account active. I’m not sure if that means you have to pay to reactivate your account each time, or if it just means you have to go through the reactivation process again, but it’s something to think about when deciding to create a profile on Dumpling.
Grocery Delivery Strategies.
- Speed Matters. Unlike food deliveries, grocery deliveries have the added variable in that you need to shop for the customer’s orders. As a result, speed is extremely important and is something that you can largely control. The faster you can shop for orders, the more you’ll ultimately make on a per hour basis. This is a skill that you’ll likely get better at as you do more deliveries and become familiar with different products and store layouts.
- Combine Multiple Orders At Once. If you’re comfortable with it, shopping for multiple orders at once is a great way to essentially double or triple your income. To do this, you need to be very organized and you’ll want to ideally snag orders going in similar directions.
- Do Deliveries While Shopping For Yourself. One thing that you can do with grocery delivery is to plan it out so that you’re shopping for orders during times when you need to shop for groceries yourself. By doing this, you’re able to essentially monetize your grocery shopping time, which would otherwise be wasted time.
If you like dogs and enjoy being outside, then on-demand dog walking is a gig that you might want to consider. There are two primary platforms that you can use:
In most markets, Wag is the primary on-demand dog walking app. The app works similar to Uber, where customers can request a dog walk and then walkers in the area can opt to accept the walk. Walks can either be scheduled in advance or can be immediate, on-demand walks.
If you’ve walked the dog before, you get priority, but otherwise, walks are generally available to anyone that wants to accept it. Walks are either 20, 30, or 60 minutes long, and prices are fixed by Wag. Customers can also opt to tip the walker (of which Wag walkers receive 100% of the tip).
Like other on-demand gig economy apps, walk prices are set by Wag, so whether Wag makes sense for you will depend on your own situation. Before accepting a walk, you’ll get information about the dog, where the dog is located, how long the walk is, and how much the walk pays.
When I worked a full-time job, Wag worked really well for me because I could walk dogs during my lunch hour at the apartments across the street. It was an easy way to generate some extra income while I was at work. Now that I’m self-employed and have a more flexible schedule, Wag walks are a little less convenient, but I’ll still do them if they’re nearby.
Rover is the other primary gig economy dog walking app. As I discussed in the previous section on dog sitting, Rover is a platform-based app, which means you create a profile and set your own prices. Customers can then reach out to you if your profile matches their preferences. This is very different from Wag in that when you are walking dogs on Rover, you’re interacting with the customer. Rover takes a commission as the platform facilitating the transaction.
In my area, Rover walks are not in as high demand. However, if you’re going to do dog walking, you should be using both apps in order to maximize your chances of getting consistent walks.
Dog Walking Strategies.
- Walk Dogs During Your Lunch Break. One of the things that worked really well for me when I had a day job was walking dogs during my lunch break. My office was across the street from a bunch of luxury apartment buildings, which meant that there were a lot of dogs in those buildings that needed walking. I found that the majority of the time, people were looking for walks during the lunch hour, which worked perfectly for me. Instead of sitting at my desk, I would walk across the street, get some fresh air and exercise, and make some money while doing it. Importantly, since I was just walking, I could do my walk while in my work clothes without worrying about coming back to the office covered in sweat.
- Walk Dogs When You’re Traveling – And Get Paid To Explore. Another strategy I’ve used with dog walking is doing dog walks when I’m visiting another city. The beauty of most gig economy apps is that you can do them in any city. Dog walking is an activity that can work very well when you’re looking to explore a city – you can check out new neighborhoods, walk around like a local, and get paid to do something you might already be doing anything (walking and exploring a city).
- Use Dog Walking As Exercise. The nature of dog walking means that you’ll be getting outdoors and getting some exercise. We all need exercise, so if you can use dog walking to get into better shape and make some extra money too, that’s just a bonus.
One thing about the gig economy is that it’s moving so fast that it’s creating new gigs that few of us could have anticipated. Scooter charging is one of those new gigs that would have been hard for many of us to imagine just a few years ago.
