The gig economy is no longer only about Uber, Airbnb, and a handful of also-rans. Today, the world’s top gig economy companies span an exciting range of sectors – from therapeutics to pet care, from ride sharing to entertainment. We share our list of the top 15 gig economy companies to watch out for in 2020.
Globally, the gig economy has gained incredible momentum in the last few years. Freelancers and temporary workers are now taking advantage of the top gig economy companies out there, balancing flexibility with competitive wages. In 2019, Staffing Industry Analysts reported that world spending on gig jobs reached a massive $4.5 trillion!
This trend is the result of two primary drivers:
- Digital platforms now let workers connect with top gig economy companies with minimal effort. They can find lucrative opportunities that would have otherwise been outside their professional network.
- The onset of New Work means that flexibility is now a key priority for employees. The world’s top gig economy companies allow gig workers to set their own schedules and balance their professional and personal lives.
We surveyed the gig landscape in search of the best gig economy companies out there. Some of the standout industries where this model of work is most popular include transportation, logistics, professional services, healthcare, and the creative sector.
Let’s look at the top 15 gig economy companies in 2020 spread across these areas.
15 Top Gig Economy Companies
Interestingly, nearly every company in the world now benefits from the gig economy. In 2018, Google employed more freelance workers than full-time employees for the first time in its 20-year history.
Apart from this, there are several 100% gig economy companies that run on freelance talent. And that’s the focus of our roundup today.
In this list of gig economy companies, we enumerate the best of each industry. Rather than listing the most prominent companies or those with the highest earnings, we have tried to curate a list of gig economy companies that cover the widest expanse of talent opportunities.
So let’s dive right in.
1. Airbnb – For homeowners looking to monetize their property
Airbnb is among the world’s top gig economy companies for home rentals. It has a massive full-time workforce (12,000+ employees across the world), and millions of homeowners listing their property on the website. In 2017, Airbnb raised $1 billion in funding, making it one of the leading gig economy companies across industries.
According to CNBC reports, Airbnb owners can earn an average of $924 a month by listing their property on Airbnb – this is excluding the 3% fee the company charges. Those who use Airbnb regularly can pay an annual fee to the company and avoid commissions.
2. Amazon Flex – For licensed drivers interested in delivery services
Amazon Flex is the e-commerce giant’s delivery arm. It allows licensed drivers to register with the company on a flexible model.
Drivers can choose their hours, schedule ahead of time, or choose a block that best suits their requirements. Amazon Flex is available seven days a week and can bring an income of $18–$25 an hour – above the U.S. minimum wage.
The Amazon Flex app tracks payments and delivery schedules. This gig economy company is active in several countries, including the U.S. and the U.K.
3. Cabify – For licensed drivers who own a vehicle
Cabify is an Uber competitor – the difference being that individuals have to own a vehicle to register. This company is present in 12 countries in 90+ cities. Its parent organization is the Maxi Mobility holding company, which specializes in Mobility-as-a-Service.
To sign up, one needs to be a licensed driver (above the minimum age mandated by local regulations) and own an authorized vehicle. In 2018, Cabify raised $160 million at a $1.4 billion valuation, placing it squarely among the top gig economy companies in the world.
4. Care.com – For certified caregivers and home service providers
Care.com has a unique combination of highly skilled and labor-intensive and non-labor-intensive tasks. For certified care professionals, there are jobs requesting elderly care, special needs care, childcare, and so on. Education professionals can consider teaching opportunities in different subjects.
This gig economy company covers home services such as housekeeping, gardening, and pet care as well. Care.com is available in 16 countries around the world. IAC acquired the company in February of 2020, raising its market value even further.
5. Etsy – For artists and handicraft professionals
Etsy probably belongs on every list of gig economy companies. Founded in 2005, it has built a solid reputation among the global artist community to reach out to high-intent customers.
Selling on Etsy requires individuals to pay $0.20 per listing. Etsy also charges 5% for every shipping transaction and 5% of the total item cost. The Etsy marketplace is powered by AI, matching every product to your target audience. Etsy is among the few publicly listed gig economy companies.
6. Figure Eight – For professionals looking to contribute to AI and ML projects
Figure Eight has a unique take on freelancing, which is why it is here on this list of gig economy companies. Figure Eight offers an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enabled platform that leverages human intelligence to aid technology innovation. And this human intelligence comes crowdsourced via the company’s pool of gig workers. Professionals interested in this space can sign up on Figure Eight for four types of tasks:
- Categorizing social media to help AI engines “learn” sentiment analysis
- Moderate image and textual content
- Transcribe short audio clips
- Highlight important objects in pictures to aid object recognition
There are no locational constraints with this gig economy app.
7. Fiverr – For professionals in technology and media sectors
Fiverr is an end-to-end gig economy company that brings together domain experts and businesses interested in their services. It covers several areas of expertise, including design, software development, writing, video editing, music, social media marketing, and video voiceovers.
Gigs on Fiverr range from $5 to $10,000, establishing an incredible scope of opportunity. Fiverr can also be used to brush up on sales skills, with the platform’s library of learning materials. Originally based out of Israel, Fiverr is accessible to freelancers across the world with no country restrictions.
8. Onefinestay – For luxury homeowners looking to monetize their properties
You could say that this gig economy company is the luxury equivalent of Airbnb. Conde Nast Traveler recognized Onefinestay as one of the top ten home-sharing companies in the world, and it has been part of the Accor Hotels Group since 2016.
