There’s one thing 32-year-old Jodie Collins always keeps in the trunk of her car: a blanket. That’s because sometimes, in the middle of her marathon workdays, she needs to take a little nap so she can keep on going.
For the last three years, Collins has commuted nearly two hours each way from Sacramento to San Francisco on weekends to work as a mobile stylist. She gets gigs doing hair and makeup for clients through apps like Glamsquad and StyleBee. Between appointments, she drives for Lyft.
"I work 18-hour days sometimes on Saturdays to make the long drive into the city worth it," she explains.
This cobbling together of gig work to make a living is a reality for a growing number of people like Collins. They're super commuters, traveling more than 90 minutes for work each day.
San Francisco is an especially popular place to find these types of jobs because people who can afford to live in the city are more likely to use on-demand services. The irony is that those who perform these services often cannot afford to live in the city, so they commute from more affordable places, like Modesto, Stockton and Sacramento.
The 18-Hour Workday
On a typical Saturday, Collins wakes up at 4:45 a.m. She arrives in San Francisco by 8 a.m. for her first gig. The day I met with her, she was doing hair for a wedding party. Collins says she typically packs in as many clients as she can to make the trip worthwhile.
At around 6 p.m. she stops styling hair and starts driving people around the city until midnight. Sometimes, she admits, the pay isn’t worth it. People have thrown up in her car, and sometimes she worries about her safety.
“The drunker people get, the more issues you run into," she says.
After Collins finishes driving for Lyft, she either crashes in the city for the night or heads back to Sacramento. She often gets into bed around 2:30 a.m., nearly 24 hours after she first woke up.
This isn’t the life she envisioned for herself.
“I’ve got really, really, really big dreams,” says Collins. “As an entrepreneur, I have big dreams for a business called Jodie’s Little Gems.”