The gig economy is ripe with opportunity for freelance workers.
No matter your skills, there are plenty of ways to make some extra cash.
If you like driving, you can make a fair amount of money driving for Uber or Lyft.
If you’re a writer, designer, or programmer, you can find freelance gigs on Upwork.
However, not every gig worker wants to spend their day silently shuttling commuters around or toiling away at a spreadsheet for some remote client.
Some freelancers want to contribute to the lives of others in a truly meaningful way.
For those people, there’s Papa.
Papa is a mobile app that connects college students with elderly folks who could use some extra help and company.
As the company puts it in their slogan, they provide “Grandkids On-Demand.”
Read on to learn more and find out how to become a Papa Pal.
The Papa App
Some elderly folks need help with things.
They may need someone to mow their lawn, shovel their driveway, help with grocery shopping, or hook up their Apple TV.
Some of them just want companionship.
When you live alone, or your grandkids live hundreds of miles away, it’s nice to have someone to watch TV or play cards with every once in a while.
Unfortunately, not everyone has someone who can help them with chores or hang out.
Their families and friends may be too busy with work or school to come over during certain hours.
The Papa app provides a way for older adults to pay a young person for their time.
Whether it’s to cook meals, drive them to appointments, take care of the house, or just play board games, elderly users can get help with almost anything they need.
Obviously, this platform is quite popular with senior citizens.
Seniors over 65 are one of fastest-growing demographics in the US and many of them can benefit from a service like this.
It’s also popular among gig workers in college, who are paid an average of $20-$30 for a three-hour Papa visit.
According to the company, top Pals make as much as $1,500 per month.
Papa was founded in Miami and quickly spread outside of the Miami area.
Currently, the company is available in the following Florida areas:
The company’s founder, Andrew Parker, was mentioned that he hopes to expand outside of Florida as early as next year.
Want to learn more about Papa and what being a Papa Pal is like?
What Do I Need to Become a Papa Pal?
Not everyone is eligible to sign up for Papa.
In fact, compared to other common gig economy jobs, the Papa Pal requirements are quite strict.
Why Does Papa Only Hire College Students?
The fact that Papa only hires college students may seem strange.
After all, most other gig platforms allow anyone over the age of 18 to contract for them as long as their background is clean.
So why does Papa have this policy?
Why is it that you have to be in college to become a Pal?
Well, according to the company, there are three reasons:
At first glance, this list of justifications seems odd.
But not everyone has experience in nursing.
And those who studied medicine or nursing are likely already employed.
They’re probably way too busy to take on a part-time gig and already make enough money to survive.
In the future, the company may expand its policy to include recent grads and other candidates.
For now, however, you won’t become a Papa Pal unless you’re still working toward a degree.
Papa Pal Application Process
Want to become a Papa Pal?
Want to earn some extra money by giving your time to people who could really use it?
Here’s what you do:
Fill out the application on JoinPapa.com.
The application asks for basic info like your name, address, and reason for applying.
They’ll also ask for information about your vehicle, the type of work you’re interested in doing, and your availability.
When you’re done filling out the application, click Submit.
2. Personality Quiz
Shortly after you complete the application, Papa will email you a personality quiz.
The personality test consists mostly of captioned images with Me and Not Me buttons below them.
You are instructed to click Me if you identify with the image/caption combo and Not Me if you don’t identify with it.
It only takes 2 minutes to complete.
If you pass the Personality Quiz, you will move onto Orientation and Training.
3. Orientation and Training
Orientation consists of an Onboarding video and Handbook.
In order to pass Orientation, you must watch the video and read the Handbook.
Watch the video and download the handbook.
Spend some time with the material.
When you’re done reading, click Advance to the Next Stage at the bottom of the screen.
4. Phone Interview
Papa requires all applicants to undergo a phone interview before they start working.
Once you’ve completed the orientation, the company asks you to schedule a phone interview.
Choose a date and time that works for you and wait for them to call.
5. Background Check
After your phone interview, Papa runs a background check.
This is to ensure the safety of their customers.
According to the company, they search roughly 550 million criminal records from offender registries, courts, county files, and departments of Corrections around the United States.
