A guide to side hustles and gigs to help you make money | finder.com

Tested ways to make money

Struggling to make ends meet? Or just need beer money? This is a guide to help you find on-demand jobs to make more money.

Life is full of surprises. Despite our best efforts, we can still find ourselves in need of fast money. Thankfully, the Internet has made it easier to sell, rent out and hustle your way to bridging your income gap. From Turo to TaskRabbit, we’ll go over the multitude of ways to earn quick money. Some solutions can get you cash within a few days, while others will take a week to see results and require additional tweaking. Nonetheless, your current need for cash is an opportunity to create a safety net for yourself. In case you find yourself in a similar situation in the future, just like anything, practice makes perfect. Follow this quick-start guide to get you from zero to hero in no time.

Guide overview

This guide is written for anyone at any stage of life. We recommend starting from the beginning and reading it once before skipping sections. However, feel free to jump straight to the sections most pertinent to you by using the links below. For each way to make money, we rated the difficulty and provided minimum requirements and average setup time.

Way to make money Difficulty Requirements Average setup time
1. Book odd jobs Easy Cellphone with data plan, good health, tools of the trade Under 30 minutes
2. Share your car Medium Car, cellphone with data plan Depends on state regulations
3. Share your home or apartment Medium Internet access, home in major city, cellphone with data plan 2 hours for registration, plus 1–2 days to get the space ready for guests
4. Work remotely and freelance Medium to hard Internet access, marketable skills, tools of the trade 2–3 hours (if you already have a portfolio), plus site approval time
5. Participate in market research Easy Internet access, computer 5 minutes
6. Sell your stuff Easy Internet access, stuff worth selling Average 1 hour per item (depending on product knowledge)

1. Book odd jobs

Difficulty: Easy

Requirements: Cellphone with data plan, good health, tools of the trade

Setup time: Under 30 minutes

The Internet has made connecting people who are willing to pay for help and those looking to make some extra cash even easier. Whether all you have is a positive attitude or 10 years of experience, you can find gigs right for you.

Generally, you just register with a platform, create a profile, set your rates and select the services you want to offer. Then, you can either start bidding for jobs or wait for requests, which could happen immediately. The key to success on these platforms is maintaining good reviews, setting competitive prices and timing (being available when people need you).

Because of the ease of setup, demand for odd jobs and quick payment, joining an odd jobs website could be the easiest and fastest way to get the money you need. There is certainly something that almost anyone in good health can do. Cleaning, delivery, handiwork, building furniture and personal shopping are just some of the jobs available. Especially if you already do some of these chores for free, why not make a business out of it?

Pros

  • Work when you want. You get to decide your work schedule, and this can happen on a day’s notice. Generally, you don’t have to accept jobs you don’t want to.
  • Location flexibility. Most of these websites operate in all major cities. So if you moved, all you’d have to do is update your profile and do some research on the rates of your new city.
  • Quick setup. You don’t need to upload a portfolio or interview. After registration and onboarding, you’re good to go.
  • Focus on your work. After the preliminary setup, you can spend less time looking for clients and more time doing work instead.

Cons

  • Service fees. These job platforms have to make money, too. So they often take a percentage of your earnings from each job. Make sure to check the fine print.
  • Payment schedule. Some platforms pay within 24 hours, while others require you to wait on your clients.

Sign up with one of these online platforms, create a profile and start booking gigs.

