What would you do to make an extra $80 or $100? Would you stand in line with a bunch of tech fans, re-sellers and fellow consumers to get your hands on the latest smartphone from Apple?
If you answered yes, you might be the perfect candidate for one of fall’s hottest jobs.
They call them professional line-sitters: People who get paid to sit in line for Apple fans itching to get their hands on the latest gadgets from the tech giant. And on the heels of the unveiling of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, demand for the gig is certain to grow.
One of the places people will be looking for line-sitters is online errand marketplace AskForTask, which allows users to post ads asking for people to complete tasks for them.
According to CEO Muneeb Mushtaq, more than 100 people put up ads on the app looking for line-sitters during the iPhone 6 launch last year.
Those looking to get their hands on a phone were willing to pay anywhere between $80 and $200 to any “Tasker” willing to camp out in a mall overnight.
“We had someone in our community who posted a job – she wanted to be the first Canadian to get an iPhone,” Mushtaq told Global News. “She was willing to pay a couple of hundred bucks for someone to camp outside the Apple Store for a couple of days so they would be the first in line.”
Mushtaq said interest in line-sitters has been generating in the weeks leading up to Apple’s announcement. And securing a spot in line early is important – considering someone was already camped out in front of the Apple Store in Sydney, Australia, before Apple even announced the new phones.
In the past, similar requests could be found on apps like TaskRabbit – which operates similar to AskForTask – and sites like Craigslist.
Some people have even created businesses capitalizing on the trend.
According to a Business Insider report, New York-based entrepreneur Robert Samuel launched his company Same Ole Line Dudes (SOLD Inc.) during the iPhone 6 launch last September, charging customers $25 for the first hour his company waits in line for someone and $10 for every additional 30 minutes.
Stories about so-called line-sitters have been around since 2009, when Apple released the iPhone 3GS.
But it’s not just Apple fans who use line-sitters to get their hands on the devices. As many witnessed during the last couple of iPhone launches, a growing number of re-sellers have been using the same system to sell the phones on the Chinese market.
During the iPhone 6 launch last fall Business Insider reported that many who lined up for the phones on launch day were being paid by the re-sellers who planned to sell the devices on the black market.
That week, New York City-based film maker Casey Neistat released a short documentary showing some of the re-sellers in action. The video shows people buying iPhones with cash in stores, then meeting up with others for what Neistat calls “the handoff” – where the phones are inspected and then handed over for cash.
Some reports suggested the new devices were selling for as much as US$2,400 in China.
If camping out for the new iPhone isn’t for you, don’t worry, there are other opportunities to make some cash while shopping.
Mushtaq told Global News AskForTask has seen a big increase in demand for people willing to pick up door-crasher deals during Black Friday or Boxing Day sales.
“A lot of people accept those jobs because they were already planning to be in line for another product,” he added.