From the gig economy to the freelance economy, side jobs, side hustles, and more, you’re bombarded with terms referring to the tremendous opportunity that exists for anyone to supplement their full-time income – or even escape the rat race (another one of those buzzwords) and replace your full-time salary with opportunities that put you in control of your earning potential.
Today’s side hustles are a far cry from the tired old “work from home” craze that sprung up soon after the proliferation of the internet. Today, thanks to innovative companies that make it possible to reinvent the way you work, side gigs, side hustles, freelance jobs, or whatever you choose to call them are very real ways to make real money. That’s not to say that those work-from-home scams don’t still exist – they most certainly do – but in moments of desperation when you need to generate some cash fast, your opportunities are wide open in the modern world, and those scams are irrelevant.
More traditional freelance work was traditionally geared to professional trades such as designers, writers, accountants, and other skilled workers, but the on-demand economy connects workers of all kinds with local employers who need their services, often through a mobile app but also through websites. From delivery driving gigs to running errands for busy professionals or families, you don’t need specialized training or skills to capitalize on the on-demand economy, and nearing $57 billion annually, the on-demand economy is showing no signs of slowing anytime soon.
But how can you tell the legit from the non-legit opportunities, and which on-demand jobs are best? Whether you’re looking for a way to make some quick cash on the side or wanting to ditch the 9-to-5 grind to have more control over your schedule and your lifestyle, you’ll find the perfect on-demand job in this guide. We’ve compiled a list of the best on-demand jobs for every purpose and across several categories below:
On-Demand Delivery Jobs
On-demand delivery jobs are among the most popular ways to earn cash in the gig economy today, driven in part by the increasing demand for consumers to get everything delivered straight to their doorsteps – from meals to packages, groceries, and more. That spells tons of opportunity for anyone wanting to make some extra cash on the side by turning their idle time into a side gig as a delivery driver.
While most on-demand delivery jobs involve the use of your own vehicle, some delivery gigs can even be done on your bike, meaning you can get a bit of exercise in while earning some money on the side (or full-time, should you choose). Naturally, some types of delivery jobs are better-suited to a vehicle than a bike. You wouldn’t want to try to deliver 10 bags of groceries on your bike, for instance, but you could deliver smaller packages on two wheels with ease.
There are a few main types of on-demand delivery jobs. We’ve outlined them below along with some examples of companies and apps that make these jobs possible.
- Packages – Get in on the on-demand delivery action by delivering packages through Roadie or similar companies. Even Amazon is getting in on the on-demand delivery trend with Amazon Flex. A twist on the package delivery service, Shyp offers courier services, allowing users to sign up to pick up packages (single packages up to thousands of orders for e-commerce stores), package them, and ship them out via UPS, FedEx, or other delivery services. Some delivery services are hyper-local, such as Deliver LA, so if you’re interested in an on-demand package delivery gig, find out what services exist in your local area.
- Flowers – Bring joy to people’s lives while earning some spare cash on the side by delivering flowers through a service such as BloomThat.
- Laundry and Dry Cleaning – Pick up dirty laundry and deliver it fresh and clean to customers through a service like Rinse.
- Restaurant Meal Delivery – Many popular dining establishments local to you may not offer their own delivery service, and that’s where on-demand restaurant delivery drivers come in. You can earn substantial side income or full-time earnings by offering restaurant delivery services with apps like EAT24 or DoorDash, particularly if you can deliver over the busy lunch hour when 9-to-5-ers are too busy at the office to make a lunchtime meal run.
- Groceries – While on-demand grocery delivery jobs often also include personal shopping services (meaning you’d shop for the customers’ items, pack them up, and deliver them to their doorstep), many consumers are looking for affordable home-delivery grocery services, so you can cash in on the trend even if your local grocers don’t offer home delivery. Check out Instacart and Shipt for more information on getting started with on-demand grocery delivery.
- Alcohol – You can even earn cash delivering alcohol to customers through Drizly.
On-Demand Ridesharing Jobs
Ridesharing is another popular on-demand job today, and with the widespread notoriety of Uber and Lyft, more people are taking advantage of ridesharing services than ever before – both as drivers and as passengers. Drivers sign up with an app or service, and those needing a ride to the airport, to work, to a bar, or pretty much anywhere they need to go request a ride.
Ridesharing is a more affordable alternative to car ownership for some people, particularly those who live in bigger cities where it’s simply impractical to own a vehicle, and it’s more flexible compared to standard public transportation options. It can be (although isn’t always) more affordable than traditional taxi services, too. Due to these benefits, Uber and Lyft have experienced tremendous success and many of those who have signed on as drivers are earning full-time incomes by giving people a lift to the places they need to go.
The two major players, Uber and Lyft, are pretty much dominating the ridesharing space in the U.S. A few up-and-comers are making waves around the globe, however.
- Uber – The service that made ridesharing massively popular, Uber is one of the most widely recognized names in the ridesharing industry. Uber offers ridesharing services worldwide.
- Lyft – Uber’s biggest competitor, Lyft, like Uber, is based in San Francisco and offers ridesharing services nationwide.
