At the end of 2012, I quit my 9-5 job as a graphic + website designer to start my own business. One of the main reasons for this was because I wanted to have a more flexible schedule. Whether I wanted to take a day off to go to the beach or take a few days off to go on vacation, I wanted to have the ability to do that without having to ask for permission from anyone.
About 6-months into entrepreneurship, my savings was completely gone and I found myself searching for some kind of flexible side job that would at least help me pay my bills while I built up my client base and grew my business.
In July of 2013, Lyft started up in San Diego, where I currently live, and I decided it might be kind of fun to drive around and meet new people, while making some extra money. So I signed up and became one of the first people to drive as a Rideshare Driver in San Diego. The more I drove, the more found that I actually really enjoyed it (minus the big pink fuzzy moustache I had to put on the grill of my car... ohhh, the infant stages of Lyft, haha!)
Regardless, the job ended up becoming a great way to make some extra income on the side while also having a flexible schedule. And I could still work on building up my own business.
Six years later, I am still doing my own thing as an entrepreneur and have Uber and Lyft to thank for that!
Since they have been such a huge help to me, I thought I'd share a bit about my own personal experience and why I believe Rideshare driving could be a great fit for anyone else who is also thinking about taking the entrepreneurial plunge (or maybe even going back to school).
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1. Uber + Lyft Allow for a Very Flexible Schedule!
There's no schedule you have to follow, you can sign on and off whenever you want, and there's no minimum or maximum amount of hours you have to work a week (Yay! Freedom!)
If you're planning to work a lot of hours, just make sure to take a break every few hours, make sure to eat, and definitely make sure to get enough sleep... for your own safety as well as the safety of others!
In order to stay active with Uber, you will need to give at least one ride every 90 days, otherwise, your account may be deactivated. Since Uber is pretty well-known by now, this is pretty easy to do, plus they will give you a heads up if you're getting close to a potential deactivation.
With Lyft, you can go as long as you want without driving for them and still stay an active driver.
2. You can Expect to Make $16-$30 an Hour on Average
After all the Uber fees are taken out, the average hourly rate comes out to be about $16 an hour, which is something you can use to gage how much you'll have to drive that week to help you pay your bills. This is great as an entrepreneur, because sometimes you never know how much or when you're actually going to get paid so Uber and Lyft can usually help you calm some of your financial worries in this aspect.
With surge pricing, you can usually expect to make somewhere around $30/hr.
If you want to work smarter instead of harder, I highly recommend driving during the times when there is high demand for drivers (which is shown as a colored hot spot on the map in the app.) This could be after a concert or big social event gets out, at the end of the night when the bars closed, in the morning when people are going to school or work, etc.
All that being said, it's important to understand that because Uber + Lyft drivers are independent contractors, they do not get paid an actual hourly rate or any kind of salary. Instead, they get paid a percentage of the fare that passengers pay when they take a Lyft or Uber ride.
The good news is, drivers get to keep 100% of tips they receive from passengers, as well as the occasional cash bonus that Lyft and Uber will offer as an incentive to get drivers out on the road during high demand hours.
3. You Can Make Extra Cash Whenever You Need it
Sometimes my clients didn't pay me on time, sometimes a project took longer than expected, or sometimes unexpected expenses came up.
These Rideshare gigs have given me the kind of financial support I've needed whenever I found myself in a tight spot and was looking to make some extra cash.
The best part about driving is you can get paid instantly, which can really help take a lot of financial stress off of you.
Uber offers cash outs of up to 5 times a day through their Instant Pay option and Lyft offers cash outs once you make at least $50 through their Express Pay option. Or you can choose to get paid weekly through direct deposit.
No matter what you choose, driving for a rideshare gig as an entrepreneur can help you with your own peace of mind, knowing that you'll always be able to pay your bills on time. Plus, you can continue working on your own business while also having the flexibility and freedom to work whenever you want. It's a win win win all around. 🙂
4. You Could Earn Hundreds of Dollars Just for Referring a New Driver
When I initially signed up to drive, I received my own personal referral codes for both Uber (UBER94UND) and Lyft that I could use as an incentive for helping others sign up to drive as well. If you decide to sign up to drive, you will also receive your own referral code to refer new drivers as well!
How this driver referral incentive works:
- If I helped Uber or Lyft find new drivers, they rewarded me with a driver referral reward
- Whoever signed up to drive through my referral code would also receive a referral reward, on top of what they made driving, once they completed a certain amount of trips within a specific amount of time
In addition to this, you can also give your referral code to anyone who wants to get rides from Uber or Lyft. New riders get to try either of them out at a special rate through your referral code (and you get a reward for referring them as well!)
For me, personally, their referral program has truly become a great way to earn some extra cash, especially during those times of need, so I really can't recommend them enough!
If you are interested in becoming a driver and want to use your own referral code to make some extra cash, here are a few things you can do to promote Uber:
- Use the word-of-mouth method and tell your friends and family about Uber and how it's been helping you out.
- Go to concerts, farmers markets, fairs and other social events and hand out cards with your referral code on it.
- Take Lyft rides and tell the drivers how great Uber is (this is basically how I got hooked up with Uber... you can read my rideshare story here.)
5. You Could Score New Clients for Your Business!
One frequent question that I have always gotten while driving is, "So, do you do anything else besides driving or do you do this full-time?" Which is when I will naturally tell them what else I do, like "Oh yeah, I am also a freelance graphic + website designer."
I've learned if they are interested in what I do, they will ask more questions, but if they're not, they won't and I'll leave it at that. No need to push anything in their face.
But yeah, do you see the untapped potential here? Driving helps you position yourself in front of all kinds of people, which means you will be presented with plenty of opportunities to connect with people... and you never know, you might meet someone who has been looking for someone who does whatever it is you do!
I've personally scored a handful of new clients driving for Uber and Lyft over the past few years, some I actually still work with today! I've also met some people who have connected me with people they knew who needed a graphic/website designer.
Sometimes, it's that personal, face-to-face marketing aspect that people prefer. 😉
So yeah, you never really never know what you can gain by keeping an open mind and just having natural conversations with the passengers in your car.
My personal tip: Since I really don't like it when people are "sales-y" or "aggressively pushy, I make sure to not behave that way with others. Never push anything on anyone, just let the conversation come up casually.
Another tip: Keep some business cards on you, but hidden away (again because you don't want to seem too pushy, eager or in their face about anything). If anyone is interested in what you do, you can casually talk to them a little more about it during the ride and then pass them a business card right before they get out of the car.
So there you have it, my reasons why I consider Uber and Lyft to be the perfect side hustles, especially as an entrepreneur.
I am so grateful for both Uber and Lyft, plus anyone who has supported me through this crazy entrepreneurial journey of mine (whether they realize it or not!!) I honestly don't know where I'd be if ridesharing had never been an option in my life, but I do know it would probably be completely different than where I'm at today!
I personally think ridesharing is a great concept all around (for drivers, riders and the companies) and it's especially wonderful for those brave souls who are looking to create and grow their own businesses and need some kind of flexible side job to help cushion them if/when things get tough.
Rideshare driving can also be a great option for those who are going to school, trying to pay off loans, or just looking for some kind of way to have some extra spending money so they can do more of what they love more often. 🙂
Want to get started driving?