The Best Gig Apps: Explore Top Platforms by Skill Set

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The way people think about work has changed. With gig apps and freelancing platforms, workers can choose their path. They use their skills to offer services directly to clients. You decide when and how much you work, and these apps handle everything from finding jobs to getting paid.

Researchers estimate that by 2027, almost 51% of the U.S. workforce will be independent professionals like freelancers and gig workers. The old 9-to-5 office job is not the only option anymore. If you want extra income, gig apps give you more choices beyond local job listings. You can freelance after regular work hours or even pick up side gigs apps like food delivery.

If you are interested in the gig apps economy, we will explore the best gig apps and different platforms. You can work on-demand or start your own business. 

Ride-sharing apps

Ride-sharing apps were some of the first gig apps platforms to gain popularity. To become a driver in the U.S., you need to meet certain requirements like having a valid driver’s license, an insured car, and passing a background check. You might also need to take an exam or driving test in some countries and cities.

With ride-sharing apps, you can work whenever you want, and finding customers is easy. You do not have to drive around hoping someone will hail a taxi. Just turn on the app when you are available, and you can start accepting riders and earning money.

These apps provide on-demand gig work, so you do not have to actively promote your services. When you are available, the app assigns riders to you. As a driver, you can earn feedback and tips from riders, which affects your earnings. Some apps prioritize drivers with better reviews, giving them more riders.

Driver pay can vary among ride-sharing platforms. Consider where you live and which app is most popular when deciding which one to drive for. You can even sign up for a few apps to test and see where you earn more.

Here are some ride sharing app; have a look:

Uber

Uber was the first big rideshare service in the U.S. It started in San Francisco in 2010. Now, it operates in more than 10,000 cities worldwide and works with over 700 airports for drop-offs and pickups. If you want to drive for Uber, check if your car meets their requirements. If not, you can even rent a car to use while driving for Uber.

Lyft

In San Francisco, Lyft hit the streets in 2012 with cars sporting fuzzy pink mustaches. These days, drivers use stickers or light-up signs instead of the mustaches. Lyft is available in the U.S. and Canada. They also partner with over 300 airports. Check if your car qualifies, or consider using Lyft Express Drive with a rental car.

Regional Favorites: Depending on where you are, different rideshare apps might be popular. Some cities and countries do not allow foreign rideshare companies, so people might use regular taxis or other local apps.

Food delivery apps

Food-delivery apps work a bit like ride-sharing services. Instead of driving people around, you deliver food or groceries. And guess what? You do not need a car! Depending on the app and where you live, you can use a car, scooter, bike, or even walk. These apps are more flexible about how you get around because you are not carrying passengers.

As a food delivery driver, you can choose when you want to start taking food orders. The app will tell you which restaurants or grocery stores to visit, and they should have the food ready when you arrive. Just use the app on your phone or the company card, pick up the order, and deliver it to the customer.

Some gig workers prefer food delivery over ride-sharing because you are not stuck in the car all the time. You get to walk around when you go to restaurants or stores for deliveries. And if you are up for it, you can even deliver groceries. Sometimes you will pick up pre-shopped orders, or you might do the shopping yourself and earn extra money.

Most food delivery platforms pay drivers a base amount for each order, plus tips from customers. The base pay depends on how far you have to drive, how long you spend at the restaurant, and how busy things are. Some apps also offer bonuses during busy hours.

Other food delivery apps

DoorDash

  • You can start delivering food using your car, scooter, motorcycle, or bike on DoorDash.
  •  Basic requirements include having a driver’s license and passing a background check.
  •  After your first successful delivery (“Dash”), DoorDash provides you with a food-warming bag and a red card.
  •  The red card is used to pay for non-pre-paid customer orders and is not connected to your bank account or earnings.
  •  DoorDash operates in cities across the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico.

GrubHub

  • GrubHub allows food delivery using your car or bike (in select cities).
  •  Similar to DoorDash, you will receive a free warming bag after your first successful GrubHub delivery.
  •  GrubHub serves over 4,000 cities across all 50 states.
  •  You can use block scheduling to guarantee a minimum amount during your pre-booked shift.

