Sharing apps draw students

Businesses that use the sharing economy model say students are ideal employees.

Jonathan Tvedt

With school in session, many students are on the lookout for part-time work in order to earn extra cash to pay for books or to make extra spending money for the weekends. 
Companies like Uber, Bellhops and Lyft — which are based on the sharing economy concept that promotes renting or borrowing rather than buying and owning items — provide flexible schedules and self-management that some say might appeal to college students.
“[Students] would much rather claim a few jobs a week than get on payroll with a set schedule,” said Cameron Doody, co-founder of Bellhops, an app-based moving company tailored to young people that embraces the sharing economy concept. “Companies like Uber don’t necessarily need training. You have a clean driving record, and you should be able to work for them.” 
He said the business, which can be found on more than 150 campuses nationwide, exclusively hires college students.
Bellhops joins companies such as Uber and Lyft, which also use the sharing economy model to appeal to people in need of a quick service or job but don’t have the means or resources to do it themselves. 
“It’s great for people to make extra income … they could use to make extra money outside of the jobs they normally have,” said Mallory Narang, a former Lyft driver and founder of the sharing economy business, Dishcourse. 
Narang, who is also a part-time MBA student at the University, said these jobs may be attractive to students, but a lack of contracts, possible safety concerns and tax issues are potential risks to consider when working in the shared economy industry. 
“Be cautious. It’s easy money, but you want to plan for taxes. Students don’t know what makes an independent contractor different from an employer relationship,” Narang said, noting that a lack of employment benefits can also make these ventures difficult to rely on as a sole source of income.
Despite the risks, she said students still have the chance to benefit from working with those companies because of the flexibility. 
Jaime Moore, an Uber spokeswoman, said the sharing economy business model aims to provide customers with simple and reliable service.
Doody said these types of businesses are eager to hire students. 
And as the sharing economy model continues to thrive, he said students should continue to be an ideal employee demographic. 
“Students are ambitious. They aspire to be more,” Doody said. “We catch them in a time where they’re happy to be a hero in the situation.”