We’re back with part 2 of decoding the Seattle gig economy. In Part 1, we focused on the onboarding requirements and some of the pros and cons of each company’s sign up process. In part 2, we’re going to get a bit deeper as to what you can expect from each platform when it comes to scheduling (or not scheduling) your day. Let’s dig in!

Managing Your Time

Working in the gig economy means you have almost complete control over how you spend your time. This is freeing, but also can introduce more complexity to your day to day work plans. Suddenly, you have to evaluate where, when and what job is best for you to maximize earnings and remove off-peak times from your schedule. 

Good news - Solo makes this super easy with our Earnings Forecast feature. We show you the highest paying jobs in your city and an estimate of how much you can expect to get paid.

There are three types of scheduling  that the companies use:

On Demand Work

These platforms allow you to log on and accept jobs on your schedule - no shifts, blocks, etc. That means day or night you can simply “Go Online” at any hour of the day for work.

  • Flexibility. You don’t have to worry about getting squeezed out of peak pay periods or shifts. 
  • Adaptability to market conditions. Things can change rapidly in a city. Maybe a major rainstorm hits at rush hour or a big event lets out and thousands of people need to get home. With these jobs you can jump on and take advantage of the earnings opportunity.
  • Volatility. With complete flexibility comes more volatility. There will be moments where these platforms are oversupplied with drivers, which can ultimately lead to lower earnings. Good news - Uber (ridesharing) and Lyft have been super busy lately as we emerge from the pandemic.

Scheduled Hours For On Demand Work

These platforms give you the ability to pre select or schedule a multi hour block to work - usually up to a few days out. This can help balance the number of workers with the number of customers. It’s important to note that these platforms can also offer pure “on demand work” like the platforms mentioned above.

  • You lock in your spot to work - usually during desirable hours and days. This can not only ensure you have guaranteed time on the platform, but also that you’ll have a decent number of jobs coming in.
  • Planning. Deciding in advance how you want to spend your work day on different platforms can help you not only earn more, but also reduce costs. One Shipt/Doordash worker recently told us that taking a more structured scheduling approach helped them cut the miles they were driving in half.
  • Lack of flexibility. Sometimes things change rapidly in either the gig economy or your personal life. Unfortunately, this means you may not be able to log online in time for a certain shift and/or you could get dinged by the platform - impacting your future scheduling priority.
  • Over Scheduling. Some workers have cited how slow the “peak periods” can be, even when there are “BUSY” signs all over the map inside the company’s app.

Set Routes or Shifts

Finally, we have the set schedule or route based platforms. These jobs not only have you sign up for a pre selected block, but also attach a set dollar amount to that time. These options give you the greatest amount of certainty around how much you'll earn with your time, but can also have some drawbacks around flexibility.

  • Predictability. When you sign up to take a block for Amazon Flex or GoPuff you not only know when you’ll be working, but also how much you’re getting paid. While earnings vary job to job, this can remove some of the anxiety in planning your day.
  • If you’re quick and efficient delivering the items during your block you can finish earlier than the preset time that Amazon lays out for you. This is a big plus because their pay is usually based on the estimated time to complete a route - meaning you can pick up other work or relax!
  • Again, flexibility. If you can’t make a pre-scheduled block with Amazon Flex you’ll need to cancel 45 minutes prior or you could get penalized. Things change rapidly out there and these blocks can sometimes be a hindrance to making more money in your time. 
  • Blocks are released in waves and if you’re not keeping a close eye on the app they can get snatched up; leaving either lower pay or options that are further away.

Planning Your Day Doesn’t Need to Be Complicated

Planning your day can be a powerful exercise to help you earn up to 35% more and cut your costs. At Solo, our Earnings Forecast and Tracking Tools allows you to:

Check out Solo’s tools for those working gig jobs or read more about working in the gig economy at our blog!  We provide you with the information, earnings forecasts and pay transparency you need to ensure you’re working the right job at the right time. 

What's Next?

In Part III of Decoding the Gig Economy we’ll take a look at payment speed across the different platforms so that you can better understand when you’ll have cash in your pocket. Stay tuned!