Uber Eats

  • Uber and Uber Eats are part of the same app for drivers.
  •  If you meet the requirements, you can work for both services.
  •  Uber Eats allows more flexibility in the type of vehicle you use.
  •  You can deliver using any 2-door or 4-door car, bike, scooter, or even walk (depending on your location).
  •  No driver’s license is needed unless you are using a motor vehicle.
  •  Uber Eats operates in cities across the U.S. and over 45 countries globally.

Postmates

  • Uber acquired Postmates in 2020.
  •  New drivers for Postmates use the Uber Eats app.
  •  Postmates drivers can deliver food, groceries, and other goods using their car, bike, scooter, or walking (location-dependent).
  •  Postmates is available in over 500 cities worldwide and may be more popular than Uber Eats in certain areas

Instacart 

It is is an app-based grocery delivery service that operates much like Uber Eats or Postmates. Here is how it works:

  • Ordering: You can order groceries from over 300 stores nationwide using the Instacart app or website. These stores include local grocers and chain stores.
  •  Personal Shoppers: Freelance delivery drivers, known as personal shoppers, fulfill your order. They go to the grocery store, pick out the items you have ordered, and even message you for any substitutions if necessary.
  •  Delivery or Pickup: Instacart offers both delivery and curbside pickup options. You can choose what works best for you.
  •  Payment: Shoppers use the Instacart payment card to pay for the order.
  •  Coverage: Instacart is available in 14,000 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

Regional Variations

Food delivery apps tend to be more localized compared to rideshare driving apps. The available food delivery apps can vary from city to city. Checking which apps are popular in your area is a good idea.

Freelance job platforms

Freelancing allows you to offer your specific skills to clients. Whether you’re great at technical programming or creative illustration, you can work on projects. If you have enough work, it can be a side gig or even your full-time job.

Here is how it works:

  • Freelancing platforms connect talented people (like you!) with clients who need their skills.
  •  You can work remotely, set your own hours, and choose projects that interest you.
  •  Freelancing is becoming more popular, with over 39% of the U.S. workforce doing it in 2022.
  •  Depending on the platform, you can work on hourly or fixed-price jobs.
  •  As you gain experience, you can charge more for your skills.

Here are some top ranking freelance platforms:

Upwork:

  • Freelancers on Upwork earned over $3.8 billion in 2022 across various skills and categories.
  •  On Upwork, you can: Submit proposals to projects posted by clients on the Talent Marketplace and 30% of the Fortune 100 use Upwork to find independent professionals.
  •  Freelancers can be paid hourly or per project.
  •  Hourly contracts have payment protection, and freelancers can track their hours.
  •  For fixed-price projects, clients fully fund the project before work begins, and funds are released after approval or 14 days.
  •  List your services on Project Catalog™ and let clients find you.

Fiverr:

  • Fiverr started as a platform for smaller transactions (like creating a $5 logo).
  •  Freelancers now offer services at fixed prices with different service tiers.
  •  Fiverr charges a 20% service fee to freelancers.
  •  When listing your service, you communicate your needs to the buyer.
  •  Funds are released after delivery, and buyers can leave optional tips.
  •  While prices are not limited to $5 anymore, many services are still smaller and lower-cost projects.

Freelancer.com 

It is is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace. Here is what you need to know:

  • Freelancers can bid on client projects by submitting their proposals or “pitches.”
  •  You showcase your skills and convince clients why you are the right fit for their project.
  •  If you prefer in-person work, Freelancer.com allows clients to post projects that require physical presence (e.g., handing out flyers or photoshoots).
  •  Freelancer.com charges a 10% service fee for using the platform.
  •  This fee ensures access to features like payment protection.
  •  Unlike Fiverr and Upwork, independent professionals on Freelancer.com cannot market pre-packaged fixed-price services.
  •  Instead, they submit bids tailored to specific projects.
  •  Freelancer.com hosts contests where multiple freelancers can submit their work.
  •  Only the winning submission receives payment.
  •  Clients use contests to evaluate freelancers and crowdsource ideas.

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