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Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2018 @ 3:34 AM
Let’s face it: A 9 to 5 is not for everyone, and that’s OK. Advances in technology and the way work gets done means that, today, the sharing economy is a viable means of making a living for untold numbers of Americans.
One thing that means is that if you have a vehicle — whether it’s paid off or not — you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to being able to generate a considerable amount of income.
Much has been made about the most well-known ridesharing services, Uber and Lyft, and how they allow drivers to get paid for ferrying people around town. But the truth is that many of those drivers are making less than minimum wage or even losing money after expenses, according to a recent MIT paper.
But take heart, there are more profitable ways to earn income behind the wheel. Here are several that you could consider, if they’re available in your area:
Unlike Uber and Lyft, DoorDash doesn’t care about the condition of your car, as long as you have a license, insurance and a clean driving record. DoorDash does offer supplemental insurance “up to $1,000,000 in bodily injury and/or property damage to third parties” if the crash occurs while on a “Dash” (delivery).
DoorDash gets food to people wherever they are, whether it’s at a picnic, a family reunion, their home or place of business. You’ll have to pass a background check, which is initiated during the application process on the site.
What about the pay? The company advertises that you can “Get your first check this week.” According to the site, you get paid on a weekly basis for all deliveries completed between Monday to Sunday of the previous week (ending Sunday at midnight PST). Direct deposits usually take a few days, so expect to see the fruit of your labor on Wednesday nights, the service says in the website’s FAQ section.
For “DoorDash Orders,” delivery pay is calculated as $1 + 100% of tip + pay boost. The pay boost amount will vary based on order complexity, distance and other factors. For “Driver Orders,” it’s $5 per delivery and 100% of tip paid to DoorDash by the customer or merchant. Click here to their Dasher Pay Model FAQ.
Caviar couriers can earn up to $25 an hour driving or riding their bike and delivering food to their neighbors. Through its app, you can tell Caviar when you’re available to work and orders will appear on your smartphone. From there, all you have to do is choose to accept or not.
What about the pay? “Money is deposited directly to your bank account each week,” the service says on its website.
Like DoorDash, Roadie doesn’t care how old or what condition your car is in, as long as you can get from point A to point B. The site matches people who need items delivered with drivers already headed in that direction. To join as a driver, you just sign up, create a “Gigs Alert,” make offers and wait for them to be accepted. Two of the perks include discounted roadside assistance and free Waffle House!
What about the pay? Roadies get paid via direct deposit. “Each direct payment should appear in your designated bank account within 4 – 6 business days of Gig completion,” it says on the site.
One of the largest service economy food-delivery platforms, Grubhub promises its drivers competitive pay and a flexible schedule. One benefit of driving for Grubhub is that the network is so vast, you can stay quite busy if you want to.
What about the pay? Many areas have guaranteed hourly minimums, so once you sign up, the company wants you to refer to your individual “Grubhub Payment Terms” to find out what your local rate will be. As for the formula, it says on Grubhub’s support website that “You will be paid per order + 0.50 cents per mile from the restaurant to the customer + 100% of your tips.” On online forums, many drivers said they made around $10 an hour.
Part of the Grubhub network, Seamless lets people order food for delivery or takeout from their favorite local restaurant. This means you get to drive for Seamless and Grubhub, giving you the opportunity to earn more money. Seamless has the cooler slogan, though, which includes the line, “No menus, no phone calls, no repeating yourself.”
What about the pay? It’s the same as Grubhub.
Wrapify will pay you for advertising a particular company by covering your vehicle’s exterior in a branded wrap. Clients get to select daily mileage caps but the drivers get to approve campaigns before going forward. Drivers get paid by the mile along with a visibility formula that includes time of day and areas of heavy traffic.
What about the pay? For a full wrap, you can make between $264 and $452 a month, according to Wrapify’s website. For a partial wrap, the earnings are $196 – $280 a month. And for just a panel, you can make around $84 – $140 every 30 days. Carvertise is a similar service, but they usually pay only about $100 a month.
Amazon Flex is the program Amazon uses, outside of its courier staff, for regular people to deliver packages to customers. Promoted as a “be your own boss” type of gig, Amazon Flex offers people who don’t want to deal face-to-face with customers an easy way to make money. The flip side of that is that you have to be Johnny on the Spot at those fulfillment centers.
What about the pay? Amazon says that drivers can make $18 to $25 an hour, but you’d better not be late with those deliveries: The company’s one-to-two-hour Prime Now promise is at stake.
One of the most popular grocery-delivery services, Shipt was bought by Target late last year. If you sign up to drive for Shipt you’re also more or less a shopper as well. That means you’ll be responsible for orders as small as a stick of butter and as large as a whole shopping cart full of groceries.