For those of you unfamiliar with the world of shared scooters, here’s a little background. Companies place electric scooters in public places. Customers can then rent those scooters using their phones. Gig economy workers come into play because all of these scooters need to be charged when they run out of battery. Each of these companies will pay you a small bounty to grab scooters when they’re low on battery, charge them up in your home, then release them in designated spots once fully charged.
Depending on where you live, scooter charging can be an easy side hustle that you can use to bring in extra income each month. Note that many companies have opted to hire employees, rather than independent contractors, which makes it less suited for a side hustle. I’ve opted to not include those companies on this gig economy list.
With that said, here are the primary scooter companies that you can work for as an independent contractor:
Lime is one of the larger players in the shared scooter space and is the one that I’ve earned the most money with since I started charging scooters back in 2018. Scooter chargers for Lime are called Lime Juicers and signing up is straightforward – you sign up via the Lime app and once approved, you’ll have access to the Lime Juicer mode, which will let you see which scooters in your area need charging.
Pay is on a per scooter basis and varies based on where you are located, with pay typically ranging between $2 and $5 per scooter. If you’re located in an area that has a lot of scooters and has nearby dropoff spots, then charging scooters for Lime can be very lucrative.
During most months in the summer, I’m able to grab 4-6 scooters in a few minutes, charge them up overnight in my house, then drop them off at spots down the street from me. I typically make about $20-$30 per day, which comes out to $600-$900 per month of extra income – perfect for a pretty passive and easy side hustle.
Bird is the other major scooter company that you can charge scooters with as an independent contractor. The Bird app works in the same manner as Lime – you sign up to be a Bird charger through the Bird app, then once approved, you’ll have access to charging mode, which will let you see all of the Bird scooters in your area that need charging.
As with Lime, Bird also pays on a per scooter basis, with similar pay. If you’re in an area that makes sense, charging Bird scooters can be easy and lucrative.
Skip is a scooter company that is currently only available in limited markets in the US. They utilize independent contractors, so Skip works well as a side hustle if it’s in your city.
I don’t have personal experience with Skip, but my brother has been charging scooters for Skip since they launched in his city and considers them to be one of the better scooter companies since they tend to pay the most per scooter. If Skip is in your market, you should probably sign up to charge for them if you can.
Scooter Charging Strategies.
- Charge Scooters And Ride For Free. The biggest benefit about charging scooters – and the reason why I recommend you sign up, even if you don’t really want to charge scooters – is that, for the most part, when you’re charging scooters, you’re able to ride them around for free. When you take a scooter with you to charge, the scooter will unlock. Once charged, it’s possible to use it yourself as a personal scooter until you need to drop it off. For the most part, I never pay for scooter rides, simply because I can ride them around just by finding low battery scooters, charging them up, then riding them around until I need to drop them off in the morning. Note that the scooter companies definitely do not want you doing this, but as long as you don’t abuse it too much, you’re unlikely to get into trouble. (One company that has addressed this is Bird, who now limits captured scooters to 5 mph. It’s a bummer, as it basically removes this option when charging Bird scooters).
- Charge Scooters And Monetize Your Commute. Building on the free scooter rides, charging scooters can mean that you can use scooters to ride to work for free. Here’s how you do it. First, you find a low batter scooter the night before. Then, you charge that scooter up overnight, In the morning, you ride the scooter to work and drop it off along the way. Whether you can do this will depend on where you live and which scooter companies are available in your area. If you’re in a dense neighborhood with a lot of scooters and scooter drop off points, then it should be possible for you to charge up scooters during the evening, then ride the scooter to work and drop it off along the way in the morning.
- Stacking Scooters. As with most of my gig economy side hustles, I never use a car. If you’re like me, you’ll need to learn how to stack scooters, which means propping up a bunch of scooters onto one base scooter, then riding the entire thing. This is something that you’ll have to practice, but once you get good at it, it’s possible to grab multiple scooters, all while on foot.