  • TaskRabbit. One of the first in this space, TaskRabbit connects you with people who need tasks done — often that day. Everything from doing household chores and assembling furniture to running errands and being a personal assistant can be found on this platform. It’s simple to set up, but you do need to attend an orientation in your city and TaskRabbit will conduct a background check. This can slow you down if you need money now, but once you get approved, TaskRabbit users, or “taskers,” often boast that it’s a great way to bridge pay gaps. There’s also a mobile app that you can use to find out about and accept jobs faster. After you complete the job, the client has 24 hours to make a complaint about the completion of the service. Then, funds are immediately deposited.
  • Handy. If you’re familiar with professional cleaning or handiwork, Handy could be right for you. You apply by giving your personal information, filling out a quiz, providing details for a background check, downloading their app and getting your identity verified. You then go through a virtual onboarding before your account is activated. It sounds like a lot of steps, but it can be completed in an hour or two. Cleaners make up to $22 an hour and handymen make up to $45 an hour. Money is directly deposited into your bank account once your job is complete.
  • Instacart. This is a platform that allows you to become a grocery shopper and/or deliverer. It’s relatively easy to join and choose what role you wish to play. If you don’t have a car — not to worry — as they offer part-time work as an in-store shopper. If you have a car, you can sign up to be a full-service shopper as an independent contractor and choose the hours that work for you. With either job, you’ll get paid weekly.
  • Postmates. This is a delivery marketplace that matches you with people who need things delivered. Potentially, it could be anything. The best part is that you don’t have to drive: Get paid to exercise by delivering the goods on foot or via bike if you don’t have a car. On its website, it advertises that you can make up to $1,500 a week.

2. Share your car

Difficulty: Medium

Requirements: Car, cellphone with data plan

Setup time: Depends on state regulations

If you own a car, there are a few possibilities to earn money. One of the most popular and easiest forms of making a quick buck is turning your car into a taxi. Some things to keep in mind are the additional expenses that you — as an independent contractor — need to account for, such as gas, wear and tear on the car, cleanings and possible licensing fees depending on the state you drive in.

Still, unless you drive in a state with licensing fees, signing up with most of these rideshare companies is free and so is deactivating your account. It may not hurt to try it out and see how much money you can make in your neighborhood during your available hours. You’re also allowed to drive for multiple companies, so you can test which one helps you bring home the most cash. In addition to the city you’re driving in, the time of day and day of the week you work can dramatically change your income as well.

The following platforms connect potential riders with drivers:

  • Uber. Uber is to carshare as Kleenex is to tissue. If you live in a major city, own a car and have ever felt strapped for cash, driving an Uber has probably crossed your mind. Uber has claimed that drivers make on average $25 an hour, which doesn’t take into account additional expenses. However, a March 2018 study from the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research found that the median profit for Uber drivers was closer to $3.37 an hour before taxes, and found that 74% of drivers earn less than the minimum wage in their state.If you’re still considering driving with Uber, it does offer some perks. You can sign up for Uber Visa Debit Card to get 3% cash back on gas at Exxon and Mobil and 1.5% cash back at all other gas stations. Drivers can also get special rates and discounts on their AT&T, Spring or Verizon phone bill. And through the Uber Partner app, you’ll get Pandora for free. In addition, you can also sign up for UberEats and UberRush
  • Lyft. With its bright pink logo, Lyft has been gunning for Uber’s business for years. On its website, it claims that some drivers make more than $800 just driving Friday nights and weekends. Lyft offers a driver rewards program called Accelerate, which allows you to unlock special rewards the more rides you give. Some of these rewards include discounts on gas, Allstate’s roadside assistance service, movie tickets and theme parks, fitness memberships and more.
  • Via. This is a lesser known rideshare operating only in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, DC. They’ve upped the ante by offering $1,000 signing bonus for all drivers. They claim to have the lowest service fee in the industry, which means more money in your pocket. Via also offers guaranteed hourly earnings regardless of driver demand.

To start driving for one of these platforms, you will need to meet a list of requirements both by the platform and by the regulations set by the local government. You will need to research:

  • License requirements
  • Age requirements
  • Driver’s plates requirements
  • Insurance requirements
  • Car requirements
  • Cost and fees to meet these requirements

Other ways to make money from your car

  • Turo. Is your car sitting in your garage because you don’t use it every day? Well then try Turo — the Airbnb of cars. You can list your car on this platform just like you would list your room on AirBnb. The application takes care of all billing issues, and it offers up to $1 million in insurance coverage. However, it’s not available in all states, so check to see if it’s in yours.
  • Postmates. This was mentioned in odd jobs, but since many people live in cities where driving is a necessity, we thought it was worth mentioning here, too. Again, it’s a delivery marketplace. If you don’t feel comfortable driving strangers in your car, you could make money making deliveries.

