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Best Gig Jobs

Best Gig Jobs

best gig jobs

n 2021, the U.S. faced a high unemployment rate, and many people were out of work due to the pandemic. Just six months into the pandemic, 25 percent of American adults reported that they or someone in their household had lost a job due to coronavirus.

However, because more people were stuck at home, they also relied more on gig workers. 

Gig work is something that’s become more and more popular in the last few years. But is it really possible to make a profit from gig work? It is—if you choose the right job that works best with your schedule and your resources. Here’s our list of the best and worst gig jobs of 2021. 

What to look for when evaluating gig work

With the explosion of the gig economy, it almost seems like there are too many options out there. It can be hard to know where to start. 

Consider asking yourself these questions when deciding if you should pursue a new gig:

  • Do you have any special skills or talents that would make you a great candidate for a specific job? For example, a video editor, photographer or writer has specific skills they can leverage in new job opportunities. 
  • What do you feel comfortable doing? There’s no point attempting work that doesn’t align with your values, abilities or wants. Let’s say you’re not a comfortable driver or you don’t have a reliable vehicle. In this case, picking up a ridesharing gig might not be the best decision. 
  • Consider how much you believe your time to be worth, and make sure the gig pays at least that much. 
  • Does your gig require an investment and can you afford it? For example, you can’t jump into a photography gig if you don’t have the right equipment. 
  • Will the gig require you to be in contact with other people, and do you feel comfortable with that? Many gig jobs, like Uber drivers and DoorDash delivery drivers, come into contact with dozens of people per shift. If you have an immunocompromised person in your household, the risks associated with a public-facing gig might eliminate it as a viable option. 

Gig work red flags

Unfortunately, not all gig work is created equal. There are plenty of gigs out there that have more negatives than positives. It’s essential to know the red flags and avoid these gigs. Some of the warning signs of a bad gig are:

  • You’re competing with international workers, so the average earnings per hour are less than the minimum wage. 
  • You’re required to invest a lot into the job before you even begin—for example, having to buy a lot of inventory to resell for a profit. While this isn’t always a warning sign (for example, Amazon drop-shipping works for some), it can be risky. Multilevel marketing (MLM) models, which are comparable to pyramid schemes, use this business model, and participants are often left with a loss when they can’t sell their inventory. 
  • The job seems mismatched to the level of work or skill required compared to the level of work. 
  • The job requires you to be present or active even when there’s no work to be done. Types of work that don’t have this issue include ridesharing or food delivery gigs. Uber drivers aren’t busy all day, but they have the flexibility to leave their shifts and come back during a busier period.
  • The gig demands unreasonable hours. 

The best gig jobs

Here’s our list of the best gig jobs in 2021. We chose these because they were the easiest to make a profit in, were the most flexible with schedules and had decent ratings on Glassdoor. 

Lyft

Lyft is a ridesharing service that allows users to order a ride from their pickup location to a specified destination. Rides can be arranged just for the customer or for a group of customers at a discounted rate (i.e., “shared rides”). Lyft drivers can earn an income by driving customers around. However, the company does not provide a vehicle, so you’ll need your own car. 

Average hourly wage: $18.83

Average Glassdoor worker review: 3.9 / 5.0

How to get started: Individuals can apply to be a Lyft driver online or through the app. Every applicant will need to meet state and local age, vehicle and driving history requirements. Additionally, all applicants must pass a background check and a DMV check. Lastly, individuals will need to provide their driver’s license information, license plates and insurance information and complete the Lyft Community Safety Education program. 

Doordash

Doordash is an online platform that allows customers to order food from nearby restaurants and have it delivered. Drivers can pick up shift work delivering orders. You’ll need to have your own form of transportation (usually a car, but bikes are accepted in some cities) to make the deliveries, as the company does not provide a vehicle.   

Average hourly wage: $15.35

Average Glassdoor worker review: 4.0 / 5.0

How to get started: You can sign up to be a Doordash delivery driver online. You’ll create an online profile and submit to a background check. The requirements to be approved as a worker include: being at least 18, having a car, scooter or bike for transportation, having a valid driver’s license and a Social Security number and consenting to a background check. 

Shipt

Shipt is an online platform that allows customers to order groceries and household essentials from nearby stores directly to their homes. Shipt gig workers pick up jobs to shop for the customer’s desired items and drop them off at their door. 

Average hourly wage: $13

Average Glassdoor worker review: 4.0 / 5.0

How to get started: Individuals who want to be a Shipt shopper can apply online. The minimum requirements include being 18 or older, having a valid mailing address, a valid U.S. driver’s license, proof of insurance and a reliable vehicle, having knowledge of produce selection, being able to lift up to 45 pounds and having a smartphone.  

