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11 Best Gig Economy Apps for Making Extra Cash in 2024

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The gig economy often appears as a giant free-for-all, and in many respects, it is. Therefore, we aim to help you navigate it, particularly when identifying the top gig economy apps.

To provide a brief overview, the gig economy has expanded significantly in the past decade since Uber’s inception. Initially, only a few online gigs were available, and the concept of gig work was unfamiliar to most.

Now, gig work is widely recognized, with many people engaging in one or more gigs.

Currently, the gig economy spans more industries than there were gig companies previously. We believe that several hundred app-based gig companies stand a good chance of success, with many others remaining obscure.

Despite their prospects, the success story of Uber has inspired numerous imitators. We are here to guide you through the clutter to the most lucrative gig economy apps.

Maximizing the benefits of gig economy apps

As an independent contractor, maximizing gig economy apps involves more than hard work with your chosen app; it involves selecting the right app(s) from the outset.

Uber and Lyft come to mind for most when considering gig work, due to their pioneering role and high visibility in the early days of the gig economy.

However, the gig economy has since diversified, offering a plethora of opportunities that align with various skill levels and interests, including professions like medicine.

Currently, gigs are available for web developers, contractors, coders, babysitters, dog sitters, and even homeowners and renters, among others. This variety allows you to find gigs that match your skills and interests, moving beyond the notion of gig work as low-wage, menial labor.

This diversity enables the adoption of effective strategies to maximize the benefits of any chosen gig work.

Most gig economy apps are accessible on iOS and Android, typically requiring an interview and background check, allowing you to start within days.

Although many gigs are entry-level and low-paying, they offer a starting point for those without experience or specialized skills. You can use downtime between gigs for training to enhance your skills and improve your prospects over time.

My top four tips for leveraging gig apps effectively are:

  1. Choose gigs that align with your interests.
  2. Opt for apps where your growing reputation can lead to more and better-paying work. Building a strong reputation takes time, but persistence and patience are rewarding.
  3. Higher-skilled gigs usually offer better pay.
  4. Gigs that allow you to set your own prices often pay more than double those with company-set rates.

With this in mind, let’s explore various gigs to better understand how to supplement your income effectively.

Top 10 gig economy apps for making some extra money

1. Airbnb

gig economy apps - airbnb

Undoubtedly, this app stands out as the premier choice for making money in the gig economy, and we attribute this to three key factors. Firstly, Airbnb empowers you to set your own prices, which typically leads to higher earnings compared to companies that dictate pricing.

Another factor placing Airbnb at the top of our list is the minimal additional expenses involved in hosting. The negligible costs you might encounter are so minor that they’re practically negligible.

We favor Airbnb because it offers ample flexibility for those without traditional full-time employment, allowing significant downtime between guests to pursue other gig opportunities. Once a guest checks in, they seldom require your attention, freeing you up to generate income from other gigs.

However, home-sharing faces increasing scrutiny and regulation by local authorities. Some areas have entirely banned the practice, while others have introduced various restrictions.

A common regulatory approach requires hosts to reside in their homes during Airbnb stays, effectively prohibiting the rental of entire properties dedicated solely to Airbnb hosting.

Another downside is the limited tax benefits. Federal tax regulations prevent you from deducting any part of your residence or apartment’s cost when used for short-term rental business.

If your residence includes one or more spare bedrooms, Airbnb remains a legal and viable option in many locations. Renting out two separate bedrooms can potentially double your short-term rental earnings. It’s advisable to explore Airbnb’s website to gauge potential nightly earnings for hosts in your vicinity.

2. Fiverr

This was one of the original gigs. They’ve been around a long time. In the beginning, they really did sell gigs for $5 a pop. Writers would agree to pen 500-word articles for $5.

Well, no one is going to write a decent article for $5 so any legitimate writer would either exclude themselves entirely from the platform or end up working basically for free. The good news is that has now all changed.

Today, professional gig workers can actually charge something close to a reasonable price and sites like Fiverr work as a solid client-referral system for them.

Plenty of freelancers are making good money on Fiverr. Jobs like the one pictured here literally used to go for $5. Now, talented people can earn what they’re worth.

