Helpful Resources and Apps For Gig as well as Freelance Workers.
There are a number of resources available to help freelance and gig workers, many of whom live on a variable income. It can be challenging to keep up with the bills, health insurance costs, technology expenses and other costs that are sometimes unique to gig or freelance workers. There are assistance programs and tools that are focused on helping flexible employees, and find them below.
Gig workers sometimes don't realize how many small benefits, such as health insurance, are packed into the standard 9-to-5 job until they leave one. One big one advantage of a full time job is that you are not required to spend unpaid time tracking down more work to do. Another is that you have to do much less in the way of personal record-keeping for tax purposes. And yet another is not having to chase employers for payments.
There are tolls and programs to help workers with freelance or side hustle type jobs. Whether you drive for Uber or Lyft, take contract jobs for major employers, walk dogs or have some other side gig job, these free and low-cost apps and resources are designed to assist with the sorts of challenges that are specific to the challenges you may be facing. The resources can help people who are in the freelance and gig economy.
Designed for gig drivers working for companies like Uber and Doordash, the SherpaShare app is a package of "smart driver tools" designed to help maximize take-home pay. Find out how to both make more money and minimize expenses, which is critical to any gig job in particular drivers.
The app combines financial management tools with communication and navigation features designed specifically for the on-demand rideshare or delivery driver. The main financial tool is an automatically generated business mileage log that prints out in an IRS-standard format. The "Pro Tools" set helps with route planning and allows drivers to communicate with each other in real time.
There is a free trial of the app that lasts for 14 days, so you can see if it adds significant value to your business. If it does, there is a monthly subscription fee of $6 to pay as you go or $5 if you pay for a year in advance.
Even is a financial literacy assistance platform designed to help workers in "paycheck to paycheck" positions budget and save. It also allows users, including those with freelance jobs, to take out small advances on their upcoming pay without having to pay any interest.
The free version of Even has all of the budgeting tools, which track your spending and do things like predicting variable expenses (like grocery spend) based on previous months. These free apps are great for helping gig workers budgeting their paychecks during periods in which their take home pay fluctuates.
The cash advance feature requires employers to sign up with Even, and also requires paying a monthly subscription fee to get Even Plus. It's normally $8 per month, but some of Even's partner employers discount or even waive that fee. The biggest name on the list is Walmart, which is Even's primary business partner and the place you pick up cash advances from. Some major national chains such as 7-Eleven are already on board - Even claims they have signed up 180,000 employers in total.
The Freelancers Union is free to join, and offers members access to a number of community resources including guides to vital aspects of running an independent business and invitations to networking events. It is a great tool for gig workers who may want to combine their resources to push for better pay or benefits. Uber, amazon, Lyft, Wag and other gig workers can even use the app to help them form a labor Union.
The free mobile app streamlines the process of finding an affordable lawyer for issues such as contract disputes and non-payment. The lawyers listed on the app offer free initial consultations and quotes.
Money Saving and Earning Apps
There are all sorts of iPhone and Android apps for both freelancers as well as the “general” public. But gig workers may be able to use them in a more creative way to either (1) make more money (2) save or (3) get benefits they may not have in the gig economy.
Some examples of these smartphone applications, and what they can do, including the following: Learn how to make money from your car by using advertising; sample products for online marketing companies; get free or low cost healthcare needs addressed from doctors on demand apps; set up investing accounts for retirement; and so much more. Find many examples of these free apps for both making as well as saving money, which can of course benefit gig workers
Rideshare Drivers United
As the name indicates, this is another app aimed specifically at gig drivers. The RSDU is a sort of union that engages in collective activism. The group has a specific focus on Uber, Lyft, drivers for food delivery services (DoorDash, Postmates, Amazon etc.) and Taxify.
So what does the app do? In addition to searching for jobs near you, it allows you to speak to other RSDU members in real time and arrange meetings. It can help gig workers communicate and push for higher wages, insurance, and can even help them Unionize (create or join a union) for better benefits. The app currently works in most of the major Western English-speaking nations.
Steady is a high-profile gig economy app initiative that made the news by bringing NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal on as an investor and advisor.
