Side Hustles Made Easy: 9 Best Gig Apps Compared

A man sings as he sweeps a person's floor in their living room. This story is about the best apps to get paid for gig work.
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Gig work can be a great way to make side money, especially if the typical 9-5 isn’t your thing.

Several gig apps make it easier than ever to find short-term work. No more scouring Craigslist or working with a temp agency.

You’ve probably heard of gig apps like Uber and DoorDash. Others — like Instawork and TaskRabbit — let you pick the kind of jobs you’re interested in.

Working in the gig economy isn’t easy, but these apps are a great way to create your own schedule, work your own hours and make some extra cash.

In this article, we’ll explore the nine best gig apps, how they work and how much you can expect to earn.

Let’s get started.

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1. InstaWork

Founded in 2016, Instawork is a gig app that helps you find local, hourly professional work.

The app helps businesses in the food, hospitality and warehouse/logistics industries fill temporary and permanent job openings in more than 30 markets across the United States and Canada.

To get started, you’ll complete your profile with information about your work history and experience. Next, you’ll look for available gigs under “Open shifts” and find one that fits your schedule. Review the information, book your gig job and you’re ready to start working.

Instawork takes care of all of the paperwork, insurance and payments. The gig app also lets you see how much you’ll get paid for the job before you book it.

Payouts usually take place weekly via direct deposit into your bank account. You can also earn extra money by accepting urgent shifts or picking up gig jobs during peak times.

Examples of gigs you can find on Instawork include bartending, event servering, general labor, cooking, merchandising and warehouse work.

2. TaskRabbit

TaskRabbit connects gig workers with an online marketplace of people who need help with odd jobs.

This can include anything from cleaning houses and watering house plants to standing in line and assembling IKEA furniture.

Service providers, called “Taskers,” use the app to find jobs, contact potential clients and get paid for the work. Jobs are paid at an hourly rate, which Taskers set. You also get to set your own flexible schedule.

To become a Tasker, you have to be at least 18 years old and live in one of 61 cities in the U.S. where the platform is active.

After you create and submit a profile on TaskRabbit, you’ll pay the company a nonrefundable $25 registration fee. That’s the only fees you’ll face as a TaskRabbit gig worker; all other costs are paid by clients.

You can provide services across more than 35 categories in the app, ranging from yard work and delivering furniture to mounting TVs and returning items to the store.

Some require previous experience or expertise, but many don’t.

To become a Tasker, you can sign up through the TaskRabbit website or download the iOS or Android app.

3. Thumbtack

Thumbtack is another gig economy app with similarities to TaskRabbit. You offer services to users — anything from helping people move to wedding photography —- and wait for potential clients to contact you about gig jobs.

But it’s not just odd jobs and manual labor side hustles on Thumbtack. Creative-minded people can also make profiles to promote their services, like event DJing, interior decorating, wedding makeup, live music for parties, web design and videography.

It’s free to create a profile on Thumbtack and there’s no subscription fee. However, you have to pay for leads and bookings, aka when new customers reach out to you or book you through the app.

In other words, you have to spend money to make money on Thumbtack.

You can set your own prices, preferences and availability on this gig app so you only get matched with qualified leads. Responding quickly to potential customers increases your odds of landing the job.

You’ll need to pass a background check (provided for free through Thumbtack), enter your Social Security number and upload a copy of a valid photo ID to get started.

You can also choose how you want to get paid for bookings. Many pros on Thumbtack get paid through their Cash App, Zelle or PayPal account. It’s up to you to set up your payment preferences: Customers don’t pay you directly through the app.

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4. Rover and Wag

Love animals? Rover and Wag are two gig apps that let you turn your passion for pets into extra cash.

It’s a great time to walk dogs for money, too. Lots of people adopted pups during the pandemic, and as more folks return to the office, demand for dog walkers and pet sitters is on the rise.

Rover and Wag are sort of like Uber for dog walking in that you take requests in your area. Depending on where you live, you can accept dog walks that are ASAP, meaning you need to arrive for the walk within a certain period of time, or you can accept a walk that’s scheduled for a later time.

