I Made Money by Going to Church. Here’s How.

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I’ll admit I’ve done a lot of strange things for money at various points in my young adult life. Yet I don’t think anything has prompted a more polarizing response than when I tell people that I got paid to go to church.

How did this happen, you might ask? With a research company called Faith Perceptions. What this company does is work with churches that want to evaluate the experiences of first-time visitors.

They send contractors out to the churches on assignment who attend a Sunday morning service, observe specific things such as if they were greeted properly and if the parking lot was easily accessible, and then fill out questionnaires afterwords about their experience. Thus, it is very similar in concept to what mystery shoppers do with for-profit businesses.

Each assignment typically earns the mystery shopper… er … church evaluator (?) about $45, although at the time I did it they had assignments that would pay slightly more if you went to college group meetings and special events in addition to the Sunday service (paying somewhere near $75 total).

The churches with available assignments were primarily in the Midwestern United States and almost entirely United Methodist congregations, for some reason. It did feel a little odd essentially having to lie about why I was visiting the church I was assigned to when talking to the different church-goers.

It also felt odd having to look with a critical eye for things that I knew were on the questionnaire, such as “was the pastor’s sermon clear in its message and communication style?” and “was it easy to tell where the nursery was located?”

The people they typically look for are individuals that believe in God, but don’t have a church home. Essentially the demographic a would-be congregation would be trying to reach.

Despite the peculiarity of the job, it isn’t a bad experience overall. Keep in mind that you are helping churches do something they themselves hired Faith Perceptions to do. If you enjoy going to church and are also looking for money, I suppose I’d recommend it and wouldn’t judge you for it. But what if you are solely doing this to make money rather than attend a church service, you might ask?

I’ll leave that one for a Higher Power.

You can check out the Faith Perceptions website or apply to become a “mystery guest” here

If you enjoyed this post, make sure to follow this blog for more updates on frugal living, as well as stay updated on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!

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Working as a GrubHub Driver- What’s it’s Like

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For my YouTube video on this topic, click here!

I’ve worked as  GrubHub Delivery Driver and thought I would share my experiences for those that are interested in applying for this job and want to know what’s it’s like. Hopefully you’ll find this helpful!

What is GrubHub?

GrubHub has been around a long time (since the late 90’s, which is ancient in internet years) and was originally a “hub” where restaurants could post their menus for online takeout ordering. As they have expanded and evolved over the years, this now includes GrubHub’s own delivery service that operates through an app.

GrubHub is able to provide drivers to restaurants that may or may not offer delivery on their own. Essentially restaurants are outsourcing their delivery to a third party. Not every restaurant is available for customers to order from (in contrast to Postmates) so as a driver you will only be delivering to restaurants that have contracted with GrubHub.

How Scheduling Works

You can pick your own schedule. It is totally up to you if you want to work 80 hours or 0 hours a week and you will not be penalized either way. You sign up for mini shifts (called “blocks”) that range from anywhere from 2-6 hours. They release all of the blocks at the start of the week and they are on a first come, first serve basis. So if you want to work you’ve got to snatch them up fast!

Unlike Uber, you cannot just get in your car and work anytime you feel like it. You do have to stick with the blocks you signed up for.  If you work during a time that you aren’t scheduled for you won’t get paid- so don’t do that!!

The Training/Requirements/Sign-on Process

The “interview” process was very easy- there wasn’t one! Basically as long as you pass the background check and have a good driving record (and there’s spots available) you can become a driver. With Uber and other similar services you have to have a recent (5-10 years old) car, but with Uber you do not. Thus, as long as you have a vehicle with four wheels that runs you are probably good.

Training varies depending on your city. Some places have regional offices where you do the training, but mine did not so I had to train through an online webcast thingy. Once you start working all communication with GrubHub occurs though their phone line or by email, which takes some getting used to. You have no direct manager so you get the benefit of not having someone looking over your shoulder. Yet you are also kind of in this thing without direct assistance so it has it’s pros and cons.

What Your Blocks are Like

You are assigned a specific geographic region and you HAVE to be in that region to get offers and get paid. You have to download an app on their website. If you have an iPhone there’s a GrubHub Driver app in the app store but this is NOT the current app so don’t download it, use the link they have in the emails they send you.

Once you are on your first block, you go to your region and sign in to the app. Your phone will ding whenever there’s an offer available. You’ll see the address on your phone of the restaurant, then you pick up the food and take it to the customer. If you are signed up for a block you work rain or shine, so remember that when signing up.

The Pay!!

Okay so you’re thinking blah blah blah get on with it, how much did you actually make!? I wanna make it rain! You will not get rich from GrubHub but can make SOME money. Here’s how the pay structure works- for every order you get a base amount (in my region it’s $3, but in larger cities like NYC or LA it will be higher), then they reimburse you for mileage (which is based on a straight line distance from the restaurant to the customer only, they don’t count driving to the restaurant itself), plus the tip.

So for example, if I got an order from a restaurant I would first get $3 automatically for delivering the food, the measly amount they give for mileage (let’s say I get $1.50), and then I get a tip for $3.50 I would have $8 total for the order. Usually I would get about 1-2 orders per hour.

So let’s say I was working a three hour block in the evening, and the first two hours I picked up three orders for a total of $27, but the last hour is dead and I get no orders the final hour as I sit in my car pondering existential life questions (it happens). Technically I would make $27 from the orders, but GH guarantees an hourly minimum (varies by region but can be 10-14/hr), so then GB would bump it up to at least $30 for the three hours.

Here’s where it gets tricky- you can decline an order that pings in on your phone. So if it’s too far of a drive you can decide against it, but if you don’t accept 75% of the orders you are NOT guaranteed the minimum pay.

Take not that you are an independent contractor so you don’t get benefits. Plus you have to provide your own car insurance. They don’t pay any extra car expenses.

Conclusion

One final note- some cities have GH deliverers who walk or bike so that’s an option, too. Working with GrubHub can be a good way to pick up some extra money so it’s definitely something to consider if it’s hiring in your area!

If you liked this blog post, make sure to check out my YouTube channel for more tips on frugal living and follow me on Twitter and Pinterest for additional updates.

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Jobs Like Uber: 15 Alternatives for Freelance Work

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For my YouTube video on this topic, click here!

We’ve all heard of Uber and many have been attracted to the flexibility that it’s “work anytime” policy offers. It turns out, though, that this is FAR from the only option if you are looking to pick up some extra money with freelance work. Here are 15 Uber alternatives that you can find work from!

Make sure to check the websites for availability in your area. The companies may not operate services in your city. 

GrubHub Delivery

Think of the delivery service that GrubHub offers as kind of like “Uber for food.” Customers order food through the GrubHub app, a delivery driver is alerted from their own GrubHub Delivery app and the driver brings the food from the restaurant to the customer. This is something that I’ve had personal experience with and I would in general recommend it. It does differ from Uber in that you have to sign up for specific shifts and it doesn’t allow you to begin working at a whim’s notice (unless someone decides to suddenly drop a shift).

Apply here 

Check out my YouTube video on becoming a GrubHub driver

Wingz

Wingz is an app that is very much like Uber, except that it originally focused primarily on rides to and from airports. It has since expanded to offer pre-scheduled rides from anywhere, while still focusing on airports and special events (like sporting events or concerts).

Apply here

Turo

Turo is a service that lets you rent out your car for others to drive. So if you have an old roadster that’s collecting dust, this a good way to make some extra money off of it. According to their website, they offer a $1 million dollar insurance policy on vehicles that are used through the service that’s covered with the customer’s fees (although you can use your own insurance if you like and get more money from each transaction). Depending on the value of your car, you could literally make thousands of dollars a month from this-so it’s worth checking out!

