App Services Workers


Exploring this Job

Talk to app services workers about their careers. For example, if you want to become a rideshare driver, talk to Uber and Lyft drivers about their work. Ask them these and other questions to get a better understanding of work responsibilities, employer expectations, pay, and daily life as a driver:

  • How did you break into the field?
  • What’s a typical day like on the job?
  • What do you like and dislike about being a rideshare driver?
  • Do you feel that you are fairly compensated for the amount of work that you do?
  • What advice would you give to aspiring rideshare drivers?

Watch videos and read books about the gig economy to understand the pros and cons of the field and the career paths that are available.

The Job

Despite having a wide range of job duties, app service workers share several attributes. They work as contractors for companies anywhere from a few hours to 30 or more hours a week. They typically have a lot of flexibility regarding how they arrange their work schedules. And they can choose work assignments based on their own preferences.

An app service worker typically signs up to work as a contractor for a company such as Uber, Instacart, or TaskRabbit. They first create a profile on the company’s worker interface and download its contractor software. Once approved to be a contractor, they begin receiving orders from potential customers and decide if the requested goods or services, the requested delivery timeframe or service completion time, the compensation offered, and the customer’s geographic location are a good fit for them. For example, an Instacart full-service driver (as they are known) will review several potential orders from customers on the Instacart Shopper app—for example, a 10-item order from a customer who lives 10 miles away or a 75-item order from one who lives within three miles of their home. The ASW may choose to fulfill the large order from the customer who lives nearby in order to guarantee a larger fee and reduce delivery time—freeing them up for more orders. The Instacart driver then accepts the order request, travels to the grocery store to quickly fulfill the order (staying in contact with the customer via the app should certain items not be available), and then delivers it to the customer. Then they re-start the process with a new customer. Most drivers have developed strategies to reduce work time and increase their profits. For example, they may shop for several orders at once to save time. Some ASWs don’t bag produce before they put it into their shopping car because the bagging process takes valuable time. Others don’t accept deliveries in areas where traffic is constantly bottlenecked or go to grocery stores that are understaffed and that often have long lines.

Other app delivery drivers deliver alcohol, plants, propane, and almost anything else that people might need on short notice and are unwilling to procure for themselves at a store.

Here are few other common types of app services workers.

Rideshare drivers are employed by Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies. They transport customers from one location to another. Some rideshare companies provide other services to customers. For example, Uber offers take-out food delivery via its Uber Eats platform and large-scale shipping via its Uber Freight platform.

Handymen (and women) perform basic household tasks and repairs. They assemble furniture, hang paintings, install electrical outlets, move household goods, and perform basic carpentry and plumbing work.

Other app service workers include errand runners, virtual assistants, dog walkers, pet sitters, baby proofers, home organizers, and landscapers, among many other specialties.