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Bay Area Gig Economy: Creating supplemental income to pay your rent

Updated: Nov 8, 2018


In this article, we explore ways you can create supplemental income driving for rideshare and delivery apps in the Bay Area


  • Nearly 1 in 10 adults residents of California work in the gig economy

  • The median price for a two bedroom in San Jose ran to $2,640, up 2.4 percent from last year.

  • The median resale price for a single-family home in July was $890,000, putting home ownership out of reach for even well-paid professionals.

You’ve no doubt heard about “the gig economy” (Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Postmates) and maybe you’re thinking of joining it. Nearly one in 10 adult residents of California currently work in the gig economy, according to the survey, released by Public Religion Research Institute, a D.C.-based nonpartisan, independent research organization. But despite the state's reputation as being a tech innovator and economic engine for the nation, nearly half of those working in the gig economy are barely getting by, it said.


We all know how expensive it is to live in the Bay Area. The region continues to be home to some of the priciest rents in the country. The median price for a two bedroom nationally was $1,180 in August, up 1 percent from the previous year, according to Apartment List. The median price for a two bedroom in San Jose ran to $2,640, up 2.4 percent from last year.

An informal survey last month of several thousand tech employees by the anonymous messaging app Blind found just 2 in 5 tech workers felt they could afford to buy a home in the Bay Area. The median resale price for a single-family home in July was $890,000, putting home ownership out of reach for even well-paid professionals.


We asked our community of side hustlers here at Gigtr to see how they’ve created supplemental income to pay rent. Here they are in their own words:


Tanya, 28. Customer Success Manager. San Francisco, California Favorite App: Fiverr, Lyft I came out of undergrad from SFSU with $60K of student loan debt. I am currently paying $560/month and it is expected to go up every year; my next payment for 2019 is structured at $750. My salary is pretty good but not enough that I can put aside an emergency fund. My rent is also in the $1500+ range. I am a pretty good graphic designer, so I started putting up my services on Fiverr. It’s pretty good, and I have a steady rate of clients I work with. I also started driving for Lyft 6 months ago because I wanted to set aside for an emergency fund. Making time for Fiverr and Lyft has really helped me pay bills. I can create supplemental income for both my student loans and rent. So far, I’ve been able to put aside $7500 for my emergency fund. I drive on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 6 to Midnight. I Fiverr on the weekends. I’ve learned that I do have more time during the day to do things like making time for a side hustle. Ben, 42. Copywriter. San Francisco, California Favorite App: TaskRabbit, Uber I recently moved to another apartment in the city, this time in the Castro because it’s close to both of our work and the freeway. It’s fair, at $3000/month. I split this with my partner but we both hustle on TaskRabbit and Uber. The economy is stable right now and we both have well-paying jobs, but you never know – and we don’t want to take the risk of not having set aside enough money in case of an emergency. I really like TaskRabbit because it’s a great way to meet people while getting paid for a simple task. Uber in San Francisco is easy money. My partner and I switch off, and we drive exclusively just weekends. Half of our rent money is paid off by our side gigs. Not bad at all, and we use the extra money for our savings. Tory, 26. QA Tester. San Francisco, California Favorite App: TaskRabbit I just completed a TaskRabbit task handing out candies for Halloween! I am currently contracting for an app developing company in San Francisco and while my pay is good, I still wanted to save some for fun expenses. It’s been fun – I helped decorate a wedding, I did a family’s laundry and occasionally shop groceries. These are tasks I enjoy doing. I can spend most of my time outside running errands and meet cool people along the way. I ended up performing enough tasks that I was able to save more than half my salary and use my TaskRabbit earnings to pay rent. In the beginning, it was small earnings with a couple hundred of dollars here and there. But it’s still cash that I was able to use towards bills, like groceries, credit cards and rent. I would say that finding a side hustle that I enjoy has helped me get in the mindset of doing it more, which makes me more money in the long run. How are you creating supplemental to pay off your rent? We’d love to hear about your side hustles – please sound off in the comments below.

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