Freelance jobs are increasingly popular among youth in Singapore. Since 2015, temporary work arrangements have been attracting young people in the workforce. Let’s be honest, freelance jobs are great! They give freedom for us to work according to our own schedule, it pays fairly well and you’re not tied to the company in the long run.

However, like all jobs, there are pitfalls when it comes to working freelance. Issues such as delayed payments, flaky clients, unfair (and unsafe) work arrangements and even facing family members or friends who just don’t understand why you’re taking the freelancing route are all problems faced by freelancers on a daily basis.

We decided to uncover the truth behind 4 popular freelancing jobs here in Singapore and find out the ‘real cost’ of working as a freelancer.

1. Private Hire Drivers


The Benefits: You have a license and your dad hates to drive. Might as well make some money right?! You’ll get to drive whenever and wherever you want and you’ll be meeting loads of new people (like good looking lads and ladies). You’ll also finally be able to tell your mum you were out late “because I was working!”

The Shady Side: Car trouble? That’s on you. You’ll be absorbing the costs of car expenses. You’re technically flying solo so any trials and tribunals you face on the road can only be shared with your friends who don’t truly understand (or even seem to care). Worst part? Your friends and family will be hitting you up for free rides (yes, you ARE their driver).

The Moolah: Expect to get paid from $20 – 49 an hour dependent on surges and how many trips you can make, Grab even has a schedule for guaranteed fare incentives!

Private-hire drivers are part of a growing gig economy. Gig economy sees temporary positions and short-term engagements increasing and more Singaporeans taking up freelancing as their primary source of income.

Here in Singapore, freelancers such as Grab and Uber driver do not have the statutory rights of employees under the Employment Act such as overtime pay. They also do not receive statutory benefits such as Central Provident Fund contributions from the companies they work for.

So who’s helping private-hire drivers?

Established last year, the National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA) inked a partnership with Grab. Facilitating feedback between drivers and Grab, NPHVA seeks to foster stronger partner relationships. Grab also works in conjunction with e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) to provide mature workers with the opportunity to become drivers with Grab.

Source: TodayOnlineYouth.sgBusiness Times

2. Food Couriers

The Benefits: On the move for most of the day, you’ll look super cool wheezing your way through traffic. Work whenever you want and you’ll finally get that extra amount of cash for the new iPhone (there’s always a new one!).

The Shady Side: Seen Premium Rush? While you’re not going to be targeted by a crazed loan shark, you’ll be vulnerable to other vehicles and of the very tumultuous Singapore weather. Caring for your own transportation and your own safety might end up sucking up more money than it’s worth.

The Moolah: At $5 – 11 an hour and an additional $4 – 6 a trip, you’ll be making an average of $13 – 30 an hour!


3. Freelance Designers

The Benefits: You live and breath designs and you can’t imagine doing anything else after you graduate. Freelance designing is a win-win-win. Expand your portfolio, do what you love and get money (is this a dream or is it reality?!).

The Shady Side: Let’s face it, clients are difficult. You’ll meet the flaky, the rude and the uptight. And if you’re planning to do freelance designing as a full-time job, you’ll spend A LOT of time worrying about when’s your next job (and if you’ll be able to afford rent next month).

The Moolah: While you may start out charging at $50 for one-off projects. Once you’ve built your portfolio, a large project (like a website) could fetch you a cool $1,000 (or more)!

4. Freelance Tutors

The Benefits: Since the dawn of time (more like for the past 20 years), Singaporeans students have needed tutors. Freedom to teach when you want, what you want and who you want. Doing it long-term? Even better, you’ll have a steady income on the side!

The Shady Side: Under the Employment Act, part-timers without contracts like tutors, aren’t covered by the Manpower Ministry. With online tuition agencies popping up, you might not even see the organization that has hired you!

The Moolah: Depending on the student’s educational level (primary, secondary, tertiary) and your own qualifications, you can expect to get paid from $15 to $120 an hour!

You could face being short-changed. Recently, several tuition agencies have come under the spotlight for not paying tutors. Tutors who aren’t paid often do not go to small claims court due to the hassle.



dogs-01George Graham Vest (1830-1904) served as U.S. Senator from Missouri from 1879 to 1903 and became one of the leading orators and debaters of his time. This delightful speech is from an earlier period in his life when he practised law in a small Missouri town. It was given in court while representing a man who sued another for the killing of his dog. During the trial, Vest ignored the testimony, and when his turn came to present a summation to the jury, he made the following speech and won the case.

Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honour when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.

George Graham Vest – c. 1855

Taken from

The Heartbreaking Story Of Hachikō — The World’s Most Loyal Dog

About_NYCYouth Corps Singapore (YCS is a division of National Youth Council (NYC), an autonomous agency under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. As the national institution for youth volunteerism empowers over 160,000 youths who are keen to serve the community across a wide range of causes, such as education, environment, special needs, and arts, with volunteering opportunities, training and funding support. YCS also equips them with the skills needed to contribute to society effectively and builds networks of like-minded youth.

Through the YCS’ Leaders Programme, over 1,000 aspiring youth leaders have been empowered to conceptualise and implement their own service-learning projects.

The Youth Expedition Project (YEP) is a key NYC youth development programme that encourages volunteerism among youth between 15 and 35 years old to embark on community service-learning projects. The objectives of the YEP are to nurture confident youth, who are socially responsible and active citizens, who can identify needs and contribute to the community both at home and overseas. YMCA of Singapore has been administering YEP funds since 2012 and being a long-term partner in programme funding, YMCA of Singapore was appointed as to heighten potential synergies through a strong pool of experience trainers.

To find out more about the programme, click on the link below:

Service-learning trip to Laos

My Cambodia

Youth Corps Leaders Programme (Immersion) – Info Video


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