How to Make Money in the Gig Economy

May 31, 2021

How to Make Money in the Gig Economy

A little extra cash each month might help in paying off bills or simply having more money to allocate for weekly grocery runs—especially as inflation has hit food prices! Some individuals might not be in the market for a second job. Instead they might just want a “side hustle” in the gig economy to score and add to their monthly financial bottom line.

But what is the ‘gig economy?’ This term applies to non-employee type jobs where workers are independent contractors, freelancers, etc. Want to know how to make money in the gig economy? Here is a list of options to consider.

Is the Gig Economy the Right Choice?

A side hustle job might not be a perfect fit for everyone. Those who want a consistent amount of money each month might not like the variance of the gig. And being a contractor means taking control of finances, including paying taxes. While employees have taxes taken out of each paycheck, gig workers are typically labeled as non-employees and, therefore, need to track their income and pay any applicable taxes (state, federal, local, etc.).

Before jumping into the gig economy, individuals might want to talk to an accountant to find out their tax responsibilities (e.g. paying taxes quarterly) or any other responsibilities that go along with gig independence. Understanding these responsibilities also may help individuals determine if ‘gigging’ is the right choice.

Drive for More Money: All About Uber & Lyft

Signing on as a rideshare driver for companies like Uber and Lyft is a very popular gig. Obviously, a car is required for this gig. However, both Uber and Lyft let drivers rent a car through their service. Uber notes that its rentals also include insurance and maintenance, too.

How much drivers earn via rideshare driving could depend on a lot of factors. Location could impact income, and how much time drivers spend as a rideshare driver obviously would play a part, too. Reputation also matters. How well a driver treats passengers, the cleanliness of the car and other aspects of the drive could impact ratings. Great ratings could lead to more customers. Tips also add to income.

Drivers also may deal with more wear on their vehicles. This could lead to more tire expenses, mechanical repairs, etc. However, Lyft notes on its site that “We’re expanding Lyft Driver Centers, Lyft Mobile Service, and our Openbay partnership to lower the costs of vehicle service.”

Before settling on a gig, individuals might wish to research all their different options. Find out what each opportunity entails, and know about any liabilities, too. For example, rideshare insurance options apply to rideshare drivers. Investopedia has a list of all the available rideshare insurance plans for drivers who want to embark on this gig. Before driving for any company, make sure insurance needs are covered. Investopedia also notes that personal insurance won’t cover drivers on-the-job.

Deliver Door-to-Door

Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub and other companies use gig workers to deliver food, packages, groceries, etc. to customers.

Individuals interested in delivering can check out different companies to find the best opportunity for their needs. In addition, drivers can work for multiple companies. So you may be able to drive for Grubhub and Doordash, too.

Again, though, tips and other income need to be tracked!

Be a Study Participant

Yes, different surveys and studies can help individuals earn extra income. UserTesting pays individuals to participate in product tests. Individuals have to answer questions to determine if they are a fit for a particular test. Pay is $10 per test (the company notes that it takes 20 minutes). However, live interviews are paid at a higher rate ($30 to $120).

There are also several other companies that pay individuals to test. The Balance provides a list of opportunities!

How to Make Money in the Gig Economy

Rent Your Home or Car

A home or car can become the ticket to extra income. Those who have a home or car to spare might just use them for a side hustle.

Airbnb lets individuals rent out their homes for others on vacation, holiday or just need a place to crash. Neighbor is a little more unique in that homeowners can actually rent out their garage, driveways or other spaces.

However, before signing up on Airbnb, homeowners should research any laws in their area or mandates from their homeowners association (HOA) that could prohibit their home from being used as a rental. The same recommendation applies to renting out spaces like driveways. For example, some HOA’s forbid pickup trucks or other vehicles.

Turo is a car sharing company that allows vehicle owners to use their car as a rental. Others can access the car for their needs. In return, car owners are paid for the use of their car. Visit Turo’s site to learn about listing a car.

How much can individuals make via Turo? According to the company’s site, those who list one car can potentially earn about $10,516 a year. This is noted as the yearly average. However, remember that earnings may vary based on different factors.

Freelance Those Talents

Writers and other freelancers can make money on their talents, too. There are several freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork where freelancers can sign up to earn extra cash.  Visit the sites to learn more about how to sign up and find gigs!

Of course, freelancers also can visit job boards online to find other opportunities. Freelance writers, for example, can find gigs via the site Freelance Writing Gigs, which posts new opportunities daily. Just remember to track all income for tax reporting!

All the Other Odd Jobs

Not a writer, editor or creative? Don’t want to take on driving gigs or rent out a home or vehicle? There are many more jobs out there for gig work! For those ‘odd’ jobs that don’t fit into the above categories, check out TaskRabbit.

On TaskRabbit, interested individuals can tackle deliveries or even errands. Projects can include cleaning gigs, assembling furniture, hanging a mirror and more! Find the jobs that fit a particular talent or interest!

Transcribe for Money

Want to work from home? Transcribing as a side gig could be an option.

Individuals who are bilingual or speak multiple languages could sign up for Gengo to translate content for businesses. Per Gengo, translators earn $417 per month (on average). Translators also can choose their gigs.

Freelancers also can sign up for Rev transcribing content. Like Gengo, Rev lets freelancers choose their gigs. Pay is weekly and via PayPal. Rev’s site notes that pay is between $0.30 to $1.10 per audio/video minute.

There are so many opportunities for individuals to make extra money in the gig economy. However, the best gig is the one that meets the individual’s needs and can accommodate their schedule. Gigs are usually side jobs; sometimes these freelance gigs are in addition to full-time employment to supplement income and other times the gig is the only gig. Before signing up for an opportunity, research any requirements and understand other obligations, too (like insurance needs, extra maintenance costs, etc.). Make sure the gig doesn’t conflict with HOA policies or the policies of a current employer, too! And, of course, track all that income (including tips) and understand all tax responsibilities as a freelancer/gig worker!