You don’t need a college degree to earn high pay as a freelancer. An increasing number of online platforms offer high pay for skilled labor — anything from construction to specialized cleaning. 

While the jobs are different, they have two things in common: They involve some sort of physical work, from providing moving services to operating a ship. And they all pay $50 or more per hour.

What can you do, and where can you find jobs offering high pay for skilled labor?

Specialized cleaning

BabyQuip, a site that helps freelancers rent out baby equipment to travelers,  launched a cleaning service during the pandemic. Freelancers who sign up get trained in both technique and tools to clean all sorts of baby gear. After that, they can book cleaning jobs through the site.

Each cleaning job pays a set fee, ranging from about $13 to $52, depending on what’s done. BabyQuip estimates that its cleaners earn $25 to $50 an hour. But the cleaners say they usually earn more because, with practice, they can complete the jobs in considerably less time than what’s allotted. One seasoned BabyQuip cleaner says she earns $75 – $100 an hour.

BBQs, windows and ducts

Other deep cleaning work can be equally lucrative. JiffyOnDemand, for example, charges $200 to have a three-burner barbecue cleaned and $150 for cleaning out a dryer vent. The freelancer/contractor who does this work takes home at least 82% of that fee.

TaskRabbit, meanwhile, lets workers set their own rates, but has a tool to help freelancers see what the average charge is for various services in your area. In Los Angeles, the average freelancer charges $58 per hour for deep cleaning, the site says.

Handyman services

If you can fix electrical wiring, or provide other skilled contracting services, such as plumbing, drywall or repairs, you can earn even more.  TaskRabbit contractors typically charge $66 for electric work.  Of course, because freelancers set their own rates, earnings vary. However, dozens of contractors with hundreds of customer reviews were charging $70 to $100 per hour in Los Angeles, when we recently checked the site.

Other sites for contractors

You can also announce your ability to provide a variety of skilled labor services on neighborhood websites, such as Nextdoor. Nextdoor does not collect payment for you. And, because it’s more of a social media site than a job board, community rules on what sort of self-marketing is and isn’t allowed can sometimes feel arbitrary. However, neighbors frequently recommend contractors on the site. And contractors say it can be an invaluable source of new business.

If you’re in Washington, Oregon or California, you can also find skilled labor work through Toolbelt. Toolbelt connects contractors with subcontractors and customers.

What about well-advertised sites such as HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack? We don’t recommend them. Contractors on these sites complain about being forced to pay arbitrary fees for often worthless leads.

Moving

If you have a pickup truck that’s in good condition, you can earn between $52 and $68 per hour helping people move through an app called GoShare.  People who drive cargo vans, can earn even more. The site works with big-box retailers, such as Costco, to help them deliver appliances and furniture. So, you need to be able to pass both criminal and driving background checks. You also must be able to lift heavy objects weighing up to 75 pounds. To be sure, you have some costs when driving your own truck. However, the hourly rates here are generous enough to cover gas and still leave you with a nice income.

Notably, there are dozens of other moving apps and some pay decent rates — anywhere from $30 – $49 per hour. But GoShare is the most lucrative of the apps that set rates for you.

However, you may be able to make as much or more with Citizen Shipper and UShip. Both of these apps simply help you market your services. You set your own rates and collect payment directly from your clients, paying a monthly fee to list your services on the site.

Captain a ship

Another option to earn high pay for skilled labor: Command a ship. Two sites, Boatsetter and GetMyBoat, invite skippers with appropriate credentials to sign up and get assigned to ships chartered by non-sailors. Pay varies by the site and the ship. In some cases, you set your own rates. Typically, however, boat captains command $50 to $100 per hour.