Ride share companies like Uber and Lyft once dominated the side hustle economy. No longer. A new survey showing the latest trends in gig work found that ride share ranks a distant fifth among the most prevalent gig jobs today. The survey, which takes a comprehensive look at the most popular side hustles, pay and hours spent, can let you compare your gig — or gigs — to the norm.
Trends in gig work
The survey, sponsored by financial technology company PayQuicker, takes a look at not only the most popular gigs in America, but at how many gigs the typical side hustler juggles; how much they earn; how the earnings are used; and how many hours are worked.
What if your gig doesn’t measure up to latest trends in gig work? Here we use SideHusl.com data to suggest approaches and platforms that may prove more rewarding.
Let’s start with the basic statistics.
Of the 2,000 side hustlers surveyed, only 40% did just one gig in 2023. That compares with 45% who reported having just one side hustle in 2020. Twenty-eight percent have two hustles; 9% have three hustles and 23% juggle four or more side hustles.
Income and time
The majority of side hustlers — both in 2020 and 2023 — earn less than $300 a month per side gig.
However, the number of people with multiple side gigs has jumped to 60% from 55% three years ago. Moreover, some gig workers are making plenty. More than 13% of those with just one gig earned $1,000 or more per month. And the numbers are considerably higher for those with two or more gigs.
This survey didn’t add up income from these multiple gigs to find an average total side hustle income. However, another recent survey by BankRate found that the average side hustle income per person was $810 per month.
How much time is spent per gig? Roughly one-third of those surveyed said between 4 and 8 hours a week. And roughly 70% of side hustlers have had the same gig for more than three years — since before the pandemic.
Same job/multiple platforms
Notably, the trends in gig work survey indicates that gig workers often take on multiple hustles in the same industry. In other words, instead of driving for DoorDash alone, drivers also sign up with GrubHub, Instacart and, perhaps, Uber.
Where the money goes
However, inflation is apparently having a significant impact on what side hustlers are doing with their money. Where more than 30% of workers surveyed in 2020 said they used the extra money earned from gigs to save, just 20% said the same in 2023. Now the preponderance of respondents — 49.6% — are using the money to pay household bills. And another 9.5% are using the money to support the needs of their children and pay school expenses.
Most popular side hustles
The most popular side hustle has shifted to delivery, according to PayQuicker, a financial technology company that financed the survey of 2,000 individuals with side hustles.
Roughly 13.3% of those surveyed said restaurant and grocery delivery was their primary side gig. Three years ago, just 6.5% of those surveyed said delivery was their primary side gig. What caused the rapid growth?
Partly the pandemic, which got consumers accustomed to ordering food and groceries online and having them show up at their door. However, this has also proved to be a more lucrative side hustle for freelancers, too. The reason? Tips and predictable driving routes.
While GrubHub and DoorDash pay relatively modest delivery fees, customers typically tip on a restaurant order like they tip a server. And, since the restaurants they serve tend to cluster in set geographic areas and offer delivery within a limited reach, there’s less chance that you’ll end a ride far from home — or the next gig.
Home repair and making and selling home-made goods tied for second most-popular side hustles in 2023, according to the survey, with 12.6% of workers listing these as their primary gigs. Both options can be highly attractive to freelancers. But be careful where you sign up to work.
Sites like Handy and HomeAdvisor can help you find home repair work, but these platforms charge often exorbitant fees for “leads” that may or may not result in getting a job. TaskRabbit, on the other hand, allows freelancers to list their services and set their own rates. Fees are taken solely from the client, not the worker. Freelancers signing up for home-repair hustles on TaskRabbit commonly charge $35 – $75 per hour.
Sell homemade goods
Etsy is the industry leader in helping creators sell their home-made goods. Creators sign up and create a store. Etsy charges a small listing fee and a commission when you sell. Part of what made Etsy the industry leader here is that it draws millions of customers from around the world every month. It also charges reasonable listing and sales fees, ranging from about 6.5% to 15% of each sale. Comparatively, competitor Creative Market takes 50% to 70% of the sales price as a commission.
Petsitting and other personal care services ranked fourth, accounting for 10.1% of those surveyed. There are two companies in this space. Rover allows freelancers to set their own rates and charges 20% to 25% commissions, which are deducted from the freelancers pay. Wag charges 40% and offers more limited services.
Despite declining in prominence, ride share remains a popular side hustle. However, drivers often complain that Uber and Lyft have changed payment formulas in ways that make it tough to earn more than minimum wage, once you take gas, insurance, maintenance and other driver costs, into account.
There are better-paying alternatives to Uber and Lyft. But they don’t operate in all cities and most have more limited hours and missions. For instance, several sites pay drivers to take kids to and from school. These sites, which include RubiRides and HopSkipDrive, generally pay $25 to $35 per hour.
An option for driving adults? Alto pays drivers $25 an hour and hires them as employees, suppling the car, insurance and gas. These expenses typically amount to 30 – 40% of driver pay, so an Uber driver would have to earn $32.50 or more per hour to do equally well.
However, Alto currently operates in just six cities — Dallas, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco bay area. And while drivers can requests shifts, they do need to book their drive times in advance vs. simply flipping on an app.
Other popular hustles
However, this survey of the latest trends in gig work indicates that gigs come in wide variety. Other popular side hustles and the best places to find these jobs?
- 7.2% said they engage in elder care or child care. The best sites to find these jobs, according to SideHusl.com, include Care (for both child and eldercare positions) and Bambino (for child care jobs).
- 6.4% provide professional services, such as law, accounting, human resources, etc. Some good online platforms to find these jobs include Robert Half; SMA Inc.; AccountingDepartment; and FlexProfessionals.
- 5.5% provide tech services. Some good sites to find these jobs include Braintrust, Catalant, TopTal and Fiverr.