If the sharing economy were human, it would have yet to graduate from high school. However, it’s accomplished quite a bit more than most teenagers. While its human counterparts of a similar age ponder prom dates and college apps, the sharing economy – also known as the gig economy – tirelessly churns out opportunities for everyday people to turn underutilized time and assets into real money.
Sharing economy apps and platforms are great tools for freelancers who create full-time income by stringing together multiple independent gigs, as well as for traditional employees looking to boost their income in their spare time.
The most popular sharing economy platforms – like Uber, Lending Club, and Airbnb – are household names. But there are lots of lesser-known sharing economy apps and platforms too.
Some are tailored narrowly to certain niches. Others have yet to gain traction beyond core groups of early adopters. But many have the potential to be lucrative for broad swathes of the working population, even if they’re not as well-known as the Ubers and Airbnbs of the world.
Best Sharing Economy Apps to Earn Extra Income
Out of hundreds of apps regular people can use to earn extra income, we selected these top apps because they earn high marks on factors such as:
- Widespread adoption and availability
- Ease of use
- Reasonable barriers to entry (in other words, none of the platforms listed here require rare assets or highly specialized skills)
- Demand for the apps’ core services
- Service providers’ earning potential
However, it’s critical to note that detailed or reliable earning potential figures can be hard to come by. In many cases, prospective service providers have to rely on claims made by the apps themselves, media reports, or anecdotal evidence provided by service providers themselves. Take claims by app-makers and hand-picked users with a healthy dose of salt.
Unless otherwise noted, the apps listed below require service providers to have working smartphones and active bank accounts to receive payment. Apps that facilitate direct person-to-person contact generally require service providers to pass background checks as well.
Most apps have a rating system for service providers and users. Many promote service providers with high ratings, creating a virtuous cycle wherein top performers earn more business. Some apps may require service providers to maintain minimum average ratings or face account suspension.
If possible, seek out and speak with fellow users before signing up for a new sharing economy app. Since app companies want to entice new users and service providers, they often downplay information that portrays their services – and money-making potential – in an unflattering light. Though fellow users can certainly have axes to grind, they’re also potential sources of unbiased information that may influence your decision to join or work with a particular app.
For example, speaking with fellow Uber and Lyft drivers – who you can find simply by using those apps as a rider – can give you a sense of the most lucrative times and places to drive in your area.
These sharing economy apps are all built around monetizing under-utilized or entirely idle assets. In other words, they make it easier for you to earn money from things you own but aren’t using to the fullest extent possible. Pretty much any durable or financial asset is fair game: extra cash, real estate, sporting goods, cars, clothing, even driveway or street parking space.
These asset marketplaces do require asset owners to invest some time upfront and on a recurring basis. Depending on the nature of the platform, such time might include creating asset listings, maintaining assets in good working order, and communicating with people on the other side of the transaction.
However, they don’t require labor in the traditional sense. Asset owners aren’t directly compensated for their time or the amount of effort they put in, and the income generated by these platforms is usually considered passive income.
Before using any of these platforms, consult a tax expert or accountant about the tax implications of using them to make money.
1. Lending Club
- Qualifications and Requirements: You need a minimum of $25 per note, with $2,500 recommended for a diversified loan portfolio. In practical terms, Lending Club is suitable for investors who have excess cash on hand that they don’t need to cover budgeted expenses and can afford to lose. High risk tolerance is also crucial, as investments are not insured and loss of principal can occur. However, according to Lending Club, virtually every investor who invests at least $2,500 makes money (does not lose principal). There’s no credit requirement for lenders or investors.
- Earning Potential: Historic return on investment ranges from approximately 4% to 6%, depending on loan grade, per Lending Club. That equates to annual earnings of $40 to $60 for every $1,000 invested.
- Feedback and Ratings: Not relevant for lenders.
Lending Club is the leading online P2P (peer-to-peer) lending marketplace. It sums up its value proposition as: “We’re transforming the banking system to make credit more affordable and investing more rewarding. We operate at a lower cost than traditional bank lending programs and pass the savings on to borrowers in the form of lower rates and to investors in the form of solid returns.”
Rather than human-driven underwriting procedures, Lending Club uses proprietary software algorithms to assess borrower risk. It assigns every loan it originates a letter grade and sub-grade reflecting this risk. On the borrower side, interest rates vary from less than 6% for the highest-rated borrowers to more than 30% for the lowest-rated borrowers and are subject to change with benchmark rates.
Loan terms range up to 60 months. Individual lenders fund only a portion of each loan – as little as $25 apiece – meaning individual borrowers can rely on hundreds or even thousands of lenders to obtain their desired amount.
Based on their risk tolerances and investing objectives, individual lenders invest in shares (notes) of loans. Lending Club charges a 1% service fee on all loans, so lenders’ yields are always a percentage point lower than borrowers’ charges. Since some borrowers default on their loans, yields on loans one year old or older are lower than loan categories’ advertised yields.
Bottom line: A lender who invests $10,000 can reliably earn as much as $600 per year in passive income with Lending Club. Lenders can partially or fully automate recurring investments based on their defined risk tolerance and resources, which can save a lot of time in the long run.
But a word of warning is in order here. P2P loans can certainly add diversity to your investment portfolio, but it’s important to be clear about the potential risks of P2P lending, which isn’t backed by FDIC insurance. Although Lending Club does a great deal of due diligence on its borrowers, it can’t force them to repay. Many Lending Club borrowers – particularly those in higher risk categories – fail to repay their loan balances in full and enter default. Loss of principal is always a possibility for Lending Club lenders.
To reduce this risk, Lending Club recommends investing in a wide variety of loan grades and building a portfolio of at least 100 loan notes at $25 each.