General Delivery Apps
Beyond food delivery or grocery delivery, there are also various apps that you can use to simply deliver random things from stores or for people. Here are some of the apps you can use for this:
1. Amazon Flex
Amazon Flex is an app where you deliver packages for Amazon customers. There are basically two ways you can use it: (1) sign up for scheduled routes where you deliver multiple packages at once from a central Amazon warehouse; or (2) accept on-demand orders, where you do short deliveries and are paid a fixed sum for the delivery.
Currently, Amazon Flex only delivers packages, groceries from Whole Foods, or liquor store deliveries from certain liquor stores.
Roadie is an app that you can use to deliver items for people and companies. There are two types of deliveries you can do with Roadie. The first is delivering things long distances – typically furniture and other large items. The idea here is that a lot of people drive between cities, typically with empty cars. Roadie allows you to monetize those trips that you’re already taking. You won’t want to go out of your way to do these deliveries, but if you’re already planning a road trip, looking at potential Roadie deliveries on the way can make sense.
The second way to use Roadie is to deliver things locally. A number of companies now utilize Roadie drivers to deliver orders to customers. When a company needs a delivery, they’ll list the order on the Roadie app and drivers can accept the orders on a first-come, first-serve basis. I’ve delivered lost bags for airlines, orders from craft stores, and pharmacy orders. Depending on the situation, taking these orders can make sense.
With Dispatch, you can do local deliveries for businesses. When a business places a delivery order, the app notifies all available drivers nearby. Drivers can accept orders and then pick up and drop off orders. You’ll need to use a car to do these deliveries.
Draiver, formerly called DriverDo, is an interesting gig economy app that could work for you depending on your situation. The app helps car rental companies and moving truck companies move cars between different locations.
When a car needs to be sent to a different location, you’ll receive a notification letting you know that a moving gig is available. Once accepted, you then head to the car rental location, get the keys for the truck or car, then drive it to the new location. Depending on the gig, you’ll either have a second person (also an independent contractor) follow you to the new location and then drive you back, or you’ll take an Uber back and get reimbursed for it.
In my area, I’ve typically moved cars for Penske. The good thing about this app is that, depending on your location, you won’t have to use your own car. I have a Penske moving truck place that’s within biking distance of my house.
Insurance Appraiser Apps
With the rise of smartphones, a lot of insurance companies have opted to send independent contractors to take pictures of things for insurance claims, rather than sending insurance agents to do this work. The primary platform that I’ve been using for this type of gig is WeGoLook.
When a “look” becomes available, it’ll appear on the app with general information about what the look entails and where the look is located. The looks I do typically involve taking pictures of cars, taking pictures of intersections, or taking exterior photos of specific properties. In my experience, doing these gigs is worth the time so long as you’re nearby or are planning to be in the area anyway.
There aren’t a ton of WeGoLook gigs, but it works out pretty well for a fun and easy side hustle if you get looks that are in your area.
Product Review Apps
ProductTube is one of the more underrated apps I’ve discovered in recent years. The app pays you to film yourself purchasing certain products at different stores – usually grocery stores, convenience stores, or big-box retailers like Target and Walmart. When you accept a task, you’ll receive instructions and a list of questions that you need to answer in your video.
What makes ProductTube really good is that the videos are always very short – 5 minutes at most usually. The app typically pays between $10 and $25 for each video, which makes it very lucrative for the amount of time that you have to spend filming. Payment is made via Amazon gift cards, which I basically consider as good as cash.
Note that while the tasks might ask you to purchase something, you never actually have to purchase anything since the videos are all made prior to purchase. In other words, you can just pretend like you’re going to buy something, answer all of the questions, and then put the item back on the shelf.
In terms of hourly earnings, ProductTube is definitely one of the higher paying gig economy apps out there.
Picture Taking/Auditing Apps
There are a number of apps out there where you can get paid small amounts to complete very minor tasks. I generally call these apps “picture taking” apps because they require you to go to certain stores and take photos of different sections of the store. The idea behind these apps is that companies want to make sure their products are being properly displayed in stores, so they’ll pay contractors to go out there and take photos for them.
Each task pays a small amount – usually $5 to $10 for each task. That might not seem like a lot, but most of the time, these tasks only take a few minutes, so if you do the math, it can be lucrative for the amount of time you spend on them. I wouldn’t go out of your way to do these gigs, but if you see a gig that’s nearby or at a store that you’re going to visit anyway, then it can make sense to snag some of these gigs.