- GrabShare – GrabShare lets riders share a ride with other parties heading in the same general direction, which can save passengers money on fares. Based in Singapore, Grab offers services in the Southeast Asia region.
- Didi Chuxing – Offering ridesharing services in 400+ cities in China, Didi Chuxing offers several ride options, including taxi hailing, social ride sharing, private car hailing, and more.
A few startups have attempted to carve out a niche in a related field: parking and valet services. These services didn’t gain the traction that Uber and Lyft have benefited from in the ridesharing space and have since shut down.
On-Demand Labor Jobs: Businesses
On-demand labor jobs run the gamut from warehouse pickers and stockers to general labor jobs, construction workers, and more. Some on-demand labor jobs, such as warehouse gigs, involve taking shifts with established companies, while others, such as on-demand moving services, allow movers to connect directly with private individuals who need help with cleaning their house, getting their stuff from point A to point B, and so forth.
There are several common types of on-demand labor jobs commissioned by existing companies. To learn more about these opportunities and find out how to become an on-demand worker in your area, check out Wonolo, which connects workers (Wonoloers) with on-demand opportunities including:
- Warehouse Operations – From picking and stocking to assembly, warehouses often require additional help to cover shifts when employees are unavailable or meet increased demands during seasonal spikes.
- Event Staffing – Due to the somewhat unpredictable nature of the event industry, staffing can prove challenging when an event management firm suddenly has several events to staff on the same evening. On-demand event staffing opportunities help event planners manage their staffing needs and make it possible for on-demand workers to easily obtain work at local events. Event staffers may do anything from check-ins to table service, decorating, and more.
- General Labor – Contractors often source local workers to help on job sites with tasks such as site prep and cleanup, performing construction work, and other needs. If you enjoy this type of work, opportunities for on-demand general labor jobs are plentiful.
- Merchandising – Merchandisers typically work in retail settings to educate retail shop owners on products, ensure proper product positioning, and increase the visibility of product lines through displays and signage. Merchandisers may also be tasked with negotiating pricing, ordering goods, and analyzing sales figures. There are ample opportunities for on-demand workers in the merchandising field, as merchandisers from hundreds of companies may interact with a single retailer to coordinate the sale of product lines in brick-and-mortar locations.
- Administrative – Administrative workers take on a wide range of responsibilities, including answering phones, interfacing with walk-in customers or clients to direct them to the appropriate location, coordinating schedules and travel arrangements for executives, and more. Often, companies require temporary administrative help to cover for extended absences or to meet administrative needs on temporary job sites.
- Delivery Drivers – While we addressed on-demand delivery jobs above, it’s worth noting that delivery drivers can also be considered a type of general labor job. Warehouse operations, retailers, construction companies, and other businesses may enlist on-demand delivery drivers to transport supplies to job sites, deliver loads of goods to distribution centers, and other needs.
On-Demand Labor Jobs: Personal
On-demand labor jobs aren’t limited to opportunities with existing companies, however. There are plenty of on-demand labor tasks that the average homeowner may enlist on-demand workers to help with. Some such opportunities include:
- Cleaners and Housekeepers – Today’s families often just don’t have the time to keep their home as clean as they should, so increasingly, they turn to services like MaidsApp or Merry Maids to hire local professionals who can take care of those daily housekeeping tasks they don’t have time for. Of course, businesses can also make use of on-demand cleaning pros to keep their offices tidy, as well.
- Handymen – Much like keeping the house clean, many families today find that between running the kids to school, picking kids up for sports practices, attending events, and hosting play dates, there’s just no time for fixing the leaky faucet or even mowing the lawn. That’s where apps like Takl and Keepe come in, connecting busy people with service providers with the time and capability to take care of those day-to-day demands.
- Movers – Companies like Bellhops connect on-demand workers with homeowners (and sometimes businesses) that need help doing the heavy lifting on moving day.
- Caregiving (Child Care or Elderly Care) – Whether you enjoy spending time with kids or older adults, you can help to meet the demand for in-home caregivers through on-demand caregiving jobs. Babysitting services (daycare or child care services) through apps like Helpr connect qualified sitters to provide care for the younger generation, or for those who prefer the company of older adults, you can give a welcoming reprieve to a senior’s family caregivers by offering your services through Honor or similar platforms.
- Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers – Love dogs? Earn some spare cash on the side by signing up as a pet sitter or dog walker to give local pups some much-needed exercise during the busy workday when their owners aren’t available, or offer your services as a pet sitter to provide some four-legged friends with TLC while their owners are away. Check out Rover for more information on dog walking and pet sitting on-demand services.
- House Sitters – People who are headed away on business for a few days or families taking a vacation often need someone to watch over their property while they’re gone, taking care of things like making sure the doors are locked and the property secure, picking up the mail, and similar tasks.
- Local Errands and Tasks – Apps like TaskRabbit connect people who need help with errands and tasks connect with workers willing to do the dirty work – such as picking up the dry cleaning, standing in line to purchase tickets, assembling furniture, or even other types of household tasks like cleaning and yard work. Another service in the jack-of-all-household-trades space is Alfred, which connects customers with workers who can handle all those ordinary, time-consuming tasks like going grocery shopping, shipping packages, and the like.