See our Lending Club review for more information.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You need a minimum of $25 to invest, with at least $2,500 recommended for diversification. Practically speaking, Prosper is suitable for risk-tolerant investors who have excess cash on hand that they can afford to lose. As is the case at Lending Club, investors who invest at least $2,500 are at low risk of loss of principal. There’s no credit requirement for lenders.
- Earning Potential: Estimated return on investment is about 5% across all loan grades, per historical data provided by Prosper. That equates to annual earnings of $50 for every $1,000 invested. As at Lending Club, loss of principal is uncommon for investors who put up at least $2,500.
- Feedback and Ratings: Not relevant for lenders.
Prosper is the second-largest P2P lending marketplace operating in the United States. It shares much in common with Lending Club, including general loan underwriting and origination procedures, loan grades and terms (also up to 60 months), tools and procedures for lenders (including investing automation), and lender earning potential. As at Lending Club, individual lenders generally fund only a portion of each loan, though accredited investors may have opportunities to fund entire loans.
According to Prosper, the average annual return across all loan grades is 5%, or $500 annually for every $10,000 invested. However, subprime loan grades are at higher risk of default. For instance, the highest-risk loans technically yield more than 25%, but defaults are so common the return on investment for lenders is just over 10%.
The same caveats about the inherent riskiness of Lending Club’s platform apply to Prosper. To reduce the risk of loss of principal, Prosper recommends diversifying across multiple loan grades and building a portfolio of at least 100 notes, with $25 invested in each.
See our Prosper review for more information.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You need to have extra domestic space – anything from a spare room or bed to an entire dwelling unit or house. If you’re not the property owner, explicit permission from your landlord is required. You must follow all applicable regulations and pay all applicable hospitality taxes. Airbnb reserves the right to conduct background checks and sex offender checks but does not necessarily do so in all cases.
- Earning Potential: Highly variable, depending on factors like the size of your space, amenities, whether the space is shared or separate, and desirability of location. You can most likely earn at least $20 per person, per night, for a small room in a shared apartment, $50 and up for an entire apartment, and $75 and up for a whole house. Location matters. All other things being equal, a San Francisco apartment is likely to command double, triple, or more what a comparable place in a smaller, less touristy city earns.
- Feedback and Ratings: Guests can leave reviews for their hosts. Airbnb generally does not remove reviews but reserves the right to remove or edit reviews that are false, malicious, or violate privacy. Guests can rate hosts on a 1- to 5-star scale as well. New hosts can also seek references from non-guests (friends, family members, and colleagues). Generally, hosts with lots of good reviews and references and high average star ratings earn more business.
Airbnb is a house-sharing platform that connects homeowners with travelers who prefer to stay in private dwellings, not hotels or inns. Owners, known as hosts, list their properties for short-term (and sometimes longer) rentals at nightly, weekly, or monthly prices that vary based on factors like the number of guests, property size, property location, and interior and neighborhood amenities. Some hosts rent out spare bedrooms or even couch space, while others rent out entire dwellings (such as vacation homes and second apartments) that they leave vacant to maximize earning potential. Generally, the larger and more private the space, the greater its earning potential.
To get started on Airbnb, you simply create a host account, verify your identity and address, and create your listing. Descriptive, personality-filled listings with lots of photos and clear instructions and expectations are crucial for attracting the right kind of guests – respectful visitors who won’t treat your property like a dump. You can approve and manage reservations, communicate with guests, and receive secure payments through Airbnb’s user-friendly phone and desktop apps.
Airbnb is active all over the world. However, Airbnb hosts are subject to a patchwork of local regulations, not all of which are friendly. In some places, short-term vacation rentals are highly restricted. Elsewhere, they’re encouraged with light, friendly regulations. Airbnb isn’t always aware of or attentive to local regulations, particularly when they change frequently, so the onus is on new hosts to get the lay of their land. In general, hosts should expect to pay all applicable hospitality taxes to their local and state governments.
When it first started, Airbnb suffered a string of PR embarrassments, mostly related to mischievous guests abusing hosts’ properties. In response, the company invested in a “trust and safety” initiative that subjects guests to more thorough vetting, places more emphasis on the site’s host and guest rating systems, and provides hosts with extensive guidance on working with guests and resolving potential issues.
To reduce the risk of financial loss from damage or excessive dirtiness, you can charge a cleaning fee and require a security deposit. Airbnb also provides a $1 million Host Guarantee that covers lost or damaged personal property, subject to certain exclusions. Still, it advises hosts to review guests’ ratings and reviews carefully; to watch for red flags (such as inconsistent occupancy tallies or conflicting itinerary information) when communicating with guests before their arrival; and to provide feedback on problem guests after their stays so that other owners can avoid them if necessary.
See our Airbnb review for more information.
4. HomeAway and Vrbo
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must be a homeowner with extra domestic space, preferably whole dwelling units or houses. Homeowners must follow all applicable regulations and pay the required hospitality taxes. Background checks are not typical.
- Earning Potential: Highly variable, depending on factors like size, amenities, and location. Homeowners who use Vrbo and HomeAway only occasionally – for instance, to rent out their primary homes a handful of times per year – net a few hundred to a few thousand dollars annually. Homeowners who rent out houses or guest suites full-time stand to earn significantly more.
- Feedback and Ratings: Reviews are similar to Airbnb. Guests can leave host reviews, and HomeAway generally does not edit them. Users can add star ratings to reviews. Typically, better ratings and reviews lead to more business.
HomeAway and Vrbo are short-term vacation rental platforms owned by the same company. Like Airbnb, they’re great for homeowners seeking to monetize spare real estate – though it’s much more common to find whole-house rentals on HomeAway and Vrbo, as opposed to Airbnb’s common one-room or shared space rentals. Indeed, HomeAway’s old tagline was “Rent the Whole House,” a blatant dig at accommodations shared with strangers. Therefore, HomeAway and Vrbo are popular with travelers with more to spend, including larger groups – something to keep in mind if you’d like to rent out your entire house as opposed to a spare bedroom or couch.