3. Share your home or apartment

Difficulty: Medium

Requirements: Internet access, home in major city, cellphone with data plan

Setup time: Average 2 hours for registration, plus 1–2 days to get the space ready for guests

Renting out your room, apartment or home online can result in great returns for minimal effort, especially if you focus on long stays. Of course, you’ll have to evaluate how much you can rent your space for per night to decide if it’s worth it for you. AirBnb has a calculator that can help you with this.

If you need money fast, you may have to rely on a friend or family member to let you stay over so that you can rent out your space. If you help out with the housework, don’t get in the way and stay tidy, you’ll likely be invited back again. Alternatively, depending on how much you can make per night, you may even be able to find a cheaper hotel to stay at or a sublet opportunity that a tourist wouldn’t know about.

When deciding who to rent to, check out people’s reviews. Although AirBnB offers insurance coverage up to $1 million, if you have a lot of valuable furniture or equipment, you may want to take a security deposit as well. You could also take the time to store those valuables in a safe place while you’re renting out your space.

A word of caution: Be careful with long-term stays or renting out your space too often, as several cities now regulate it more tightly. Also take into account your landlord: Read your lease thoroughly, as you might have stipulations in it that prohibit you from renting out the space. If you’re not careful, you could not only find yourself being evicted, but potentially sued.

4. Work remotely and freelance

Difficulty: Medium to hard (depending on demand of skills and experience)

Requirements: Internet access, marketable skills, tools of the trade

Setup time: Average 2–3 hours (if you already have a portfolio), plus site approval time

Writers, designers, coders and nearly any other profession can find online marketplaces for remote work. This route will take a little bit more time, especially if you don’t have a portfolio yet, but can be an excellent source of income once you’re set up.

Start by browsing the work offered by some of the following freelance online job sites and seeing if the work and rates sound appealing.

  • Upwork. Companies make a job posting and browse candidates. Candidates can also, of course, apply for any jobs they’re interested in. Web developers, designers and creatives, writers, virtual assistants, customer service agents, sales and marketing experts and accountants are just some of the jobs available on Upwork. Although it offers a highly active marketplace, this comes at a price that ranges from 5% to 20% — depending on how long you freelance with Upwork. Upon signing up, you’ll need to determine how you’ll get paid, upload a portfolio, write a profile and take related tests to prove your skillset. Upwork will approve your portfolio before you can start applying to jobs.
  • Fiverr. Originally named Fiverr because all gigs were $5, this freelance services marketplace now offers jobs at a range of prices. Unlike other platforms, you package your services rather than get billed hourly. This can take some research and experimentation, but once you figure out your secret sauce, it could be another consistent source of income. Read our full review here.
  • PeoplePerHour. This is a hybrid of Upwork and Fiverr, where you’ll find hourly jobs and packaged gigs with set prices. First, you have to apply by telling PeoplePerHour about yourself, uploading your portfolio and adding references. Upon approval, you can set up packages and your rates, start applying to jobs and receive offers.

Here are some additional tips to succeeding in earning extra cash through freelance work.

  • Update your LinkedIn profile. You will need to find a way to prove to respective clients your level of proficiency. LinkedIn is a great place to start and has massive potential for networking. If you already have a profile, update it to reflect your current situation. Make sure you link to any work you have done in the past and collect references.
  • Tell your friends. First and foremost, ask your friends if they know anyone or post a status update on Facebook and other social media platforms. You never know who might need the services you offer.
  • Think hard about your rates. Be sure to take into account taxes, travel time and revisions into your price. If the client wants something really custom and asks a ton of questions, use your judgment and state the number of revisions you’ll allow for that price. Also, make sure you have any equipment or software necessary to complete the job, and if not, look into how much it would cause to rent.

