Understanding gig work

Workers today are thinking beyond the nine-to-five as they explore the gig economy for more freedom and flexibility. As a gig worker, you can now set your own hours. It’s perfect for students, parents, retirees, or anyone looking to pave their own path towards a more independent career. 

What is a gig worker?

A gig worker works contracts jobs for clients and companies. There are many different types of gig workers, from traditional freelancers (such as freelance web developers or freelance copywriters, to Uber or Lyft drivers or even pet sitters). The meaning of a gig worker extends beyond remote jobs to temporary contracts or part-time employment, as well as working on-site or in an office. 

What is the gig economy?

The gig economy is the labor force of short-term and part-time workers that companies hire for temporary projects. This includes shift-based contracts, rather than permanent full-time or part-time employees. 

When it comes time to look for a job, not everyone is looking to commit to a traditional permanent job. Many people are choosing the gig economy. As a freelancer, you can work either part-time, temporarily full-time, or project-by-project for different companies. Most people get gig work through freelancing sites and apps. Snagajob is one of the best websites for on-site gig workers for local in-person jobs. 

Types of gig workers

A gig worker is someone who does non-traditional work, working either freelance or as an independent contractor (or taking individual shifts of work on-demand). Gig workers often work part-time or full-time but under a contract, not as regular employees. Some types of gig work include: 

  • Rideshare driver

  • Delivery driver

  • Grocery shopper

  • Pet care provider

  • Eldercare / support

  • Virtual assistant

  • Catering / events support

  • Warehouse stock handler

How much can you make as a gig worker?

According to Statista, the gig economy is expected to be worth $455.2 billion by 2023. Why? More people are shifting to flexible jobs and working outside of the traditional nine-to-five landscape. 

Gig workers like delivery drivers or grocery shoppers working for larger platforms, typically make above minimum wage, and the pay is location-dependent. An Uber Driver in Atlanta or Houston will usually earn more than an Uber driver in a small town. 

Top gig economy benefits:

  1. Flexibility: Many people choose to work in the gig economy because of its flexibility over when and where you work. 

  2. Work-life balance: Contract workers get to make their own hours, leading to a better work-life balance. Gig work is popular with college students, retirees, and parents, because it lets them create a schedule that works for their lifestyle and commitments. 

  3. Test out different companies: Gig workers have the unique opportunity to work for different companies, often part-time, with less commitment than a permanent employee. While you may be offered a permanent job later on, you get to see what it's like to work for each company. 


Biggest drawbacks of working in the gig economy:

  1. Lack of benefits: When working as a contract or gig employee, companies do not typically offer benefits such as healthcare or paid time off. 

  2. Job security: Most companies offer set contracts and severance for full-time employees who are laid off or fired, but as a contractor, there is less job security (even though it is often easier to find another job or contract). 

  3. Reviews matter: Many gig workers work on a tip or commission basis as delivery or rideshare drivers. A bad review on a freelancing platform can hurt your reputation and your earnings. 

  4. Career relevance: Depending on what type of gig you choose, it may not be in alignment with your overall career goals. Still, gigs like dog walking or grocery delivery may be a short-term way to earn income immediately rather than a stepping stone in your career. 

If you’re looking to get into gig work, a great place to start is Snagajob, as you’ll find lots of hourly jobs.

Darrell Jones |
Darrell is Snagajob’s Manager of Content & Copywriting, where he enjoys writing and editing advice that helps workers and businesses align and succeed. His first hourly job was totally chill, bagging ice at an ice cube f-f-f-factory.