In this day and age, the opportunities to make a little (or a lot) of extra cash are abundant. All it takes is a car, some free time, and some discipline. Some people have turned these side hustles into full-time jobs, and some even make more money than certified professionals!
Curious to learn more about these programs?
Maybe you’ve heard of a few of these opportunities, but don’t quite know the details. Maybe you’re looking for a way out of your dead-end low paying job, but are afraid to take the leap. Well, here you’ll find a list of some of the most popular platforms, as well as a little insight into how they work.
Uber is one of the better-known platforms for independent contracting drivers. Prospective participants create a driver account online, then upload copies of their driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Drivers also consent to a background check and are prompted to download the Uber Driver app. On the app, you can watch a few instructional videos which outline how to get started driving. The background check comes back in just a few days, and you’re ready.
Most people average $12-$20/hr most days, and even more during surges. However, there will definitely be some slow $10/hr. days as well. New to the Uber app, riders can also tip within the app. The best times to drive for bonuses and fares at the most reliably steady pace is during morning and afternoon rush hours when people need to get to and from school or work. Weekend nights you can make a killing, as everyone is going out to party.
A look inside the Uber driver app
From the home screen, you swipe the button in the upper right corner to go online and become available to receive ride requests. From the home screen, one tap can take you to a record of your earnings, see the ratings you’ve received from your riders, and make account changes.
You will get a ride request which tells you how far you are from the rider and the rider’s user rating. Just as drivers are rated by riders, so too are riders rated by drivers. You either tap the screen to accept the rider or ignore it to decline the rider. Uber tracks your acceptance rate, and those with higher acceptance rates are prioritized for rides over those with lower acceptance rates. Acceptance rates also affect various bonuses Uber offers.
During price surges, the demand for rides in an area shown by the orange is so high, that drivers can be paid up to 3x the regular fare for helping to fulfill requests in that area. Once there are enough drivers in the area, or request volume slows down, the area will become less and less orange, and eventually go back to regularly priced fares.
After the ride is over, riders can give you a 1-5 star rating, as well as leave compliments, and help you earn achievement badges.
How do you get paid?
You can choose to let your earnings accumulate and have them deposited to your bank account every Tuesday like a paycheck, or if you need money in a hurry, Uber has an instant payment option that lets you cash out whenever you need. You can also set the app to destination mode, which allows you to pick up only riders going your way, so you can even make money on your way home from your full-time job. Want to just try it out? Click HERE and you’ll even get a guaranteed $130 just for completing your first 20 trips.
Lyft is Uber’s number one competitor for independent contracting drivers. The signup process mirrors Uber’s with prospective participants creating a driver account online, then uploading copies of their driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Lyft also conducts background checks, and you have to download the Lyft Driver app. The interface, bonus structure, incentives, etc. are almost identical to Uber’s with minor variation.
You can average $12-$20/hr most days just like Uber, and more during their Prime Times and in their Power Areas both displayed in the app. One major difference between Uber and Lyft, is with Uber you can give a short ride and only make $3 and some change, whereas with Lyft, no matter how short the ride, I have never once received less than $5. This $5 minimum can definitely make Lyft the better choice for drivers during the slow periods. Many drivers believe they are paid better with Lyft, riders also say they pay less with Lyft. I don’t know how Lyft does it, but it is definitely a defining edge over Uber.
A look inside the Lyft driver app
From the home screen, you tap the button in the middle top of the screen to go online and become available to receive ride requests. From the home screen, one tap can take you to a record of your earnings, but unlike the Uber app, you don’t get ratings, comments, and can’t make account changes.
However, if you tap on your picture in the upper left corner, there is a web link to your dashboard where you CAN see your ratings and make account changes as necessary. You can also see any pickups you have scheduled, and update your vehicle info.
During price surges, the demand for rides in an area shown by the pink is so high, that drivers can be paid up to 3x the regular fare for helping to fulfill requests in that area, just like Uber’s orange surge indicator. Once there are enough drivers in the area, or request volume slows down, the area will become smaller and smaller, and eventually go back to regularly priced fares.
In addition to surge pricing, Lyft also has Prime Time pricing where all rides during that time receive a specified extra percentage. There’s also area specific pricing. If you drive during prime times in specific highlighted areas, you can get assigned area specific percentages added on to your base fair.