Like Airbnb listings, HomeAway and Vrbo listings include detailed descriptions, photos, and review sections. The better and more evocative the listing, the more guests you’re likely to entice. Both platforms offer a comprehensive booking and reservation manager app that allows you to edit your listing, communicate with guests, and accept payment – though, when listing on Vrbo, you have to use HomeAway’s payment system.
Importantly, HomeAway and Vrbo don’t offer anything analogous to Airbnb’s host guarantee, though they do pledge to work with hosts and guests to resolve disputes.
Homeowners can purchase limited damage protection plans covering up to $5,000 in damages. There’s an extra fee for these plans, but the peace of mind may be worth the cost. Even if you own your property outright, homeowners insurance is strongly recommended as well.
HomeAway and Vrbo homeowners pay flat or percentage-based fees to list and rent their properties, depending on volume and transaction type. The fee scale is highly variable, but high-volume homeowners can expect to pay several hundred dollars per year on a flat-fee plan. In contrast, percentage-based listing fees typically range between 5% and 10% of the transaction amount, not including add-on fees.
As with Airbnb, you need to be aware of any pertinent local regulations, including restrictions on short-term rentals, and pay all applicable hospitality taxes.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You need extra off-street parking space and, if you’re not the owner, permission to utilize it for commercial purposes. You must follow all applicable city and county regulations. Background checks are not typical.
- Earning Potential: Depends on location, demand, and volume – it can range from a few dollars per week to several hundred per month. SPOT recommends pricing parking spots at 50% to 75% of the amount nearby parking garages charge.
- Feedback and Ratings: SPOT verifies that parking spot owners have the right to list their spots by checking ownership records and cross-referencing with property owners if the listing party doesn’t own the spot. SPOT reserves the right to delist spots if they’re consistently unavailable per user feedback. Otherwise, feedback is laid-back.
SPOT is like Airbnb for your parking spot. It’s designed for property owners who want to monetize prime parking spots in places where parking is scarce or expensive – namely, centrally located neighborhoods in big cities. With permission from landlords, renters may be able to utilize SPOT under certain circumstances as well. Parking customers don’t have access to the buildings to which the spaces belong, which reduces safety concerns.
For parking spot owners, SPOT isn’t as hands-on or time-intensive as short-term home rental apps. Owners must keep their listings active, communicate with and approve prospective users, accept payment through the app, and cooperate in the event something goes wrong – for instance, the spot is occupied by an unauthorized vehicle when it should be empty.
The tradeoff is that earning potential is lower. It’s rare to earn more than $3 to $4 per hour for a spot, and SPOT’s user testimonials feature people who earn a few hundred per month. SPOT charges a 20% commission on every transaction it brokers.
SPOT is active in large, crowded cities such as Boston and Chicago. It’s not clear whether, or on what timetable, additional markets are forthcoming.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must have an under-utilized or idle car in relatively good condition (less than 125,000 miles) that you’re willing to rent out. Renters and owners are subject to thorough identity verification, including driver’s license and records checks. Background checks are not typical for owners or required for renters, but Getaround’s terms of service advise users that it reserves the right to conduct background checks on anyone who uses the app.
- Earning Potential: Depends on factors like car make and model, location, and demand. Getaround claims car owners who price their vehicles correctly can earn “hundreds” per month but gets no more specific than that. However, as Getaround itself points out, cars are depreciating assets and require periodic investment to maintain, so it’s not wise to view Getaround earnings as pure profit.
- Feedback and Ratings: Owners do not receive ratings or reviews, but they must provide thorough photos of their cars’ interiors and exteriors.
Getaround is a P2P car rental app that allows individuals to rent and drive cars owned by other individuals, without a rental car company or carsharing app serving as an intermediary.
To get started, you need to confirm that your car meets Getaround’s quality standards, which include an odometer reading below 125,000. You can then create a listing for your vehicle. This listing must include a detailed vehicle description, clear do-and-don’t instructions for renters, payout instructions, and your driver’s license information. High-quality interior and exterior photos are also required.
Getaround is one of the few sharing economy apps that require direct payment from owners or service providers – in Getaround’s case, car owners. The app requires owners to install an electronic locking and tracking device called a Connect before they begin renting out their car. There’s an unavoidable one-time and ongoing subscription fee associated with Connect, unfortunately, but the device is core to the rental experience – renters can’t unlock or drive vehicles without it.
Rental volumes vary considerably by location, vehicle type, and vehicle condition. In centrally located urban neighborhoods and areas convenient to major airports, late-model, good-condition Getaround vehicles can be rented frequently. Older, less desirable vehicles in less convenient areas may only see occasional rental traffic. Getaround rentals are favored by travelers, as opposed to carless locals who need to make quick trips, so they tend to be all- or multi-day affairs.
For late-model, good-condition vehicles, the rates Getaround renters pay are comparable to rates charged by local rental car companies on similar vehicles. Older, higher-mileage vehicles can be significantly cheaper. In either case, Getaround takes a 40% cut of all rental payments – so if your renter pays $100 per day, you keep $60. In some cities, Getaround maintains reserved parking spots that serve as pickup and drop-off points for rentals. Otherwise, renters can pick up cars in owners’ driveways, on the street outside their homes, or in authorized public parking lots.
Like SPOT, Getaround operates chiefly in larger cities and metro areas, such as Oakland and Philadelphia. Wider adoption is forthcoming, but it’s unclear when or where.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must have a newer vehicle in good shape (as verified by mechanical inspection) and live in a market Turo serves.