- Remote Tasks – You don’t even need to be local to your customers if you’re able to perform remote tasks, such as collecting email addresses, sending emails, managing social media, or even more skilled tasks such as writing articles or updating websites. For these opportunities, check out apps like Zirtual and Perssist. If completing surveys, mining data, and similar tasks are your thing, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has ample opportunities.
Skilled and Professional On-Demand Jobs
Skilled on-demand jobs have been around for a long time, and most people think of these types of on-demand jobs as freelancing or independent contracting. These jobs can run the gamut from writing services to cooking, legal services, designers, developers, and more. A few common skilled and professional on-demand opportunities, as well as examples of apps and services that connect professionals with clients, include:
- Writing – If you have a way with words, you can earn some side cash or even a full-time income writing articles, blog posts, social media posts, newsletters, emails, sales copy, and more. Freelance writing has been around for many years, so there’s no shortage of services connecting writers with companies and bloggers who need them. Scripted, Crowd Content, and a variety of other platforms make these arrangements possible.
- Cooking or Personal Chef Services – Professional chefs and even casual culinary experts can earn part- or full-time income preparing meals for busy families through On Demand Chefs (serving Boston). While on-demand cooking and meal planning services is still an emerging field, the opportunities aren’t as plentiful here as in other areas, but you could always start your own on-demand meal-planning service for your local area.
- Designers and Developers – Like freelance writing, independent contractors who provide graphic design, web design, and web development services have been around for many years. Still, if one of these skills is your area of expertise, you can easily replace your 9-to-5 with on-demand design or development work. Check out sites like TARA and TopCoder to learn more.
- Teachers, Instructors, and Tutors – If you’re proficient in a specific subject area, are an educator by trade, or great at working with kids to help them with homework across a variety of subjects, you can earn a side income (or full-time earnings) by offering tutoring or instructional services on-demand. Sites like TutorMe, Studor, and Studypool connect educators and tutors with students who need help, or you could always create your own course in your area of expertise on a platform like Udemy.
- Legal or Accounting Services – Legal and accounting professionals can even offer up their services on-demand these days. For attorneys, platforms like UpCounsel and Avvo connect qualified and properly credentialed legal pros with clients in need, while accounting professionals can secure on-demand opportunities through services such as CountUp are aiming to bridge the gap between accountants and businesses and individuals who need help managing taxes, finances, and more.
- Personal Trainers – Fitness gurus and personal trainers can connect with clients and earn an income on-demand with apps like TruBe, WeTrain, BodyFi, and more.
On-Demand Rental Jobs
On-demand rental jobs are somewhat unique in the gig economy, in that they don’t so much require you to devote your time and energy to performing specific tasks, but allow you to earn some extra income from the things you own – your home, a spare room, a vacation home, a parking spot, your boats or vehicles, and even your regular “stuff.” Here are some of the common on-demand rental opportunities along with a few examples of apps and platforms catering to the on-demand jobs in each area:
- Rent Your Home (or a Spare Room) – Everyone’s heard of Airbnb – it’s the rental platform that made peer-to-peer rentals a household concept. Whether you have a vacation home or second home in a desirable area or just want to rent out your own home while you’re on vacation or out of town, Airbnb connects people with local homes and accommodations. The widespread popularity of Airbnb has opened doors for a variety of competitors, such as Tripping.com, which caters to vacation rental sites, HomeAway, and many others.
- Rent Your Parking Space – Whether you have a driveway in a convenient location or a designated parking space that you don’t always use, turn your unused parking time into spare cash by renting out your parking spaces through a service like JustPark.
- Rent Your Car or Boat – If you don’t use your vehicle or your boat all the time, you can turn that idle time into extra cash by renting out your car or boat to someone else for a few days, a week, or even a month through services like Zilok. Note that Zilok also allows you to rent out other “stuff,” as discussed below. Other options for renting out your ride include Turo and Getaround.
- Rent (or Sell) Your “Stuff” – If you have tons of unwanted “stuff” lying around that could be useful to someone else, you can earn some side income just by unloading those items to others who want to buy or rent them. OfferUp, for instance, is an app that lets you list just about anything you want to sell, and of course, there’s always Ebay. If you have a bunch of books and old tech lying around that you’d love to unload, Decluttr can help you do that for cash. If you’d rather rent something of value than sell it, check out PeerRenters.
With so many opportunities in the on-demand economy, anyone can earn a part-time income or make a full-time living in the gig economy today, from older adults to retirees, millennials, college students and high schoolers looking for summer jobs, and everyone in between. You don’t have to be a skilled, professional writer or designer to live the freelance lifestyle – even if you’re good at ordinary tasks like fixing leaky faucets, mowing the lawn, or shopping for groceries, you can turn your capabilities into cash. And with the number of workers who want to tap into the gig economy growing every day (along with the people and businesses who want to utilize their services), the number of apps and services that aim to facilitate these mutually-beneficial arrangements continues to rise.
Further Reading on the On-Demand Economy and Top On-Demand Gigs
For more information on the rapid growth of the on-demand economy and the ever-increasing number of opportunities in the on-demand world, visit the following resources: