I used to think when someone told me they were an independent contractor it was just a fancy way of saying, I’m unemployed. But now I believe that independent contractor jobs are the future of work. Whether it’s delivering for Amazon Flex, Forkable, Instacart or driving for Uber or Lyft, it is my opinion that any type of work that can be sourced out, will be sourced out.
And it’s not just going to be driving gigs. I see a day coming when most companies realize that a lot of the work they need accomplished can easily be done on a contract basis. Just like the companies listed above, all they really need to do is find a qualified group of individuals. Research the work that is needed, the amount of time it could take, and come up with a competitive wage. Put the wage out to the group of qualified individuals who then get to decide if the work + time = worth it. If so, they accept. If not, they don’t.
Factors that will need to be taken into consideration when deciding to work solely as an independent contractor are many. First and foremost there’s consistency. Can you get enough work on a regular basis to support yourself or family? Next, are the personal expenses that come out of your pocket that need to be taken into consideration. Then there’s the type of work and it’s duration. And lastly, and most importantly, does it make you happy?
So starting with the last one first, I’m not going to sit here and say that Amazon Flex makes me completely happy, but I will say that this type of position has given me the freedom to pursue other goals that make me happy. So in a sense it’s made me happier. I have also met many other people in the same boat. One girl was able to enroll in nursing school because she could make similar pay and work fewer hours than her 9 to 5. Amazon Flex also allowed a guy I know to transfer his delivery zone to another city so he could to move closer to family and not worry about finding a job once he got there!
As far as the type of work and duration, I still believe that the amount of money made per hour for simply refreshing an app is well worth it. Remember, I believe that the true job is getting the shift!
The personal expenses are tricky and are definitely a case by case basis. This all depends on the cost of gas in your area as well as what type of car you drive. You definitely should keep a log of expenses either electronically or in a notebook to figure out an average cost to you per mile driven. And save your gas receipts. All of this will come in handy at tax time. There are a few apps out there that will track mileage for you to make a lot of this very easy. Some have monthly subscription rates, some are free. I personally use the old fashioned way to track miles. In my experience, having a tracking app run in the background, along with the Amazon Flex app and the Voyager app was just too much for my phone’s battery life.
And finally consistency. This one is tough because consistency to most would mean the receipt of scheduled shifts, which in this case just doesn’t happen often. This is where your mindset is going to play a roll. Are you willing to do what it takes to pick up shifts? Can you make it on time and focus on a great work ethic? Can you roll with the punches?
And so it comes down to the most brilliant part of independent contracting: YOU. And who better to have controlling your fate in the future of work? Or would you rather someone else tell you who, when, why, what and how much? Nah…