- Earning Potential: Turo takes 15% to 35% of renters’ payments, leaving 65% to 85% to vehicle owners. This cut depends on your chosen vehicle protection package. To maximize your earnings, consider taking out a third-party commercial insurance policy, which reduces Turo’s cut to just 10% of your rental gross.
- Feedback and Ratings: Turo doesn’t have a formal rating system, but owners and renters can lodge complaints with the company’s quality control team. Turo reimburses damage worth less than $50; larger claims require a more involved process. “Material misrepresentations” of your vehicle’s condition and features is grounds for account suspension.
Turo is a P2P car rental app in the same mold as Getaround. Like Getaround, car owners, known as “hosts,” must have newer vehicles with relatively low mileage and no major mechanical defects. Turo strongly encourages hosts to subject their vehicles to thorough mechanical inspections each year and sets strict listing requirements, including detailed interior and exterior photos. Turo has zero tolerance for hosts who misrepresent their vehicles’ features or condition, and it encourages guests to report such activity.
Turo requires hosts who don’t carry third-party commercial vehicle insurance to pay for one of its vehicle protection plans. Compared with ride-sharing apps that build the cost of liability insurance into their fare models, this is a substantial drawback – though the passive nature of vehicle rental income lessens the sting. Hosts who opt for the least generous vehicle protection plan keep 85% of their rental gross; hosts who opt for the most generous plan keep 65%.
Turo has two pricing options. The dynamic model automatically sets rental prices based on vehicle value, features, geographic market, and guest demand. The manual model that allows hosts to set prices by the day. The automatic model is safer and more hands-off, but the manual one could be more lucrative if you believe your vehicle is more appealing to guests than Turo does.
Turo is available in about two dozen U.S. and Canadian metro areas, including major hubs like Houston, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. More markets are in the pipeline, though rollout timing is unclear.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must have a newer vehicle in good shape (as verified by a 19-point mechanical inspection) and live in a market HyreCar serves.
- Earning Potential: HyreCar takes 15% of renters’ payments, though this amount is subject to change.
- Feedback and Ratings: HyreCar doesn’t have a formal rating system, but there’s a robust internal ticketing feature that helps owners and drivers adjudicate complaints.
HyreCar is another popular P2P rental app that primarily serves ride-share drivers who don’t own cars of their own. That means you, the owner, rent your car to people expecting to turn it into steady cash – a side hustle that helps other side hustlers.
HyreCar’s commission structure is more owner-friendly than Turo’s, which could be a boon for owners – HyreCar claims active owners can earn up to $12,000 per year on the platform. Your mileage will vary, of course. Generally, luxury vehicles and higher-capacity rides, both of which are worth more on the ride-share market, do better than economy cars.
To get started as a HyreCar owner, you’ll need to provide high-quality photos of your vehicle and shepherd it through a 19-point mechanical inspection. Once you’re up and running, you’ll need to watch your HyreCar account closely and respond to driver applications promptly. Applications expire within 24 hours, meaning you could miss out on a rental opportunity if you go a day without checking your account.
HyreCar is available in many major U.S. metropolitan markets and continues to add capacity. Check its website to confirm availability in your area.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must have under-utilized or idle sporting equipment, such as bikes or stand-up paddleboards, that you’re willing to rent. Background checks are not typical for equipment owners, but renters may be subject to them.
- Earning Potential: Widely variable, depending on factors like equipment, location, and demand. Spinlister claims equipment owners can make up to $500 per month.
- Feedback and Ratings: Users can leave brief reviews and 1- to 5-star ratings for owners. Generally, owners with better reviews and ratings, as well as more reviews, earn more business.
Spinlister connects owners of sporting equipment – mostly bikes and paddleboards, but also items like snowboards – with short-term renters. It works like a high-tech classified board. To list your equipment, you select your city, describe the item, specify when it’s available (for example, on weekends only), price it, and upload photos. Spinlister reviews all listings before publishing them.
Prospective renters communicate with you to arrange a pickup through the Spinlister app. You don’t have to be present for pickup, though it’s not advisable to keep equipment unsecured in anticipation of the renter’s arrival. It’s better to keep it locked and provide unlocking instructions – for example, the lock combination or where to find the key.
You’re paid for each rental after the renter returns your equipment. Spinlister takes a 17.5% commission on the list price, so a three-day rental at $20 per day would cost the renter $60 and net you $49.50. Spinlister covers stolen or damaged bikes up to $10,000, paddleboards and surfboards up to $2,000, and skis and snowboards up to $1,000. These figures are subject to change at any time.
Spinlister is active throughout the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, in Canada and Europe. Most listings are in major cities, but coverage is decent in and around some outdoor vacation communities, such as Aspen, Colorado.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You need to have under-utilized or no-longer-needed fashion clothing and accessories that you’re willing to part with. Brands range from luxury to bargain, high-volume fashion.
- Earning Potential: Widely variable, depending on sales volumes, item brands and quality, and overall demand. Individual items can sell for less than $5 to $100 or more. Some participants have turned their Poshmark activities into viable full-time businesses. For example, in 2015, Business Insider profiled a California woman who earned $500,000 in three years. Don’t expect to see such results for yourself, though, particularly as the platform’s seller population grows.
- Feedback and Ratings: Poshmark doesn’t have a comprehensive review system, but users can like listed items on the platform and share them on social media. Users are also instructed to report back to Poshmark if they don’t receive their items within expected shipment timeframes or if their items don’t match listing descriptions. Poshmark reserves the right to deactivate sellers engaging in unlawful activity.
Poshmark is a marketplace for new and used women’s fashion clothing and accessories. It’s suitable for individuals who need to declutter their closets, as well as small-business owners who reliably source fashion items at low cost and resell them for profit. Many Poshmark items are “NWT,” or “new with tags,” meaning they’ve never been worn. All Poshmark sellers get their own unique Poshmark URLs.