Go create a profile and start working. Build your reputation, get great reviews and earn more by charging more as demand for your skills grows.

5. Participate in market research

Difficulty: Easy

Requirements: Internet access, computer

Setup time: Average 5 minutes

Companies love to watch what you’re buying, who you’re interested in and when you use their services so that they can both improve their products and sell you more things. These practices are all part of market research. Websites often are already doing this whenever you sign into their homepage or subscribe to a mailing list, but they can learn even more from interacting directly with potential customers. For this reason, they’ll pay good money for you to answer surveys and test products.

Pros

  • Ease of use. For the most part, participating in market research is self-explanatory. The exception is with some of the user testing, which may take some getting used to.
  • Minimal resources. Most sites just require a broadband connection and either a computer, tablet or mobile device.
  • Cool cred. You may have access to products and services that aren’t on the market yet.
  • Get your voice heard. Your feedback will be used to make products and services better.

Cons

  • Payments can be limited. Depending on your market, where you live and which apps you use, the amount you can make really ranges. Most people will only make beer money from market research, but if you live in a major metropolitan area, you may have the potential to make significant income.
  • Arguably creepy. Some may not be comfortable having their screen watched. Make sure to check privacy policies to make sure you’re in agreement.

So, how do you find out about these opportunities? There are various platforms and sites that connect survey-takers with companies. They pay in either gift cards from popular retailers like Amazon and Walmart or send funds via PayPal. Determining which sites are legit can be an ordeal, which is why we’ve done the research for you.

Product and user testing

Get paid to test out websites and apps. You’ll need a PayPal account to receive payment, which means you’ll need to consider the three to five business days it takes to transfer the funds out of PayPal and into your bank account. Below are a few of the most popular platforms.

  • Usertest.io. Offers £8 every time you review a website, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. You’ll have to install their software that records what you’re doing on your screen, which is the video the client watches as you navigate their website or app. As part of the signup process, you’ll need to make a 5-minute sample review, which requires a working microphone.
  • Usertesting.com. Offers $10 per test, which takes about 20 minutes. Signing up is very similar to Usertest.io. You’ll have to download their software and complete a test video. Again, make sure you have a working microphone. You’ll receive your payment seven days after your complete a test via PayPal.
  • Enroll. Pays less, but the test takes less time. Online forums suggest testers get paid anywhere from $0.10 to $1.50 per test, and they take around 5 to 10 minutes to complete. Enroll has an app, so you can test via your phone as well. Enroll pays out testers monthly via PayPal.
  • ErliBird. Offers $10 to $15 per review, but you’ll spend a bit of time to qualify for the paid reviews. To do this, you have to join a focus group, which can be online or in person. Now this isn’t always the case, but it does happen rather frequently. This site tests beta platforms, similar to the ones above. You’ll get paid via PayPal within seven days after your beta test ends.
  • SlicethePie. This is an interesting site that pays you to write reviews on new songs, fashion items, accessories and commercials before they’re released. The more detailed and thorough your review, the more you get paid. Online forums suggest users get paid anywhere from $0.03 to $.15 per review, which takes about three to four minutes to write. This company pays out via PayPal and takes five days to process your review before paying you. If you love music, fashion and want to give your eyes a rest, it may be for you.

Survey sites

Signing up for a survey site is generally straightforward and payment varies. Keep in mind that depending on your demographic information, you may or may not get many surveys. Watch out for sites that make you take lengthy pre-screening surveys. Pre-screening surveys are not paid, however almost all sites do this to make sure that you’re the demographic they’re looking for. Here are a few sites that are very popular.

