Both "employment" opportunities allow you to partner up with restaurants to deliver their food and get paid a fee per delivery plus keep the tip (if any). In case of Uber, I've seen people ride bicycles in inclement weather to deliver McDonald's burgers to some lazy asses who think cheap burgers are delivery-worthy (what a waste of money and health lol). On the other hand, friends of friends who live in suburbs deliver for Skip the Dishes by car and spend a helluva long time driving; you know, because suburbs are stretched out to no end.
I mean, how crazy is this?! There's no job security (don't tell me that's the new normal because this kind of new normal can topple a government), people who tried it report on Indeed job review boards that you make less than minimum wage even before you factor in for gas and oil change, Uber condones bicycle delivery in Toronto which is not really a bike-friendly city, and so on. I mean, if there's ever been a loophole that allows companies to offer the worst possible, most precarious jobs for less than minimum wage, gig economy is it! The government shouldn't turn a blind eye to it either. The solution for a slowing economy and 19-30 age range unemployment and underemployment cannot be found in condoning precarious gigs. It will solve nothing in the long run; it's barely solving anything now.
What are the alternatives? Hmm, there are more than a few, which makes me think that sometimes you simply need not reinvent the wheel. Seasonal part-time jobs with major retailers have always been the go-to solution and I still think it's a good one. The employers just need to realize that people often need a full-time job and a side job, and not discriminate against people just because they have something else going on job-wise. Also, if you're reasonably healthy and fit, there's a variety of temp jobs in manufacturing, packaging and shipping and receiving including evening and night shifts, weekends only and so on. Most of these are handled through staffing agencies and offer you better guarantees and conditions than most gig economy jobs. Some people think these jobs are below them, but really do you think you're better off cycling burgers in a weird cube shaped backpack, or depreciating your car's value for less than minimum wage? Think about it (especially if you know someone who needs side job advice). Now, if you know you'll need a side job long-term and want to be your own boss, develop something you can sell either locally or online; this isn't a surefire option and you'll spend money before you make any, but if you're not in a rush and just planning for the future, this would be a way to go. Simply put, there's nothing new about these options, but all of them are better than gig economy offerings in more ways than one.
Gig economy is here and trying to stay, but I hope it doesn't. There are other, more traditional solutions for those seeking extra cash that are better, safer and more stable than what the gig economy offers. It just goes to show you that just because something is new, it doesn't mean it's better! :)