News and social media sites are filled with anecdotes about furloughed federal employees driving for Uber and Lyft to make ends meet during the government shut-down. But there are far better side hustles for people needing to earn a fast buck.
Indeed, dozens of online platforms allow workers to sign up and get paid within days — sometimes hours — of filling out the requisite paperwork. Many others require waiting only a day or two for equipment or a cursory background check to get started. Better yet, unlike Uber and Lyft, which often have as many drivers as customers, demand for workers willing to do many fast-buck side hustles is brisk.
Fast-buck side hustles
The catch: Availability of any given job will vary by location. Some great jobs that are available in urban areas simply aren’t offered in the suburbs and vice versa. That said, there are some fast-buck side hustles in nearly every community and you generally don’t need specialized skills. By and large, all you need is to be of legal age and own a smart phone.
It’s also worth mentioning that freelance job platforms have no prohibitions against working for competitors. Thus, it’s possible — even advisable — to sign up with a host of different side hustle platforms. That boosts your chance of getting work when you want it and may even allow you to pick and choose among the best-paid options as they come up.
Here are a dozen fast-money jobs that welcome new workers quickly and pay promptly.
Rover lets prospective dog-walkers and overnight pet-sitters set their own rates, though it will deduct a hefty commission for use of the site. The site pays within a day of completing a job. Competitor, Wag, has set rates. But dog walkers who work for both sites say they earn similar amounts on both platforms — typically $12 to $15 for each 30-minute walk; and $20 to $25 for walks that take an hour.
Animal-sitting with Rover can be more lucrative, since you can watch multiple dogs at once. Dan Simms, for instance, estimates he earns more than $60,000 annually watching up to 10 dogs per night through Rover.
If you have a mower and a few garden tools, you can sign up to be a service provider on Green Pal. You set your own rate of pay — most charge $30 to $50 per mow — and the site takes a modest 5% commission whenever it matches you with a customer. (You’ll also need to pay a 3% processing fee to get your pay through Stripe.)
You post a profile on the site and then “bid” on jobs as they come up. Once the job is complete, you snap a picture and send it through to the site. GreenPal posts your photo on your profile and starts the billing process. Customers can immediately release payment, or wait up to 48 hours. You get paid at that point unless the customer has raised some serious objection to your work.
Got tools and know how to use them? Consider signing up with JiffyOnDemand, a site that allows gardeners and people who can fix things advertise their services. Jobs can involve putting together IKEA furniture, unclogging a sink or re-wiring a house. However, if you sign up to do complex trades, you’ll need to have any licenses required by your state or county.
Jiffy has set rates for 17 different jobs. However, all rates appear to pay contractors generously — typically between $40 and $85 per hour. The site charges a 15% commission on worker wages and pays within four days of completing a job.
Babysitting and personal service
Although most child care, elder care and tutoring apps require extensive background checks of potential workers, you can also advertise your availability for these jobs on free neighborhood websites, such as Nextdoor.
The reason background checks are necessary is because you’re working with vulnerable populations, so the sites would rather be safe than sorry. So, too, would most customers. However, if you need money quickly and can’t wait for the background check, you can get personal references to speak up for you on Nextdoor, which often will suffice.
Baby sitting app, Bambino, which does require a cursory background and credit check, also gets around the heavy screening by setting up a referral service on Facebook. Sitters and parents sign up there and then share information about child care providers and client parents.
Although other child and elder care sites, as well as tutoring sites, will require applicants to undergo more extensive background checks, these sites still can be worth your while. Low-maintenance and lucrative, many of these sites offer hourly rates from $25 to $40 and provide work largely at your convenience. Sites to consider for child and elder-care: Urban Sitter, Care.com, and Zum. For tutoring: Wyzant and Varsity Tutors.
Shop and deliver groceries
Instacart recently struck home-delivery deals with retailing giant Costco, which may both boost demand for their delivery services and payments to side hustlers. Shipt has a delivery contract with Target. Both companies have pay formulas that give shoppers a commission on the products they buy and deliver and promise to pay within two weeks.