Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Looking at the top on-demand companies, part of Starting Your Career in the On-Demand Economy.
- Now let's take a look at the top companies in the on-demand economy. This movie will give you an idea of the general landscape of the industry, and you may also learn about some businesses that may interest you enough to check out or sign up to work through. Naturally we can't start any discussion of on-demand businesses without mentioning Uber. They're arguably the most well-known. The Uber app for smartphones connects people who need rides with drivers who use their own vehicles to pick up and drop off customers. This has become known as ride sharing. Uber is currently available in over 300 cities and over 60 countries.
Their name is so ubiquitous with the on-demand model that it's common place to hear other on-demand companies describe themselves as the Uber of so and so. Uber has become a short hand for on-demand service. Uber's also looking for drivers. And if they're operating where you live, you can get started with them by clicking the Become a Driver button up here. When talking about Uber, you'll also often hear Lyft mention as well. The idea is pretty much the same. Using the Lyft app, customers can request drivers to pick them up. If Uber isn't available where you live, Lyft might be.
And you can sign up with the Drive with Lyft button here. In many major cities, both Uber and Lyft are available, and it's not uncommon for drivers to sign up with both companies. I once rode as a passenger with a driver who ran both the Uber and Lyft driver app simultaneously to increase his chances of picking up fares. It doesn't cost anything to apply to either company, so there's not much of a downside to signing up for both. In terms of payment, both Uber and Lyft keep around 20% of each fare. The rest is yours but, keep in mind that as with most on-demand companies, you're essentially and independent contractor.
So they don't take out any taxes or other deductions from your payments. You're also responsible for things like the up-keep of your car and paying for your fuel. I'll be talking about how to maximize your income through on-demand work a little bit later in this course. Probably the next most well-known on-demand company is Airbnb. Where Uber is an alternative to traditional cabs, Airbnb is a lodging alternative to hotels. Airbnb connects people looking for a place to stay with people who have rooms, apartments or entire houses to rent. They have a presence in over 34,000 cities world wide with listings for over 1.5 million properties.
So, if you have a spare room, or if you're going to be away for a trip and you want to make some extra money renting out your place while you're away, you can click the Become a Host button here at the top of the screen. Bare in mind that, as a host, you're completely in charge of things like managing your listing on the Airbnb website. And you have to communicate with potential guests regarding their stay, and meet them to hand over the keys. And of course you'll need to clean your place both before and after the stay. So if you do intend to be away while you're renting out your place, you'll need to hire somebody else to help manage your place while you're away.
Now, Uber, Lyft and Airbnb probably have the most name recognition at the moment. But there're tons of other on-demand companies carving out space for themselves and for you, should you choose to work through them. For example, HomeAway is another service for renting lodging. But it's geared more towards vacations and longer term stays. And here you can click List Your Property to get started. RelayRides is an alternative car rental service. So instead of becoming a driver and spending time picking people up and dropping them off, you can instead make your car available for others to rent.
You decide how much to charge. The availability of your vehicle. Millage limits and so on. Here you can click List a car to get started. And a similar service is getaround.com. Or maybe you have spare time to do miscellaneous tasks or projects. Check out TaskRabbit. Its service where people can outsource small jobs and tasks to people in their town. These jobs can involve things like helping someone pack up for a move. Cleaning a house. Picking up or delivering packages around town. Fixing things.
Some people even use TaskRabbit to hire people to stand in line for a restaurant reservation. You can also be hired to do online work such as research or data entry. So you don't necessarily have to be living in a city where TaskRabbit operates. If you'd rather sell a specific skill or talent you have, check out Fiverr. The catch here is that everything costs $5. So for example, here are some of the services people are currently offering. I will design a flat icon for $5. I will proof reading/copy edit your first 1000 words for $5.
I will do a voice over project for you. And so on. Now you can also tack on what are called Gig Extras to enhance your service and charge more money. So it is possible to make more than $5 a shot. Another hot area is online tutoring. If you're an expert or have strong knowledge in a particular academic field, you can tutor students in your spare time through companies like tutor.com, or studypool. These services are nice because you actually don't have to go anywhere. You can do all the tutoring online in a virtual manner. If your knowledge area is more in the business sphere rather than academia, check out hourlynerd.com.
They connect experts from top MBA programs with businesses looking for consultations and help with projects. Now of course, this is all just a small sampling of the businesses that are out there. And more seem to be entering the market everyday. Now again, I want to stress that in almost all cases you'll be operating as an independent contractor. That means you're in charge of keeping track of things like your expenses. And it's up to you to maintain whatever it is you're offering. If you are driving for Uber for example, you're in charge of maintaining your car. If you're renting a place out through Airbnb, you're in charge of maintaining your place.
If you're selling your knowledge or skill, well you're in charge of making sure your skill and knowledge are up to date. Being an independent contractor also means you don't get things like health insurance or other benefits and you're in charge of all of your taxes. Also, it's worth mentioning here that the legality of many of these services is still up in the air. Uber and Airbnb in particular, being the highest profile companies, are always fighting a court case in some city over what amounts to the legality of running a car or lodging service. There's also the question of insurance. Most of the companies I've mentioned here offer insurance for your car or property while it's being used.
For example, Uber provides one million dollars of commercial auto coverage while you're driving for them. But your personal insurance company might not like it if they find out you're driving your vehicle commercially. Some people have had their personal insurance canceled when they were found out to be ride share drivers. Some insurance companies now offer policies that cover people who use their personal vehicles for ride sharing. But there's also the question of when which policy is in effect. For example, Uber's insurance is active when you're actively transporting a customer, but now when you're between riders. But your insurance company might not agree with that policy if you're in an accident.
The point is you'll have to do your own due diligence when you're signing up to provide any kind of on-demand service. There're definitely risks involved, but clearly, a great many people think it's worth it, as the on-demand workforce only continues to grow. In the end though, it's a decision you'll have to make for yourself. Just be sure to do your research to make sure it's an educated decision.
Garrick Chow explains the basic structures of the on-demand economy and the skills and characteristics of successful on-demanders, so you can determine if on-demand work is the right fit for you. Then learn about the time commitment and expectations around pay, what the employer provides, and what one can expect from clients. Garrick then discusses tools to keep you organized, including how to best track income and expenses.
Finally, the course offers tips and tricks and a case study based on the author's firsthand experience as an Uber driver.
- Preparing to work on demand
- Managing expectations from on-demand clients
- Tracking expenses and mileage
- Optimizing your income
- Getting support online
- Case study: Becoming an Uber driver
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 05/26/2017. What changed?
A: A new video was added that explains how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for on-demand work.