What about the pay? Shipt says that most of its shoppers earn between $15 and $25 per hour, but that depends on the size of the orders, your ability to shop quickly and the distance you have to drive to complete the delivery. For an in-depth look at the service, See our 5 things to know about Shipt story.
Instacart promises some deliveries in as little as one hour. Once catering to a more exclusive crowd (Whole Foods), Instacart in recent years has expanded to major retailers such as Kroger, Food Lion and the like. The Instacart app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices (sorry, Android users).
What about the pay? Shoppers’ wages are based on a per-item commission as well as per-order — and they vary depending on what city you’re in. Some make more, some make less. This woman makes $17 an hour shopping.
If you happen to have a large vehicle like a van, truck or semi, you can make some decent money by becoming a carrier with uShip , a shipping marketplace that helps you bid on customers’ shipments. You might surprised how many people need help hauling large items on a recurring basis — and cross-country. The site charges a fee for drivers, but that is typically built into your bid price.
What about the pay? It depends on what you bid. Like most of the other apps, there’s no hand-to-hand payment. The customer pays the entire shipping cost at booking and releases it to the carrier at the time of delivery. Drivers get paid via payment code, available within their booking confirmation email.
Getting paid for driving your car looks like it’s here to stay. The more sophisticated the sharing economy grows, the more prevalent services like these will become. And that’s a good thing for people who want to have more flexibility in their lives and earn some cash at the same time.
Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 6:13 PM
— ‘Tis the season for taxpayers to get a nice chunk of change back from the IRS.
It’s tempting to spend it all, but financial experts say there are steps you should take to shore up your financial future.
Some who usually pay off debt will splurge this year.
“I’m going to Japan in April so I’m actually going to add that to my travel fund, so I’m really excited about it,” said Olivia Morris from Centerville.
Those who used to spend their return?
“I just plan to save it. We are about to start a family, so I plan on saving it for the baby,” said Toska Ivory of Dayton.
It’s important to have a plan for tax return funds or any financial windfall, said Lisa Roberts, Graceworks certified housing and credit counselor.
Pay urgent bills first then save.
“If it’s something that is urgent -- a bill that’s going to be a roof over your head, utilities, pay them,” said Roberts, “after that you definitely want to put it into savings.”
WalletHub has these additional tax refund spending recommendations:
As for splurging?
Published: Thursday, January 04, 2018 @ 11:05 AM
— Many companies have announced they will provide first quarter cash bonuses to employees following last month’s passage of the tax reform bill.
» RELATED: What to expect from the new tax legislation
While some may see this as money to spend immediately, PNC offered five things to think about for how to use the funds:
FIVE FAST BUSINESS READS
Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 9:12 AM
— With the recent tax changes, the usual end-of-year assortment of tax moves is likely more complicated in 2017.
These changes affect everyone from single mothers to millionaires to most sports fans who buy event tickets.
“I’d love to tell you that everyone has a handle on this,” said Mark Bradstreet, founder of the Bradstreet & Co. Inc. accounting firm, which has offices in Centerville and Xenia. “I’m not sure anyone does. I would be suspicious if someone said they did.”
Prominent among the changes: The 1,000-page legislation recently passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump caps at $10,000 the amount of state and municipal taxes that taxpayers can deduct from their federal tax bill.
Some filers — those with high property tax bills who aren’t using the standard deduction — are scrambling to pre-pay property taxes for the coming year before the cap takes effect, according to national reports. In 2017, that deduction has no ceiling.
While the new tax bill lets local municipalities decide whether to allow taxpayers to pre-pay property taxes, it blocked filers from pre-paying local sales and income taxes.
Bradstreet said it’s OK to pre-pay real estate taxes for most taxpayers. Montgomery, Greene and Warren counties will allow filers to pay property taxes early, he said.
“They’re all more than happy to take your money,” he quipped.
If you fall under the alternative minimum tax (AMT) — and if you don’t itemize your deductions — paying property property taxes early won’t help, Bradstreet said.
“For most people, though, it’s ‘no harm, no foul’ pre-paying it this year,” he said.
But an IRS announcement was triggering more confusion early Thursday.
In a notice, the IRS said pre-paying property taxes may work, but only under certain conditions. Real estate taxes may be paid in 2017, but the taxes must also be assessed in 2017.
William Duncan, a certified public accountant with Dayton firm Thorn, Lewis & Duncan, said taxpayers should check with accountants to see if they will fall under the AMT in 2017.
Duncan called the tax changes “wild.” With newly lowered tax brackets and higher standard deductions, he said he has clients with seven-figure incomes who will opt to take the standard deduction this year instead of itemizing.
That’s the first time in his career he has seen that, Duncan said.