List your car here

Wimdu

This services is a little like Airbnb, except that it focuses on city apartments. So if you have an urban dwelling you are willing to rent out to others while you’re away, this could be a good option for you!

List your apartment here

Roost

Roost is an app that lets you rent out storage space to others. This can include attics, basements, warehouses, sheds, or any other facility, whether indoors or outdoors. When you have extra storage space that isn’t being used this could be a helpful way to make some extra money.

List your space here

Instacart

This is a grocery delivery service that is currently operating in numerous metro areas throughout the United States. They partner with different grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, and some stores have dedicated Instacart check-out lanes. What’s nice about this service is that you can work either as a part-time employee or an independent contractor, with or without a car. If you have a car you can work as a driver, while if you don’t have a car or don’t wish to drive, you can work solely as a shopper who prepares orders for customers in a particular store. So overall it can be very flexible depending on your needs.

Apply here

Postmates

Postmates is similar to GrubHub in that it focuses on food delivery, but it is much more versatile in terms of the job responsibilities.  Whereas GrubHub only delivers from restaurants that partner with their company, Postmates allows delivery from ANYWHERE the customer requests. Additionally, they can also request errands where you might be picking up products from a store or even picking up a customer’s dry cleaning. Their website claims you can make up to $25/hr. so it could be a good way to pick up some extra money.

Become a Postmate

Amazon Flex

With Amazon Flex, you can turn your vehicle into a package delivery mobile by delivering for Amazon. It is currently operating in more than 30 cities, with more coming down the pipeline eventually. Delivery drivers for Amazon use their own vehicle, set their own hours, and will deliver both same day orders from Amazon Now as well as regular package deliveries in place of Fedex or UPS.

Apply here

Dolly 

Dolly operates as a moving service that is app-based. So if you are in the mood for some heavy lifting, this will be good for you! You can work as either a “Helper,” or someone with a truck or cargo van they’ll drive in addition to moving, or a “Hand,” which is someone who assists with moving but doesn’t provide their own vehicle. Both Helpers and Hands need to be able to lift up to 75 pounds, so if you aren’t keen on physical labor you might need to look elsewhere.

Apply here

HelloTech (merged with Geekatoo)

Are you a tech geek? Then this might be the job for you. HelloTech is an on-demand tech support service that provides technical assistance to both individuals and businesses. They offer a broad range of services for everything from computer support, TV mounting and installation, assistance with wireless networks, and helping people use their smartphones.

Apply here

Freelancer and UpWork

These services are very similar so I’ve included them together. They are websites that post a directory of companies seeking help with projects that freelance workers can apply to. If you have skills ranging from data entry, graphic design, digital marketing to accounting this could be a good place to look for some extra work. After setting up an account with them, you can apply for whichever jobs you like and the companies will make their own hiring decisions. If you are looking to make some extra money, it wouldn’t hurt to set up accounts on both websites!

Freelancer website

UpWork website

LawnLove

We all trimmed a neighbor’s lawn or two as teenagers to earn some extra money, so why not try it again? With this service you can offer lawn services from mowing, weed-eating, to snow removal. You MUST provide your own equipment and truck, so take note of this. Once you’ve applied and been approved you can pick whatever jobs you like and set your own hours.

Apply here

Thumbtack

Whether you are a cake decorator, personal trainer, housecleaner, or repairman (or woman!), Thumbtack offers a website and app that can connect you with people interested in hiring you for freelance work. Notable for its wide-ranging versatility, this service can be great for almost anyone.

Apply here

Eatwith

Cooking professionals can offer their own, unique dining experience right in their home with this service. The hiring process is a little more rigorous than other services- you must first offer up your own demo event for fellow Eatwithers as an audition (sounds a bit like Iron Chef!). If they decide to hire you, you will go through a chef training program before finally being able to host Eatwith events where you can make up to $700 per event (all on your own schedule!).

Apply here

If you liked this blog post, please make sure to check out my YouTube channel and follow The Thrifty Man on Twitter for more tips on frugal living!

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