Participating in the Gig Economy: Part 1 — Driver and Delivery Jobs

5 min readNov 22, 2020


Many people choose to work after retirement, whether to stay busy, be social, stay active, or to make some extra money. The gig economy has many opportunities for older adults looking for post-retirement work.

The gig economy consists of part-time workers, independent contractors, freelance workers, and seasonal employees. Having a job in the gig economy provides flexibility for those who don’t want to be held down by a strict or busy work schedule.

The gig economy began in the 1940s with part-time work during World War II but has expanded substantially due to the rise of technology. As of 2017, freelance workers accounted for more than one-third of the U.S. workforce. By 2027, the proportion is estimated to be over 50%.

Today, older adults alone make up 37 percent of all gig economy workers. Although many workers participate in the gig economy to fill their time, there is also an economic advantage. For workers ages 65 and older, independent contractors had the highest median weekly earnings in 2017, sometimes earning, on average, thirty percent of their pre-retirement income.

If the benefits of working in the gig economy sound attractive, there are many different opportunities to investigate to find the right fit. In this blog, the focus is on driver and delivery jobs. In an upcoming blog, other types of freelance work will be covered.


Uber and Lyft are two fast-growing companies that offer driving jobs to anyone who can meet their requirements. There are 2.5 million Uber drivers and 700,000 Lyft drivers in the United States. The requirements to become an Uber or Lyft driver include:

  • 21 years old or older
  • Valid in-state driver’s license for at least one year
  • Access to a four-door vehicle that is less than ten years old with in-state license plates
  • Up-to-date vehicle registration
  • Car insurance in your name
  • Social security number
  • Pass a driving background check and a general background check.

Uber drivers make $18-$25 an hour on average and keep 100% of the tips earned. Lyft drivers’ median earnings are $18.83 an hour nationally, plus they keep 100% of tips earned. Drivers for both companies can choose their hours by driving any time they want, any time of day. There is no minimum hour requirement to be an Uber or Lyft driver. Still, there is a twelve-hour daily maximum to ensure the safety of the drivers and riders.

Food Delivery

Food delivery apps have also become highly popular since the first app, GrubHub, was created in 2004. Today, there are many food delivery apps, with the four most popular being DoorDash, GrubHub, Uber Eats, and Postmates.

In the U.S, there are about 100,000 DoorDash drivers, 65,000 GrubHub Drivers, 2.5 million Uber Eats drivers (Uber drivers can all drive for Uber Eats), and 13,000 Postmates drivers. The requirements to become a driver for these companies include:

  • 18 years or older
  • Access to an insured vehicle or bicycle
  • Own a smartphone
  • Driver’s license with at least one year of driving experience,
  • Pass a background check
  • Complete an orientation online or in person.

On average, Doordash drivers make $8-$15 an hour, GrubHub drivers earn $12 an hour, Uber Eats drivers make $8-$12 an hour, and Postmates drivers make $8-$15 an hour. Like Uber and Lyft drivers, delivery drivers for these companies keep 100% of the tips earned and can choose their hours, any time of day.

Grocery Shopper and Delivery

Another popular delivery job, especially this year due to COVID-19, is being a grocery shopper and delivery person. Three popular grocery delivery companies include Instacart, Shipt, and AmazonFlex.

Instacart allows the choice of being a shopper or a shopper and delivery person. This lets people work for Instacart even if they don’t have a car or license. Instacart workers can work anytime they want, up to 29 hours each week. To become a shopper for Instacart, the requirements are:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Legal authorization to work in the U.S.
  • Lift 40 lbs without accommodation
  • Regular access to a reliable car and a smartphone
  • Pass a background check.

Instacart shoppers make $13 an hour on average and keep 100% of the tips earned.

Unlike Instacart, Shipt shoppers must also make deliveries. Requirements to become a shopper for Shipt are:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Valid U.S. driver’s license and auto insurance
  • Reliable vehicle (1997 or newer)
  • Knowledge of produce selection
  • Ability to lift 40 pounds
  • iPhone or Android smartphone.

Shipt shoppers make $22 an hour on average and keep 100% of the tips earned. In addition to delivering groceries, AmazonFlex drivers also deliver Amazon packages. AmazonFlex drivers can choose their hours by signing up for a time block (similar to a shift), typically between three and six hours long. Drivers make $18-$25 an hour on average and keep 100% of the tips earned. Their requirements are similar to Instacart and Shipt.

This is Part 1 of our series on Participating in the Gig Economy. Subscribe to the Cantissimo Senior Living blog to stay up to date and learn about different job opportunities in the gig economy!




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