If you’re new to the gig economy you probably have a lot of questions. We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions below to help you get started.
The most common types tend to be driving or delivery. Whether you’re driving people from place to place, or delivering food or groceries, those seem to be the highest in demand. There are other types of jobs such as taking care of pets, baby sitting, tutoring and handyman work that’s more specialized.
Similar to gig jobs and sometimes used interchangeably, these jobs involve you sharing what you own currently and making money off of it. Airbnb is a perfect example, where you would share your home or space with someone and charge them for a stay. Other types include sharing your garage for storage space or sharing your car by renting it out to other people.
People who work flexible, part-time, app-based jobs are considered independent contractors.
Traditional employees typically work for one employer and must follow a work schedule given to them by their manager. They have a limited amount of vacation days and personal time off. As an independent contractor though, you are not tied down to a single employer or a set schedule. You can choose to work multiple jobs, set which hours you want to work, and choose not to work when you don’t want to without fear of losing your job. You are also able to deduct all work related costs from your taxes.
The trade off for having the freedom to make your own hours and work as little or as much you want is not having benefits a full time employee might have. Things like health insurance and paid time off won’t be available to you. Also, independent contractors need to pay for their own equipment when performing their job versus using company supplied ones. For example, an app-based driver would pay for their own gas and incur wear and tear on their car. Keep in mind though that many things you pay out of pocket related to work can count as a work related tax deductible expense.
Potential tax deductible items include: cost of gas, vehicle depreciation, your smartphone, monthly mobile phone plan, and any equipment you purchased specific to your job like a car phone charger, bags, etc. Seek the advice of a tax professional to see what things you can specifically deduct when filing your taxes.
This really depends on the job you are working, but most jobs pay on a weekly basis for the previous week’s work. Many companies offer instant withdrawals of what you earned, but that usually incurs a small fee.
Most apps allow for tipping and most are added on automatically while allowing the customer to adjust the tip amount to their liking. Gig workers always get to keep 100% of their tips.
Taxes are not withheld on your earnings payment like a typical employer would do. You are therefore required to pay those taxes when it comes time to file year end or make quarterly payments if needed. This does require better financial planning on your part, so it's always recommended to set aside some of your pay for any future tax payments.
Drivers have been required to wear masks while a customer is in the car. This is not a local or state requirement, but a rule mandated by rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to help protect the safety of both drivers and passengers. Other jobs that require going into a grocery store/restaurant, or interacting with customers, all require gig workers to follow the safety guidelines given by your local government.
While demand for rideshare drivers has decreased due to less people going out, services such as food and grocery delivery has grown in popularity.
Background checks are required and part of the application process for most gig jobs. This is to ensure the safety of customers who may be interacting with gig workers. Typically, background checks look at your driving record (for jobs that require driving), if you have any criminal history, and if you have a valid social security number.
Having an iPhone or Android smartphone is required for most jobs. Installing the app allows you to accept jobs. While working the job, the app will give you necessary information like order details, grocery lists, driving directions, etc.
For rideshare drivers, Friday and Saturday night are busy times as those are the nights when people go out. For food delivery, lunch and dinner time are when the most jobs are available. For other jobs, it’s really going to depend on the city you live in and the type of job it is, something you’ll quickly figure out when you start working.
A general rule of thumb is to provide excellent service. Going above and beyond usually garners the most tips from customers. Also, take advantage of surge pricing and bonuses and work during times when there is most demand for your service. Lastly, go outside your typical coverage zone. This will open you up to a larger customer base, especially if you go to a more population dense area.