The Side Gig; Where Taxicabs Fit in the New Gigging Economy

Side hustle, temporary work, or a side gig; things that people are doing as a part-time, sometimes temporary work in order to bring in a little extra cash. People are signing up under apps to complete home repair, help people move, babysit, sell or rent clothes or even rent out your own house. You name it, and there’s probably an app for it. Many times you don’t have to have any special skills, be certified in anything, or have proper insurance to do the tasks people are looking for. You’re just connected with someone on an app who’s willing to do the work. Sometimes, often times, things work out great. People are paying less for the services they want, and getting results they are pleased with. But there is another side of side gigs that can be a little frightening.
So you want to move, you call a few movers in your area, get quotes, and discover quickly, moving isn’t cheap. So you go to one of the many apps available for movers. The price is right so you sign up. The movers arrive, as expected, your stuff is loaded and off they go. But what happens if there’s an accident? Will the damage to your belongings be covered by the person who got three friends together and rented a truck? Who’s responsible?
You decide you live in a nice area, near a big city, and you want to rent your house or a room out on one of the rental sites. You sign up, take pictures, and post your rental on a popular app where hundreds, maybe thousands of people see your home. You find a renter, pack your stuff, stow your valuables, and off you go, fully trusting that you’ve rented through the app to good people and everything will be fine. So what happens if there’s an accident? One of the people you’ve rented to falls while walking down your stairs. Who’s responsible?
Lastly, you go out with friends, grab a few drinks and, responsibly, decide to not drive home. You go to your phone and download an app to get yourself what you believe to be a safe ride. You scroll quickly through the terms of use and agreements, blindly accepting the terms and handing over your credit card information. Ten minutes later a car arrives to take you home. So what happens if there is an accident? Your driver goes to look at his phone and rear-ends another car. You’re hurt and will need medical care. Who’s responsible?
Unfortunately, this is something that a few side gig users have had to face; trying to determine liability in the event that something goes wrong. Without the proper insurance, licenses, and credentials, many times either the person completing the work, or the person using the services are often left footing the bill. Your cheap mover has wrecked the truck and all your boxes and furniture are now on the side of the road. He has no insurance to cover this; he’s just a guy who rented a truck. Who do you go after, the app, or the individual. Your renters are now suing you for their medical bills. Your homeowners insurance is denying coverage because you are legally now an innkeeper, and therefore needed a commercial policy. Your rideshare driver had only a personal policy, and his insurance is refusing to pay because he was involved in commercial enterprise during the accident. Do you remember what you agreed to when you scrolled through the terms and conditions? In many cases the apps, developers and companies controlling them, have done their research, and have hired legal teams to completely wash their hands of any responsibility. Now you’re stuck.
This is why it is so important to be completely aware of what you may be getting yourself into. Terms and conditions are tricky ways that many of these companies exonerate themselves of all liability. A guy with a car can sign up and drive you around. You don’t know his background. You don’t know if he has insurance. You just know he showed up with a decal in his window and looked similar to the person in the picture, on your phone, of who your driver should be. It’s a system that easily has the capability to put you in harm’s way.
So what do you do to protect yourself? This is where taxicabs and other reputable companies fit into the gig economy. We’re still here! We have been doing the same business as these side giggers for years, decades, centuries, even! Many times our insurance is monitored by state agencies to make sure we’re complying with all laws. In fact, many counties, cities and states have laws designed especially for us to follow to protect you from harm. We are even still hiring! If you need a side gig that won’t ruin you financially, you need to come see us. Many cab companies will even supply you with a fully equipped and insured cab to drive so you aren’t destroying your own, personal vehicle. Movers are hiring as well, if you like lugging boxes, and lifting heavy stuff, it’s right up your alley. They also have their own trucks, so you don’t have to rent one! The side gig economy can be full of pitfalls, why open yourself liability?