The app basically acts as a central portal that draws together job offerings from the various other gig as well as freelance websites. Gig workers can use it to more easily peruse the full range of opportunities that are in their local area at any given time. In addition to location, you can filter jobs by a number of other criteria such as available hours and the age of the listing.
It should be noted that you will still have to apply to and create accounts with all the companies that list through Steady to get access to these jobs. If your daily gig routine involves searching multiple sites, however, Steady does make that easier than flipping between several different apps and refreshing their listings constantly.
The life of a gig worker usually consists of remembering and juggling a list of tasks each day, some of which need to be updated on-the-fly when your hands are busy with something else.
Google Keep is a simple note-taking app that translates speech to text, making it easy to leave notes for yourself while on the go. In addition to the mobile app, you can access Keep by logging into a Google account on any computer.
In addition to dictating or typing in notes, you can also set reminders to alert you to saved notes at preset times. Though it's a Google product (and of course on Android), the Keep mobile app is available for iOS as well.
Earnin is essentially a low cost or even free payday loan on demand - but one that you don't have to pay a fee for. The interest rates are also very low for gig workers. You can advance yourself up to $100 every pay cycle to start out, and can work this up to $500 eventually.
How can that possibly work? The one big catch is that you'll need a job that makes regular direct deposits, and you need to earn the equivalent of at least $4 per hour. You have to allow Earnin to view deposits to your bank account and make withdrawals from it, and you'll need at least two direct deposits of at least $100 each before you're allowed to borrow money.
When you advance the money to yourself, Earnin automatically takes that amount from your next direct deposit. The company does not charge any fees, but does ask you to tip whatever you feel comfortable with to help keep the service running. And if you are working at more than one location, Earnin will ask you to track your travels and turn in a time sheet. Or find other free loans from non-profits.
Working the gig economy means being on a phone or computer all day. That's where all the distractions lurk - chat, games, videos, the Facebook wall, and so on.
Freedom is a simple idea that's executed very well. It helps freelance workers manager their time. At the start of your work day, fire up the app. It has a list of all the other apps on your device, and you can choose to block access to the ones that tend to draw you away from work. You can also block individual websites that you know will tempt you.
Freedom has a free seven-day trial. After that, you can pay $7 on a monthly basis or pay $2.42 per month with a year's prepayment ($29.04).
CareerOneStop Skills Matcher
If you're looking to brainstorm some new gig ideas, or to make the jump from gig work to a full-time job, CareerOneStop is a great place to visit. This program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.
The Skills Matcher, which you can access through any web browser, lets you input a list of your existing skills and see what sorts of jobs they qualify you for. You'll get access to the Department of Education's research on each of these occupations including 10 year outlook and current average salary. When you find a job category that you think is in reach, the app will show you relevant job postings in your local area.
Being a gig worker usually means you have to do your own taxes. In some cases, they have to be done quarterly. Record-keeping is extremely important for all freelance workers as you want to get as many deductions as possible to offset the extra taxes that independent workers are required to pay. It also helps freelancers calculate and pay their quarterly taxes.
Expensify was designed to simplify that whole process. You can snap pictures of receipts as you receive them, and the app will scan the text to log important details like the dollar amount, merchant name and date. This saved data can then be easily exported to forms or to word processing documents for preparing a formal report.
In addition, Expensify lets you track mileage and set reminders for yourself. Tracking mileage is a huge benefit for drivers for companies such as Uber or Lyfy.
There are a number of apps out there that have taken George Costanza's marvelous iToilet idea and run with it, but Bathroom Scout appears to be the most robust of the bunch and have the most community support.
Needless to say, the life of a gig worker often finds you hunting for suitable "facilities" while you are out and about all day. Bathroom Scout boasts listings for over two million public restrooms (and counting) as of this writing.
The app is free with ads, or a one-time payment of 99 cents to remove the ads.
While there are a lot of benefits to the freelance and gig economy and those who work in those environments, there are some downsides as well. In particular when it comes to making ends meet to pay the bills, lack of health insurance, tracking expenses, and others. While much of the information we have on this site will be helpful to anyone with a variable paycheck, there are other ways for freelance workers to get assistance. The apps, resources, programs and tools we have listed above can help gig works and others with an unsteady paycheck.