Britt Miller

Britt Miller

  • Wonolo

This is the first in a series of articles we’ll be running comparing Wonolo head-to-head against other recruitment and staffing options. In this post, we’ll see how Craigslist Gigs stacks up against Wonolo. Before we do that, let’s do a quick overview of Craigslist, its history, how it works, and what you can expect.

What is Craigslist?

Craigslist was established in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995 as an email distribution list for a man named Craig Newmark to share news of local events with friends. As the subscriber base grew, users began to use Craigslist to post things other than local events, including job openings. In response, more categories were added and, in 1996, went online and has since evolved into the world wide web’s premier classified ad service.

In 2004, Craigslist began charging $25 for companies and individuals to post job openings in select cities. A “Gigs” section was also added, which allowed users to post short-term and or low cost jobs, unpaid positions and internships at no charge.

How Does Craigslist Gigs Work?

In short, the Craigslist Gigs page works just like any other online classified ad. Gigs are offered in eight broad categories (Computer, Creative, Crew, Domestic, Event, Labor, Talent and Writing) and results can be filtered by keyword search.

Gigs are listed in order of posting and each heading contains the job to be filled and usually (but not always) a general location of the job. If you find a gig title that piques your interest, you simply click on the link for more information. As each gig posted on Craigslist is posted individually, the details about the job description and location vary widely. If you decide to seek out a Craigslist gig, you simply respond via blindbox email or phone, depending on the poster’s preference.

Once you respond to a Craigslist Gigs ad, then the waiting begins. There’s no way to tell, other than the original post being removed, if a job has been filled, so it’s usually best to have had direct contact with a gig poster before assuming you’ll be able to accept the gig. Once you do land a gig, it’s incumbent upon you to show up and perform as expected, as outside of the blindbox email address, any oversight from Craigslist essentially ends once you hit “Send” to respond to a gig posting.

What Does Craigslist Gigs Pay and How Do Payments Work?

The jobs available on Craigslist Gigs and the rates they pay can vary wildly. A random sampling of available gigs on Craigslist from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, showed one gig (listed under “Writing”) seeking people between age 18-25 to purchase alcohol and tobacco as part of what appears to be a secret shopper “sting.” That gig offered a $14 online survey filled out after each store visit. In another city, one could find Event gigs such as hookah servers (promising $50 to $100 per night for four hours of work) or a medical research study for women age 18 to 35 that’s offering up to $405 and “a picture of your brain.”

Elsewhere, there’s an opportunity to make $60,000 a year doing digital marketing (training provided) and an ad seeking men to help set up 1,500 chairs with no pay rate listed.

As for how do payments work on Craigslist Gigs, it’s up to you to insure you’re paid. That can entail oral agreements beforehand, payment up front or asking to be paid upon completing the gig. Craigslist is simply a classified advertising portal and takes no responsibility for the veracity of any of the ads that appear on the site. Further, just like everything else on Craigslist, one should always practice the concept of caveat emptor, or ‘buyer beware’, as there is no organized framework to insure you get paid upon completion of the gig. In addition, though Craigslist does offer a flagging option for offensive or scam ads, you are still truly on your own, with no guarantees of payment and likely no recourse should you get scammed.

Is Craigslist Gigs Legit?

The Craigslist platform has been roundly praised for it’s simple setup and commitment to maintaining an open online community. Looking more closely, many of the gigs available on the Craigslist Gigs page appear to be legitimate offers paying a reasonable wage. However, it would also appear that there can be an equal number of “too-good-to-be-true” offers, such as the $60k a year gig listed above, $100,000 yearly for working from home stuffing envelopes or simply $30 an hour signing up for offers.

Can’t tell if a given job is legit? Remember to trust your gut, protect your financial information at all times, always get any verbal agreements on paper, never pay upfront for any necessary job materials and remember that if it seems too good to be true, it’s likely a scam.

Wonolo vs. Craigslist Gigs Head to Head

So how does Wonolo compare with Craigslist Gigs as a solution for staffing short term jobs? Let’s look at the differences.

  • Pay Schedules – Workers (Wonoloers) are paid daily, with Wonolo issuing payments once the job is approved and the Requestor rates the Wonoloer’s performance. Craigslist has no organized payment system and the person answering the Craigslist ad has no guarantee he and she will actually get paid.
  • Interviewing and Onboarding – Each Craigslist Gigs job requires you to apply separately and, depending on the gig, there may or may not be an interview or onboarding process in place. Further, assuming you do travel to an interview for a job found through Craigslist Gigs, there’s no guarantee you’ll get it.

Wonolo on the other hand, conducts all pre-screening via a smartphone app, meaning you don’t have to leave your home for an interview. And, once you’ve completed the Wonolo onboarding process, you’re free to begin accepting jobs and get to work.

  • Pay Rates – For both Wonolo and Craigslist Gigs, the business decides how much to offer for the job. However, with Wonolo, if you complete the work you can rest assured that Wonolo will initiate payment once your job is approved.  When you find temporary gigs via Craigslist Gigs, it’s up to you to make sure you’re paid for your work and the timeline for when (or if) you get paid is determined by each individual job poster.

Wonolo is currently available in select markets across the country. And, while there are some variances between each metropolitan area, the bulk of the gigs fall into the categories of warehouse, event staff, delivery, administrative, and retail. There are no scam jobs and when the job is filled, it disappears from Wonolo, so workers are only looking at available gigs.

  • Promotions and Recognition – Wonoloers can earn achievement badges and bonuses for their excellent work for companies in a variety of industries. The badges and bonuses vary based on the type of work performed and the Requestor. In addition, Wonoloers can also score recognition rewards in the form of t-shirts, cash and more.

As it is essentially an anonymous job posting board, Craigslist Gigs lacks the framework for you to be recognized for the hard work you’ve done today or to build upon any previous gigs you’ve completed previously. Further, as most Craigslist Gigs are one-time only jobs, finding repeat employers who “know” your work can be difficult. In other words, you can’t build a reputation on Craigslist Gigs.

  • Screening – For the job-seeker, Craigslist Gigs provides no screen to weed out legitimate gigs from scams and no guarantee that they’ll even be paid. By comparison, Wonolo vets each of its Requestors and all Wonoloers can view a company’s ratings. Those ratings, which have been provided by Wonoloers who worked there previously, allow you to make an informed decision about who you work for with the peace-of-mind of knowing you won’t be scammed.
  • Upward Mobility – Wonoloers are not employed by Wonolo and are free to accept any full-time employment offer that comes their way through their temporary gigs. Similar to Wonolo, Craigslist Gigs is “hands-off” beyond the listing of the ad, meaning any worker could also accept any offer made through a Craigslist Gigs job.
  • Made-for-TV Movies – In 2011, cable network Lifetime released The Craigslist Killer, a movie about the true story of a man who attacked, robbed and killed female masseuses he met through the Craigslist personal ads. In its history, no movie has been made about Wonolo.
  • Technology – At its technological heart, Craigslist is, by design, still the same simple classified ad posting page in 2017 as it was in 1996. There is no official Craigslist app and no apparatus to gauge the competency of a potential worker.

Wonolo leverages automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to help jobs get matched with the best people which result in the best outcomes. In the end, Wonoloers get verifiable job opportunities from reputable companies and Requestors can fill staffing needs on-demand from a motivated, pre-screened workforce. And, in the end, compared to Craigslist Gigs, Wonolo offers a win-win for workers and companies!