Rent a Friend: Make $25+ per Hour by Being a Friend

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Two friends posing for a selfie

If you’ve been searching for side hustle ideas to earn extra cash, you’ve probably come across a lot of common suggestions like starting a blog, selling on Amazon, and taking paid online surveys.

While those are good options, I love finding unusual and interesting side hustles. One of the most interesting that I’ve come across involves getting paid to be a friend.

I know the rent a friend concept sounds a little creepy or bizarre at first, but it’s a legit opportunity that a growing number of people are pursuing.

What is Rent a Friend?

RentAFriend.com is essentially a marketplace of friends and not a dating website. Lonely people looking for an online friend (willing to pay) can browse the site and find people available to be friends for hire. Those looking to hire friends will need to pay $24.95 to access the directory of friends. You can get paid to talk to lonely people if you’re contacted.

Jackie Lam is a personal finance writer and blogger at Hey Freelancer. She experimented with Rent a Friend (and made some money) and answered some of my questions about the process, so you’ll see some quotes from Jackie throughout the article.

When I asked Jackie about her experience with Rent a Friend, she said, 

“I was hired once to accompany a 40-year-old male high school teacher visiting from out of town. There was another time when a twenty-something female said she was new to Los Angeles and wanted to throw a Halloween party. We negotiated $25/hour, and I asked for $30/hour if I brought a homemade dish to the party. She asked me if she could invite me on Facebook. I said that was fine and never heard back.”

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What’s Involved with Being a Friend for Rent?

If you decide you want to rent your friendship for some extra money, here are the basic steps.

If you decide you want to get paid to talk to lonely people, here are the basic steps.

1. Create a Profile

People looking to make some extra money or simply wanting to meet others can create a profile to be found in the directory. This is the first step in becoming a rent-a-friend. Your profile will include your photo and location, as well as some details like activities that you enjoy.

Two women busy looking at the phone

Your profile can include more than simply the things you like to do. You can also list what you have to offer as a friend. For example, you can offer to give tours of your city, which may be of interest to lonely people who are passing through the area. You could also offer to teach something specific during your time together.

When looking for friends, users can search by location to see who is available in their area (or where they will be traveling).

2. Communicate with People Who Want to Hire You

When a member finds your profile and is interested in hiring you, he or she will contact you through the website. 

Jackie said, “There was an initial negotiation phase (i.e., texting, chatting on the phone) to discuss common interests and logistics. My profile has basic info regarding what activities I enjoyed. We decided to see an IMAX movie, the California Science Museum, and then lunch.”

The member will tell you details like what activities they would like to do and when, and you will name your price. If the member agrees, it’s up to the two of you to handle the arrangements from there (meeting and handling payment). 

As Jackie points out, “The Rent a Friend site doesn’t handle payment or transactions, so you have to come up with an arrangement on your own.” 

So, in this case, if you want to get paid to talk to lonely people, you’d have to work out a payment arrangement.

3. Have Fun

Once your meeting date comes, you’ll get together with your new friend.

There are many reasons why a person would be willing to pay a stranger to spend time with them. Some of the common activities (according to RentAFriend.com) include:

  • Attending a wedding
  • Attending a work event or party
  • A tour of a new city
  • Going to a movie
  • Going to a sporting event or concert
  • Exercising together

When you consider it, there are many reasons and scenarios where it makes sense.

4. Get Paid

Of course, if your primary motivation is to get paid to talk to lonely people and make extra cash, the most important part is getting paid. You can determine your own rates, and you have the flexibility to negotiate. Generally, the person hiring you will be responsible for the expenses related to the activity (like a ticket to a movie). Still, those are details that you should clarify during negotiations.

Two women hanging out

Common Questions About Getting Paid to Be a Friend

You probably have several questions, so let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.

Where Can I Find Rent a Friend Jobs?

Rent a Friend is the biggest and most popular platform for connecting people with friends for hire. Creating a free profile on the site is the best way to find opportunities, although you’ll have to wait for lonely people to contact you before you can get paid to talk to lonely people.

What Do I Have to Do?

As a friend, you have full control over which opportunities you accept. In your profile, you can list the activities you enjoy or want to do. When the other person contacts you, the two of you can decide on the details of what you will do. There’s nothing that you have to do. It’s up to you.

In general, most lonely people who are hiring friends are just looking for a companion. Maybe they’re new in town and don’t want to go to an event alone. Or maybe they’re traveling for work and don’t know anyone in the area, so this is where you come in and get paid to talk to lonely people.

Is Rent a Friend Legit?

Yes, Rent a Friend is a legitimate platform. People are actually making money online by creating a profile and providing services. However, you need to be careful because the platform provides very little oversight, and you’ll need to look out for yourself both in terms of physical safety and to avoid being scammed in your bid to get paid to talk to lonely people.