To create a Poshmark listing, you specify the item category and brand, provide a detailed description, and upload photographs. Poshmark provides prepaid and pre-addressed envelopes for easy, free shipping. When your item sells, Poshmark takes a commission – a flat $2.95 for items priced under $15 and a 20% cut for items priced over $15. To accelerate your sales, you can join periodic Posh Parties, real-time shopping events where users gather on the app to share hot items and snag special discounts.
Unlike more DIY online marketplaces, Poshmark commits to handling all aspects of the seller-buyer relationship, including shipping issues and disputes over discrepancies between listing descriptions and actual item appearances or conditions. Poshmark is open to all U.S. residents, but sellers need to follow all local and state regulations and pay any applicable sales taxes.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must have no-longer-needed clothing you’re willing to sell at a discount. Understand that ThredUp is a high-volume marketplace that usually sells individual items for less than some competitors, including Poshmark.
- Earning Potential: Widely variable, depending on factors like brand, size, and demand. Generally, you can net anywhere from less than $1 per piece for used discount clothing to upward of $5 or more per piece for used footwear and designer clothing.
- Feedback and Ratings: There is no direct feedback or ratings, as ThredUp carefully verifies consigned items before listing them for sale. Buyers take up any issues that arise directly with ThredUp.
ThredUp is an online fashion marketplace whose approach differs from Poshmark’s in important respects. For instance, whereas Poshmark brokers direct transactions between buyers and sellers, ThredUp follows a hybrid consignment and bulk-buying model. Sellers hand over “bags” of unwanted clothing and accessories to ThredUp, which then documents each item and lists it on its buyer marketplace. ThredUp covers shipping and bag costs, so there are no upfront expenses for sellers.
For items listed below $60 on ThredUp’s buyer marketplace, sellers receive upfront payments. As a percentage of listing prices, upfront payments range from 5% to 40%, with the ratio increasing as list price rises. While this range sounds low, keep in mind that these items aren’t guaranteed to sell, and the amount of work required on the seller side minimal. For items listed above $60, sellers receive a percentage of the final sale price. This percentage ranges from 50% for items priced from $60 to $89.99 to 80% for items priced above $300. All commissions are subject to change.
Regardless of payment method, seller payments are partially frozen for 14 days, during which time sellers can only use them to purchase items on ThredUP. After 14 days, sellers can convert credits to cash via PayPal.
ThredUp is available to all U.S. residents, subject to local, state, and tax authority regulations.
These sharing economy apps monetize spare labor capacity. Most are flexible contract work platforms that allow participants to work when they want, for as long as they want, without obligation beyond what’s required to ensure consistent service for all app users.
The one constant that holds across all labor marketplace apps is a time requirement. To make money, you need to set aside some of your time, whether that means an hour or two per week or daily blocks that add up to or exceed a full-time-equivalent job.
Many labor marketplaces also require participants to utilize the assets they own or lease. For example, Uber and Lyft both require that you own your own passenger vehicles. However, asset requirements aren’t universal in this category.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must be able to provide the services Thumbtack advertises. Formal qualifications, such as trade certifications, may be helpful or necessary for certain lines of work. Background-checked professionals may receive more leads and hires.
- Earning Potential: Earning power depends on your skills, trades, what you charge, and how much business you’re able to attract.
- Feedback and Ratings: Thumbtack has a formal rating and review system that customers use to provide detailed feedback on professionals.
Thumbtack is a popular labor marketplace that helps professionals generate leads and get hired for a vast range of projects: small household jobs like installing a new light fixture, major residential and commercial remodels, and gig-based jobs like photography and entertainment.
It’s free to create and advertise a professional listing on Thumbtack, and there’s no ongoing subscription fee. Professionals only pay when they generate leads, and there are multiple price assurance policies to prevent overpayment and ensure lead quality. Lead pricing varies widely by job type and your selected preferences. As a pro, you’re free to set a job price commensurate with your skills and prevailing rates in your local market.
Thumbtack operates nationwide. Competition may be higher in major metro markets, but you should find work no matter where you’re based.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must be a capable mechanic with good references, a clean background, and no significant criminal record. ASE certification is strongly preferred, and the more real-world experience you have, the better.
- Earning Potential: According to YourMechanic, the platform’s independent mechanics earn between $40 and $60 per hour. Total earnings depend on demand for your services, competition from other mechanics with similar skills in your area, and your willingness and ability to work during periods of peak demand.
- Feedback and Ratings: YourMechanic has a five-point rating system (with each point ranked on a scale of 1 to 10) and an overall star rating system (1 to 5 stars). Customers can also leave detailed reviews highlighting what they did and didn’t like about your service.
YourMechanic connects experienced auto mechanics with car owners who don’t want to pay garage prices for vehicle repairs, tuneups, and scheduled maintenance. Unlike most of the other platforms on this list, YourMechanic holds its gig workers to pretty strict standards. The average YourMechanic service provider has 10 years of experience, most are master technicians with ASE certifications, and the vast majority boast glowing customer reviews.
All YourMechanic applicants must pass thorough background and reference checks. Once the platform has determined you can actually perform the services you say you can, you’re cleared to create a listing on the site and begin accepting customer requests. When and where you serve customers is up to you, though the norm appears to be driveway or street calls at customers’ residences and workplaces.
YourMechanic pays mechanics flat fees for service that range up to $50 per hour, depending on the services, mechanic experience, location, and demand for similar services. YourMechanic claims its mechanics earn two to three times what auto garages pay, but this is misleading. In most areas, there’s not enough demand to keep mechanics occupied full-time on the platform. Still, it’s a great weekend or evening side gig for capable mechanics with day jobs.