Note that all of these apps are completed in stores and generally require you to do them surreptitiously. Most stores won’t notice you taking photos inside, but you’ll usually want to do your best to go unnoticed because you might get asked to leave if they see you taking photos inside.
With that said, below are the primary picture taking/auditing apps you can use:
GigWalk is an app where you complete short auditing tasks using your phone. I’ve found that the gigs on GigWalk are typically very short, only taking a few minutes to complete. All available gigs are shown on the app and you can select any gigs that work for you.
Typically, each gig requires taking 1 or 2 photos and answering a few questions. The downside with GigWalk is that there aren’t many gigs compared to the other apps, but if you happen to see one that’s nearby, they’re usually worth completing.
EasyShift is another app where you can get paid to complete short tasks, generally taking photos of products and aisles in grocery stores and convenience stores. Compared to the other apps in this section, EasyShift gigs typically require the most photos and take the longest to complete, so whether a gig is worth doing will be on a case-by-case basis.
My advice is to try a few of the EasyShift gigs and get a feel of which tasks are worth doing and which ones you should avoid. After a few years of doing this, I’m pretty good at avoiding certain tasks and only accepting the ones that make sense for me.
3. Field Agent
Field Agent is a task app similar to GigWalk and Easyshift. The gigs in this app are always easy to complete and do not take much time. Typically, you’ll need to take 1 or 2 photos and answer some questions. There’s usually a solid supply of Field Agent gigs that you can complete, so if you see any near you, they’re usually worth a quick trip.
Of the big three picture-taking apps (GigWalk, EasyShift, and Field Agent), I typically prioritize Field Agent gigs first, then GigWalk, then EasyShift.
4. Survey Merchandiser
Survey Merchandiser is slightly different from the other picture-taking apps on this list because the gigs usually take longer to complete and often require you to interact with a store manager. They typically have two types of gigs on this app. The first are reorganizing type gigs, where you’ll stock and reorganize a shelf for a specific product. Usually, these require you to identify yourself with a store manager.
The second type of gig works similarly to the picture-taking apps, where you take photos of a specific section or product int the store without notifying anyone.
Generally, I will do the Merchandiser gigs that don’t require me to interact with anyone. I always avoid the ones where I have to interact with a store manager since those don’t seem worth it to me and I don’t really want to interact with anyone.
Observa also has picture taking gigs that work the same as all of the other apps in this section. These tasks are usually easy to complete and only require you to take a few pictures and answer a few questions. I would incorporate Observa into my side hustle repertoire more, but there usually aren’t very many Observa tasks in my area.
iVueit is another app that you can use. The “vues” typically require you to take a few photos of the exterior of a business. They don’t take too long to complete, so can be worth doing if you’re in the area. The only reason I haven’t done more of these gigs is because there aren’t too many of them in my area.
The on-demand moving industry is another area where you can generate some extra income via gig economy apps. These moving apps all work in the same manner – customers that need movers can hire people through the app.
All of these apps have two roles you can sign up for: (1) sign up as a mover and help move things; or (2) if you have a truck, sign up to move and drive. You’ll generally make more if you have a truck.
Here are some of the major on-demand moving apps you can try out if this is something that interests you:
Completing surveys on your phone can be an easy way to generate a few extra bucks without a ton of work. I generally avoid websites that have long surveys that don’t pay very well, but these short survey apps that I use are worth the time because of how short the surveys are (usually 1 to 5 questions at most). You won’t get rich from doing these apps, but it can add a few bucks each month for basically no work.
Here are the survey apps I recommend:
1. Google Opinion Rewards
Google Opinion Rewards is a short survey app that asks you 1-5 questions, typically about something you searched for on Google or about a place that you recently visited. Each survey only takes a few seconds to complete, so even if you only make 10 to 50 cents for each survey, it’s worth the time. Once you hit $2, you automatically cash out to your PayPal account.