Is it Sexual?

No, and Rent a Friend is very clear about this. The text on their website says, “RentAFriend.com is strictly a platonic Friendship website. RentAFriend.com is NOT a dating website and NOT an Escort agency. Services on RentAFriend.com are strictly for FRIENDSHIP purposes only.” All there is to do is get paid to talk to lonely people, go places with them, and nothing more. 

Two women holding thermos cups while sitting and talking to each other on a camp fire

Is it Legal?

Yes, Rent a Friend is legal.

Is Rent a Friend Safe?

The safety aspect is your own responsibility. Rent a Friend does not perform background checks on friends or members. You should take general safety precautions like meeting in public places, telling someone you trust where you will be going, leaving contact info, and leaving the situation if something seems off.

Is There a Rent a Friend App?

Currently, Rent a Friend does not have a mobile app. Everything takes place through the desktop website that you can access on a desktop or another device.

Can I Rent a Date?

Lonely people use RentAFriend.com for a wide variety of purposes. The platform is very clear that it is not an escort service, and there is nothing sexual about it, but it doesn’t specifically allow or ban the use of the platform for renting dates. So, in addition to trying to get paid to talk to lonely people, this could be another option to earn. 

How Much Does Rent a Friend Cost?

Rent a Friend charges $24.95 for access to the database of friends. If you’re looking to hire someone to accompany you somewhere, like a work event for instance, you’ll need to pay this service fee to be able to reach out to people who have created marketplace profiles. 

However, there is no charge if you’re looking to make money online by renting out your friendship. Anyone can create a profile for free and get paid to talk to lonely people.

Two men sitting outside the coffee shop

How Much Does Rent a Friend Pay?

You’ll be able to set your own rates. According to RentAFriend.com, some users are making $2,000 per week by working full-time.

The site says rates start at $10 per hour, “but almost all of them are willing to negotiate or even waive their fees depending on the activity you’re planning with them.” Of course, if your goal is to make money online, you don’t want to waive your fees.

Jackie’s rate was $40 per hour, although she wound up charging less than the agreed rate because she felt bad. She told me, 

“We decided to go see an IMAX movie, the California Science Museum, and then lunch. We agreed that he would pay for all activities and settled on $40/hour. I made $80. 

Although we spent 3 hours total, and he was willing to shell out $120 in cash, I felt very uncomfortable taking someone’s money for just hanging out and said $80 was fine. In retrospect, to avoid any complications, I should’ve just taken the money.”

In Jackie’s case, her profile was online for about a week before she had her first paying gig. Earning $80 (should have been $120) for the first week of a side hustle with only a few hours invested is pretty impressive!

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Why Do This Side Hustle

If you’re looking for a way to make extra cash outside of a job, there are some very compelling reasons why you might want to give this opportunity a chance.

1. Potential for Good Hourly Income

If you’re considering taking advantage of Rent a Friend’s huge earning potential, then you’re in luck. Rent a Friend says that rates start at $10 per hour and that top earners make $2,000 per week full-time. They also say that others earn money; $300 – $500 per week just by working on the weekends. Jackie charged $40 per hour and was hired about a week after creating her profile.

20-year finance professional Joseph Lucas, weighs in on this, comparing it to other service-based jobs: 

“I see financial upside in the “renting a friend” side hustle vs. driving based roles (like Uber or DoorDash) as Rent-a-Friend hourly rates can get quite high. Uber and DoorDash have limited upside. You also will have far less wear and tear on your vehicle!”

Although it’s not a side hustle that gets a lot of attention, people are making real money talking to people, and it’s possible you could make an extra $1,000 per month with this side hustle. This is pretty impressive pay, given that you get paid to talk to lonely people.

The income potential of side hustles can vary drastically, but many options will only allow you to earn a limited amount per hour. Being an online friend to lonely people has the potential to bring a decent hourly rate.

Two women having coffee together

2. Flexible Schedule

Your schedule is totally up to you. If you have a traditional job Monday through Friday, you could make yourself available to get paid to talk to lonely people on Saturdays and Sundays and make it a weekend job. It’s up to you when you will be available or accept requests so you can work around your existing schedule.

3. No Skills or Experience Needed

Some side hustles will require you to have specific skills (like working as a web designer, becoming a transcriptionist, etc.). Anyone can be a friend, as long as you can be social! 

“The “rent a friend” side hustle is perfect for social people who love being around others,” comments Joseph Lucas. “I recommend it if you love being out and about, meeting new people, and have fun with new experiences!”

4. Free Admission (Maybe)

Some of your outings may involve going to concerts, watching a movie, seeing a play, or attending a sporting event. In many cases, the person hiring you will pay for your ticket. If the activity is something that you would enjoy, you may get a free ticket to something you would do anyway.