You also make your own hours and post your availability for dog walking gigs. Dog owners can check out your profile, your prices and your availability, then book a walk with you through the app.

How much you can earn depends on how many gigs you accept. You get to set your own rate, which generally ranges from $13 to $20 per 30 minutes for dog walking services, depending on the area and your experience level.

Here’s our article comparing Rover and Wag, plus a few similar apps.

5. Shovler

If you live in a snowy part of the country, shoveling people’s driveways and sidewalks can be a great way to make extra cash.

The Shovler app uses GPS to connect people in need of snow removal with nearby users willing to do the shoveling.

You can use the app to quickly view and accept jobs within 20 miles of your current location. No marketing, haggling or in-person contact required.

To get started, you’ll need to download the Shovler app, select “Become a Shoveler” and fill out your information. You’ll also need to connect a Stripe payment system account to get paid.

You can search for nearby jobs within the Shovler app or select “go on duty” to be notified when new gigs are added.

You’ll need to provide your own equipment too, including a shovel, brush, salt and any other tools you might need.

So how much can you make? One shoveler we spoke to said he netted $5,000 in one season by completing 70 jobs. On average, you can expect to make between $35 and $75 for small jobs. Bigger gigs like clearing small business parking lots will net you more money.

6. DoorDash

Founded in 2013, DoorDash was one of the first food delivery apps to hit the market. People have been signing up to become “Dashers” and make money delivering food with this gig app ever since.

Overall, driver requirements for this food delivery app are low. The minimum age is 18, you need a valid driver’s license and you can deliver with any mode of transportation — a properly insured vehicle, a scooter or a bicycle.

There’s no dress code, and the company provides a hot bag for free.

You get paid weekly, or you can access your funds early through Fast Pay for a fee.

Thinking about becoming a Dasher? Here are 10 tips to maximize your earnings as a DoorDash driver.

7. Amazon Flex

Retail giant Amazon operates its own app to help connect workers with temporary delivery jobs.

Currently, delivery gigs with Amazon Flex are among the highest paying in the gig economy. The company says pay ranges between $18 and $25 per hour, depending on your area. With high performance and good tips, it’s possible to earn more.

Flex requires you to sign up for gig jobs, aka “blocks,” for most deliveries. Blocks typically run four hours at a time, unless the shift is specifically for Prime Now packages. Those blocks are shorter.

Insured four-door sedans or SUVs are required for most Flex packages. For Prime Now blocks, smaller cars are allowed.

To apply, you must be at least 21 years old. No dress code or special materials are required to start delivering.

Looking for more delivery app jobs? Check out our top nine picks.

8. Uber

If you like driving, Uber can put extra cash in your pocket.

The process is simple. You sign up to drive online or through the app, then log in when you want to work. You’ll wait for a notification when someone in your area needs a ride. Pick them up and drop them off at their destination to complete the job.

You’ll need to meet a few basic driver requirements to get started, including having one year of driving experience under your belt (or three years if you’re under 25). You’ll also need at least a four-door vehicle in good condition and proof of insurance.

You earn money based on how many rides you take, and you automatically get paid each week (or more often, if you choose) through direct deposit.

You can get an earnings boost by driving during surge pricing times — like rush hour or during a special event. You also get to keep 100% of the tips you earn.

Want to maximize your earnings? Here's our top seven tips to make more money driving for Uber.

9. Para

Rather than juggling multiple gig apps, you can use the Para app to accept jobs from DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber and Lyft.

We like this option, since working with a single app helps eliminate the dangers of shuffling between apps while on the road. It also gives you the opportunity to see the best job offered from each service.

To get started, download the Para app, create an account and then link your other gig apps. You can accept or decline offers from multiple gig services and see how much per hour and per mile you’d make taking the job.

Beyond the four supported services on Para — DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber and Lyft — the app also offers a feature known as ParaWorks. With ParaWorks, you can find other “high-paying scheduled & on-demand job opportunities.”

Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder. She focuses on retirement, investing, taxes and life insurance.