3. TaskRabbit

Ikea recently acquired TaskRabbit due to the high demand for Taskers, especially for assembling Ikea furniture. TaskRabbit dispatches individuals to undertake a wide array of tasks.

These tasks range from assembling furniture and hanging pictures to moving boxes, running errands, or even standing in line for those too busy to do so themselves. A significant advantage for workers is TaskRabbit’s policy allowing them to set their own pricing.

This feature positions TaskRabbit as a highly recommended gig app, with users often earning well above the gig work average. The app’s flexibility and variety offer savvy individuals the opportunity to identify and capitalize on in-demand niches that align with their skills.

Individuals who have successfully tapped into these niches and established a solid reputation among TaskRabbit customers can secure a substantial income. Therefore, we suggest keeping TaskRabbit in mind as a valuable resource for augmenting your income.

4. Upwork

This freelancing gig app, once known for entry-level side hustles, has significantly improved its offerings in recent years. Upwork has garnered a clientele that highly values independent contractors with robust creative and/or technological expertise.

Key areas of demand on Upwork include web development, mobile app development, graphic design, and writing. Initially, Upwork was open to all, without requiring proof of competency for the jobs contractors claimed they could do.

This openness benefited those without skills but disadvantaged skilled professionals. For instance, top-tier graphic designers accustomed to earning $50 per hour were suddenly competing for jobs at $5 per hour.

However, Upwork has since implemented stringent standards, allowing skilled individuals to earn wages more reflective of their worth. If you possess relevant skills, Upwork merits consideration, particularly if you’ve found success on similar platforms.

A drawback of Upwork, and other similar apps, is the requirement to pay for submitting proposals. This means you incur a fee when responding to a potential client’s request, regardless of whether you secure the job. Learn more about sites like UpWork.

5. Freelancer

gig economy apps - freelancer

Freelancer is very similar to Upwork. They too specialize in creative and computer-related skills. If you’re a creative type, you might enjoy the fact that a lot of demand they have for computer work leans toward the creative side. Typical freelancing jobs include social media manager, audio and video editing, as well as web design.

6. YouTube

Yep, YouTube qualifies as a gig platform too! If creating video content is your passion, you have the potential to earn extra income by uploading your videos to YouTube and registering as a content creator. However, the criteria for direct earnings from YouTube are stringent and challenging for newcomers.

You need a minimum of 1,000 subscribers, and your videos must have accumulated at least 4,000 hours of watch time in the past year. Once you achieve these milestones, YouTube will assess your channel and potentially approve you for monetization.

But hold your horses! These benchmarks can be daunting for beginners. Even upon meeting them, the earnings might not be substantial. While it’s hard to pinpoint exact earnings, estimates suggest you might earn about $2 to $4 per thousand views, translating to roughly $20 for 10,000 views.

YouTube offers alternative monetization routes that don’t solely depend on ad revenue. For example, if you possess another marketable skill, you could produce instructional videos. These could funnel viewers to your website, where they have the option to purchase your products, services, or in-depth video courses on your expertise. Keep in mind, achieving success through this avenue demands considerable time and effort.

7. Thumbtack

This gig app shares several beneficial features with TaskRabbit, making it an appealing choice for those looking to work through such a platform. Similar to TaskRabbit, it allows workers to set their own pricing. Additionally, it offers a broad spectrum of tasks that workers can undertake to earn extra income.

The key distinction, however, is that Thumbtack’s independent contractors generally operate at a more professional level, which can be advantageous. Many are licensed professionals, including plumbers, electricians, and other handymen. A significant drawback is that, akin to Upwork, Thumbtack charges its workers for each response to job inquiries, which can be quite costly.

A plumber shared with me that responding to a potential job can cost him up to $150, a fee incurred regardless of whether he secures the job. Despite this, he considers it a worthwhile investment.

He manages to earn sufficiently, even after deducting the high costs associated with non-converting inquiries, concluding that the net income at month’s end justifies the expenses.

8. Roadie

Now, we move into the gig apps that require the use of a vehicle. Roadie is basically a delivery service company, and like most gig companies today, they’re pretty free and loose with what it is they deliver!

Deliveries can be anything from a grocery or drugstore pickup for a customer to moving a piece of furniture across town. They also do long-distance moves, so if you have a large truck, something like a U-Haul van, you can take those jobs.