Why You Should Avoid Rent A Friend

Although there’s a lot to like about this side hustle, there are also some downsides to consider.

1. It’s Potentially Awkward

Being paid to be an online friend or to get paid to talk to lonely people is something that is not normal for most of us. There is a chance that it could create some awkwardness that you would rather avoid.

When I asked Jackie about the situation with the man who hired her, she told me, 

“It was a bit awkward because I was paid to be myself, but also had to set limits and boundaries. For instance, at one point he asked if he could take a photo of us and post it on social media and if it was okay to add me on Instagram. 

In a normal friendship, you wouldn’t be so formal. Later, he asked if we could talk on the phone every week, which is something I don’t do for anyone except my mom. I wasn’t sure that was a paid arrangement. That made me uncomfortable, so I had to stop contact.”

2. Safety Concerns

As mentioned earlier, Rent a Friend does not do any background checks, and you’ll need to be responsible for your safety and security precautions. If that’s not something you want to deal with, this may not be your best opportunity.

Two men outside a restaurant talking

Rent a Friend Reviews

If you’re researching the RentAFriend.com platform, you’re probably trying to find user reviews to determine whether the opportunity is legit or a scam. Although it’s an established platform, it’s hard to find a lot of details through reviews.

You’ve read about Jackie’s experience making money talking to people through Rent a Friend, and there are several other articles online, like this one from Vox, that document someone’s experience with the platform. Unfortunately, there are currently no reviews for Rent a Friend on TrustPilot.

RentAFriend.com does share some user testimonials on their websites, but that may not be what you’re looking for.

After researching RentAFriend.com, Work from Home Watchdog has determined the company to be legit and not a scam.

Rent a Friend Horror Stories

Most of the information you’ll find online about the rent-a-friend concept is positive or neutral. Of course, there are bound to be some bad experiences. Earlier, Jackie shared that she felt awkward getting paid to spend time with someone, but that’s not exactly a horror story.

Cracked.com published an article where an experienced friend-for-hire shared his worst experiences. They included things like someone who wanted to play in the McDonald’s ball pit and a companion eating with his bare hands at a high-end restaurant.

If you plan to start this side hustle where you get paid to talk to lonely people, you should be prepared for some unusual requests and potentially uncomfortable or awkward moments.

Alternatives to Rent a Friend

Now, let’s review alternative platforms offering similar services to RentAFriend.com. I’ll briefly discuss what makes each of them stand out and how you can get paid to talk to lonely people on these platforms. 

Join Papa

Join Papa is quite similar to Rent a Friend. However, it focuses on pairing young individuals with senior citizens with certain support needs. If you sign up, you can take on various roles ranging from caretaker to helping out with certain household activities. 

An illusion of a woman's hand reaching outside the screen and shaking hands with a man on the other side

There’s a reasonable earning potential on Join Papa, as users can earn money – up to $15 per hour and up to $3,000 monthly. So, you can get paid to talk to lonely people, amongst others. 

PenPalWorld

PenPalWorld was initially designed as a search engine to help locate friends. This platform now features a robust algorithm connecting you to people with similar interests. It is free to use since they don’t charge a commission. 

However, after signing up, you can offer paid chat services for companionship and conversation to interested lonely people on the platform. So, you make money talking to people.

Friend PC

Friend PC is touted as a social media platform that lets you make money talking to people from a virtual chat job, phone calls, and generally talking to lonely people. The platform is straightforward and relatively easy to use. 

It allows users to list their services for virtual companionship and set their rates. When you get paid to talk to lonely people, the platform deducts a small fee as a commission. It, of course, features a chat app, and you can make online calls.

College Steps

College Steps connects new students with disabilities to mentors, college guides, and professional friends to guide them through their new campus. Several online reviews claim College Step is an ideal platform for making new friends. 

Moreover, users can decide between a physical and a virtual experience. However, only people in the same college can become friends, and you must have completed a minimum of two semesters. 

Sanvello

Sanvello offers on-demand video therapy and coaching focusing on popular concepts such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness. Sanvello connects users with virtual support and tools to improve their mental health. If you sign up here, you’ll work as a coach who texts and communicates with people. 

Two men sitting on a park while talking

Premium Chat

Premium Chat allows you to get paid to talk to lonely people via text and video chat. Here, you can sign up to get paid to chat online, providing services such as consultancy, coaching, or counseling. 

You could do phone calls as well. If you have a significant social media presence, you can also use this platform to get paid for talking with your fanbase. You can earn money talking to both lonely women and men. 

Care

Care is an online platform with several caregiver jobs, and you can also get hired to talk to someone. The options on the platform are vast, including signing up as a paid nanny, providing support to senior citizens, babysitting, pet sitting, and home sitting. 