Taskrabbit

Taskrabbit is an online platform that allows individuals to sell their services. Customers can hire people for jobs such as painting, photography, moving, handiwork around the house and more. Taskrabbit does not provide equipment or vehicles to the workers on its platform. 

Average hourly wage: $36

Average Glassdoor worker review: 4.0 / 5.0

How to get started: TaskRabbit individuals can create their profile online. The requirements to be accepted include: being at least 18, living in one of the active TaskRabbit cities and having a Social Security number. 

Upwork

Upwork is an online platform where individuals can sell their online professional skills, such as writing, graphic design, accounting assistance and more. Individuals get to set their own rates for their jobs. 

Average hourly wage: $22

Average Glassdoor worker review: 4.1 / 5.0

How to get started: Workers can simply create an online profile and include an address for tax purposes. 

Fiverr

Fiverr is similar to Upwork—it’s an online platform where individuals can sell their professional digital services at their own rates. 

Average hourly wage: $8 

Average Glassdoor worker review: 4.4 / 5.0

How to get started: Fiverr gig workers simply need to complete an online profile. However, Americans will need to complete a W-9 form before accepting any orders. 

Airbnb

Airbnb is an online platform that allows homeowners to rent out rooms or entire houses to Airbnb customers. Individuals who want to become Airbnb hosts need to have a physical space to rent out to guests legally.

Average monthly earnings: $924 

Average Glassdoor worker review: 4.3 / 5.0

How to get started: Airbnb hosts can create an account online to get started renting out their space. 

Poshmark

Poshmark is an online community that facilitates the buying and selling of used clothing between people. Poshmark provides a free shipping label to sellers and takes a portion of the sale as a commission. 

Average sale price: $28 

Average Glassdoor worker review: 4.6 / 5.0

How to get started: Poshmark sellers need to download the app, create a profile and start posting items to sell. 

The worst gig jobs

Although some people might find these gig jobs work for them, we listed these on our “worst of” list because they had the lowest ratings on Glassdoor. And as most people know, an employee’s experience can speak volumes. 

Amazon Flex

Amazon is an international online distributor of goods. Amazon Flex is a program that allows individuals with their own vehicles to deliver Amazon packages. 

Average hourly wage: $19.27

Average Glassdoor worker review: 3.3 / 5.0

How to get started: To become an Amazon Flex driver, individuals sign up online. All applicants will need to live in a city where Flex operates, be at least 21, have a valid U.S. driver’s license, have a medium-sized or large vehicle and have a smartphone. 

Postmates

Postmates is a food delivery service platform. Drivers can sign up to pick up orders from restaurants and deliver them to customers’ homes. Postmates does not provide cars, so drivers must have their own transportation. 

Average hourly wage: $16

Average Glassdoor worker review: 3.6 / 5.0

How to get started: To be approved as a Postmates courier, applicants must be at least 18, have a valid driver’s license and have a Social Security number.

Instacart

Instacart is an online platform that allows people to create a shopping list from local stores and have the order delivered. Shoppers can communicate with the customer to make changes to the order in real time. They pick up these orders, go to the store, do the shopping, communicate with the customer and deliver the order. Shoppers will need to have a mode of transportation to complete orders as Instacart does not provide a vehicle. 

Average hourly wage: $18.84

Average Glassdoor worker review: 3.6 / 5.0

How to get started: Instacart shoppers can create a profile online. The requirements to become a shopper include: being at least 18, having legal authorization to work in the United States, being able to lift up to 40 pounds without help, having access to a reliable car and owning a smartphone. 

UberEats

UberEats is an online food ordering platform that allows customers to order food from restaurants and have it delivered to their desired location. Drivers can work for UberEats and pick up and deliver customer orders. UberEats does not provide its drivers with a company vehicle to use. 

Average hourly wage: $16

Average Glassdoor worker review: 3.6 / 5.0

How to get started: UberEats drivers can begin their application online. The minimum requirements to work for UberEats as a driver include being at least 19, having a valid driver’s license, car insurance and proof of car registration, having at least one year’s worth of driving experience and being able to lift 30 pounds effectively. 

Can you make a career out of the gig economy?

Media outlets often highlight success stories of individuals using sites like Fiverr to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars. In reality, this is the exception, not the average experience for most people. Approximately 96.3 percent of sellers on Fiverr make less than $500 a month, and only 2.2 percent earn $2,000 or more monthly. 

Gig work is good when you’re between jobs or need to supplement your income, but like any low-paying job, it can be hard to make a lucrative career out of gig work. Additionally, it’s important to note that gig work comes with some unique challenges, such as filing taxes and finding the right insurance coverage. 

People who want to follow a self-employment path will usually have to find clients outside these online platforms. These platforms take a fee for services and encourage competition between sellers, so it’s not the best long-term strategy. But if you’re interested in picking up some gig work, consider starting with one of the jobs highlighted here as having the best employee reviews.