News and social media sites were filled with anecdotes about furloughed federal employees driving for Uber and Lyft to make ends meet during the government shut-down earlier this year.

But if you need to earn a fast buck for any reason, there are better ways.

Dozens of online platforms allow workers to sign up and get paid within days—sometimes hours—of filling out the requisite paperwork. Many others require waiting only a day or two for equipment or a cursory background check to get started.

Better yet, unlike Uber and Lyft, which often have as many drivers as customers, demand for workers willing to do many fast-buck side hustles is brisk.

By and large, all you need is to be of legal age and own a smart phone.

The catch: Availability of any given job will vary by location. Some great jobs that are available in urban areas simply aren’t offered in the suburbs and vice versa. 

That said, there are some fast-money makers in nearly every community and you generally don’t need specialized skills. By and large, all you need is to be of legal age and own a smart phone. 

It’s also worth mentioning that freelance job platforms have no prohibitions against working for competitors. Thus, it’s possible— even advisable—to sign up with a host of different side hustle platforms.

That boosts your chance of getting work when you want it and may even allow you to pick and choose among the best-paid options as they come up.

Here are a dozen websites where you can find fast-money jobs that welcome new workers quickly and pay promptly.

Charge scooters

People living in major urban areas, such as Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco, may be able to make a quick buck charging electric scooters for Bird and Lime. 

Both platforms pay between $5 and $20 per scooter charged and allow workers to charge as many as 20 scooters per night.

Earning potential: Between $200 and $800 a night for just a few hours of work.

The scooters must be returned to designated location before 7am. You take a photo once they’re “nested.”

Earning potential: Between $200 and $800 a night for just a few hours of work.

Unfortunately, this job isn’t available in small towns and suburbs. These scooters are mainly  in urban areas and near colleges. 

The process to sign up as a charger: Download the relevant app from iTunes or Google Play, and fill out a short questionnaire. If the company has scooters in your neighborhood, you ask for chargers, which look a bit like iPhone chargers. Bird generally starts by sending three; Lime usually will send four.

The payment for charging each scooter is listed on your app, with hard-to-find scooters paying as much as $20 each to capture and charge. When you find a scooter, you scan it, which takes it off the map for other chargers. Then, take it home and plug it in. 

Unless a scooter is completely out of juice, chargers can’t pick up scooters before certain hours—generally, 9pm. At that point, scooters that need charging will appear on your phone.

Bird will pay within hours of drop-off. (Late drop-offs are not accepted, though. If you’re tardy, you’ll have to keep the scooters another day.) The process is similar with Lime, but it takes up to three days to get paid.

Walk dogs

Rover lets prospective dog-walkers and overnight pet-sitters set their own rates, though it will deduct a hefty commission for use of the site. The site pays within a day of completing a job. 

Competitor Wag, has set rates. But dog walkers who work for both sites say they earn similar amounts on both platforms—typically $12 to $15 for each 30-minute walk, and $20 to $25 for walks that take an hour. 

Animal-sitting with Rover can be more lucrative, since you can watch multiple dogs at once. Dan Simms, for instance, estimates he earns more than $60,000 annually watching up to 10 dogs per night through Rover.

Lawn care

If you have a mower and a few garden tools, you can sign up to be a service provider on Green Pal.

You set your own rate of pay—most charge $30 to $50 per mow—and the site takes a modest 5% commission whenever it matches you with a customer. (You’ll also need to pay a 3% processing fee to get your pay through Stripe.)

You post a profile on the site and then “bid” on jobs as they come up. Once the job is complete, you snap a picture and send it through to the site. GreenPal posts your photo on your profile and starts the billing process.

Customers can immediately release payment, or wait up to 48 hours. You get paid at that point unless the customer has raised some serious objection to your work. 

Handyman services

Got tools and know how to use them? Consider signing up with JiffyOnDemand, a site that allows gardeners and people who can fix things to advertise their services.

Jobs can involve putting together IKEA furniture, unclogging a sink or re-wiring a house. However, if you sign up to do complex trades, you’ll need to have any licenses required by your state or county. 

All rates appear to pay contractors generously—typically between $40 and $85 per hour.

Jiffy has set rates for 17 different jobs. However, all rates appear to pay contractors generously—typically between $40 and $85 per hour. The site charges a 15% commission on worker wages and pays within four days of completing a job.

Food service & hospitality

If you have experience working in restaurants, hotels or warehouses, you can sign up with Shiftgig. The site, which mainly offers work in major cities, helps connect hourly workers with restaurants, hotels and manufacturers that need extra hourly help. Wages range between $10 and $20 per hour.

Shiftgig generally pays within two weeks of an engagement. But it also has a deal with a financial technology company that can allow workers to claim their pay within 24-hours of completing a job.

Babysitting and personal service

Although most child care, elder care and tutoring apps require extensive background checks of potential workers, you can also advertise your availability for these jobs on free neighborhood websites, such as Nextdoor. 

The reason background checks are necessary is because you’re working with vulnerable populations, so the sites would rather be safe than sorry. So, too, would most customers.

However, if you need money quickly and can’t wait for the background check, you can get personal references to speak up for you on Nextdoor, which often will suffice. 

Baby sitting app Bambino, which does require a cursory background and credit check, also gets around the heavy screening by setting up a referal service on Facebook. Sitters and parents sign up there and then share information about child care providers and client parents.

Although other child and elder care sites, as well as tutoring sites, will require applicants to undergo more extensive background checks, these sites still can be worth your while.

Low-maintenance and lucrative, many of these sites offer hourly rates from $25 to $40 and provide work largely at your convenience. Sites to consider for child and elder-care: Urban Sitter,, and RideZum. For tutoring: Wyzant and Varsity Tutors.

Shop and deliver groceries

Saucey, Instacart and Shipt all offer jobs for people willing to shop for and deliver groceries.

Saucey is specifically geared to delivering booze, often a night, to patrons who might have had too much to drink to buy booze themselves.

Instacart and Shipt are more about shopping for and delivering groceries to busy families, who don’t have time to shop themselves.

Both Shipt and Instacart recently struck home-delivery deals with retailing giant Costco, which may both boost demand for their delivery services and payments to side hustlers. Both companies have pay formulas that give shoppers a commission on the products they buy and deliver.

All the sites promise to pay within two weeks. 

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