Would you volunteer to get paid to be a friend to some stranger?
If you’d like to help someone who doesn’t like going solo when exploring a new city, attending events, watching movie premieres, visiting art galleries, and so on, you can earn some money doing so by joining a site called RentAFriend.com.
Before we explain how all these work, here’s the most important thing you need to know: Rent-A-Friend isn’t an escort service and since the “friend” part means strictly platonic, it isn’t a dating site either.
How Does RentAFriend.com Work?
Anyone can join RentAFriend.com, but they are grouped into two:
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- Members are those looking for friends. They need to pay $25 to RentAFriend.com to get access to all the “friends” willing to get hired.
- Friends are those looking to get paid to be a friend can just register without charge, work on their profiles and wait for people to contact them.
In most cases, the hobbies, interests, profession, or even age can be the reason why people choose you as a friend, so write as many personal tidbits as possible.
Of course, don’t write you love opera just to lure people who might be looking for opera buddies.
Make sure you actually love the activities you write, since you’ll most likely be requested to join the activities you wrote down.
If someone is interested in becoming your friend, they’ll contact you via RentAFriend.com’s anonymous messaging system.
When you reach this stage, you and your client should be arranging everything from the hourly price, number of hours, and details of the activity, such as date, time, place, and so on.
Pros of RentAFriend.com: Get Paid to Attend Parties and Other Events
Here are the reasons RentAFriend can be an interesting side gig:
- You are in control – RentAFriend doesn’t have a pricing table assigned to “friends.” You can price your friendship service from $10 an hour, to up to $100/hour or more. Since prices are negotiable, you won’t be forced into a transaction that you didn’t approve.
- Paying members only – Not everyone can send you a message. RentAFriend makes sure that only paying members contact you.
- Choice of communication method – You can choose to be sent a message, called up, or texted instead. You can control this setting on your profile.
- You can approve or deny any “friendship” as you see fit – As a friend, you are not obligated to accept everybody’s request for companionship. You can reject anyone, or agree to meet with everyone. It will be totally up to you.
- You keep 100% of payment – RentAFriend doesn’t take a cut from your hourly earnings anymore.
If you’re comfortable meeting new people and socializing, this “job” wouldn’t feel like a job at all.
And if you were honest about the activities you listed on your profile and attracted members seeking company for those activities, then there’s a huge chance you’ll have a blast while completing a task.
Cons of Rent-A-Friend
A disadvantage (or injustice) in RentAFriend is that people may hire you (or not hire you) based on looks.
This can be a blessing to attractive members wanting to get paid to be a friend, but quite the opposite for members who aren’t as attractive.
One of the problems RentAFriend cannot solve is how people get attached to their new “friends.” Because the meet-up is transactional and has money involved, feelings might get hurt when clients expect real friendships.
I read about a member who was frustrated that her new friend doesn’t text her back without payment being sent first.
Whether you’re a RentAFriend member or friend, you should join this community only if you understand that your responsibility with each other starts and ends only within the time discussed.
RentAFriend.com Safety Issues
As you might imagine, RentAFriend safety issues is the number one concern among friends and members alike.
Everyone is a stranger on the site, after all.
To be safe, make sure you read up on keeping safe with online dating. While you aren’t technically going on a date with a RentaFriend member, meeting face to face does make you susceptible to all the dangers (and awkwardness) of online dating, such as:
- Never really knowing what you’ll get – The client may seem like a talker when you had an introductory call, but turn out to be extremely shy in person.
- Meeting all kinds of weirdos – The internet is full of different “interesting” people. You may meet new people who will test the boundaries you’ve set. Some are just bad apples, so you have to be a lot more careful in meeting up, communicating with, or even rejecting advances.
Other dangers, such as meeting a stalker, serial killer, or any other dangerous men (or women), is a possibility.
But there are things you can do to keep yourself safe when meeting strangers, such as meeting only in public places, making sure a friend or someone close to you knows where you’re going, setting boundaries before the meet-up, or learning self-defense.
How Much Can You Make?
Because RentAFriend lets you dictate your own hourly price, you can set it for as low as $10/hour to as high as $50 or $100 an hour.
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Of course, your clients will justify your pricing based on what you could offer.
For example, if you’re a fluent English speaker and Chinese-to-English translator based in a hard-to-reach China province and your client is going there, if your company can significantly help the client go about day-to-day tasks, then he/she would probably be glad to pay you $50/hour for your service.
The amount you make also depends if you’re going to do this full-time or just on the side.
Some “friends” work only 3 times a week and earn between $500 and $1200 a week, while those who work full time earn as much as $2000 weekly.
Would You Want to Get Paid to be a Friend?
Online companionship jobs like these are not for the faint of heart. They’re not like work-from-home chat jobs either.
You can’t get paid to be a friend online exclusively – RentAFriend promotes a business model where people meet in real life and accompany each other on various events and activities.
As someone who will be selling his/her time to a stranger, the entire concept can be a scary ride, but if you do get to have fun, there’s a big chance you’d have a blast with the experience.
Rent-A-Friend has been around since 2009. Although some find the company’s business model questionable and categorizes it as escort services, RentAFriend maintains that it is not (and never has been) a dating site.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that people who meet here won’t eventually date or fall in love because it can happen. It’s just that RentAFriend focuses mainly on its goal: to serve as platform for people looking to find someone to accompany them on parties, reunions, city tours, gallery launch, sporting events, and other social gatherings.
Would I volunteer to get paid to be a friend?
I say, why not?
RentAFriend is free to use, and I’m not forced to do anything I’m not comfortable with, so why not try it out?
Be aware that this wouldn’t work as your main income, but a fun gig for raising extra cash on the side.