Onefinestay lets homeowners find someone to take care of their properties when they aren’t at home, while also turning it into a source of income. The company pays special attention to security and cleanliness, so guests know that they are in good hands. The platform is available in select countries, and London, Paris, and New York are its most popular locations.
While Onefinestay doesn’t disclose potential earnings, its €500 referral reward indicates that this is an excellent proposition for individuals who meet the criteria.
9. Shipt – For personal shoppers looking for flexible schedules
Shipt is a gig economy company that engages personal shoppers and delivery personnel on a freelance employment basis.
To sign up, one needs a valid driver’s license and an insured vehicle, as well as a working knowledge of product selection. Interestingly, Shipt’s parent company is the retail giant Target, which is a key reason behind its solid market reputation.
Individuals enrolled in this platform can earn up to $22 per hour or more on Shipt. It delivers payments every week. Importantly, Shipt considers all qualified applicants with criminal histories in line with anti-discrimination laws.
10. Talkspace – For licensed therapists and psychotherapy professionals with 3 years of experience
In a list of gig economy companies, Talkspace’s value proposition truly stands out. It lets licensed therapists work with clients via a smartphone, tablet, or desktop, giving both customers and service providers incredible flexibility.
The Talkspace platform has banking-grade encryption to maintain confidentiality. It is HIPAA compliant as well. For professionals in the counseling/therapy sector, this is an excellent opportunity to expand their client base. Professionals need to take a 5-minute qualification survey and fill out a 20–30-minute long application to get started.
11. TaskRabbit – For a wide variety of home services providers
With a presence in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, and Germany, TaskRabbit (parent company IKEA) is among the top gig economy companies in its segment. It lists home projects like furniture assembly, TV mounting, cleaning, repairs, etc., inviting “taskers” to take on these gigs.
Once taskers complete the project, they can submit the invoice right from the TaskRabbit application. For freelancers who provide exceptional services, there is a TaskRabbit Elite community, which promises additional earnings. A typical tasker would make around $110 per month, as reported on Entrepreneur.com – but this depends on the hours they put in and their level of expertise, among other factors.
12. Tongal – For experts in the media and entertainment sector
Tongal stands out in any list of gig economy companies, simply for its roster of clients – the likes of NASA, Syfy, The LEGO Group, and Warner Media use Tongal to hire gig workers. Experts can go through the catalog of available projects and send their pitch. Tongal guides users through all the paperwork (taxation, IP assignment, etc.) so that the payment process is seamless.
Tongal has an entire 101 section that explains the intricacies of freelancing in the media and entertainment sector, as well as a community of “Tongies.”
13. Uber – For licensed drivers across the world
Uber is a gig economy veteran if there ever was one. The company employs thousands of drivers across the world, all working on a freelance basis. As per its website, it caters to 91 million consumers in 700+ cities, employing approximately 3.9 million drivers. It has inspired the creation of several competing gig economy companies like Bolt in the U.K. and Ola in India. Drivers can make between $8.55 and $11.77 per hour on Uber, excluding all commissions and fees (as reported by The Street).
In recent years, Uber has come under scrutiny for the transparency it offers its drivers, but it continues to be an attractive gig economy company for eligible individuals. Interestingly, the company has started to invest more in employee well-being, such as its sick pay policy for the coronavirus pandemic.
14. Wag! – For people who love dogs and want to turn it into an income source
Wag! has a unique premise – it lets freelancers in the U.S. offer pet care services, particularly for dogs. Despite its limited reach (it is currently present in only one country), it deserves mention on this list of gig economy companies for the opportunities it gives to freelance pet care providers.
Dog lovers can sign up to provide dog walking services. Individuals who have an authorized pet boarding facility can also register their properties for boarding and daycare.
Prior experience with dog care is essential, as well as an understanding of dog safety to be eligible. Wag! has a vast library of learning material on dog health, training, grooming, behavior, and activities to help gig workers upskill themselves.
15. Share Now – For licensed drivers to benefit from car sharing
Your Now is a gig economy company born out of a 2019 partnership between Daimler AG and the BMW Group. The companies pooled in over €1 billion to reimagine the Mobility-as-a-Service space. This includes several services, and one of them is of particular interest to licensed drivers: Share Now.
With Share Now, one simply uploads one’s driver’s license, validates it via the app, and starts driving. While on the way to the destination, Share Now matches drivers with others going in the same direction. As a result, drivers can use the companies’ top-tier vehicles without having to pay for charging, parking, fueling, or maintenance.
Share Now truly revolutionizes the car-sharing sector. Instead of employing drivers part-time, anyone driving to their destination can save money and earn on the side.
The Gig Economy Starts at Home: Keeping an Eye Out for Local Players
While the most significant gig economy companies in the world might have an international presence, they aren’t always the best for every gig worker.
In fact, as the gig economy matures, we expect several localized players to gain prominence. Consider Sydney-based Airtasker, which has a sizable user base of 2+ million. It’s a TaskRabbit competitor, one that might make more sense for residents in Australia and Ireland. Similarly, Kmong is an online talent marketplace based out of South Korea that resembles Fiverr in terms of its domain coverage and business model.
For professionals eager to get the best “gigs” and receive competitive remuneration for their services, we recommend that you cast your net as far as possible. International providers (Uber, Airbnb, etc.), fully digital platforms (Talkspace, Fiverr, etc.) and local players all deserve attention, as individuals branch out to look for a gig economy company that’s best suited to their talent and employment needs.