The standard deduction for married individuals filing jointly is $24,000, noted John Venturella, a Dayton shareholder with Clark Schaefer Hackett.
“I think you are just going to see a lot of people using the standard deduction,” Venturella said.
The new law introduces some wrinkles for University of Dayton Flyers or other college and professional sports fans, too.
If you buy University of Dayton basketball tickets in the lower arena and pay for a seat license, current law lets you deduct 80 percent of that as a charitable deduction. That benefit is going away in 2018, Duncan said.
The university is inviting ticket-holders to pre-pay for seat licenses in 2017, Duncan said, which Adam Tschuor, associate athletics director for revenue and partnerships at UD, confirmed.
“It may be to your advantage to pay for next season’s ASP (Arena Seating Program) donation or beyond before Jan. 1, 2018,” the university said in a letter sent to ticket-holders just last week. “These payments would still be tax deductible under existing tax law.”
Tschuor said the university has always allowed fans to prepay their “ASP donation in all the way up to the conclusion of the announced ASP cycle.”
Another change: Your tickets for UD, Wright State, Ohio State or Cincinnati Reds or Bengals games will no longer be tax-deductible as a business entertainment expense.
“If you’re a businessperson and you want to take clients to the UD game next year, you’re not going to be allowed to take a tax deduction for the entertainment value of those tickets,” Duncan said.
For businesses, Duncan said it’s important this year to try to defer whatever income you can, push it to 2018, and pay the expenses you can in 2017.
Most accountants scoff at the notion, pushed by the bill’s proponents, that it has simplified the tax code. For higher-income earners in particular, as well as many small businesses, tax law remains at least as complex as ever. And the bill has injected a new layer of uncertainty because so many changes are temporary and could be reversed in a few years.
Donating to charities
December is a critical fundraising month for charities. Many people make year-end gifts for tax reasons, or to extend the spirit of Thanksgiving and generosity to those less fortunate. Here are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to charitable giving.
DON’T succumb to high-pressure, emotional pitches. Giving on the spot is never necessary, no matter how hard a telemarketer or door-to-door solicitor pushes it. The charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow – after you’ve had time to do your homework.
DO think before you give. If you are solicited at the mall or on the street, take a minute or two to “think.” Ask for the charity’s name and address. Get full identification from the solicitor and review it carefully. If you decide to donate, don’t give cash. Write a check made payable to the charitable organization, not an individual.
DO check out the charity carefully. Make sure you feel comfortable with how your money will be spent. Don’t just take the word of someone else; even good friends may not have fully researched the charities they endorse. Go to www.give.org to verify that a charity meets BBB Wise Giving Alliance’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
DON’T assume that only “low overhead” matters. How much money a charity spends on the actual cause – as compared to how much goes toward fundraising and administration – is an important factor, but it’s not the whole story. A charity with impressive financial ratios could have other significant problems such as insufficient transparency, inadequate board activity and inaccurate appeals.
SOURCE: Better Business Bureau
Published: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ 10:32 AM
— It's that time of year again when parents and college or college-bound students fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
The idea of wading through a form – especially one that requires financial information – is definitely not an appealing idea, but the FAFSA could be a tremendous help in getting your student money to attend college.
The following points are what you need to know, as well as common mistakes to avoid when filling out the FAFSA.
Fill it out – you have nothing to lose.
You may think that you don't need to fill out the FAFSA, especially if you believe you might not qualify for need-based aid. But there's no income cut-off point with federal student aid, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, the FAFSA can help you qualify for all kinds of grants, loans and scholarships, including those offered by your state, school or private organizations.
By investing a few minutes of time, you could reap thousands of dollars in potential rewards.
Submit it ASAP.
The sooner you submit your FAFSA, the better, according to consumer adviser Clark Howard. Although the federal deadline isn't until June 30, 2018, you should check with the financial aid administrator at colleges you're interested in to make sure their deadlines aren't earlier.
Submitting earlier will help you plan how you'll pay for college. You'll also have a better chance of getting as much aid or scholarship money as possible since some colleges distribute their available money on a first-come, first-serve basis, Howard says.
Gather the information you'll need.
The FAFSA asks questions about the student as well as his or her parents if the student is a dependent.
You'll need the following information on hand as you fill out the FAFSA:
Watch out for common mistakes.
The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators points out some common mistakes that can delay your form's submission or cause you to not get the aid and scholarships you might qualify for. They include the following:
Keep an eye out for requests for more information.
Your FAFSA may be selected for verification, which means you'll have to provide some additional or supporting information, U.S. News & World Report explains. This process doesn't necessarily mean you've done anything wrong. You may have a discrepancy or mistake on your form, but some FAFSAs are just randomly selected for verification (lucky you!).