What does hustling mean to you? For some people, it means quick movement or busy activity, like football players hustling during practice. For others, it’s synonymous with a swindle or a scam, like the legendary pool hustlers of the twentieth century who scored big bucks at pool halls across the country.

Some say both definitions — hard worker and scammer — apply to people looking for work on the side in today’s economy.

In blogs and websites, the idea of a side hustle has gained traction, with many believing they can pad their bank accounts or start a business quickly. While this was once called a part-time job, today’s part-timers expect quick transactions and higher rewards.

As a contractor, side hustlers aren’t as expensive as a full-time employee and the contractor is responsible for his own taxes.

But there is a difference between a business owner contracting to sell services and a side hustler.

Side hustlers:

  1. Already have a job.
  2. Have allegiance to their job.
  3. Feel no loyalty to their side hustle.
  4. Might drop a project as soon as time gets short or their real job becomes more demanding.

According to Credit Loan, 56 percent of side hustlers take on work to increase their savings, while two-thirds have a full time job and want more spending money.

The experience of Uber is that 60 percent of drivers last less than six months.

While business owners usually have total commitment to their business, side hustlers may feel little commitment to a project.

If you do hire a side hustler, here are some tips:

  1. Never imply that you may not spend much money on future projects. Some side hustlers are looking for big-money projects and take small jobs to get their foot in the door. If they think the money pot is small, they are likely to drop the project.
  2. Expect that some of your work will be done at their primary job. Of those with a full-time job working a side job, one in five admit to working their side job at their primary job, according to Credit Loan.
  3. Hire and pay through a freelance website, so if the work isn’t finished on time or on spec, the contractor won’t expect partial payments.
  4. Regard skill descriptions with skepticism.
  5. Look for contractors who make their living as independent business people.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.