One of our forum members told me recently that he loves working for Roadie. He mostly does local jobs. But recently he travelled from his home in California to visit family in Ohio.

His travel dates were flexible (of course, because he does gig work)! So, he waited until a good long-distance job came up with Roadie and he ended up getting paid for three quarters of the distance he travelled.

Another interesting feature about working for Roadie is that once you’ve signed up, you can work for them anywhere in the country. You’re not stuck to just your local area like ride-hail drivers are.

9. Instacart

Instacart, a typical player in the delivery app market, collaborates with grocery stores, unlike others like DoorDash and Uber Eats, which partner with restaurants. Upon receiving an order, an Instacart worker will proceed to the specified supermarket, fulfill the order, and then deliver it to the customer’s chosen location. Instacart’s pay rate generally ranges from $5 to $9 per order, plus tips, making it somewhat perplexing how one could earn a substantial income from such gigs.

Completing an order, from traveling to the store, shopping, and checking out, to delivering to the customer, could easily consume half an hour or more. This time frame makes it challenging to envision completing more than one delivery per hour.

Occasionally, Instacart may assign two orders simultaneously if they are in close proximity and direction. However, this type of work often appears to yield less than minimum wage. Instacart’s reputation was further tarnished a few months back when it was revealed they had misappropriated workers’ tips.

Instacart would inform drivers of their base pay for each delivery, but workers noticed that when customers tipped through the app, the total did not reflect the sum of Instacart’s base pay plus the tip. Instacart later acknowledged this practice, where they used tips to cover their portion of the pay, regardless of the tip amount. For example, if Instacart promised $5 and the customer tipped $5, the driver would only receive $5 in total, not $10.

After this issue came to light, Instacart pledged to cease this practice. This incident has made it more challenging to trust Instacart to treat its workers fairly.

10. Uber

gig economy apps - uber

The one you’ve been waiting for! While Uber is known for its contentious relations with drivers, it still remains the biggest side hustle opportunities out there. Uber has more than two million drivers and is still the company most people think of first when they flirt with the idea of dipping their toes into the gig economy.

If you have access to an insured car, a driver’s license and a clean driving record, that’s pretty much all you need to start driving with Uber.

A lot of people like driving for this ridesharing company, Uber, because they really can set their own schedule. Although, there are certain times that are more profitable than other times.

While it is easy to get started with Uber, studies have shown that more than half of all drivers in the United States earn less than $10 per hour after all driving expenses are taken into consideration.

For that reason, we can’t say Uber is one of the best gig economy apps out there. But if you just need a few extra bucks in your pocket, and you need them fast, it’s not a bad way to get them.

11. Postmates

The Postmates app is swiftly gaining popularity in the gig economy as a versatile delivery service. Unlike Uber Eats or GrubHub, which focus solely on food delivery, Postmates delivers a wide array of items, including groceries, office supplies, and phone chargers, essentially acting as your personal courier service, capable of delivering nearly anything you need within an hour.

Joining the Postmates “fleet” offers significant advantages. You retain all of your earnings and tips, and you have the flexibility to withdraw your earnings anytime on-demand.

Postmates also equips you with all the necessary tools to facilitate your deliveries, such as a delivery bag for food items, and allows you the freedom to set your own working hours. A background check is required, which is standard for most gig jobs.

Apps like Postmates present an appealing opportunity to supplement your income through the gig economy.

Maximizing Benefits from Gig Economy Apps

The most advantageous gig economy apps enable you to set your pricing and demand more than just basic skills. The requirement for higher-level skills in a gig translates to higher earnings.

The rarer your advanced skills, the better your chances are of earning a significant income through an app-based gig.

Some platforms, particularly those ranking high on our list, offer the ideal combination of setting your own rates and engaging in higher-skilled work. This blend allows you to optimize your earnings and fully leverage the potential of the top gig economy apps available.

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Written by Brett Helling

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Brett Helling is a self-taught entrepreneur who specializes in building, growing, and maintaining websites. When he's not overseeing a team of writers and developers, he spends as much time as possible reading, being outside, or playing with his dog Baxter (insert Anchorman reference here).

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