With rising inflation impacting many, individuals and families are on the search for ways to boost or supplement their income streams. In our previous blog, we explored various strategies for increasing your monthly earnings. In this article, we delve into the opportunities that side hustles such as Uber, Doordash, and Instacart offer for those looking to enhance their financial situation.


Embracing Flexible Side Hustles

The term Side Hustle refers to using your free time or hobbies to supplement your standard income. Here is a brief description of these services:

  • Uber has replaced the traditional taxi driver and allows employees to use their vehicles to drive customers to their destinations.
  • Doordash is a food delivery service where the employees pick up and transport food orders to the customers. 
  • Instacart is a grocery delivery service where the employees do the in-store shopping and deliver orders to the customers.




The Gig Economy at Your Fingertips

These services are attractive to employees because they offer a high level of schedule flexibility. All of these options are run through a mobile app and the employees can choose to sign in and work depending on their schedules. There is no preset schedule that someone must work, however, that option is available for those who prefer to have a structured schedule.

For example, if you have a spare afternoon on a Saturday, you can decide to sign in to the app and make deliveries for a few hours. Or you can spend a few evenings a week making deliveries after your traditional 9-5 job. It is all based on how much and how often you want to work. 


Navigating the Financial Landscape of Side Hustles

One of the biggest weaknesses of this type of side hustle can be the varying levels of pay. Every order/delivery will pay the driver a base amount, but they also receive a tip from the customer. Drivers for Doordasher can receive anywhere between $2-$10 per delivery plus tip and Instacart drivers can earn around $11-$17 plus tip. The range of the base pay is typically dependent on the distance of the delivery, the size of the order, and the availability of other drivers in the area.

I have spoken with some close friends and family who have tried these services, and the results were mixed. Sometimes they make good money and other times they feel as if they are wasting their time. Similar to other tip-based jobs such as bartending or waitressing, there are highs and lows in the amount of pay. Better customer service can potentially lead to increased tips too.

So things such as communication updates with the customer, keeping beverages hot/cold, quick delivery times, or even a small treat for the family dogs can be ways to increase your satisfaction rating and could potentially lead to increased tips.


The Costs of Convenience: Evaluating Expenses

Some expenses should be considered before proceeding with one of these side hustles. The main expense that will be encountered is typically the cost of gas. Having to drive around for customers will require you to fill up your tank and high gas prices can reduce the amount of pay you will take home.

Also, the wear and tear on your vehicle should be considered. These services require you to put a lot of miles on your car and the more you work, the more miles you will drive. You want to make sure that you have a reliable vehicle because one major breakdown can easily wipe out all the earnings from the venture. 


Is a Flexible Side Hustle Right for You?

  • The term Side Hustle refers to using your free time or hobbies to supplement your standard income.
  • Services such as Uber, Doordash, or Instacart are attractive to employees because they offer a high level of schedule flexibility.
  • The pay from these services can fluctuate, so individual results and experience may vary. 


Financial Planning and Review Meeting

If you have any questions about flexible side hustles, your investment portfolio, retirement income planning, taxes, our 401(k) recommendation service, or anything else in general, please give our office a call at (586) 226-2100.

Please feel free to forward this commentary to a friend, family member, or co-worker. If you have had any changes to your income, job, family, health insurance, risk tolerance, or your overall financial situation, please give us a call so we can discuss it. 

We hope you learned something today. If you have any feedback or suggestions, we would love to hear them. 

Best Regards,

Zachary A. Bachner, CFP®

with contributions from Robert Wink, Kenneth Wink, and James Wink

After graduating from Central Michigan University in 2017 with specialized degrees in Finance and Personal Financial Planning, Zachary Bachner set himself apart by earning the CFP® designation. Zachary now writes articles aimed at helping everyday people understand complex financial topics. He focuses on explaining financial planning concepts and strategies in clear, simple terms.

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