YourMechanic operates nationwide, though major metro areas have better coverage and more customers than smaller towns and rural areas.
14. EF (Education First)
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must be a fluent English speaker with a 40-hour TEFL certificate or equivalent and a technological setup (computer and headset) that meets EF’s minimum requirements.
- Earning Potential: EF advertises net earnings up to $20 per hour. Your actual earnings may vary. You’ll earn more for working early mornings and weekend nights.
- Feedback and Ratings: Your success with EF depends to some extent on your ability to get kids excited about learning English and your willingness to work when needed. However, there’s no real-time feedback system.
EF (Education First) is an at-home alternative to spending a semester or longer teaching English abroad. If you’re comfortable speaking in front of small groups of kids and enjoy the teaching process, it also happens to be one of the most reliable ways to earn money teaching from home without the one-on-one contact required of remote tutors.
EF teachers convey English language skills to school-age children in more than 100 countries around the world, though China is the single biggest market. Due to EF’s global reach, teachers available outside regular North American business hours – especially very early on weekday mornings – tend to earn more than those maintaining traditional schedules.
EF provides more support than the typical gig economy platform, from an extensive training program to professional U.S.-based support.
- Qualifications and Requirements: No formal credentials are required, but strong references and verifiable child or pet care experience are to your benefit here. All sitters must complete a background check before creating their listings.
- Earning Potential: Earnings vary widely based on the type of care provided, what you charge, and how often you’re hired. The $10 monthly Featured Sitter membership could increase your bookings and earnings.
- Feedback and Ratings: Sitters are expected to adhere to Sittercity’s community guidelines and meet the platform’s quality expectations. Parents have the ability to publicly rate and review any parent-caregiver interaction, compelling sitters to be on their best behavior at all times.
Sittercity brokers connections between human and pet caregivers and parents. Verticals include regularly scheduled care like part- and full-time nannying and after-school care, one-off or recurring babysitting arrangements, infant care, care for seniors and adults with special needs, and pet care.
Sittercity is free for sitters to join, though all applicants must complete a background check and provide basic personal information to be listed. The Featured Sitter option provides added visibility for sitters and may increase bookings – though, at $10 per month, it’s not ideal for occasional platform users.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You need a later-model (15 years old or newer), good-condition passenger vehicle and a willingness to drive others around. You must successfully pass a background check and, in some markets, a phone screening interview. You also need a clean driving history and a clean criminal record. Multiple accidents, major driving-related violations (such as DUIs), and felonies are all likely to disqualify you.
- Earning Potential: Depends on volume, demand, dynamic pricing, location, and hours worked. During busy periods, drivers can earn $20 or more per hour, according to Uber. However, drivers are responsible for expenses such as gas, car repairs, and maintenance.
- Feedback and Ratings: Riders can rate drivers on a 1- to 5-star scale and leave optional reviews. Uber reserves the right to deactivate consistently low-rated drivers, though it’s unclear how often this actually occurs. Drivers can also rate riders.
Uber is the world’s most popular ride-sharing app through which users electronically hail door-to-door rides. The app is all-encompassing, allowing riders to summon, track, and pay for rides without ever dialing dispatchers or taking out their wallets. Drivers can accept or deny rides based on their location, find the quickest route to each rider’s destination, and accept payment all within the app.
Uber takes a cut of every fare – typically 20% or higher after a small rider surcharge is subtracted. During “surge” periods, when demand is high and drivers are in short supply, fares can rise considerably and Uber may take more than its customary cut. All payment transactions occur through the Uber app.
Drivers use their own private vehicles, relying on Uber’s $1 million liability insurance policy as a backstop to protect them from financial ruin in the event of a serious accident resulting in property damage or injury. Like Airbnb, Uber has taken some flack for its approach to user safety, and the company has steadily strengthened its driver screening and rating protocols as a result. It is now customary for prospective drivers to undergo thorough vetting, including a detailed driving record and criminal history check, before being allowed to drive for the app.
Uber is active in thousands of urban and regional markets worldwide, including virtually all of the United States’ 250 largest metro areas. You can drive as little or as much as you like, and there are no set shifts.
See our Uber review for more information.
- Qualifications and Requirements: Very similar to Uber’s. You need a newer, good-condition car (15 years or newer), a relatively clean driving record with no major violations, a clean criminal background, and in some markets, the ability to pass a phone screen interview.
- Earning Potential: According to Lyft, drivers can earn upward of $20 per hour at peak periods. Again, net earnings are significantly lower than gross earnings due to gas and maintenance costs.
- Feedback and Ratings: Similar to Uber’s. Riders and drivers rate one another on a 1- to 5-star scale. Lyft reserves the right to deactivate drivers who consistently earn low ratings or repeatedly or egregiously violate the app’s terms of service.
Lyft, the world’s second-most popular ride-sharing app, is very similar to Uber. Like Uber, it facilitates on-demand, door-to-door transportation and handles every aspect of the rider-driver relationship, including cashless payment. Drivers also earn 80% of their fares after a small rider fee – usually around $1.50 per ride – is subtracted. All payment occurs through the app. Though Lyft’s policy is subject to change, the company has long refrained from taking larger cuts of high-demand “Prime Time” fares as Uber does with surge fares. So Lyft is arguably better for drivers during periods of peak demand.
Lyft’s insurance coverage and driver vetting and rating policies are similar to Uber’s. It has a $1 million liability policy, a 1- to 5-star rating system, and thorough background and license checks. Like its main rival, the company has very little tolerance for poor service and does seem genuinely concerned about rider safety – which, ultimately, is a good thing for drivers as it increases riders’ comfort with the app.
Like Uber, Lyft is ubiquitous, operating in major metros like Miami and Seattle, as well as college and vacation towns with disproportionate numbers of carless residents and visitors. As with Uber, you can drive as little or as often as you like. There’s no rule against driving for both apps, so it can make sense to apply for both.
