Press Releases

The Five Faces of the On-demand Economy 

Intuit Study Shows why Different Worker Groups Are Drawn to On-demand Gigs

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Feb. 3, 2016 From people determined to be their own boss, to those embracing the flexibility to do something they love, to workers finding a replacement for a traditional job – people working in the on-demand economy are just about as diverse as the labor market itself.

A new report from Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU), “Dispatches from the New Economy: The On-Demand Workforce,” reveals a broad range of motivations – and differing levels of satisfaction – among five distinct groups of on-demand workers:

  • The Business Builders – Primarily driven by the desire to be their own boss, they represent 22 percent of on-demand workers.
  • The Career Freelancers – Happily building a career through independent work; 20 percent.
  •  The Side Giggers – Seeking financial stability by supplementing existing income; 26 percent.
  • The Passionistas – Looking for the flexibility to do something they love; 14 percent.  
  • The Substituters – Replacing a traditional job that is no longer available; 18 percent.


The data comes from a study from Intuit and Emergent Research that examined people working via 11 on-demand economy and online talent marketplace companies. Study participants included: Deliv, Field Nation, Fiverr, HourlyNerd, MBO Partners, OnForce, Uber, Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk), Visually, Wonolo, and Work Market.

“The on-demand economy is made up of a broad range of industries – everything from transportation and delivery to legal and consulting services – and a diverse cross section of the U.S. labor market,” said Alex Chriss, vice president and general manager of Self-Employed Solutions at Intuit.

“We are determined to take a different, deeper view of the on-demand economy. Intuit wants to focus more on the people than the platforms, more on solutions than problems, and more on the way forward than the way back. By understanding the needs, expectations and motivations of on-demand workers, we can better create new tools and supports that are tailor-made for the unique needs of this growing section of our labor market.”

The Business Builders

Primarily motivated by the desire to run their own business or be their own boss, Business Builders are the most likely to already have their own business and use on-demand work to supplement or expand thier existing source of income. Their motivation and characteristics include:

  • “I always wanted to be my own boss;” 93 percent.
  • “I will not go back to relying solely on a traditional job;” 86 percent.
  •  Owning their own business in addition to their on-demand activities; 55 percent.
  • Being satisfied working in the on-demand economy; 83 percent.

The Career Freelancers

Happily building a career through independent work, Career Freelancers like being in control and are not concerned with the risks associated with independent work. They generate a larger proportion of their total income from their independent work than the other groups. Their motivation and characteristics include:

  • Controlling decisions about when where and how they work; 91 percent.
  • “I feel more secure working independently than if I had a traditional job;” 69 percent.
  • “Working independent is less risky than traditional employment;” 52 percent.
  • Being satisfied working in the on-demand economy; 82 percent

The Side Giggers

Looking to supplement their income, Side Giggers are strongly motivated by financial security. Job flexibility and pursuing their interests are less important. They are most likely to be employed in a traditional job in addition to their on-demand work. Their motivation and characteristics include:

  • “Earn more income;” 88 percent.
  • Having a traditional full-time (43 percent) or part-time job (16 percent).
  • Owning their own business in addition to their on-demand activities; 20 percent.
  • Being satisfied working in the on-demand economy; 65 percent.

The Passionistas

Motivated by job flexibility and the chance to do something they enjoy, Passionistas are less likely to be motivated by money. This group is relatively well educated, and works the fewest hours of any of the groups. Their motivation and characteristics include:


  • “Doing something I like is more important than making the most money; 86 percent.
  • Having a college or graduate degree; 67 percent. A total of 38 percent had an undergraduate degree, 29 percent had a graduate degree.
  • “The primary reason I work independently is to earn more money;” 15 percent.
  • Being satisfied working in the on-demand economy; 61 percent. 

The Substituters

The most likely to be involved with more than one on-demand provider, Substituters typically lost a job or are currently unable to find a traditional job. They are the segment that is the least satisfied with on-demand work. Their motivation and characteristics include:

  • “Flexibility is more important than making the most money;” 28 percent.
  • “Doing something I like is more important than making the most money; 26 percent.
  • Unemployed and looking for a job before starting their on-demand work; 19 percent.
  • Being satisfied working in the on-demand economy; 47 percent. 

Dispatches From the New Economy Research Series

This research is part of an ongoing series of reports issued by Intuit and Emergent Research. A report issued last week showed that on-demand economy workers average 40.4 hours per week, but rely on three different sources of income to make up their entire paycheck. The most common sources of income are: on-demand work (34 percent), a traditional full or part-time job (30 percent), contracting and consulting (19 percent), and running a business (14 percent). 

Intuit research from 2015 showed that an estimated 7.6 million Americans will be regularly working as providers in the on-demand economy by 2020, more than doubling the current total of 3.2 million. The rise of the on-demand economy is part of a broader long-term growth trend in the contingent workforce, which has grown from 17 percent of the U.S. workforce 25 years ago, to 36 percent today, and is expected to reach 43 percent by 2020.

Intuit’s QuickBooks Self-Employed

Feb. 1 was the deadline for businesses to send 1099-MISC forms to self-employed people. For many people working in the on-demand economy, this represents the first time they are confronted with a new set of tax obligations. Intuit’s QuickBooks Self-Employed product provides tax relief by helping on-demand workers manage business and personal finances, handle taxes throughout the year and meet compliance requirements.

The QuickBooks Self-Employed Tax Bundle allows self-employed users to file faster by exporting their Schedule C to TurboTax Online. QuickBooks Self-Employed users find an average of $3,809 in potential tax savings per year.

Intuit offers the product directly to on-demand entrepreneurs through partnerships with many of the leading on-demand economy marketplaces.

Study Methodology

A total of 4,622 workers who find work opportunities via the platforms provided by the participating partner companies completed an online survey between Sept. 11 and Oct. 1.  The results were weighted to reflect the proportion of workers in each of the following segments: Drivers/Delivery, Online Talent Marketplaces and Field Service/Onsite Talent. The weights were developed using earlier survey work that sized the on-demand economy. The largest weighted share of on-demand worker respondents from any single company is 16 percent, with most partner companies providing less than 10 percent of the respondents. Find study highlights here.


About Intuit Inc.

Intuit Inc. creates business and financial management solutions that simplify the business of life for small businesses, consumers and accounting professionals.

Its flagship products and services include QuickBooks® and TurboTax®, which make it easier to manage small businesses and tax preparation and filing. provides a fresh, easy and intelligent way for people to manage their money, while ProSeries® and Lacerte® are Intuit's leading tax preparation offerings for professional accountants.

Founded in 1983, Intuit had revenue of $4.2 billion in its fiscal year 2015. The company has approximately 7,700 employees with major offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India and other locations. More information can be found at