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10 Best Gig Economy Apps for 2022
June 25, 2021
Reading time: 8 minutes
People need extra cash, and the booming gig economy is a great way to get it on your own terms. Many Americans now make side income through gig work, and those numbers are growing every year. Finding gig jobs used to be a challenge, but now numerous gig economy services let you tap into the cash flow to earn real money.
The top gig economy sites for 2022 include popular services like DoorDash and Uber. But they also hide surprises for shopping, grocery delivery, odd jobs, and other contract work. See our list of the best gig apps below broken down into 10 categories, and find one that fits your skills and free time to start your side hustle now.
What is the gig economy?
The gig economy is a low-hassle way to earn real money without the inflexibility of a 9-to-5. It’s set to reach $455 billion by 2023, and more than one-third of all U.S. workers participate. That’s 59 million Americans working short-term contract jobs, with the entire freelance economy whirring along at a healthy $1.4 trillion per year.
1. DoorDash restaurant delivery app
Your favorite restaurant may claim that they don’t do delivery, but they actually do – with DoorDash and other food delivery apps. DoorDash drivers deliver restaurant meals from fast food joints like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, all the way up to 5-star haute cuisine. It’s a brilliant idea, and more than 100,000 drivers in the U.S. and Canada earn money with DoorDash.
DoorDash claims you’ll make $15 to $25 per hour, but Indeed.com pegs the average at the low end of that range, and some complain of much lower rates after you figure in mileage, gas, and taxes. But the mileage part may work in your favor, when you consider you can deduct a whopping $0.56 per mile on your annual tax return with these gig economy apps.
Here are the best restaurant delivery apps like DoorDash:
Amazon is trying to make an end-run around UPS and the USPS by hiring gig workers to deliver packages. You reserve a delivery area, make deliveries, and get paid during hours you set. The online retail giant claims most of their drivers earn $18 to $25 an hour, though location, tips, experience, and delivery times add variables to that mix.
If you like the idea of delivering products from retailers like Costco, Office Depot, CVS, and Target, you can also try the Shipt app. Shipt does groceries too, but its main focus is all the other stores that aren’t served by the popular grocery side hustle apps like Instacart and Postmates.
You already know about Uber, or if you don’t, maybe you’ve been binge-watching Netflix for the past 10 years, and we’re glad to have you back. But you may not know that you can also rent out your car on Uber while you’re doing other things. If you do decide to drive in person, rates depend on the city and the app. Since you don’t have to sign up for a long-term gig, you can experiment before you make a big commitment.
Lyft is another well-known rideshare app, and many gig economy drivers who work for both platforms prefer Lyft. Expect to earn an average of $15 to $18 per hour, but bear in mind that averages are deceiving, especially when you factor in tips. And if you’re younger, expect to earn more from these side job apps.
People need groceries, and they need them all the time. That’s why there are so many grocery delivery apps out there in the gig economy. The process is simple: someone places a curbside pickup or an in-store order with a local grocery store. You pick up and deliver food, often with a tip included. The average Instacart driver makes $12 per hour, again depending on tips and where you live.
All you need is a smartphone and reliable transportation. Unlike Uber and Lyft, the comfort level of your car is not an issue. One caveat is that grocery delivery is feast or famine work. You may not get any calls when you’ve got free time, and other times you may be swamped when you don’t want to be.
For animal lovers, nothing beats a little time in the fresh air with a friendly pooch. Rover and other dog-walking and pet-sitting services can help you earn money while you get out in the sunshine with new four-footed friends. Or if you’re more the type that loves cuddling on the sofa with Penny or Felix while you watch Bridgerton, sign up as an in-house pet sitter during weekends or holidays.
Some services like Rover will hook you up with drop-in visits for feeding, or with grooming gigs or boarding pets in your own home. These are among the most popular gig economy apps on the market, offering all breeds of pet care in tens of thousands of U.S. cities.
For stay-at-homes who’d rather not rush around making deliveries or caring for pets, paid survey apps may be your thing. You won’t make as much by taking online surveys as you will with the other side gig apps on this list, but you can earn an average of $1 to $5 per survey you take. The work is tedious, but if you stick with it you can make a decent stack of rainy day money.
SurveyMonkey used to pay cash for surveys, but it now pays in small donations to selected charities. The other side job apps below pay in PayPal payments and gift cards. The downside is that you don’t get dozens of surveys per day to complete. Often you’ll only get two or three surveys in a given day, making it tough to earn real money with them.
If you’re handy, TaskRabbit is a good way to line up with people who need your skills. Assemble a table, clean a bathroom, fix a toilet, or do home repairs. You set your own rates, and many TaskRabbit workers charge $20 to $70 per hour, depending on their skill set. You’ll make more with this gig jobs app if you live in a densely populated urban area, because of the robust demand.
Some TaskRabbiters only do moving, or only shopping or delivery. Others are Jacks of all trades and do a little bit of everything. More than 60,000 independent contractors use TaskRabbit to find clients. Other apps like Handy or Thumbtack have similar setups.
Dolly (just for moving people from one home to another)
Fiverr (complete tasks online like writing, graphic design, or admin tasks)
8. Getaround rent-a-car app
For those who have a car but no time to lug people or groceries, the Getaround app lets you rent out your car when you’re not using it. This gig work app is a great way to recoup some of your investment on a car you hardly ever use. Car rental is an especially useful service in tourist destinations with a nearby airport.
The service has its own insurance, and it’s totally contactless, so you don’t have to do any customer service. It’s simple to use, too. Just download the app, create a profile, and start renting out your car. You can choose to rent it out for the day, on weekends, or by the week. The average renter makes around $6,000 per year.
Nannies and babysitters can make extra money with the UrbanSitter mobile app. You’ll have to undergo a background check and create a profile, but top sitters can make $1,000 per week or more. And it’s more than just a babysitting side gig app. UrbanSitter lets you sign up as a tutor, pet sitter, non-medical senior caregiver, or even a virtual babysitter for story time or yoga lessons.
You can sign up via your Facebook or Google accounts. When you build your profile, add your education, work experience with children, age ranges you prefer to work with, why you love to babysit, and what kinds of activities you engage in. For the right kind of person, these apps can lead to great gig economy jobs.
The soothe app lets personal care professionals find clients and earn extra money doing what they love. Clients choose the type of service and the time and place, and you show up and do the rest. Background checks are necessary, and you can offer services like massage, haircuts and styling, skincare, and other beauty services.
Just download the app, create a profile, and start giving massages. It works in 70 cities across the United States, U.K., and Canada. You can set your own availability and neighborhoods, and the app will track all your appointments and earnings.
These side gig apps can tap you into people who need help near you and are happy to pay for it. Deliver groceries, walk dogs, babysit, or even rent out your car for extra money. The 10 services categories, each with several platform options, above give independent contractors a new way to find customers without the cost and hassle of a full-time marketing effort.
About the Author: Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.
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