Joining the gig economy can be scary because pioneers in this brave new economy lack many of the support systems available to employees.
The first thing you will learn as a gig-economy worker is that you will have to do a lot of stuff for yourself. You will have to provide your own supplies, financing, insurance and equipment. That can be scary and frustrating, especially to those with little or no small business experience.
Fortunately there are a lot of great resources for gig-economy workers out there if you know where to look. Here is a list of online resources that might help a wide variety of gig-workers.
Best Resources for Gig Economy Workers
Some of the best resources for gig economy workers include:
- Most car insurance policies will not cover damage incurred while using a vehicle for business purposes such as Uber. Most homeowners and renters policies will not cover business activities like Airbnb. Fortunately several companies; including GEICO and Allstate, offer policies for ridesharing drivers. Proper Insurance is one of several companies that offer coverage for short term rentals.
- A factor provides financing to businesses by purchasing unpaid invoices. Payfully is a factoring platform that specializes in the gig economy. Currently it is only advancing cash against Airbnb bookings but the company has plans to offer similar services to other gig economy workers. Factoring can be a life saver because there is no loan to be repaid and no need to run a credit report.
- Getting a traditional bank loan can be almost impossible for a gig economy worker. Lendio and Prosper are online marketplaces that give users access to a wide variety of lenders. Many of these lenders will make nontraditional loans and work with startup businesses. Lendio specializes in small business loans and has partnerships with large companies including GoDaddy.
- Online checking accounts. Many online banks provide better customer service, lower fees and better overdraft protection than brick and mortar institutions. Yet they are real banks that are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Some excellent online checking accounts include Capital One 360, Alliant Credit Union, Ally Interest Checking Account, Radius Checking, EverBank and Free USAA checking. Some of the online checking accounts come with some great perks including reimbursement of ATM fees, free checks and more control over spending. Nerdwallet offers a comprehensive overview of the best online checking accounts.
- Amazon Business it’s free to join and offers Free-Two Day shipping on orders over $49. More importantly it still has the best selection of office supplies on the web. If you have an Amazon account upgrade to business today. Prime customers get free shipping on many orders regardless of price. The prices are also very good, often below brick and mortar discounters.
- Walmart.com. This retailer has almost as much merchandise as Amazon but the minimum order for free shipping is only $35. Unlike Amazon, all purchases count towards free shipping. Other advantages include the ability to return items to Walmart stores and discounts on items picked up at Walmart. Free same delivery is available in some areas.
- Xchange Leasing. If you want to drive for Uber but don’t think your old clunker will make the grade. Uber offers leases through Xchange. Terms can be stiff, but if you want to do Uber as a full-time job it can be worth. Advantages include no mileage caps, easy returns and maintenance included.
- Express Drive Rental Program from Lyft. If you want to try Lyft but lack a reliable vehicle Lyft will let you rent a car. This way you can try ride share driving without committing to a lease. Express Drive is only available in a few cities, but that includes major markets like Chicago, LA and Denver.
- Bitcoin. If you want a resource for hedging (protecting funds from inflation) and transferring money the cryptocurrency is a cheap and versatile option particularly for sending money outside the country. There are several excellent and easy to use bitcoin wallets available. The best include Coinbase and Bitpay; which offers a bitcoin Visa debit card that can be used at almost all retailers.
These are just a few of the fascinating resources for gig economy workers out there. If you want more just go online there are many more tools that can make life in the gig economy a lot easier.