When I lost my full-time office job back in 2016, I was frantically scrounging around searching for something to replace my income. Living in a small western Kansas town, the task was rather daunting. It wasn’t until I was scrolling through a site called The Penny Hoarder that I learned about this cool side-gig known as ridesharing.
Hesitant at first, I went to the Uber website, signed up, and started driving! With plenty of free-time on my hands, I drove around eight hours per day almost all week long! The first two weeks I made over $1,500, which was more than enough to pay my rent and other bills. I was ecstatic!
Even though I no longer drive for Uber, I still enjoy writing content about rideshare companies since it was one of the gigs that gave me the hope to make money doing something other than sitting at a desk all day.
All that being said, there are still a few things that people need to consider before becoming a rideshare driver that I learned during my journey.
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1. You Need to be a People Person
A large part of your success as a rideshare driver is how passengers rate their experience with you. This means your attitude needs to be upbeat, friendly, and wildly positive. If you are a Debby Downer, this could drastically effect your rating and make potential passengers not pick you as a driver. You would be surprised at how many customers opt to only pick drivers that have perfect ratings.
2. Learn to Create a Work-Life Balance
One of the best things about driving for a rideshare company is the flexibility you have! While this seems like a total win, failing to pay attention to the hours you set could lead you into a state of exhaustion. Remember that remaining healthy is all up to you!
3. Always Keep your Car Clean
This is easier said than done and means using some of that cash you make to detail your car and make frequent trips to the car wash. It is worth it when passengers give you high ratings.
Related: Keeping Your Car Rideshare Fresh
4. Ensure You can Handle the Job
Even though driving around seems darn easy, it requires you to sit for prolonged hours, which can create some stiffness in your back and legs. The reason I had to give up driving for Uber was because I had sustained a back injury from my full-time job and could no longer sit for hours on end.
5. Know Your Area Well
It literally pays to know the area you decided to drive in like the back of your hand. I lived in a small town, so the most opportune times to drive was during bar nights, festivals and other events throughout the year. This will also help you to know when the peak driving hours are so you can get as many fares as possible. If you are new to an area and wish to drive for a rideshare company, I strongly suggest taking the time to conduct research! It should pay off in your favor!
6. Join Local Rideshare Facebook Groups
Facebook groups seem to be all the rage these days and they are valuable hubs where you can receive a lot of great information. You can search for rideshare Facebook groups in your area here. If you don’t find one, you could start one yourself!
7. May be Better Suited as a Supplementary Job
When I first signed up for Uber and made $1,500 in my first two weeks, I was so thrilled! But with time and experience, I realized this gig was more better suited as a supplementary job, as it's not always possible to spend all day in your car or or drive those peak hours day in and day out.
Sometimes the income amounts are really great! However, I wouldn't expect it to be great 100% of the time, which is something to consider if you are feeling pretty desperate for cash.
8. Try Driving for Both Lyft and Uber
I know many people who have driven for both Uber and Lyft companies that have said that one service tends to offer better rates than the other. In fact, there are reputable resources, such as The New York Times, that have stated that Lyft “cultivated a reputation for being more driver-friendly than Uber.”
9. What You Earn May be Less than Advertised
What you make driving for a rideshare company depends heavily on how many hours you spend behind the wheel of your car. But you must remember that there are expenses you will incur while on the road, no matter how often you drive. These expenses are things such as car repairs, gas, regular maintenance, insurance and taxes that can add up pretty quickly.
Plus, this doesn’t count the commission that both Lyft and Uber take from each fare. Uber and Lyft take their cut of 20-25%. In my experience, my expenses added up to be around 25% of my gross income from Uber.
Also, with rideshare you are an independent contractor, meaning you’re responsible for taking out taxes from what you earn, which includes those self-employment taxes.
Overall, driving for Uber was one of the best experiences of my young adult life! I met and talked to amazing people, got the chance to be my own boss and created an extra flow of cash!
While driving for rideshare companies might not be for everyone, I tell people all the time to give it a go! Who doesn’t like extra green in their wallet?