Applicants with violent offenses or property crimes on their record are disqualified from the application process.
6. Vehicle Inspection
Papa requires that every contractor have their vehicle inspected by an authorized inspector.
Sometimes, they may send a representative out to look at your vehicle.
In cases where that isn’t possible, they’ll direct you to an authorized auto body or send you a form that your mechanic will fill out.
This allows the company to make sure that your vehicle is in good enough condition to use as a shuttle for customers.
7. Driving Record Check
After the inspection, Papa requests that you send them a scanned copy of your driver’s license and proof of insurance.
They use your license to run a check on your driving history.
This helps to ensure that their members are safe whenever they’re in the car with a Pal.
The company does not specify what they look for in their license check.
However, a typical scan returns any infractions that have taken place in the past seven years.
8. Complete Training
Once all of the tests and inspections are complete, you’re almost ready to go.
You must review the Handbook and watch a few additional training videos before you can get started.
Then, you’re allowed to download the app, sign in, and start accepting visits!
How Long Does the Entire Application Process Take?
From beginning to end, the application process should take around 10 days.
This gives the company ample time to inspect your vehicle and run background checks.
However, the timeline depends on how quickly you submit your information.
The longer it takes you to schedule an interview, submit your paperwork, and fill out forms, the longer the process will take.
What Happens After Orientation?
After you’ve completed orientation, Papa will start to send you Visit requests almost immediately.
When they send you a request, you have the option to either accept or reject it.
The app outlines all of the details of the Visit, including the time, address, tasks involved, and any additional information.
If you’re interested, you have the option to Accept the request.
However, if the member’s house is too far away, or they’re requesting a service that you don’t want to do, you can click Not interested.
Papa will then offer it to another Pal.
All of your Visits are scheduled in the app and you can view them at any time.
24 hours before the visit, Papa will send you a reminder notification.
At that point, you must Confirm the visit.
Papa also provides the member’s contact information so that you can reach out to them before the Visit if you need to.
Similar to Uber and Lyft’s apps, the Papa app has an On My Way feature that you can use to let the member know that you’re coming over.
You should click this button when you leave your home to notify the customer that you’ll be there soon.
You can deliver this message via text or phone call.
When you arrive, you’ll click the Start Visit button to let the company know that you’ve started your shift.
The app will track your hours so that the company can pay you accordingly.
Tips for New Papa Pals
If you’re interested in caregiving, working with Papa is a great way to earn money in your free time.
All you really have to do is show up, hang out with your customer, and assist them with tasks that they can’t do on their own.
But if you want to thrive in this job, there are some things you can do to go above and beyond.
Here are a few tips we have for new Papa workers:
1. Dress for the job
Caregiving can be relaxing.
It’s not taxing to spend an afternoon playing chess with a client.
But it’s not always that easy.
Some Papa gigs will have you gardening, moving heavy boxes, and climbing ladders to replace light bulbs.
So, make sure you wear appropriate attire.
The last thing you’d want is to show up in sneakers when you have to shovel snow.
Papa requires all Pals to wear sneakers and a branded Papa T-shirt while they’re working.
But make sure to bring extra layers or boots with you if the job is going to require them.
2. Use a GPS app to get around
Many Papa Visits involve driving.
You may be required to drive your client to Walmart or bring them to a doctor’s appointment.
If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s easy to get lost.
You can waste a lot of time driving around in circles trying to figure out where you are, so make sure that you have a GPS app like Google Maps on-hand.
Your phone should have enough data to operate this app outside of wifi.
Using the app will save you a big headache and will save your customer some money, too.
3. Learn about your senior
The most important aspect of the job is to make the client happy.
At the end of each Visit, the customer should feel that they’ve been served by a friendly person who cares about their well-being.
Learning as much about them as you can will not only make you happy but will inform you about the best ways to assist them.
Remember, some seniors may not get to spend time with a lot of people.
Your visit could be the highlight of their week.
When you go above and beyond to assist your client, they’ll be very happy.
Having the ability to put smiles on the faces of seniors is one of the biggest reasons why freelancers might choose Papa over another platform.