See our Lyft review for more information.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must be willing to pick up and deliver a wide variety of items, including restaurant food, groceries, furniture, and office supplies. Postmates requires reliable personal conveyance, such as a bike, car, or pickup truck. A background check and a relatively clean driving record are also required.
- Earning Potential: Depends on factors like hours worked, volume, and order size. Postmates itself claims contractors can earn up to – and sometimes more than – $25 per hour.
- Feedback and Ratings: There’s no direct driver feedback mechanism, but users can report problems directly to Postmates’ customer service team. Postmates reserves the right to deactivate drivers who exhibit patterns of poor service or violate explicit rules outlined in its terms of service.
Postmates is a delivery service that connects smartphone-wielding customers with what Postmates calls “the best of [their] city.” In theory, that means pretty much anything that can be delivered. However, in most markets, Postmates concentrates on groceries and dry goods, restaurant food, packaged alcoholic beverages, and convenience store items, such as 7-Eleven slushies.
Postmates’ delivery contractors are known, somewhat confusingly, as Postmates. You can become a Postmate without a car – bikes, scooters, and even your own two feet are acceptable modes of transport. In urban cores, bikes or scooters may actually shave time and expense off your deliveries, as you don’t have to worry about finding a parking space or paying for gas.
Customers use the Postmates app to place orders with Postmates partners, such as restaurants. The app assigns each order to a nearby Postmate, using an algorithm that determines how quickly they’re likely to complete the delivery. Like ride-share drivers, Postmates can accept or decline any order they’re assigned.
Postmates earn a base rate per delivery (variable by market – usually around $1.50), plus a per-mile stipend (usually $1 to $2 per mile), and, if applicable, a small stipend (usually less than $0.20 per minute) for time spent waiting at the pickup location. Average hourly earnings approach and sometimes exceed $20 during peak periods but are closer to $10 when it’s less busy. Postmates don’t pay out of pocket for orders. Instead, customers pay through the app before Postmates arrive to pick up their orders.
Postmates carries $1 million liability insurance policies on each delivery person, an arrangement similar to Uber’s and Lyft’s. The app is available in more than 100 U.S. metro markets and is continually expanding into new ones.
As with Uber and Lyft, you can deliver as little or as often as you like, and there are no set shifts. However, delivery frequency and pay can fluctuate wildly based on demand and order size.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You need to be willing to buy, sort, and possibly deliver groceries and other items. Instacart has two main job types: full-service shopper and in-store shopper. Full-service shoppers double as delivery drivers and, therefore, must have reliable personal vehicles. In-store shoppers don’t leave stores during shifts and therefore don’t need cars. Both positions require a background check and interview. Full-service shoppers must have relatively clean driving records and proof of auto insurance.
- Earning Potential: Depends on factors like task, hours worked, volume, and tips. Shoppers might hit $20 per hour during periods of peak demand, but $10 to $15 per hour is a more realistic assumption.
- Feedback and Ratings: Users can report problems with shoppers, drivers, and orders in general to Instacart, which reserves the right to take action against workers after an investigation.
Instacart is a popular delivery app that focuses on groceries and dry goods from national chains (such as Target, Whole Foods, and Costco), regional grocery stores, and non-grocers (such as Petco). It relies on two classes of fulfillment workers: full-service shoppers and in-store shoppers. Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who deliver completed orders in their personal vehicles, while in-store shoppers are part-time employees who stay in-store during shifts.
Instacart’s pay scale varies by market and demand. Earnings for full-service shoppers range from upward of $20 per hour during busy periods to nearly minimum wage during downtimes. Earnings for in-store shoppers are less volatile but still vary by location and seniority. Full-service shoppers must carry adequate insurance on their vehicles. Instacart doesn’t clarify whether it provides additional liability insurance for drivers as Postmates, Uber, and others do, which suggests it does not.
Instacart is active in hundreds of U.S. markets, from college towns like Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to major cities like Miami.
See our Instacart review for more information.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must have a personal vehicle in good working order, a relatively clean driving record, and a clean criminal background. You must be willing to (safely) hustle between merchants and customers and to handle a wide variety of food and sundry items during and after business hours.
- Earning Potential: Highly variable, depending on location and order volume. Pay is generally $1 per order plus 100% of customer tips. During periods of high demand, DoorDash may offer one-off bonuses to incentivize Dashers.
- Feedback and Ratings: DoorDash has a 5-star rating system. Elite drivers must maintain ratings of 4.5 or better to remain eligible to accept customer orders directly. DoorDash reserves the right to terminate Dashers who consistently receive low ratings or repeatedly or egregiously violate its terms of service.
DoorDash is an on-demand delivery app that focuses primarily on prepared food delivery. Its ideal partners are independent restaurants that don’t want to hire and manage their own delivery drivers. There’s a near-infinite supply of such partners in the major metro markets where DoorDash operates.
DoorDash also has no shortage of willing drivers, known as Dashers. To become a Dasher, you need a vehicle in decent condition, a clean criminal background, and a clean driving record. Dashers generally earn $1 per delivery plus 100% of any tips the customer chooses to give them. In some markets, earnings may be higher or lower, depending on Dasher supply and customer demand.
When an order’s combined base fee and tip come in below DoorDash’s guaranteed pay rate, drivers get a “pay boost” equal to the difference. DoorDash may offer additional incentives to encourage Dashers to participate during periods of peak demand. Check DoorDash’s pay model FAQs for a more detailed explanation.
In some markets, DoorDash offers juicy referral bonuses to Dashers who send qualified, reliable candidates its way. In Los Angeles, for instance, Dashers earn $500 per successful referral, defined as someone who completes 120 deliveries within 60 days of signing up.
