Freelance work generates $1.2 trillion in income annually in the US. As we’ve previously reported, Miami is a microbusiness powerhouse. Gig work is particularly popular in the Magic City, with approximately 15% of the workers here having worked on platforms like Uber and DoorDash.
Now, local gig workers have more tools at their disposal to supercharge their hustle. Seattle startup Solo has expanded into Miami, bringing its digital platform to help gig workers increase their take home pay and cut down on administrative headaches.
“Miami was an obvious choice,” Solo’s co-founder and CEO, Bryce Bennett, told Refresh Miami. “It’s growing super quickly, which comes with an increased cost of living.” Bennett drew parallels between Miami and his hometown of Seattle, where there is also a growing gap between the cost of living and average or minimum wage.
“We thought Miami was a good city to try to help close that gap,” said Bennett.
Through Solo, users can track their income, mileage, and taxes automatically in one dashboard. The app also enables them to compare their performance with other gig workers in South Florida.
Crucially, Solo is also launching a feature of its platform that guarantees users a daily wage if they work during a particular period of time.
“Gig workers love flexibility but hate the income instability, where you make $40 one hour and then $7 during the following three hours,” he noted. “It’s really hard to rely on a job like that.”
To confront this problem, Solo dove into the anonymized data across all the users on its platform to determine how much workers can make at a particular time during the day working on each app.
“We tell you the highest earning job if you work on, for example, DoorDash, Instacart, or Uber,” explained Bennett. “We’re going to tell you which one pays the most on average at any given hour of the day. And if you set your schedule with us, we guarantee that you’re going to make what we predict.”
This guarantee means that if a worker ends up making less than Solo predicted, the startup will pay the worker the difference. The worker can keep any money they make above the guaranteed amount as well.
“We’re giving people the tools, assurance, and reliability in their earnings – something they never had before,” said Bennett. According to Solo, users who follow their schedule optimizer make around an extra $300 a month. Solo has plans to roll out the guaranteed income feature to the rest of Florida.
The other tools are available throughout the country. But the anecdotal evidence about the positive effects Solo can have on users’ pocketbooks are very telling.
For instance, Bennett recently met a rideshare driver who would rather pay a fine than make quarterly tax payments to the IRS because the reporting burden was too great for him. “That’s something we have to help with,” said Bennett. “They can’t be paying a $500 fine. It’s crazy to think that this is the easiest path forward.”’
While the startup does not currently have any of its 9 employees based in Florida, Bennett noted that he has been visiting Florida frequently. He signaled that Solo will soon grow its footprint to 14 or 15 employees. Last Summer, Solo raised a $5.3 million seed round led by Slow Ventures, off the back of a pre-seed raise in Fall 2020.
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