Rise of on-demand services, such as Uber, Lyft, brings lifestyle changes

Jan Ross Piedad

The nine-to-five grind isn’t the most attractive factor when it comes to today’s ideal work schedule. With the popularity of digital networking, some people are really making things mobile.  

Whether it’s Uber, Lyft or Favor, on-demand services are an increasingly popular way to make money. This is possible because of the simple similarities between services: the use of a smartphone app facilitating direction, description and payment, plus a personal touch. Favor runners, as well as Uber and Lyft drivers, often say the job not only helps them be more knowledgeable about their geographical area, but is also a great networking opportunity.

Alexander Pollard recalls saving up for his vehicle while planning to enter the ride-sharing arena. A recent UT graduate, Pollard is now able to concentrate on his start-up, a craft brewery business, while working as a dedicated Uber driver. Conversation with passengers helps him and other entrepreneurs get the word out about exciting ventures, while those new to the city have someone to ask about the “good places” in town. 

For those on the road and on-the-go, it’s also about flexibility. Being able to work not only when you want, but how you want is a big draw. Along with “work-life balance,” “having interesting work,” and other factors, 65 percent of university students reported having “flexibility in work hours” as a priority in desired job attributes, according to Net Impact’s Talent Report. But this movement isn’t limited to millennials. Sixty-one percent of working adults also see the merit of more adjustable hours. It’s even common for those who have part-time jobs to set aside time for on-demand services and supplement their income. I’ve met some drivers living in nearby cities of Round Rock and San Marcos who come into town solely because on-demand services are so active in Austin. For these folks, driving is called “working,” with a weekly pattern that works for specifically them. 

 A Future Workplace survey projects that millennials will work 15 to 20 jobs in their lifetime, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they achieved more. The rise in on-demand services marks a change in not only how society sees service, but how we construct the creation of livelihood. With transportation networking companies now legalized in Austin, a city of such innovative citizens can grow to embrace a different lifestyle in order to make ends meet.

Piedad is a journalism junior from San Antonio.