See our DoorDash review for more details.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must be willing and able to complete a potentially wide variety of tasks, ranging from general labor to semi-skilled work, based on your personal preference and competency. A background check and interview are required. Reliable personal conveyance and a relatively clean driving record may be required as well.
- Earning Potential: Depends on factors like the task, hours worked, volume, and location. In the first quarter of 2015, CNN Money profiled “elite taskers” who essentially work for TaskRabbit full time. They earned as much as $6,000 to $7,000 per month. However, all worked in major coastal cities, such as New York and San Francisco, and it’s unclear whether Taskers in less-dynamic places can replicate their success. Part-time Taskers who complete a handful of jobs per week should expect to make a few hundred dollars per week.
- Feedback and Ratings: Clients can leave detailed reviews and positive or negative ratings for Taskers, subject to authentication by TaskRabbit. Taskers with more and better reviews and ratings tend to earn more business. TaskRabbit reserves the right to deactivate taskers who exhibit patterns of poor performance or violate the terms of service. It promotes the most active, highly rated taskers to its Elite squad, whose members get more and higher-paying jobs.
TaskRabbit is an eclectic task marketplace that connects customers with “Taskers” willing to help them move, fix things around the home, clean the house, deliver things, assemble furniture, serve as virtual personal assistants, and more. Using the TaskRabbit apps, Taskers select jobs they’re best qualified to complete, set their prices for each task, and accept or decline tasks ordered by nearby customers.
Normally, TaskRabbit takes a 15% cut of the customer’s payment before passing it on to the Tasker, so a $100 job nets you $85. TaskRabbit carries a $1 million liability insurance policy on every Tasker. The company operates in approximately 50 markets, including Boston and Los Angeles. Before you sign up to become a Tasker, spend some time looking at the platform as a customer to determine going rates and customer demand for your preferred job types.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You must have technical skills and working experience commensurate with the services you wish to provide on the HelloTech platform. You’ll also need to pass a background check and get to in-person appointments on time.
- Earning Potential: Techs earn $30 to more than $90 per job, depending on the degree of difficulty and time requirements. Hourly earnings are highly variable.
- Feedback and Ratings: HelloTech has no formal rating system, but its quality control team is responsive to complaints. Wayward techs risk account suspension over repeated or egregious complaints.
HelloTech is a nationwide broker for freelance techs who’d rather make their own hours than work full-time for Geek Squad or its independent equivalents. Its core services include computer troubleshooting and repair, smart home system installation and repair, wall mounting, audio-visual troubleshooting and repair, network setup and troubleshooting, and mobile device troubleshooting and repair.
Techs are paid on a per-service basis. It’s commensurate with the degree of difficulty and time required, so wall-mounting a TV is likely to pay less than a complicated troubleshooting job. According to HelloTech, techs earn anywhere from $30 to more than $90 per job, with hourly earnings dependent on the tech’s efficiency and the straightforwardness of the job.
Techs can work wherever and whenever they want, including evenings and weekends – as long as customers are game, that is. Work is available in major metros and smaller cities alike, though you may have to drive farther to appointments in sparsely populated areas.
- Qualifications and Requirements: You need to be willing and able to tutor students in covered subject areas, such as calculus, legal disciplines, and physical sciences. You must also be able to match your schedule with your pupils’ schedules and successfully pass a screening interview. Chegg offers background checks for tutors who want to reassure prospective pupils and parents that they’ve been vetted, but background checks are not mandatory.
- Earning Potential: Depends on factors like tutor quality, subject matter, and hours worked. Chegg claims its top tutors (the highest-earning 5%) make $1,000 or more per month. Hourly rates start at $20.
- Feedback and Ratings: Chegg students or parents can provide feedback about specific tutors or the program in general, with more positive reviews leading to more work for tutors. Chegg reserves the right to fire tutors who violate its rules, miss appointments, or otherwise fail to meet their obligations.
Chegg is an education prep company that, among other things, brokers connections between students and tutors. Its tutors serve middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, and professional school students and cover a comprehensive range of common and not-so-common subjects – thousands in all. Demand is higher for middle- and high-school disciplines, such as biology and calculus, but there are also opportunities for subject matter experts in various legal specialties, advanced physical sciences, and artistic pursuits.
Chegg tutors use the app to create their tutor profiles, accept tutoring assignments, schedule appointments with students, and teach. There’s no face-to-face contact required. All tutoring occurs remotely via a sophisticated interface that includes a video and text chat system, a shared virtual whiteboard students and tutors can write on, and a secure document upload portal. It’s strongly recommended that you have a computer, laptop, or smartphone with a camera. You can tutor as much or as little as you want, with no time requirements or scheduled shifts, though you do have to show up for appointments if and when you make them.
Chegg’s tutor pay starts at $20 per hour. Chegg pays subject bonuses to tutors that work in high-volume disciplines, which change depending on student demand. Chegg’s cut of pupils’ payments is variable. It charges customers $7 for the first 30-minute tutoring session when pupils commit to weekly sessions, $15 for 30-minute sessions after that, or $30 per month for 60 minutes of tutoring per month. These rates and cuts are subject to change, though the $20-per-hour pay floor has been in place for years.
Chegg retains tutors in more than 50 U.S. markets, including most major cities. Before you sign up as a tutor, familiarize yourself with the platform from the student side to determine the level of demand for the subjects you’re most comfortable with.
Because the sharing economy’s participant pool is so flexible, it’s difficult to track with any degree of accuracy. Still, it’s safe to say that millions of Americans use at least one sharing economy platform to earn income on the side or replicate full-time work. Depending on your personal asset and skill mix, you’re sure to find a suitable app too – and perhaps a whole bunch.
Do you use any apps to earn extra income? Are there any you recommend (or avoid)?