2. Surveys On The Go
Surveys On The Go is an app that is worth keeping on your phone. The surveys typically pay a decent amount (about $1 or so). There are also a lot of surveys, so you almost always be able to keep busy. The surveys can take a longer time to complete, but even the longer surveys are not much of a burden. If you don’t qualify for a survey, you still get 10 cents just for answering the qualification questions. That money surprisingly adds up. Once you hit $10, you can cash out either directly to your PayPal card or as a Visa gift card.
1Q is an interesting survey app in that each survey usually only asks 1 question. You get paid 25 cents per question answered, so it’s pretty lucrative for how little time it takes. I don’t usually get a ton of questions from 1Q, but I still keep it on my phone just because of how easy it is.
VoxPopMe is a survey app that is a little different from the other survey apps. When you receive a survey, the app will ask you a question and have you record a 15-second video answering the question. Each survey pays 50 cents to one dollar, so that’s worth it considering how little time it takes to make the video. The one downside with VoxPopMe is that you need to reach $15 before you can cash out. It can sometimes take a while to reach that point.
5. Facebook Viewpoints
Facebook Viewpoints is a newer app I’ve discovered that pays you to complete short tasks. These are machine learning type tasks, similar to the types of tasks that you might do on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. I haven’t received a lot of tasks to complete, but the one I did complete was not too difficult and paid well for the time it took to complete.
Outside of the Platform Apps and the On-Demand Apps, there is also a third category of apps that I call the freelancer apps. These are apps that allow you to create a profile and set your own price and generally require you to have some sort of special skill. Here’s a look at those apps.
When it comes to general tasks, TaskRabbit is probably the most well-known app. When you sign up to be a Tasker, you can make yourself available for a variety of different tasks, from skilled tasks such as doing handyman or electrician work to completely random tasks such as standing in line for someone.
Over the years, I’ve completed a wide variety of different tasks, such as the following:
- Worked as a personal assistant for a day;
- Managed a coworking space;
- Delivered random stuff for people;
- Scanned pages of a book at a law library
Taskers set their own prices and customers communicate directly with the Tasker. You can also set a work area in your market so that you’ll only get requests close to you. After you complete a task, you send an invoice to the customer for the time you worked and any expenses that you need to be reimbursed for. Customers can also leave a tip.
For my own profile, I’ve opted to stick to simple tasks that do not require any skills – mainly delivery and random administrative type tasks.
Housework and Handyman Work
Takl is an app that you can use to list up yardwork services and other home services. Back when I signed up, it was free, but apparently, Takl now charges a monthly fee to be a Takl provider, so for most people, this likely won’t make sense to use.
Handy is an app for house cleaning and handyman services. If you have this skill and are looking to put yourself on more platforms, you might as well check out Handy to see if it makes sense for you.
Thumbtack is another app where you can list professional services such as handyman work or house cleaning. You can also list up other professional services, such as photography, DJing, etc. In the past, I’ve hired a photographer via Thumbtack when I needed someone to take pictures of my Airbnb at an affordable price. If you have a specialized skill that you need to get in front of people, it’s probably worth listing on Thumbtack.
Final Thoughts On The Gig Economy And Gig Economy Apps
We live in what I consider the golden age of side hustling, where it’s now possible to earn extra money on your own time, in as long or as short a time as you’d like. In the past, working like this simply wasn’t possible. But thanks to our phones and these gig economy apps, pretty much anyone can figure out a way to earn some extra income each month.
For myself, I’ve gone with the strategy of monetizing my life. That is, fitting these gig economy apps into the things I’m already doing. I have a spare room in my house and I travel a decent amount, so I can rent out my house on Airbnb. I have a dog, so watching another dog isn’t too much additional work. And I enjoy exercising, so doing things like delivering food or groceries on my bike or walking dogs fits perfectly into my life, allowing me to get paid for the things I’m already doing.
This money adds up too. And small amounts, over time, really do mean something.
So, go through this list and consider signing up for some or all of the things that might make sense for your situation. You might be surprised at how well the gig economy and these gig economy apps can work for you.
Do you have any gig economy apps that you would recommend? If so, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!