Millions of people have joined the gig economy in recent years, working what's called a side hustle for extra cash.
It's a great way to earn a few hundred extra dollars, to $10,000 or more. You can drive people in your car, rent out your home, walk dogs, deliver groceries, or simply do tasks. And most don't require expensive start up fees.
The most popular gig jobs these days involve driving, simply because almost everyone owns a car and knows how to drive.
If you want to carry passengers around, however, a newer car is essential: ride sharing services do not want their drivers in a rusty 1985 Taurus, for instance. And a relatively clean driving record is also required, for obvious safety reasons.
Vicky Zwissler has driven for Uber and Lyft for more than 5 years (yes, you can drive for both services simultaneously), and told us in a recent report, "I love it," I absolutely love it."
She says ride sharing is a great gig if you enjoy meeting and interacting with new people.
Not really a people person? Then consider a food delivery service like Door Dash, or Uber Eats.
Uber Eats driver Louis recently took us along on a delivery. "640 Vine is going to be right there," he said, pulling up to an office building. He dropped off a lunchtime pizza delivery, and ended up with a $10 tip for just a few minutes work.
Matthew Wimsatt is a "Dasher" (a Door Dash driver), and loves the freedom and flexibility, where he gets to decide if and when he wants to earn some extra cash that weekend.
"You are going to earn a little extra money, and not have to answer to the man, a boss," he told us this past summer.
However, Wimsatt says, food delivery drives are not paying as well as they did two or three years ago, simply because there are so many more people doing it.
Enjoy grocery shopping? Instacart and Shipt combine grocery shopping with delivery, which often means a bigger payout than just driving restaurant food to someone's house.
Pet sitting and dog walking
If you are a dog person,or wish you had a dog but can't because of apartment or condo regulations, consider pet sitting or dog walking, through services like Rover.
Earlier this year, we met up with Angela Davidson, a pet sitter with Rover. For around $40 a night, she watches and walks dogs for families on vacation, while keeping an eye on their house at the same time.
"It's perfect for an owner who wants somebody that can both pet sit and house sit," she told us. "It also gives peace of mind that their house is being cared for the same time their pets are."
Davidson has received top ratings from owners, which in turn gets her more business and more money,
Chores, handyman work
If you are handy, enjoy minor home repairs, or -- better yet -- have a plumber's or electrician's license, consider loaning out your talents through a number of different handyman apps.
They include Thumback, Task Rabbit, Handy, and Homee.
Jeremy Kurth and Mary Baller are young homeowners who say they love being able to look up a handyman on their phone, see his reviews, and have him come over for a small project with just a tap on their screen.
"That was the nice thing about the app. They were able to get someone there literally that day," Kurth said.
Rent your Home
The side hustle that some surveys say can pay the most is renting out your home or condo when you are away. It's ideal for someone who travels a lot, and who has a home that sits empty for weeks every year.
Airbnb and VRBO/HomeAway are the two most popular.
Reid Hancock frequently rents out his condo when he travels. "A group from St Louis booked it for four nights," he said. Hancock, an Airbnb veteran, says his place is a steal at less than $200 a night. Visitors get a full 2-bedroom condo for the price of a hotel room.
Make YouTube videos
Have a hobby? Enjoy working on cars or building birdhouses? Make YouTube videos, and start earning money.
You will need 1,000 subscribers to start monetizing your channel (translation: getting paid). And until you have 10,000 subscribers, the pay is barely lunch money.
But hundreds of thousands of YouTubers make thousands of dollars a year. Among them: Markiplier, one of the top-earning YouTubers in the world, with more than 20 million subscribers.
His advice? Make videos about something you love, and the viewers should come around. "Just enjoy it and be yourself," he told us this past summer.
Don't expect to get rich
Unless you become a YouTube star like Markiplier, don't expect to get rich from your side hustle.
One recent study found that most gig workers earn less than $500 a month.
The California-based lender Earnest found:
- Airbnb paid the most, averaging $440 a month.
- Lyft paid on average $210 a month
- Uber paid $155
- Task Rabbit paid $100
- Door Dash paid $100
But money is money, and these are all jobs you can do on your own time, as much or as little as you want.
And one more bonus gig job for 2020: being a US Census worker. The pay is good, and as long as you don't mind barking dogs, and the occasional threatening homeowner, it's an easy way to earn some extra cash this year. Apply here.
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