Decoding the Seattle Gig Economy Part 1; Where do I start and how do I sign up?

May 13, 2021

Thinking about working in the gig economy? Or maybe you’re considering adding another platform to your existing app-based jobs? Gig jobs (like ridesharing, food, grocery and parcel delivery) can be a great source of flexible income, but it can be confusing to know what jobs you qualify for, what to expect when applying and what’s available to you. Once you’re done with the signup process, the uncertainty doesn’t end there - now it becomes a question of when, where and what job best fits your schedule.

Lucky for you, the team here at Solo has compiled everything you need to know about getting started in the gig economy here in Seattle. Below, you’ll find part one of your guide to making the most out of your app based job experience.

Where do I start and what job is best for me? 

There are a few major segments of the gig economy in Seattle. From helping people get around to handling food and shopping, there are plenty of options to fit what you’re looking for. In fact, we’d recommend you consider multiple jobs as we see you can make as much as 35% more by taking advantage of different peak times. Let’s dig into some of the basics of each category.

Ridesharing | Best for Flexible Schedules   

 Perhaps the most common job that comes to mind when thinking of the gig economy - helping people get around from A to B in your city. Lyft and Uber have been around nearly a decade and require you to have a car that is less than 10 years old, pass a background check and secure a TNC license with King County. 

Pros: 
  • Rising earnings coming out of the pandemic (upwards of $25/hr)
  • No work or shift blocks - log in anytime to accept rides
Cons:
  • Stricter vehicle requirements ( 2011 or newer) and a vehicle inspection requirement
  • Close quarters - people ride with you in your car, which can still be worrying at this point in the pandemic


Food Delivery | Best for Quick, Easy Access to Work 

   One space that has grown rapidly during the COVID pandemic is the food delivery industry. Doordash, UberEats, Grubhub and Postmates have grown substantially over the past year as restaurants closed and people turned to on-demand food options. There are no restrictions on the vehicle you use for these services (you can even use your bike or walk!) However, you will need to pass a background check before getting started.

Pros: 
  • Simpler, faster onboarding flows (no vehicle requirements or inspections)
  • Less direct customer interaction, especially during the pandemic
Cons:
  • Stricter shift blocks that may require you to sign up depending on where you work (Doordash & Grubhub)
  • Very reliant on tips (typically ~45% of earnings for workers in Seattle)

Grocery Delivery | Best for Service Oriented, High Tip Opportunities

Another industry that has rapidly expanded during the pandemic, many people now turn to Instacart, Shipt and GoPuff to have groceries and/or other household items delivered directly to their homes. These jobs typically require that you have a vehicle, be willing to shop for a variety of items in store and interact regularly with customers when items are unavailable.

Pros: 
  • Typically the highest earning platforms over the last year (some shoppers make upwards of $40/hr)!
  • Less consistent driving with an order taking an hour on average to shop and deliver
Cons:
  • Shopping for new items in either a grocery or department store can be difficult when you don’t know the layout
  • Out of stock items can be a pain to find an alternative for - typically requiring you to work directly with customers


Parcel/Item Delivery | Best for Earnings Certainty

We live in the birthplace of Amazon and that means there are lots of packages that need to be delivered to people’s homes and apartments. Many people don’t realize that Amazon has a service called Amazon Flex that offers shifts to independent workers to deliver a collection of packages from their local distribution centers. This job requires you go through a more in-depth onboarding process on Amazon’s logistics process and recommends a larger vehicle to handle more packages. A relatively new option in Seattle, GoPuff also operates in a similar fashion to Amazon Flex and requires that you pick up from their distribution centers with a preset route.

Pros: 
  • You know how much you’re going to get paid at the beginning of each shift, typically ranging from 2-4 hours
  • Less direct customer interaction
Cons:
  • Complex onboarding process that can take longer than other platforms
  • Can be more difficult to earn as much money with a smaller vehicle


Want a Side by Side Comparison? Check out all the Onboarding Requirements Below:

**All platforms will require you to share your basic personal information which typically includes drivers license, address, SSN (or equivalent) and a W9 form.

Many of the onboarding requirements are similar between platforms, with some additional vehicle restrictions for ridesharing and a more intensive training process for Amazon Flex. Most platforms will approve your application within 2-5 business days, with some turning around the application as fast as 24 hours.

Don’t forget the Sign Up Bonuses!

Companies are definitely looking for new people to join their platforms - some platforms like Uber and Instacart are paying more than $600! Check out the referral bonus links below and if you sign up using the Solo referral code we’ll pass along the ENTIRE BONUS AMOUNT to you once the performance requirements are met.* 

Ready to Sign Up and Start Earning? 

Check out Solo’s tools for those working app based 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. 

*Referral bonuses typically have company specific requirements around a minimum number of jobs completed within a certain amount of days. Please reference the company specific sign page for the details.


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