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Bay Area Gig Economy: How to make more money on your free time


As a gig economy part-timer, driving for Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and UberEats can help pay off credit card debt and save money for an emergency fund



  • 1 in 10 adults in California work in the gig economy

  • A new survey shows that half of the workers in gig economy are barely getting by

  • According to the report, about 48 percent of those participating in the gig economy is struggling with poverty.

Despite California's reputation as being a tech innovator and economic engine for the nation, nearly half of those working in the gig economy is barely getting by, according to a new survey.

Nearly 1 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 California’s reputation as being a tech innovator and economic engine for the nation, nearly half of those working in the gig economy is barely getting by, it said.

I recall a drive home from SFO on a rideshare; the driver who picked me up was just starting what he referred to as his “Uber Shift.” I learned that he gigs for both Uber and Lyft, frequently switching between the two to pick up a higher paying gig. Many drivers do because they find that sometimes one service offers better rates than the other.


Here are a couple of things that I learned from my rideshare driver:

1. Actual earnings may be less than advertised. Although an Uber study in early 2015 said its drivers in 20 cities averaged more than $19 an hour, a Buzzfeed survey found Uber drivers in Denver, Detroit and Houston earned less than $13.25 an hour after expenses in late 2015. In Detroit, they brought home just $8.77 an hour, on average. Exactly how much you’ll make depends largely, of course, on how many hours you put in behind the wheel. Uber says 80% of its “partners” drive fewer than 35 hours a week in its 20 largest markets; more than half drive one to 14 hours.

2. You’ll want to be familiar with “peak” hours where you live. That’s when you’ll earn the most per hour because Uber and Lyft raise their rates for customers then. Uber calls this “surge pricing.” Lyft calls it Prime Time. Typically, peak hours tend to be late at night or early in the morning — sometimes very late at night or very early in the morning — especially during concerts, sporting events, festivals, conventions, trade shows and such.

3. Finding a local Facebook group for Uber and Lyft drivers can help you make more money. If there is such a group, you can get a lot of good information about where and when to earn the most as a driver.


In my time living in the Bay Area, I’ve quickly learned that striking it rich means creating a sustainable side hustle that can eventually become its own money-making machine. That begs the question, what is a sustainable side hustle? I think having flexible hours with zero capita that somehow yields a high ROI can be made possible in this gig economy.

I created Gigtr for this reason. I have heard of gig economy side hustlers driving aimlessly for hours looking for a gig, only to find that they ended up spending more money on gas than what they made that day. Wouldn’t it be easier if we could identify which gig economy app is the most on-demand, by the hour, in our city? Here’s what you can learn from using Gigtr:

  • See accurate hourly gig rates on major rideshare and delivery platforms in the Bay Area

  • Receive notifications for opportunities that return a higher rate on platforms that match your interests

  • See gigs and earning data across every platform you use; work more efficiently

I hope that you check out Gigtr – and share the news with your next rideshare or delivery person!


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