A teenager on TikTok with 156,000 followers wants to help you change your life, starting with making real money. In his videos, he talks about how he went from being broke and working at Starbucks, to moving into a high rise in Miami and planning to retire by 30.
“All right bro… be straight up with me. How do you make so much money at 19?” he asks himself in one TikTok.
The answer, he explains, is by getting in on a business known as “drop servicing.” Search for drop servicing on TikTok, and you’ll find dozens of videos like this, with creators — mostly young men — touting their business savvy and letting you in on their secret. The promises are familiar: “$10,000+ per week by doing nothing,” reads one. “Age 13-45 Wanna Make CRAZY Money Online?” asks another. Or, “Side hustles that will make you RICH (Minimal Work Involved).”
The comments are filled with curious viewers wanting to know more, indignant observers, and, of course, other success stories: “Guys it actually does work I’m 14 and I made 3k from this.”
Drop servicing is yet another side hustle with promises of grandeur getting attention on social media platforms. It takes its name from the more commonly known practice of drop shipping. In drop shipping, a retailer sells physical goods online without maintaining any stock themselves, instead ordering directly from a manufacturer who ships the products to the buyer. The middleman then pockets the markup. Drop shipping is often seen as shady or misleading by consumers, who don’t know where the product is coming from.
Drop servicing, sometimes called service arbitrage or service reselling, applies that same model to intangible services and products, like copy editing, voice-over work, graphic design, or social media marketing strategy — labor that is thought to be more specialized.
In an ideal situation, everyone gets what they want: the worker makes a sale, the client gets their product, and the person in the middle makes a profit for facilitating the transaction. But it makes for a strange arrangement: Freelance gig workers don’t always know who they’re working for or the resale value of their work, and when problems arise, the person doing the work can get burned.
May Ng, a drop servicer based in Singapore, worked as a realtor before moving into drop shipping. In 2019, she found a YouTube video describing service arbitrage and quickly realized she could make better money selling specialized services, like video editing for real estate companies. She focuses mostly on finding clients local to her, and estimates she’s arranged …….