  • Toluna. A market research company that has a plethora of surveys. You earn points, and those points are redeemable for gift cards or cash via PayPal. Surveys can range between 10 and 20 minutes, and some require you to take qualifying surveys beforehand to make sure you’re the right demographic. You can read our full review here.
  • SwagBucks. A mega site that offers multiple ways to earn points. You then use these points to get gift cards or get paid through PayPal. One SwagBuck is equal to $0.01. It’s a pretty nifty setup in which you can do surveys, watch entertaining videos, sign up for deals and even shop to earn points. If you’re already purchasing things online, do it through their portal to earn points. It’s a very versatile platform.
  • InstaGC. This site is a lot like SwagBucks. It has the same concept, however it’s geared more toward surveys and polls. Earn points by completing tasks or “offers,” as they call them. Redeem those points for gift cards or cash via PayPal.
  • P&K Research. This is a much more traditional marketing research company, so don’t expect to make money right away. You have to fill out a questionnaire, and then they’ll send you surveys or focus groups that meet your demographics. However, you can make around $15 to $30 per hour when selected. The nice thing about this company is that once you complete the opening questionnaire, you won’t have to spend time doing pre-screening or qualifying surveys. Just wait until a project matches with you, and then they’ll email you.

6. Sell your stuff

Difficulty: Easy

Requirements: Internet access, stuff worth selling

Setup time: Average 1 hour per item (depending on product knowledge)

Making money is all about being resourceful. One of the quickest ways to make money is to go through all your stuff and sell what you’re no longer using.

1. To start, look at what you have. Go through the list below and take inventory of what could be of value. If you have a storage unit, you may want to go through that as well. If you find it hard to part with things, perhaps having a close disciplined friend by your side can help.

  • Clothing
  • Video and board games
  • Jewelry, watches and accessories
  • Kitchen gadgets, appliances and accessories
  • Shoes
  • Electronics
  • Furniture
  • Books

2. Once you have a clear understanding of what you have, it’s time to start selling it. Depending on the items, there are different marketplaces you can use to sell them. Consider placing an ad on various marketplaces to improve your odds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Craigslist. Furniture, books, textbooks, bikes and kitchenware
  • eBay. Rare or high-value items, including shoes, vintage clothing, kitchen appliances, video games and electronics
  • Etsy. Vintage clothing, jewelry and handmade crafts
  • Amazon. Books, kitchen gadgets, appliances, accessories, board and video games, electronics and jewelry
  • Local vintage, thrift, comic book and book stores

3. Go through each marketplace and Google your items to determine what the current marketplace value is on each.

4. Post an ad for each item, including:

  • Photos. Take photos of the items from a few different angles.
  • Item description. If you’re posting the item on various marketplaces, type the description in a text editor and then simply copy and paste it. Clearly communicate the condition of the item, whether or not it’s still under warranty, what accessories will be included and whether it’s a final sale or if you’ll allow a refund. If posting on Craigslist or eBay, letting potential buyers know why you’re selling the item is also advised.
  • Pricing. What is the value of the item? Doing your homework here can lead to more cash in your pocket. Search different marketplaces for items that are similar to yours to gauge what the going price is. Then, price it accordingly based on your needs. Be sure to take into account packaging, shipping and handling costs.

5. In deciding who to sell your item to, be wary of scammers posing as buyers. Here are some helpful tips and things to look out for:

  • Keep personal information safe. Don’t ever give out your personal address. If meeting them in person, bring a friend and meet them in a public place. A little bit of common sense can go a long way here. And if you’re meeting in person or doing a cash transaction, store all communications and provide them with a receipt via email.
  • Stay clear of checks and bank transfers. Both can take time to process and are much easier exploited by would-be scammers.
  • Communication is everything. PayPal, eBay and Venmo all allow the customer to dispute charges, also commonly known as chargebacks. Just because you made the sale doesn’t mean you’re in the clear; if a customer is unhappy, they may cause you a headache later on. So make sure you communicate clearly, confirm that they understand all the variables of the items you’re selling them and keep records of all of your communications. Clear and concise communication can avoid disputes later on. Disputes can not only lead to a negative review, but can also affect when and even if you get paid.

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