Ever since Uber was founded in 2009, dozens of ridesharing platforms have popped up all over the world. Today, the on-demand economy includes apps for delivery and services like cleaning or other types of office or manual work, as well as sharing platforms.
Whether you want to work for these companies as a side hustle or a full-time gig, there are many ways to set up multiple gig economy platforms to your advantage.
Here are some tips to make sure you’re making the best of all your options.
Paradox of Choice
If this is your first venture into signing up for an on-demand platform, the plethora of options can seem both overwhelming and exciting. But before you download all the apps and sign up for everything at once, consider which platforms best match your interests and situation.
Generally speaking, there are two types of platforms you can sign up for – sharing and services.
When you look for a potential source of income, determine which of your possessions could be used or rented out for gigs. For example:
- If you have a closet full of designer clothes, Closet Collective could be an option.
- If you own a passenger vehicle, you can rent it out for Turo or Getaround.
- If you have tools lying around the house that can be lent out, you can list them on PeerRenters.
- If you own a home and would like to rent out a room, you can become a host on Airbnb or VRBO.
If you don’t own anything that can be rented out for cash, you can turn to the service-based platforms that only require your time and skills. Though most of these platforms don’t involve specialized skillsets, it definitely helps during the screening process if you have previous related experience.
Some services and platforms you can sign up for include:
- If you’re always the one left to clean your house, you may as well get paid for it. Cleaning service apps like Handy and Managed by Q can bring you that coveted extra income.
- If you’re up for all types of chores from changing a lightbulb to standing in line for someone, you can sign up on TaskRabbit.
- If you don’t mind lifting heavy furniture to help someone move, Dolly is a good place to go.
- If you’re looking for warehouse work, Wonolo can help you find available gigs nearby.
- If you’re great at providing tech support, HelloTech is for you.
- If your idea of a good time is driving around town all day, Uber and Lyft provide the perfect gig.
Some of these service platforms like Uber and Caviar also have prerequisites like requiring you to possess an appropriate vehicle (with the exception of some platforms like Postmates where you can become a courier on foot). So it’s worth considering whether that’s going to be a worthy investment or just not worth the effort, depending on your level of commitment.
Once you’ve identified your possible matches based on your possessions and interests, it’s time to decide just how many you should be on at a time and whether the extra work each platform brings is a boon or a burden.
Diversifying Your Income Stream
As the saying goes, one of the principles of the gig economy is the idea that you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. This is an economic principle that’s commonly used when talking about your investment portfolio and assets, but it can also apply to your gigs.
While signing up on a platform doesn’t carry inherent risks like the stock market, if you’re relying on these platforms for your income, it’s worth taking some time to make sure that you have enough work at all times by joining more than one service. In some cases, an unexpected dip in income does mean losing out on your investment not just in time, but also in dollars – for instance, if you buy or lease a car so that you can work for Uber.
Depending on where you are, demand for services can vary. This means that if you’re on both Lyft and Uber, as opposed to just one, you get a better chance of getting passengers and thus a more reliable stream of income. If you’re in Pittsburgh, DC or Baltimore, there’s even an app – Gridwise – to help you balance between the two platforms.
Another way to diversify is to choose one main source of income that you’ll spend the most time on, as well as a side hustle you’ll work on in your spare time. So your schedule could look something like:
- Uber & Lyft during rush hour, TaskRabbit during lunch
- Dolly during the day, DoorDash at night
- Wonolo during weekdays, HelloTech on weekends
To prevent burnout and boredom, be sure to choose at least one platform that you can enjoy as a hobby, so that it doesn’t feel as much like work.
If you’d like to go a step further from this schedule, you can benefit from adding another platform that can provide you with some passive income, like Airbnb or Closet Collective that don’t require as much work on your part besides taking photos, setting up the property/items and posting the listing.
This way, even if one service fails you due to whatever reason – season, location, off-peak hours – you have a backup ready at all times. Besides, since most platforms have sign-up processes that require background checks that can take some time, it’s best to be prepared in advance rather than wait until you run out of work on one and find yourself suddenly out of cash.
Find the Right Fit For You
Ultimately, the best thing about the gig economy is flexibility. It’s up to you when you want to work on what, so try to align your interests with your skills for the optimal outcome.
Lyft may sound like a good idea to earn some quick cash, but if you hate driving, you could end up hating your job. Conversely, if you love checking out restaurants in different neighborhoods, or you enjoy walking around the city, a food delivery service like DoorDash can provide you with plenty of opportunities to do so while earning money.
Customize your diverse income streams for maximum profit and enjoyability, and you could set yourself up for a very rewarding career in the gig economy.