One of the unique features of Care is that it’s available in over 20 countries worldwide. So, you have a high chance of meeting someone who needs your services.

Caring Companions

Caring Companions is a US-based caregiving platform where users can sign up for in-home, non-medical caregiving services. Specifically designed for senior citizens and people with disabilities, the platform pays you to talk to lonely people. Before your profile is approved, you must undergo an interview process. If you meet the necessary criteria, you’ll be paired with a client. 

Freelancer

Freelancer is one of the largest freelance websites in the world, and the platform offers you an excellent opportunity to promote yourself to clients looking for help. While providing virtual companionship may not seem to be a popular side hustle, you’d be surprised how many lonely people need your services. 

Two women hugging

As soon as you sign up, this platform offers an earning potential of between $100 and $200 per day and up to $40,000 annually. You can arrange chat services, and video chat or video calls. 

Home Instead

On Home Instead, you get paid to talk to seniors via video chat and other media. This platform assigns caregivers to those who are seeking companionship. Home Instead has a thorough screening process to ensure that only the right people can access the platform. 

Once you pass the registration and verification hurdle, the results are worth it. Here, you can set your rates between $9 and $17. 

Facebook Groups

If you’re interested in connecting with new individuals, Facebook Groups are an excellent idea. You can advertise your services to get paid to talk to lonely people in these groups. Of course, you would have to come across as very professional. You could even invest in a website with reviews and testimonials. 

Two women sitting on a restaurant

You could eventually get people to pay for your services. As a professional or expert, you could create a members-only group if you’re looking at doing group interactions. You can charge a fee for people looking to join the group. 

Social Media

If you’re looking to bypass the various requirements that platforms where you get paid to talk to lonely people usually put in place, you can advertise your services on social media. You can put out your services on the several social media platforms you belong to. A major benefit of using social media is the massive potential opportunities with so many people on these platforms. 

You could also put out targeted ads with certain keywords. You can further provide exclusive content and conveniently chat with potential clients.

The Ever-Growing Need for Friends

The struggle to cope with loneliness is a significant problem in modern society. A growing number of individuals report loneliness that seems hard to shake off. While social media and other online interaction tools should ease loneliness, somehow, it’s been a major contributing factor. 

The decline in social interactions has made it more difficult for people to connect and have meaningful relationships. However, as the demand for meaningful interactions has grown, it has birthed opportunities to provide emotional support and companionship and get paid to talk to lonely people. 

Benefits of Talking to Lonely People 

While it may not seem like much, having conversations with lonely people could actually benefit both parties. First, you’ll enjoy providing someone with the emotional support and companionship they need. 

Also, these interactions will improve your communication skills and empathy. Finally, starting a side hustle where you get paid to talk to lonely people allows you to enjoy some flexibility in work hours. 

A woman looking happy with other people

Frequently Asked Questions

What App Pays You to Talk to People?

Several online apps and platforms pay you to talk to people. They include Friend PC, Join Papa, and Caring Companions. Each of these platforms has a unique target audience. So, determine which you’re most comfortable with using before signing up. 

Where Can I Chat and Get Paid?

If you want to do a virtual chat job and get paid, consider signing up on Rent A Friend or PenPalWorld. Study their guidelines and potential payment options before choosing any of the alternatives. 

Final Thoughts – Is it Right for You?

After reading the details of what’s involved with making money and talking to people as a friend, hopefully, you have formed an opinion about whether Rent a Friend (or an alternative platform) may be a good opportunity for you or if you should do something else to make extra cash.

When I asked Jackie about her thoughts on this unique money-making opportunity, she said, 

“I think it could be a fun way to earn money. Just keep in mind formalities, safety, and that payment is handled on your own. You are abiding by the same rules as a therapist or counselor. So you might want to do Venmo, PayPal, and ask for a deposit upfront if you’re nervous about getting stiffed.”

If you’re interested in becoming a rent a friend, you can get started by creating a profile at RentAFriend.com. You can be well on your way to get paid to talk to lonely people. 


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  • Commission-free trades of stocks and ETFs
  • Buy and sell 25+ different cryptocurrencies
  • Fractional shares
  • Access alternative investments
  • High-yield treasuries accounts
  • Social community of investors
  • User-friendly interface
  • Commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs, options, and ADRs
  • Powerful screening and charting tools
  • Free real-time level 2 data
  • User-friendly mobile app
  • AI monitoring
  • AI-powered price forecasts
  • Free investing courses
  • Commission-free trades of stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency
  • Buy fractional shares for any amount
  • Extended trading hours
  • Advanced reporting tools
  • Schedule recurring investments
  • IRAs now available
  • 24/7 customer service

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