How do you get paid?
Just as with Uber, you can choose to let your earnings accumulate and have them deposited to your bank account every Tuesday like a paycheck, or if you need money in a hurry, there’s instant payment option that lets you cash out whenever you need. Lyft also has a destination mode which allows you to pick up only riders going your way.
Even if you don’t want to drive full time or even part-time, wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to get emergency money immediately without needing to beg, borrow, or steal? Click HERE to sign up and earn up to $250 extra for your first 30 days of driving.
Amazon Flex is Amazon’s independent contract driver delivery service. The signup process is pretty straightforward with prospective delivery partners creating an account online, but unlike Lyft and Uber you can’t download the app in the Google Play Store. Once your account has been approved, Amazon will send you an email containing a download link for the app.
Independent drivers with Amazon work in prescheduled blocks of time. The block can be anywhere from 1hr. to 4hrs. When you accept a block, it could be for pick up and delivery of items from the warehouse, a restaurant, or even a supermarket. Thus far, I’ve worked a 2hr block that paid $37 without tips, and one that paid $50 with tips included. I’ve also worked for two 4hr blocks. One paid out $85 and the other paid out $102.
Before you quit Uber or Lyft for Amazon
It’s pretty safe to say Amazon’s pay is much better than the pay with Lyft or Uber, but you’re lucky if you can snag 2 blocks per week with Amazon. They go in the blink of an eye, even those supposedly reserved just for you.
Inside the Amazon driver app
Once you’re scheduled for a block, it is added to your in-app calendar to help you keep track. The app doesn’t allow for screenshots but is pretty easy to use. An hour before your scheduled block starts, your app displays a “Travel” button. Tapping that button will navigate you to your pick-up location. Once you are there, your app will display an “I’ve Arrived” button for you to tap and confirm your arrival.
The next screen the app displays is the “Scan Packages” screen. There is usually clear signs posted to guide you to where you need to go to pick up your packages. Once you receive the packages you are to deliver, you scan their QR codes one by one, and upon finishing you confirm that all packages have been entered.
Next, a “Start Travel” button is displayed, and once that button is tapped the navigation of the app takes over. The map’s navigation directs you turn by turn to each delivery. Once you arrive at each location, you will be prompted to scan the packages contained in the order for that particular address as well as be able to see any instructions left by the buyer.
How do you get paid?
Unlike Uber or Lyft, there’s not an instant payment option. Your earnings are deposited to your bank account every Tuesday like a paycheck.
The app easily walks you through each step. If Amazon is still recruiting in your area, I would definitely suggest signing up. However, Amazon is not currently recruiting in the Atlanta area at the time of this writing.
Tools of the trade
These are 3 tools I strongly recommend that you buy in order to make working for Uber, Lyft, or Amazon a lot easier for you. These items will also help boost your ratings.
This phone mount keeps your phone at eye level as you navigate so you don’t have to keep looking down into your cup holder, or fidgeting with a phone that shifts with every turn you make. Trust me, it matters.
I’ve used the mango scent and the cotton candy scent. I can’t even tell you how many compliments I get on how good my car smells, and how much my riders appreciate it.
I keep bottled water, magazines, tissues, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, and mints available to my riders. I’ve been thanked for doing so every time, and all of it definitely gets used. I’ve been asked repeatedly for use of an aux cord and an IPhone charger, so I’ll need to get each of those as well.
TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that matches freelance labor with local demand, allowing consumers to find immediate help with everyday tasks, including cleaning, moving, delivery and handyman work. I don’t have much info on Task Rabbit, because I signed up to become a “Tasker” well over a week ago, paid the $20 fee to do so, and have yet to hear anything back. If and when I have any more information, I will update.
Here are two more side hustles I’ve heard great things about.
I haven’t had an opportunity to try them out yet, but you should definitely check them out :
With a car and some free time, there are MANY opportunities to financially supplement your full-time income, without getting locked into another full or part-time job with a permanent schedule. You may even decide to combine several of these gigs to create a full-time schedule. Become acquainted with them, and sign up. Even if you never actually work them, it makes for a good back up plan. Don’t be afraid to take the leap.