These side jobs are becoming more available as the pandemic goes on

Dollar bills
There’s extra demand during the holiday season for delivery and warehouse workers, and some jobs that dwindled at the start of the pandemic are coming back.
(John Lund / Getty Images)

When the pandemic struck, some side hustles fell by the wayside. You’d be hard-pressed to find a mystery shopping, tour guide or restaurant job at the height of the stay-at-home orders, for instance. However, several industries are now picking up steam.

Some are back from the dead, while others are simply ramping up to new highs for the holidays.

Job areas that are revving up

Delivery: Delivery services surged when stay-at-home orders led many Americans to have groceries and meals sent to their homes. A recent uptick in coronavirus cases, coupled with the traditionally busy holiday season, is turning delivery into the hottest side hustle of the 2020 holiday season.


“Delivery jobs are through the roof because of the shift to e-commerce,” says Aaron Hageman, chief executive of Delivery Drivers Inc., a contractor management service for delivery platforms. “COVID was an accelerant, and the holiday dynamic adds to that trend.”

Of the 10 types of job postings on LinkedIn that have increased the most, according to the site, two are in the delivery space. Demand for “delivery specialists” soared 72% during September. And that was before Amazon — parent of delivery giant Amazon Flex — announced plans to hire 100,000 more workers.

Some delivery platforms where you may be able to find work: Grubhub and DoorDash for food, as well as package services Amazon Flex, Roadie, CitizenShipper and UShip.

Grocery shopping and delivery services Instacart, Shipt and Dumpling also are worth a look.

Warehouse: Extraordinary demand from shoppers in the early days of the pandemic sent warehouses into overdrive to help beleaguered grocery chains keep food, bleach and paper products on the shelves.

Many of these warehouses turned to freelance platforms to find the staff they needed. The holiday season pushes this already high demand into the stratosphere.


“First we saw a big boost from essential businesses such as meal-kit and food-production companies, and now we’re seeing a ton of growth with e-commerce and retail businesses trying to meet unprecedented demand,” said Monica Plaza, vice president of strategy for Wonolo, a warehouse and retail staffing platform.

Demand for warehouse workers is likely to soar 475% this holiday season, according to Wonolo’s in-house research.

Good sites to find a warehouse job include Wonolo, Shiftgig, Bluecrew and Snagajob.

Job areas that are reviving

Mystery shopping: Mystery shopping jobs, in which freelancers pose as customers to test customer service and product offerings, were a casualty of the shutdown. After all, few stores and restaurants were open at first. These jobs are now starting to come back.

Mystery shopping jobs don’t pay particularly well — usually $10 to $25 per assignment — but a number are offering “bonus” pay to get mystery shoppers back into the stores. The best places to sign up for these positions are with BestMark and Secret Shopper.

Retail: While in-person retail traffic remains light, the holiday season always spurs seasonal hiring. Target, Kohl’s and Walmart, among others, are advertising for seasonal sales associates. So too are specialty retail, electronics and game stores.


Because demand is far lower this year, don’t expect to earn much more than minimum wage. Still, even seasonal employees usually qualify for employee discounts, so it’s smart to apply for holiday work at a retailer where you like to shop.

Dog sitting: The COVID-19 pandemic slammed travel plans for most Americans.

However, most say their plans were postponed, not canceled, according to Ally Bank. The bank says roughly 60% of its customers have segregated funds for future travel. That’s good not only for furloughed hotel and airline workers but also for dog sitters, who have been largely idled by people staying home.

If you’re interested in pet-sitting work, the best site to sign up with is Rover.

Kristof is the editor of, an independent site that reviews hundreds of money-making opportunities in the gig economy.